Ironman 70.3 Racine - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Racine, Wisconsin
United States
95F / 35C
Total Time = 6h 02m 11s
Overall Rank = 836/2150
Age Group = F40-44
Age Group Rank = 48/145
Pre-race routine:

We stayed with friends in Racine, but our routine was pretty much the same as at home. I did try to eat slightly more than normal, but by this I mean one egg in addition to my sandwich. I may add ensure into my routine as I do get hungry in these long days but can't choke down much more solid food in the morning.
Event warmup:

1.2 mile swim.
  • 41m 33s
  • 2078 yards
  • 01m / 100 yards

The water in Lake Michigan near Racine is beautiful. The beach is pristine, and overall, this swim was really joyful. The swimmers seemed much more proficient as a whole and that made it easier to work on things like drafting and leaving my head down for more than a stroke or two. Rarely came close to anyone doing anything besides freestyle. Everything about the swim was absolutely wonderful. Except that I am so slow. That and the full awareness that this was going to be the easiest part of the day. I prefer the term realist over pessimist, but I guess both apply.
What would you do differently?:

I need masters swimming, a coach, or perhaps both. I have regressed somewhat in my swimming, but it's impossible to tell if its hurt my overall performance as differentiated from last year. Hard to tell what my split really was in the water because this included a run up the beach...but still, I was 58 in the swim as opposed to 48 overall, so I could probably gain a couple of places just by bringing my swim down a bit.
Transition 1
  • 03m 51s

I usually try to push the limits on transitions, but, pfah, it was a huge area, and I wanted to make sure I didn't do something boneheaded. Like forget sunscreen or put my helmet on backwards. I did lose some time hunting around for my helmet, glasses, and gu flask which had been unkindly knocked on the ground by one of my faster swimming neighbors. Oh well, I am sure she didn't mean to do it, and at least I had the presence of mind to realize I needed to look for all those things.
What would you do differently?:

Somehow I wasn't holding my body on the ground right for the wetsuit stripper. I can't see getting that right except by practice. Oh and there was sand on the ground, so if you don't want sand on your butt at Racine, don't use the strippers. Overall they probably got my suit off quicker than I could have. Everything else was pretty much as fast as I could do it.
  • 2h 53m 49s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.33 mile/hr

56 miles is a long time to ride a bike in the aero position. I did try to regulate and my RPE corresponded with my HR in a very reasonable zone. I did think about dropping it down even more, but frankly, I was not sure how slow I should go to mitigate the looming disaster. I tried to shoot for a middle ground. I figured there was a good chance I could go very easy on the bike and still have a horrendous run, yet I knew it was foolish to go all out on the bike (maybe not finish the run?).
What would you do differently?:

I actually think I would pace this similarly in similar conditions, but I would not drink as much as I did on the bike (see the run). Good news is I nailed the bottle handoffs, first time I ever did them!
Transition 2
  • 02m 40s

Almost had to take a knee when I reapplied sunscreen and it hit a previously undiscovered chafe spot on the back of my neck. Owowow. Thou shalt apply glide to your neck before donning thy wetsuit.
What would you do differently?:

Not much.
  • 2h 20m 18s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 43s  min/mile

I ran the first 6 miles and had to drop down to a run walk for the second six. The combo platter of the mental blow of turning around the first time at the finish line (I am a very mental runner) and some somewhat exciting numbers on my HRM led me to the conclusion that I was going to end up on a stretcher if I didn't manage the rest of the run carefully. So I went to a 20 count strategy. 20 walk, 20 run. For. six. miles. It's right up there in my top 5 "moments in endurance sports that made me cry." Except I couldn't tears would come out.

Actually as I got further into it I did rest less and run more.

