Monday, June 29, 2015

HITS North Country 70.3 Race Recap - Swim Leg

This past Saturday Mike and I raced our second-ever 70.3 at the HITS North Country Half in Hague, New York on Lake George. It was a gorgeous location for a race, but we both knew that the course would have its challenges - specifically on the bike leg.

 Beautiful location for a swim

 The finish line all set up

Friday we drove to Hague to pick up our packets, step into the water (it felt great) and relax before the race on Saturday. Luckily, the way we drove into Hague took us on the bike course so we were able to get a feel for what we would be tackling the next day. We also re-drove the first 5 miles so that we could see how the uphill portion was - it was going to be tough!

Saturday morning we woke up at 4:45am and left our hotel at 5:15am. We stayed in Ticonderoga so we had about a fifteen minute drive to the race start. When we got there lots of athletes were getting ready for their 70.3 or 140.6 mile day. HITS is still on the smaller side and there were about 110 people who finished the half distance.

 Because everyone needs a photo near the port-a-potties

Our designated transition areas were right next to each other (they do it in alphabetical order) and we got all of our stuff set up. Mike's parents came to support us and they arrived around 6am.

After going to the bathroom a few times, we saw our friend Greg drive by. He came to support us as well!

 Ready to go!

Right before 7am, we made the walk down to the lake for the mass start of the swim. The race director, who was also racing the half distance, gave brief pre-swim instructions and then we had about 5 minutes until the start.

Everyone making their way into the water

Mike and I walked out into the water and got in the front of the line. Before we knew it, we had 30 seconds to the start.

Then we were off! The water was pretty shallow in the beginning but I started swimming right away, some people were running near me in the beginning. It took a few minutes to get away from most of the people and then I made the first turn.

The beginning of the swim wasn't the best for me, I just couldn't get in clear water. Two people were constantly on top of me and I had to throw some elbows to finally catch a break! Once I was by the second red buoy (of four), I was in a good rhythm.

I made the turn around the fourth and final red buoy and the sun was in my eyes. I just followed the splashes of people in front of me because it was hard to tell where we were supposed to go. I'm not sure if there were other buoys that we were supposed to follow on the way back or if we were supposed to be near the original buoys. Either way, I just kept swimming back to the start. One of the people who was on top of me in the beginning caught back up to me (he had a very unique wetsuit) and I had to get away from him again.

We had been told before the swim that we would make our final left-hand turn around a small red buoy (it should have been a big one) before making our swim back to the beach. I was sighting off of what I thought was the red buoy, but it was actually a "no wake" marker for the lake. Some people skipped the red buoy and started swimming toward the yellow buoy we went around in the beginning, cutting the course a bit short. I hesitated for a second on what to do, but I went to the red buoy to follow what we had been told to do (Mike did the same thing).

I went by the red and then yellow buoy and knew I was almost done swimming. I had looked at my watch once and knew I wouldn't beat my time at Musselman, but I hoped that I would be close enough. I kept swimming until my hands kept touching the bottom of the lake and then I ran out of the water.

 Mike was the 6th person out of the water!

When I looked at my watch it said that I had swam about 1.4 miles! Most people after the race said that they recorded a long swim course too (Mike had about the same on his watch). I was a bit upset about my swim time because it was so slow, but in reality the course was long.

I ran by Mike's dad and toward transition. There were wetsuit strippers but I skipped them (Mike used them though). I ran into transition as the 15th person overall out of the water and the 4th female.

 Wish this transition had been a bit faster!

I fumbled through transition a bit, my top was so wet it was tough to put my bag with Clif bars in it, and then I grabbed my bike and ran out of transition. I knew that the next part of the race was going to be one of the most challenging rides I had ever done!

Swim Leg (1.2 miles) - Jamie: 35:55, Mike: 33:27
Transition 1 - Jamie: 1:38, Mike: 1:11


  1. That seriously is one of the nicest transition areas I've ever seen! Well done in the water as usual, guys!

    1. HITS is great about their transition areas, the stool is a nice touch!

  2. That's a great position to be in coming out of the water! I'm not surprised, of course. :)