Upstate Splash Swim

How to write a triathlon blog:
1) Do a race
2) Wait at least a month to write a blog post about it.
3) ???
4) Profit?

That doesn’t seem to be working out for me.

The Upstate Splash was a first-time event put on by my master’s team (Greenville Splash!) to raise money for scholarships to provide kids with swim lessons. It looks like it will continue to be an even based on the huge success it was this year! We had a 1.2 and 2.4 mile swim which definitely attracted a lot of swimmer and triathletes from the area.

The event was out at Lake Jocassee which is a little over an hour from Greenville – really out in the middle of nowhere, actually. But it’s a beautiful lake in the mountains and is a great venue.  There’s not really anywhere to stay out there, but there is a campground on site and we had the opportunity to take over a teammate’s campsite who couldn’t use her’s. Yay camping!


We enjoyed some weenies, s’mores, and..uh…beverages (those are not allowed at SC state parks but the key here is to not be an obnoxious asshole!).  We also enjoyed the convenient beach at the campground and goofed off a lot before going to bed way too late in our tents. Note to self: not a good plan for Ironman training.

Saturday morning came way to stinking early and we walked over to the race start and a great sunrise.


See that nice water. It’s normally smooth and glassy. It was so not on this morning.  Apparently it was pretty windy and there was some pretty good chop on the water (I mean, for a lake. It’s not an ocean).

We had wave starts and I was in the second wave. The first 500 m or so I felt the chop but thought it was because of the other swimmers around me. Then we kept swimming and the chop just kept getting worse the further we got from the beach (it’s in a cove, kind of). While it doesn’t really bother me that much, I was thinking about my IM training buddy Danette who was also swimming the 2.4 mile who doesn’t love swimming as much as I do. (She ended up doing just fine but was super worried about Chattanooga. I told her it would be much, much easier!!).

Once I reached the turn around, I hit the lap button on my watch and headed back to the start (obviously). The chop was definitely coming from the north because the return leg was much easier than the outbound leg! I just kept swimming until I reached the finish which was a boat with some people writing numbers down. High-tech, I know, but they weren’t anticipating how big it would be this year! They already have a timing sponsor for 2016 which is awesome.

I looked down at my watch and saw 2.64 and said ??!?!. No wonder that seemed so long.  I didn’t think I swam off course and when I checked my garmin file later I found that I stayed pretty well on course so the swim was definitely long. Whew. My final time was 1:11:30, which is not very meaningful for 2.6 miles but my pace per 100 was 1:31, which I think is a nice, comfortable pace for an IM swim.


After I finished I grabbed some food (there was SO MUCH), and packed up my car quickly because I had a 90 mile ride on the schedule for the afternoon. There wasn’t really any good place out near the lake so I had to drive back to Greenville.   I ended up not getting started until 12:30…we’ll just say I didn’t finish 90 miles but I tried.

Anyways, that’s the Upstate Splash!

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Training Camp Weekend

What a weekend it was. I’m very glad that I went because I learned a lot: about the course, about IM training, and certainly a few things about myself.

I drove down to Chattanooga Friday afternoon after working a half day since I didn’t want to get in super late. My GPS definitely took me on the….scenic route instead of through Atlanta (traffic) so I was definitely a little aggravated getting in. Trucks and windy mountain roads don’t mix.  We stayed in a hotel near downtown so we were able to walk into town for dinner. We ended up at Mellow Mushroom since several of the restaurants we had tried to go to didn’t take reservations and the ‘Shroom had plenty of room for a big group. But everybody likes Mellow Mushroom.


The plan for Saturday morning was to get up and be ready to roll at 7 to ride the entire course – all 116 miles of it.  My friend Justine and I had decided beforehand to stick together since we are a similar speed so we wouldn’t be alone in case we ran into any trouble (there was plenty).

The first few miles out of town we picked up some other riders that weren’t a part of our group and they were riding really erratically – like all over the road.  I know it was early, but COME ON people.  People like that are what give all cyclists a bad name so don’t act like that.  Unfortunately for  me, less than 10 miles in, I got a flat on my rear wheel! I was right near a gas station so I could pull over and change it and a couple of people who were out for a run stopped to make sure I had everything I needed (like they had bike tubes?? but still nice). I checked over the tire for a puncture but never found anything, so I fixed it and took off again.

