The Little Smokies Tri 2017

This is a race report back log, which means that I just don’t have much to say because I was young and naive and didn’t write about it after it happened (2017), but a lot sticks out to me about this race now (2019)

This is a not Ironman branded race and is better known as the American Triple T (if you do sprint, olympic and half distance in one weekend). I was just doing the half which at this point was known as the Little Smokies Tri.  It took place in Portsmith, OH in the middle of nowhere (meaning my phone just didn’t really work). This was tragic only because I managed to make myself so nervous I needed my phone as a distraction.

At first, I wasn’t that nervous, I was going to a race that was the same distance as Muncie, Zell am See and Ohio 70.3. Been here, done that. Well, except that this race was hilly. And hilly was relative to Ohio and Muncie (I don’t count Zell am See because I had to walk up that hill and was so out of my league it’s incomparable). This means that I was to climb mountains, relative to the flat lands of the midwest that I did not practice on anyway. I practiced in my garage, living room and anywhere my trainer would fit. Again, even with my experience I was still learning how to feed myself and truly push myself.

I remember my mom and I thought it would be fun to do a bike course recon to see what I was dealing with. Well we began driving and ended up driving into the woods which is what makes this course so beautiful, except that this was a fire road. In case you are as clueless as my mother and I were, this means that under very little circumstances should any vehicles be on this ‘road’ except in the case of an emergency. For more imagery, my mother, at this time, was driving a Toyota Sequoia. This is a large SUV, wide, roomy and wonderful for long trips, but not for recon of a bike course in the woods up and down steep hills. I can honestly say my heart was beating out of my chest. I thought we were going to fall off a cliff in this car. Luckily we got out after having to PASS a fire road truck. I can’t explain this enough other than just don’t drive on “roads” that go into the woods and look like running trails.

 

So I managed to make myself scared about potentially dying and once I realized I was still going to live until the next day, now I was terrified of biking up the steep tiny hills that were involved in the largest chunk of this race. I might as well have been in the Austrian Alps because this was serious.

Well we were staying in a cabin hotel and it was just a ways from the start in a pretty serene lake. I think I had the best swim of my short 70.3 career in this lake (to this day).

Let’s see:

Swim: 31:36 (Yep, definite PR still)

T1: 3:51

Bike: 4:07:46 (definitely not a PR)

T2: 1:44

Run: 2:31

Total: 7:16

I know, it’s slow but let me tell you about the mental toughness and absolute exhilaration experienced by this race. Also, let me preface this description by the fact that I really did not like the area we were in, no phone service and the closest town was not close. Luckily the day before I did find a hip coffee spot that saved my sanity a bit prior to the race. But other than that it was hard to even find something worth eating. (Yes, I am being dramatic and I have more love for this race after finishing it than ever before, I would like to go back now!)

But before starting the swim, I was near tears in nerves of this bike ride. My physical therapist happened to be there and wished me luck which helped but I was stoic with fear. After the swim I said, let’s try for a bike ride. The ride was hard, that’s for sure but getting over these hills became something I really looked forward to. I ended up loving those slow trudges up the hills for fun ascents and this may have been the first time I tried to accurately fuel myself. Yes I was still slow but I had a lot of fun and truly gained a lot of mental strength I never knew I was capable of having. I could cycle hills, I was no longer afraid of bike courses with hills. This was power and this was fun.

After the bike I started the trail run that was up and over hills in a 2 loop fashion. This was hard and I was slow but I was happy! I was going to finish a race that I was so scared would stump me and make me fail. At the end I crossed the finish line and my PT and mother were there to congratulate me. I was officially hooked and desiring more challenging bike courses. If you’re not that great of a cyclist, I suggest challenging yourself with harder courses. The strength comes and so does the confidence and all of the sudden your quads are like, YEAH LET’S DO IT.

This race now (2019) takes place in a difference location, but still daringly difficult from what I’ve heard and is referred to as Toughman Ohio–but the Triple T is also still involved.

If you want to know more about this dirty-crazy race please click here and sign up. I will be back!