Ironman 70.3 Austin - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Austin, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
45F / 7C
Total Time = 6h 11m 21s
Overall Rank = 952/
Age Group = 30-34M
Age Group Rank = 140/239
Pre-race routine:

Sorry for the long race report in advance!

This was my first HIM and was planning to use this as a stepping stone to my preparation for IMTX next May. This is only my second triathlon season, but I feel like I've made big improvements and learned lots along the way. This race was also a great learning experience and I think I'll be able to take a lot from having done it!

I came into Austin on Friday morning by myself with my family following behind on Saturday morning. I was type-A enough (I'm not really type A in real life, but in triathlon, all those tendencies come out of me) that I had all my meals planned out from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning pre-race. I also packed everything for the different segments in different bags so that I didn't have to worry about missing anything and didn't have to think about what was supposed to go in which drop bag. Fortunately, my wife thinks this is cute rather than dorky or weird!

Friday involved checking in at the race and finding my way around to the different areas since everything was so spread out. It was cold outside and I was beginning to get really nervous about my gear situation - particularly for the bike. I had toe warmers and full gloves, but now I was officially nervous because all I brought was my sleeveless tri top. Eventually, my "nothing new on race day" mantra won out and I decided to go with what I had.

I went back on Saturday to check my bike in. This was fairly uneventful, fortunately, although I did roll my bike through the grass from my car until I got close to the transition area where there were volunteers telling everyone to walk their bikes because of thorns. This took way longer than I thought and got back into my car to leave and go get some lunch. I pulled out and proceeded to move 10 feet in 15 minutes. I don't know WHAT was going on and people were starting to get out of their cars to go see for themselves. Since I was alone, this wasn't really an option. Eventually, cars behind me began offroading it down a hill and I backed up and did the same thing. I never figured out what the deal was and wonder how long the people in front my me had to continue waiting. That was definitely a low-point from an organizational standpoint.

My night before involved a pretty light pasta dinner and a roll and my obligatory couple glasses of wine (followed with a couple more glasses of water). I know, this goes against just about anything you read and would think is logical, but I started this a couple of years ago before a running race that I wasn't all that worried about and it went so well that I've continued it ever since! Sunday morning, I had a honey whole wheat bagel toasted with PB&J, sipped on a bottle of Perform, ate an apple and a few hand fulls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on the way to the race site.

Sunday, I got to the race site and checked on my run bag I'd dropped off and went to get on the bus to the swim start with my wife. Fortunately this was all pretty uneventful. The event planners definitely had things running well this morning because despite the long line waiting to get on the bus, there were plenty of buses and we got to T1 in no time. I checked on my bike before T1 closed and set up my gear on the bike. After this, there was just a lot of waiting.
Event warmup:

My wave went off second to last - over an hour after the race started, so there was a good amount of walking around while killing time. Eventually, I did some very light jogging a few minutes before putting on my wetsuit and then some light stretching. I put on my wetsuit about 15 minutes before my wave and walked down to the start area.
  • 40m 51s
  • 1931 meters
  • 02m 07s / 100 meters

The swim start was not bad...definitely helped by the wave start. Things cleared out pretty quickly, but I never felt alone out there. The water temperature was shockingly comfortable with my sleeveless wetsuit and my pace was really comfortable. I knew I wanted to take it easy on the swim so I could have the opportunity to push it later in the race if I felt good. I wasn't sighting great, but was able to follow others well enough to keep a pretty good line. The buoys were hard to see, for me at least...I almost wish they were bigger, but maybe that was just my own personal problem! I definitely drifted off course a few times, but not too much and was able to recover quickly. I began catching up with a few swimmers from previous waves about 3/4 of the way before the first turn and half way through the swim things were beginning to get a bit congested again. Just after the second turn, I felt the fast swimmers from the last wave catching up and I got swum over a few times, but that's just part of the deal. I was really surprised at how fast this 40 minutes passed and I couldn't have been more pleased with my pacing as I got out feeling good and ready to hop on the bike.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure that I would do anything differently. Ideally, I would be a faster swimmer, but that's nothing I would be able to change about how I raced today :). I felt good about my pace and used this as a good warm-up for the rest of the day.
Transition 1
  • 06m 21s
What would you do differently?:

I could have hurried a bit more, but I was much more interested in making sure I was all ready to go before heading out considering the first-timer nature of this distance for me and the weather. I also ate part of my bonk breaker in transition which I would ordinarily never do because of time, but I was worried about my ability to eat on the bike with my gloves on. Then, I chose to carry my bike out of transition rather than push it out to avoid the thorns that were in the grass. Based on the fact that I saw probably 15-20 people (probably saw more than some because I was in the 2nd to last wave) on the side of the road changing flats, I feel like I made the right choice. In shorter races, I'm usually among the top of my AG in transition time, so I'm confident I'll do better my next race.
  • 3h 02m 20s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.43 mile/hr

As mentioned before, I was VERY nervous about the temperature outside having had some bad experiences with cold weather on the bike on training rides. This time I had toe covers and full gloves with the rest of my normal kit. I think I was helped at least a little by the fact that my wave went off at 8:35 versus the start at 7:30 because I could not have been more comfortable out there! I was shocked and this made the ride so enjoyable!

Everything I had read said to take the bike portion easy - at least for the first hour...or maybe the first half of the bike portion. I took this to heart after having driven the beginning portion of the course the day before. Being from Dallas, we just don't have a ton of hills and it's not something I've emphasized in my training. After seeing what the course looked like some the day before, I became nervous that I would not perform well because long, sustained hills and I don't get along well, so I knew I had to ride conservatively.

I was going along minding my own business (still probably only 7-10 miles in?) when there was a short, but steep, climb. I began to shift down and then immediately knew something was wrong. I couldn't shift, so I immediately pulled off to the side (fortunately, because of the hill, no one was flying past me at the time making it unsafe for anyone). I was pretty sure that if I could just turn the crank with my hand and shift the derailleur that it would work itself out. It worked, fortunately, but now the little task of clipping back in with bikes coming past me and in the middle of a steep hill. I laughed at myself a little bit, looked up the hill, and decided I would run up the hill carrying my bike (I'd already done it coming out of transition, what's climbing a short hill with it now, right?). I only lost a couple minutes, but I was hoping this wasn't foreshadowing what was ahead of me.

After that, I continued to take it nice and easy for probably the first 20 miles. The roads on long stretches were not very good compared to what I'm used to and I think I let it affect my pace some. The roads combined with the fact that I needed to pee made for an uncomfortable stretch! :) I'm not sure what I was averaging over the the first half (and didn't care!), but I knew I'd survived what would be the hardest hill section until the end and decided to push things a little more. I kept going back and forth about whether to stop and use the porta-potty at an aid station, but I knew my legs felt so good that I didn't want to stop, plus it always seemed there was at least a couple people waiting at each one and I didn't want to waste the time, so I stuck it out until the end of the ride. At about 40 miles, I was still feeling very good and I knew that if I wanted to make up any time, it would be on the bike because I'm not a particularly strong I took off. It was a nice flat stretch of road for a number of miles and it was nice to open it up. There was one small problem - I got stuck behind a truck! I couldn't believe it. I was passing a number of other riders, but this truck couldn't get around them and I couldn't get around it. Eventually, the driver would find an opening to get around a clump of riders, but then would get stuck again and I would catch up. Maybe I was being saved from myself and a blowup on the run from tiring myself out. If getting stuck behind a truck for a couple miles was the worst thing that happened to me all day, I'll take it. The last couple of miles, I took it easy knowing that I needed to prep my legs for the transition and run.
What would you do differently?:

I would push a little harder earlier in the ride. I think I might've left some time on the table. While I think I handled the hills well, I would prepare more for them with hill repeats.
Transition 2
  • 09m 35s