But…we were back a ways from the main group after that first flat which then caused us to miss a right turn to stay on the course. We rode up a giant hill that was much harder than anything on the actual course, back down the other side and found ourselves on Hog Jowl rd. That road is on the course….but we weren’t in the right place. There was a SAG for another team there and she told us that we definitely missed a turn. DANG IT.  We called our coach who was driving our SAG vehicle around and she told us to ride back to where we missed our turn and keep going.  This gave us almost 5 extra miles – and how I ended up at 120 miles instead of 116.  Oops.


See that middle bit? Don’t go there

Finally, we got back on the course only to encounter a crazy aggressive dog! He was gunnin’ for a piece of Steph and there was a lot of panic before I was finally able to out pace him. We hit the other side of the loop and think that things are finally going to settle down when BAM! Flat #2.  It was also a rear wheel and ripped a solid hole in my tire.  I pulled my wheel off while waiting for my coach to arrive since I didn’t have anything to patch up a tire with and when I set my bike down, the chain somehow managed to get completely and disastrously tangled.  By the time we fixed the tire, installed the new tube, untangled the chain and got my bike put back together, the stop was almost 40 minutes.  We were now hopelessly far behind the rest of our group (this made for a really, really long day).  Most of the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, thankfully  (we did see a HUGE snake in the middle of the road), but our time out on the road including all stops was 9.5 hours. Like I said, a long day.  Hopefully this training ride means a perfect day on race day!!

On Sunday, we went for a 3 hour run on part of the course (the riverfront path and the residential loop). I’ve spent the last year listening to horror stories about how hard this run course was…like what are these people even on? I guess I can understand it from our poor flatlander friends in Florida but I feel like my Greenville friends should know better. It was not that bad.  There are some hills in the residential loop but it’s really only about 3 miles of the total loop (so 6 miles of the full? not really that bad). None of them were horribly steep and there are several nice downhills. What are people so worried about??

Anyways, I was pretty damn slow from being so tired but my coach was very pleased how I looked and I ran with my coach’s husband who gave me a lot of good advice on pacing and when to walk and things like that.

We all headed home Sunday and it was pretty much all I could do to unpack everything before crashing for the night.  Chores? Who even does that? Haha. So, it was definitely a productive weekend and I’m definitely glad I took the time to go.

PS: Yes I’m posting this now…after the race. Go with it.

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Lake Logan Half Race Report

Lake Logan was my 3rd 70.3 race.  Two years ago I was training for my first 70.3. Two years ago, Ironman announced a race in Chattanooga and I decided that I was definitely going to do that. How am I now only 40 days away from that race??

Lake Logan was supposed to be a “gut-check” race for me – can I nail my nutrition, can I stay strong when I’m tired, am I going to keel over mid-Ironman (answer: probably not)? Even still, I had a few moments of panic the week before – OMG I’m going to be last, I’m not going to finish, WHAT AM I EVEN DOING??  I had to stop myself several times to remind myself that Lake Logan is not my goal race, I would not be last, and I do this FOR FUN. No panicking!

20150809_063041I had a ton of friends and teammates going to the race this year and several of us stayed in a hotel/golf resort in Waynesville. The place was straight out of the 80’s – box TV and all – but it was clean and quiet so money well spent. Not having to drive home 2 hours post-race in my salty state was excellent. So I was also able to pick up my packet on Friday night and we had dinner in Waynesville.  It’s actually kind of a neat little town with a nice downtown area that I didn’t take any pictures of.

