Race Report: 2018 Lake Hartwell Olympic Triathlon

I did not want to get up at 2:30 AM that morning. I was comfortable in my bed. I kept asking myself “do I really want to do this?”

Danielle was still asleep on the couch when I walked downstairs. Fenny was TKO’d on the floor in front of the steps. He didn’t figure out I was there until I finished making my eggs. The little shit loves eggs. Naturally if you wake him then you get to take him outside so he can piss or do his morning poop walk.

Danielle got her kiss before she headed up to bed and I loaded the car to go to Tri Joe’s house.

Now, there are entirely too many streets named West Village where he lives. I think it’s almost as bad as how many Peachtrees there are in Atlanta. If I would have drove to the race I would have only needed to rack my bike twice. However I drove to Tri Joe’s and then we went to his buddy Jeff’s. That meant I had to rack and re-rack six times. Anyway, I didn’t mind having someone else drive since I’m not good in driving in low light conditions any more.

There weren’t a lot of people at this race and it was smaller than I thought. The line to get our numbers was long, but it really wasn’t that long. Me & Tri Joe had to run back to the truck to grab our shit. Setting up transition was quick, it wasn’t like an Ironman with preassigned spots based on your bib. I grabbed my hotel shampoo for my goggles and headed to the boat ramp.

The bluegill will bite and pick at your skin, it’s their version of exfoliating. Those little fuckers even tried to bite through my skin suit. The water wasn’t quite piss warm, but it was warm enough. That first yellow turn buoy was extremely hard to spot. Normally I can locate those buoys quickly in my sighting, but not that day. And maybe my slow processing speed from the accident played a role or maybe because it blended well into the background. I knew going in my swim would be slow, and it was slow enough for Tri Joe to catch up so at the second turn buoy I dropped him.

I was out in a little under 24 minutes. I knew it was going to be a slow day because if I was in shape I would have been out in 20 minutes or under. I remember the swim felt like it was dragging on forever. The boat dock was made of concrete composed of coarse aggregate, so it wasn’t particularly smooth, but you didn’t cut your feet up on it like some places I’ve been to.

Seeing as it was going to be a slow day I decided to take my sweet ass time in transition. Amazingly I was out much quicker compared to my Ironman races, but there was a lot less distance to travel.

I was pretty fucking slow on the bike. I only managed to average 17 mph for the ride. I kept thinking the whole time “Is this over yet?” I mean it’s only 25 miles and I didn’t want to finish it. That’s how it goes when you’re extremely depressed and your heart’s not into it; you just want to quit and go home. It is pretty demoralizing when people are passing you the whole ride and you’ve managed to not pass a single person, so in that aspect it was the same as Gulf Coast.

Moving on from my depressed efforts – the bike course is fairly flat. It’s not a bad ride; there’s no potholes or rough patches. I was told they’ve changed the course slightly every year though. Maybe now it’ll be somewhat consistent.

My PTSD on the bike was pretty nerve racking again. It wasn’t as bad as Gulf Coast because there was less traffic, but I did have a major episode coming into transition. As I was heading into the home stretch before T2 I heard sirens. It started to freak me out the closer I came to the intersection. The cop directing traffic held us up as an ambulance came flying past. At that point I was pretty shaky. After he waved us on I couldn’t move for another minute or so. Then I was finally able to finish up the bike.

I put up about 1:28 and some change on the bike. In my first Olympic I managed to put up a 1:04 and that was my first triathlon! It didn’t matter that I built an awesome P5, it still blew ass! Again my power meter did not register on my Garmin Edge. I’ve had this issue many times before. I made sure it was connected to the device before the race and removed auto-shut-off so it wouldn’t disconnect. What the fuck happened I don’t know and it’s not like my power was important that day since there was very little wattage output.

I took my sweet ass time in transition again. What was the point of hauling ass when you’ve been slow all day? Again it was still faster than my Ironman transitions. Probably because I didn’t have to run a quarter mile to get my shit.

I did not want to do the run. I kept telling myself “Maybe Tri Joe already finished and we could just go home,” but I sacked up and headed out on the flat, two-loop out & back run course. It’s on the pathway that leads to the dam, so it was consistently flat too.

About half of a mile in I saw Tri Joe heading for the finish. I asked him if he’d bring me a beer for the second loop, but he didn’t hear me. Funny how they managed to drink all the beer by the time I finished. I was that slow that day.

For the first 2.5 miles I had a fairly consistent pace at about 8:25. At that point I walked for two minutes. Did I have to? No, but I was uninterested in finishing the race and felt like quitting again, especially knowing I had a second lap.

For the next two miles I ran about an 8:40 pace, but again I lost interest and walked for two minutes. The overcast had disappeared and the sun started beating down on me. I didn’t get burned because I put on sunscreen before the race. I managed to dig deep and find the ability to finish the race. I didn’t even have a kick at the end. I just didn’t care. 2:53:13 is a shit time. Whatever.

We stuck around for awards because Tri Joe likes to do that. I called Danielle to talk about the race. I heard my name. I said to D, “I think I just won a fucking age-group award? Hold on for a second.” I stuck the phone in my pocket and went up there to find my shitty performance managed to land me third place (out of four) in my age group. I don’t know what to think of it, I guess it’ll always be a dubious award to me. If you’re wondering what I won it was a shitty coffee mug.

Racing when your heart is into it sucks. It doesn’t help when you’ve barely trained for it as well, but my depression was pretty bad at the time and the Wellbutrin really hurt my speed & endurance. I remember telling Danielle “I don’t want to do any more races this year.” I needed a break from all of this because I couldn’t keep trying to force it.

Click here if you want to see the 3D course mapping video.

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