14.11.2011 18:51 Alter: 7 yrs

U.S.A. Triahtlete Darrel Williams wins Beach-2-Battleship Full Triathlon

Congratulations to KS-Triathlon Akademie athlete Darrel Williams of Daphne, Alabama, as he finished his season by qualifying for Kona at Ironman Louisville and then won the B2B Triathlon overall in very difficult weather conditions. Darrel is coached by Erica Hemmy. 


Darrel's Race Report:


"With around an 8 week gap from Ironman Louisville it was hard to recover, then train, then taper for B2B. I almost would have preferred it to have been closer so at least that way I wouldn't have had to squeeze in too many long training days. I picked up a small overuse injury after Louisville, just a little tendinitis by my shin close to my right ankle but luckily with the help of Dr. Jeff Conrad, Dr. Sam Sneed and my new coaches at the Katja Schumacher Triathlon Akademie I was able to hold it back and train around the problem allowing it to recover enough for me to race. I didn't feel as confident as I would have liked to going into the race because I hadn't been able to train much on the run and even though I know I can pull a good run out of the bag with minimal training it still played on my mind.

On the 12 1/2 hour drive up to Wilmington, NC I checked the weather on my phone as often as I could and it didn't look promising. Come race day we had a stroke of luck in that the current was in full strength and we would be swimming with it! The race started as a pod of about 50 dolphins came past the swim start, pretty cool I thought as long as it's not sharks! As soon as I got out there the current pushed me along making me feel like an awesome swimmer and I know that's not true! I finished the swim in 47 minutes beating my wetsuit training swim time a few weeks earlier by 17 minutes so I was very happy!

I felt good getting out the water and picked off maybe 20 people running to my bike in T1. I didn't feel too cold at that point and after one failed attempt to get my arm warmers on I said screw it and decided to not put on my sun glasses, socks, arm warmers or gloves. It made for a super fast transition and for the first 5 minutes on the bike I was feeling good about that. 30 miles into the ride I thought I was going to die and realized not taking the time to get warm bike gear on may cost me the race. I was so cold I was shaking violently and by mile 50 I had dropped my nutrition bottle three times and had to stop and go back for it. I dropped it because my hands were too cold to grip it but I had to get my nutrition in somehow. My only solution was to stop at the aid stations and get a volunteer to squeeze my nutrition in my mouth for me and fill my aero bottle with water at the same time. Needless to say saving 1 minute by not putting warmer gear on in transition was costing me far more on the ride! At around mile sixty I was so cold and shivering so bad I felt sure I would have to bail on the race. I came out of the aero position and tried to stand up and crank holding onto the bullhorns but my left arm had got so cold it went numb and gave way. I twisted my wrist and chest planted into the aero bars but luckily managed not to crash. Then to top it all the headwind picked up to around 35mph I'm told and the rain appeared to turn into sleet! I kept telling myself just a few more minutes to see if conditions change and then you can quit, I told myself that over and over for a few more hours until about mile 90 when we seemed to loop around and actually get some tail wind. The sun came out a bit at that time and the fact that the wind was with me warmed me up a little. I wanted to push hard with the tail wind to make up for the damage that had been done during most of the ride but I was so exhausted from shivering that I knew the only chance I had to do well was to loosen up and try and get comfortable ready to do something on the run. I can officially say that was the worst and hardest bike ride I've ever done and getting off the bike that day was a happy feeling!

I blew through T2 and took off on the run. I looked at my watch which said 6.05 so I knew to break 9 hours which was my goal I would need to do a sub 2.55 marathon. Not being able to stick to my nutrition plan on the bike meant that my body was seriously running low on calories, electrolytes and salt. I immediately felt it in my hamstrings which were cramping badly and I had to stop and stretch a few times. I knew the first thing I needed was salt pills so I grabbed a load at the first aid station. I didn't feel myself at all getting off the bike, usually that's the best I feel all day and it's hard for me to keep my pace down at that point but instead my back and shoulders ached so badly from hours of shivering and I actually had to walk a couple of times to loosen my back up. I was surprised to see I was running 6.55's though, it felt more like 8 minute miles! By the half marathon point I had loaded up with calories and started to feel better and for the first time was able to push hard on the run. I looked at my watch and realized a 2.55 marathon was over. As I ran through the downtown section one of the officials told me I was 4th overall and 2nd and 3rd were only 2 minutes ahead. That woke me up from the hard ride and bad feeling on the run so I started to push to chase them down. It wasn't long before I saw them and blew past pretty quickly. Now I was in 2nd but didn't know where the leader was. At mile 20 I was getting tired when ahead I saw a bike with a big yellow flag waving saying overall leader! I had 10k to go and I knew no matter how badly I was hurting I could push hard for that distance and make it. I started pushing harder than I had all day and was closing quickly. With 5 miles to go I had caught him and took the lead. I wanted to make sure he knew there was no chance if coming back on me so I picked up the pace to go past. When I did it it gave me an extra adrenaline rush and I was able to maintain that same speed so went with it. It was really cool having the leader bike with me, he would ask what I needed and go ahead at each aid station so my drinks and nutrition were prepared. The last hill was murder, the head wind pushed into me as I was climbing the long bridge but when he told me this is the last bridge and then it's all down to the finish line I was so full of adrenaline nothing could slow me down. As we ran through all the spectators the bike guy was shouting ‚overall leader coming through’ and everyone was cheering, it was an awesome feeling! When I saw the finish line I was overwhelmed! All the pain on the ride and pushing through on the run was worth it! 


Here's the slowtwitch.com forum on the race that was fun to read as it shows I wasn't the only one out there suffering on that ride!