We rolled out of the hotel a little after 5 AM Saturday morning and they were super accommodating with breakfast and had basics out for those of us going to the race. One thing to know about Lake Logan: getting to the race site is kind of a pain and the parking situation is a mess. It was better this year with the half having its own day but still. Get there early. 11895165_898728970192943_8488688011720387520_oI set up all my junk and then wandered off to chat with friends until it was time to squeeze my sorry self into my wetsuit.  I almost didn’t wear it; the water temp was 72 (!!) which is much warmer than it usually is. I decided to go ahead and wear it since the cold stream water would cool me off towards the end of the swim. On that note…

SWIM (1.2 miles):

The swim is a big rectangle aaaannnddd it was short again.  It was apparently short last year so I don’t know why they didn’t fix it but I came out with 1.1 miles and so did everyone else. AS USUAL, my wave was one of the last ones and I had to spend the majority of the time swimming through all the other waves – thankfully there’s a big difference between ~500 and ~2500 people so it’s not so bad at this race. Annoying all the same. I just kept it long and strong the whole time until we hit the bridge…then some idiot dude decided that was a good time to stop and stand up and I smashed right into him. 😡  The creek was shallower than usual (a symptom of our lack of rain this year) but still, dude. Don’t stop in the middle of the swim. We were still at least 75 yds or so from the exit dock and he kept sprinting off and stopping and generally being obnoxious.

11834756_898729733526200_3323692340987257658_oWhen I hit the dock, I took my wetsuit off before I got out but I went ahead and hit the lap button on my watch so I’d have a swim time minus the wetsuit strip. My watch time was 28:12, so it apparently took me about a minute to wrangle myself out of my wetsuit. I hate it.
Time: 29:06 (19/235 Overall, 4/20 AG) I got totally smoked by two girls who are crazy good swimmers, one just beat me while I was fooling around with my wetsuit.

T1: 4:42 My coach asked me what I was doing…I told her some questions have no good answers. I wasn’t trying to be fast, I was trying to make sure my socks were on straight.

BIKE (56 miles):

Last year the bike course at Lake Logan was 4 miles short….they found the extra 4 miles for 2015 and they were painful. I train on hills so it’s not like I’m not used to them but this was one hard bike course. You start out on that fun fast bike course that made the Olympic race so popular….and then proceed to get demolished by some big rollers and substantial climb at mile 44. There were also some moderately technical descents. It was fun and definitely scenic but ouch.

The course was pretty crowded for the first 20 miles. I was stuck in a pack that I couldn’t seem to ditch and spent a lot of time slowing down to try to keep from drafting.  But every time we got to a big hill (which was all the time) we’d bunch up again. But I tried very hard to not draft and the officials didn’t issue very many drafting penalties so apparently they were being pretty forgiving because I saw a ton of drafting. There were also a few issues with traffic in the towns – one when there was some event going on at a school and there were cars stopped in the road and we all had to stop! I guess you never know quite what you’re going to get.

So, my coach told me before the race that there was a big hill around mile 40. There was, in fact, a pretty good hill at mile 40: short, but definitely steep.  But…that’s not the one she was talking about. No, it’s definitely at mile 44 and it is quite a climb. It’s paired with a fun descent but my quads were definitely hurting at the end.

Time: 3:21:48 (100/235 Overall, 13/20 AG)
I’m really pretty pleased with this bike leg. It was very challenging and if I did it again, I think I could have been faster on my road bike since it’s pretty technical and I didn’t ride in aero as much as I’d like.  I feel like I nailed my nutrition which is extremely important and a big boost for next month.

T2: 3:24

RUN (13.1):

Most of the time, the run is very frustrating for me. I’m not fast. I am quite slow, actually. I spend the entire time getting passed by people I out-swam and out-biked only to get demolished by people who can run up mountains at an 8:30 pace like it’s nothing. It makes me feel like I’m doing all this hard work for nothing – even though that’s not at all true. So a big part of the run for me is the mental aspect – don’t worry about them because you’re not where they are right now. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right?

The run course at Lake Logan is the same as the Olympic course. Times two. 3 miles up; 3 miles down…and again. I started out running the first mile at a steady pace to shake everything out, then switched to 4:1’s to help myself mentally. I can run for 4 minutes. I was tired but still feeling pretty good. My coach was just past Mile 1 (“swing your arms, steph!!” :P) and the Wonder Women were at the first aid station cheering up a storm.  It’s always a good boost to have friends out there since you can’t walk while they’re watching!

