White Lake is down east in North Carolina, in Sampson County. From Chapel Hill, one heads SE on I-40 and makes a right turn on Highway 701. That’s about it.
All five of us made the trip. Reservations were secured at the Silver Sands Motel. There are no high-end or even chain properties to choose from down there, and I had no knowledge of the area at all. The Silver Sands had its own “beach”–thirty feet of lakefront sand, interspersed by swamp cypresses draped with Spanish moss, which grew on the shore and even ten feet or so out into the lake. The beach faced west across the freshwater, spring-fed lake, which measures only fifteen feet deep out in the middle, with an average depth of eight feet.
Okay, I wrote the above about ten days ago, and work and life have been so demanding since then that I have only now found a moment to continue. The swim started off good but not great. The sun came out right as the air horn for my wave start sounded, so the sighting buoys and turn buoy were graphite silhouettes backed by a black tree line. But I swam smooth and strong. Better sighting from first turn to second, but then somehow I went way wide right and wound up in no-man’s-land in the middle of the course. Think I swam about 2500 yards. Time was 38 or so. Ugh. Running to T1, my zipper caught the back of my shirt, and after tugging and tugging and jerking, I finally ripped the zipper free, along with a triangular patch of Pearl Izumi tri-top mesh. Ergo, there is a triangle-shaped sunburn on the middle of my back.
The bike course was flat to rolling and very very windy. No fun whatsoever. I never felt smooth or powerful. Ugh. I have to get stronger on the bike. 2:44 or so. Not good enough. Lots of water, and clif shotblox every ten miles.
My Garmin, long story short, crapped out the night before, so I raced with no onboard data whatsoever. I knew that to have a realistic shot at a sub-five-hour finish, I needed to finish the bike by 10:10. I yelled, several times, “Right time please!” as I ran out of T2. At last, a woman piped up behind me, “It’s ten twenty-one!” So I would have to complete the run at a faster pace than I’d ever even finished an open half-mary. Not happening.
The f_____g run. I ran/jogged the first 4 miles, then the wheels came off. It was hot. ‘Nuff said. I was thoroughly discouraged.
I went back to my training log of the workouts leading up to my more successful races. I used to put in less hours at higher intensity on the bike. And this winter, my best run pace was in weeks where I was swimming more. So in the two weeks since White Lake, I’ve swam five times (upping yardage), hit the Sufferfest workouts anew (Boot Factor 5). And today’s run was fast and felt great, even after a swim this morning and a VO2 max ride yesterday.
And thinking about all the time I spend on my feet in a day and a week as a chef … maybe it’s obvious, or self-evident, that I should be doing this type, or a type, of HIIT as opposed to logging long z2 miles on Zwift like I did this spring? Without a coach, it’s trial and error, which is a slow way to learn. Hopefully I’m getting the formula (more) correct this time around. Currently debating myself over whether or not to register for Raleigh 70.3.