Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lake Logan Race Report

This weekend Steve & I headed to Canton, NC for my first Olympic distance triathlon.  We rented a cabin at the race site.  We arrived about 3pm on Friday afternoon.  We got checked in & unloaded all of my gear in the cabin.   We scoped out the grounds before heading back into town to pick up my race packet.
The drive to our cabin.

Our Cabin the 'Honeymoon'
The lake was a few steps away
Lake Logan - isn't it gorgeous?
Sporting the 'Susan' shirt

When we arrived back at our cabin I heard someone ask if that was a 'Susan' shirt.  You see, at some point during race weekend I usually wear Susan's blue t-shirt that has the big smiley on the back.  I answered yes it is and introduced myself.  I found out the person asking was Rosie H.  I have heard Rosie's name a thousand times from virtually all my tri training partners in Lexington.  Rosie had moved to South Carolina last year so I never had a chance to meet her before she left.  She came up to the race by herself since it was too difficult to travel with her daughter & husband so it was really cool to be able hang out & get to know her over dinner.

The Dining Hall
The Lake Logan retreat comes with 3 meals a day and although they were simple they were surprisingly good.  After dinner on Friday we headed back to our respective cabins to get ready for the race on Saturday.  When I laid down in bed to read my race info I looked up at the ceiling I saw the most ginormous spider ever.  I started to freak out because it was right above my head & there was no way I would be able to sleep with that thing up there!  Steve tried to down play it but I wasn't having any of that.  He ended up 'taking care' of the spider for me.  I figured there were more where that one came from but I tried to put that thought out of my head.

I was happy that all week I was able to get a solid 8-9 hours of sleep each night because I knew Friday night was going to be pretty restless even before the spider incident.  I set the alarm for 4:30AM and we went to bed about 10:30.  I managed to get some decent sleep but felt like I woke up every hour or so.  The cabin didn't have air & the windows were open so all the night sounds filled the cabin.  There was a cool waterfall behind the cabin so it always sounded like it was raining. 


Out the door
When the alarm went off I made a pot of coffee & tried to choke down a Clif bar.  I can never eat first thing in the morning but I know I need to on race morning.  I can't wait too long otherwise my nerves kick in & then I really can't eat.  We headed to transition about 5:30.  I got my transition setup, body marked & picked up my timing chip all by 6AM.

I really don't like the attachment method for the timing chip that North Carolina races seem to use.  It is a disposable band.  It probably is less likely to fall off but it dug into my leg so bad during the swim that I was bleeding when I got back to transition.  They said to keep 1 finger distance when attaching which I did but it still was too tight.  So now I have a lovely sore on the top of my ankle.  It will match the scar I have from the Atlanta Iron Girl timing chip on the back of the same ankle.
Transition setup, wetsuit on

After making one last pit stop I put on the bottom half of my wetsuit.  At this point my stomach started doing flips.  I was getting seriously nervous.  I really don't know how people do the half & full iron distances.  I mean really, this was only an Olympic & I was getting seriously worked up.  Once I got the wetsuit half way on we walked over to the swim start.  I was in the last wave.  I was pretty bummed about that when I first found out.  I knew I was going to be one of the slower swimmers & now that I was in the last wave I was going to be just about last out of the water.  After thinking a little more about it, it occurred to me that I would have lots of clear water & no later waves would be swimming over me. Probably not a bad thing for my first long distance open water swim.

or not....
here I go!

 The Swim:

The first wave went off at 7AM.  The following waves went off in 3 minute increments with my wave starting at 7:18.

I was about the last one to hop in the water to make my way to the swim start.  The wetsuit was amazing.  It was effortless treading water for the minute or two.  The water temp was 74 degrees so I could have swam without it but most folks had one on.   Despite what it looks like, I am NOT drowning!  I was giving Steve one last wave before I was lost amongst the white caps!

Really, I am not waving to the kayak support for help!

The last wave is off!

The air horn goes off & we are swimming.  They said the lake was really clear but it was nothing like Laurel Lake clear.  In fact I was surprised at how muddy the water was.  Stringy like things kept getting hung up in my watch & road ID.  Surprisingly, it didn't bother me at all.  I guess I am getting used to freaky things in the water.  I may even be ready for a river swim which I have previously swore I would never do!

