My first Triathlon
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Beach2Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman
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Wilmington, North Carolina
Set Up Events
= 5h 14m 16s
Age Group Rank
Since this was my first HIM I was double and triple checking everything the days before. Bike check in and bike to run bag check in were both the day before so there was not too much to do the morning of the event. Woke up at 6am and drank a cup of coffee and ate a bagel. Left the hotel around 6:45 to head to T1.
Walked around T1 and pumped up the tires on the bike. Also had to put the wetsuit on so that worked up a sweat.
01m 13s / 100 yards
I have been a swimmer since I was 10 years old and continued all the way through college so I have always been up toward the front of OWS triathlons. This swim, however, was absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. The current was so strong going down the river that you literaly could have floated on your back and made the swim cutoff.
I had a good swim but intentionally left a good bit in the tank for the rest of the day. I ran into a good bit of traffic with the wave in front of us around the 3/4 mile point of the swim so I had to do some traffic avoidance. There was some contact at this point but nothing too major. I hit the docks and stopped my watch just so I knew what my actual swim time was. My watch had me at just under 24' for the swim. The published time includes the time on the dock removing the wetsuit and approximately a 400 yrd run across the street to T1.
What would you do differently?:
Overall I was very happy with the swim. I didn't burn any unnecessary energy here and remained very calm throughout. The times are a bit skewed but I would say I was on pace for a 30' HIM swim on a typical course.
Since this was my first HIM I really wanted to make sure I got everything right. I took more time than usual to make sure I had all of my water bottles and nutrition before I left. I also took the time to make sure my helmet was nice and secure.
On a side note, as I was running out of transition I saw a guy with his nice, pointed Giro areo helmet on backwards as he was running out of transition next to me. My first thought was "dang, these new aero helmets have gotten so fancy that the pointed end is now going forward." Then I realized his helmet sticker was facing the back. I kindly yelled to him that his helmet was on backwards and he stopped to fix it. I couldn't help but wonder how long he would have ridden that way if I hadn't told him.
What would you do differently?:
I am sure I could have gone faster but it was a better safe than sorry kind of attitude.
2h 34m 59s
The bike was a very interesting experience. We started out of T1 at the beach and did a loop around onto the hwy. Around this loop were 3 speed bumps that were covered with plastic platforms so you did not have to bunny hop the bumps. Unfortunately as I went over the first one my rear disc cover patch that covered the hole for my valve came loose. I heard it start flapping in the wind as soon as it came loose. The next thing I know it hits the frame and sticks to the frame and comes completely off the disc. I pulled over to reattach the patch after the last of the speed bump platforms and was back on my way.
The next 20 miles or so were quite strange as I have never ridden on the interstate with a bike before. The intrigue quickly wore off and it was a pretty boring yet very crowded ride. I am not sure why it was so crowded but there were many points where people were riding 3 and even 4 wide in 1 lane trying to pass without drafting. There was also a really bad wreck around mile 15 of the ride. I came up on it less than a minute after it happened and it was very sobering to see grown men layed out in the interstate grass median with bike parts scattered across the interstate. I am not exactly sure what caused the wreck but it was a great reminder to just have fun and finish the race.
After probably 25 miles or so we turned off of the highway and went on a nice, scenic ride through some flat country area. This is where the crowded riding just got ridiculous. Most of this country section looked more like my Saturday group ride than a triathlon. People really were doing their best not to draft but I would say more often than not everyone was closer than 3 bike lengths for a good 10 mile stretch. I don't know if it was just the pace I was going or if the whole race looked like this but I think my road bike would have been better served for this portion of the race.
I did see 1 other single rider accident during this period as well as the greatest save on a bike I have ever seen. I made sure to take enough water/gatorade on my bike so I could avoid bottle handoffs at all costs. We came up on one
(again, in what amounted to a group of 20-25 riders
) and I stayed as far left as possible. Someone attempted to take a bottle of water and dropped the exchange. The guy right behind bunny hopped the bottle with his front wheel but his rear hit it straight on. He proceeded to skid to a complete 90 degree angle on the water bottle before being able to correct the bike and ride off of the bottle. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion and a wreck at that point probably takes out 10 riders or more.
The rest of the ride was much more uneventful. We went back onto the highway and headed for downtown Wilmington. Once we got back on the highway the group ride separated to some degree and the 3 bike length rule was obeyed for the most part. Around 5 miles to go there was a climb up and over a bridge overpass on the highway. I decided to separate myself from the group for good at this point so it would not be a cluster**** getting into transition. This turned out to be a good plan as T2 was confusing enough with no traffic to avoid.
What would you do differently?:
I drank 2 bottles of gatorade and ate 2 packs of gu chomps on the ride. I finished the ride with a bottle of water on the back of my bike that I never touched. This would prove to be a critical mistake on the run.
