Team INFINIT Performance

American Triple-T: who knew there were hills in Ohio

I always try to write down my thoughts on how a race went and what I learned so I could review in the future, but this one has been a struggle to put my thoughts down. How do you put on paper what 4 races over 3 days is like, I don’t think justice can be done for it but I’ll try.


First off what is American Triple-T?  It is a 3 day event starting on Friday evening and finishing up Sunday afternoon.   There are 4 races that have to be completed, 1st off is a super sprint on Friday which includes a 250 yard swim, 3.3 mile bike and a 1 mile run.  On Saturday the intensity picks up with the 1st race in the morning being Olympic distance race, 1500m swim, 25 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run.   The Saturday fun doesn’t stop there though, after about a 3 hour break you get to do another Olympic distance race.   Yes, 2 Olympic Triathlon’s are completed in one day, one starting at 7:30am and the other at 3:00pm.   Then the cherry on top... a 70.3 race on Sunday, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13 mile run.  I would imagine by this time it is nap time and a recovery meal. 


 


How did it go?  I’m not really sure after the first race everything became foggy pretty quick, but here is my best guess 


 


Day 1:  this is the easy day, I showed up early to pick up my packet and get my campsite all set up.  I then Headed down for transition and was ready to go pretty quickly, until about 10 minutes before the race started. I realized I still didn’t have a timing chip (wouldn’t be the last time this weekend I forgot this step).  Rushed over to timing and picked up the chip and was back in line to start the race.   Since the swim was so short it was over before I had a chance to struggle.  Went through transition and out on to the bike, well sort of.   First time ever I couldn’t figure out how to get going on my bike, multiple attempts before I could actually get clipped in and out onto the course.  3.3 miles is short for a bike, but with the hills and the poor condition of the road it was difficult to get into a rhythm.  The run was short, which made it easy to suffer for 1 mile with the smallest hills of the weekend and made for a good time. 


 


Day 2: This is where things got interesting in a hurry!  Up early and started the chain of what would seem to be never ending eating.   Any chance I had I was looking for something to eat, I think with the food I had between races and the Infinit I was taking in during the race I went well over 5000 calories for the day..   Started the swim and stayed relax, shoulders felt tight but I think this was more to do with not spending any recent time in the wetsuit.   Coming out of the water and through transition was easy peasy, and out on the bike I went.  I quickly became aware that I was no where close to being adequately trained for this event.   The hills came quick and often and never seemed to let up.  When there was a downhill section I tried to let loose but not really knowing the road I was hesitant to really push hard.   The course itself was an out and back, and with that there were 9, yes 9, very large climbs that stood in my way.  Total elevation for this was 2549ft!  I don’t think I have ever ridden a course that was this difficult, and I still needed to do it again.  Finally made it back to Salt Fork State Park and was happy to be out on the run.   This turned into an uneventful run as I wound up running with Justin who came from Illinois for this event.   Having someone to run with definitely made the time ease by, It’s a shame I didn’t have this kind of effort for the next few races. 


Once I finished race #2, I headed back to camp scarfed down my lunch and then managed about a 45 minute nap before I needed to head back to transition for race #3.  I believe there was roughly a 3hr break in between. 


Race #3 was a different format, this was Bike-Swim-Run which wound up being my downfall.  Started the race and was holding a pretty good effort, I made sure I didn’t push too hard, but I did put a little more effort into the downhills to get a higher speed.  Once back into transition I slid into my wetsuit and fortunately had a volunteer to help with that last little bit as he almost lifted me off the ground.   Jumped into the water and off I went, I started out feeling great and thought that every race should be in this order.  That lasted for the 1st lap and quickly went away shortly into lap 2.  The first sign of trouble was a slight cramp in the arch of my foot, then my calf started locking up.  I was able to kick through this but about 1/2 way through this lap my hamstring went tight and cramped completely!  I couldn’t bend my leg and the pain was immense, I found a lifeguard and grabbed his kayak.  Stayed here for a bit before legs somewhat relaxed and I was able to finish the swim, at this point though the damage was done.  Coming out of the water I could barely walk and looked more like a penguin as my legs were stiff and wouldn’t bend properly.  Combine this with several more cramps coming on and it was not a fun time.   Took my time changing into run gear and started out for what would be a long 10k.  On the run I struggled to get any sort of momentum going without a cramp starting, I was eating all kinds of salt, finished off my entire Infinit bottle and still felt stuck.  At one point there was another racer coming by that had a bottle of salt pills rattling around in his pocket, almost tackled him to take a few from him.  The entire run turned into a long hike and overall race #3 was 40 minutes longer than #2!   Time for more food... and sleep.  


