2015 Fall White Lake Half
Swim exit for the White Lake races.
Why a Half?
A “half” is what most people call a race that fits into the “long course” category: usually 70.3 miles. It get’s it’s name from Half Ironman. But the races at White Lake are not branded Ironman races, so it’s the “half.”
For this edition of the White Lake Half, there were only about 160 participants which is much less than previous editions.
The cloud covered sky was the perfect background for starting the race, because it kept the air temperature down and the sun glare out of my eyes during the swim. Not much more to say here, but the water did get a bit choppy on the way back to shore. Nothing to hinder a good swim, though.
Sunrise at White Lake, NC.
I had very little strategy for the bike other than to conserve energy for the run. Training all summer on my road bike meant I I would probably have difficulty with my tri bike on race day, so I stuck with the road bike for the race: good decision. Speed was not a problem over the 56 mile course, because I had little of it to cause me any problems :). As I’ve written before, the first 36 miles of the course are smooth and easy riding. Rough road and a head wind are enough to challenge the most determined athletes. Add heavy rain to the mix and you’ve got a tough situation. And that’s why the road bike was a good choice. The road bike offered more stability and comfort than my tri bike. Not as much speed, but the comfort and stability was worth every minute I gave up.
I don’t want to talk about the run. It was tough. I’m not yet an endurance runner. By mile six I was praying for new legs. By mile eight I was walking for long stretches. The things that tried to beat me down were:
the rain made for wet shoes and feet which made conditions perfect for creating blisters.
I worked harder than I should have on the bike, so my legs were not in good running shape. I didn’t cramp, but I came close.
I don’t like HEED. It’s a sport drink made by Hammer Nutrition. I like most of their products but not HEED. That’s the only sport drink available on the run. That really wasn’t a problem, because I knew about it many weeks ahead of time, so I should have prepared.
Humidity. I’m kind of weird about wanting to breath air and not water.
The things that kept me going were:
The temperature. Even though the humidity was high, the air temp was nice due to the overcast skies.
Two pair of dry socks. They saved me. I left transition wearing no socks and put on the first pair at mile 3.5. Then I put on the second pair at mile nine.
My attitude. I was fortunate enough to keep a good attitude throughout the run. I wasn’t upset about missing my goals or anything like that.
It seemed like every runner there had words of encouragement for eachother. That was nice.
A Goal Worth Achieving
So my final result was six hours, 32 minutes and some seconds. I wanted to come in under six hours, but I gave up some time on the bike and gave up lots of time on the run.
There’s always next year to beat that six hour goal.