It really sucked. The worst part was hitting 12 miles and knowing I couldn't even run that far without stopping again. I finally stopped my walking maybe about 1/2 mile from the finish. This was my slowest Half Marathon ever. By about a half an hour. And I earned every minute of it.
What would you do differently?:

I may actually need to be careful about overhydrating the day before, and on the bike (I took in at least 3 full bottles on the bike). I think I might have become slightly hyponatremic by the end (severely swollen fingers, no urine for a long time).

I may also need to incorporate salt sticks into my run routine, especially in the heat. I'll be researching that and using them for the rest of the summer.

Mostly I think my run is going to improve vastly when I finally get off my butt and lose about 5-10 lbs. I've been hanging on to this last little bit of weight from the baby for far too long, and it will be the easiest way to gain speed, especially on hot days like this one.

However, I don't consider this run a total bust. I adapted to my situation mid-race and came up with a solution that allowed me to finish with some of my pride intact. I don't like walking, but it was what I needed to do to finish the race.
Post race
Warm down:

Kind of staggered around looking for my buddies. Just felt sick and out of sorts. Pretty much beat up by the run and wanting to get out of the heat, out of my wet clothes, and begin the healing process. Managed to pack up transition and rode home (the slowest 3 miles the QRoo has ever seen).

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My weight. The heat. Inexperience at this distance. And the usuals: my personal training, ability, and mental toughness.

Event comments:

The race organizers did manage to keep up for the most part, at least for the time I was out on the course. I enjoyed the fact they had ice at the aid stations on the run. The RD's course talk on Saturday was hilarious...the guy should go into stand up.

Everything was on time and organized.

The after party was subdued. Kind of thought there would be more hoopla than that at an Ironman branded event. Maybe it's because everyone was in the Medical tent.

OK, so I have a habit of being emotionally traumatized by new race distances, and this is no different. I was kind of bummed yesterday after the race. I felt awful, I was unsure of how to feel about my performance, and overall, I wasn't sure if I had a good time. It is probably a good thing I signed up for Steelhead before this race, because at least now I am committed and can't avoid a second shot at this distance.

But the good news is, as I replenish myself and start to reflect on the experience, I find that I am excited about Steelhead! Sure I had a rough time at Racine, but that first time monkey is off my back, and I know what to expect now! I learned so much, and so many people had a rougher time than me. And, to be honest, so many people did so much better than me, and that intrigues me. I want to figure out how to improve next time.

Most hobbies don't have the potential to devastate you physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. I mean, you poke yourself with a embroidery needle, you put a little bandaid on. Miss the target during archery practice, you lose an arrow. Miss a ceramics class, and there's another one next week. But this sport is rough. You can train for months for one race and if it goes badly, you may not get another chance for a long time. You can hurt yourself, have a mechanical, or just not have the day you were aspiring to, and any of these things can get you down if you let them. I am still pretty new to triathlon and am still learning how to deal with the rough days.

But after reading thru some of the other Racine racers experiences, I think the key to enjoying the sport through all of its potential ups and downs is the satisfaction of having a shared experience with so many like minded souls. Oh, and beating as many of them as possible. Haha. Kidding. Sort of. Not really. Thanks for reading.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-12-29 12:00 AM
00:41:33 | 2078 yards | 01m / 100yards
Age Group: 58/145
Overall: 1055/2150
Performance: Average
Suit: Nineteen Frequency Full Sleeve
Course: Point to point from North Beach back to transition. Along the shoreline.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:51
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:53:49 | 56 miles | 19.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 38/145
Overall: 855/2150
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Classic Midwestern rolling hills etch a sketch course. 33 turns most of them 90 degrees. Not much wind (SSW at about 7 or 8). Road condition was atrocious for much of the course.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 02:40
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:20:18 | 13.1 miles | 10m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 48/145
Overall: 836/2150
Performance: Below average
Course: Two 6 mile loops on the path along the lake and on Main street. The Racine peeps had tons of sprinklers and hoses. One couple would shout instructions and had a whole system for spraying you off...they kept it up for the whole time I was out there.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4