 


The sleep turned out to be difficult to come by, around 1:30am the lightning started, at 3:00am the full thunderstorm started and since I was in a tent my opportunity to sleep was gone.  As I was laying there listening to the storm, I had the thought that maybe this storm would cause Race #4 to be shortened or even canceled.   I was excited for this thought,  


 


The rain did stop around 6am and the weather cleared, about 6:15 I figured the race was on (checked fbook to be sure) and jumped up to gather my things and head to transition for the last time.  Overall I felt decent, my legs were sore from the cramps the previous afternoon but I have felt similar and had decent training rides, so hopes were high that I could make it through the day. 


 


The race started and into the water I went, my plan was to keep it easy but steady.  This allowed me to concentrate on form and get into a swim rhythm fairly quickly.  Fortunately the swim went with no issues and I avoided any sort of cramping.  Going through transition I took my time again to get changed and headed out onto the bike course.  I had already planned on taking the bike easy, and easy I did.  The 1st 5 miles were about 6 minutes slower than what I had been doing in the other races.  When I would hit a hill I quickly went into the highest gear and kept the effort down as much as possible.  There were sections that I barely held 50rpm’s and 8mph but was pushing over 200 watts.  I had the easy mindset so engrained that even on downhill sections I found myself coasting more than I normally would, figured this would keep the strain off the legs and allow a strong bike ride.  The best part of the ride started at about mile 15 and lasted for the next 24 miles, this was where the course flattened out and I was finally able to ride my bike and put some effort into the ride.  Prior to this I had been averaging about 14mph, but for this section I jumped up to 19mph and had a lower heart rate than I did going up and over all the hills.  Of course, this had to come to an end and when it did it was brutal.   There were 5 more climbs to go over with one of them being almost 3/4 mile long at 6.5% grade.   I was never so happy to get back to transition and be off the bike.   For the most part the run was uneventful, it turned out to be slower than normal, a lot slower, but it was a run.   Coming out of transition my legs felt surprisingly good, most likely a result of my constant effort to remain easy on the bike.  I knew the great feelings wouldn’t last though, so I had already planned to walk the hills and run the flats and downhill sections.  This worked well for the 1st lap, and for about 2 miles into the 2nd lap.  Around the 8 mile mark there was a long hill that even though I walked up just seemed to take everything I had left and sucked it dry.  I continued to run when I could but there was much more walking involved and the uphill treks were even slower than before.    I did manage to run the last mile or so to the finish line, coming down the chute I probably looked like a mess but managed a strong finish!  I remember the feeling of when I finished my 1st Ironman and how happy I was to be done, reaching this finish line and knowing I didn’t have to go out on the hills again definitely was more euphoric. 


 


Looking back this is definitely a race I will return to, having so many friends there along with making new friends made the race have such a great atmosphere.  


 


Times:


 


Friday Race #1:  Swim (4:23), Bike (11:14), Run (7:23) Total: 25:23


Saturday Race # 2: Swim (31:57), Bike (1:36), Run (55:07) Total: 3:06


Saturday Race #3: Bike (1:37), Swim (38:40), Run (1:23) Total: 3:47


Sunday Race #4: Swim (37:53), Bike (3:38), Run (2:33) Total 6:56


  


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