Beach2Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
50F / 10C
Total Time = 6h 45m 58s
Overall Rank = 431/544
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 56/72
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:15. Did a full prep the night before, even the shave/no shave decision given the salt water swim (shaved, thanks Gillette). Coffee, two donuts, and Infinit bottle to sip on through the morning. Grabbed wetsuit and two bags (pre-swim and T1) and down at the shuttles by 5:30. Then a quick return trip to the room to grab Buttr (so much for best laid plans).

At T1, nutrition to bike and T1 items - packed nicely in two baggies in case of rain - in their spot. Then body marking and wetsuit on (getting cold). Hoped bus to swim start. Realized I forgot the banana I had laid out (once again, best laid plans). But did have my Infinit bottle and pre-swim gel shot.
Event warmup:

Watched the full swimmers pass by like dolphins in the strong current. Spent time talking with other athletes, everyone burning off nervous energy.

Thought about my goal of a sub-7 HIM. This was my second (did FL 70.3, but cramped on run and needed 8.02 to finish), and the weather prediction was not helping my quest. Bad karma, so decided to warm up the muscles with a walk around the parking lot across the street. This was also my first salt-OWS and first wetsuit swim, so that was on my mind as well.

Finished off warm-up with stretches and pee. Last of Infinit bottle, one gel, and in the water right on time in wave three. Opted for neoprene socks and cap. Turned in my man card - hey, it was my first salt-OWS!
  • 34m 19s
  • 2078 yards
  • 01m 39s / 100 yards

First wetsuit swim, first salt-OWS. Wow, and to think i've been pushing through still lakes all this time. No I know what I've been missing! Didn't all come easy, though.

Started fine, got breathing and strokes under control. Started toward back of pack 'cause I am a slow swimmer and don't like contact in the water. Am very happy giving up some time for more comfort.

A few minutes in, however, I hit two problems at once. The chops grew larger, causing me to take in some yummy salt water. Also realized that I couldn't see the orange turning buoy and had nothing to sight except other swimmers. All made more difficult by my poor eyesight and lack of morning sun, But made good adjustments - came up higher for breathes, and kept the other swimmers in sight.

I then got clever. Figured out how to ride the chop-swells for best momentum and breathing. Suddenly what was a hassle was now a help. +1 for Jonny.

At the ladders in what seemed like quick time. And it was. Normally a 55 minute swimmer, I was out at 33 minutes. Wow,

What would you do differently?:

Bring clear goggles. I took my lightly tinted ones and never even considered throwing my clear goggles into my pre-swim bag just in case. With no sun and poor visibility, this was the time for clear goggles.
Transition 1
  • 10m 58s

I walked almost the entire way from water to bike. Had decided pre-race to do so knowing I'd give up a minute, but better to get mentally organized and confident. The strippers were a great help, showers were fine, transition area well marked.
What would you do differently?:

I am not a fast transition guy. I put on socks, compression socks, arm warmers, jacket, winter gloves, buttr, and shoes. It takes time, and I can deal with the long t-time. I went with an LG bike jacket that turned out to be the perfect choice. Arm warmers helped too. Did not change clothes, so risked the wet-v.wind hypothermia, but never thought of that issue pre-race. In future "cold" races I would definitely change my top and perhaps even pants.
  • 3h 33m 55s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.71 mile/hr

Five minutes into the bike I knew this was going to be trouble. Payback for the fast-n-easy swim. Not exactly sure, but I'd say about 2.5 hours into constant headwinds. And I mean constant. My only solace was that I knew we were all in the same boat and watching my fellow athletes put their head down and deal gave me inspiration.

So I kept low in my aero and kept thinking that I would do 2mph less than average through the headwind and make it up on the way back in with tailwind. That said, the peddling got harder, and harder...

I lost feel in both feet around mile 5 and didn't regain feel until the run. I was somewhat concerned - didn't have any toe covers on and didn't know if this was something i could ride through or which required some attention. I thought about stopping and checking, but didn't. Actually had to stop three times to pee - just couldn't get it out while moving and kept having bladder discomfort. That's okay - I needed the rest.

Saw the lead dude pass by on 421. Contemplated that he was returning with the wind at his back while I was still heading out with the wind in my face. But, he rides harder and faster than I do so no issue there. Just a fleeting head tease, made worse of course by the following stream of Cervelos heading for T2.

