This weekend, we went up to Folsom Lake again for the Husband’s second triathlon and his first Half IronMan. It was basically his ‘dress rehearsal’ for Whistler next month. There seem to be infinite triathlons in Folsom Lake, so to be clear, this is the one he did if you’ve found this blog actually searching for race info.
We headed up on Saturday morning and stayed with Alisyn, whose blog I’ve read for a while now. We’ve tried to meet up a few times now on our camping trips up to the area, but it’s never worked out so it was really nice to meet her at last. There’s always a risk in both hosting and being hosted by a ‘random stranger from the internet’ but we just had so much fun with her and her gorgeous little dog Penny the Pup. It was also really nice to meet her gentleman, UMM who is set to run Western States at the end of June. I’ve never met anyone who has done or is doing WS so it was really fun chatting with him. So thanks, Alisyn and UMM!! (And Penny).
On Sunday, the alarm went off at 4.30m. Brutal. We were out the house by 5am (our poor, poor child) and at Folsom for 5.30 am and we wished we’d been there slightly earlier. The traffic was queueing and the Husband’s set-up was a little rushed, but not too badly! The car-park was full and closed shortly after we arrived, we have no idea what other competitors did! We had planned to head over to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary but couldn’t get in or out the car-park.
Swim starts are incredibly impressive to watch. The Husband was in the second heat so we kissed him goodbye and stood by the lake to cheer. He doesn’t do freestyle/front crawl so basically breast-stroked the whole swim. This made him easy to spot and photograph – a bobbing up/down head in a sea of thrashing arms. He said the water was a decent temperature, relatively clean and he never got trampled on. He came out the water slightly ahead of his expectations and feeling pretty happy with the 1.2 mile swim overall.
We saw him off on the 56 mile bike ride, which was one big loop, and headed over to Starbucks for coffee before going to the Lake Natoma Aquatic Centre where you could rent kayaks, canoes, SUPs and pedal boats. I do fancy SUP-ping but not with the Dude on my board, so we rented a pedal boat and had a fun hour bobbing around on the lake. From there, we went back to the staging area, paddled/waded in the lake, played with our toys, got a little bored…and it was getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Eventually the Husband came back into transition after the bike ride, beaming and happy. His strength is the bike and he was feeling good. Apparently the bike course is fairly flat, with just a few rollers, and a decent surface all the way round. We cheered him off onto the 13.1 mile run and went to sit in the sun.
At this point, it got better for us and worse for him. Better for us because Kristen turned up to cheer on a friend of hers. I’ve only met Kristen once but we’re online buddies so it was SO nice to see her and get to know her a bit better. She is 38 weeks pregnant and frankly looks better than I did on my wedding day!!
However it got worse for the Husband because it was now incredibly hot and he was running! The temperatures were about 102F/38 C which is ridiculous! The run course was two out-and-backs along a fairly flat, paved trail, but the trail was pretty exposed and thus baking hot. There were plenty of aid stations, apparently, but people were walking a lot. The turnaround point was where we were and we saw one guy, who looked very fit, drop out of the whole race with just that final 6.5 mile lap to go. He was just cooked. I felt so bad for him.
The Husband got back to the turnaround so we got to cheer and clap. He was in good spirits but so very hot. He changed socks (soaked from tipping water over his head), got more salt tabs and set off again. Each loop took him roughly 1 hr 40 and he’d been expecting to do the whole thing in 2 hrs 15 or so.
It felt like forever but eventually, he came jogging slowly towards the finish line, accompanied by Kristen’s friend who he’d been on the course with. They looked pretty shattered and crossed the line in 7 hrs 53. The Husband had hoped (based on training) to do it in about 7 hours so that shows the effect of the heat. I was incredibly proud of him for sticking it out and persevering, it took real strength of character. I actually think his IronMan will be easier as the temperatures should be so much lower.
Over the course of the day, the Husband lost 8lbs even though he drank solidly throughout. Says it all!
It turns out that whilst he was low down in the age-group rankings, he placed second in his Clydesdale classification…he was pretty chuffed with that. I was glad that he wasn’t at all disappointed by his time yesterday. It had been all about training and practising, and both the physical and mental challenges of yesterday will have done wonders for his preparation for Whistler!
Anyway…today (Monday) is a very special day, as the Dude and I abandon our Half-IronMan and head to the UK for nearly three weeks. We are SO excited about it!! See you on the other side of the pond!