You can't really tell but I am in this picture

You can’t really tell but I am in this picture

Once at the bottom of the first loop, you have to take a lap around a field, then back up you go.  It started getting pretty warm (85-ish) by this point and the shade was all but gone. I never felt like I was way overheated but I could definitely tell the difference between the 1st and 2nd loops. The 2nd loop felt rough, but my coach said I really looked strong the whole time, so I guess feeling isn’t everything.  My 4:1’s went to…whatever I could manage until the top, then I was able to switch back to the intervals for the down-trip to the finish. I never faded hard or bonked. I was very thirsty though, and definitely could have used more water during the run, but on the second lap I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach and struggled to get my fuel down. Blech, but it was enough!

Time: 2:33:13 (143/235 Overall, 16/20 AG)
Am I still slow? Well yea, but of the 3 HIM’s I’ve done this was definitely the most challenging run and it was substantially better than what I did in Muncie. I did everything right and stayed strong right up through the end of the run. I’m still very optimistic that my running is headed in the right direction and my coach is as well.

Total Time: 6:32:11 (102/235 Overall, 15/20 AG)
I hate that I was so low in my AG but I just can’t compete with those 1:5x half marathon runners (10 of them were under 2 hours!! HOW). But I really did have a good race and I’m very pleased with my time, even though it wasn’t a PR. I wasn’t expecting to since I was sure I couldn’t match my bike performance at Muncie, though I always wish that I would/could run faster. It was a good race.

I hung around and cheered for the rest of my teammates (one of whom set a 70.3 PR of like 40 minutes!) then went down to the creek to soak my legs for a bit. This feels amazing and if you do this race I highly recommend doing this before you leave.

Sunday, I spectated/cheered for my friends doing the sprint/olympic races and they all did AWESOME.  This is  great venue for spectators as it is…well gorgeous (also not hot).

One of my friends joked that Ironman Chattanooga will only be 2/3’s as hard as Lake Logan! I can only hope he’s right 😉  But this weekend we’re headed to the Choo for “camp” so I’ll get to experience the course and I am definitely looking forward to that.

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July IM Training (8 Weeks OMG)

Not that anyone is counting or anything but 56 days…

Another shocking statistic  – it’s hot in July. I recognized early on that there was zero point in whining about it because I intentionally chose a fall Ironman knowing that it will (probably) be much cooler on race day than it has been for training and I will be in better shape because of this. But there were quite a few days (early mornings) where I walked outside and just said “UG!”. It’s not always pleasant but sometimes (most of the times) you just gotta suck it up. I also lost 5 days of training due to travel to China so there was no slacking for the rest of the month. So here’s July:

pie chart


Swim: 22,075 yds (12.5 ish miles)
Thanks to the China trip, I went almost 2 weeks without swimming (gasp), though this is nothing to panic over since I know that I can tackle the swim without any issues. But I get to missing my master’s swim people =) Outside of that, I’ve only been swimming 2x a week this month so I can have (much needed) rest days on Fridays. Two of those were open water swims at the coach’s lake house.

lake picture

Bike: 480 miles
Again, I lost 1-2 opportunities for biking since I didn’t do any of that during my week of travel but coach made up for it by destroying me on the weekends before and after.  The weekend before (July 4th), I participated in the Fabulous 4th bike ride which was 65 miles of a whole lot of hills (>5000 ft of elevation). Of course it rained which totally ruined the final descent into Tryon – it’s a bit of a technical descent and I didn’t want to end up as a blood splat on the pavement so I had to take it slow. But overall it was a nice event.



I also had not one, but 2 century rides in July. First one was the day after I returned from China – I was exhausted and it was brutally hot but I finished! I wanted to get away from my usual riding places so when a friend offered to show us a route to Anderson (and back) I decided to go for it. So after a loop of the normal route, we joined up with him to ride to his house and back and he made us lattes.  I had to do 10 miles solo at the end of that and they were hella slow but I survived. The best part was when I got home, my parents (who came to visit) made me lunch AND even carried my bike up the stairs to my apartment. Can’t usually get good service like that!

No Bust!

No Bust!

