Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvest Moon 70.3 Race Report (BTW, Socks Are Important)

Disclaimer: This report is long. But, what can I say? The race was long. If I can be out there for almost 6 hours, you can read this for 10 minutes (I’m bossy).

This picture was taken at the start when I am all neat and tidy, fresh as a daisy. Before the shit hit the fan.

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The half ironman distance is nothing to sneeze at – yet, I know that in November at IM Florida I will be DOUBLING what I did in yesterday’s race. That is just slightly daunting, no? I bow down to you bad asses who do Ironmen (and I don’t mean sleep with Ironmen, but complete the 140.6 distance).

It all started innocently enough (does anyone not look like a dork in a wetsuit)?:

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I’ve got to admit I was pretty calm, minimal nerves. However, no matter how you slice it, 70.3 miles is a long freaking distance and it intimidates me. Many people can’t even drive that far (ever heard that one before?)

To be smart and avoid hyperventilating, I did what all the other cool kids did and got in the water to warm up. I knew I’d be fine. Cool as a cucumber.

And, there we go. Right into the sun because that makes it very easy to see. It was 1.2 miles – swim out .6 mile, go back .6 mile. I wasn’t super speedy, but I was calm and steady.

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Swim: 38 minutes

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Here I am struggling to get my damn wet suit zipper down and run and breathe at the same time:

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My transition #1 was pretty short considering how my wetsuit and I got into a raging fight. She did not want to leave my body. Slut.

T1: 1:44

I headed out for the 56 mile bike. I rode this course last weekend, so there would be no surprises. The bike is kind of a blur. I basically got down in my aero bars and and cruised. The hills on the backside were a bitch, but oh well.

Bike: 2:52, 19.4 mph average

Here I am coming into T2. This is right before I fell on top of my bike. Being a klutz and a triathlete don’t really mix.

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Here’s me in transition #2 trying to get my sh*t together. For me the worst part of a triathlon is starting to run after the bike. Your legs want to fall off. Even though it looks like it, I am not praying. I probably should have been knowing now what I know about the upcoming run from hell.

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T2: 1:26

Here I am starting the run and realizing what  a bad mood I am in because it is now over 90 degrees and I have to run 13.1 miles on concrete with no shade. For a race of this distance there will be many highs and lows (mostly because you are just out there so freaking long). This was a low.

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You can tell how slow I am going because in the span of 10 seconds the guy in front of me is so much further ahead. I never saw him again. Show off.

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So here is where it gets ugly. I don’t wear socks with my shoes during triathlons. I skip the extra step of putting on socks. That is all fine and good, but I forgot that the shoes I chose to wear yesterday I had never worn before without socks. Yes, that is right. I committed the ultimate sin and did something new on race day. Damn me!

Within the first mile I knew this was going to be a major, huge problem. The friction between my feet and shoes was causing blisters to form instantaneously. There are problems during races you can overcome and there are problems you know are MAJOR issues that might take you out of the race. Yes, I have never DNF’d any race. Yet, the thought was now crossing my mind. My feet were on fire. I kept stopping to loosen my laces, anything for more comfort. I was cussing myself out, “You mean to SAVE the 10 seconds it would have taken to put on socks, you are now looking at having to quit this race. Idiot.”

Time to problem solve. The way I saw it was I could:

  1. run 13.1 miles barefoot
  2. find a pair of socks.

I went with option 2.

I came up to the second aid station at mile #2. It was manned by 4 teenage boys. I asked the first two if they could puh-leez give me a pair of their socks. They said they didn’t have any. Liars. They did. On their feet.

I begged kid #3: “Please. If you don’t give me your socks I will have to quit the race. I will pay you money later. I will do anything.” And just like that, this heroic 16 year old, Tom,  took off his shoes and handed me the most disgusting pair of long, black, sweaty, old teenage socks. I told Tom I loved him. I threw on those socks like they were the best running socks I had ever owned and went on my way. Tom, if you are reading this (and I know you are not), I owe you my life.

The sock trauma behind me, I marched on. This was probably the most  un-fun run I’ve ever been on. I tried to keep a positive attitude and just go one mile at a time (13 times). The last two miles were the must brutal – but I kept telling myself that it was 2 miles out of 70.3 and I wasn’t going to stop. I thought of the famous words by Winston Churchill (and Rodney Atkins), “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

Coming into the finish. Finally!

