Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Aurora, Colorado
United States
Without Limits
80F / 27C
Total Time = 5h 46m 23s
Overall Rank = 140/429
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 24/52
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:30 and couldn't fall back to sleep. Out of bed at 5:15 and ate a Clif bar and banana. Out the door around 6:00. Found a pretty good spot in transition that was relatively close to the bike exit. Had plenty of room to set up. Left transition around 7:15 and headed to the beach for pre-race instructions.
Event warmup:

Not much. Stretched a bit.
  • 44m 30s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 07s / 100 yards

Got in the water after the wave in front of us left, had about five minutes to get used to the water. Really wasn't too bad for this notoriously cold reservoir. Did start to shiver a little though while waiting.
Seeded myself at the back and right. Swam the first few hundred yards freestyle and then switched to freestyle/breast stroke for the remainder. Sighted for the second buoy and was surprised to find myself at the turnaround at around 20:00. No real issues during the swim other than a few mouthfuls and nosefuls of water. Goggles didn't fog up (thanks Foggle) and only had a few people swim in front of me. Actual swim time was 42:00.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Shoulders limit my freestyle swimming.
Transition 1
  • 03m 38s

Stopped on the way up to pee, I don't know if this counted towards my swim time or T1 time. Transition was a little slower than normal for me: didn't wear my jersey under my wetsuit because I didn't want to be cold to start the bike; wore bike gloves; put on compression socks (they were worth it but what a time killer!).
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Need to wear compression socks for long distance events. Maybe wear sleeves instead and swim with them on. I would have been fine wearing my tri top under my jersey as it was pretty warm out.
  • 3h 02m 15s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.44 mile/hr

Spent the first few miles upright and letting my body adjust from the swim. Dropped into aero after turning on to Quincy Rd. Dropped my water bottle around 15 minutes in and stopped to get it. I was not going to risk my nutrition plan for this race! Tried to stay efficient through the first spur of the course and then picked up after turning north on Watkins Road. Did a great job of staying on the aero bars all the way to Kiowa-Bennet Road. At this point I was averaging over 21 mph and staying in Zone 2. It was so tempting to push harder on these smooth roads with the wind at your back but I could see my HR climb whenever I overdid it. Turning south on K-B road started the gradual climb to Quincy road and it was into a headwind but not bad. Here I was finding myself out of aero more. The final stretch down Quincy was tougher. Spun well up the climbs and tried to coast the downhills.
In general, I passed a ton of people on the ride and was only passed about ten times or so. Passed and was passed back by a few people but in the end, they almost all came back to me. My nutrition was as planned. Ate a Bonk Bar at 00:45, and then gels every 30 minutes. Drank about 250 calories of Cytomax. No handups on the course. In total, 900 calories taken in over 3 hours. This is probably not quite enough but it is what I practiced.
What would you do differently?:

Work to increase my calorie/carb intake a bit. Keep working on my bike endurance. Still, I rode the course about 0.5 mph faster than I did in an open training ride.
Transition 2
  • 02m 23s

Didn't take my feet out of the shoes, etc., and other things I normally do for shorter races so I expected this to be slower. Had to swap my orthotics from the bike shoes to my running shoes and actually tie my laces. I also switched my bike jersey for a running shirt and grabbed my fuel belt.
What would you do differently?:

Wear a tri top for the whole race.
  • 1h 53m 39s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 41s  min/mile

Legs felt pretty good coming out of transition and my stomach felt fine, so two positive things to start the run! As I was exiting transition, I heard the race announcer saying that first place is finishing now. I looked at the guy next to me and we both shook our heads.
Started off feeling ok but I had to pee so I hit the first portajohn on the course. My goal was to start off around 8:30 miles or so and go faster as the race went on. First mile was easy around 8:40 and then I dropped down closer to 8:00. But after five miles I started to get tired and a little hot. I didn't feel like I was running slowly but my pace was consistently around 8:30 or so. I started to long for the turnaround point and was dismayed to see a line of runners that just didn't seem to end, with no turnaround on the horizon. Finally I hit it and tried to pick up the pace but couldn't. I didn't really slow down but I couldn't really go faster. Managed to get two gels down and drank about 12 ounces of cytomax, plus some water and gatorade at the aid stations. I would also fill my hat with cold water. Left calf started getting a little sore towards the end, as well as my right hip flexor but nothing bad. The last few miles were mentally tough and seemed to drag along. So many people were walking that it was tempting to join them. But my goal was to run the 13.1 miles, not run/walk it. The last mile was grating as you could see the finish line but the sidewalk continued to follow incessantly the curvature of the reservoir, the sidewalk developer deviantly throwing in extra S-curves at his folly. I hit the final quarter mile with a good strong pace, high fived the kids, and finished well. The slip and slide was just after the finish line and I mindlessly heeded the announcer's advice that "it was all mine!" Diving forward onto it, both of my calves protested with searing cramps and I slid forward with my toes pointed like a ballerina but a huge smile on my face! I was a HALF IRONMAN!
What would you do differently?:

I honestly thought I could run 8:00 miles here. Maybe more calories/carbs on the bike would help.
Better aid station strategy. While necessary, aid stations are evil. They are each a mini oasis in what feels like a march across the desert. While I didn't walk at every aid station, I did at some out of necessity as they became huge log jams with both incoming and outgoing runners using them.
Take out the aid stations and the pee break and I was closer to 8:30 miles, which is what I was actually running. I can live with that for a first HIM.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around for a bit and then headed down to the reservoir to soak my legs for about ten minutes. Drank a bottle of Gatorade and the Endurox I had brought along.
Spent the next few hours at home on the couch before heading out for dinner. My appetite still wasn't great but is better today. My legs are pretty sore today, especially my left calf and right hip flexor. Follow up PT tomorrow and massage on Friday.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Experience, endurance, swimming. I followed a BT beginner HIM program and it worked pretty well. I wasn't able to do the swim volume; just enough to get me through the race. More and longer rides would have helped but in general I felt pretty prepared and confident going into the race.
Next question is the Ironman. Can my shoulders handle the swim? You finish the 70.3 distance and think how could I possibly double that? But then you realize that you would train more, pace differently, etc. My goal in triathlon was to complete the half ironman and I've done that. I'm not sure I even need to do another one. Completing a full Ironman would be icing on the cake.
I have to thank my family. My wife's patience and my kid's endurance. Though they didn't like it when they had to do ten mile bike rides while I ran, they were troopers and didn't complain (much).

Event comments:

I thought it was a well run, well planned race. Plenty of aid stations on the run and lots of volunteers. Transition area could have used a sweeping.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-07-19 12:00 AM
00:44:30 | 2112 yards | 02m 07s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/52
Overall: 376/429
Performance: Good
Actual swim time 42:00. Turnaround at ~20:00.
Suit: ProMotion
Course: Out and back via an upside V.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:38
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:02:15 | 56 miles | 18.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 36/52
Overall: 0/429
Performance: Good
Ave HR was 134. About 2 hours of Z2, 40 minutes of Z3.
Wind: Some
Course: Large rectangle in the plains of Colorado.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:23
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:53:39 | 13.1 miles | 08m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 11/52
Overall: 65/429
Performance: Average
Mostly in Z3 (1:18); the rest was Z1 and Z4.
Course: Out and back around Aurora Reservoir. No shade. Gentle rolling sidewalks.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 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