Ironman Louisville - Triathlon

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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 11h 52m 59s
Overall Rank = 629/2652
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 57/277
Pre-race routine:

Well, my first Iron distance race was supposed to be in August at Coeur d'Alene but a few mishaps and injuries prompted me to transfer my CdA registration to Louisville. Lucky for me there were still slots for Louisville. A lot of the fast people were in Kona that weekend ;)

I still made the trip to CdA to support and cheer on my teammates from Triple Threat Triathlon and check out the course. That's a great race by the way so if you're considering it, you won't be disappointed. We rented a house right on the bike course about a mile and a half from the swim start which was a great experience. O.K. back to Louisville!

My support crew was my awesome 16 year old Darling Daughter (DD). We drove about 8 hours to Louisville, stayed at the Hampton Inn downtown which was about a mile from the swim start and even closer to the finish line. We got to the hotel at around 3:00 on Friday afternoon, checked in then walked over to check in. On our walk over my DD did notice the White Castle and of course reminded me she's never been....Yeah, hit that on the walk back. They actually have veggie burgers now.

There were a handfull of people from the Kansas City area racing, I just did not know many personally. We did have dinner with a couple from our area, another friend of mine told me about them so we connected via messenger. I had met them at a local tri a couple years ago, it seems a lot of people remember me, I just don't remember them, I'm terrible with names so it doesn't help.

Got back to the room by 9:00 and this was to be the night of good sleep and it WAS! Next morning DD and I had breakfast at Wild Eggs. There was a 5K Saturday morning which meant a 45 minutes wait for breakfast but still worth it. I had a serious stack of pancakes with strawberries and some turkey sausage. I tried to abstain from coffee but just couldn't do it, oh well not like I'm contending for a Kona spot or anything.

Got the bike and gear checked in, this whole gear bag and change tent thing was all new to me having never done a full so I was just soaking it all in. The rows and rows of gear bags was rather impressive. I had seen large numbers of bikes racked before (AG Nationals) just not the gear bags. I noticed the sunscreen station by the changing tent and asked around about that which meant one less thing to worry about on Sunday. I figured I would be out of the water and off the bike quick enough before they started running out.

Walked back to the hotel to rest a bit then headed out for dinner. We ended up at Spaghetti Factory as that was another place my DD hadn't been. She like it, we split an order of Lasagna and an order of spinach ravioli and yes I did have the spumoni ice cream thank you very much. After that night night!

Event warmup:

Up at 5:00 AM, took a wake up shower, had some Lucky Charms and grabbed a cup of coffee on way out the door. I gave my DD one of the gear pickup tickets and told her she might have to get my gear if I'm in a med tent getting an IV or something. I reminded her that was NOT the plan but just in case.

Went to my bike to drop off my hydration, two frame mount bottles of Hammer Perpetuem/Water and water in my BTA bottle. One last port-a-potty stop then to the LONG arse line of a rolling swim start. I mean, a line of 2,652 people with family and friends goes for at least half a mile. I would rather have been near the front to avoid all of the zig-zagging I would have to do but oh well, it's chip timed and it was a pretty wide river.

Since this race was going to take me at least 11 hours I figured extra time in transition was nothing to stress out about so I wore just tri shorts for the swim given it was wetsuit legal. i would change into my local cycling team kit for the bike. Once we got close to the swim start I gave my shorts and sweatshirt to my DD and she wished me good luck.
  • 59m 24s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 25s / 100 yards

Once the line got moving it got moving. Oh the anticipation! The first section of the swim was to the east against the "current" so as we were getting closer to where we jump into the river I was watching the swimmers. It didn't look like the current was strong at all but I was also looking at how fast the swimmers were moving. I knew I would have a bit of navigating to do, at least in this cove section. The first swimmer went in at 7:30 and I didn't start until 8:12 so I'd say there were at least 2,000 swimmers ahead of me if not more.

