2011 Redman race report
Oklahoma City, OK
I woke up around 4:00am on race day. Amazingly enough I slept quite well the night before the race. Went for a little 1 mile jog as a wake up. Ate some oatmeal for breakfast and drove up to the race site at lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, arriving around 5:45am.
For whatever reason the athlete parking was a mile and a half from transition. A mostly silent walk among the athletes around the lakeshore in the early morning darkness. Warriors headed to battle.
The race was scheduled to start at 7:15am, and I had more than enough time to get set up. I spent more time thinking about my nutrition plan than at any prior race having bonked at Rockett's and nearly bonking at DC tri. Here's what I did:
Pre swim - nothing after breakfast.
T1 - 1x electrolyte pill
Bike - 1x shot block every 6-7 miles, cliff bar at mile 20-25, 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of water + camelbak elixir.
T2 - 2x electrolyte pills, bonk breaker
Run - 1x shot block every 2 miles, 1-2 cups of water or Gatorade at every stop.
I'd hydrated well for the past two days. So no worries there. I got setup in probably 15 minutes, shoes out, socks ready to go, nutrition in all the right places. Talked to a few nice people around my spot. Waited. Tires aired up, sunscreen applied, wetsuit on. Let's do this.
The race actually started a few minutes late, as the kayakers were struggling with keeping the buoys lined up. Eventually the race director (RD) said screw it, and told us to sight to the white triangular shaped red bull buoys marking the corners. Easier said than done. The 1.2 mile course was shaped in a triangle, starting and finishing in the same corner. The RD let the full IM distance folks go first, and my wave of greencaps for the HIM went next.
The lake was extremely low on water. When I say low, I mean we walked down approximately 400' to the water's edge from the 'shoreline'. See picture. Sparing no expense, the Redman folks rolled out the red carpet the entire way down. Sharp rocks were no worry. With an in water start (sort of) the greencaps received a short brief at the water's edge about ignoring the orange buoys floating randomly through the swim course. Those white triangle buoys at the corners were hard to see from the shore. This will be entertaining. The in water start meant slopping through the red clay and mud mixture nearly knee deep into the waist deep starting spot. Fun going in, gross coming out.
The rifle fired(it's Oklahoma remember?) and we were off. I consider myself a fairly strong swimmer, but having not been in a pool in over 2 weeks due to travel and going right into a cold open water swim was tough. It took me about 10 minutes to get comfortable breathing. The last buoy couldn't come soon enough.
37:39 - Acceptable
I made sure I wouldn't be that guy who slips and falls in the mud coming out of the water, and slowly trotted back up to T1. All of the sudden, the kiddie pools of water at T1 made sense, wash the mud off your legs dummy! And then, my favorite part of the entire race (other than the finish line) were the wetsuit strippers. It really is as good as it sounds. Literally half a second and my wetsuit was off and thrown at my face. I should have tipped.
Bike shoes were on. Helmet was on. A quick jog to the mount line and I was off. See you in 56 miles.
5:10 - Could be better, but 1-2 minutes wasn't going to break me
Now, the first thing I recall as I peddled along across the lake dam was how I wish I still had my wetsuit on. It was so cold at 20+ mph while the sweet, golden warmth of the sun was still low in the morning behind the clouds. My initial idea was to pedal harder, go faster, generate body heat. Except this was what I told myself I would not do. My race plan was to not crush it on the bike, save some gas in the tank for the run. So I tossed that mistake to the side of the road for some other guy to pick up.
The only other option I had was to sing Jimmy Buffet songs. So I cruised along for at least the next hour with Cheeseburgers in Paradise and Margaritaville. It got the job done and I forgot about the cold. Quite a few men passed me in the first 25 miles, but I managed to suppress the urge to chase and stick to racing my race, not theirs. Until I saw a girl go flying past me around mile 22.
For whatever reason I asked myself, in Tuan's voice "what are you doing letting a girl pass you? Pee now and go."
Only I didn't have to pee on the bike, but I did stay right behind that girl for the next 15 or so miles. Men continued to pass, even a few more women, but with something around 10 miles to go I hammered down, passed the girl who passed me originally and never looked back Moral victory.
3:01:30 - Ok with that. Certainly could have gone faster
Not much to say about T2. It was basically like any other T2. Racked the bike, swapped shoes, grabbed the hat and the nutrition and got moving. Maybe now is a good time for a quick stop at the porta potties with no line. Yep that was a good idea.
