Sunday, September 23, 2012

Leadman Epic 250k

There is insanity, and then there is this...


 5k swim, 138 mile bike, 13.6 mile run. Longer than an Ironman, and the bike course includes two excursions over Mt. Bachelor.

And I created my own version of a triathlon: swim, wedding, run. I'll explain later...

0330 wakeup. The lake is 50 miles outside of town, and there's limited parking, so everyone is shuttled there. One coach bus, and lots of school buses. The fancy ride for the pros, with the rest of us in the yellow boxcars? Screw that; I'm riding in comfort.

Some delays in transporting everyone to the lake 50 miles away; nothing terminal. Getting to the bus early always helps.

Big kudos to the sponsors:
That's 'Deschutes Brewery." Gotta give some love to the beer supplier...
I'm one of a small handful in sleeveless wetsuits. All these hardcore athletes in full suits are shivering in the water; not me. Those suckers don't have my body fat to keep them warm.

There's the gun. Stay smooth, relaxed, unhurried.

After one lap, we get out of the water and run past the aid station. The race organizers want a quick look to make sure we're coherent before plunging back in.

Soon enough, it's a good kick for the last 500 yards and it's over. I find my wingman and off he cycles.

A little souvenier from the lake...
Forgot to mention; I'm doing the race as a relay, with the swim and run legs. But one of these things is not like the other:

I'm actually on two teams; swimming for one, and running for another. Which means I get two sets of gear bags from the race organizer.

Just call me Swag Whore.

I ask someone for the time post-swim. Then I shake my head; the course must be short. And it is, by about 600m. But the extrapolated time is 1:28, or 18 minutes faster than my only other 5k swim. Cool.

I'm beginning to like this long-distance swimming. But Diana Nyad doesn't need to worry about me.

Back on the bus to go home. I tried to nap but to no avail. At least I put some good calories down.

While my cyclist was suffering o'er the mountain passes, I went to the wedding. Very cool venue; up against the lava flow just south of town.

Proper wedding attire?

Back to the race: cyclist Dan on team #1 comes screaming in. Monster ride, even with a killer headwind on the long stretches heading up to the mountain. He pulled a 7:15 for 138 windy, hilly miles! Our anchor man takes off, and he's a solid runner. We're gonna break 11 hrs and get the coveted belt buckle.

Bike to Run transition
Cyclist #2 comes in and I'm back on the course. If I can get a 1:50 following a 5k swim, I might have a shot at getting my Boston qual time at the Portland Marathon in 2 weeks.

But the first miles are uphill, and I went out too fast. I'm hurting out there, and my pace shows it. I recalibrate my marathon goal and stop looking at my watch. Just do what you can, guy. I try to enjoy the rest, even though I'm maxed out.

Nice finish. After I'm done dry heaving, I see the splits.


That can't be right.

1:48? I was on 8:30 pace early on, and I finished at about 7:50 or so?

I'm digging this. Serious negative split! I knew I was rolling while coming back into town, but jeez...

Big shout-out to The Fat Cyclist: Team Fatty crunched a 2nd place in the relay division, with the man himself pulling a low 6-hr split on those hellacious roads. He gave away free t-shirts to anyone beating his time, and there weren't many recipients. In case you don't know, Fatty is consistently voted as having the best endurance blog online. Great to meet you, FC!!

Great food at the finish. I think the trail mix with M&M's went down the best.

Long day. Good day.