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Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman


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Neoga, Illinois
United States
Mattoon MultiSport
100+F / 38C
Sunny
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Started the drive from Chicago to Mattoon on Friday after work, and promptly took the wrong exit which added about 30 minutes to our travel time and possibly some illegal manoeuvers, but since there were no cops around, clearly they weren't REALLY illegal. Just a little illegal.

As we're getting farther and farther out of the city, the radio is doing nothing but talking about the weather warnings for all over the state... and then the dark clouds come rolling in. The only word to describe them is OMINOUS. The kind of ominous that happens in freaky weather movies to tell you something really bad is about to happen... and of course, traffic sucks. The rain starts with a little pitter-patter at first and then within moments you can only tell you're on the road by being able to vaguely see the white and yellow lane markers to tell you that you haven't actually started to go off-roading between the highway lanes. Between that and really only being able to follow the taillights in front of us, it was a stressful couple of hours.

We eventually made it to the other side of the storm, stopped for something to eat on the road with extra napkins for the inevitable spillage, and eventually got to Mattoon around 10pm or so. Just in time to get to bed. Yay!

Up the next morning and on the road with bagel & PB, coffee and everything needed for the race... it's RACE day!!
Event warmup:

We got to the race site with plenty of time to get things sorted, meet Dina (yay!), get transition set up and to hear the race director say that they somehow found a place in the lake that was UNDER 75F. Where the heck they found that, I don't know. I figure they must have dumped a bag of ice into the water and taken the reading immediately because there's no way that lake was wetsuit legal. However, after thinking about it I decided to go with the sleeveless suit so that I'd get the benefit of buoyancy. :)
Swim
  • 44m 43s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 21s / 100 meters
Comments:

There really weren't a lot of women doing this race, so I figured I would line up near the front and see how things went. I usually prefer to stay to the outside to try and avoid the washing machine, but how bad could it be with this few people??

The men went off and then the gun for us went off 3 minutes after... and we were off! And... I'm in the washing machine. And... I get an elbow straight to the chin that cracks my teeth together hard enough that I see stars. And... that's me heading now to the far outside to avoid everyone else.

My sighting was absolute shyte! I couldn't believe how badly I was pulling to the left. Every time I looked up it seemed like I was getting farther and farther away from the buoy line, which also made the cornering atrocious. I was about 20m off to the side of the buoy line at any time, and added so much extra swimming that was completely unnecessary. I also had no one to try and draft off of, but there were really too few people in the entire race to get any drafting done on the swim. (or am I just saying that because I was no where NEAR anyone else on the swim to actually know that?) But... on the plus side, I had nothing but clear water in front of me?

Coming to the shore I had decided before starting the swim that I was going to take off my wetsuit in the water. I know I'm pretty quick at taking it off in the water, and it would mean that I don't have to run with it on up into transition and then try to take it off standing at my bike. It worked like a CHARM and a guy who saw me called out to me as I was running, "how did you do that so fast?"... my reply, "I'm just THAT good!" I also saw Tony who told me that I was the 5th woman out of the water! SWEEEET!

What would you do differently?:

Both loops felt fairly strong but I got out of the water seeing my time and was mentally kind of crushed to see that I was in the water for SO DAMN LONG! I've since found out that the course was long, but I was still beating myself up about it for a while.

Also, I need to get more comfortable swimming in the mix - there won't always be the option to easily get myself out of the washing machine.
Transition 1
  • 02m 15s
Comments:

I didn't hurry though this to make sure my heart rate came down a little and to grab extra sport chomps, Gu's and spray some more sunscreen on my shoulders. It was already gearing up to be a ridiculously HOT day.
What would you do differently?:

Nada. :)
Bike
  • 3h 03m 14s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.34 mile/hr
Comments:

For the most part, I'm REALLY happy with this bike ride. I felt really pretty awesome for the entire first loop and made myself take in water whenever I was thirsty, a GU or Chomps every 15-20 minutes and a salt tab every 45 minutes. I also had a couple of PayDay bars with me, but didn't end up having them. The nutrition plan seemed to work, and had no digestive issues at all, which was great!

