Ironman 70.3 Racine - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Racine, Wisconsin
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
102F / 39C
Total Time = 7h 51m 1s
Overall Rank = 1764/2227
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 102/139
Pre-race routine:

We arrived in Racine several days early so we could check out the courses and get to know our way around. Our first day we played in Lake Michigan, what an amazing lake it is! I’ve never even seen a lake that big let alone swam in one. The lakes I’m used to I can easily see the opposite shore and possibly the sides as well. Lake Michigan seemed to stretch on forever past the horizon.

On Friday I did the early check in and looked through the Ironman Store, I admit it, I bought some things. A hat and a new jersey for me, and a Support Team shirt for my little boy who was also with me. Looking at all the things for sale and all the different vendors started to make me wonder if my bike and shoes would be able to hold up against the big name equipment that was on display. I just kept on reminding myself that they survived the hundreds of miles in training so they should be able to handle a few more miles without a problem.

Saturday I met with a group of other BTer’s to do a practice swim. I’m sure glad that I did, the feel of the lake was different than what I’m used to. The only lake that is close to me has been closed to swimming due to being infested with snakes so I’ve been stuck in the pool all year.

Also I was still very nervous about getting back in the water from my bad experience from the Bluff Creek Tri. After a hour in the water I felt more comfortable. I just having so many people near me as I felt the waves gently lift me and move with the current. A quick quarter mile swim and I was comfortable but also painfully aware of how slow of a swimmer I truly am. By time I got to the rest of the group they were all easily treading water. I joked with them for a few minutes then headed back to the starting point, and as before I was the last one of the group to come in.

Reading through the posts in the weeks prior to the race several people who had done this race in the past had commented on how they could actually see the bottom of the lake bed for most of the swim and that they could easily see their arms and other swimmers. At first I thought that they were just joking but after our swim I was amazed that I too could see all the way to the bottom. On our practice swim I passed by one of the swim marker buoys and was able to see every link in the chain below the water and the concrete on the bottom holding it in place.

Saturday was bike check in coupled with more time spent playing and relaxing on the beach and playing in the water with the kids. At this point I didn’t have a care in the world and could not have been more relaxed. Spent the rest of my time just relaxing with my friend, it turned out that her kid and my kid got along great and they were able to entertain themselves. After an early dinner it was off to bed for a mostly fitful night of sleep.

Event warmup:

I was up and about at 0400 and proceeded to follow my typical pre race routine. A hot shower and put my hair up. Got in my tri shorts and put on my ITP Team racing jersey. Put myself through a series of stretches that was given to me by my physical therapist. As usual I felt great and loose after the stretches. I checked, for the third time, all my gear that I would bring with me. A quick breakfast of a Cliff Bar and 12 oz of V8 and I was ready.

I got to the race start close to an hour early and was met with a parking nightmare. I finally found a spot almost eight blocks from the start line and proceeded to haul my gear to Transition. After receiving my race numbers marked on me and my age I quickly found my bike. Even amid over 2200 bikes finding my bike was easily thanks to each bike having an assigned slot based on number.

I set up my area just like I always do as my nerves kicked into high gear. One of the bike tech guys was walking around and topped off my tires for me. After a quick last minute look over of my site I grabbed my swim gear and headed out to the Porta-Potties one last time before the mile long trek to the beach.

I was in Wave 19 of 23 which gave me close to an hour of down time before my start. I had brought with me about 25 ounces of ZYM which I sipped on slowly, I also ate a gel about 20 minutes before I was to start. After wiggling into my wetsuit I made my way down to the water for a quick warm up swim and to get my body use to the water.

  • 49m 50s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 22s / 100 yards

Much to my amazement this swim want really well. My last swim was by far the worst I’ve ever done and I was more than just a little nervous about it. As my waved was called and we got into the start area my heart was in my throat and my stomach was in my toes. When the horn went off we ran out. The water was fairly shallow for a ways so I was able run almost halfway to the first buoy. A quick dive and I was off.
Rounded the first turn buoy and I was actually keeping up with my group.

It seemed like every other stroke I was either kicked or punched by those around me. This is an advantage of being a back of the pack swimmer; I rarely have to deal with this. But soon they left me and I head the horn go off for the next several groups. And as usual most of them over took me. In a way it was good because it made sighting idiot proof. All I had to do was follow the never ending arms and legs and when I didn’t have those the buoys were the large triangle ones so seeing them was easy too.

Soon the buoys ticked by and I lost count of how many I passed. It was just so nice to know that I was never to far off course and when I did manage to get out of line it was easy to get back to where I needed to be. It was also great to have previous experience swimming in this lake.