I did unilateral breathing for the entire swim.  I never panicked or freaked out.  My right goggle did have some water in it & both were fogged up enough to make sighting challenging but not impossible.  The swim was a rectangular swim.  3 orange buoys out, right at the first yellow, right at the second yellow then one orange buoy on the way back.  The return seemed much longer but I think that was because there was only one buoy.  My rotator cuffs felt great although the top of my shoulders felt a little tired but I think that was from the pressure of the wetsuit.  The end of the swim was under a bridge & into the mouth of the river.
Sighting the bridge
Just about to go under the bridge

Ahh, yes, don't you wish you could be as cool as me?
According to Steve that was quite the cluster when the masses were approaching the swim out.  He said it looked like folks were getting punched left & right as they entered under the bridge.  I didn't have that problem since I was just about the last one out of the water.  Everyone had to pull themselves up on a deck.  I am sure Aquaphor was relieved that my uniform was hidden by the wetsuit.  Otherwise they may have to pull the sponsorship due to embarrassment to the brand!  LOL

Once out of the water it was about a 50m run to the transition.  Thanks to Pam, yes the cooking spray, my wetsuit came off easily.  I fixed my timing chip so it wouldn't rub & got my bike gear on. I felt like I was in transition forever & was shocked to see it was only just over 2 minutes.  I took a look around & saw almost every single bike was already gone....sigh.  The bike out to the mount line was another 50 m run.

 The Bike: 

Taken with Steve 200mm zoom. 
I hopped on my bike & was off.  The first & last 3 miles were the hilliest.  There was a big decent during the first 3 miles then it is pretty much flat for the next 18 miles or so.  I was able to pass a few folks on the bike but there were a few stretches that I felt like I was the only one on the course.  I felt so isolated that at times I thought I may have gotten off track somehow.  Then all of a sudden I would see a bike in the distance & felt relief that I was still on track.

Overall, the bike felt pretty good.  I tried to keep a cadence around 90 the entire time.  My groin / inner thighs were sore.  Not sure what that is about but they have been slightly sore all summer.  Now that the race is over I need to figure out what is going on there.

I took 2 gels on the bike & drank 2 bottles of water.  My stomach & energy were feeling good.  I did feel like I had to pee but I was hoping that would go away or at least not get worse.  There were no porti-potties around & I wasn't desperate enough to attempt to pee on the bike.  Yes, that's right, I said pee on the bike.  If you are not aware of it, peeing on the bike and/or run is a right of passage for some triathletes and they are surprisingly open & proud of the fact!  I have not joined the camp of bike pi$$ers yet and quite frankly, I don't know if I ever will but who knows, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

I passed one more person on the last climb before transition. According to MapMyRide, it is a Cat 5.  It was tough but really not too bad.  After the race, Rosie said she passed people walking up the hill.  I must really be getting used to climbing hills because I didn't feel even close to having to stop & walk.  Once the climb was over there is a fast decent & then I was at the dismount line.  I came in faster than expected & surprised Steve.  He almost missed me coming in.

Running the bike in to transition

The Run:

The run is 3.1 miles uphill & 3.1 miles downhill.  My goal was to get to the turn around in about 33 minutes.  I hit mile 1 right at 11 minutes but shortly after found out the first water stop was completely out of fluids.  I had a mini mental breakdown because I had no idea if all the stops were out or if it was just this one.  Were they going to get refilled?  I had no idea.  It really ticked me off because a 10K is really too far to run without any water!  So I decided to slow down just a bit in case there was no more water.  I get to mile 2 & the second water stop.  Again no water but they had heed.  Ugh.  Never have tried the stuff but decided I better in case that was all I was doing to get.  I hit mile 3 & the third water stop & hallelujah they had water!  So I was able to take my 3rd gel.  I got to the turn around in about 35 minutes.  I knew the return was all downhill so I picked it up.  The next 3 miles were just under 10 minutes each & they had water again at all the remaining stops.  I was feeling really good.  My legs felt strong and I didn't have a single cramp thanks to e21!  Right around mile 6 I passed someone in my age group which I was happy about since it meant I would not be the last one in my age group.

Happy Happy!

As I make the last turn to the finish I hear Rosie yelling my name to GO, GO, GO.  I ran the last 2 tenths as fast as I could.  As I approach the finish I hear the announcer say my name. I was so happy I made it!!!

We spent the rest of the weekend chilling out & enjoying the location before heading home on Sunday.

Rosie & I post race

Rosie & I post shower & lunch!

Steve & I Sunday morning.  Can't believe the weekend is over!



