Beach to Battleship HIM - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
50F / 10C
Total Time = 5h 40m 33s
Overall Rank = 26/235FEM
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 4/30
Pre-race routine:

4th AG (females 30-34)- missed podium by 17 seconds. Dang! ;-)
26th Female Overall
142nd Overall

**NOTE: This race was a monster 33 minute HIM PR for me... and it came 100% thanks to cooler weather (I usually race in 80F+), increased bike fitness (although not increased speed) and drastically improved running ability.

4:30 AM wake-up; caught shuttle bus at 6:30AM to transition area
1.5 bagels with a bit of peanut butter at hotel room
Coffee with cream and sugar
Banana about 30 minutes before start
Gatorade (Fierce Grape) right up until my swim start

Scott's wave went off 15 minutes before mine, so I just walked around the starting area in some throw away socks. I kept rethinking my decision to not wear booties.
Event warmup:

Practice 1500m swim in channel on Thursday morning (with Livestrong, bcooper and TriBee) followed by 25 minute run.

No warm-up on race morning

Met jmkizer from (Janyne) in T1, which was awesome! Being able to chat with her calmed my nerves. :-)
  • 34m 36s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

4th AG swim
28th Female swim

I was expecting to feel a strong current (like 2009 Augusta 70.3), but it wasn't there. There was a very slight current that softly moved us beyond our deep water starting point and we had to scull back to the invisible "start" line. At Augusta, the current was so strong that you had to hold on to a dock or you'd be swept away-- there was no swimming back to anything. The B2B swim director posted on that unfortunately, the participants in the 2010 Full Iron distance got zero current to work with and those of us in the Half Iron distance got very little to work with. I would have to agree. Maybe 2011 will produce the fast swim times that 2009 saw.

There was also a decent amount of wind blowing which created a light chop on the surface of the water. I sipped on salt water frequently. Despite the fact that I did a 1500m practice swim 2 days before the race in the same channel, I still could not navigate this course very well. I think it was a combo of the light chop plus the fact that all the land markers looked very similar (beach houses with docks, white boats anchored in the channel).

Based on my Augusta time (strong current, wetsuit, freshwater) and my FL 70.3 time (no wetsuit, no current, fresh water), I expected a time that was closer to Augusta; however, what I got was a time that was oddly closer to FL (nearly 7 minutes or so slower than Augusta and 5 minutes faster than Florida). So for me, this swim (this particular year) was not a big "benefit" to this race. I'm actually happy about this as it better reflects my performance ability at a race that isn't "aided" by anything. I like this.

Time aside, I enjoyed the cool water. I did my swim practice on Thursday in booties, but felt that they limited my ability to kick AND I actually felt warm near the end of the swim. On race day, I opted to go "bootie-less" and was completely fine. The chip-n-seal asphalt on the run to T1 which bothered my feet so much on Thursday, I did not even notice on race day. Ah, the beauty of adrenaline!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I swim a whopping two days a week at most and sometimes I'm lucky to get to the pool one day a week, so I really can't ever complain about my swim effort. It is what it is and for the most part it serves me well enough.
Transition 1
  • 05m 28s

I opted to skip the wetsuit strippers and I'm glad that I did. I ran to T1 with my wetsuit pulled down to my waist and my cap/goggles still on my head. This was done on purpose. I wanted to keep as warm as I could and it was about 1/4 mile run to my transition spot. My wetsuit got stuck a bit on my heels which I expected-- coming from South FL, I have VERY limited practice with a full wetsuit.

I took my good 'ole time in transition, which is odd for me b/c I actually consider myself a bit of a T1 specialist. LOL! This time, however, I wanted to make sure that I had everything that I might need b/c T1 was going to be broken down as soon as the last rider left the area. I also wanted to make a smart decision about what to wear on the bike.

I opted to stay in my damp tri tank and shorts. I stuffed a piece of mylar down the front of my shirt and put my arm warmer "donuts" on (I rolled them up about 1 mile into the bike). I also added gloves. I already had toe warmers on my bike shoes and slipped on a thin pair of socks. I figured that my aero "sperm" helmet would keep my head warm. I had a vest in my changing bag, but I opted not to use it. I'm glad I made this choice. I would have FRIED on the bike with a vest on!
What would you do differently?:

Make a firm decision about what to wear on the bike before the race starts. This way I can lay my items out in an orderly fashion and hence, have a quicker T1 time.
  • 2h 56m 47s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.01 mile/hr

4th AG bike
43rd Female bike


I have over-biked BOTH of my previous HIM races and both times I paid for it on the run. This time around I did things differently, I kept my cadence high and spun, spun, spun. I was probably in Zone 2 all day except for the bridges and a few spots of dead-on head wind.

