Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Providence, Rhode Island
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
84F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 38m 48s
Overall Rank = 255/1093
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 34/149
Pre-race routine:

I had high expectations going into the race. I had a few issues last year, most specifically my lack of performance on the bike. I suffered from that all last year and it was the source of my greatest disappointment. So I did a decent amount of work over the winter and early spring this year with hopes of laying down a solid bike performance. I had also, seen that my swimming has been improving this year and I've effectively taken about 10 sec/100m off of my training times in the pool so I had figured I could gain a minute or two here as well. So overall I had high hopes for a 5:30, a 10 min improvement from last year. That wasn't to be...

I had a pretty crappy night sleep on Saturday, I got to bed about 9:00, but had a tough time getting and staying asleep. When the clock went off at 3:30 I was really already awake and stewing on the fact that I didn't get enough rest. Not a great way to start the day, but I knew I had gotten a real good nights sleep the day before (Friday) so I figured I'd be OK.

I had a cup of joe and a bagel as soon as I got up, and then had a banana around 4:00. I got dressed and left about 4:40 to drive to the site. Around 5:15 I had Cliff Bar and I'd been sipping on a bottle of Gatorade since I left.
Event warmup:

I did a quick jog (about 8-10 min) around the park grounds and then found a nice quite spot to stretch out. About 15 minutes before my wave start I went down to the lake and did some easy swimming for about 10 minutes, then I got lined up on the beach for the start.
  • 41m
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

The horn sounded and we were off... I wadded into the water about 10 meters or so and then started swimming. It was a bit cluttered at the start so I just tried to swim fairly smoothly while being kind of defensive to make sure I didn't get kicked or punched in the face. Once things thinned out a bit I got into a decent flow and didn't really have many issues. For some reason I was drifting a bit, not as bad as some times in the past, but definitely noticeable.

Once we made the first turn it was straight into the sun so sighting got especially difficult, but I was managing OK. At this point, I felt that I was doing a decent job... I was breathing well and was able to concentrate on my stoke and kick, which I still have to do a bit.

At the second turn I unfortunately got a mouth full of water as I was taking a breath. This kind of threw me off a bit... one because of the "shock" of it, and two because this lake is butt-a$$ nasty and is closed several times a year due to high e-coli. So, needless to say I was none too pleased, but I pressed on.

After this turn I was actually able to draft off someone who was swimming at a perfect pace for me. It also allowed me to not worry so much about sighting which should have helped. I followed this guy until the last few 100 meters when I decided to dig in and push the pace a bit. In doing so I think I ended up negating any benefit as I found that I went adrift to starboard more than I would have liked.

The hard effort at the end also had another drawback... when I climbed out of the water onto the beach to head into T1 I lost my footing and down I went! At least I had good spirits about it, I hopped up pretty quickly and told the camera guy that he better had gotten a shot of that!

Swim split was 41:00. A few seconds (11) better than last year so I was actually a little disappointed... even though took a tumble and went off course a bit, I still felt like I should have been a bit under 40 given my training times and the fact that I did a 1500 meter swim in an Oly a month ago, in similar water conditions in under 30.
What would you do differently?:

Hope to sight a bit better, try to find someone to draft sooner, and not fall coming out of the water.
Transition 1
  • 03m 51s

Well lets see, after getting out of the water I was a bit woozie as usual, but this time the woozieness and the uneven ground got the best of me and I went down. Got some nice road rash on my knees, but hopped back up pretty quick and continued onto into T1 only a little worse for the wear.

I decided to put a little cryptic marking on my forearm for this race to help me remember my racks since I usually end up doing something stupid every race. It worked well I got right to my bike with no issues whatsoever. I decided to put socks on in T1 and that took a bit of time, plus being a "clean transition" race I had put all of my other gear into the provided bag and close it up.