I did however have one moment where I panicked. I wave hit me causing my body to slightly roll at the time that I chose to take a breath. The result was a mouthful of lake water. I totally freaked out and started flailing around and getting off track. As soon as I noticed that I had no one around me that served to freak me out even more. I stopped, let me feet drop and my wetsuit took over and gave me the ability to float without any effort on my part. I quickly spotted my next buoy and after a few quick deep breaths I was ready to start swimming again.

Soon I feel into a nice and steady rhythm: stroke, stroke, breath, sight, stroke, stroke, breath, sight…… The yellow buoys gave way to red ones as I continued my slow by steady glide to the finish. At one point I decided that I needed a quick break, I rolled over to my side just as a guy who had the same idea rolled onto the opposite side. The result was that we were face to face, after exchanging greetings and good lucks we both rolled back to our stomachs and continued swimming.

After the last turn the swim got unbelievably easy, I simply let the waves and the current take me in. At the half way point I was sick of swimming and I simply stood up and walked to the beach for a strong finish to my swim.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! I’m happy with the way things went. I ‘m happy with the way I was able to handle the panic episode and who the sighting went.
Transition 1
  • 08m 52s

Holy Heck what’s with all the sand and running? As soon as we exited the water we were faced with a long uphill path to our bikes. Most of the path was not only in the sand, it was in wet sand. It was the type of wet sand that our feel sunk in as soon as we stepped in it. After a long swim the last thing I wanted to do was RUN up a wet sand hill, but that’s what some people were doing. I’m thinking ‘What’s with all this running? We still have 69 miles to go! Why are you running?’ But hey, if they wanted to tucker themselves out so be it.

As soon as we cleared the sand we got up on a paved pathway and into two kiddy pools of water to get the sand off our feet and ankles. A few yards later there was a line of wetsuit strippers. Now that was an experience!

By this time I had my wetsuit off down to my waist, as soon as I get to a volunteer I laid on the ground lifted my hips as the lady grabbed my suit as the seams and yanked as hard as she could. This resulted in me bouncing a few feet along the pavement on my rear while holding myself upright with my arms. It must have been quite a site for those not expecting the spectacle.

As soon as I got to my bike I tossed my wetsuit on the ground had my helmet and sunglasses on, gel taken along with some ZYM. Shoes on, bike off the rack and on my way to the mount line. Even after all this there were still people coming out of the water. It did give me a bit of satisfaction to finally not be the last one out of the water. Only took me three years of racing to get to that point!

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! I'm happy with how things went.
  • 3h 28m 49s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.09 mile/hr

At the start of the course was a short but fairly steep hill made worse by being right at the mount line so there was no momentum to help get up to speed. Saw some people try to mount in to high of a gear and fall over, some hopped clipped in on one side and try to get up to speed on one foot (which was comical in itself). Personally I had biked that hill the day before and had my bike in a low gear so I simply hopped up on my bike clipped my left foot it and hammered down not bothering to take the time to get my right foot clipped in. Instead I used that time and energy to Granny Gear it up to the hill, once there I was able to get enough speed to be able to get my right foot clipped in and I was off.

Almost off the roads went like this: bump, ba-bump, bump, ba-bump, bump…… for 56 long miles. At every bump my front tire would hit causing the rear of the saddle to bump upward and as soon as my rear tire hit the same bump the front of my saddle would strike. So my poor body got hit with each bump twice, it was not a comfy ride! There were a few short areas that was smooth, what a relief that was.

Got to the first station quickly and managed to pass quite a few people and at the same time got passed by several. Overall I seemed to be moving up in rank. Soon I was hot and sweating like crazy and had drank my 20 oz of ZYM by the time I hit the first water station. I snagged a water bottle from the first volunteer of which I was proud of. I managed to do it rolling past him at about 15 mph. I squirted the entire bottle over my head, shoulders, neck, and back. I’m sure I had steam rolling off my skin but the water felt so good. Tossed that bottle just in time to grab another bottle from the last volunteer, still rolling forward at the same speed, and filled up my aero bottle. A quick hammer on the cranks and I was off again. Halfway through my way to the second water station things started to go wrong. I finished my water in the aero bottle and filled up again with the bottle of ZYM that I had on my frame. As I tried to rack my empty bottle I hit a large crack in the road and before I knew it my bottle was gone, rolling down the street and not in my cage like it should have been. Darn! That was one of my favorites too!

As I was cursing my luck I passed a small group of people watching the race. They were obviously mentally challenged but they were by far the most enthusiastic about their cheering. As I rounded a corner I hammered down on the right crank resulting in a burst of speed. This got me a large cheer from the group and lots of pointing as I zipped by. I can still see them standing there smiling from ear to ear just so happy to see all the bikes.