I was pretty close to the corner of the "run out" so I had a long way to go with my bike. After a few bad experiences in the past, I've been running in my cleats in T2s rather than taking my feet out and jumping off the bike. So I know that slowed me down with how far I had to run/walk in them. Then, it was time to go to the bathroom. FINALLY. There were two porta-potties and a few people waiting. This was a BIG mistake to stop here (in hindsight). I'm sure I could have continued on to the run and used the first bathroom I came to (which I think was within 2 miles?), but I had no idea what to expect out there, so this was the right choice at the time. I ended up waiting at least 3 minutes, maybe more, to use the bathroom. It would have been REALLY nice to have had more than just two porta-potties in transition considering I wasn't the only one to have the idea of waiting until T2 to go. Oh well, it was nice to get my heart rate down before heading out to the run. I went over and got sunscreened and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Again, I'm normally pretty quick on transitions, so I know this is something I can improve upon in future HIMs. Also, especially on a three lap run, take a risk on there being bathrooms early enough in the run to take advantage of rather than wait in T2 (if this feeling occurs here again!)
  • 2h 12m 14s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 05s  min/mile

I felt like I was having a good race, but I was prepared to take it easy on the first part of the run. However, after what was a solid first lap for me and feeling strong (plus, knowing that it was much cooler outside than what I was used to running in), I decided that I was going to "go for it" to see what happens and maybe I'd be able to break 6 hours (my secret goal time). The issue with this thinking is that I didn't really have a good idea of what my time was because my watch malfunctioned on the swim and I didn't know what any of my times were. I couldn't even rely on my bike computer because of the stop I had to fix my shifting (the timer stops when the bike stops for a few moments) to know exactly what my bike time was. If I'd had all of the information, I would've known that 6 hours was not going to be possible for me this day, but since I didn't, I didn't want to find myself having not pushed and missed 6 hours by a minute or two. I knew that "going for it" was either going to prove that I used everything in the tank and had my strongest half marathon to date or I was going to blow up and end up walking a lot at the end. I made peace with this 2nd possibility. That was good, because that's what happened. I still had a strong 2nd lap (at about the same pace as the first lap), but a mile into the last lap, I ran out of gas. I walked/ran at a ratio of what felt like 1:1 which made for a pretty slow last lap (a little over 11min/mile after the first two laps of 9:30 or so). It wasn't as bad as it felt at the time, but it still took a lot of time off to slow down so much over the last 4.5 miles. Oh well. I was still proud of my run.
What would you do differently?:

Overall, I felt good about the run, but know that there's things I can do to improve. If I said that I wasn't used to hills on the bike, I REALLY wasn't used to running them, so running more hills in practice would be a positive, so even if I have a flat course, I would be prepared for it and stronger for it!
Post race
Warm down:

I did a little stretching, but not much else. I did get a massage.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

hill practice for me. . The weather could not have been better in central easily could have been worse in so many ways, so no complaints here!

Event comments:

I feel like I executed my plan very well minus the run. My nutrition seemed to work well. I had a gu 20 minutes before the swim, three IM Performs on the bike and a water. I also had a bonk breaker and a HS waffle on the ride, and then another gu on the run while alternating perform and water at every aid station on the run. Only briefly did I feel like my stomach wasn't in great shape and that didn't last long.

I can't wait to do another HIM, but am going to have to wait because there's not any close to where I live until April and that's too close to IMTX and I'm not willing to risk it prior to my first IM. I would definitely do this race again...maybe next year...we'll see how things are going at that point. It was a lot of fun!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-04-19 12:00 AM
00:40:51 | 1931 meters | 02m 07s / 100meters
Age Group: 134/239
Overall: 909/
Performance: Good
Course: Counter-clockwise triangle course
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 06:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:02:20 | 56 miles | 18.43 mile/hr
Age Group: 120/239
Overall: 753/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: back roads/country highways - single loop
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 09:35
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:12:14 | 13.1 miles | 10m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 140/239
Overall: 952/
Performance: Average
Course: three loops. Pretty hilly...almost no flat areas except a portion going into and through the state park
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4