Ironman Racine 70.3 - Triathlon

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Racine, Wisconsin
United States
Total Time = 5h 35m 8s
Overall Rank = 559/2275
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 20/121
Pre-race routine:

Alarm went off at 3:15A.M. ... Couldn’t even think of hitting snooze though, because today was RACE DAY!!! I woke up in a pretty spry manner, excited about competing in my first 70.3. That’s 70.3 miles of racing... What fun!!

Pre-race meal was coffee, coconut water, and a cold baked sweet potato smothered with peanut butter (don’t judge me). I also ate an Almond Cherry Chunk Bonk Breaker at about 6:15A.M. I knew I would need more fuel than the sweet potato and pb before the race.

Hannah and I drove down to Racine together. Transition opened at 5:00A.M. and we got to transition at about 4:50. There were many athletes and volunteers milling around and the energy was high! Volunteer body markers were ready to go so I stepped up right away to get my number (628) put on. As I put down my belongings, I dropped my coconut water and it landed straight up! The adorable volunteer and I gasped, looked at each other, and agreed right then that it was going to be a good race! We waited a few more minutes and transition opened. Since I am new to triathlon (I had done one triathlon a week prior and another one 4 years prior), I still think and re-think my set-up. I got the set-up the way I wanted, pumped up the tires on the bike, chatted with a few fellow racers, and took some time to take in the sights.

  • 49m 1s
  • 0 meters
  • / 100 meters

The swim course is a point-to-point along North Park Beach in Lake Michigan. We had to walk one mile down the beach from transition to the swim start. The course headed east .1 miles, then turned south for one mile, and then back west for the last .1 miles. My eyes were wide as Hannah, Anna, and I walked and got a clear view of the lake. I had swam in the waters down there three times prior to the race. Each time the water was calm and clear. Today... it wasn’t. There were huge swells. Scary huge. I started to talk myself through the swim as we walked down to the start. Swimming is my weakest of the three disciplines, in respect to speed. I do feel comfortable in the water, however, and with numerous open-water swims leading up to the event, including racing an Olympic tri the week before, I knew I would be able to manage the conditions if I remained calm. I took some time to play in the water before my wave started and I took a Gu about 15 minutes before start. I was grateful that my age group was one of the earlier waves. The race started at 7:00 and my wave set out at 7:20. The last wave of the day started at 8:24. As my age group (women 35-39) was lined up and minutes from starting the race, the announcer asked for a show of hands to see how many were competing in their first 70.3. About 60 percent of the hands went up!! The announcer then emphasized how much support was available all along the course and assured us that we could do this! I got goosebumps. Then we were sounded off to Kelly Clarkson’s song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”. Ummmmm....I started the swim and remained calm like I told myself! I actually even enjoyed the swim at times! It was beautiful to look up to the sky and see the sun coming through the clouds and I felt pretty bad-ass for swimming through water as rough as this! I also looked for yellow swim caps from time to time to reassure myself that I wasn’t the only one in my wave still out in the water. I did see some people get pulled by the lifeguards and heard later of at least one lifeguard boat getting tipped. Slowly and steadily I just kept swimming. It seemed like I would never reach the final red buoy which indicated the turn back to shore, but finally I did. I was relieved to get out of the water and onto the bike! Time was 49:01 which I was thrilled with today!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I did what I could and was proud that I didn’t panic!
Transition 1
  • 03m 50s

I had heard there would be volunteer wetsuit strippers on the sand but was cautioned against using them as sand would get in places I can’t write about. So I ran past the strippers and through the sand to the sidewalk and almost cried out in joy when I saw another group of strippers on the asphalt walkway! I plopped down and the gentleman had my wetsuit off in a matter of a few seconds! I thanked him and headed over to see Betty (my bike, obviously...). I got the shoes, helmet, and sunglasses on, took a Gu, and ran to the mounting line. I checked the clock as I left T1 and was relieved that I was on my bike in well under one hour. I also really had to pee but didn’t want to waste transition time doing that...! Thank goodness I didn’t. T-1 time was 3:50.
What would you do differently?:

Go faster.
  • 2h 53m 15s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.32 mile/hr

I loved the bike portion! The first four to five miles were the most frustrating as I tried to naviagate around people. It was difficult and I am always fearful and conscious of the drafting regulations and didn’t want to incur a penalty. After some passes it cleared out and became easier to ride and, more occasionally that I thought, actually pass people! I was happy with the pace I was maintaining on the bike ride. I was averaging about 20mph for the first 30ish miles. There were some people I kept in my sights and was hoping to stay with and maybe eventually beat them in. One girl had a ‘35’ on her calf so I kept a close eye her as she was a fellow age-grouper. Around mile 25 she sped away and I didn’t see her again until about mile 40 (when I passed her and beat her in...). A couple highlights on the bike course were some amazing groups of spectators. I love to race and do it mostly for fun so I waved to many of the groups and got huge cheers and thanked the volunteers at each of the three aid stations and got more cheers! What do you know... you enjoy the journey and you get paid back with lots of support! The ride was mostly flat with a few rollers. We did encounter some of that strong east wind on portions of the loop heading back in so my average speed dropped after about mile 30. I ate Clif Shot Blocks and drank water with Nuun tablets in the water bottle on my aero bars. I did start to feel my energy lagging a bit at mile 20 and realized I hadn’t eaten yet on the ride so I took some shot blocks and reminded myself to stay diligent about nutrition. I didn’t have any more problems after that. I completed the bike in 2:53:15, average speed of 19.3mph
What would you do differently?:

