Square Lake Half Ironman: Part 1

>> Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Or, “Not trying to PR, just trying to have a good time.”

Yes, this report will be in 2 parts. I just have SOOO many photos from the race (about 50) that I need to break it up a little. This report will go from pre-race through T2, and that will include getting changed into the Grim Reaper outfit.

Pharmie and I got up early on Sunday morning. And that was after being woke up late the night before by a drunken couple fighting and yelling in the ally by our house. But the cops showed up and things quieted down. So we were working on about 4 hours of sleep. We got packed up in the morning, and headed out to Square Lake.

When we showed up, there was a sign outside the park that said “This lake may give swimmers itch.” Nice. I’ve had something like that before, and I really didn’t want that again.

Pharmie and I got set up in transition, and we headed down to the lake to get ready for the swim. When I was at the park the day before, I told Pharmie, “There’s like 15 steps that we have to climb to get up to T1.” Well, as we were walking down, we counted 68 steps. Apparently, I’m not good at estimating. Here we are heading down before-mentioned stairs, with the lake barely visible below us:

Note the perennial smiley face on my calf...

We got down to the lake, and it was chilly! The air was about 50 degrees, and there was a little breeze coming off the lake. We quickly got our wetsuits on:

Then, we HAD to get a photo with our great photographer / cheerleader for the day. Steph, Pharmie’s sister, got up with us at the ass-crack of dawn to come cheer us on. And she knew SOMEONE needed to take photos of the craziness that was about to ensue. Here we all are at the lake:

Thanks for coming with us, Steph!!

Then Steph snapped a photo of Pharmie and I before we both got wet:

(I still don't know what that arrow on my wetsuit is pointing at...)

Pharmie dipped her toes, and thought she’d wait a few minutes before hitting the water because she was in the last wave going out. I hopped in, peed a little, and did a few warm up strokes, as I was starting out in wave 1. I came back to find Pharmie, and we chatted for a moment as I tried to stay warm:

Then, I gave her a good luck kiss, and walked off to start my race:

(I’m spitting in my goggles)

I lined up near the back, and someone counted down and shouted “GO!”

Wave 1, starting in the distance

It was a 2 loop swim, and I started out WAY to the outside for clean water. I just took my time and swam nice and comfortably. I did what worked well for me at the LTF Oly: 3 strokes, breathe, 2 strokes, breathe, repeat.

I was swimming very comfortably, but quite strong at the same time. I wasn’t taking it TOO easy. I was wasting a little bit of energy by swimming SO far to the outside, but I didn’t care. I was just playing it safe. I finished the first loop in 19:01, and was rather happy with that time.

I pretty much repeated everything for the second loop (and I peed while heading to shore), and I finished the last half of the swim in 19:12. Nice and consistent! I couldn’t complain about that swim! I felt great!

I hit the ground, popped up, and started stripping:

I stripped the upper part of my suit while still in the water:

(Side note: at least that last photo doesn’t look QUITE as bad as when I was taking off my wetsuit a year ago at my last half Ironman, where it looked like I was playing with myself:

End side note.)

I ran up the beach and flashed a smile at Steph:

Running up those 68 stairs to T1, I passed 2 men who were both walking. The first one said something like, “Nice job!” The second guy was a little more memorable. I ran past, and he screamed, “GO GET EM’ BUDDY!! WOO!!” And he smacked my ass pretty hard. I laughed out loud, and replied “Thanks man! Nice swim!!”

I got changed in T1, and was off on the bike. It was a hilly, hilly course. It wasn’t as bad as IM WI, but it had more non-stop hills. WI had more huge hills, but this course just had constant rollers. Like Pharmie said, there were really only 2-3 miles of non-hills.

About 7 miles into the ride, I had to pee again. So I pulled off by a cornfield, grabbed my camera, and let er’ flow. Have you ever seen me peeing?...

...now you have. Gotcha.

I hopped back on the bike, and kept at it. I zoned out a lot. Whenever I checked my pace, I always thought, “Whoa, Steve. Take it easy. You shouldn’t be this fast right now.” But I somehow finished the first loop in 1:26:20 with a 19 mph average! What the hell?!? I was really afraid that I was going to lose my legs for the last part of the ride because I had gone out too hard. But I didn’t feel like I was working too hard. I didn’t know what to think.