I get part way through the first loop and to give my legs just a bit of a break I switch to the small ring to spin out for a minute and when I go to put it back to the big ring, the chain drops. WHAAAAT? You've got to be kidding me! Okay, off I get and get the chain back on. It didn't take long, but it ticked me off that I needed to stop.

Back in the saddle and things are feeling pretty good, I've made it to the split for the Olympic distance and FINALLY get to the aid station which is just on the other side of a really tight 180* turn... not a great place for an aid station, but at least now I know where it is. My plan was always to try and refill my aero bottle with the course bottles and keep mine for emergencies - which worked pretty well for the time being.

Once past the aid station, I figured I should see if the chain was a one time thing, or whether I was going to be fighting with George, my trusty steed. Back in the small chain ring with no problems, but try to put it back into the big ring and, you guessed it... dropped chain. Again. ARGH! Okay, stop to put the chain on again and just decide to use the big ring. Sigh.

I finally get to the turnaround where I get to see Tony and that gave me a HUGE boost after having my chain drop twice, and this is also where the other aid station is, and they've got it in the worst possible place - in the middle of a mini triangle where the riders are expected to slow down, make a super sharp turn to the left, grab a bottle with the right hand, another super sharp turn to the left and do all this without crashing. It was such a bad decision by the RD.

I started the second loop thinking that even with the mishap with the chain, I could potentially break 3 hours on the bike - let's get this thing DONE! Everything started out quite well, and I was having a great time saying hi to everyone on the bike, to the volunteers, and anyone else out there, until I realized that I was having to work a lot harder... what the? Awww man. The wind has picked up! Oh well, it's just wind... but it's also starting to get really, really warm now. I start to hear a weird noise and still having to try and crank the pedals to get anywhere when a person passes me and lets me know that my water bottles are rubbing on my back tire. Huh? I stopped and looked back and the heat has warped my water bottles so that they're drooping off to the side and rubbing on my back tire. I knew it was hot out, but wow! I get them standing up again and start on my way when about 10 minutes later I hear the noise again. Pull off to the side and yep, there they are again. Drooping off the side of my bike. I try to re-arrange the damn things as well as possible and just get this done.

I got close to the end and both my legs are stinging, but I just don't care... I'm ready to be done with the bike, my back is starting to scream at me and it's freakin' HOT out there!!
What would you do differently?:

Um... figure out what the heck is going on with my chain rings???

And maybe find someone to follow me around on a motorcycle waving palm fronds over me to help keep me cool and shaded when it's ridiculously hot out. :)
Transition 2
  • 01m 32s
Comments:

I pulled into transition and racked George and realized that it was going to be even hotter on the run. Grabbed my visor, tried to spray more sun screen on me, but my fingers were too wet with sweat to do any good and so just left it.

However, as I started out of transition, I realized my legs were still stinging and looking down, they were bleeding! The chafing from my tri short had made actual cuts on both my legs that were bleeding. Not cool! I ended up folding up the bottom of the tri shorts to head out onto the run to alleviate the chafing. OWWWIEEE!
What would you do differently?:

Not much
Run
  • 00m
  • 13.1 miles
  •  min/mile
Comments:

Holy mother of little baby 8lb swaddling Jebus is it ever freakin HOT out.

Thankfully I saw Tony just as I was heading out and he said that he'd do at least the first loop with me, so I tried to start my 4min run/1min walk plan and I get through 2 rounds of that before realizing that it's just NOT going to happen. I see a lady ahead of me so catch up to her and we start chatting. We walked and chatted until she reached the Olympic turn around and Tony and I kept going to the HIM turn around. We met up with a bunch of other walkers, a few of which were in some trouble. I gave away some salt tabs to others who were in need, and took in water, some coke and dumped ice down my tri top at every aid station. There was NO relief from the heat at all. No shade at all, no wind, and the heat was coming off the pavement in waves.

Running was absolutely out of the question, and it was somewhat eerie to see pretty much everyone on the course walking/plodding/trudging along. It was miserable. Seriously miserable. As we kept up with the death march I realized that there were shoe impressions in the tar in the pavement. The tar was melting to the point that my shoes were getting sticky from walking.

