My first Triathlon
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Ironman 70.3 Vineman - Triathlon
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= 5h 34m
Age Group Rank
Alarm set for 5am. I didn't sleep as well as I wanted to the night before, so I woke up feeling a little apprehensive. First thing – sunscreen sprayed my body, then went downstairs and started toasting bagels and making coffee. Chris and I wanted to eat first to make sure we were digested by race time. I had half a banana and one multigrain bagel with peanut butter + honey and also drank some coffee. Then we got dressed and came back downstairs to make Perpetuem
(with ice to make sure it lasted the next few hours
), put the salt tabs on the bikes and pumped our tires. Then we were off to Johnson's Beach. Left the house at 6:12ish and rode our bikes 2 miles to the start.
When we arrived at T1/swim start, there were quite a bit of people, but the racks weren't too full yet. Nicole and I found our racks and started setting up. T1 was in a dirt parking lot, so my stuff started getting dusty/muddy. Oh well. Kind of wish I had a bigger towel
(only had the small workout towel
), but in the end, it was fine since I used the Carlsbad black bag as a transition mat. I then found Chris
(who had an awesome T1 spot!
) and the rest of the crew. We went to the restrooms and then watched the pros and leaders mount their bikes. We were debating whether we were going to ride up the hill out of T1 or run up and then clip in. I decided to do the latter. Half an hour before our start, I put my wetsuit on and then headed down to the swim start. At that point, I had one vanilla Gu. Hung out with Pete and Chris as I stretched. As we were waiting, announcer pointed out a bald eagle in the tree next to the river. Six minutes before our wave, Nicole and I lined up in the corral just at the edge of the water.
Unfortunately, given the race setup, there really wasn't much of a swim warm up. After the previous wave goes off, we're allowed to get in the water. Start was an in-water start. Water was warmer than any other race I've done, but not too warm where I'd overheat in the wetsuit. I got in a few strokes...was feeling fine and like I didn't need to warm up really. I lined myself up towards the front, about halfway in between the buoy and the edge of the river. I wasn't feeling too nervous...really just wanted this all to be done!
01m 37s / 100 yards
Race announcer counted us down, so I started my watch and off I went! Not much physical contact at the beginning so I just started swimming...felt good. I came across the first bridge pretty quickly. Not sure what my pace was, but I just kept it going. Every so often, I'd feel a niggle in my ankle or some slight tightness in my calf, but it was fine and mostly went away. First quarter, I tried drafting off a girl who seemed to be going my speed, but eventually I passed her. As I was breathing, I could see people cheering on the random docks in the river. Going out to the turnaround point felt pretty long, but then I reminded myself this was a 30+ minute swim. After I turned around, there were a couple points where I was brushing against the rocks/bottom of the river, so I shallowed my stroke a little. Heading back in felt a lot faster. Once I reached the bridge again, it seemed like the finish was right there, which I didn't expect at all. The last few meters, I ran through my head what the order of things-to-do once I stood up. I swam until my hands basically touched the rocks, got up and started a slow jog to T1.
What would you do differently?:
Probably could've pushed it a little harder, but being that this was my first HIM, I didn't want to risk ruining the rest of my race.
Pulled my wetsuit off halfway
(getting it over the Garmin wasn't a big deal
). Got to my transition spot and saw Nicole. So nice to see a familiar face! :
) I took my watch off, put it on the bike, then I pulled my wetsuit off, sat down on it
(since the ground was muddy
), rinsed my feet, helmet on, wiped down my sunglasses
), put sunglasses on, socks on, 3 honey stingers
) and pack of salt tabs in my back pocket
(already had 3 gus from before the swim
), stuffed everything in the T1 bag, tied a knot, grabbed my bike and was off!
What would you do differently?:
2h 58m 1s
At the start, I ran my bike up the transition hill and was off. Bike was setup in second to lowest gear, which worked fine. First five miles on River Road were great. I waited a little while before I had anything
(wanted to settle in and let my body get used to the bike
). At about mile 3 or 4 I had my first swig of Perpetuem. For the most part, I was passing people on this stretch. My heart rate was higher than I expected
(started out in the low 150s
), so I tried taking slow, deep breaths to bring it down. Was able to kind of get down to the high 140s. My pre-race plan was to keep my HR in the 130s..but I was feeling pretty good, so I just went with it in the 140s.
I didn't anticipate the turn at Sunset because I was at that point passing a girl who then pointed out to me that the turn was ahead
(she must've thought I didn't know
). I slowed down and made the right turn down. I didn't bother passing people at that point because I didn't want to be annoying. Pretty quickly we came upon a short but rather steep hill
(just past the bridge
). Passed a bunch of people there. Then the rollers started. I was worried the rollers were going to take a toll on my legs, but I was really feeling good through them. I guess all of the hill stuff we do around PV really did pay off. The roads were definitely sucky at points, but it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. I'm also just thankful I didn't get any flats. I was careful on every climb to not tire my legs out too much and not get my HR too high. Again, was feeling pretty good and was passing people...though I reminded myself that I had 56 miles plus a run to do, so I should really hold back a little. The roller portion
) was pretty, trees on both sides mostly, making the roads shaded. Also, it was overcast the entire time, which was great.