5:11 - Room for improvement
Redman volunteers were locked and loaded with spray on sunscreen at the run out. That turned out to be a good call as the run course was 100% in the sun. There was zero shade. I normally wouldn't complain about the run course on any race after the DC tri cloverwtf, but Redman was two 6.6 mile loops. Running loops sucks. It's the equivalent of treadmill running outdoors. Anyway, I've done 13+ mile runs before. I can do this. Usually the first few miles go by quickly, and before I know it I'm on mile 5. Not today. By the time I got to mile marker one, I felt as if it should have been at least three. I was trying not to read the inspirational "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" signs on the first loop, knowing I'll need them on the second.
I found a comfortable pace, and just went water stop to water stop. Volunteers had everything. Water, Gatorade, pretzels, salt pills, coke, gels, icy sponges, and whatever your heart desired. I was secretly hoping for a golf cart ride.
My parents had come out to watch me race, which was especially nice during the run. I saw them several times, but specifically remember seeing them on the run course around mile 7 near the start of loop two, where I made the statement "be back in an hour." Looked at my watch and I'd already been going for over 5.5 hours. Reality check.
So I pushed through the run, promised myself I wouldn't walk any until I made it 10 miles. I decided not to count walking through water stops but made it 10 miles without slowing to a walk for a minute or two. So I trotted through the last 3 miles with an occasional walk break until I could hear the finish line crowd around a half mile away. I picked it up to what felt like an 8:00 pace but in reality was probably nowhere near that and finished strong. Not bad for a fat guy who doesn't run well.
3:00:28 - Terribly slow. I've run 13 miles in 2:10, but that's with fresh legs.
Total time 6:49:56. - I didn't really have a time goal in mind. I just didn't want to have an arm or toe fall off on the course. So I'll call it a success.
After the race, I had never felt better. Legs were sore, but felt strong. I stuck around long enough to grab some food, a few gatorades and chocolate milks. Hurried back down to Norman, OK for a quick shower, change of clothes and off to the football stadium to tailgate the OU/Missouri game. My legs hurt after standing through 3 quarters of football.
So there you have it. NTP to 70.3. Eight months ago when I started training for a triathlon, I had hoped to finish the DC triathlon Olympic distance. Yesterday I finished my fifth race. Three Olys, a sprint and a HIM. I'm 40 pounds lighter, have completed more 'firsts' this year in fitness than at any time in my life.
My two favorite races this year were my first and last. Peasantman and Redman. Peasantman really did the whole "race experience" very well. Great people, great volunteers and a lot of fun. It'll be on my calendar next year.
By the time I made it to Redman, I basically knew what was going to happen on race day. What I didn't expect was how nice a race can be with the little extras like wetsuit strippers and a guy on the PA system yelling "give it up for your name from Washington DC, go DC Tri" as you stomped out of the water like a lake monster. The math problems in sidewalk chalk on the run course were cute. Who knew the square root of 81 would be hard to figure out when you're really tired. At least I got a 100% on that part of the race. Redman was absolutely first class and I hope to do it again.
Big thanks to the DC Tri club. You guys and girls are awesome. From the brick-nics to the training tri's to the Deep Creek excursion. You're as good as it gets. The NTP program was excellent. Group rides, runs, swims and clinics made establishing a consistent training plan not just possible, but easy. I'm dreading the onset of winter, but looking forward to next year already.
Good luck at Myrtle, IM Florida, and all your future endeavors.
I did a race, it was fun, dc tri club rocks.
Congrats Jason. It's a beautiful feeling crossing the finishing line of your first 70.3 isn't it? Going from zero to 70.3 in your first season is impressive. However, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed in your performance. You had 8 months of training and yet you still can't pee on the bike? No wonder you got chicked!
In all seriousness, it's a faux pas to pee on a bike during a race that is shorter than an IM. You don't pee on the bike just to pee on the bike. You have to earn it through IM training. The last thing that I want to see and encourage are a bunch of future NTPers peeing on their bikes at sprints and oly races. That is so wrong on so many levels.
P.S. Thanks for the PeasantMan plug. It does mean a lot to those of us who put that event together to hear that NTPers, in particular, had positive experiences with it.