Ironman 70.3 Branson - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Branson, Missouri
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
65F / 18C
Total Time = 5h 44m 39s
Overall Rank = 155/785
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 13/81
Pre-race routine:

This race was not on my 2012 list originally. 5 weeks before IMKS 70.3 I crashed on the bike, breaking my collar bone so I added this one after the fact, especially seeing the $100 off schwaggle deal. Arrived in Branson Friday night about 9:30 or so, stayed at the Hotel Grand Victorian about 3-4 miles from the finish (Branson Landing). I let the family know this was my night to sleep so I was asleep by 11:00 which is early for me. Woke up at 8 ish, took a shower, went down the breakfast, told the kids that Saturday was not officially a fun day because I needed the rest, they understood and since I let them bring their laptops, no big argument there.

An hour or so later kids and I went to check in the bike and pick up my packet at the Chateau which was up on a hill above the swim start (Moonshine Lake). I parked down by T1 so we had to walk up that hill which was about a mile or so. I noticed some people standing by bikes near the bottom waiting. I'm guessing they didn't want to walk up that hill, it was pretty steep. Packet pickup was quick, the Expo wasn't very big which is fine by me. They had these inexpensive cotton T-shirts with the IM Branson logo in front and comething about the bike course on the back so I bought one of those and my DD had to have one of those small cowbells to cheer me on. Also got a race branded coffee mug as a momento.

Saw a fellow competitor from the K.C. area in line, chatted for awhile, still can't remember his name, doh! Racked my bike, right in the middle of T1 so no advantage to my spot.

After that I just relaxed the rest of the day. Went to Joes Crab Shack for dinner, had some pasta dish, nothing earth-shattering, actually wanted to eat BBQ ribs, told the kids we'd eat that post race! The waiter (George) at the crab shack was a hoot. He said he'd stand out there looking out for me during the race, man knows how to work for tips! He was a great waiter, no doubt about that.

Just relaxed the rest of the night, watching football/TV, fell asleep around 10:30 or so. Even though we were in Branson, there would be no shows, little entertainment etc. since this race was out of the planned races for the year.
Event warmup:

Woke up at 3:45 took a quck wake me up shower, put the tri gear on, make sure I had everything and woke up the kids. I wented to get to the Landing early to make sure I had a good parking spot not knowing how many people would be parking there. We took the shuttle to Moonshine beach, got there before 5:30 which meant a lot of standing around/bored time for the kids. My timing chip strap seemed a little short, only about 1/2" of contact so I went to the volunteer at the small table by T1 and asked if she had more straps. She did, but they were all the same length. I ended up putting in on fairly tight just to make sure there was enough "grippage" to prevent if from falling off.

I think the air temperature was around 50 degrees so it was pretty chilly. It was dark until at least 6:30, saw a few helment lamps which was a smart idea. I switched the Garmin on, after a few minutes it timed out asking if I was indoors, huh? I powered off and tried again, still no signal after 3-4 minutes. My plan was to put it on my wrist in transition and I'd have it for the bike and run. Since the signal wasn't there and I wasn't sure if I would use it, I strapped it onto the bike. I didn't really warm up, just hung out with the kids until it was time to don the wetsuit. About 15 minutes before my wave start I finally needed to go to the port-a-potty which was cutting it close. So I put my wetsuit bottoms on, then went and stood in line. Came out about 5 minutes from my start time. Handed my sweatshirt to the kids and made my way down the the beach.
  • 32m 42s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards

Waded up near the front of our wave as I'm usually top 10-15% in AG in swims. Horn sounded and we were off. Some contact on both sides and eventually took a good hit in the head after a few minutes. It must have dislodged by contact lense on my right because I couldn't see clearly for th next 5 minutes or so. That was the side the bouys were on so that was a little frustrating. I just kept swimming though. Worked out OK as I drifted inside the bouy line where there was calmer water and less people. As I got to the first turn bouy I had to swim left some so I could turn the corner. It doesn't matter which side of the bouys you swim on as long as you round that turn bouy. Finally got to where I could put my head down for longer periods without sighting as much. Eventually I got the wave in front and had to navigate left and right more frequently.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, I think I executed this swim fairly well.
Transition 1
  • 03m 24s