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Run: 2:18 (10:35 average). My slowest half marathon ever! Yay for me.

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The very best most awesome part of this run was the slip ‘n slide at the end. I cruised through the finish chute and straight onto the slide. Normally I’m kind of grossed out by communal things full of sweat, grime, fecal matter and dirt, but I was so hot I couldn’t give a crap. I slid through and they sprayed me with the hose. Then this nice little girl came and pulled me into the cesspool. I think I got 45 infections.

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Then I danced because I was happy.

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Here I am giving that little girl a high five and trying to strike my best red carpet pose.

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Post-race I got a huge plate of Wahoos food. I no longer look fresh as a daisy. More like an old hag.

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And, what ever happened to the socks you are wondering?

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I put them on the food I didn’t eat and threw them away. Sorry Tom (I love how the guy beside us is hiding the sock from his sight).

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Total time: 5:53

9/20 AG, 35/140 female. I will say, this was a competitive race. Lots of very skilled and experienced athletes. I felt really crappy that I didn’t do a better run. Just didn’t have it in me, I suppose.

Many thanks to:

  • Ken for getting up at 4:30 a.m., spectating for almost 6 hours and being my personal photographer and biggest fan
  • Erika for cheering me on at the finish and being my friend
  • X2 Performance for the awesome race gear and pre-race fueling. And for my new mantra: “Dominate today, everyday”
  • Tom – for the socks
  • Without Limits for putting on a great race with tons of amazing volunteers.
  • Sharpie for making me train my ass off

 

Make me feel better. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a race?

What’s the toughest race you’ve ever done? I think the last few miles of the Boston Marathon in 2011 were my toughest because I was so undertrained. I actually cried during that race, and not out of joy.

SUAR

 

PS: The winner of the Words to Sweat By giveaway is Beth -

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Email me at beth@shutupandrun.net to claim your prize!

71 comments:

  1. You are wonderful! I love this post and you... I also love Tom!

    In terms of stupid stuff on a race... gee, I don't know. All my half marathons and marathon training pale in comparison to anything you have done or will do! I guess the worst would be wearing "cotton" to run long distance... That shower post long run is always terrifying, especially after wearing cotton... eek! You always find a blister under your boob, armpit, or somewhere else painful. Then you forget - and wear that damn cotton t-shirt again, on a longer run!

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  2. WOOHOO! Congrats! Sounds like a really tough day - that is some fine out of the box thinking you displayed on the run! I don't think I ever would have thought to ask a volunteer for socks, ha ha!
    I cried for the entire last third of my first Boston on 2003 because I had overtrained. I peaked 3 weeks too early so I had nothing in the tank and my body entire body was so tired and sore. I was pretty bloody miserable.
    I usually go sockless in very specific shoes (Zoot Ultras) for my shorter distance races but in a race that long I don't know if I could do it. I"ve worn brand new shoes in a race before though. Won't do that again. I think it took about 3 weeks for the blisters to finally go away. Gross.

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  3. Dumbest thing ever was doing the "Monster" bike ride without training on hills for months before. I did cry on that one too.

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  4. I suppose the dumbest thing I've done is to race, period. I was 4 weeks out from a marathon that I'd trained my tush off for all summer, and decided to go do a local trail race, because all my friends were, and it's fun to run through the words and eat post-race BBQ with your friends.

    It all WAS fun, until my competitive streak came out, I started really racing, I twisted my ankle, and I spent marathon day on crutches. Not my most brilliant pre-race strategy.

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  5. definitely wear socks for your Ironman. i don't wear them for any other distance race, but it is definitely worth the little extra time!

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    1. Yes, totally learned my lesson. Will NOT go without again. Can't count on there being a Tom out there for me on race day.

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    2. I also recommend changing socks in T2 and slapping some lube on your feet too.

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    3. I also recommend changing socks in T2 and slapping some lube on your feet too.

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  6. Your swim and bike were great! Your run story makes me laugh hysterically, but I'm so so glad you got those socks. I so wish you had a post-race pic with Tom as you handed him back the socks with dollar bills. Congratulations!! I'm tackling my first 70.3 in November and can't wait. (I'll wear socks).

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  7. Best race re-cap ever. God bless Tom and his nasty socks (may they RIP). Seriously, what a champ Tom is! I think the dumbest thing I ever did on race day was attempt to run the Colfax Marathon in 2011 after a very poor (i.e non-existent) training season. It sleeted and was freezing in May and I had defended my dissertation the week before which meant all of my energy went to dissertation, not marathon.

