The American Triple T. What's that you say? I'm so glad you asked. The Triple T is four triathlons in three days. I sounds really hard, but I am here to tell you that no matter how hard it sounds it is a thousand times worse in real life. It's still almost too painful to remember so this will be an abbreviated description of the weekend.
Friday.....Picked up my race packet. One of the greatest ideas HFP ever had was having every athlete wear the exact same singlet in every race. You really feel like you are part of something special. A brotherhood and sisterhood of athletes ready to suffer together and pull each other through. Friday we did a super sprint triathlon. 250 meter swim, 6K bike and a 1 mile run if I remember correctly. A great little warm-up then off to the brew pub for dinner
Saturday Morning.....Olympic distance triathlon. .9 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.55 mile run. Got through the swim with no problem. Then came the bike. A tough loop through the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Some really tough climbs that really sucked the strength out of your legs. But it was the first real race of the weekend so I pushed through it and then took off on the run. The run course is the same all weekend. Very hilly and even though it is in the woods there is no where near as much shade as you would think. It is a really tough course. But again, being the first real race I pushed the run the whole way and finished feeling tired, but not completely wiped out.
Saturday Afternoon.....Olympic Distance Triathlon 24 mile bike, .9 mile swim, 6.55 mile run. Just to screw with us we did the bike portion first. There is a long steady climb out of transition, then a four mile descent at 35 to 45 mph speeds and then a long flat stage to the turnaround at 12 miles out. So now do you remember that 4 mile screaming descent I told you about. Guess what happens on the way back. Yup. A steep, grueling climb back up. Now most long climbs have spots where the grade evens out for a few yards or so and some even give you a little downhill to enjoy. But not this hill. You pretty much have to push yourself to your limit the entire way up. It was miserable. The only saving grace is the 2 mile descent to the finish. But by then I was so tired I could hardly stand up. But I somehow struggled into my wetsuit and headed to the lake for a nearly one mile swim. That was more no fun at all. A whole lot of people cramped up in the water or upon exiting the water. I avoided that, but it was really tough to see as people just fell over grabbing their legs. It was awful. And I still had the 6.55 mile hilly ass run to do. I ended up walking the uphills and running the flats and downhills, but I still made pretty good time (for me at least) and ran across the finish without puking. Once I warmed down all that crap hit me and I just wanted to die. I have never been that miserable in my life. I don't even know how I made it back to the hotel. I showered, ate and went right to bed. Here is a sad part of the story. My body was so revved up from the day that I couldn't sleep. I was so tired I was delirious but got almost no rest at all which brings us to......
Sunday.....Half Ironman Triathlon.....2.4 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. Bennys Bad Day. I got out of bed and headed to my car. There were two people loading up their cars to go home. They had just given up and were not even going to try and finish the race. I have to admit that I was just a little jealous. I drove to the race site and set up my transition and pulled on my wetsuit. I was beat. Tired, sore, and unmotivated. I started to look around and all I saw were people with blank stares and I knew that they were thinking the same thing I was. "I'll just get through the swim and then maybe call it a day". Surprisingly I got through the swim in my average time for that distance and started to feel a bit better on the bike. I won't even describe this bitch of a bike course to you. Nothing I say can convey how miserable it was. 56 miles of pain. It just sucked. I was never so happy to get off of a bike in my like. Then I still had that stupid run to go. I ran the first 3 miles then started walking the uphills and running the flat sections and the downhills. The whole run is a blur to me except for the last 3 miles where I hooked up with two amazing women. We dragged each other through the last three miles and sprinted to the finish together.
There are races where I have felt funny taking a medal at the end. I once got a medal for finishing a 10K. Ummmm...Why? But this damn medal is one I earned ten times over. I have never dug so deep or tested myself so completely as I did this last weekend. I left everything on the race course. You don't just finish this race as much as you survive it. I would say to anyone who thinks about doing this race to do it. It will be the hardest thing you have ever done, but also one of the most fulfilling. I don't think I will ever do it again, but not because it was on my bucket list. It just hurt that much. I am a five time Ironman finisher and I have never done anything harder than the TTT. Not even close.