2nd century was last weekend and was far less painful (but hillier??). I think it was less hot which I’m sure helped quite a bit.  I also had a 70 miler in the middle and met up with a group for our annual Grits and Groceries ride and enjoyed some post-ride praline bacon.

gng food

Run: 88.5 miles
This is like a lot for me. The weekday runs are way longer (and harder) than I ever would have done on my own.  I hate it but the coach has convinced me that I am getting better, stronger, and faster and even though I don’t feel like it, I do trust her judgement. I am working hard, so here’s to hoping that pays off! I had one treadmill run (in China) and 1 brick (was supposed to be 2 but I ditched on. Bad Steph). Most interesting run was a trail adventure at Dupont:


Most painful was the 8.5 mile track workout I had last week:

Go out too hard and you will not be happy with your life choices

Go out too hard and you will not be happy with your life choices

And best was my long run last weekend (after century #2), where I was actually able to do the workout and felt good at the end!  It was a flat run on the SRT but I needed the confidence boost and this definitely helped.

Crosstrain: 3 hours (give or take)
Just some yoga and core workouts because there is no time for anything else. Also too tired to move.

No events this month. The first half of the month was “survive the jet lag because you went to China for 3 days” and the second half of the month was “OMG coach is def trying to kill me”.

What’s coming in August:
-This weekend I get a “recovery” weekend (only 50 miles instead  of lots!!)
-Next weekend is the Lake Logan Half! Since when is a 70.3 a training event? Oh yea since I decided an Ironman would be a good idea. I love the venue at Lake Logan and this is my favorite Olympic distance race….but I have to do the half. From what I hear from last year’s participants, this is a pretty tough half so I don’t plan to set any records but I hope I have a strong race. It will be fun – I’m going with friends and spending the whole weekend up there to spectate the Olympic and Sprint on Sunday.
-Weekend after that is Chattanooga training camp!  This is with my coach and I’m very glad I decided to go since this will take a lot of the guesswork and ??? I’m feeling about the race. It will be good to have a better feel for what I’m getting into.
-Possibly doing Flight of the Dove bike ride again in August. I really enjoyed this ride last year (though it was hotter than hell). But it’s for a good cause so if it fits the plan I will ride.
-August 29th is the Upstate Splash event!  Our Greenville Splash coach has always wanted to organize an open water event and her dream is coming to reality this year – so anyone in the area should definitely come and participate!!  Options are 1.2 or 2.4 mile swim in Lake Jocassee (which is an AWESOME place) so please come if you are able! The event is supporting an organization that provides swim lessons to children who would not be able to afford them.

Well that’s pretty much everything for July.


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June IM Training

Less than 13 weeks to go! I’m actually pretty relieved that June is over; it was a rough month for me. I started out the week after Raleigh with a nasty sinus infection which led to two weeks of insomnia for no reason. This led to some pretty ugly workouts but only one missed one (a swim, not a huge deal for me). But I made it through and got my sleep track back on schedule for the most part – definitely feeling better!

Also, it was hotter than blue blazes for the latter half of the month, much hotter than it normally would be in mid-June! Temps jumped up from the mid-80s to high 90s starting the week of June 15 and it was definitely a bit of a shock. Throw in that 90+% humidity and you got some fun running weather right there. This normally destroys my running but I was actually able to maintain (and maybe even improve?) through the last 2 weeks.

Here’s the monthly stats

SWIM: 28,500 yds
Just hanging tight here.  Coach has asked me to cut back in the pool over the last few weeks to focus on biking and running and I have not complained because when the weather got hot, the pool got nasty hot.  The Y has the capability to manage the pool temperature during the summer but they were unprepared and let it get up to 90 degrees before the lifeguards insisted that they get it together. Pool water that hot is just downright nasty. I also got in 3 open water swims (including a race) and one attempted OWS that got stormed out so we had pizza instead.

BIKE: 373 Miles
Starting to build here! Long rides of 60, 70, and 80 miles this month with one weekend off for the race.  80 miles is now my longest ride ever to date and it was a solid speed (17.2 mph) on a flat-for-Greenville route.  Lots of speed work, even in the long rides. Also no indoor rides, yay!  The weekday afternoon rides over the past two weeks have been pretty miserable because of the heat and much Gatorade has been consumed by all parties involved.  There still lots of focus on nutrition during all rides as well – practice during the 30 milers during the week helps get the long weekend rides right!

