The Triple T- aka Hardest Most Bestest Race weekend ever..

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

No posts for so long,  training and travel and new exciting learning opportunities have taken over the past few months.  Since last post, I got to run my first Boston Marathon. On one of their hottest ever race days, I embraced the experience as a fun, never know if I’ll be back, and who cares about the heat when you have done Ironman day.  Was so humbling to run in a packed crowd the ENTIRE 26.2 miles, no music, just the sound of feet and cheers every single mile.  The fans were unbelievable, all out with hoses and sprinklers, so combined with the fire hydrants set wide open and special spray tents, there was no reason to overheat, and no way to not be running in full on sloshy shoe mode:-) The experience was like no other, from the downhill grade for about 16 miles, to the hills at the end, to the way each town we came through was “ALL IN”, to the finishing 1/2 mile, and the just plain way cool town of Boston.  I fully “got” why the Boston lore, why we try so hard to qualify, why I was so lucky and happy to have qualified and very, very glad I took my spot at the event.

So with that accomplished, it was time to set sights on my first A endurance event of the year, The American Triple T in Ohio, just 4 weeks later.  Quick recovery, quick build, quick taper.  The Triple T is a race I heard about from my coach, who did it last year. He said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done. Torture, beautiful, worth it.  So sign me up lol!

It is 3 days, 4 triathlons (about 142 mi total).

Day 1 5:00pm, a super sprint, complete with mtn climb on bike. Day 2 is Olympic (1500m swim, 25 bike, 6.55 run) at 7:30am,  then another Olympic (25 bike, 1500swim, 6.55run in that order) at 4pm. Day 3 is what is rumored to be the HARDEST half Iron distance in the country (1.2mi swim, 56 bike, 13.1 run), shoot the Olympics were crazy tough!  they forgot to take out the massive attack of climbs on those too!

Sounds nice enough right? Well first I have to drive 15 hrs to get there. Then you have to set up and take down transition each and every race, for me that means forgetting stuff 4 times ha. You must eat like never before, eat for endurance and control of GI issues, and for recovery, and hope you get it right. You pay attention to your body like never before.  It is truly a fascinating process!  You sit in COLD water creeks after each race, get quick post race massage, foam roller, compression tights, lay, and get yourself geared up to go again!  You meet amazing people, almost everyone there was a multiple Ironman finisher, everyone was super fit and fast and tough, there were not so many females at this event though.. interesting to see that, like uh-oh, what am I about to do?! . Over half the people were repeat Triple T customers, says something about the crazy nature of the endurance world.

The course (all bike routes were different all hard) was the toughest course I’ve ever done, I thought Wisconsin was hard.  It made it look flat.  The climbs were steep, long, and relentless.  Even when you felt like you were on the flats, they were false.  I just had to accept and survive the bike each time knowing that I had another race in a few hours.  It was SO gorgeous, completely isolated forest with rivers, and rocky cliffs and shaded switchbacks and dangerous downhills.  All you heard was the whirring of pedals and gears changing and birds. That’s it. No fans. When you went out, you were out and saw no one until you came in back in to run.  Not even officials or bike support. You make casual conversation on the climbs to lessen the pain, and you are going so slow you have time to really get to know each other if you want to.  I have a really great new friend from Ontario because of those climbs:-)

The runs were all on the same course, a rough gravel rd/trail into the woods with steep hills I had to walk all of, and that same quiet, crunching gravel footsteps, birds, out 3.25+, back 3.25+.  The whole run was fatiguing on another level, negotiating big rock chunks and again, knowing you had to do it again in a few hours puts a new twist on your mindset!

Each race you finish, announcer says your name, across an official finish line, but no fanfare, just a sprinkling of supporters, no medal until your last race, just cross, turn in your chip, eat, start the recovery process, for me it was get my gear, bike, etc and head back to the hotel 20 miles away.

The last day is amazing, how normally before a Half Iron you would be all tapered and perfectly fueled etc.  LOL, crazy feeling the start of that day. You know you CAN do it, but not quite sure how long it will take, how much suffering may be involved, etc.  The key is pacing, for me it was anyway.  Did the bike as efficiently as I could, not take too long, but not go for any sort of speed, and then have a run that required full on walking.  By the time I got off the bike after so many freakishly hard hills and tense downhills, my upper body was thrashed. trashed. tight. ouch!  felt bruised. The run was a methodical one mile at a time, walk every hill run every flat and downhill process. SO glad I brought my heavier trail shoes to switch to because my feet felt raw after running that road 3 times. Eating cookies along the way because gels just weren’t  good anymore.  The level of camaraderie on that final run course was at an all time high. SO much support and empathy for each other. A little excitement and sadness because it was almost over!

So needless to say, I finished. happy, fairly strong yet all over achey like nothing else.  Proud like nothing else.  Not ready to sign up again unless I bring people with me to share the agony with.  Wanna be one of those?! come on now, you know you want to!

The creek was my life saver. That with my food, and tights and “stick”, had me nothing more than stiff after my  long drive home.  Stunned at how well I felt just 24-48 hrs after.  And then I found out I was 5th of 23 I think overall Masters(40+) Female, cool!  I was just trying to survive it.  So now onto the next thing, a summer training for the Redman 140.6 in september and Ironman Arizona in November.  I can’t wait!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristi E
    May 27, 2012 @ 12:10:11

    You are my crazy,,,,amazing friend. So proud of your discipline, accomplishments and outlook.



  2. onetrimom
    May 28, 2012 @ 06:27:43

    I have thought of doing the Triple T next year…after reading your post I am not sure I am motivated or down right scared! I am doing IMFL in November…if I get through that I will join you in 2013!



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