I was comfortable temperature wise on the bike. I lost my gloves at aid station #1 and would have liked to have been able to remove the mylar from my chest but it was quite windy and I didn't want to take a chance that just as I was trying to take out the sheet and crumble it up, a sidewind would hit and blow me and my little bike off the road. I left arm warmers up the entire ride, but I could have lost them at aid station #1 as well if I possessed the bike handling skills to remove them.

I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable on my bike. Anyone who was riding behind me was probably laughing their butt off regarding the 'ants in my pants'. I have never wished for my road bike more than I did on race day. I wanted to throw my tri bike into the bushes. My zip-tie on my Adamo saddle broke and the two nose prongs ended up pushing on my adductor muscles creating a terrible cramping feeling. I was quite miserable. :-(

I set my Garmin to autolap at the 28 mile mark:
28 mile Garmin split: 1:31:22;
56 mile Garmin split: 1:26:15
What would you do differently?:

New saddle, new fit... maybe ride my road bike instead of my tri bike (I was certainly passed by enough road bikes). I did very well with keeping my cadence high and hence, managing my energy and saving my muscles for the run; however, I know that I could have pushed a little bit harder as RPE was pretty low. I played it very safe on the bike in order to hopefully have a good run.

Nutrition: 2 pop-tarts + 70oz of Orange Gatorade mixed with Carbo Pro, 3 S! Caps. Total calories: @ 994. At the 3rd aid station I mixed the last of my Orange gatorade with a fresh bottle of water. Tried to pee on the bike during the last 10 miles, but couldn't do it. This would return to haunt me later.
Transition 2
  • 03m 5s

Handed my bike off to a volunteer and ran to T1 with my helmet still on. They didn't ask for it, so I just kept it on. Just as with T1, I took my grand 'ole time in T2. I fumbled around with the knot on the top of my changing bag before realizing that I should just rip the darn thing apart. Dumb. I also had secured my handheld water bottle in a second bag within the changing bag and had to remove it and then open that bag. I did this b/c I didn't want it accidentally opening up and getting my running shoes wet.

I popped my running shoes on and forgot to secure the "bell shaped pulley" on the Lock Laces, so the darn thing banged against my foot for 13.1 miles. I grabbed my race belt, visor and handheld and put them on as I ran towards the "RUN OUT". I crossed over the timing mat and realized that I still really needed to pee.
What would you do differently?:

Just as with T1, I would think through T2 a bit better and plan accordingly. I would also have elected to use a potty within T2 and not after I had crossed the timing mat (which skewed my 1/2 marathon time).
  • 2h 00m 39s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 13s  min/mile

7th AG run
41st Female run

What a beautiful course! Definitely not flat, but not continuously hilly either. There were two large bridges that needed to be crossed twice and then a few steep hills within the downtown section. A nice stretch of flat cobblestone road was as scenic as it gets... and my feet/legs actually enjoyed the cobbles!

My first ever strong run at the HIM distance thanks to smart nutrition and good bike pacing. I am bummed by the time, however, since my Garmin had this course long (13.37 miles). My husband had the course .2 miles long as well. Oh well, what can ya do?

I lost a full minute in a port-a-let right after the T2/Run timing mat (yes, I watched my watch tick-tock-tick-tock while what seemed like a gallon of urine streamed from me). Also, when I went to pull up my shorts, my race belt somehow got twisted up and caused my bib number to break away from one side. So I had to run with a flippy/floppy bib number. Talk about annoying! I lost 3rd place in my AG group because of this pee break (by a mere 17 seconds). I might rethink that potty stop next time around. :-)

The outgoing bridges required a lot of mental focus on my part. I felt really good but I knew that I still had some other hills within the course to navigate and I had to revisit those bridges again on the way back. So I held back. Somewhere around mile 2.5, my right glute/hip began to feel very tight. I've been dealing with some right hip pain, so this didn't surprise me; however, it felt a bit different this time. By mile 6, the pain had moved down to my knee! ITBS... decided to revisit me at this race after a 10 month break! Why these things happen, I have no idea.

The IT band pain grew considerably worse on the back half of the course... which contained a lot of gradual declines heading back to downtown. I even told the volunteer at the bottom of the Ann St. hill that it sure did hurt a lot more going down than it did going up. As crazy as this sounds, I found myself looking forward to the inclines on the course as well as the two bridges, b/c the only time my ITB didn't hurt was when I was going UP something. Around mile 10, I considered walking because I feared that I might bust my ITB completely and would have to forgo my February marathon; however, one look at my watch and I changed my mind. I was so close to breaking my OPEN half-marathon PR that I couldn't just STOP. I was nearly in tears from the pain, but I mustered on.