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  8. Great job!!!
    I love you race recaps - the sock debacle was highly entertaining - glad that you found a 16 year old lifesaver!!! And, I'm super glad that you finished the race!!!

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  9. I totally needed one of your blog entries today! Thanks for the laughs. Seriously, you are an amazing inspiration. I hold Ironmen in total awe!

    Toughest race for me: my first 1/2 marathon. Groundhogs day. Trail race, 14inches of snow, ITB issues. Ag.On.Y. But finished...still on my running mental highlight reel.

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  10. What happened to Tom? Did you circle back and thank him?

    My dumbest race day decision was dressing like a unicorn for a Halloween half. The furry costume was NOT my friend by mile 7.

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    1. Good question. So Tom was out on the course at mile #2. I would have had to run back out there since it was bike path and not near a road. I did not have it in me. I did, however, thank him again when I ran back through on the way to the finish.

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  11. OMG I'm laughing my ass off!! Thank God for Tom!!! You rocked it nonetheless woman - be proud!! My fav: I got 45 infections! Priceless.

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  12. I have a question (pardon me if it sounds really stupid) but do you wear your biking clothes underneath your wetsuit? Or do you strip and change all your clothes?

    You rock as always!

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    1. Not a dumb question at all! I wear my tri kit (tri shorts and tri tank) under my wetsuit and throughout the whole race.

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  13. Way to go!! I was thinking of you on race day as I huddled in my house, shielded from the ridiculous heat wave we had. That you would run 13.1 is impressive enough on a day like that but as a cap to a half ironman? You rock!

    Dumbest thing I've done in a race? At RnR Arizona, I put a $50 in my pocket (why??) and lost it when my battery died on my mp3 player and I pulled it out of said pocket. Someone ran by asking if anyone had lost some money so I turned around (yeah you read that right), ran 400 yds the *wrong way*, retrieved the money and continued, sans music and friends, the remaining 7 miles of the race. I missed a sub-1:50 by 3 minutes. The kicker? The $50 I picked up must have fallen out of my pocket again because it was nowhere to be found after the race. Arg!!!

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    1. Now that is a crazy story! I can't believe you went back for it and lost it again. Definitely something I would do!!

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  14. I have a 15 year old boy, so I know how desperate you were if you could put on a teenage boy's socks. I laughed so hard at that part! What an awesome kid to let you have his socks!

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  15. I have never run a tri so I have zero experience with transition stations, but I learned this summer that I sweat like a fat guy at the gym when I run and it takes only about 8-9 miles in the VA heat for me to saturate a pair of running shoes with all the sweat running south into my shoes. So I eventually accepted that I was going to have to stop and switch socks/shoes if I wanted to comfortably run distances longer than that. Trying to put dry socks on water-logged feet is a bastard so I learned quickly to put on a pair of socks, then roll them off leaving them in a little donut (or closer to condom) shape. With those staged for the change, I could usually stop by my apartment, get my socks/shoes changed and grab full water bottles in just a couple of minutes. Good luck in FL. Happy training.

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  16. I just completed my first 70.3 race yesterday at Cedar Point in Ohio! The last 2 miles were the worst for me too. But, I finished and I am very happy with my times. I can't even imagine doubling that. Can't wait to read all about it. Good luck!

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    1. That was my first 70.3 too! I heard it was really windy on the bike this year. Way to go!

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  17. I pulled the same stupid sockless move in a sprint this last year and ended with blood dripping from my heels from wounds that would be there for a few weeks. In only THREE miles! Awful! God bless that boy for being such a generous spirit.

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  18. Your hilarious sock story reminds me of some bad decisions on a training run...first, I decided to wear old socks, with a small hole over the Achilles tendon. Halfway through, a hot spot was developing, so I got the brilliant idea to put the ziplock Baggie that I was carrying my salt stick caps in over that foot...you know, like we used to use bread bags in the winter to keep our feet dry. My foot is huge and I had to tear a hole in it to get the sandwich sized Baggie over my foot....it moved around while I ran...four miles from home, I realized the zipper part had chewed through my skin

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  19. Dumbest thing during a race was not by me but by my son during his first Peachtree (Atl. 10K) He downed a free 5 hour Energy before the hottest 10K in the USA 3 years ago.( he ran barefoot and had a decent time leaving him running in A wave the next year) He needed the aid tent and suffered dehydration and palpitations.
    Toughest race for me was last year at the Duncan Ridge Trail 30K in Blairsville GA. I was not 100% but felt good the day of the race. I had a bad fall that took me about 15 minutes to stop crying and calling myself a wuss and finish the race. :)

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  20. Oh man!! What a bummer on the socks! I have never run without socks, even though I know all the "good" triathletes do it ... sounds painful! And the heat is just brutal. Way to go for hanging in there!

