The inaugural Lake Logan Half was a great race on so many levels. That sentence could be the end of this race report but I’ll write a little more, I suppose.
While looking for a good tune-up race for Ironman Chattanooga, SetUp Events announced that they would host a half ironman-distance race in Canton, N.C., about 8 weeks before IMChoo. Perfect. I signed up. The other option was Toughman Alabama 6 weeks before Choo, but 70.3 miles in Mid-August in Alabama didn’t sound like much fun, so I headed to the mountains of Western N.C. Smart choice.
I’ll keep it somewhat brief. My goal was a solid all-around race, with good nutrition and a negative-split on the run. I almost did it. Missed the negative split by :19.
I drove up the night before with coach Chance and met with friend/training partner, Tad, who is also doing IMChoo.
This is Tad. He likes smiling. Smiling is his favorite.
Tad booked a sweet two-bed place (for the 3 of us) in a bed-and-breakfast located about 20 mins from the race site. It was classy. I was appreciative of his accommodations-locating skills. Chance and I brought our own pillows so we wouldn’t be confused by other pillows we might find in the room. (Planes, Trains and Automobiles reference.)
Race morning arrived. I rubbed myself down with some anti-chafing products.
The lake was beautiful.
My swim was less than beautiful. Nice alligator-eyes technique though…
My swim disappointed me. Chance will never let me borrow his TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit again. I’m not worthy. But my abs look pretty solid in it.
The last part of the swim ended in the stream which feeds the lake. The water temperature was already a brisk 67F and dropped about 10 degrees as soon as you swam under a bridge and into the stream. It was refreshing, but still very cold. I survived it by sucking up buttercups.
Jump out of the water, run to transition, grab a couple bites of food I had set aside in T1, grab the bike and run out.
This would be my first time race in the new Fusion Speedsuit. I loved it. For part of my nutrition, I blended some UCAN and a banana and put it in a gel flask. The flask fit perfectly in the side thigh pocket of the speedsuit. I wanted to chug one flask down before heading out on the bike and then take one with me, but I couldn’t find the other flask. UGH. (I would later find it under the wetsuit I had discarded.)
As I ran out of T1, Chance (fully aware that I was annoyed by my mediocre swim) had some key words of wisdom. “Don’t try to catch everybody in the first 5 miles!” Noted. Off I went.
My goal for the bike leg was to finish with an avg HR of 155. I almost nailed it… 157 was my final average. I was happy with the bike effort. I even managed to snag a Strava KOM on a descent, showing #SuperGeorge Darden who the boss was!
This is George.
He crushed everybody and won the race by 10 mins, almost breaking the 4-hr mark in the process. He’s a crazy-fast, unassuming school teacher and new father of twins to boot! He ran 5:55 pace. Oh, he also ran a 2:58 marathon at Ironman Wisconsin last year… 5th fastest run overall, including the pros. He’s not normal… moving on.
While on the bike, I passed Tad – who had a great swim – at about Mile 15 or so. I got a shout-out from super-friendly Candace from Augusta, and saw Tara “Bull” Owens. (pictured below)For much of the bike portion, I swapped pacing duties with a 39-year-old guy in a Big Sexy Racing kit. We were a pretty good tag team, keeping our distance to be sure not to draft, but allowing each other to take turns setting the pace. I came into T2 just :10 seconds ahead of him.
Coming off the bike, I knew I had been smart enough to leave some in the tank for the run. But had I taken in enough nutrition on the bike to get through the run? To be safe, I grabbed a couple of small bites of nutrition (almond butter and banana cut into bite-sized pieces on a rolled-up tortilla shell) in T2 and off I went.
The run was 2 loops out and back. You went up a slight incline (about 3%) on the way out and back down it on the way back. It was good to have some local knowledge (i.e. a coach who ran the entire course while we were all out on the bike) . “Don’t go too hard on the way out, you will pay for it on the second lap!” Noted.
I was careful about my pacing, but had a feeling I might be able to run about :15 faster per mile than the original race plan we had discussed… so I gave it a go. If I was wrong, I would get an earful. I planned not to be wrong.
Finished with a 1:31:21 (7:25/mile) run and a 4:31:08 overall time. (Truth be told, the course was short.) Still, I was happy with my race. Everything but the swim… I crossed the line 15th overall out of 317 male finishers, good enough for 3rd place in the highly-competitive “old man” 40-44 AG. My first half-ironman distance podium. (I won the 40-44 AG at Mountain Madness Half 2 years ago, but the swim had been canceled.) Still, I was a happy camper.
As I said at the start, there were a lot of great things about this race. The venue, the course, the results… I’d love to toe the line again next year. But the best part of the entire trip BY FAR was stopping at a killer BBQ joint on the way home, stuffing ourselves full of ribs and then topping it off with a Dairy Queen Blizzard. My kind of post-race nutrition plan…