RUN: 82.5 Miles
This is a big running month for me! Drills are gone, replaced by monster 7 mile track workouts and evil long runs. Longest run was 11, but those weekday runs are definitely driving my total mileage up.  And I never just get a “go for an 8 mile run”; it’s 8 miles with a bunch of 1 min/30 second sprint sections. It keeps things interesting but OUCH. Also hill repeats and other horrible things. It all hurts but my coach seems pleased because instead of getting worse during the heat wave…I actually got better??? This has never happened so I am confident that I will improve if I keep at it.

RACES: Greenwood Tri – first tri of the year!

Other stuff:
-Going to China for a week in July for work. This is highly inconvenient and the coach and I are pretty much calling this a total recovery week because there’s not much I can do while I’m there and the trip is so short I’m going to be jet-lagged as all get out. But work is work, and I managed to wiggle my way out of a few days so I only lose 1 weekend day (and get to pick one up by taking July 3rd off). So it’s 5 days lost but this is one of those times where I’m very, very glad to have a coach because she will worry about training and I will just do as told rather than panic about it!
-No July races! I just need to train. Must. Not. Panic.
-My poor Garmin 305 finally died. I have no idea how old it is, but I’ve had it for almost 2 years and I feel like I got my money’s worth out of it.  Sad to see it die, though – it was a great device! I had to get a new one in a hurry though because my FR110 can’t do bike stuff really. After much consultation of DCRainmaker’s blog and amazon, I found a sweet deal on a new FR910xt with a new HRM. It came just in time for me to use it at Greenwood and I’m kind of loving the upgrade. I’m attached to my older Garmins but this new one is pretty sweet.
-I finally made time to see Pitch Perfect 2. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. The Green Bay Packers doing Bootylicious will be forever ingrained in my memory.

PS – Don’t forget about the discount code for the Asheville Marathon! STEPHANIE2016AMAROCKS good until the end of July!  Best rate you’ll get for the race.

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Greenwood Triathlon

Oh look, a triathlon! I actually did a whole race. My race schedule is very light this year (intentionally) because I wanted to make sure I would actually have time to train for my Ironman instead of racing every weekend. (Also, I know things come up that I didn’t initially plan to do, like Raleigh, so that plan left some wiggle room).  The only tris I brought to my coach to do this year was Chattanooga and Lake Logan, so she suggested this one as well. I figured if she thought it was a good idea, I should do it.

I had not done this race before (last year I was in France during this time), but it has changed from a one-transition event to a point-to-point race in the last two years which is always a logistical pain.  I had initially planned to just leave really early Saturday morning to make it all happen but one of my coaching teammates said they might have room in their hotel and I ended up sharing a room with 4 other people (affordable ftw).  Really glad I did since T1 was a solid 25 minutes from T2 so dropping my bike off Friday night was a very good idea.

That meant I didn’t have to get up crazy early on Saturday morning (with my 4 roommates).  The hotel was very accommodating for breakfast – a nice change from the last few I’ve stayed at – and we were out the door by 5:45 to T2 to drop run gear.  Then we caught a bus out to T1. It didn’t seem like there was any trouble related to the bus timing, though I heard some comments that the drivers weren’t….very safe. It’s always hit or miss with these buses.

Be prepared to sacrifice a pair of flip flops to this race because there’s a bit of a walk through the woods to get from T1 to the swim start. It’s not a long walk but it wasn’t paved and I was glad to have an extra pair that I didn’t have to worry about retrieving. The swim start is kind of cool though – you have to climb down some stone steps into the lake.


SWIM (1500 m):

This is a pretty small race so there were only 3 waves: open, everybody, and then novice. This is great for me because I don’t have to worry about the wall of dudues. Unfortunately, the first 600 m of the swim is right into the sun which means…wall of sun? This made for some really amusing garmin files later. I don’t normally have a lot of trouble swimming straight but it was absolutely impossible to see the buoys (also they were green and matched the tree line). I swam for a while but finally gave up and stopped so I could figure out where I was. I’m very glad I did because there were a bunch of people who totally missed the first turn buoy and had to go back (and a few cheaters. but they’ll get theirs). Once I got out of the sun it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. My time seemed very slow (slowest ever for olympic distance) but my (fancy new) Garmin came out with over 1800.  I definitely swam a little extra but not that much.  The course was definitely long, but it was long for everybody and I was the first woman out.