As we got closer and closer to where the turnaround was, I made the decision to pull the plug. It just wasn't safe out there, and as this wasn't my 'A' race - I didn't want to risk getting heat stroke/sun stroke, severely sun burned, or worse. It just wasn't worth it. I handed in my chip to the RD, jumped into the lake, and got into the car which had been sitting in the shade... and still read 98F.
What would you do differently?:

I don't think there's really anything I would do differently under the circumstances.

I'm happy with my decision and I have no regrets at all - I think I did the wise thing for once in my life! :)
Post race
Warm down:

Jumped into the lake to try and cool off and then into the car to drive to Indianapolis.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat! It was over 100F and humid, and gross.

Event comments:

A HUGE thank you to the volunteers - they were out there in the heat with us, and some had no where to hide from the sun. They were AWESOME!

On the other hand, I have a LOT of reservations about doing this race ever again unless the date is moved. The swim should never have been wetsuit legal. The bottle exchange stations were placed at ridiculous spots, and I think the run should have been cancelled once the PAVEMENT STARTED MELTING.


Profile Album


Last updated: 2013-08-02 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:44:43 | 1900 meters | 02m 21s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 35/
Performance: Average
Suit: Orca Sleeveless
Course: 2 laps around a rectangle course... following the orange buoys - except that my sighting sucked and I probably swam an extra 150m out of my way. I felt really smooth, but dang, I did a LOT of extra swimming.
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Good Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Bad
T1
Time: 02:15
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
Biking
03:03:14 | 56 miles | 18.34 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 32/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: I never have ANY idea of what the course is - I just follow the people in front of me! The only things I DO know are that it was 2 loops and where the split is for the Olympic distance to turn off and the HIM people went straight... all of a sudden the aroma made it more than clear that you were in the midst of cow country.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 01:32
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
00:00:00 | 13.1 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Course: Two loops of a 6.55mile course on a country road in between 2 corn fields.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

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2013-09-03 10:55 PM

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Champion
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Subject: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon


2013-09-03 11:18 PM
in reply to: #4846105

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Master
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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Nice work, Monica.  Sounds like it was absolutely the right decision, and a great race before having to pull the plug!  You and Tony are both gorgeous too.  Not everyone can rock a race cap!
2013-09-04 12:34 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
What??? Pre race report was not nearly long enough. And until the clouds are turning into a shark-spitting tornado, they cannot be called ominous As for the actual race, considering the annoying little snafus, you really posted some good times. Plus, you learned the best lesson ever...it's okay to say NO. No more. No, I don't have to. No one can make me. Such a powerful little word! Now on to B2B :DOh yeah... nice #. lol

Edited by 4agoodlife 2013-09-04 12:35 AM
2013-09-04 7:37 AM
in reply to: 4agoodlife

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Veteran
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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Sounds like a great swim and a great bike and a great decision on the run…  Melting pavement?  yeek

Soooooo hard to make that decision, but when you do and it was the right one, you just know it.  Good on ya' for keeping your head, even in the sweltering heat.

And how could you not want to go someplace called Mattoon in the first place?  Sounds like far northern Canada.  Laughing

Good day of suffering and a smart decision.

Matt

2013-09-04 8:50 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Royal(PITA)
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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Your post race concerns are well validated.  Smart decision to pull the plug on a death march HIM.   Bigger picture is to have fun and look to B2B in a couple of months.

Well done.

2013-09-04 8:53 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Western Australia
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Great job Monica, and very wise choice on stopping on the run. Hope you are recovering well from the heat.


2013-09-04 9:20 AM
in reply to: StaceyK

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Nice report and nice job with the race. I did the race as well (We were actually on the same rack - I didn't realize it until later in the race). You were right about the heat - it was killer. I'd love to see this race as a fall race later in the year. I enjoy the smaller, out-of-the-way races. Good luck the rest of the year!
2013-09-04 9:29 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Orlando
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
I really enjoyed reading this race report! Did you hear scary music to go along with the ominous weather the night before? When you ignore obvious the monster is going to get you signs like that you deserve whatever happens to you . I still don't know where Matton is, but I'm marking it down as a place to avoid.Despite all your trials and tribulations, you had a really strong race/ long training day. You also made the absolute right decision abandoning when you did. Having your bottles and shoes melt are sure signs that you need to get off the course and into air conditioning! Seriously, great job in super tough conditions.

