Grand Rapids Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
United States
89F / 32C
Total Time = 5h 45m 18s
Overall Rank = 127/299
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 17/34
Pre-race routine:

Pricelined a hotel near the airport so it was a quick drive to the parking areas. Drank and Ensure at the hotel and chowed down a banana. After blowing up my tires the rear with a Renn Disc went flat, so I had to swap out a tube. Need to find a good solution for filling the Renn. Had a little bit of cottage cheese and Gatorade/water before walking to transition. Chowed down a Clif bar about 30 minutes prior to the start.
Event warmup:

No real time as I was going to hop in the water after the announcements that were suppose to happen at 7 and didn't happen til just before the first wave went off.
  • 34m 56s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 49s / 100 meters

Nice swim course, started off to the right side and stayed pretty much on my own the entire way. Water was real cloudy, and sun is directly in the eyes after making the turn. Stayed along shore at first and sighted on a couple of taller trees which worked out real well. Goggles leaked a little but not enough to force a stoppage. Dark tinted goggles are a must here if sunny out. Kept my pace where I wanted it and bilateral breathed throughout, was out of the water in just shy of 33 minutes. Wet suit strippers were a nice surprise as I just about ran by them.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing had a decent swim.
Transition 1
  • 03m 36s

Transition is along a two lane road and kinda of tight not to mention long. Luckily the half athletes bikes were closest to the bike out/in gate.
  • 2h 51m 15s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.62 mile/hr

Glad I drove the course the day before which helped me plan things out a bit. Really nice course overall. Just a few miles into the ride I came across a cyclist who had crashed hard and had obvious injuries, he was with a volunteer and a couple of deputies all ready. Stopped to make sure everything was okay, the rider had biffed somehow driving his face into the pavement. He was concerned about finding the teeth he had lost and said he would be okay and the deputies said they would help him search, told him good luck and got back to riding. Had a solid ride with the breeze out of the south I knew there were going to be some tough sections on the way out. Kinda of surprised the winds were as bad on the return leg down Grand River as I thought the trees and hillside would help block out the wind better, it didn't. Wore my DeSoto arm coolers and dumped water on them and my back at the aid stations and refilled the Aero Drink. Ate a Cliff bar and drank pretty much the entire bottle of Infinit which had 2.5 servings. Glad I wore my road shoes as I was able to get in and out of them without any issues. The tri shoes just didn't feel right the last couple of times out since I hadn't used them in awhile.
Transition 2
  • 02m 35s

Surprised this time was as long as it was, some of it may have to do with the overall length.
  • 2h 12m 54s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 09s  min/mile

I knew the sun and heat would get me here and it did. The breeze was only evident in a couple of spots. Some homeowners along the course had sprinklers or hoses out so it was nice to get cooled off. I kept the arm coolers on for the run which I never tried before and found them to work nicely for stuffing ice down the inside of my bicep to help in cooling. Had to walk the two hills for at least parts. Legs felt good overall, knee started aching about 8 miles in and I put on a patellar strap I had found before leaving home and stuffed in my pocket. This seemed to help the knee out until mile 11 or 12 where I was starting to feel it again and had to stop and rub it out on a couple of occasions. This was my slowest half marathon or HIM run ever which was a little disappointing.
What would you do differently?:

Try getting acclimated to the heat better but when avg temps are suppose to be in the upper 70's and temps get into the lower 90's on race day it's tough to do. Not to mention the week before my workouts were in the early hours when temps were in the low to mid 50's. Try more mid afternoon runs this summer. Not sure if me and the heat will ever get along though.

Lack of long runs. Had some knee issues this spring with the chronic tendonititis which kept me from doing my normal long runs.
Post race
Warm down:

Drank some water and just chatted with Ben. They had some tasty sandwiches for the racers and someone brought over some fruit from the VIP area. Met Rymac and chatted with him a bit, grabbed the gear and started the walk back to the parking lot that was a little ways away for a CD walk.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat, Heat, Heat!

This was my slowest HIM ever but after not having raced a tri since Sept 2010 I'll take it. Glad my separated shoulder held up all day with just minor discomfort. It was just great to toe the line again. I really missed triathlon and I'm glad to have it back!

Event comments:

This is the second year of the event and they do a lot of things real well. The only gripes were packet pickup was a fuster cluck. I've done a few big races and don't think I ever waited in so many lines or for so long. Just a poor setup that didn't make any sense at all. The swim corral area was a bit strange too but this was a minor problem.

The volunteers were plentiful and did a great job. Had no issues getting my water bottles on the bike course and all the stations along the run were well staffed and stocked with plenty of water, gatorade, ice, snacks, etc. I was really impressed. The only volunteers I could rate a bit higher were the ones at Muncie on the bike course in 2008 that stood out in torrential downpours and thunderstorms. But with the bike and run GR does things right! This race just may be on my calendar to start the year like Tawas is for the end of the year.

Last updated: 2012-06-11 12:00 AM
00:34:56 | 1931 meters | 01m 49s / 100meters
Age Group: 15/34
Overall: 111/299
Performance: Good
Wore Karen's Garmin 310 so I could check my HR and was surprised it was an avg of 158, max 168 and I felt like everything was easy.
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix Full
Course: Swim in damned up area of the Thornapple river. No noticeable current.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:36
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:51:15 | 56 miles | 19.62 mile/hr
Age Group: 21/34
Overall: 135/299
Performance: Good
Avg HR 149, Max 165 Hit the lap button at the turnaround: 1:28:44 avg 19 mph, HR 146 1:22:10 agv 20.6, HR 152
Wind: Some
Course: Out and back with a few turns. Roads were in pretty good shape except for the Morrison Lake from Saranac to nearly I-96.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:35
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:12:54 | 13.1 miles | 10m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 18/34
Overall: 134/299
Performance: Below average
Avg HR 162, max 174
Course: Two out and backs mainly along Thornapple road, with a couple of decent hills.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4