I unfastened my shoes coming into T2 about a quarter of a mile from the finish and was ready for my dismount. We rode through the city streets and hit the convention center where T2 was located. Apparently a few people came flying into transition before I got there and overshot the dismount line in a dangerous fashion. They had an orange chalk line on the ground as a dismount line but it was nearly invisible and the volunteer at this line was not doing a good job of showing people where to dismount. This caused the staff to put down 2 lines of bright yellow caution tape on the road before the dismount line. Well I
(along with everyone around me
) thought the first yellow caution line was the dismount line. I slammed on the brakes at this first line, hopped off the bike and began running with shoes still attached to the bike. As I did this the crowd starting yelling at us to keep going about 25-30 yards futher before we dismount. Too bad, I was already off of my bike and running when I realized what happened. I tossed the bike to a handler and started the run around to the back of the convention center for my t2 bag.
I grabbed my bag and headed to the changing tent. I rode the bike with no socks but my feet blister badly if I run without them. I stopped to put on a pair of socks, threw on the visor and sunglasses, added gels to the pockets and was off.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing I could really do here. I wish I had known where to correctly dismount but that was more on the race setup than me. My wife did tell me they removed the yellow caution tape not long after I came in because everyone did the same thing. They then changed volunteers who were working the dismount line and I think it made things better for the riders coming in behind us.
2h 08m 11s
09m 47s min/mile
It is very ironic that the reason I got into triathlon is because I was running and wanted a good way to crosstrain. I have never been a very fast runner but this offseason is going to be devoted to run training. I did win the dubious honor of being the fastest overall finisher in the field to run over a 2hr half marathon. *sigh*
You can divide the run into two halves. The first mile or so I went out WAY TOO HARD. I need to practice the brick a lot this offseason to slow myself down on the beginning of the run. I was running what felt like a comfortable pace and was going way too fast. I kept trying to slow myself down but could not do it enough until 2 miles in or so. This cost me on the last few miles. I finally got settled into my pace and was clicking off miles at a good speed. I would stop and walk a little at each aid station to make sure I got enough water. I felt great for about the first 6 miles or so and honestly thought I was going to be able to run the whole thing at a 9' avg or so.
The course advertised aid stations every mile on the run. The was true with 1 large exception. There was an aid station just after mile 4 and there was not another one until the turn around just after mile 6. It was pretty hot at this point
) and this two mile stretch really did me in. I knew I was pretty dehydrated
(again, needed more water on the bike
) and this really wiped me out. There was a very large hydration station at the turn around, but then it was back on the exact route we came on. This meant another 2 miles without an aid station. This time I knew how far it was going to be before water so the walk/run started. I did my best to push myself as hard as I felt like I could on the way home but my body was just spent. There were no particular muscles that limited me on the run, it was just dehydration and overall fitness at that point. I did keep checking my watch and realized I would easily make it under my goal of 5:30 but I also realized a sub 5:15 was realistic. This wasn't even a consideration when the race started and I also knew I would hate myself for missing it by a minute or two because I was too much of a pansy to run to the finish. At this point I kept watching my time and rationing my walk breaks when needed so I would finish under 5:15. With about half a mile to go I picked the run back up pretty hard because I was right on target for my 5:15. I sprinted the finish with what I had left and was very pleased to see I broke my new goal.
What would you do differently?:
I need to start at a reasonable pace so I don't blow up half way through the run. I also should have carried my hydration belt on the run so I would not have gotten so dehydrated on the long run between aid stations. The rest will just come with better fitness and improved running with time.
I walked around the finish area, grabbed my finishers swag, found my wife, and grabbed a soft drink. We stayed at the host hotel about 500 yards away from the finish so I walked up to the room, took a shower, and went back to the finish area for some pizza. Stretched the legs out a little but really didn't feel as bad as I had anticipated. My body was tired but I did not finish with any cramping or failing muscle groups. This fueled my drive for a full distance in 2013!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
The only real limiting factor is my run fitness. I know it needs improvement but that is what makes this sport so much fun. There is always a reason to go back out tomorrow and work to get better.
The race was first class all of they way. I just have a problem with someone being able to call themselves and ironman and not have any real swimming ability at all! There were literally people floating down the river on the swim and had plenty of time to make the cutoff. This would be the equivalent of me being able to do a full ironman and wear rollerblades on the run course with a 5% decline for the entire marathon.
The volunteers, expo, aid stations, etc were very well run. I would not hesitate to recommend this race to anyone looking for an alternative to the Ironman brand race.
Last updated: 2012-10-23 12:00 AM
00:25:16 | 2078 yards | 01m 13s / 100yards
72F / 22C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:34:59 | 56 miles | 21.68 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:08:11 | 13.1 miles | 09m 47s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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