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  21. That's an overall fantastic time, Beth. Very proud of you ... you're going to have a great IM - I just know it!! (were you glued to the IMWI results yesterday???)

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  22. WOW, that is really impressive... and you look amazing in the pictures (OK a little tired at the end!!!)

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  23. Oh hi, delurking because this - and your whole ironman training - is just amazing. I cannot even imagine running a hm in that kind of heat, let alone after all the cycling. I was wondering whether you had any goals for this race, as it's right in the middle of your training and presumably a tune-up race?

    The sock thing is funny. Go Tom!

    As for dumbest thing I've done in a race, that's easy. I trained for a half marathon all last winter in a kick-ass manner, adhering to a training plan nearly 100% despite awful weather that meant doing most of my runs in snowstorms…and when race day came, I ate a different breakfast than usual and had to drop out after 6km with massive stomach issues. BRILLIANT.

    Toughest race ever was an alpine half marathon in Switzerland. Ouch!

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    1. I didn't really have a goal - but I did go in with a strategy of how to race (fueling, hydration, pacing). I think in the back of my mind I wanted to beat my HIM time from two years ago, but I also knew this was a tougher course and that my running would not be as strong given injury/pain. So I came in 10 minutes behind my previous time. Oh, well. I was stronger on the bike and swim than two years ago, but slower on the run.

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  24. Congrat's on a great race!!! You'll do awesome at IMFL!

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  25. I enjoyed your race report. Tom will have to explain the missing socks to his mom when he gets home.

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  26. Congrats! I can't believe you ran a 2:18 half which included a stop to put on socks. Glad that you found Tom to save your race. I call people like that my "run angels". Somehow I manage to find one every time things get rough. My worst race experience was at mile 18 of Marine Corps Marathon last year as I was cramping and crying and trying to stretch on the Mall. This teen girl comes up to me with a bag of pretzels and tissues and did a heroic job of getting me back out on the road.

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  28. Blasphemy! LOL Just kidding. Ive read similar things on other blogs. Ill take your word for it. Stay solid! your pal.
    Hmm, that is some compelling information youve got going! Makes me scratch my head and think. Keep up the good writing!
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  30. You Rock! nuff said. Good job talking Tom out of his socks... ;-)

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  31. Congratulations, you did great. So glad you didn't have to stop because of a pair of socks!

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  32. Congratulations! I just watched my sister do an Ironman this weekend, so I know have a good idea of what you'll be up against in November! She totally inspired me though, and I am planning to do a half next year! Thanks for the awesome race report and the tip on socks! :)

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  33. Congratulations - Great race and great report. I did a triathlon in Louisiana on Sunday and temps didn't quite make 90 degrees and I was hot so I know how you must have been suffering. I'm doing my first 70.3 in New Orleans March 2014 - I better start training harder.

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  34. Well, I love your story and the sock thing. Tom will probably talk about that forever. There is always something no matter how well you prepare. Mine was coming off of the bike, I was all prepared for the run, took off running and still had my helmet on. Can't remember everything!!!'

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  35. You are hilarious! Well done on your race and all hail Tom! The stupidest thing I have done that I can think of right now is taking four immodium before the half marathon I did on Sunday. I seriously think it might be next Sunday before I poop :( Got a PB and didn't crap myself though, so maybe it was worth it!

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  36. I laughed several times throughout this post, best race recap ever! The sock story is priceless. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures... Congrats on finishing a tough race!

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  37. Bonus points for creativity to solve your sock issue!! Just love the sock story. And I agree, a Tom and Beth picture would have been priceless! But how any of you could run in that heat is awesome to me! Super job on a tough race!