As I approached the second aid station I yelled that I was going to stop and point to the area that I intended on stepping off my bike. I glided to a stop and easily got my right foot unclipped and on the ground. Had a bit of trouble with the left but yanked on it without thinking and was soon firmly balancing on my heals. One of the female volunteers handed me a bottle of water which I chugged down as fast as I could, I didn’t realize how thirsty I had become until I started to drink. Suddenly I couldn’t get enough. During this the same volunteer filled my aero bottle to the brim with cold water. As I tossed my bottle an older male volunteer approached me holding a sizable piece of cold watermelon.

Ahhhh!!!! That’s the only way I can describe how that watermelon tasted. By this time I’d been racing for a little over three hours and living off of liquid and gels for nutrition. And I was so hungry for something more. That watermelon was perfect, it hit the spot and got my belly to calm down and stop rumbling for food. And there’s just something so refreshing about cold slice of watermelon on a hot day.

As I attempted to get my left foot clipped back in I was having troubles. I could feel the cleat and I know I had my SPD upright but I just could not get it clipped in. After fighting with it for over 15 minutes I just though ‘screw it!’, clipped in on the right and took off. I had a feeling about what had happened. When I yanked my left cleat out I twisted the male end on my shoe so that it was no longer center meaning that in order to get clipped in my foot and ankle would need to be off center as well.

As I rode along I finally got clipped in but soon noticed that my heel was twisted so badly inward that it was less than an inch from the front chain ring and spinning chain. That would never do so I was able to snag one side of the cleat in place and said a quick prayer to the bike gods that it would hold. On the times that it slipped off it was like having my left foot on slippery ice, my foot was slid all over the SPD making it almost impossible to turn the cranks without having at least one part set in place. Despite all this I still managed to maintain a decent speed and passed several more people.

For another hour my arms, shoulders and (ahem) other parts continued to be pounded by the never ending cracks in the roads resulting in a seemingly endless ba-bump’s. On one of those bad bumps the top of my aero bottle came flying off and was lying in the ditch before I could react to grab it. Now that made me mad! I lost the first one on my last tri and that was my back up. Now I had nothing and every time my bike hit a bump water would splash up in my face showering me with what ever I happened to have in it. Normally I would not have minded the cool shower but with it being so hot I needed the fluids in me, not on me.

Hit the third aid station as I finished yet another bottle and this time filled up with Perform Drink. Fifteen more miles of ba-bumps and being hit in certain areas and I had all that I could take. I was ready to toss the bike down into the ditch and say to heck with Ironman. I was coming down the homestretch and out of the cheering crowd I managed to hear my four year olds voice pipe up “Go Mommy Go! Your winning!” That was all I needed to push forward for the last mile. Dismounted in reverse order due to my left foot not being clipped in and entered Transition Two.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! Wish the roads were better and I didn't have troubles with my cleat but over all I'm happy.
Transition 2
  • 03m 45s

Nothing really out of the ordinary. My slot was near the Run Out so I had a bit of a walk to my rack area. Got my bike racked, helmet off, running hat on. Sunglasses left on and gel ate with one final pull from what was left in my water bottle and I was off running, or in my case hobbling. Lets face it, after over three hours of being struck in certain areas of the body running is not an easy thing to do!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing! I was happy with my speed. I did not set out to set a land speed record so my times in transition really don't mean to much to me.
  • 3h 19m 45s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 15m 15s  min/mile

Oh man was it hot out there!!!!!! As soon as I exited transition I ran a few hundred yards then had to haul my rear up two short by steep hills that took just about all the remaining juice out of me. By the time I hit the first aid station I was already overheated and I could feel my muscles cramping up. The first cup of water went strait over my head, down my neck and shoulders which felt amazing. I drank some of the second cup and poured the rest down my back.

I had intended to do a 3:1 run/walk routine for this part of the course. That lasted for all of two cycles. It was just to hot to be doing that so I scaled it down to a 2:1 rotation that seemed to be okay for me. At each mile marker I dumped several cups of cold water on me and drank some Perform Drink.

At mile 4 I heard and felt my hip do the tell tale and sickening sound of pop-pop ggggrrrriiiinnnnddddd. I immediately knew what was happening to me. My deep hip flexor and abductor muscles and tendons were seizing up on me and soon would cramp into a tight ball leaving me close to motionless if I didn’t do something soon. I knew that it was decision time. I had two options: I could keep running and risk it not taking me out of the race and out of the rest of my season or I could play it safe and simply walk the rest of the course and save my hip. I chose option two and power walked the remaining nine miles. At one point I was actually moving fast enough that I pasted someone who was jogging.