I jumped in softly feet first to avoid any kind of goggle mishap, I wear contacts so didn't want to mess THAT up! The air temp was around 50 so the water felt warm. The cove section was the most crowded but not too bad at all. I brushed a few swimmers coming through, squeezed in between a couple as well. I'm a two beat kicker so not a log of leg movement on my part which makes it easier on other swimmers when up come up aside them. I've been kicked by the "kick happy" swimmers before.

One I made the turnaround it was pretty clear sailing. I swam more towards the center of the river than the main pack to a) avoid having to zig-zag around and b) to hopefully catch a strong current. We swam under bridges, don't remember how many 4 maybe? I could have swam faster but this being my first full I held it at a steady but comfortable pace.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I was happy to see I came in under an hour. I was thinking I should be close to that given part of the swim was current assisted.
Transition 1
  • 12m 22s

As I mentioned before, since this was an all day affair, I was really concerned about how long it would take me in transition. That changing tent was crowded! It was a little dark as well. Some guys just parked outside the entrance to the tent and changed there. I went in and saw a guy that looked like he was about done and waited for his chair. Maybe 20 seconds went by and i took that spot. Yeah, putting on bike shorts take a few when you're wet. Finally got my Grip N Rip race kit on! I also put on my HRM at that time as well. On the way out I hit the sunscreen station, they had the spray on stuff which was quick. What I didn't put on in the AM was body glide so it stung a bit on the back of my neck where my wetsuit had rubbed. But pain is temporary....

Oh yeah and how could I forget, the strippers were awesome and so gentle (wetsuit strippers with my Roka) ;)
What would you do differently?:

On this day nothing really. Maybe next time if I'm trying to be a bit more competitive I'll not change kits and wear the HRM during the swim.
  • 5h 36m 46s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.95 mile/hr

While in the changing tent I was debating about putting on the arm warmers. Glad I didn't. The air temp was around 50 but with little wind, adrenaline etc. it was just fine. Even though the swim went well I must have swallowed a half gallon of the Ohio River. I had to pee big time. I thought about it coming out of the changing tent, there was a row of port-a-potties there but I opted not not to.

I started easy to find my bike legs which didn't take long and with such a long T1 I didn't have to worry about heart rate settling down. As the first aid station I was looking for port-a-potties but they were on the LEFT and I was rolling at least 15 mph and had riders behind me so I just kept on going. Finally at about the 11 mile mark I spotted port-a-potties on the right, looked behind me, it was clear so I slowed down and jumped off. A volunteer was right there to hold my bike, SWEET! I wish my Garmin could how how long I was in there. that was one of the longest wizzes I ever took. Man I sure felt better after that!

My main goal with this ride was not to overcook it. I don't train with power nor look at HR so I just went by feel. I didn't follow a training plan and my last 4-5 bike rides was with Kelly and a few of her/my friends and I just did what she did. She was training for Kona and I was just doing what she did. Her and I were at about the same cycling ability so I think it worked out well.

There were a lot of riders that would veer left to pass WITHOUT looking behind them first. I had to repeat "on your left" more than I had expected. I came across a guy that was riding far left even though there was nobody on his right and clear for at least 30 yards ahead. I told him he could get a position penalty for that, it went ignored he was doing his own thing. There was a fast downhill section with a right turn and some bumps and this fellow in front of me veered right a tad late and nearly wiped out on the cones. He knocked over the cone and lost BOTH of his rear seat mount bottle cages. I saw a few bottles on the course, I'm guessing many from those seat mount cages. He didn't go back for them. I saw him later on the course with a gatorade bottle from the aid station in one of the cages.

It wasn't the most scenic course in the world but I did enjoy seeing the farmhouse kids cheering us on along the wooden fences. I think we needed a little more cowbell! And there were a LOT of fuzzy little black caterpillars inching across the road. To my knowledge I didn't run any over but I'm sure there will be a few less butterflies in the coming weeks.

