Sunday, July 27, 2014

Heart O' Dixie Triathlon

I usually save race reports for 70.3's and Ironman but this is a very unique race and needs to be shared  in my world.

The longest consecutive running triathlon in the country, The Heart O' Dixie is a must do! Two things that make it stand out from other races, the unique distance and the logistics. The swim is 1/2 mile, the bike is 27.5 miles, and the run is 7 miles which was actually more like 6.5. All of this ^ and it's a point to point race. What does that mean Lisa? We started the swim here and finished it over there, biked 27 miles to a new city with a transition we didn't get to see, then ran 7 miles to a final destination...

1/2 Mile Swim: Lake Tiak O'Khata. Excellent swim! A very clear lake free of critters and debris. There were a ton of buoy's for spotting. It was perfect! Big red ones every 50 yards or so and big yellow ones for the two major turns. Plenty of boat safety in the water and it never felt crowded or congested. My friend Trish and I swam the course together. Y'all know how I freak out in the water...well this race was no different so it was super comforting having my friend right there with me. We came in at 18 minutes.

T1: A pretty normal transition. 1:17.

27.5 Mile Bike: again, point to point...I'm not entirely sure where the 2nd point was though. Potentially Philadelphia, MS?? We kind of just arrived at a transition on the corner of this road and that road. While we heard rumors that the course was entirely downhill, I'd say it was more rolly with a few extra downhills. I think the bike course was great! There was heavy traffic but no jackasses. They passed safely and motorcycle cops were back and forth the entire time. There were a lot of cracks in the road so you got that "kerchunk kerchunk" but the faster you went the more comfortable it was. More cops at major intersections. No major issues and very enjoyable. With a 20.5 mph average, I finished in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

T2: like I said, T2 just kind of showed up. Pulled in and the volunteers started hollering my number and pointing me to my "spot". I rack my bike and there's my T2 bag waiting for me. Bike stuff off, run stuff on, go! I think it was very well organized and managed. I know not everyone experienced this smoothness, but for me, no issues. Phew! 1:31.

7'ish Mile Run to Neshoba County Fairgrounds: rumored to be hilly and hot, I found it to be most definitely hilly but not horribly hot. Of course, I'm the crazy triathlete that LOVES the heat... I didn't really have a plan for 7 miles. Just run. I ended up walking through the water stops which were just  over a mile apart. I felt pretty strong and of course in hindsight, could have pushed it a little harder but I wasn't after anything so I just enjoyed it. 9.08 average miles for a time of 1 hour and 3 minutes. The most unique part of the run, finishing around the horse track at the fairgrounds. 20 degrees hotter on red clay but only about .25 mile around.
So, these fairgrounds...apparently there's some 2 week party of sorts where families travel from all over and live in these two story (small but insanely expensive) "houses" for the duration of the fair. So basically a GIANT house party. I'm talking like over 600 of these little houses and RV's as far as the eye can see. They own these houses (for the insanely expensive price) but only live in them for 2 weeks a year. I know, I don't get it either. But there are some amazing people to meet. I'm disappointed that we didn't stay an extra night just to hang out at the fair. Lots to see and smell and take in... Next year for sure!

Overall I came in at 2 hours and 45 minutes making 4th place in age group. But here's the deal, this race wasn't about me racing! The whole idea behind it was for my athlete and friend Trish. I wanted her to experience a longer run after a bike under the pressure of a race (vs. just a training day - even though we vowed at the beginning, this is only a training day). Her finish: A SMILE and A HUG was the highlight of the race. Although her bike wasn't ideal (due to a few factors outside of her control), she had a super strong, healthy run. More importantly, she has the confidence to break through any constraints on her journey towards her first 70.3. This is why we do it my friends, the sense of accomplishment over and over and over; always trying to do better, make better, find better versions of ourselves. It's PURE beauty.

I'm so proud of you Trish! And BIG thank you to Trey, Bruce, and Patrick for being our race sherpas. You guys did a fantastic job!! <3

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Race morning... #triathletesarecrazy @trishmyrick

Got her done!! #HoD #triathletesarecrazy #triathlonbuzz #proudcoach @smashfestqueen #smashfestqueen


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