Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hitting the Ground Running..........

5 September 2010- Sokcho, South Korea-

I arrived back in Korea on the 1st of September. Korea missed me so much it decided to welcome me back with a Typhoon my first day. I was lucky enough to get into town early enough to go off base enjoy a quick dinner and a beer down at the VFW. Jeremy who was stationed with me at Seymour Johnson picked me up at the bus station and then grabbed dinner and a beer with me. He was quite surprised when we went down to the VFW and it was like a small homecoming, everyone was happy to see me and some didn't know I was coming back so they were a little shocked. It felt good to be back to somewhere so familiar and too still have great friends around.

I couldn't think of a better way to get to Korea then to have a line up of races my first two months here. It started off this weekend with Sokcho Olympic Distance Triathlon. Jeremy is new to the Triathlon scene and I convinced him to come along to race. I couldn't do all the racing in Korea without Des. Des has been here in Korea for a total of something crazy like 15 years (I am not sure how long but his experience with traveling is what I rely on). I now call Des my "Logistical Manager" and rely on him heavily for all of my travel needs and logistics to race here in Korea. I think I ask so much of him he might start asking for a salary, but until then I will just thank him in my blog, because it is much appreciated with everything he does for me.

Jeremy and myself got to a bus station about 30 minutes away thanks to Des giving us a ride there. We then got on a bus for about 4 hours and made it to the city of Sokcho for the race. We biked around the city to find the transition area and race registration area. We got there about an hour too early to register so we went and found a hotel to stay at. We ended up getting a huge room with a flat screen TV, King Bed, Twin Bed, Couch, Computer and A/C for $80. It was about 5 minutes from race start and transition area. The only problem was there was no bridge to get us across a river to the start area, luckily the Koreans are quite smart and there was this boat/barge pull thing with a cable to get us across. It cost about 15cents each way and took about 3 minutes.

Alright enough about all the pre-race stuff and onto the race report.

Swim- I haven't been in the pool much at all due to training for Chuncheon Marathon. We did have a swim meet on base back in Turkey before I left but I just swam the 100M Breast Stroke; which I suck at and got my @ss handed to me! Then I swam the 200M Flippers/Kickboard, they had this event instead of freestyle so that everyone could compete. I swam well in that and my legs felt good. So other than that I hadn't been in the pool much but was hoping I would just be able to survive the swim. It was a 2 lap swim and I felt great on the first lap, the second lap was another story. I could feel myself slowing down and tried to find some feet when someone passed me. Luckily I was able to hang onto some feet for the last 300M and came out of the water feeling good.

Bike- If you are not familiar with Korea, it is a NON drafting country. Well that is what everyone is told, but you should just be prepared to get blown by with a peloton screaming by you. I have hard feelings about "cheating/drafting", but they do not enforce it here. They will come by and blow a whistle and not take down numbers or anything. I have came to the conclusion of join them or get your butt handed to you on the bike. The first lap I couldn't get with a group, I was passing a few of the pro girls who started 20mins ahead of us, they were starting their 2nd lap. They would hang on for a little bit and then fall off. I was riding good and felt strong for not being on the bike much other than the weekly TT's which were every other week for me. I finally caught a group of about 5 riders after a lap and a half and latched on with them. The other problem with these drafters in Korea, only 2 of the guys wanted to do work. I can't stand pulling along 5 guys and having only 2 of them pull their weight. I actually biked a slower 2nd half of the 3 lap course with them, but I was able to save my legs for the run. I came in with a group of 3 to T2 and they got out about 100M in front of me onto the run.

Run- It took me about a mile to get that 100M back and we were running in a group of 4. I was feeling really good on the run and stuck with the group up until mile 4 and then I started pushing hard. I didn't know where I stood overall but thought I was having a decent race and a really good run. I wanted to run my last mile hard and I dug deep and did just that. I caught another foreigner with about 1/4 mile to go and that is when it got fun. When I ran by I said "Well here we go", meaning this is going to be fun. He said "You got to be kidding me", he was disappointed because he had out swam me by about 4 minutes, but I put a minute into him on the bike and then put 2 minutes into him on the run. I made sure when I passed him I went by quick to make him think he couldn't stick with me. He didn't try and stick with me which was good because I am not sure how much of a kick I would of had left. I crossed the line feeling good and was happy with my overall time. Someone came up to me after I finished and told me I was the 2nd Overall individual, which I was in shock about. I knew I had a good race but didn't think it was that good. I was really happy about that and it is one of my best finished in a big race to date. When the official race results came out I thought I was in 1st Overall but overlooked somebody's time and thought they were in the Pro division. So I was really in 2nd Overall.

Swim-27:18 12th/198
Bike-1:05:31 4th/198
Run- 39:19 2nd/198 (1st Place Overall did not have splits for bike/run so I am assuming he was faster)
Overall: 2:12:07 2nd/198 Overall 1st/3 Age Group

Overall I was extremely happy to PR and have a great race returning to Korea. I wish I could of spent more time on the bike and in the pool to have an even better performance, but I am focused on the marathon right now and this was just a good long workout. It was nice to prove to myself that the running is paying off and seeing a good run split after coming off the bike was good.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and been there through the good and bad times. The last couple months in Turkey were great, we had a very dedicated group of athletes that were there and held me accountable to showing up, without them I could of just slept in or went out and not showed up on time.

Below are some pics from the trip and race:
The Triathlon statue down from the registration building and it was also along the run course.

It had all the past results for Age Group and Pro's on the back. I hope to go back for a running race or the Tri next year to get a picture with my name on it :)
Pizza Hut salad bar "dessert", it was my own concoction :)

The swim course, it was a 2 loop course in a protected harbor.

I couldn't find any race pictures of me, but here is one on the race course of a Korean Pro. It was an awesome 2 loop run course with a harbor and mountains in the background!
Up on the podium for my Age Group Award and Medal
Bal Jeong, Jeremy, myself, Staci, Doug
Jeremy getting the fish out of our post race soup. It was something different and we had to give it a try. It wasn't that bad and actually quite feeling!

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