Having started near the back I did my fair share of passing during this ride. I was passed by maybe a dozen riders along the way, a couple very fit young ladies among them! I had no idea what my average pace was as when I did glance at my watch, it was just to see the distance traveled. I just wanted to ride steady and back off enough to have an enjoyable run.

I read/heard a lot of chatter about the climbing during this ride, I didn't preview the course but I knew it was in the 4,500 - 5,500 feet range so I tried to incorporate hills during my training. The climbs were really not that bad and this is coming from a guy from Kansas ;)

I think I packed about 1,600 calories of Cliff bars and Gu Roctanes but I couldn't for the life of me eat but half of that. I had some calories from the Hammer Perpetuem as well and I'm not really sure what my total ended up being.

During the last 15 mile or so I traded positions with this other rider, we were basically riding at the same pace. He would ride up ahead, then slow up a bit and stand to stretch his legs, I just did the same. He kept looking back before doing so and I appreciated that, he was definitely a respectful rider and not one of those people in their own little world so thanks dude!

I finally rolled into transition READY to get off that bike! It's really nice to hand the bike off to someone and not have to rack it yourself.

What would you do differently?:

Maybe look at Heart rate. I think I over-biked just a tad as my average was a bit higher than training. My HR on long rides averaged in the 120-125 range and this ride was at 134. I felt like that ride was in the 19 mph range and was surprised it was just under 20 mph.
Transition 2
  • 08m

I came into T2 thinking "only 4 to 5 hours to go" but still knowing a lot of work was still in store. This time the changing tent had a lot of seats available. I changed into my Triple Threat Triathlon tri kit in a leisurely not so speedy manner and took a quick stop at the sunscreen table.
What would you do differently?:

Not much.
  • 4h 56m 27s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 19s  min/mile

Well, my plan was to run at around my long run training effort (135-140 bhp) and walk the aid stations. And everyone had a plan until they get punched in the face of course....The beginning of the run was lively, lots of people lining the streets, the weather couldn't have been much better. After about a half mile or so I glanced at my HR and saw 143 O.K. got to slow it down a bit, so I did. After another quarter mile I saw it was right around 140 so decided that was good enough. At this point I felt like I'd need to be walking to get it closer to 135.

In my last month of training runs I ran the KC Running Company's Sunday Runday where they had water stations every two miles. So I was used to getting water every two miles. This course had stations every mile so I went with it. I walked each aid station while getting a drink of water or gatorade or both. On mile 4 they had these salt capsules. You wet you thumb, flip the top turn the capsule so that your thumb gets lined with salt and you take that in. Couldn't hurt I thought. So I did that just before each aid station starting at mile 5.

As I was just completing the southern most turnaround at around just after mile 7, a guy shouted out "Hey i know that team, my daughters on your team her name is Julia Slyer!" Yep, one of my teammates father was doing this race. I'm the oldest one on our team and she's the youngest so turns out her father's in my age group. He's pretty quick too, beat me by about an hour! So no excuses being the oldest on the team.

As I got to the halfway point near the finish line there were already finishers coming in. Yep, those 9 hour guys that were near the front of the swim start. I was starting the feel the fatigue and knew I was slowing down a bit but I still felt like I could run at a respectable pace. The next few aid stations it got a little harder to run after the short walk taking in hydration. And as I approached the aid station around mile 16 my right calf started to lock up. A cramp, really? Then my right quad decided to follow suit and my left side was whispering at me as well. So I walked another 10 yards to the aid station got some gatorade and water, walked through, stopped and tried to rub things out. No dice!

I decided I simply needed to keep moving and not make this too long of a day. So I walked as fast as I could and tried to run every half to three quarters of a mile. I repeated this process for the next 8 miles. Not what I had hoped for but I just had to keep moving.