I started the second lap. I was pretty good about making sure I was getting enough nutrition (Carbo Pro and Hammer Gel). I had to pee. AGAIN. So I pulled off to pee in the same cornfield. This time, I went a little farther before stopping, and it proved to be a bit of a problem. The ground had much more clay in it, and it pretty much mucked up my cleats. I couldn’t clip back in. My Speedplays were clogged. Shoot. Here’s what they looked like once I got home:

Shortly after taking off again, it started raining. It actually felt pretty good. There were brief bits of heavier rain, but it was never too much. The added rain just made me slip off my non-clipped-in pedals more often. That was a bit of a pain. Twice I slipped off my pedals so dramatically that I swerved really quick and nearly wiped out. It was hard to be in aero and not be clipped in.

So I rode the last 20 miles without being able to clip in. I thought about stopping to clean my cleats, but I was making it work pretty well, so I just kept going. I was SO FREAKIN’ SURPRISED TO FINISH THAT SECOND LOOP IN 1:28:06!! My average had only dropped to about 18.75 mph on that hilly course! I didn’t know what was going on, but I felt really good at this point! I rolled back into transition just as Steph was thinking, “I better start looking for Steve.” And “BOOM” - there I was. She was just as surprised as I was to be done at that point.

Nine easy steps for having a much longer T2 time than you need:

1. Take off your bike paraphernalia:

2. Body Glide EVERYTHING (arms, nipples, face, etc.):

3. Try to figure out the Grim Reaper outfit:

4. Realize that it’s on backwards, and wrestle with it for a second:

5. Put on race number and take a drink before putting on head piece:

6. Try to figure out head piece:

7. Put head piece on:

8. Grab sickle and stop to pose for a photo:

9. Turn right and run out of transition:

(There were 2 guys just to the left of the frame in those last 9 shots that were watching this process. “No...he’s not gonna...oh my God...I think he really is...holy shit...” I wish Steph had gotten a photo of their reaction as I was putting this stuff on!)

So, I headed out for a nice 13.1 mile run in that outfit! Let’s just say, it was a huge hit out there! I’ll be back in a day or 2 with photos from the run, along with the exciting and entertaining finish. You won’t be disappointed! Thanks everyone!

Update: Here's a link to "Part 2" of this race report.


RunBubbaRun 6:02 AM, September 09, 2008  

I would have said "holly shit" as well, than said, Oh that is just that speedo guy..

Great job on the swim and bike.

Unknown 7:23 AM, September 09, 2008  

You're gonna hava a hard time writing a race report that tops the video from your last post. ;p

Chris 7:32 AM, September 09, 2008  

OMG that costume is hilarious. Even more sad is with your run speed, you probably passed a lot of people. I wonder what it feels like getting passed by death, himself.

Charlotte 7:55 AM, September 09, 2008  

A play by play - with peeing?!?!! Can I please quote you and use that pic on my blog? You just definitively answered every question I've ever had (that everyone else has refused to answer for me) about peeing in a tri. My hero!

Sara 8:00 AM, September 09, 2008  

First off - that video was hilarious. Secondly, the race report so far is just as hilarious and we haven't even gotten to the best part! Can't wait for Part 2!

JT 8:15 AM, September 09, 2008  

That's crazy :-)

I have the same problem with my speedplays. I step carefully because they get clogged up easily!

CoachLiz 8:20 AM, September 09, 2008  

Between "This lake will make you itch" and the look on your face while you are peeing, I am laughing so hard that my sides hurt.

Oh I wish Steph would have gotten a photo of the reaction of those guys in T2 with you.

Wendy 8:23 AM, September 09, 2008  

Ohhhhhhhh my goodness. You are hilarious!

Jess 8:42 AM, September 09, 2008  

Great report so far! Can't wait to hear the second half!

I would have never thought of applying Body Glide to my face -- just goes to show I wouldn't be qualified to run in a Grim Reaper outfit!

Anonymous,  8:47 AM, September 09, 2008  

Love the pictures!! Nice job on the swim and bike, esp being unclipped part of the way!

