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Race Result

Racer: Jen Tallman
Race: Luray International Triathlon
Date: Saturday, August 16, 2008
Location: Luray, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Female 30 - 34
Time: 3:50:34
Comment: Not as recovered as I though I was...

Race Report:

Luray International Triathlon Race Report

Three days after my Ironman finish in Lake Placid, my legs felt great, like nothing had ever happened to them. My coach insisted that I rest, because I had done more damage than I was aware of. I listened to him. I pay him to temper my enthusiasm, to share his knowledge, and to keep me accountable.

So, between July 20 at 11:41:38 pm, and August 17 at 8 am, I had ridden my bike once on a flat path with a friend at about 10 mph for about 10 miles. Other than that, I ate a lot, recovered from a cold, and elevated the legs that had done exactly what I asked of them at IM.

I was chomping at the bit to work out. I wanted even more to get out and race. Swim, bike, run…. it’s like crack. I had a hit of it, and now I chase that high, ceaselessly.

Seeing that there were only two more scheduled races on my calendar this season, Luray International, and Savageman Half, I decided I NEEDED to do Luray Sprint too. I asked. Ryan said no. I resigned. Then a friend offered me a free race entry good for either of the Luray races. Now, I HAD to do the sprint too! I begged, hungry for my drug. Ryan relented, saying if I HAD to race the second race, I could “participate.”

Friday night, I packed the car and headed out to Front Royal. I figured since my renters had moved out of my mountain house, I’d take and air mattress and stay in free accommodations on High Knob, about half an hour from Luray.

Joe and I made the trip to the mountain in a little over an hour. The place was as beautiful as ever. I probably shouldn’t have allowed myself to set foot on the wooded property much less inside the log A-frame. This house seduces me every time.

Settled in on an air mattress in the loft, we set about sleeping for the big race in the am, which came all too soon.

0530, the alarm went off, and I dressed for the chill that had seeped in through the two windows I’d opened the night before. We drove into town to find coffee, and discovered that the Daily Grind didn’t open till 8 on weekends. : (

I headed out of town on Rt 340 hoping to find vegan food and decent coffee somewhere between here and Lake Arrowhead. The road was covered in a thick fog that cut my speed quite a bit. The sky was just getting light, but in the cloud of fog light and dark seemed irrelevant.

Finally in Luray, it was shortly after 7, the commute nearly doubled due to the road conditions. The only place open in the whole town was Hardee’s. I knew I was treading on thin ice to have requested to race twice in one weekend less than a month after IM, so I knew better than to go out on an empty stomach again. I’d certainly never hear the end of that.

I concluded that I’d have to cheat. A coffee, greasy hashbrowns and a cinnamon raisin biscuit chock full of dairy and egg ingredients would have to do. ugh! On the winding foggy road back to the lake, my hashbrowns spilled on the floor under my feet. So much for the rest of those.

The fog was still thick, and I missed the final turn back to the lake. More minutes ticked by as I backtracked to find the turn. Thankfully, I saw a vehicle heading off on a side road and figured it was probably a triathlete, so I followed.

I pulled into Lake Arrowhead at 7:27, just enough time for packet pickup. UGH! I played Chinese fire drill with Joe, so I could register and he could park. I checked in, got my chip and got body marked.

I ran down to my Jeep and started pulling items from the transition box and stuffing them in a bag. I chugged the rest of my coffee, grabbed the biscuit still in the Hardee’s bag, and headed up to transition.

I racked my bike after shifting some other bikes whose owners had taken up a space and a half each for their gear. I got my stuff in order quickly remembering how slow I was at this last year. I mixed 600 calories of gel into a water bottle and fixed it to my bike. I slapped my race number, 484, on my bike, helmet and race belt, slathered on the Body Glide, and shimmied into the wetsuit. I realized that somewhere between the Jeep and transition, I’d lost my neoprene timing chip strap.

I ran towards the water stuffing my non-vegan breakfast into my mouth. I sent Joe off in search of a strap for my chip. He returned with one and attached the chip to my ankle as I swallowed my last bite. He zipped my into the suit and I ran down to the beach where the pre-race meeting was finishing up and the national anthem was beginning.