Friday night - Chicken, Wild Rice, Salad & Ice Cream sandwich at Lake Logan Resort, 2 e21 tablets, 20 oz Gatorade

Saturday morning - Clif bar, 2 cups coffee, 2 e21 tablets & water

During Race - 1 gel + water 15 minutes before swim start, Bike - 2nd gel 10 minutes, 3rd gel 55 minutes, ~40 oz of water Run - 2 oz of Heed at mile 2, 4th gel + water at mile 3, water at mile 4 & 5

Race Stats:

1500 Swim Time = 42m54s, 134/143
Transition 1 Time = 2m14s
40K Bike Time = 1h25m54s, 113/143

T2 Time = 1m8s
Run Time = 1h05m59s, 121/143
Total Time = 3h18m08s, 124/143

Water Temp = 74F
Wetsuit = Sleeveless
2 swim caps, goggles on in between caps
Air Temp = low 70s, slightly humid, mostly cloudy - great temperature to race in

Lessons Learned:

Need to figure out something better for my timing chip.  Although if that is the worst injury I have during a triathlon I'm cool with that.

Need to carry my own fluid during a run if I think I will need it.  Don't rely on the event staff to have enough for everyone.

You get what you give:

During our post race lunch Rosie & I were sharing our race experiences & she mentioned getting passed on the grassy bit where you had to run your bike to the mount line by some women.  Rosie ran her bike out with her cycling shoes on.  If you have never run with cycling shoes on, just know that it is not the most graceful way to run.  Some folks run their bikes out barefoot because they have the cycling shoes already clipped into the pedals.

So, as Rosie was running her bike out, the barefoot women calls out in not such a nice way 'Excuse me? Can I pass you because you are really wobbly'.  Once at the bike mount line Rosie hops on the bike & the barefoot women is now weaving all over the road trying to get her feet into the shoes.  Rosie then goes 'Excuse me, I need to pass you because you are all over the road!'  I thought that was pretty funny.  It's a good reminder to be nice to your fellow competitors & keep the snarky comments to yourself otherwise Karma will get ya!

Race Location:

Fabulous!  Highly recommend this race.  You don't get a lot of bling but the entry fee is dirt cheap for an Oly.  Early registration was $55!  Although, I will say that you only get 5 timing splits & your overall place.  If you want to know any additional details, like how you placed in your age group, you have to buy the race report for $9.95.  I think I will order the report since it is my first Oly & I am a data junkie.  I will


Very nice.  Way, ay better than the Days Inn off the interstate.  Nothing like staying within 5 minutes of transition.  The cabins were adorable, there were kayaks & canoes free to all the guests, the meals were very good.  The location was so peaceful.  It would be a great place for a group since they offer the Olympic on Saturday and the Sprint & Aquathon on Sunday.  Something for everyone. 

Muscle Soreness: 

Groin / Inner thighs were sore immediately.  By mid afternoon my mid & lower back were sore - I suspect from sighting.  By Sunday morning my quads were sore but my back felt great.  I am really surprised my neck isn't sore.  Usually the combo of open water swimming & aero on the bike does my neck in but so far so good!

It is Sunday evening as I right this & I am surprised at how little soreness I still have.  Immediately after my post race shower I rubbed Sore No More over my entire body.  Maybe that helped with the soreness.

Quote Check: 

Setup Events had some lofty statements in their description of the Lake Logan International race.  Some of them are as follows:

While most in the Southeast are racing in hot, oppressive conditions in early August, Lake Logan offers a welcome break from the heat and humidity. The cool morning air high in the Appalachian Mountains makes for a comfortable race day with highs last year topping out near 80 degrees.

True!  It was in the mid 70s yesterdays & even cooler this morning.  Steve & I were shocked at how hot is was when we got out of our car in Knoxville and even more shocked when we got home.  It was about a 20 degree difference from Lake Logan & Lexington.
Another welcome treat to those familiar with Western North Carolina is the strange absence of any major climbs. In fact the bike and run are mostly flat with only one small ascent coming at the beginning and end of the bike.

Mostly true.  I wouldn't call the ascent at the end of the ride small.  It was a Cat 5 and for anyone not used to hills it was a doozy!  But again it is all relative.  For WNC it could have been A LOT worse!

The ascent toward the turn around is so gradual runners don't realize they have been going up until they have hit the turn around marker and started the final 5k toward the finish line. 

Surprisingly, I would agree with this statement.   If I hadn't looked at the profile before hand I am not sure I would have noticed it was uphill.


  1. You are right, it's a bummer that we didn't know this before.

    I like how you put together a summary, especially the nutrition portion.. Great idea!

  2. Thank you for the info!! Great to know!!!



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