Pigman Triathlon - Long Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Palo, Iowa
United States
Total Time = 5h 20m
Overall Rank = 110/438
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 28/83
Pre-race routine:

The night before was great. I got into town and picked up my packet. I had been having problems with my bike not shifting correctly. I spent some time with Gear West and one new chain later my bike was working flawlessly (Thanks, Kevin).

Lets start 1 year ago. For some reason I thought a half ironman would be a great idea. I went in with a goal of finishing under 6 hours. After a miserable swim time, but a reasonable bike, I ventured out on the run course. Nutrition during the race was a little new to me and I didn’t get it right. After a melt down around mile 9 I did everything I could to get across the finish line. After crossing the finish line I realized I had been penalized for forgetting my race number and my official time received a 4 minute bump. That left me with an official time of 6:01:56. I was feeling a little down, but it was my motivation for the last year in training.

We had a great host the night before the event. Some RAGBRAI friends live in CR and allowed us to shack at their place. For future reference, we will call them Mary and Gary. There might have been a birthday party involved and I might have had more than the 2 beer max I started with, but it was a good birthday party. The next day they did a great job of staying mobile and we kept finding them around the course with a good set of tunes and large sign on the side of their vehicle that said "We heart Tom and David!" Keep in mind that the Big Pig course can be kind of desolate and it was very nice to a) have fans on the course and b) they brought their own loud music for added motivation. Every time I passed them I felt a little extra kick. They even managed to get close to the finish line and they were along the side of the road with the sign in hand for that last minute motivation.

Event warmup:

I have the good fortune of being in the 2nd to last age group. It is fun to get to watch nearly everyone from the event get out on their swims. I get to wish everyone good luck and send them on their way.

I did about a quarter mile swim warmup 15 minutes beforehand. I had my last minute GU for the race and I was ready to go.
  • 39m 24s
  • 2310 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

I kept saying my two favorite words are “wetsuit legal!” We arrived at the race venue to hear the water temperature was 75 degrees and that means my two favorite words were in effect! I felt good as I toed the line. The swim went as well as I could hope. I did have the first hint that I might have a problem during the race. My left calf had some very minor cramps in the last third of the race. I focused on relaxing my kick for the end of the swim and I didn’t have any problems the rest of the race. I had visions of Morgan cramping at Dutchman and that made me a little nervous! I finished right where I wanted to be on the swim, just less than 40 minutes.
What would you do differently?:

The swim went pretty well. I would have actually spent more time in the pool preparing for the swim. I switched to all outdoor swimming. While this is great to help mentally prepare my time was much more limited and I don't think I had the yards I would have in the pool. Next year the plan is to split swim time between the pool and the open water.
Transition 1
  • 02m 35s

I went into T1 wanting to be relaxed. I took more time than normal, but I wanted to be very deliberate in what I was doing and not forget anything important. For this race 2:30 minutes was okay and factored into my goals for the day.
What would you do differently?:

Some additional speed would be okay, but the downtime to focus is hard to pass up.
  • 2h 39m 3s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.13 mile/hr

I got on the bike feeling good. My HR was a little high at the beginning. I was worried, but I just told myself to relax and stay within my race. Sometimes it is hard to resist the urge to chase guys with the disk wheel creeping up behind you. Listening to that distinctive grinding noise they make as they pass you can be hard to resist. Just check the heart rate, and keep on pace. I was trying to focus on better nutrition this year. Last year I didn't get enough electrolytes and it showed on the run. I think I actually drank/ate less this year, but felt better in the run. One of the more interesting things was at aid station #1 there is a biker on the ground with a crowd of paramedics around him. I glance down at him and then I think I understand what could have happened. They recruit a lot of cheerleaders and youngsters to help at aid stations. I looked up in time to see one ambitious girl running at my bike with water in hand. I only had one hand on the handlebars and I about knocked myself over when I hit my brake. I managed to get water, stay upright and keep things uneventful for the rest of the bike. I was a little worried at the end of the bike when I was feeling a little thirsty and hungry, but I held pretty solid on the bike overall and finished sub 2:40:00. Again right under goal pace.