Standing on the beach I found the other green caps. Second wave. My brand new goggles were in my hand and I was hurrying to adjust the straps. I was lucky I even remembered to buy new goggles before the race, as the old ones had been a casualty of the wetsuit stripper at IM. My estimated goggle adjustment turned out to be right on, and they didn’t leak a bit.

The first wave went off, and we green caps waded into the warm water. The horn went off, and off I swam without a single pre-race butterfly. This was a first.

The swim was two loops. The lake was clean and the course was clearly marked. I was jostled more in this race than I had been at IM, which I thought was kind of funny. I felt like I was swimming extra slow, but it felt really good to be back in the water. It felt automatic to swim and sight and breathe even though I hadn’t done it in a month. I found a couple of people to draft off of, but lost them in the second loop when I encountered the most crooked swimmer I’d ever seen. He zigged and zagged into me and over me about four times, before I just gave it everything I had and sprinted ahead to the shore.

I ran up the stairs to T1, grabbed my bike, put on my IMUSA jersey, my helmet and my number. I mounted the bike, clipped in and took off for a ride in gorgeous Luray, that had finally revealed itself from its foggy veil of an hour and a half ago.

I felt really good starting off on the bike. I really enjoyed the big descent, but I had to admit that the hills weren’t coming to mea as easily as the hills had at Placid. At mile 8, I admitted that I probably wasn’t as recovered as I thought I had been. I decided that today was going to be a leisurely tri and that I’d decide about the sprint later.

I came around the second loop, and I was climbing the hill at mile 13.5. I heard a vehicle behind me, and figured that they were waiting until they crested the hill to pass me and the other cyclists ahead of me. Next thing, I heard was a panicked female voice yell, “AH! SHIT! AH!” I felt her front tire collide forcefully with my rear tire. My bike jolted forward a bit. I looked back in time to see a dark haired girl falling backward off of her bicycle, arms and legs sprawled, bike flying off to the right, and a silver pickup not far behind all of this. I was startled, but I decided not to stop on the hill, creating more of a hazard than was already there.

I motored on through the rolling hills and false flats. I could tell that I was slower than usual. I kind of wanted a nap. I finally made it back to transition, changed shoes, realizing that I forgot to pack socks for the run. I sucked down the last of my gel mixture, took an endurolyte, and started the run.

I ran nice and steady at my one pace… marathon. The sun was nice and high and it was pretty warm. I took in water at the first aid station. I ran out to the turn around, cheering for RATS as I saw them. I saw my Bike Lane manager Kris Hayne and cheered for him too. I yelled to Dave Casio, but he didn’t recognize me.

More water at the second aid station, some endurolytes, and I kept on going. Slow and steady. I came back by the lake and went out for my second loop. I was glad to be almost done.

On the second loop, a girl from JMU and I were playing leap frog, as she walked/ran and I just ran at what felt like a slower than usual pace… hmmm theme here?

We chatted a little, until she fell behind on the last uphill section. As I neared the lake again, I could hear the announcer calling off finishers as they crossed the line. I was excited to be almost done. It was a pretty miserable feeling to be so slow and tired.

I crossed the finish line and met Joe, who had spent most of the 3:50:34 I was racing, or participating, rather, fishing in the lake. I grabbed some bananas and oranges and two bottles of water.

I sat in the grass eating, marveling at how achy my legs felt. The sprint was beckoning me like a crack pipe. I really wanted to race again. I saw Ryan’s email in my mind, “I’d rather you didn’t race. It’s for your own good.”

I decided to decide in the morning. I packed up transition, loaded the Jeep, and headed back to Front Royal for a shower and a nap. I followed that up with an excellent dinner at Element, and a good night’s sleep.

When the alarm sounded at 0600 on Sunday, I moved my stiff legs, turned off the alarm, and decided to spend the day lying on a sunny rock in the middle of the Shenandoah River reading while Joe fished.

See you all at Savageman!