Steelhead 69.1

I’m thinking of getting this tattoo.

So yes, the swim was cancelled.  Which generally means I am completely screwed, because that’s the only part of the race that I’m remotely good at.

BUT!  I did get in to test out the water the day before the race…

…and after a short bike/run actually got in to splash around with Paul.  The water temp was in the high 70s, and the waves were juuust big enough to do some body surfing, which I did quite a bit of.  Probably not the best pre-race activity, but I couldn’t help myself, the water felt so good.  I miss the ocean.

Our hotel was in South Haven, about 30 miles north of Benton Harbor, and our stay coincided with the National Blueberry Festival.    We just missed the parade where the National Blueberry Queen made her debut, which was a shame.  But we did catch the South Haven Vintage Baseball Club baseball game in full swing.  They even played without gloves.

The weather that day was completely erratic, going from severe thunderstorms to sun all day long (we left the beach just in time to see a major storm rolling in), which wasn’t super promising for the race.

Woke up on race day with serious winds, and upon entering transition the first thing they announced was that the swim had been cancelled, there was a small craft advisory, and winds of up to 25 mph were predicted for the day.  Boo.

So we did a time trial start on the bike, going two at a time by bib number.  My bike was solid, I think…never raced 56 miles for time before and wasn’t sure what to expect…but I averaged significantly faster than I did in the 14-mile bike leg of the Markey Race (yes, for reals) and came in a solid 10 minutes under my goal time of 3 hours.

My run was GREAT…for the first 8ish miles.  My 10K split was right around 51:00.  I was on pace to easily break 2 hours, no problem, and was running at a totally comfortable pace.  Then suddenly, this happened:


It was ugly.  I walked for about a minute.  The next 2.5 miles were a combo of walk/run, and I grabbed a gel, some coke, and Gatorade from the aid stations as I went.  I finally got my legs back and was able to jog the last few miles to the finish line.  But it wasn’t pretty.

Final run time: 1:59:34.  Just squeaked in.  Paul met my semi-coherent self at the finish line, and helped me find my way back to transition to get my stuff.  I also had  knots the size of watermelons on my neck/shoulders from the new aerobars, which I rode on for almost the entire race.

Oh, and apparently I’m from Lexington, CA.

BUT!  I finished, didn’t die, broke 5 hours, and learned that I need to eat or drink more earlier on in the run.

More on the race (if you actually want to hear any more) to be posted here shortly.

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