After the rollers, the terrain opened up a little to flat lands and wineries. I tried to take advantage of these flatter areas and picked up some speed, but again, wanted to make sure not to spend myself too much. First aid station at mile 18 – I didn't need anything, but decided to grab a water bottle mostly for practice, to make sure I could do it when I actually needed it later on. It went perfect. I grabbed it from a volunteer and even managed to drink and dump some water on my sleeves all with my right hand. I then threw it over to the curb. At some point in this section
(maybe around mile 23?
) it started getting a little sunny...but I never got hot. Without even realizing it, I was then upon one of the climbs at about mile 26. It wasn't a bad climb at all. It was just a longer, not-so-steep climb so I was able to get up it without taxing my body. I think I did most of it in aero. Again, passed some people here. I think riding where we ride has really put me at an advantage when it comes to climbs. Then it was fast downhill to some flatter rollers. I think it was at this point where I started having to pee. It wasn't too bad yet. In my head I was thinking I'd wait until T2 to use the RR.
Went past the second aid station
(grabbed another water bottle, swig, dump on my arms and then tossed
). I still had about a half to third of my Perpetuem and less than half of my water. As I started looking at my speed and thinking about my time, I knew I was holding up pretty well
(around 3 hours...but not sure if I'd make 3 hours
). I really was feeling great and better than I thought I would feel given how fast I was going. At this point, though, I really had to pee. It started at about mile 30 or 32 and in my head I knew I had to stop at the next aid station. I was pretty sure it was around mile 40, so I thought just over half an hour until I can relieve myself. I thought about just pulling over randomly and peeing in a bush, but couldn't really justify it...and in no way did I think about peeing on the bike! I wonder if I was drinking too much early on? Having to pee might've pushed me to go a little faster since I wanted to get there soon!
The aid station was kind of in a bad spot
(just after cresting a small hill...on the downhill side and not very wide
). I handed my almost-empty water bottle to a volunteer, grabbed a new one and stuck it in my cage. Then in front of me, 2 guys crashed. They quickly told everyone to slow down, so I took that moment to stop, tell a volunteer I needed to cross the road to use a portapotty so he looked at traffic and gave me the go ahead. I quickly racked my bike and went. Don't know how long that took, but soon enough I was back on the bike passing people I'd passed earlier.
After the RR break, I felt more comfortable hydrating. I knew Chalk Hill was up ahead so I prepared myself by drinking some water
(I knew I didn't want to drink on the climb
). At this point, I was being passed by some strong guys in Chris's age group
(in their fancy bikes and helmets
). For some reason, Chalk Hill wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In my head I had it longer and steeper. I really can't remember even complaining about it in my head. After that, it was long, fast downhill and then some flat rollers. I can't remember the exact terrain transition, but then we rolled into Windsor, crossed the 101 and rode into the business park. At that point, I knew there weren't too many miles left. Made a right at the cemetery and then onto the school. About a hundred or so yards from the dismount line, I saw Nicole starting her run and cheered at her. Was nice to see her on the course again.
Nutrition – Bottle plan was to do 1 bottle of Perpetuem
), 1 bottle of water + 1 bottle from an aid station. I sipped Perpeteum and water every 15ish minutes. Had a Honey Stinger at around 1:15 and 2:20. Salt tab at 1:00 and 2:00.
What would you do differently?:
Not pee? I think I may have lost a minute or two there...but then again, I don't know if I can go 6 hours without having to pee.
Immediately after dismounting and crossing the timing mat, I start to slowly jog my bike into the transition area. I'm not running fast, but I'm also not walking. I take one misstep and eat it. :
( Bike goes down, crank side on the asphalt and I go down on top of it. I look at myself and I think I'm okay, so I keep going. Spectators ask me if I'm okay and I say yes...very classy and nice to go down in front of everyone! I finish out the rest of the long jog up to my transition spot the rack my bike. Sit down, take shoes, helmet off and put on new shoes and hat. Quickly spray myself with some sunscreen. I decide to take one more salt pill since this was the 3 hour mark from the start of the bike...and also then remember to grab my watch and race belt. As I run out of transition, I see 2 guys waiting at the portapotties...I guess I made the right decision to stop at the sag station to pee. Out of T2 and onto the run.
What would you do differently?:
Not crash. I think I slipped because the cleats on my right shoe are pretty worn out and slippery. Probably should've changed them out before the race.
1h 54m 43s
08m 46s min/mile
Was feeling pretty good leaving transition. Didn't have any weird knobby knees or feeling at all. Ankle had been bothering me a week before the race
(had taken most of my runs off during taper week
). While it felt tweakish on the run, it really didn't keep me from running. After the race, though, it hurt
(feels like a sprained ankle
). Even days after, I can't seem to walk normally!