Ran up the hill pretty quickly, thought I heard my kids, wasn't sure but smiled in that direction anyhow, turned out it WAS them! Bike shoes AND socks on, I decided I would put socks on in T1 instead of T2 since the bike would be chilly. Put my helmet, race belt and shades on.
  • 3h 10m 45s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.61 mile/hr

Holy Mother of God, there is nothing like this where I live even close to these conditions! These hills are LONG, they are not particularly steep, just LOOOOOOONG. OK, so you head out of transition go across the dam, and here we go, climb #1 something like 1.8 miles at an average grade of 2.8%. That's cool, I'm fresh, a little 1.2 mile swim is just a little warmup, I got this, I'm in the big ring the whole way just spinning through it. A very nice descent after that, probably hit 41-42 mph, feet still numb as hell since it's still only 50 something friggin' degrees, no worries mate. Mile 10ish, climb number two, 1.1 miles, 3.5% average grade, big ring still, all is good, numbness in feet starting to fade, finally. I've passed a few riders by this time, and a few have passed me, my they looked strong, albeit most of them looked like they weighed 150-170 lbs.

After the descent following climb #2 there are three small climbs before you hit the school where the turnaround/aid station is.

Climb #3 came at about mile 19 and lasted 1.2 miles (3.4%). Still feeling O.K. haven't moved to the small ring yet ....

Climb #4 occurs as you're heading back to the turnaround where you repeat climbs 2, 3 and 4. Climb #4 is just a wonderful 1.2 mile climb averaging about 3.7% and this is where I decided to ....wait for it....wait for it.....go to the SMALL ring! This little 56 mile scamper is all about energy management. The nice thing about the long climbs was the ease of taking in hydration and nutrition. I had 3 gels on my top tube via the Gelrilla Grips and had 3 more gels in my tri top rear pocket. I also had gatorade in the bottle, water in my aero bottle. Since it was pretty cool most of the ride I didn't really take in that much water. My gels had electrolytes so I made sure I had fuel+electrolytes in prep for the run. You complete climb #3 a third time before you head back into town towards the Branson Landing. By that time my lower back was feeling it so I needed to get out of the saddle just to stretch out.

Climbs 2 through 8 are all on the high roads which were closed to traffic which was great. After climb number 8 you head back towards the landing but now we're on a two lane road with traffic. This was a little dangerous as some of those drivers were real d'bags. This one guy cut right in front of a rider to make a left turn. Luckily the rider was able to break in time to avoid a collision. I had to slow down as most of this portion was downhill. Most cars would pass on the left as we rode on the right but eventually we all had to slow down because this care decided he would drive at 18-20 mph even though no one was in front of him and the speed limit was 30 mph. Really dude?

After that nonsense we actually rode on a multi-use trail for a while. I think it was at least a mile, could have been two. Then back into town and into T2.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. There's nothing really like this on my typical local routes. I need to do hill repeats I suppose. My setup is 50/34 in the front and 12/25 in the back. I was fine with that, no need to go to 27 on the back.
Transition 2
  • 02m 18s

I was looking for my kids, didn't see them, dismounted, ran way past my transition spot, came back and racked the bike. Helmet off, running shoes/visor on, decided to take the Garmin off the bike, that took at least 30 seconds and I couldn't get the buckle undone. I wanted the Garmin for pacing purposes so I wouldn't go out too fast. Well heck, I finally got the watch undone then just ended up stuffing it in my rear pocket as I still had my Timex on my wrist. Can you say RPE!

So finally left transition and sooooo happy to be running! Lower back feeling better and it was no longer cold!
What would you do differently?:

Work out a good gadget plan or leave them at home!
  • 1h 55m 30s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 49s  min/mile

Only 13.1 miles to go, that's what was in my head when this started. I quicklly felt a tight cramping sensation in both quads. "Oh please, don't cramp up, please tell me that's normal after coming off a really hilly bike course!". My plan was to negative split this run, go out easy at first, then pick it up on the last half if I had anything left. This course is fun and flat, which is a relief after such a bike ride. I checked my watch after the mile 1 marker and noted what time it would be after a 9 minute mile. When I got to the mile 2 marker I looked down and I was in the neighborhood of 8:45 or so. I did the same thing at mile 3 and I was still slightly under 9 minute mile pace so I settled in and stopped the looking at the watch nonsense. My quads were still tight so I was in major don't do anything stupid cruise control mode.