Edited by amd723 2013-09-04 9:31 AM
2013-09-04 9:56 AM
in reply to: bcraht

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by bcraht Nice work, Monica.  Sounds like it was absolutely the right decision, and a great race before having to pull the plug!  You and Tony are both gorgeous too.  Not everyone can rock a race cap!

Thanks Kirsten - and a day-glo yellow race cap at that!   

2013-09-04 10:01 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by 4agoodlife What??? Pre race report was not nearly long enough. And until the clouds are turning into a shark-spitting tornado, they cannot be called ominous As for the actual race, considering the annoying little snafus, you really posted some good times. Plus, you learned the best lesson ever...it's okay to say NO. No more. No, I don't have to. No one can make me. Such a powerful little word! Now on to B2B :DOh yeah... nice #. lol

I know, I know... I hang my head in shame at the lack of the pre-race report.  But really, I'm just saving up all the typing for B2B... that sucker is gonna be a BOOK!  I'm grateful for the lack of sharks, especially since I didn't have any gas-powered hedge trimmers with me as a weapon... nor Tara Reid or Ian Ziering to save me should things go awry with the shark-spitting tornado - though I'm still not sure that Tara Reid would really be able to save anyone. 

It was actually really great to say NO!  It's the first time I've ever done that during a race, and I know I made the right call. 

HAD to get a picture with the race # (yes, I'm that immature).  Lol! 



Edited by blueyedbikergirl 2013-09-04 10:01 AM
2013-09-04 10:05 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

Sounds like a great swim and a great bike and a great decision on the run…  Melting pavement?  yeek

Soooooo hard to make that decision, but when you do and it was the right one, you just know it.  Good on ya' for keeping your head, even in the sweltering heat.

And how could you not want to go someplace called Mattoon in the first place?  Sounds like far northern Canada.  Laughing

Good day of suffering and a smart decision.

Matt

Thanks Matt!  I had NO idea where Mattoon even was, for all I knew at the time it could have been in Canada!  (thankfully it was only a 3hr drive away)

You're right, as soon as I made the decision, I knew it was the right one and I had absolutely no regrets, especially after I realized the pavement was melting!  It's odd to actually make a smart decision for once... 



2013-09-04 10:07 AM
in reply to: QueenZipp

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Originally posted by QueenZipp

Your post race concerns are well validated.  Smart decision to pull the plug on a death march HIM.   Bigger picture is to have fun and look to B2B in a couple of months.

Well done.

Thanks Judi - I'm now free to look forward to North Carolina, and yet still freak out that it's less than 2 months away... YIKES! 

2013-09-04 10:08 AM
in reply to: StaceyK

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by StaceyK Great job Monica, and very wise choice on stopping on the run. Hope you are recovering well from the heat.

Thanks Stacey, and I *think* I've recovered... a couple of days doing nothing but lounging and having a drink or two does wonders for the recovery process. 

2013-09-04 10:12 AM
in reply to: Parkie

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Austin, Texas
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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by Parkie Nice report and nice job with the race. I did the race as well (We were actually on the same rack - I didn't realize it until later in the race). You were right about the heat - it was killer. I'd love to see this race as a fall race later in the year. I enjoy the smaller, out-of-the-way races. Good luck the rest of the year!

I'm sorry I didn't realize we were on the same rack - next time just punch me or something (not hard though) to get my attention.  I tend to be a tad distracted the day of a rac... squirrel! 

Hopefully they DO move this race to later in the year - I'd definitely do it again if the date were changed. 

Good luck to you too! 

2013-09-04 10:34 AM
in reply to: amd723

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by amd723 I really enjoyed reading this race report! Did you hear scary music to go along with the ominous weather the night before? When you ignore obvious the monster is going to get you signs like that you deserve whatever happens to you . I still don't know where Matton is, but I'm marking it down as a place to avoid.Despite all your trials and tribulations, you had a really strong race/ long training day. You also made the absolute right decision abandoning when you did. Having your bottles and shoes melt are sure signs that you need to get off the course and into air conditioning! Seriously, great job in super tough conditions.

OMG - the radio actually cut out while driving in the storm to make it even scarier!  Thank Gawd the storm didn't turn into a tornado that started spitting out sharks though, THAT would have been bad! 

