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Race Result

Racer: Erik Melis
Race: South Carolina Half-Ironman
Date: Sunday, October 1, 2006
Location: Lake Greenwood State Park, SC
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 50 - 54
Time: 7:13:31
Overall Place: 254 / 274
Age Group Place: 9 / 12
Comment: Overall results are just men

Race Report:

Our trip down to Greenwood, SC for our Half-Ironman race didn't start too well. Got a late start leaving home; truck broke down with electrical problems in the transmission an hour out and could not be driven; hide to find and rent another truck which added additional delays and costs; because of the delay we got caught in all the nasty rain down the I-81 corridor; sat, going nowhere for an hour when I-81 southbound got shut down due to a big accident; all in all, the trip that was supposed to be around 9 hours, took 14...
For the race, we finished in a little over 7 hours. Hooray for the TriSpuds (our 2-person race team)!!! Our race was, at least for me, not without trauma... at the swim start we had to jump in from these conrete steps that led down into the water. Well, I didn't jump quite far enough from the step and raked my toes on my right foot across the rough concrete and managed to gouge them up pretty good. I felt the toes during the entire bike and the entire run... Ouch! I did manage to have a great swim, did the 1.2 miles in 46 min which is the fastest I've ever done that distance. Things were going pretty well on the bike until about mile 4 when I hit a piece of glass and had my front tire go flat. So I pulled over, scanned the tire for any punctures and, not seeing any, changed the tube. My CO2 inflator didn't quite inflate the tire to full pressure so I tried to use my little hand pump and only managed to let air out instead of in. After several several minutes of swearing and furious pumping, I managed to get enough air in the tire to ride. Within 2 miles, the front tire went flat again!! I heard a hissing sound and when I examined to tire at that location, I saw a tiny chard of glass penetrating the tire and new tube. I apparently missed that during the first change. I used my last spare tube and my last CO2 catridge to change and inflate the tire and of course had a recurrence of the first change, letting air out instead of in and had to pump even more. I lost about 40-45 min between those two tire changes and was now officially the "last" bike rider on the course. I was now seriously concerned about a couple of things: would I flat again (if that happened, with no other spares, I'd be out of the race); would I have enough time to make up the deficit and make it back to the race start before the bike time limit was reached (if I didn't then I'd be out of the race). I was tempted to call it a day but decided that a DNF (did not finish) was not acceptable. Even if I was going to finish at the outer limits of the time restrictions, I had to try. Of course, that meant I was no longer riding within myself and started pushing harder on the bike than I should have (I knew I'd pay for it on the run but if I didn't push, there might not be a run).

Finally, about 30 miles into the 56, I started to catch some folks and started feeling better about my chances. I kept pushing and then realized that I would definitely make it in time to try the 13.1 mile run. Mairead yelled words of encouragement to me as she was passing mile 1 outbound on the run and I was 1 mile from the transition to the run. When I started the run, my worst fears were realized, my legs were trashed and felt like bricks. I just started plodding along (not following my correct running form at all but it was the best I could do with my legs toasted from the bike and my toes screaming at me to stop... I said, "Sorry toes, DNF is NOT in my vocabulary today" and pressed on. Mairead was doing great on the run and kept running (her least favorite event) pretty steady until mile 10 at which point she just had to walk (her back and feet were not happy with her at that point). I finally managed to catch her at mile marker 11 and we just walked together until right before the finish at which point I just had to try to push my legs and my toes a little more.

Now, if all that's not bad enough, the finish line was placed on a VERY step hill... how cruel is that? They put a steep nasty hill at the finish of a 70.3 mile race...

Anyway, we got our finisher's medals (they are very nice) and are now officially Half-Ironman finishers. We're were definitely very tired and very sore and thank God that we were smart enough to add a day to our trip so we could sleep in and rest some before driving back to VA.

One thing we know is that we've got lots of prep work to do for Ironman USA Lake Placid which we've committed to do next July... We will also probably do the Mooseman Half-Ironman in New Hampshire next June as a warm-up for the Lake Placid IM... :) Once we're done with those 2 long races, I think we'll go back to "more sane" distances but I guess sanity is all relative huh?