Ironman 70.3 Vineman - Triathlon

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 12m 15s
Overall Rank = 1246/2156
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 138/214
Pre-race routine:

We arrived into Healdsburg on Friday afternoon. Rented a house through air B&B for the weekend with 6 friends. It was a nice place and it was actually on the course (Dry Creek Rd near 101 hwy). Unpacked, tended to the toddler, made sure the bike lasted through the drive, etc. Then we grabbed some take out dinner at Willie's seafood, not a bad place, but it would probably have been better if we ate at the restaurant. The rest of the troops showed up at midnight when I was already asleep.

Sat morning, had a pretty non-existent breakfast, went to the pre-race meeting at 9:30a, did the packet pickup, saw a small portion of the expo, and then headed out to some wineries with the housemates. We went to 3 wineries, I didn't partake in the wine, just kept chugging the water, but after the 3rd the heat from the day seemed to be wearing me down. It sure seemed hotter than the low 80s forecast and it made me nervous for Sunday. So I headed home to watch some TV and rest in the A/C. The other people went on to a 4th winery and then picked up groceries for dinner. The housemates prepared a big feast for dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. After that we looked at the logistics for the next day, I got all of my things sorted out, and I headed to bed.

My 16 month old felt it would be great to start crying at night at around 11p, 1a, and 3a. He is usually pretty good about sleeping through the night. Other than that irritation I wasn't sleeping very good as it is. So 5am came sooner than expected.
Event warmup:

I was in the 2nd to last wave leaving at 8:30am. My other buddy doing the race was in the 29 and under wave that left around 7:30a, so we decided to get there around 6a, to setup, see the pros, and give him enough time to prep for his wave. This worked out just fine, I didn't really like standing for 2 hours prior to my wave, but overall it didn't impede anything. I'm a bigger guy (220lbs), so standing for long times are things we have to worry about :)

I saw the pros take off, then my buddy take off, then I waited for my wife and kid to show up so I could give them the layout and where to grab my stuff. About an hour before my wave took off I ate a pb&j sandwich, then about 20 minutes before my wave I had a banana. They showed up around 8a. And I was off at 8:30a, which all worked out fine.

I thought it was pretty disgusting to come into the event site with port-o-potties, that smell was disgusting. you got used to it quickly, and I personally didn't mind it, but it isn't a welcoming smell. It didn't stop me from doing my business in one of them shortly before my wave went off. Much more difficult in a tri suit, sweat pants, and 2 other shirts on for warmth, but I managed.

One big thing I forgot for the weekend was clothes for race day morning, including a sweater. Luckily my friend doing the race had some extras I could borrow. The unfortunate part was that I am a good 6" taller and about 50lbs heavier than him.
  • 37m 58s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 48s / 100 yards

I was pleasantly surprised that the water was a bit warmer than the outside air. That felt great. It was also nice to be able to stand waiting for the gun to go off, since the water at that point was only about 5ft deep.

I had expected to finish in about 35 minutes. So my final time of about 38min wasn't a good outcome. But all in all, it wasn't too bad.

When I put my goggles on, the right side began to leak and I couldn't get a good seal. Not quite sure why, they were nearly brand new and I had worn them a handful of times. But it is what it is. Other than feeling a bit of liquid in that side it didn't hurt me at all during the swim.

I have learned to stay within myself during the swim. If I begin to think about the whole day or that I am in the middle of a pack of males all trying to beat me out of the water I tend to freak out a little bit. So that's what I did, I just kept swimming ahead trying to stay away from people pushing, grabbing, and other inappropriate acts. I found myself on the left side right next to the buoys. After I had been swimming for awhile, it felt like the next buoy must have been the turnaround. So I would pass it, begin to turn left, then look up and realize there was another buoy. This happened quite a few times and was a bit silly. But whatever.

Also about 10 minutes into my wave, I saw someone in a red cap (we were in gray caps) from the last wave go flying past me. I thought that was unbelievable, in just a matter of minutes he caught up to our wave and I wasn't in the back swimming I was in the middlish of my wave. Impressive for whoever you were. i didn't see other red caps until i began to see orange caps where I was passing the previous wave after the turnaround about 3/5s of the way through the swim.

After the turnaround I thought the water was a bit too shallow. I never got up to walk, that seemed to lose more time than it helped for those people. But I did keep swimming and attempted to not drag my hands along the bottom. I found this to be practically impossible. There was also a lot of dirt kicked up and I swim with my mouth open, so I got a good amount of dirt in my mouth.

The rest of the swim was uneventful, finished it up, felt good to see the end in sight and all of the people still there cheering us in.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much, I think in prep for my next longer event I will start going to masters swim classes, I hear that helps a lot. I trained a good amount for the swim and I didn't think I did too poorly. But I think I can get much faster.