It turned out to be a good training day, and I'm happy with that - and was even happier when I got into the air conditioning.  Aaaaaaahhhhhhh 

2013-09-04 12:01 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Matton, that just sounds like a silly place to be Smile

 

I think heat is the scariest variable of all of em. I am really glad you made such a wise decision. 



2013-09-04 12:24 PM
in reply to: #4846105

Master
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Northern IL
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Went to school not too far from there, so know that it can get quite hot at times. Very smart decision to stop where you did. Cages folding over, that's a new one!
2013-09-04 1:53 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Nice report. Sorry you pulled the plug but like everyone else has already said - right decision!!
2013-09-04 2:43 PM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Wow, what a crazy day! Like the others I'm glad you made the call to stop.

I like the idea of the palm frond waving piglet though!

And you rocked the bike time, even with mechanicals AND melting bottles (that's just crazy).

P.S. I'll take your swim time any day of the week and twice on Sunday Wink

ETA: love the pix and the Betty kit!



Edited by rrrunner 2013-09-04 2:47 PM
2013-09-04 3:12 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Originally posted by Asalzwed

Matton, that just sounds like a silly place to be Smile

 

I think heat is the scariest variable of all of em. I am really glad you made such a wise decision. 

I kept calling it Spittoon by mistake...  I'm so directionally challenged I could have been anywhere and thought it was Mattoon. 

The heat was BRUTAL, and it turns out that there was a 30% DNF rate at the end of the day.  No way do I ever want to race in that kind of heat ever again - at least not without minions covering me with palm fronds for the entire race so that I can get some shade. 

2013-09-04 3:14 PM
in reply to: #4846105

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Master
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Paradise aka Englewood
Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Nicely done. That is a quality race, good decision making, good job keeping your cool through the mechanical and clothing issues, all around nice job. Congrats!!!


2013-09-04 9:40 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by brigby1 Went to school not too far from there, so know that it can get quite hot at times. Very smart decision to stop where you did. Cages folding over, that's a new one!

It's probably the first and only time that someone will publicly call me smart... I'll take it! 

I think this race could be really fun to do - if they move the date by a couple of weeks.   

2013-09-04 9:41 PM
in reply to: mtnbikerchk

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by mtnbikerchk Nice report. Sorry you pulled the plug but like everyone else has already said - right decision!!

Thanks Randee - I have no regrets at all about pulling the plug on this one, for once I feel smart!   

2013-09-04 9:44 PM
in reply to: rrrunner

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon
Originally posted by rrrunner

Wow, what a crazy day! Like the others I'm glad you made the call to stop.

I like the idea of the palm frond waving piglet though!

And you rocked the bike time, even with mechanicals AND melting bottles (that's just crazy).

P.S. I'll take your swim time any day of the week and twice on Sunday Wink

ETA: love the pix and the Betty kit!

There really should be hired piglets with palm fronds following people around on ridiculously hot days.  That would be the best race EVER!! 

Super crazy day that ended as well as it possibly could have. 

2013-09-04 9:45 PM
in reply to: cdban66

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Subject: RE: Great Illini Challenge - Half Iron Distance Triathlon

Originally posted by cdban66 Nicely done. That is a quality race, good decision making, good job keeping your cool through the mechanical and clothing issues, all around nice job. Congrats!!!

Thanks Chris!!  Laughing

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author : vm354
comments : 1
How Pilates training helped a wanna-be triathlete realize the goal of completing a half-Ironman, Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island.
 
date : October 9, 2007
author : dr_forbush
comments : 9
The boat was being tossed around. Someone noted that there were whitecaps on the waves. Another guy said, “This is going to be challenging.” I began to wonder what he meant by 'challenging'.
date : July 10, 2007
author : Ontherun
comments : 0
Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
 
date : October 30, 2005
author : mikericci
comments : 0
This program should be used for an athlete who has been following the progression of the Half Iron Distance program and is 12 weeks out from their first Iron distance race.
date : September 3, 2005
author : chrisandniki
comments : 0
This is not an easy task, especially for the “9-to-5er” with family. But you can do it – all without sacrificing your marriage, job or family.
 
date : August 31, 2004
comments : 0
WAYNESVILLE, Ohio (August 22, 2004) Professional triathlete Felipe Bastos (BRA/USA) took another trip to Ohio this weekend...