I headed out to the road only to find that one of my rubber bands broke prior so I was clip-clopping along with my right shoe bouncing off the ground the whole way. I executed a pretty decent flying mount, but did have some issues getting my right foot in the shoe since I had to manipulate the shoe with my foot. In the end I got it set and I was off for what I hoped would be a solid bike split.
What would you do differently?:

Not fall coming out of the water, and use better rubber bands for my shoes.
  • 3h 01m 8s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.55 mile/hr

Ahh the bike split. This is where the rubber meets the road (pun intended) for my hopes of a sub 5:30 HIM. I had set out last year for a sub 3:00 bike split and came in at 3:06. I wasn't happy, and knew that my swim was adequate, my run is fairly strong, and that I had to work on the bike. I found that guys putting in my kind of run times were laying down 2:45-2:50 bike splits so I was giving up 15 minutes or more on the bike. So work I did.

After getting settled into the bike I tried to take it easy for a few miles to gain my composer, let the HR come down a bit, and let the legs warm up for the ride. The first 30 minutes of the ride went OK. I got 9.5 miles so including the first couple miles of "warm up" I figured I was in good shape. Only problem was that my legs felt much more fatigued then they should have after only 30 minutes of ridding... hmmmm... this isn't cool.

The next 30 minutes went about the same... I had logged another 9.5 miles and figured that a +/- 19 MPH pace wasn't too bad. Only problem was that by now my legs hurt, I knew that this wasn't right and I was real concerned that there was still 35+ miles to go, the rollers seemed to be killing me, and I haven't hit the worst climb yet. I'm in trouble.

Yep, I was in trouble. For the next two hours I just kept battling the rollers, It seemed just when I cranked up one and was recovering, here comes another. After the first hour on the bike, I knew that I was in for a long day, but decided that I was going to put all I had into the bike, knowing that I could limp though a half mary without even thinking about it. So that is what I did, I pushed as hard as I could and never really let up. I didn't really "recover" much on the down hill sections since I knew that was the only place I could make up a few seconds so I big ringed every one hitting over 40 MPH in many spots, with my max speed for a 5 second interval being 47.3 MPH, 30 second 40.7 MPH, 2 minute 33 MPH, and 10 minute 25.3.

In the end I got a 3:01:08, 5 minutes better than last year, but well below my expectations, I was shooting to take 10 minutes off my time and secretly hopped that I could nail a 2:48 (20 MPH average). On top of not meeting my time goal, my legs were cooked...ugh!

What would you do differently?:

Beats the he!! out of me... maybe try to recover better/more pre-race. Since I really felt tired and sore after 10-15 miles on the bike, I think that I might have had some overuse issues. At least I hope so, I really feel like the training I've put in should have resulted in more than a 5 minute improvement in my bike split.
Transition 2
  • 01m 15s

Executed a nearly flawless flying dismount, if I do say so myself. I had a perfect line into the dismount area and didn't miss a beat as I jumped off the pedal and continued running into T2 with the bike. This was perhaps the best part of my race! Pretty sad.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, this was pretty good. Nearly 30 seconds quicker than last year.
  • 1h 51m 34s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 31s  min/mile

Every single stage of this race was better this year than last, except this one. I was actually over 4 minutes slower in the run, and I don't blame it on cooking the bike, well not totally at least.

As I mentioned I knew that I was in for a long day at about the 10 mile mark on the bike. My legs were burning, and I just didn't have any juice left when I got into T2.

I headed out on the run course knowing what to expect, it was the same course as last year so I was pretty familiar with it... very little shade a gnarly hill for a steady 1 mile, and the pretty steep but short climb to the turn around and finish.

I went out knowing that I would just need to dig down to push through the run. My legs hurting did help with one thing... I didn't go out too fast, which is usually the case for me. I was forced to take it easy from the beginning... especially since the long steady climb starts before the 1 mile marker. The first lap went pretty much without incident. I was about 10 seconds per mile off my anticipated pace and I figured that wasn't too bad all things considered.

