Ironman 70.3 Hawaii - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Kohala Coast, Hawaii
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 05m 7s
Overall Rank = 185/1745
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 33/238
Pre-race routine:

This race involves a lot of logistics - and not just because it's on an island. I used TriBike Transport to ship my bike and paid the additional fee to ship a gear bag. I clipped my aero helmet in the back pouch of the bag and dropped off the bike and bag at Nytro on Tuesday.

I flew Hawaiian from San Diego to Kona with a stop in Honolulu on Thursday. The race was on Saturday. I got to our condo in Waikoloa (staying with parents and sister, Monica flying in on Friday) with about an hour before race registration closed, so I headed up to the expo at the Fairmont Orchid, about 5 miles up the road. On my way, I passed some friends from San Diego, who were out running - and they were soaked from the humidity (even though they were just running an easy 3-miler). Uh-oh.

Up at the Fairmont, I stopped in at TriBike Transport first, thinking I could at least grab my gear bag. I was a bit horrified when I saw that my helmet was no longer in the pouch of my bag. The clasp was open and there was no helmet. I talked with the Owner for a while and he said he would try to figure out where it was. It wasn't too big a deal (from a racing standpoint) as I had packed my road helmet in my carry-on bag, but still - it was a custom helmet I had gotten from Chris McCormack, in exchange for a charity donation - it was irreplaceable. Dejected and a bit dazed, I went over to register and buy CO2 and some souvenirs ($14 for a Bike Works Kona water bottle?!).

I went to dinner with the family, but I was distracted by the fact that someone may have taken my helmet. I tossed and turned all night and was up before 5:00 a.m.

Our group from San Diego was planning to meet at the swim start for a short paddle at 8, but I got to Hapuna Beach at 7. It would be the first time I tried my new TYR Torque swimskin (thank you HI-TECH Bikes!). The swim was fun and the suit felt fine. The water was a bit chilly at first (colder than I expected), but felt great after a minute or so. After the swim, we went back to the Fairmont to check out our bikes from TBT.

By this time, you could no longer park at the hotel. You had to park in a lava field about a mile away and take a shuttle. On the way to the hotel, I saw the Owner of TBT and he told me that he had contacted Nytro and they had my helmet - quite a relief! Not sure exactly why they decided to hang onto it (and not tell me), but at least there was hope that I would get it back. I (mostly) forgot about it for the rest of the trip. At least I didn't have to make the decision about which helmet to wear for the race. We decided to leave the bikes at TriBike since the bike check-in didn't start until 1:00 p.m.

We went to lunch and then I headed back down to the airport to pick up Monica. We went to Safeway to stock up on bananas, water, Clif Bars and Powerade Zero and I barely made it back in time to check in my run gear bag by the 2:30 cut-off (not sure how strict they were about the time as I saw several people running around with bags much later than me).

We stayed for most of the "Mandatory" Athlete Meeting before picking up our bikes and riding back up to Hapuna Beach to check the bikes in at T1. Almost done - just had to wait for Monica to pick us up and drop us off at the shuttle parking lot. Unfortunately, by that time, everyone was leaving the meeting and it took her forever to get out of the Fairmont. By the time we had dropped off Conrad and Heather at their car and headed back towards our condo, it was after 5:00. Just enough time for a spaghetti dinner and it was off to bed.

One more note: In the middle of the night, during a bathroom break, I encountered a 6-8" centipede that freaked me out a bit. It was huge! I chased it around, scooped it up in a towel and flushed it. Nice little warmup to get the heart pumping at 2:30 in the morning - at least I found it and not Monica (although, that might have been more interesting)!
Event warmup:

Went out to swim for a bit. Noticed that I was chafing a bit under the arms, so I went back and found Monica and applied some more Body Glide. Paddled back out to the swim start and hung onto one of the start buoys until the cannon went off.
  • 37m 14s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