My pace was spot on. I was holding between an 8:50-9:00 for most of the race which is what I thought I could run. My cardio was super sound and if it hadn't been for the severe ITB pain, I know that I could have run 8:40-8:50 the entire way back to the battleship. I'm a bit bummed about this, but the good news is that I KNOW that I have more on the table to give in future races. I am fairly confident that I could have run a 1:56 "IF" I had not taken a potty break and if my IT band had been cooperating.

Nutrition: 4 Vanilla power gel packs (440 cals total) taken every 25 minutes, approx 40oz of water via a handheld bottle (I just added aid station cups to it) and 2 S! Caps. I should have taken an additional S!Cap.

As I mentioned above, my Garmin had this course at 13.37 miles. So according to my watch I averaged a 9:01 pace with the following splits:
10:24 (included 1 minute port-a-let break);
2:53 (final .37 miles)
What would you do differently?:

I only recently started to up my running mileage in preparation for a February marathon and it has done wonders for me. I believe that as I continue to build a more solid running base that there is no reason why I can't continue to chop off time from the HIM half-marathon. I still have a lot of room for improvement here.

That being said, this was the best executed run I've done at this distance, for sure! I know how to approach this run now and I'm confident that I can continue to improve.
Post race
Warm down:

Quick freebie massage 'after' visiting the medical tent.

At the entrance to the Battleship, I decided to run the rest of the race at 10K pace. I expunged whatever energy I had left. I crossed the finish line and fell into my husband's arms (he had crossed about 10 seconds before I did). It was so neat... the announcer actually said, "The LaBree's are both here!" A concerned medical volunteer noticed that I was sort of hanging on my husband and came over to us. She immediately ushered me into the warming tent, wrapped me in a couple of mylar blankets and laid me down on a cot. I remember feeling very hot, very dizzy and then very, very cold. Salt was caked on my skin. I must have sat in the med tent for about 40 minutes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My swim was good, my bike was good and my run was excellent. I was limited by adductor pain on the bike caused by a poor fit/bad saddle choice and severe IT band pain on the last half of the run. I keep thinking to myself... if only I had been pain free, if only... but that's part of the challenge of these long distances races, right? Staying injury free is often what sets one athlete apart from the next athlete.

Event comments:

SetUpEvents is TOP NOTCH. Ironman brand aught to be ashamed of itself. I would recommend this event and any other SetUpEvents branded race to anyone! My husband and I will be back, that's for sure!

Volunteers and event staff were out of this world! The people of Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, NC should be awfully proud of themselves! Bravo!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-03-26 12:00 AM
00:34:36 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 4/30
Overall: 28/235FEM
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vector Pro Full
Course: Point to point swim in salt water channel with quite a few zig-zag turns. Not very well marked. Current was not as much help this year as it had been in previous years. There was also a good amount of wind at the swim start which created an annoying chop.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:28
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:56:47 | 56 miles | 19.01 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/30
Overall: 43/235FEM
Performance: Good
28 mile Garmin split: 1:31:22; 56 mile Garmin split: 1:26:15
Wind: Strong
Course: 56 mile loop with 2 bridges to cross (one medium sized overpass and one large bridge near the finish). Loaded with false flats. Swirly winds leaning towards head/cross on the way out and tail/cross on the way back. has windspeed during the HIM bike at 8-11 mph out of the ENE with 13mph gusts. On a calm day, this would definitely be a very fast course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 93
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:05
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:00:39 | 13.1 miles | 09m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 7/30
Overall: 41/235FEM
Performance: Good
My Garmin had this course at 13.37 miles. My husband's watch had the course long too. Not sure what's going on here. Anyway, according to my watch I averaged a 9:01 pace with the following splits: 10:24 (included 1 minute port-a-let break); 9:04; 8:56; 9:02; 8:51; 8:54; 8:59; 8:44; 8:46; 8:51; 9:04; 9:07; 8:58; 2:53 (final .37 miles)
Course: Out and back over two large waterway bridges (Cape Fear River), through downtown Wilmington over smooth roads and cobblestone roads, gentle inclines/declines throughout course with an additional whopper of a short hill on Ann St. The 6.6 mile turnaround was within a beautiful shady park. Coming from South FL, this course was challenging, but fair. Definitely not flat. My Garmin had this course long at 13.37 miles, making my average pace 9:01 (which is the effort that it felt like for me).
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5