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  38. Thanks for the great post! I loved reading it. You are one of the greatest storytellers ever. I let out an audible :oh, no" when you realized you hadn't run barefoot in you shoes before.
    My worst race was a half marathon that I had run with insoles that some I-couldn't-care-less-if-you're-a-runner podiatrist gave me to help with my developing plantar fasciitis. I wish I would have thought quicker and just ripped them out of my shoes and ran without them! It was my worst half ever!
    Congratulations on your finish!

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  39. If you get help during your IM from a volunteer, you might get penalized. Just a heads up...

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    1. The socks would have been worth the penalty.

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  40. You are just amazing! You are a rock star athlete AND you tell some of the best stories out there!

    About 140.6 - my friend is an Ironman and she has a magnet on her car (140.6). Someone asked her if that was a radio station...LOL!

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  41. You are pretty much my hero. Calling your wetsuit a slut (yes!), begging a kid for socks, kicking ass and taking names in super heat... I bow to you.
    Congrats on a great race and pushing through... awesome training for Florida for you!

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  42. Congrats to you! The old hag comment made LOL. I ran a half marathon wearing someone else's fuel belt that was a size too big and kept falling off. Yes, I felt skinny, but it wasn't worth it!

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  43. Oh please. You did awesome on the run! I was hoping to hit 2:10 in a half (10 minute) where I did nothing before hand. AMAZING JOB

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  44. This is a great race story! I don't wear socks in tris either but fortunately have never had your issue. I have to admit, I don't know that I could have donned those stinky teenager socks!

    Now about your bike split--you are a beast on the bike! Way to go. Very excited to see how you do down at sea level for IMFL!

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  45. Tom is clearly the hero of this story.

    And, sure, you got to tell a pretty neat race story, but Tom was probably with all of his teenage dude friends later all like "and this crazy woman with braids came up and I just whipped off my socks!"

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    1. I KNOW!! I would love to have heard what he told his friends over McDonalds later.

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  46. 9/20 AG with times like that?? I might as well just pack it up now. I'll send you my socks.

    (PS - Congrats on a great race! Highly enjoyed reading about it.)

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  47. Way to get it done Beth! Not bad showing for 90 degrees and no socks. I love your posts.

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  48. Way to go Beth! You are an inspiration to so many of us.
    My worst race was last year's Boston (2012). I had finally qualified and was looking forward to a respectable time but a month before race day, I injured myself. Plus, the 89-90 degree temperature added to my misery. My time was an hour and a half slower than my BQ and I also cried a few times.

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  49. Awesome race report- and a great race! As for stupid stuff on race day, I've done my share. But this video made it all better...

    http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_msgspw96

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  50. A friend of mine got a pedicure the day before his first half marathon. Smooth feet like a babies butt, but he was covered in blisters and had to stop and bandage his feet half way through. Lesson learned. :)

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  51. Congrats and awesome race report! When I read the part about no socks, I immediately pictured a different crap-centric crisis! Good ole Tom, always comes through lol

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  52. Great, funny race recap. I used a pair of untested open swim googles this year at IM Boise 70.3 and struggle with water in them the entire swim. The bike was fine but the hot run killed me and was also my slowest 13.1 ever.... I used my disappointment from this race to propel me to my first 140.6 in Penticton Canada last month.

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  53. hilarious, and thank God for Tom and his socks!

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  55. Well so, I go into the porta potty at my first exchange at Hood to Coast thinking, how bad can it be to change in one of these? (I was in a van with all boys, including my brother and father. That's just awkward! After this tho, it was all "eyes forward gentlemen", on with business, squinching down in the back seat) When I got in I was sure to lock the door, laughing inwardly to myself about your story SUAR from the Boston Marathon. Oh the hubris! The problem with trying to get your sweaty ass out of your fancy, super tight compression pants you wore for that first long downhill leg is that you are highly likely to somehow bump the door lock with it. And then you get walked in on, completely ass naked.
    I came out of that Honey Bucket grinning like an idiot though! And had a good laugh with the nice lady who did not know she'd signed up for a free peep show in addition to a 198 mile relay.

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  56. WOW! Way to go!!! I applaud you for a great race! I want to do a half and full Ironman one day. I cannot believe you ran without socks, I couldn't imagine. I understand how the importance of shaving off time in triathlons. Baby powder always helps with the sock situation with the time. I am sure you know this already. I agree that the run after the bike is the worst for a few minutes. I can never feel my legs completely.

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  57. OMG hilarious. It is awesome that you begged that kid for his socks. I would have too. Outstanding time in that heat and great performance on the bike. Congrats!

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