At the race briefing, the local weatherman informed us that an offshore tsunami may produce 3- to 5-foot waves at just about the time we were to start the swim, but it wasn't too bad. The swim is a mass start, so it was pretty crowded to the first turn. About 300 meters in, I was just minding my own business, trying to avoid contact when I felt someone swim up along my right side. I felt a hand on my head and I got dunked. No biggie, kept swimming. Then again, this time more forceful...Dunk! I turned and looked and the guy said, "What the f#$@, dude?!?!" I was pretty perplexed and all I managed to say was "I'm just swimming!" and went about my business. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful. I did get elbowed in the goggles by a woman once, but it was completely accidental. I had to stop a few times to clear my goggles and there were times when I had no idea where I was swimming. I just followed the masses ahead and it seemed to work out pretty well. I hit most of the buoys right on, but there were a few that I never saw. I was a bit bummed at times as I was looking forward to being able to see the bottom and enjoying the view, but between all of the contact and my goggles continuing to fog up, I couldn't really see anything. I was very happy to see the last turn buoy and cruised towards the beach. Out of the water in a huge group, I looked and saw 36 - a bit disappointed, but I had a feeling that everyone's swim times were going to be slow with the no wettie swim and the swell.
What would you do differently?:

Try to swim faster. Figure out how to solve the goggle issue. There were times when I was swimming pretty tentatively, not sure I was swimming in the right direction. Masters is paying off as I had no issues during the swim. No anxiety beforehand and no real hypoxic moments or misery. I was glad to be done, but I could have swum longer.
Transition 1
  • 02m 44s

I thought this time was going to be a lot slower. Not exactly sure where the mat was, but there's a long run uphill from the beach to the transition area. When I got there, I kind of forgot what to do. I left my swim-to-bike gear bag on my bike and I opened it up and put my cap and goggles in it. I grabbed my race belt and (fortunately) noticed that I still had my swimskin on. Ugh. It came off really quickly tho. Stuffed it in my bag, race belt, glasses, helmet, go!
What would you do differently?:

Start to take off my swimskin during the run!
  • 2h 35m 5s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.67 mile/hr

Started the bike easy, worked into my shoes and tried to settle into a manageable pace. I just tried to find a gear that I could maintain an rpm in the 90s and just stay there. The first out-and-back south to Mauna Lani was fast with the tailwind. After the turnaround, there was a bit of wind, but nothing too bad. I started to feel good and tried to push a bit until the downhill into Kawaihae. I took a bottle of water at every aid station and drank / squirted water on my head (might have been a good thing to have the road helmet). The crosswinds got pretty bad on the climb to Hawi and I was dreading the potential headwind after the turnaround. But when I got to the aid station, the volunteers were saying "tailwind" - and they were right! Blazing fast conditions all of the way back down to Kawaihae. I used 5.0 wheels front and back and never had a concern about the wind, staying in aero on all of the descents. When I came up on the 40-Mile marker, I thought, "just 16 more miles?" The climb up out of Kawaihae past Spencer Beach was tough and I could feel my quads protesting a bit on the rollers back to Waikoloa. I took in as many Shot Bloks and salt as I could handle and drank up. I felt good, but I knew the real test would be when I headed out on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Push harder? I think my calories were fine. Maybe drink a little more? It was a hot day and I think I may have underdrank? I did take a bottle of water at each fluid station, putting about half in me and half on me. Still had some Carbo-Pro mix left in one bottle and the water bottle I lost at T2 still had some in it.
Transition 2
  • 01m 48s

The last section of the bike is a no-pass zone, so I used the time to get nutrition on board and coast into T2. I got out of my shoes and swung a leg over, clipping my water bottle and sending it flying. I tried again and coasted into the bike catchers and handed off my bike. I didn't exactly know where to run, but I just kept going and the volunteers pointed me towards the run gear backs. I called out my number, but I just ran to my range of numbers and dug it out. They said I could change wherever, but I thought we would have to go through the tent, so I ran in. Dead end. Oh well. There were chairs and I sat down, emptied my bag and started my Garmin. Socks and shoes on, grabbed my bottle, put my helmet in the bag and headed out, making sure to thank the volunteer. I never saw Monica (she had my visor that I had forgotten to put in my run bag).
What would you do differently?:

Not go into the tent. Just put on shoes right at the gear bags and run out.
  • 1h 48m 16s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 16s  min/mile

I was hurting a bit when we started off, but I just figured that was the dead-legged feeling coming off the bike. I fiddled with my Garmin and got situated after about a quarter mile. I caught a few people, but I definitely didn't feel good. The first two miles looked to be in the 7:10-7:20 range, which was what I had planned. I was hoping that pace would be easy enough that I would start feeling better and be able to pick it up from there. After the aid station at mile 2 I started to wonder how I was going to get through another 10+ miles and I planned to start walking aid stations to get ice and water. It was a sufferfest from there and I had to fight the urge to walk the whole way. I made it from aid station to aid station, but my pace was pretty slow. My shoes got soaked from all of the ice water on the head and I started to blister pretty bad. I got a nasty one with about a mile to go, but just had to push on through to the end. It was nice to see my family, Monica and our friend Karen down the finishing chute - and so good to be done!
What would you do differently?:

Maybe take more aid right out of transition to start cooling off. I underestimated how hot it would get.
Post race
Warm down:

Hang out at the finishing area. My family and Monica met me and we waited for others to come through. We stayed for awards and rolldown and there were 4 Vegas rolldown spots in my AG. Three went right away and they called for anyone else. I stepped up, but said I was 33. Someone else then came forward and there was some confusion as to where he was placed. They figured it out and he was faster than me - somewhere in the mid 20s. There was also a rollover spot from one of the older men's AGs and it took them a while to figure out which division had the highest population. Nerve wracking for sure. Finally, they said it was going to the 45-49 and that was it. With my miserable run, I didn't really feel like I deserved a spot to any championship anyway, but it was worth a shot hanging around. I think the last rolldown spot went to 4:52. I needed to run a 1:34 to go to Vegas. I checked the results later and it looked like my AG actually had the most participants, but I'm not really sure how they figure all of that out. There could have been a lot of non-starters or something - or maybe they just got it wrong.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat and humidity. Not enough run training. I came into the race over my racing weight by quite a bit, which definitely didn't help in the heat. I also took it pretty easy in the first half of the bike - maybe too easy. Still need to swim faster. Longer events expose my poor swim technique even more - working on that.

Event comments:

This race is another top-notch, world-class Ironman event. The only bad thing is the separate transition areas and the access to the Fairmont Orchid hotel. It was a pain to have to take the shuttles back and forth several times - especially since we didn't stay at the Fairmont. The heat and humidity make for a very challenging race. The mass start, no wetsuit swim and riding portions of the Kona course make it very exciting. I would definitely recommend doing it for anyone that gets the chance. Just be prepared for a lot of extra-curricular activities and a very difficult challenge from the elements. We caught a break with the wind. It could have been much worse.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-09-06 12:00 AM
00:37:14 | 1931 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 69/238
Overall: 417/1745
Performance: Below average
Suit: TYR Torque Elite
Course: Clockwise swim - all buoys on the right, except last buoy into shore.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:44
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:35:05 | 56 miles | 21.67 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/238
Overall: 0/1745
Performance: Average
5.5 mi: 14:25 (22.9 mph) 31 mi (25.5): 1:12:22 (21.1 mph) 56 mi (25 mi): 1:08:18 (21.0 mph) Ave HR: 149, Max: 166
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Start at Hapuna Beach. South on the Queen K to Mauna Lani turnaround (5.5 mi). North to Hawi turnaround (25.5 mi). Back to T2 @ Mauna Lani (25 mi).
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:48
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
01:48:16 | 13.1 miles | 08m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 41/238
Overall: 0/1745
Performance: Bad
7:19, 7:19, 7:56, 8:17, 8:11, 8:33, 8:39, 9:03, 9:04, 8:37, 8:55, 8:18, 8:03 Ave HR: 163, Max: 180
Course: Up and down and around the Mauna Lani golf course with one long out-and-back "energy lab-like" section. Some grass, some cart path, paved and gravel roads.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4