FINALLY on mile 24 I seemed to have gotten my legs back. I started a slow trot and that slowly but surely turned into a nice steady jog. I passed the last aid station around mile 25 hoping my run legs would stay under me to the finish. It was starting to get dark now and a volunteer handed me a couple of glow sticks. I don't think I had the "required" reflective strips on my shoes so figured that would make me visible enough not to cause any collisions.

That last mile turned out to be my fastest of the day. I was just glad to be finishing and was happy to not be limping my way in. The finish line was high energy and very uplifting. Finishing at 4th Street Live in downtown Louisville is the perfect finish to a long day. I ended up finishing in a small group of 3 or 4 so unfortunately did not hear my name called out at the finish.

Mile Splits

Lap Distance Time Lap Distance Time
Mile 1 1.0 mi 8:41 Mile 14 1.0 mi 10:12
Mile 2 1.0 mi 8:43 Mile 15 1.0 mi 10:12
Mile 3 1.0 mi 9:25 Mile 16 1.0 mi 11:04
Mile 4 1.0 mi 9:31 Mile 17 1.0 mi 14:59
Mile 5 1.0 mi 9:25 Mile 18 1.0 mi 15:34
Mile 6 1.0 mi 9:41 Mile 19 1.0 mi 15:37
Mile 7 1.0 mi 9:33 Mile 20 1.0 mi 15:09
Mile 8 1.0 mi 9:34 Mile 21 1.0 mi 15:20
Mile 9 1.0 mi 9:19 Mile 22 1.0 mi 15:08
Mile 10 1.0 mi 9:37 Mile 23 1.0 mi 14:56
Mile 11 1.0 mi 9:35 Mile 24 1.0 mi 14:09
Mile 12 1.0 mi 9:46 Mile 25 1.0 mi 9:36
Mile 13 1.0 mi 9:43 Mile 26 1.0 mi 8:37
Finish 0.1 mi 1:09

What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Being my first race and not really following a structured race plan I can't really complain about the result. Backing off on the bike might have helped. Maybe didn't take in enough salt/electrolytes on the bike. Most likely since I cramped on a fairly cool day.

I should also mention my run training was not optimum coming into this race. My two longest runs were about 2.5 hours long/17 miles with all other long runs being around 2 hours and less. Run volume was not there, I think September was the only month where I ran more than 100 miles/averaged more than 20 mpw.
Post race
Warm down:

Finally found my daughter, the athlete tracking stopped updating she was still on the course when I finished. My DD is the best, while out on the run she want and got my bike and both gear bags and took all that back to the hotel. Then she had my favorite recovery drink with her at the finish line - CHOCOLATE MILK!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Well, a random like athlete such as myself that doesn't follow a training plan, this list is long......

Event comments:

This race was a great experience. The course was challenging but not too difficult, especially with a flat run course and near perfect weather. There was no shortage of volunteers from my perspective. I'm really thankful that the city of Louisville is able to support and accommodate such an event.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-07-15 12:00 AM
00:59:24 | 4224 yards | 01m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 8/277
Overall: 138/2652
Performance: Good
Suit: Roka Maverick Elite
Course: Ohio River, first section "against" current in a cove, turn around then last two thirds or so with current. Swim went under a few bridges.
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 12:22
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:36:46 | 112 miles | 19.95 mile/hr
Age Group: 47/277
Overall: 304/2652
Performance: Good
Ave HR: 134
Wind: Little
Course: Starts off flat for 10 miles, next 10 miles grading up with some small rollers not too hill yet. Then two loops of 35 miles where most of the climbing is. Last 20 rollers with net downhill with last 10 very flat. My Garmin had total elevation gain at 4,534 feet.
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 08:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:56:27 | 26.2 miles | 11m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 106/277
Overall: 629/2652
Performance: Average
Ave HR: 121
Course: Flat 2 loop out & back course going south through downtown Louisville past Churchill Downs then Southwest through residential areas then back north for 2nd loop.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4