I would work harder to summon the courage and concentration to pee on the bike. I have not yet been able to do that. I think I have a lot of mental strength but do need to acquire a bit more.
Transition 2
  • 02m 31s

Once again, I didn’t want to waste transition time to pee... I was successful at getting my feet out of my bike shoes about 1/2 mile from transition so I was happy to be able to run in my bare feet instead of bike shoes over to my spot. I racked Betty, took another drink of my water with the Nuun, changed into socks and running shoes, put on my race bib, and my visor. I was ready to RUN! T-2 time was 2:31.
What would you do differently?:

I had my Garmin watch around the handlebars of my bike and turned it on to locate satellites about 5 miles from the bike finish. It powered down once and I was able to re-start it before the end but I missed a second power-down so I had to re-start it in transition. Next time, I will be on top of that better.
  • 1h 46m 31s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 09s  min/mile

I felt good at the start! The run course is mostly flat. I started the run a little after 11:00A.M. It was hot and there wasn’t much shade but I thought about how hot the last few years were on race day (I was there spectating..) and was grateful that we had more reasonable temperatures this year! I got out of transition and fell into what seemed a decent pace and was happy with how my legs responded! I was trucking along and checked my Garmin. I was .5 miles into the run and saw 7:23 pace!! CRAP! I sloooowed down.... I ran my first mile in 7:52 but kept my pace closer to 8:00 and even above after that. I felt confident from the beginning that I could run this half-marathon in under an 8:30 average pace. As I got to the top of the second hill (about 1 mile into the run), I saw a sign that was on the ground leaning up against someone and it said, “Ruth, you are my hero!” I thought that was so cool that another athlete named Ruth was in the race and had such a sweet supporter out there! Then the sign-owner squealed, held up the sign, and I saw it was my girl Jillian!! I was so happy to see her! I was excited to keep running and get to see her on the second time around! The run course was one of the best-supported courses I have ever encountered! There were aid stations at every mile. Each station had water, Perform, coke, gels, Bonk Breakers, and probably so many more items... I walked every aid station and drank one cup of water (often poured another on my head) and at a few of the stations, I had some Perform. I made an effort again to thank volunteers, high-five kiddos, and just ENJOY the run, which I did! The run course is two loops. I thought it would present a mental challenge to begin the second loop because as you do so, some people are running into the finish! I didn’t pay it any mind, though. I just kept my sight on my own race. I saw my friend and training partner, Mike, a few times along the run course! I took one gel around mile 3 and then another one at mile 8. My energy was starting to flag at that point and all I thought about was my friends who were racing the Door County Half Iron race that day. They had some huge hills to conquer along their run course including one infamous hill from about mile 8-9. I figured if they had to run uphill for that mile, I could keep going through the next 5 FLAT miles! I just kept trucking and maintained a fairly steady pace. I was excited because I knew I would kill my goal time of 2:00:00 for the run. As I passed the last aid station near the turn-around point of the run, a volunteer cheered me on and said, “Only one more loop!” I said, “Nope, I’m done!!” I ran past the station and got to stay to the right and enter the finishers chute!! I looked around for people I knew but it was so crowded I didn’t see any of my people but I took the high-fives offered and with tears in my eyes, crossed the finish line! It was amazing to hear my name called and to know I finished this race. Final run time: 1:46:31, 8:07/mi pace!!
What would you do differently?:

I would snag some Bonk Breakers from the aid stations to use later on training runs/rides because they are delicious and SO DARN EXPENSIVE! :)
Post race
Warm down:

I fondled my medal a lot then found Jillian first and we exchanged a huge hug!!! I apologized for making Jillian sweaty and stinky. Found Terri and her kids next and we hugged, chatted, took photos. I apologized again for being gross. Then Jeremy, Emily, and their gorgeous baby Kate came over, more hugs and chatting. Finally went back to the finish line to watch for more finishers and just let it all hit me...I finished my first 70.3 and smashed my goal time of 6:00:00. HAPPY DAY!!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-07-25 12:00 AM
00:49:01 | 00 meters | / 100meters
Age Group: 72/121
Overall: 1493/2275
Performance: Average
Suit: Aquaman Full-sleeve
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: High
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:50
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:53:15 | 56 miles | 19.32 mile/hr
Age Group: 32/121
Overall: 934/2275
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:31
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:46:31 | 13.1 miles | 08m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 20/121
Overall: 559/2275
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5