Here too, the people of Racine and the volunteers were simply amazing. There was an aid station at every mile expect for mile 13. There I was given all the water I wanted to dump on myself, all the fluids to drink, flat Coke (which I found to be nasty),sponges soaked in ice water, pretzels, gels, and orange slices. A free buffet if you will. I know from experience that fluids and orange slices is the only thing that my gut will be able to handle, and with it being so hot it would only be worse.

The people of Racine did more than just cheer us on. A lot of people had their sprinklers on for us to run through. Several people were also standing out with hoses offering a hose down to anyone who wanted it. I quickly learned that running up to them with both my hands in the air was a signal that I wanted to wet down while keeping my hands and arms at my sides would buy me a pass without water.

Of course with the heat index at around 102 I took as much water as I could. It was so hot that even after being soaked and having water dripping off the brim of my hat and shirt I would go only a few hundred feet before I was almost dry. What little moister remained on my cloths was warm and no where close to being refreshing.

One guy and I played a game of leap frog for close to five miles. He would jog ahead and I would continue on my fast but steady walk and I would soon pass him as he stumbled along tired from the run he had just completed.

At mile 12 I started back up with my run/walk but keeping it to a 1:1 ratio to save my hip but also get my body used to running. I was bound and determined to either run across the finish line or craw across, but I’d be damned it I let thousands of people see me cross 70 miles only to walk the last 0.1 of it.

Running down the last tenth of a mile was amazing, it formed a memory that I will carry with me forever. People that I don’t even know were giving me High 5’s and cheering me on. Nearing the finish line my name, number, and location were called off. Just as my front foot was a mere stride away from crossing the finishing line I heard the MC call out “Welcome Home, you did it!”

A flood of emotions overcame me as I fell into the arms of a volunteer. All the pain, hunger, tiredness, nervousness came out all at once. I couldn’t tell if the tears in my eyes were from joy or some other emotion. But either way I finished! I collected my metal and hat and promptly collapsed on the ground for a well deserved rest.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing! The hip problem is out of my control for now as it is an ongoing problem from two years ago.
Post race
Warm down:

The promise of food gave me the drive to get up off the ground and hobble my way over to the foot tent. After a sandwich, two bottles of water, a can of sprite, and some time resting in the shade I began to feel better. I walked around a bit, collected my gear and meet my friend with the kids. My boy ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug his four year old body could muster. He was so proud that his Mama was an Ironman! He kept pointing to my metal saying “You won Mommy, you won! I just KNEW you would!” Of course that brought another flood of emotions and I held him in my arms.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Absolutely nothing! It’s an Ironman, its suppose to be hard on the mind and body. After all like the signs say ‘If it were easy everyone would do it’. I think I did the best I could with the cards that I was dealt. I had to make some changes mid race to my race plan but that’s part of racing. Adapt and overcome. I think that for as sore as I am right now I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I had to.

Event comments:

Despite the 12 oz of V8 for breakfast, 24 oz before the swim, five bottles of fluid on the bike, countess cups of fluids on the run, two bottles of water and a can of Sprite after finishing and more fluids in the hotel room it was a little over three hours before I hobbled into the bathroom. I guess I didn’t realize how badly dehydrated I was, guess I should have asked for an IV at the med tent!

Last updated: 2012-06-08 12:00 AM
00:49:50 | 2112 yards | 02m 22s / 100yards
Age Group: 105/139
Overall: 1769/2227
Performance: Good
Suit: Full Orca S3
Course: This course brought us about 200 yards strait out then a right turn and we swam parallel to the beach and then swam 200 yards back to the shore. I lost count of the number of buoys. The red ones marked a turn, the first half was marked with yellow ones, and the second half was marked with bright orange ones. The buoys were spaced frequently enough to allow for easy sighting so I could tell when was being moved off course from the current.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:52
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:28:49 | 56 miles | 16.09 mile/hr
Age Group: 90/139
Overall: 1740/2227
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: This course wound through town then out in the country before turning back into town. The roads were rough and hard on both the bike and the body. Saw a lot of people on the side of the road with either blown tubes or shredded tires. There were also three aid stations staffed with the most wonderful volunteers.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 03:45
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:19:45 | 13.1 miles | 15m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 102/139
Overall: 1764/2227
Performance: Good
Course: This was a two loop course. The first mile had two short but steep hills that had to conquer on already tired legs. Of course a photographer decided to set up shop at the top of the second hill, right where runners are looking their worse. The loops took us through neighborhoods and the back side of the Racine Zoo. Both times I passed the zoo I didn’t get to see any of the animals.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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] 5