Looks like a lot of fun :D

Alili 8:52 AM, September 09, 2008  

Ooh clay and mud are speedplay poison-been there, done that--great bike split though!

Love the transition shots and I can't wait for the rest of the story!

Marie-Claude 9:00 AM, September 09, 2008  

Arrrghhh!!! I want more!! You can't leave us like that with just half of the story???

:) 9:05 AM, September 09, 2008  

You are the most kick-assiest!

You guys are scaring me about my new pedals.... :(

Mud bad.

Jess 9:07 AM, September 09, 2008  

Oh my gosh I cannot wait for the pictures from the run!!!

Jeff 9:30 AM, September 09, 2008  

Nothing like a good cliff hanger!

Nitmos 9:33 AM, September 09, 2008  

I hope you used that sickle to tap on folks shoulders as you came up behind them. Death is calling. heheheh

Marcy 9:51 AM, September 09, 2008  

Dude, I don't think we've seen you take a shit on the pot either :P Just sayin . . .

LMAo you're such a nut. I love it.

Brian 9:53 AM, September 09, 2008  

Please delete marcy's comment. I really don't want to see anything even close to that.

My speedplay pedals give me grief with the smallest amount of dirt in them.

Lily on the Road 9:57 AM, September 09, 2008  

OMG, you ALWAYS crack me UP! You are too funny. Love the race report & can hardly wait to read the rest of it...Love all the pic's ~ pee pic's included, just saying!

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 10:01 AM, September 09, 2008  

Looking forward to race report Part Deux.

anna jo 10:29 AM, September 09, 2008  

I love that you put body glide on your face.

sRod 10:36 AM, September 09, 2008  

I'm surprised there wasn't video of T2.

Taconite Boy 11:02 AM, September 09, 2008  

Thank you

A timely laugh for me this morning.

Cy 11:08 AM, September 09, 2008  

Classic-Never dull when I stop over at your blog Steve.

Can't wait to see Part 2!

JenC 11:22 AM, September 09, 2008  

OMG, you are too funny! LMAO! Love the video too!

Kelly 11:30 AM, September 09, 2008  

Good job on the bike! Can't wait to read the rest.

Aron 11:43 AM, September 09, 2008  

OMG i CANNOT imagine running in that... how did you even breathe?!? LOL cant wait for the rest!

Stef0115 11:57 AM, September 09, 2008  

Just imagining the looks on those guys faces in T2 as they were watching you provided laughs.

That costume is so good -- and HILARIOUS!

Hurry up with part 2 (please)!!

GoBigGreen 12:50 PM, September 09, 2008  

I so wish i had seen this "live!"
Glad you didnt get TOO wet. Sunday was a bit iffy wasnt it.

Kim 12:51 PM, September 09, 2008  

steve, i was just laughing aloud at my desk. effin hilarious, pictures and that video. god i love you...in a totally non-sexual way pharmie ;)

sunshine 12:53 PM, September 09, 2008  

I LOVE IT!!!! I've been waiting to see the photos (nice peeing shot) and hope you captured the crowds reaction during the run. :)

Joe V 1:00 PM, September 09, 2008  

Nice! I can't believe you really did it. Well, I can, but still... Hilarious...

ShirleyPerly 1:07 PM, September 09, 2008  

This just keeps better and better. Look forward to Part II!

Gotta Run..... 1:29 PM, September 09, 2008  

A few questions...
1. Really... what is the arrow all about on the wetsuit?
2. Where you actually peeing while you snapped the photo? That would take true skill.
3. What the heck is body glide on the face for? That is a first for me.

Dude... you said you would do it and the Grim Reaper was just to freaking funny. I would have paid good money to see the looks on other faces!!

Tyger Lily 1:43 PM, September 09, 2008  

More! More! More!

You are the BEST!

Danielle in Iowa in Ireland 3:15 PM, September 09, 2008  

I think the moral of this story is that you need to man up and learn how to pee while on the bike :-)

Greg 5:26 PM, September 09, 2008  

I struggle to run 10k's let alone in a grim reaper costume...can not wait for part 2....