Time: 27:44 (1/4 AG, 1/46 Overall)

T1: 2:03
Pretty quick transition. I had to take off my swimskin and stuff everything in the bag so that always takes a little extra time.

BIKE (40K):

I swear upon everything that I know that this bike was entirely uphill.

OK that’s an exaggeration.  It felt like it was all uphill. It was definitely net elevation gain.  For some reason, I let this course mentally defeat me. I know I’m strong on the bike. I’ve been training hard and 24 miles should not be a big deal. But for some reason I let the uphill get to me. I kept sitting up out of aero when I didn’t need to and I didn’t take in all the nutrition I was supposed to (hint: this is bad later) and it was just ugly. I averaged 16.8 mph which is just not that great for me considering I’ve done far more difficult courses faster than that. I’m not usually such a headcase so I need to get it together.

I also did get railroaded.  Luckily I was one of the last ones and was only stuck at the train for a little over a minute but there were people who had passed me miles before and had been there for 5-6 minutes waiting for the train to pass. It really sucks for them because it was <.5 mile from transition and completely cleared the swim and bike from those guys’ races.  Setup told us that they had a permit to prevent this but railroads pretty much have the attitude of “we’re going to do what we want and to hell with everyone else” so it’s no surprise that we had the problem anyways. Hopefully next year they’ll put timing mats at the train tracks or something.

Time: 1:29:30 (3/4 AG, 28/46 Overall)
T2: 1:27


RUN (10K):
Remember how I said I didn’t take in enough Inifinit during the bike? I also neglected to grab a gel coming out of T2 because I was too busy gabbing with the woman next to me in transition (she’s a fellow swimmer/bad runner). Ya done messed up, Steph. I took Heed at all the run aid stations but it was way too late to fix the damage. If coach tells you to take in 250-300 kcal per hour on the bike…you should do that. I had about a half a bottle of Infinit…so like 150 kcal or so.

I started out feeling pretty good (hungry) but I knew the nutrition was going to bite me. And mile 4 was when it hit me. I thought I might die. It was hot but I feel like I barely noticed it because all I really wanted to do was lie down and take a nap. So, now I know you can hit the wall in and Olympic and it’s not any fun.

Other than that, the run course is actually kind of nice. It’s on a shaded rail-trail and is relatively flat. From what I hear, when the race was all out at the lake, the run was miserable and awful so I can’t complain about it because it was really not bad at all.

Time: 1:09:37 (placing unknown – some people had a timing issue at T2. But bad.)

Overall Time: 3:10:20 (3/4 AG, 27/46 Overall)


Well, this was my worst Olympic time ever.  Except for Over the Mountain last year and it was and Olympic+ (extra long bike) so it doesn’t count. I’m pretty sure that is the slowest 10K I have ever run and it was pretty much just because I didn’t follow the coach’s instructions.

I was happy to get on the AG podium and I’m trying not to let this one bad race freak me out because I know it is not the goal for the year.  But it was a little frustrating.  I definitely don’t want to let one bad race keep me from doing this one again because it is a good one!

After the race, team Malone met up for pizza and beer which was great.  I haven’t had a ton of chances to meet some of the other athletes on the team so it was a nice opportunity before heading home 🙂


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Wonder Women Go To Raleigh

Did you see Wonder Women at Raleigh 70.3? I don’t think you could have missed her if you were there. She didn’t ride an invisible bike (that would violate USAT rules) but she sure looked good out there.


A while back, two of my good friends decided that they wanted to do a relay at Raleigh 70.3 and reached out to our Greenville Tri Club community looking for a swimmer. I was still thinking I would do the race solo but then I saw the riff-raff (ug men) wanting to join them and decided to forget it. I did not want to do a spring HIM, I wanted to do this instead.

