After climbing 1,000 feet the last 5 miles of the bike leg, I finally rode into the transition area. As soon as I crossed the timing mat, I saw our Sherpas! I gave my bike to Kirsten and my helmet and sunglasses to Danielle. Since there are no transition times for SOS Triathlon, this part was technically during my first run leg.
Run Leg 1 (4.5 miles) - Jamie: 49:04, Mike: 47:20
Amazing sherpas! Photo courtesy of Beth
Danielle led me to Mike's SUV where they had all of our race stuff out (well, only mine since everyone else was ahead of me). Danielle grabbed my shoes and started to help me put them on and Mort gave me my swim cap and goggles. I already had my socks on (some people do run without socks, but I needed some extra protection for my feet) and my speedsuit half way on. After grabbing the Clif bar out of my tri top's pocket and handing it to Danielle, I was on my way.
SOS is unique since after the first bike leg, you continue the day by alternating between running and swimming. You only have a Sherpa after the bike leg and then must continue to carry everything with you the rest of the day. You have to run with your swimming stuff and swim with your running stuff. As a result, I went minimal and only had my shoes, socks, cap and goggles. I used the nutrition and fluids on the course for the rest of the race.
The first run started out with a small incline. I was able to run and walk up pretty quickly. I passed a few people and then I seemed to settle into my spot for awhile. It was still cloudy out at this point, but it wasn't raining. There were some really beautiful views and some streams along the route.
The route was a gradual climb for the first 2 miles and then right before 2.5 miles we climbed up Cardiac Hill. I was able to hike up it quickly, and ran a few steps, before welcoming a flatter section of the course.
Not long after the climb, we went by an aid station. I took an energy chew and some water before continuing on. Not soon after, some other participants passed me from the other direction. I was really confused and asked a man near me if it was an out and back. He said no, and that maybe the lakes were closed (since there were threats of lightning the race had told us that there was a possibility some of the lakes could be closed and we would just run to the next section of the race).
I asked some spectators if the lakes were closed, and they thought I said "close". We eventually figured out that the people going by us in the other direction had finished the first swim (I didn't realize the two run courses were so close together).
This section of the run was pretty rocky, there was even a sign warning about "rough trails". The majority of the runs were on carriage roads with gravel, but this section was wet and rocky. I worried about Mike's ankle and focused on my footing. I thought this run leg was going to be 5.5 miles for some reason, but right around 4.5 miles I ran up to the first swim start.
Before I crossed the timing mat, I got my swim cap on and my goggles ready. I took my shoes and socks off and shoved them into the shorts of my speed suit and then zipped up my speed suit to get ready to swim.
Swim Leg 1 (1.1 miles) - Jamie: 29:26, Mike: 28:16
I crossed the mat and then walked down the small trail onto a rock at the edge of Lake Awosting. We were told at the pre-race meeting that we would have to jump in, but I decided to sit down and slide in. I passed people swimming immediately, and started to make up ground (or water?)
There was one buoy at the start of the swim and we had been told to keep the buoys to our right. However, there wasn't another buoy until the end of the swim! Luckily, there were plenty of other people swimming and I just used them to sight off of. There were plenty of kayakers to keep us on course as well.
The water felt great and I loved the swimming parts of the race! It felt good to pass so many people and I was really enjoying myself.
Toward the end of this swim, it got really foggy. At first I thought it was raining, since it also became a bit choppier in the water, but I think that the water temperature was a lot warmer than the air temperature.
Eventually, I saw the buoy indicating the end of the swim. I kept swimming right up to the edge of the lake and then I stood up to get out of the water.
Run Leg 2 (5.5 miles) - Jamie: 46:32, Mike: 55:48
Disclaimer: While the race advertises this section as 5.5 miles, due to a change in the course I believe it was closer to 4.5 miles (that's what I am logging it as anyway).
After crossing the timing mat, I took my goggles and cap off, unzipped my speedsuit and got my shoes and socks back on. A volunteer got me some water while doing so, and then I was ready to run.
We went through a small path along the water's edge before coming back out onto the main carriage path. I ran by the aid station again, and while I asked for water I was handed Gatorade. I drank it anyway and then kept going.
I LOVED this run leg. It was beautiful with plenty of downhill, but also some uphill. The course had been changed due to some construction work on the original course, but I think that benefited us since the other course is harder!
The run from Awosting Lake to Minnewaska Lake took us through the carriage paths and after going to the right near some volunteers, I was alone for awhile. We had a brief uphill and then for a few miles it was nice downhill.
The views were amazing, and even though the weather was improving I really wish it hadn't been as foggy as it was up there! We were running along the ridge and I tried to take it all in even though I was racing.
Thankfully there were these signs on the course! Photo courtesy of Peter J. Scott
After going by a sign directing us on to the new course via the Hamilton Point Carriageway, I had a momentary feeling that I was going the wrong way. Even though I could see a woman up ahead of me, no one else was around! We kept going this way and then eventually I saw a pink sign for the race. I was able to keep up a good pace on this run and pass a few more people.
I took some water at an aid station and an energy chew and then kept going. The sun was coming out at this point, but luckily we were still going downhill. Eventually we had a steep downhill and then a steep uphill before the course flattened out again.
I was near another woman for a little while and we ran by some spectators. They told us we were really close to the next swim, which I was surprised about since I was expecting the run to be around 5.5 miles.
After rounding a corner on a downhill, we were greeted by a volunteer yelling, "welcome to Lake Minnewaska!" I then crossed the timing mat before starting my second swim of the day.
Next up, the final two swims and runs!