Marci 6:27 PM, September 09, 2008  

And you ran the whole 13.1 miles in that grim reaper costume? Congrats on a great swim and bike :)

MissAllycat 6:41 PM, September 09, 2008  

Seen you pee?? Pffft. I practically felt the warmth of your pee. :)

teacherwoman 7:20 PM, September 09, 2008  

1) Please tell me you didn't pee anywhere near the corn. I HEART corn and don't think I could eat it anymore without the thought of you pissing in a corn field.

2) I just have to laugh at the sequential pictures of you dressing for the run. The thought of inocent bystanders watching you and not "knowing" you ... makes me crack up!

akshaye 7:45 PM, September 09, 2008  

Haha.. the sequence shot was awesome.. print it out and make a comic book!

KaraP 8:30 PM, September 09, 2008  

That was flippin' hilarious. I thought I saw death on my first triathlon, but I now realize, I was mistaken. Too funny with the dance and the costume.

Journey to a Centum 8:50 PM, September 09, 2008  

I think I've seen enough.

You should try the North Face Canadian Death Race with that outfit. You might just blend in. Of course the run would kill you so you would be dressed appropriatly.

Wes 8:54 PM, September 09, 2008  

Steve, you're nuts dude! But I like it :-) Did you end up with the itch or no? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Darrell 9:24 PM, September 09, 2008  

You is crazy!!

Is the lake really square?

Sonia 10:39 PM, September 09, 2008  

Good race so far!! Can't wait to read how the costume hold on!" You're insane, thanks for the entertainment! LOL

T 12:53 AM, September 10, 2008  

i'm just waiting and curious to see how you actually did.

and the reaper? STILL LOVING IT, man.

Shannon 5:24 AM, September 10, 2008  

Love your blog....the grim reaper?....hilarious...

Anonymous,  6:39 AM, September 10, 2008  

Laughing to much to write.....

TRI TO BE FUNNY 8:14 AM, September 10, 2008  

Dude--it just doesn't stop with you! You are the reason why people SHOULD do triathlons--FUN, FUN, FUN!!

Nancy 9:55 AM, September 10, 2008  

Nice work. Looks like a blast. I also have to add, you two look pretty awesome in your wetsuits. If someone took that picture from behind of me, I would have to hunt them down. :D

Totters 11:37 AM, September 10, 2008  

Wow. Just...wow. I have finally just started my own blog after reading yours religiously for the past few months. You might be one of the funniest people I know...AWESOME costume.

JP Severin 1:21 PM, September 10, 2008  

This is some ridiculous stuff. LOVE IT! Thanks for all the good vibrations for the IM WISC race. It went well!

Fizzgig 1:29 PM, September 10, 2008  

thats hilarious!!! If you keep that up you may make the news..and have your own show some day!

Mnowac 3:11 PM, September 10, 2008  


Nice job on the swim and bike.

Kevin 3:12 PM, September 10, 2008  

Cant wait to see the run report.

Runner Mom 3:18 PM, September 10, 2008  

Oh, Grim Reaper, thanks for visiting my blog! I loved hearing about the race! Great pics! I have to agree with Robin--Gotta Run--why on earth did you put body glide on your face? Is that answer one for an entire post? Looking forward to hearing about the rest!

b 3:45 PM, September 10, 2008  

Simply stellar Steve! can't wait for part II now :-)

triguyjt 3:55 PM, September 10, 2008  

Never...a dull moment....

great job on the bike, with the cleat slippage too!!!!

You reap what you reap

Rainmaker 7:04 PM, September 10, 2008  

Wow...dude, seriously...wow. Ass slapping, leakage and a big ass blade all in one post. Sweet.

Mendy 7:36 PM, September 10, 2008  

LMAO at Marcy! OMG, we saw a pic of you peeing. I'm not that really shocked...

What is the arrow on your wetsuit pointing at?

Great race report (so far), but gotta say I still enjoyed that video.

Gena 8:30 PM, September 10, 2008  

Yeah, I might have looked at you oddly too, if I saw you running in a Grim Reaper outfit...

Alice 9:16 PM, September 10, 2008  

Oh my, way more information than I wanted to know, and yet, I could not stop reading... Strangely compelling...

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