What would you do differently?:

I am always limited on bike time because of family committment. I will work on finding time where I can get more time on the bike. I'm hoping the burly will help fill that void next year!
Transition 2
  • 02m 24s

Same story on T2. Last year I was rushing myself and I forgot my race number. That cost me 4 minutes and officially missed my goal of 6 hours because of the penalty. Good news I made it out with all the essentials and I came out of T2 feeling relaxed and ready to run a very steady half marathon.

What would you do differently?:

There were about 5 bikers coming in at the same time. I got pushed out of my line at the end. I'll be looking for a better line next year.
  • 1h 56m 36s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 54s  min/mile

If you’re doing the math with me I’m sitting right around 3:20:00 going into the run. I have been telling myself that I could go sub 5:15:00 if I started with a solid swim. I did that and I’m thinking about what it will take to do a 1:45 half marathon. The goal is ambitious, but I keep telling myself to relax and watch nutrition and heart rate to keep myself on track. I keep a steady pace and try to walk the aid stations to make sure I stay hydrated and get a little food each mile. I wanted to be between an 8 and 8:15 minute pace. I was right on target through about 5-6 miles. I was starting to really feel it at that point. I don’t feel like I need to pull back, but I have a rub in the arch of my left foot. It is definitely affecting my gait. At one point I actually pull my shoe off and start walking hoping that I have just got a small rock or other debris in my shoe. I’m not so lucky. A quick inspection of the shoe shows a piece of fabric is loose and rubbing in just the right spot. There isn’t anything I can do at this point but push on. I never felt like I needed to pull back until later in the run, but I definitely couldn't push as hard as I would have liked. I got to mile 10 and knew the big hill was coming. At this point I looked at my watch and did some math. If I can do a 23 minute 5k to finish I can break 5:15:00. A quick check of my faculties says that isn’t going to happen, but I am pretty sure 5:20:00 is in the tank. That was probably the only time during the run where I was really feeling like I could get in trouble. The entire way up the hill I kept telling myself to keep moving. I just need to get up the hill and it would get easier the rest of the way. At the end of the run before you turn into the last quarter mile there is a long gradual uphill. I saw the clock was ticking and I wanted to make sure I could hit 5:20. Two good things happen. An attractive woman with a shirt that says “I heart Steve.” I lied and said I was Steve. Apparently not the right one. Just past her is my personal cheering section. Mary and Gary holding the sign that says “I heart Tom and David!” That was the motivation I need to get that one last kick. I started pushing a little bit more. After turning the corner I saw that I had about 90 seconds to make my new and improved goal of 5:20:00. I started a little kick--keep in mind that at this point it really hurts to kick. I cruised in to cross the finish line right on 5:20:00. I knocked 40 minutes off of last year’s time. No penalties!

What would you do differently?:

I think the extra bike time will translate into better run times. I can run a straight half marathon at ~7 minute pace. I need to bring my pace much closer to 8 minutes.
Post race
Warm down:

I could feel my legs wanting to shut down. I was glad to be done and didn't do much more than lay down and get a good stretch in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The balance between bike and run is still difficult. I pour everything into the bike and don't save much for the run. I will work on that mix better next year.

Event comments:

Blew the doors off of my early season goal of 5:30:00. I definitely left with hope that I still have the ability to improve and that I have a chance of actually sneaking up on that 5 hour mark in the future. It felt good to work towards this goal for the last year. It definitely helped to have some experienced people to help with planning

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-06-11 12:00 AM
00:39:24 | 2310 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 46/83
Overall: 227/438
Performance: Good
Suit: Aquaman
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:35
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:39:03 | 56 miles | 21.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 24/83
Overall: 90/438
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The course has lots of rolling hills. Some a little challenging, but I like the mix.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:56:36 | 13.1 miles | 08m 54s  min/mile
Age Group: 27/83
Overall: 138/438
Performance: Average
Course: Hot and hills in all the wrong places
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %4.6
Overall: Good
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4