The Lake Logan Triathlon is one of my favorite races – possibly my favorite Olympic distance. The venue is awesome: clear mountain lake (always wetsuit legal which is a treat for us this time of year), rolling but fast bike course (I’m always a bit suspicious that it’s a tad short because the splits always seem just a bit too quick), and my favorite 10K. The run is slightly uphill to the turnaround, then obviously, back down. So when you typically start hitting a lull in an Olympic Distance you get the added benefit of extra turnover from the downhill. AND the temperatures are always better than in the Triangle. What’s not to like?
Marty and I decided to make a weekend out of it with Junior Awesome. My dad has a cabin near Maggie Valley that we could use and one of Marty’s athletes, Frank, stayed with us and brought a lot of comic relief. We decided for long car trips we would let Logan watch DVD’s and he was in heaven (zombie-baby heaven), except now every time we get in the car he asks, “Elmo? Elmo?”
|You guys have totally been holding out on me!|
We got out of Cary later than we wanted, as per usual, but it all worked out. My sister and her husband happened to be in Asheville for vacation so we met up with them at The Wicked Weed Brewery for dinner on our way in. Very yum.
|I had Wicked Weed's ImPEACHed Wheat|
When we decided to do the Lake Logan weekend Marty gave me first dibs on whichever race. There is an Olympic distance on Saturday, and a sprint and aquathon on Sunday. The sprint was the USAT Mideast regional championship, so that might hold a little bit of interest for people if you’re into those types of accolades (I’m not). The Aquathon was actually the USAT National Championship. But I got a free entry into the Olympic because they had a ‘Champions’ wave (people who had won other races in the series) and like I mentioned above, I love the Olympic distance here. So it took me all of 3 seconds to decide. My biggest concern was my bike, which is always lacking with my current training.
Even though we thought that we would just switch off watching Logan at the race each day, we realized it would be WAY easier if the person not racing just hung out at the cabin. So Frank and I got up early on Saturday morning to make our way to the race while Logan and Marty slept for several more hours.
Gail Kattouf always does this race and crushes everyone. In addition to being crazy fast, she is super nice and we got to catch up a bit before the start which was great since I didn’t really know anyone else. No problems setting up and I made my way down to the lake with plenty of time since I knew it would take me a bit to get in my wetsuit and then actually in the water. Usually the lake is in the low to mid 70’s but because of all the rain and colder than normal spring it was measured at 67. And you all know by now what a wimp I am getting in the water anyways. The course is a rectangle but the back side is longer so you can get to the swim exit which is under a bridge and up just a little bit into the ‘mountain river’ that empties into the lake. Every year it is noticeably cooler than the lake at this point but this year it was absolutely freezing! At least 10 degrees colder than the lake temperature, maybe more? I’m not sure, but everyone said it was a take-your-breath-away-I’m-now-hyperventilating temperature.
The first wave was the men’s and women’s champions wave, and although it was small there was still some great competition in it. I am still stunned by my swim time. This is quite possibly my best ever swim, and I’m not totally sure why. I always swim better in a wetsuit, and I’m a better open water swimmer compared to the pool, but I just felt so great out there. I haven’t done anything different in training, still my typical twice a week 2K – 2.5K swims. It was just one of those days where it clicked. Or maybe being married to Marty for 9 years has finally paid off.
|Beautiful mountain lake for the swim|
I had a lickety-split transition, and was outta there like lightening. My goal for the day was to see how long I could stay ahead of Gail, as she surely would catch me on the bike. Marty had told me to put it in a gear that had me at that comfortable fast effort – but not pushing super hard. He’s knows my fitness right now. I grinded up the initial hill and then kept it at the pace we talked about. The only people I saw were once again, guys I beat out of the water who zoomed by me like I was standing still. So that’s the not so great thing about having a fast swim – you get passed a lot.
I couldn’t believe I was still in the lead at mile 15, then mile 20, then up the final hill into transition. I was stoked to be in first and figured that although Gail is a crazy fast runner (she has split a 37 out here before!) any time I had on her just meant that she would have to run even faster to catch me and I’m not a bad runner either ;) The whole time I’m telling myself that I need to try and stay ahead as long as I can and maybe she’ll have to work so hard that I can hang on and sprint hard at the end. I was heading out onto the course when she was finishing the bike and I now knew that I had close to 2min on her. I could work with this.
I felt good on the run. I tried to focus on a few of the guys up ahead of me and then run off the shoulder of Josh for a little bit who caught and passed me (he started in a later wave). It was only for a short while but every little bit helps. Now I just wanted to get to the turnaround and see what the split difference was because I knew I loved the portion going back down and could really hammer it.
To my utter surprise, I now had over 3min on Gail after the turnaround. It turns out she is not in the shape she has been in years past at Lake Logan, but it’s all good because Gail-from-the-past spurred me on to have a great race for myself! It can be tough pretty much time trialing an entire race but knowing she was back there made me keep my focus.
I still worked hard on the downhill miles 4 & 5, and then was pretty tired for the last mile but managed a 40:37 run split. Not my fastest out here but I’m definitely happy with it! And I won some cash for being the overall winner and having the fastest run split. The inaugural winner of this race was killed the next year coming home from a training day and his family has set up a fund for this race to have a little prize money, a very nice gesture. The prize money was not on my radar because I have never managed to win any money at this Olympic distance, so it was a nice added bonus to the day.
The rest of the weekend was great. Marty and I tried to recreate some pictures we had taken with Logan over a year ago at the cabin, then we all headed out to The Bear Waters Brewery to rehydrate (and hydrate for Marty, who was doing the aquathon the next morning). Then to Tipping Point Brewing for dinner and more hydration. Junior Awesome was of course, awesome for the whole evening.
|5 month old Junior Awesome|
|20 month old Junior Awesome|
|Strength workout this time around|
|Bear Waters Brewery, Waynesville, NC|
|Tipping Point Brewery in downtown Waynesville|