When we went to sign up, we had to come up with a team name and we settled on Wonder Women in honor of our cyclist (Kristin) who has done a number of running races in her Wonder Woman costume.  And so OBVIOUSLY we had to do this in costume too.

Kristin and Elizabeth found some cheap costumes online and tried to get me to get one too.  But I thought that might be just a bit too much drag for a swim (especially since they actually wanted me to be fast), so I went and tracked down this sweet suit instead.

So on Saturday before the race, we all climbed into Kim’s car (our spectator/chauffeur) and road-tripped to Raleigh. We got to the expo kind of late (probably were some of the last ones through) so we goofed off a good bit and came away with a lot of free crap. Then we drove out to the lake to drop Kristin’s bike and let me get a quick practice swim in. Then we headed back into town for dinner and race prep.

PicMonkey Collage

Race morning! We got up with the intention of getting on the later buses to the lake since our wave start was last.  This was…interesting.  We watched some of the last big buses leave and….no one came back. There were still quite a few athletes still waiting (not just relays!). Finally they tracked down a couple small buses (and a church bus) and we had to stand and hold on for dear life onto an overhead bar for the ~40 min trip to the lake. Our spectator made friends with another spectator in line and rode out with him (a total stranger?? I was a little freaked out at first but he was cute).


The bus mess left us with not much time to get out of T1 so I went in to help Kristin get her bike ready and we all got body marked. Then…we waited. Hung out in the port-a-potty lines a few times, chatted with people, watched the pro men finish swimming, hung out some more…I guess it wouldn’t have been much better if I had raced solo because the W25-29 wave was the one before mine.

FINALLY it was time.  I got in the water towards the front but not in the front row – I knew it wouldn’t matter much because it was already crazytown out in the lake. I tried to catch someone’s draft but it didn’t last. We started catching people from the wave before before the second sight buoy and by the time I hit the first turn there were people everywhere. From that point on it was just “don’t drown anyone”. I swam strong and hard but did my very best not to completely run anyone over. It was pretty good up until the approach to the boat ramp – the course was narrowed and there was just no room to budge! I got caught behind a guy who was going much slower than me but was doing everything he could to keep me from passing him (or maybe he just flails around a lot). Got up the boat ramp and almost ran past the relay pen where Kristin was waiting. I finished in 33:26 and was the 7th relay swimmer out! The time seemed slow but word was the course was 300 m or so long.

PicMonkey Collage1

After I finally navigated my way out of transition, I met Kim and Elizabeth so we could figure out how to get back to T2/downtown. We had planned to ride the bus back but the timing of this was not at all clear and it turns out they weren’t leaving until the last cyclist was out. Not going to work.  Luckily, we met another new friend/random stranger who was doing the relay and offered to take us back into town. So advice for relays at Raleigh – leave your runner downtown. DO NOT take them to the lake unless you drove to the lake because it’s going to be a problem.


Once we got back into town, Elizabeth headed to T2 to get ready and I went back to the hotel to change for my 8 mile run (because my coach hates joy). I figured I’d have time for 4 miles while waiting for Kristin to finish biking then I could do the other 4 while Elizabeth was running.  I ran along a good bit of the run course and it made me very, very happy to not be racing because it was hot as all get out and not shaded. It was probably the worst 8 miles I’ve ever run.

Then we drank beer for a while and waited for Elizabeth to finish. Kristin biked in a strong 3:21:04 and Elizabeth finished in a speed 2:00:31 for a final time of 5:59:44. Good enough for 24th out of nearly 80 relay teams!

There were a lot of fun moments doing this race in costume. People wanted to take pictures with us (or of us) or just would come up and talk to us. There was a really cute moment after the finish when a little boy came up with his mom and wanted to get a picture with Kristin and Elizabeth who were still in costume.

So. Do a relay. Definitely wear a costume.  Make people laugh on a miserable hot day (because you can imagine those costumes weren’t hot at all yea?). I know there’s a lot of rumbling and grumbling about costumes at events like this but the fact is – it’s fun. We livened up the day and made it memorable for us. Rest assured, we will do this again!


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