As I left transition I checked to see what time it was on my watch. 11:41pm. So I have 2:19 for the half and I would still get a 6 hour time. I was pretty sure I could manage that! I think my HR and breathing might've been a little high, so I tried to slow down a little. I was passing a lot of people early on in the run. I even got a few comments about how well I was running. I think my first mile was around 7:30, so I tried slowing down. There are some mild rollers in the first part that are shaded, so I tried keeping it easy, but must've been running faster than I thought. I took a gu at mile 2. Just past mile 2 on a small climb, I saw Nicole up ahead. As I passed her we exchanged encouraging remarks. There was one switchback turn that was rather steep. Lots of people stopped to walk up it, but I just kept a slow jog. At each aid station I grabbed some water, drank some and threw the rest on my sleeves. I wasn't really feeling great, but I wasn't feeling bad either, so I just kept running.
The 2 long rollers at about mile 4 to 5
) were getting tough, but I just kept running. That area also didn't have any shade and the sun was out. I made the left turn onto the street where the winery comes off of. Some short and not too steep rollers there as well. I missed taking the gu at mile 5 so I ended up taking it at mile 6
(entrance to the winery
). Again, I felt good, but not great, so I kept running. Winery was nice
(prettier than any other part of the run
). Grapes were green and there was some nice shade in the back. I was mostly still passing people at this point. I hit the timing mat at about mile 6.5 and was still feeling okay. My tummy felt like it was getting a little sloshy, but after burping a couple times, it went away. Towards the end of the winery loop, I was getting a bit tired, but kept running. I passed Nicole again as she was entering the winery...glad to see she was doing so well. As I exited the the winery and headed down toward the turnaround, I started to suffer a little, but kept running. I ended up taking a salt pill at about mile 8, hoping that that would help somehow. After the turnaround, I walked a little. First time during the run. :
( I think it was about mile 8.5. I walked until I hit the top of a small hill and then started running again. At about mile 9, I saw Chris running the other way. Was glad to see him!! We high-fived each other. :
) At about mile 10, I saw Pete and he stopped, gave me a gentleman's bow and let me pass. :
I probably ended up walking about 0.25 of each mile after mile 8. Every aid station I grabbed water and sometimes gatorade and walked as I drank. As I checked my time, at that point I could do 15 or 20 minute miles and still get under 6 hours. That said, I knew I didn't want to be out on the course that long.
Last 3 miles were tough...last 2 miles were even tougher. I mostly felt bad for walking when I had so little left to go!! At this point, people were definitely passing me. :
( At one point I was walking, but ended up running because I saw a photographer up ahead. At another point an older guy was keeping pace with me and when I started walking, he said "don't make me run alone" so I picked it up again. The last mile, I knew I couldn't walk...especially as I pulled in to where all the spectators were. They were cheering us on and yelling out our numbers. No way I was going to start walking in front of them…so I ran. Made the left into the school and could see the finish. A few turns later as pulled into the final stretch, I saw Theresa, Matt and Rebecca and raised and pumped my fist. I had this! :
What would you do differently?:
Run the first few miles even slower! I'm not sure what I was thinking. 7:30 first mile is way too fast for me to go out. In the training bricks I'd done, I told myself that I would race the first 2-3 miles slower than I felt. Given my run training and my open half time, I'm pretty sure I could've/should've had a faster run time. That said, I'm still quite surprised my overall pace was under 9min/mile given how much I walked the last 5 miles.
I crossed the finish line and a volunteer came over to me. Immediately I bent over and put my hands on my knees. My vision felt narrow and my breathing felt shallow. It took me a second and then things came back to normal. I got my medal and went to the finisher's area for some water. Recovered for a little bit then went to go find Theresa, Matt and Rebecca. It was so nice to see them and to have such awesome support at the race! Waited with them for the rest of our group to cross the finish line.
Chris crossed the finish line next and I was so pumped to see him. After watching him cross, I went into the finisher's area to greet him. We took some photos and then waited for the rest of the group. Nicole and Stephen came next. Then Chris wasn't feeling too well, so I walked him over to the medical area. They took his vitals and we hung out there until he felt better. Everyone then came out and met us there. Cody and Leslie showed up a little later and went out to dinner with me, Chris, Nicole and Stephen.
Later that evening, we went to the market to get some pig out snacks. :
What limited your ability to perform faster:
See the run section. Overall, though, quite happy with my time. Going into the race, I would've been happy with a time between 6:00 and 6:30. I would've been ecstatic with a time under 6:00. At best I thought I'd be just under 6...so I'm definitely happy with my time!
Awesome race! Swim is great. Bike course is beautiful. Run is a little hard, but totally doable. Volunteers were absolutely amazing! The only thing I didn't like is the post-race festivities and the expo. The expo seemed sparse
(I've had 5K races with better booths and freebies
). The post-race was a little lacking. I would've been nice to have volunteers hand you water as you crossed the finish line like they do at other races. Instead I had to find the water on my own, find the cups
(which they were low on
) and continually walk back to the water jugs to get refills.
Last updated: 2013-07-17 12:00 AM
00:34:15 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Orca Alpha (garmin on outside) + swedish goggles
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:58:01 | 56 miles | 18.77 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:54:43 | 13.1 miles | 08m 46s 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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