Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Muncie Endurathon Race Report.

Alright, this is taking forever. A family reunion, my mother-in-laws birthday, and a swim meet, plus a week of work and now a foot injury have sort of taken up some time. But here it is:

Three days after the event, I have still taken two things from the 30th Annual Half Ironman event known as the Muncie Endurathon. 1.) Never take advice from a non-cyclist how "Pancake flat" a bike segment is, or 2.) the effective range of spray from the rear of the bike is 15 feet. It was a well run event with lots of volunteers and lots of weather. I also have noted that my Uncle Gary was wrong in his assessment that weather tended to divert around Muncie, muttering something about the rivers, or some crap like that. Seems that when my support crew, my dad in this case, saw the weather at the monitoring station that it was actually forming over the reservoir.

Anyway, the trip over to Indiana was uneventful, my dad was with me since he decided to race in the Sprint race. We got in early enough to check in at the hotel, dump the bikes and gear and then head to the expo for check-in and the mandatory meeting of USAT Thou-Shalt-Not's. After dinner with family and visiting, we retreated back to the rooms, decked out the bikes and equipment with race numbers and tag teamed the bicycles with some air in the tires. So far, so good. But when your awake at 1130, 1200, 1230, and finally 1245, command decision dictated some drastic action. So, I took a vicodin, which I have in case of an emergency kidney stone attack, and sleep was not a problem.

The trip to Prairie Creek reservoir is fairly quick if you know where you're going and you don't have to convince the GPS that it actually does exist. Even though the ride from Anderson was 35 minutes away, we got there in plenty of time. The USAT rules on transition areas even went smooth too, minus the dunce who parked his bike out of synch with the rest of the parking format. Everything had a place, kept it to a minimum, and even had the foresight to put my run shirt and shoes in a plastic bag beforehand. Too bad I didn't think about the extra pair of socks. In all honesty, the weather forecast was for rain, and some severe storms, but not until later in the day, possibly the late morning. All at a 60 % possibility, nice way to cover your asses AMS certified newscasters. I hate training in rain, won't ride the Trek if the roads are even wet, but will run if it isn't raining when I start. Racing in the rain is unavoidable and I've found if I ignore it, then it's not really that big a deal. Sometimes.

SWIM

Promptly at 0715, my wave of orange swim caps plopped into the water and no sooner than that, 90% of the Male 35-39 age group was leaving in a wake of water. Being my first Half Iron event, I wasn't worried, nor did I really care a whole lot. I was pretty sure I'd see some of them again. For the most part, I plodded along at a pretty good clip, the siting of the two turns made easy by the large orange bouys that marked the course, and got even easier when the 1-3 foot swells started to develop with the oncoming storm. I got slightly disheartened by the other waves catching up with me, but what the heck, I kept on paddling and kept on moving. Even getting punched in the side of the head didn't faze me too much, I was close enough to shore and I pretty much chalked it up to the hazards of a triathlon swim. My time out of the water: 47 minutes. But the time doesn't stop until you crest the peak of the highest point in Muncie where the transition area is. Official time out: 50:53.

BIKE

After screwing around with my tri-top and taking a couple of minutes to put my goggles and airplugs away, I donned (great word) my helmet, remembered my sunglasses/soon-to-be-windshield, and headed off on the 56 mile bike excursion. Having been told how flat it was, I was thinking 21 MPH for an average would be good. The rails-to-trails section, called Cardinal Greenway, was flat, scenic, and went by quickly. The neat thing about this race, is that that the course is closed, even US 35, a really nice two lane highway. What wasn't nice was the hell of a headwind that was kicking up out of the south. Being a USAT event, the draft nazis were everywhere, and always when I seemed to be passing someone. And you'd think, with the highway being closed there would be plenty of room to pass someone. You'd think at least. No, more than once I should've reached out and pushed over the jerk wads as they passed close enough for me to pucker up a couple of times. Draft Marshall's, no where to be seen. The turnaround on the south end is probably between miles 25 - 30. Even though the wind sucked, the rain stayed away. Roughly about the time I looked at the bike computer, which ticked over 30, the first of the rain started. Three times in the last 26 miles, the torrential downpours just sort of made life just a little more miserable, but I figured as long as I had company, it couldn't be that bad. The roads were in great shape, and other than the spray from the tires in front of me, and flooding/major puddles weren't an issue. But wait, the last 6 miles more than made up for it. The non-existent shocks on my bike meant a little more bouncing around the road. Luckily, everything stayed on board the USS Madone, but for all the window shopping I did, plenty of water bottles, spare tubes, sunglasses, etc, I never did find anything I wanted, and continued on my way. Finishing time for the bike: 2:52:41. Which comes out to 19.5 MPH, which wasn't bad considering the monsoon had swept in.

RUN

The T2 transition was smooth enough, it had quit raining. I had a dry shirt on, dry shoes, and sure enough, I left bitching about the fact that I didn't put some spare socks in the bag, which is something that I will remember for Louisville. And off I ran, as the first finishers were coming in.....showoffs. Having been a runner for most of my competitive life, I have never had a problem with adjusting to the change from cycling to running or the dull ache of the quads and hamstrings as you force them to work in the opposite direction. I wasn't even worried that it was a half marathon either, I had planned on running this like I will in the big race in Louisville. Plus, I was dry and that was the greatest feeling ever. Until...Mile 2. The deluge, another great word (thanks Roget,) that encompassed my run, was worse than the rains on the bike. Sure, the humidity would've hurt, but there is only so much rain that a person can take before wishing for the humidity. The IT Bands were holding on pretty good, but man did I ever start to get some stomach issues. My goal was to run between aid stations, get something to drink as I walked through, and continue on to the next aid station. By mile 9, all that liquid just plopped in my stomach. Never did have to stop at one of the Porto-potties, just a few burps and the problem took care of itself. Through it all, I had only eaten one Power Bar on the bike, and drank an awful lot of liquids, so I was telling myself that other than moderating a little better on the fluids, I may have found a nutrion solution for the Ironman. Key word is "may have." Anyway, I picked up a cheerleader for the last 2 miles and we paced each other, or rather he paced me, and after traversing the last .1 mile up the 2nd highest point in Muncie, I was home. Time: 1:58:19, or roughly 9:02 a mile.

Total time for the Munice Endurathon: 5:49:52. Overall I was 401/698 total people, 64 of 89 in my age group and 323/507 males that started this. I wanted to break 6 hours and I did. So, if I double it, I should be able to break 12 hours for the Ironman. And pigs may just start flying out of my rear end.

WRAP UP

After the finish, they print you out a label that spells out all your times, which you show to a separate table where you get a really nice plaque, and a meal ticket for a really good spread. The race was outstanding and the volunteers were better than that. If it weren't so far, this race would be on my annual list of races to attend. Just might race it again just because it was so much fun. I got a chance to visit family, always cool, and spent some enjoyable time with my Dad, who raced in the Sprint Tri and battled with a guy floating on his back and some doggy paddlers.

November is NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month. I made the decision to put my book, a piece of fiction, on the shelf, and write about this year of training and racing. Should be interesting, both to write and to see what I remember.

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