Had doubts about finishing around mile 25, and had totally written off my goal of sub-7. But... I did have a secret weapon. I knew from the weather reports - which I had been following hourly for over a week - that the sun would come out between Noon and 1pm. And there it was, peaking through right on time. That gave me a huge second wind, not to mention the tail wind I was now enjoying as I moved from Blueberry back onto 421. What was a struggle at 15 mph now turned into a breeze (no pun intended) at 24mph.

So the sun was great, the tail wind greater, and picked up a ton of energy when I saw at mile 50 that I'd be in on time to break the 7 hour mark...if all went well of the run. My big concern was that the first 30 miles of headwind had taken too much out of my legs.
What would you do differently?:

Toe warmers. And maybe even a wicking long sleeve under the LG jacket.

Very happy with nutrition. First time using Infinit and was very pleased. Good energy level the whole ride (given the wind challenge), and no GI troubles at all, unlike Florida 70.3 in May where I had a swooshy stomach off the bike and consumer nothing for the first four miles of the un (and then cramped at mile 6).
Transition 2
  • 07m 17s

Handed bike off, grabbed bag, and into changing tent. Changed per plan, except forgot to put long sleeve wicking shirt in T2 bag. Would have to run in tri top. Considered wearing the LG biking jacket, but didn't. Lost some time contemplating this, and took a bit longer than usual getting bike shoes off and run shoes on.
What would you do differently?:

Plan T-bag list better vis-a-vis weather (long sleeve wicking shirt).
  • 2h 19m 31s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 39s  min/mile

I felt good right from the start. I had decided pre-race to walk hills, so I walked the up-part of the two bridges as well as a big hill after town. Realized in the first mile that my legs were fine off the bike. I felt strong and knew that I had a shot at breaking 7 hours.

Going through town was inspiring. The people were great!! Really added to my energy. Focused on maintaining my Infinit nutrition plan.

I run a 10 minute mile, slowing to 11+ when tired. I calculated that I had about 25 minutes to give and still beat the 7 hour mark, si my plan was to run smart and avoid injury or cramps. I had flashbacks to Ironman Florida 70.3 in May where I cramped badly at mile 6 and almost DNF'd. So, kept telling myself to race smart, stay at my pace, and relax.

The course segment after town and before the turnaround took forever! The wind was at my back for the entire first half, so i was feeling great - but I knew the wind would be against me going home and tried to tell myself that headwinds don't matter on the run.

But they do. Some of the gusts by the Hess storage ground were so strong they blew me sideways. I had trouble running straight. I had trouble walking straight, and i did walk that part even though it wasn't an uphill - trying to stay smart and knowing I had time to give.

Going back through town added to my energy. I held back on time for miles 10 and 11, and walked the bridges - knowing I could crawl them and still beat the 7 hour mark.

A great feeling coming down that last bridge and into the finish - until my left hamstring started thinking about cramping. I could feel that pre-cramp tightening. But a stop and stretch cleared it up. I trotted to the finish line - one very happy camper.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

Hot pizza, hot broth, hot tent. Then a massage (a great offering) and a rush to my bags for a dry shirt, sweats and gloves. I talked with other athletes as I ate a bit more, but wanted to get back to the Hilton to call my family. got bike and bags, and waited 75 minutes for the trolley. The organizers did such a super job with this event, it's a pity that the last thing some athletes remember of B2B is a 75 minute wait in the wind and cold when they're already tired and sore. Why can't they hire lots of large buses and lots of Uhauls to get us home?

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

Would have rated a 5 had the exit plan been better executed. Really unhappy waiting 75 minutes for the trolley home. Aside from that, the race was awesome. I want to do this race in sunny weather without wind. Count me in for 2012.

Last updated: 2011-10-30 12:00 AM
00:34:19 | 2078 yards | 01m 39s / 100yards
Age Group: 63/72
Overall: 451/544
Performance: Good
Suit: BlueSeventy Axis
Course: Channel swim behind Wrightsville Beach. Straight for app. 1/2 mile, then zigzag the rest (left, right, left).
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 10:58
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:33:55 | 56 miles | 15.71 mile/hr
Age Group: 61/72
Overall: 473/544
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: Generally flat. Elevation change only when road went over another road, or on-ramps.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:17
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:19:31 | 13.1 miles | 10m 39s  min/mile
Age Group: 49/72
Overall: 371/544
Performance: Good
Course: Over two bridges (2 miles), through town (2 miles), through a park (2 miles), then back. More or less on mileage.
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 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