After I ran the hill and made the turn for my second lap I kind of hit a wall. The climb to the turn around followed very quickly by the long steady climb before the 1 (7) mile mark took it out of me. I hit the long steady climb and it took all I had to run up it... well shuffle my feet while moving my arms in a running motion at least. From there on out it was all about just suffering to the finish.

There were many times that I thought about walking, my head was playing games with me. Telling me things like "screw it you're not breaking 5:30 anyway" but I was able to fight back and by the time I got to about the 10 mile mark I knew I could at least beat last year's time if I stuck it out. So I did... small victories!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, I ran as well as could be expected. I was slower than last year and I was about 6 minutes slower than I had predicted, but it was likely the best I could have done given the condition my legs were in.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around a bit and drank some water right after the finish. I sat in the shade and tried to stretch out a bit to keep from cramping up. Then I walked down to the post race food area and was greeted by a most beautiful sight... a big inflatable archway that was emblazoned with the "got chocolate milk" logos... my mouth started watering. That is until I got in there and only found water and Sam Club brand soda products! Huh????

Me: "Hi nice volunteer lady do you "got chocolate milk?"
NVL: "No, sorry we don't"
Me: "Hmmm that kind of stinks, did you run out already?"
NVL: "No, we never had any"
Me: "Are you serious? What's with the "got chocolate milk" banner?"
NVL: "I asked the same thing"
Me: "Huh, I guess I'll just have a diet Sams Club, and a slice of pizza."

What limited your ability to perform faster:

It think that for the most part my fatigue level at the start line was my biggest limiter. I put in some solid work this winter and have had some promising training days that hinted to a much better performance. But come race day, my legs just weren't into it... feeling the fatigue and burning in my legs only 10 or 15 miles into the bike was not a good sign.

I've got another 70.3 in October so I'm going to look at my training schedule and adjust the length, volume, and intensity of my taper and hope that I can toe that line a bit fresher.

It's either that or I just suck! :-)

Event comments:

Overall I think that the race was much improved from last year. The rerouting of the bike course to miss much of Central Avenue was a blessing. There were still some pretty rough areas, and you can't help but have pot holes and other impediments once you get into the urban area of any race, but at least we didn't have too much to contend with for the first 45 miles or so.

The run course still had the same goofy loop into a parking lot for about 100 meters or so. Last year I thought that it was just a last minute thing to make the distance, but I guess its part of the course. Just doesn't make sense to me... you've got an entire city to plan a run course and you can't get an extra block somewhere along the way? The parking lot thing is just pretty hack in my opinion... I mean come on this is a WTC Ironman event... not a local church group 5K.

Two other things that kind of irk me as well... the post race food situation for one. I mentioned the chocolate milk thing... that was just cruel. But also the pretty lack luster offerings in general left a lot to be desired given the cost of the race and its "high profile" nature. Cold pizza and Sams Club soda and chocolate chip cookies is not was I'd expect at this type of event.

Lastly, I still can't stand that at an event that costs $250+, the sponsors find it acceptable to charge athletes $8 each for a 10 minute shuttle ride to the race start.

Last updated: 2012-02-10 12:00 AM
00:41:00 | 2112 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 41/149
Overall: 355/1093
Performance: Average
Suit: None
Course: Out and back in a local pond
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:51
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:01:08 | 56 miles | 18.55 mile/hr
Age Group: 48/149
Overall: 319/1093
Performance: Below average
Average HR: 156 Max HR: 176
Wind: Little
Course: A meandering loop from Lincoln into Providence through mostly rural areas. It was pretty hilly in my opinion, and had the infamous pot holes and railroad tracks to contend with... although not a bad as last year do to some minor course alterations.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 94
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:15
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:51:34 | 13.1 miles | 08m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 34/149
Overall: 255/1093
Performance: Below average
Average HR: 159 Max HR: 173
Course: Two loops though Providence with a gnarly hill about a mile into the loop, and again at the turn around / finish line.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3