The temperature was perfect, no risk of dehydration at this point. In the early miles I took gatorade over water and threw down the last two of my gels which had electrolytes in them. I think around mile 4 the aid station had coke and I thought, that sounds good. I didn't see the kids for the first two passes by the finish line. Some parts of the course had a narrow path, the m/u trail, so passing was interesting unless you wanted to run on the grass. On a couple of occassions I was about to pass the peson in front of me but heard quicker footsteps behind me so I slowed down and let them pass first. I figured those individuals were going for a Vegas Slot so they might have needed every second. One guy actually said thanks!

The last pass through the shopping mall in front of the fountains I finally saw my kids. There was my daughter with the cowbell, she wasn't looking in my direction so I yelled out her name, ran towards her and gave her a high five.

I had only one 70.3 before this one and setting a PR wasn't out of the question. When I came up on mile 10 I glanced at the watch and saw that I would need to run low 7's to beat my IMKS time of 5:41. That was simply not going to happen. I did, however, feel pretty good after that, so I actually did pick up speed during miles 11 and 12. The final splits on the website show me running sub 7's for the last 2.2 miles, there's no way that's correct. Anyhow I finally passed the mile 13 sign, got myself together, meaning tried to run with good form, not look to beat up etc. and came into the finish. Nice to hear your name at the end. Would have been funny to hear something like "Reece Robinson, you're half an Ironman!"

Got my finishers medal, grabbed two cartons of chocolate milk and there my kids were to greet me, perfect!

The other good thing about this run is that I bettered my first HIM run by 8 minutes!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I executed that run as well as can be. Was I too cautious when my quads were tight? I don't know. If I had a shot at Vegas I may have been more agressive, without risk there's no reward right?
Post race
Warm down:

Drank one of my chocolate milks, gave the other one to my daughter. Walked around a bit. Asked around about where the massage tent was, I really wanted one. Nada, they had one at IMKS but not at Branson. I then looked around to see where some food might be. Saw some guys with Hot Dogs but one said they were all out now. I sat down for a while, watched some other runners on the course, then got back up and walked around some more. Eventually we made our way to the car and picked up my bike and gear.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The only way to be faster on this course is to ride more, especially up hills, LONG hills not the short stuff I have at home.

Event comments:

Because of the volunteers and venue, this was a great race. The volunteers were exceptional and there were plenty of them. Most of the venue is awesome, especially the run course and the high road portion of the bike course.

This race also had a Sprint and Oly distance and I heard there were no awards for those, If that's the case, that's a big negative in my book. I think if you're going to have those distances, you should recognize those athletes as well. Running out of food is also a negative, especially shortly after I finished when appoximately 50% of the athletes were still on the course!

I heard that this is year 3 or a 3 year contract and that the race might be in jeopardy of not being held next year. I hope that's not the case because it's a great challenge, and the course is very spectator friendly.

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Last updated: 2012-06-03 12:00 AM
00:32:42 | 2112 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 12/81
Overall: 84/785
Performance: Good
Suit: PI Tri Shorts, Orca Top, DeSoto T2 bottoms
Course: Trapezoidal, typical HIM lake swim.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:24
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:10:45 | 56 miles | 17.61 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/81
Overall: 156/785
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: A challenging course with LONG hills. There are 8 CAT 5 climbs on this ride ranging from 1.1 to 1.6 miles. The majority of the ride is on a nice paved highway CLOSED to traffic. Near the finish you enter a paved multi-use path and are on that path for one to two miles.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:18
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:55:30 | 13.1 miles | 08m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 21/81
Overall: 232/785
Performance: Good
Course: Run course starts in the Branson Landing parking lot and finishes at the fountains. It's a 3 loop course that cuts right through an outdoor shopping mall. The course also travels along a multi-use trail and some residential roads.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4