I also need to do better with sighting I guess. I usually go very straight, but in this event (maybe with the mild current) I found myself hovering to one side and when I tried to correct myself I would sight again and see that I keep at a slant instead of going straight.
Transition 1
  • 04m 31s

I wasn't a big fan of this transition area, it was packed dirt, which just meant that it got muddy as the event went longer and being in the 2nd to last wave. It was pretty disgusting by the time I got out of the water.

I have never had the opportunity of a wetsuit stripper and I was looking forward to that, but unfortunately they were not at this event. oh well.

The transition seemed to go fine, the wetsuit came off quickly, I found myself falling over a bit trying to put my socks on while standing. But eventually I got them on. I walked up the small hill to exit transition. I made the mistake of being on the left side, sorry for anyone trying to pass. My mistake, the whole bike I stayed to the right, but I imagine I should have done that on the walk as well.

I tossed my t1 bag to my wife and she ran up the hill with me, her signs of encouragement and my son in tow.
What would you do differently?:

Not a whole lot. I'm sure I could have shaved a good minute or two off my time. But I'm not competing for a podium spot. It's more internal and those 1 or 2 minutes to calm the HR help out when I evaluate my bike and run speed. So I felt it was just fine. I didn't sit around and I didn't run through transition.
  • 3h 13m 21s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.39 mile/hr

The bike actually wasn't too bad. I thought I was going to be a bit faster than what I went. But overall, I'm happy with it because I had a good run. if you aren't familiar with the bike course, about 80% of it is on good roads. But the other 20% are what you concentrate on, because the roads are really really bad.

The hills aren't too bad. The hill at about mile 25 is longer and has a really small gradient, so you don't mind it too much. And chalk hill really isn't bad, the part that makes it bad is that there are a lot of small hills leading up to the big one. You never know if the next turn is going to keep going uphill and it will be the "chalk hill climb" or stay level. So it is more of a mental game. But really it isn't too bad, lots of shade and easy going.

there were a few people I saw a lot on the bike ride because I tend to be faster on the level and downhills and pretty atrocious on the uphills. So I would pass people, then get passed on any small hill, which is fine, we made jokes about it as the event went on.

I also didn't see much illegal drafting, which was good to see. There were a few times where people would be on the left side when I tried to pass which was unnerving, but not too big of a deal. I also saw very little patrols along the bike for penalties.

Regarding nutrition, I had the new aero HC between my aerobars and a bottle on my downtube. My goal was to take a few sips each mile and hopefully be able to get a new bottle at each aid station. My last 70.3 I blew up on the run and I think it was due to my nutrition on the bike. This plan seemed to work pretty good. When I got a new gatorade at an aid station I just tried to blast as much as possible into my bottle at my aerobars and then tossed the rest to the side of the road before the aid station ended. I didn't get a full bottle each time, but I did get enough to last me until the next aid station. On my downtube I ended up getting water and just used it for heat regulation or to drink from if I was bored of gatorade.

I also had 2 of the regular size bonk breaker bars. in the pockets of my tri suit. I started eating one at mile 20 and finished at mile 28 or so, then at mile 40 I had the other bar finishing after chalk hill. This worked out really good, each bar was 250 calories and they are delicious.

Coming off the bike I felt very fresh, much better than Big Kahuna last year. I also had a really good demeanor. The turn into T2 was pretty awesome, I saw the crew of people that were staying with us and all the cheers were welcomed from 56 miles of relative silence. And I am used to listening to audiobooks on bike rides.
What would you do differently?:

I maybe could have gone a little faster, but I thought my RPE was pretty spot on. I think in general I just need to bike more since I am still a beginner to biking for the most part.
Transition 2
  • 03m 44s

Our age group had a great setup in transition, right at the bike exit and a straight shot to the run entrance. felt like a pro setup. And since I was in the first pre-race meeting I setup at the very front of that.

the transition went smoothly. I unfortunately didn't have any sunblock from T1, so I applied at t2 with a spray, this took a small amount of time. I also said hello to my wife and son. She had a sign that said "smile: remember you paid to do this" which I guess was a big hit to the audience. I gave them a kiss and was off on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Probably wipe my sweat off before applying the sunblock, as I am pretty sure it just rinsed itself off from the sweat.
  • 2h 12m 41s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 05s  min/mile

This was my biggest fear going into the event. At big kahuna last year the 2nd half of the run was horrible. I felt like death and hated everything about it. I did not want that to happen again. I made sure to drink and eat a really good amount so that I would hopefully be in a good place to go through the run. I started out at a 8:40 pace, which I knew was too fast, but I couldn't seem to slow down.

I saw my dad shortly out of transition and he tried to run with me. I quickly told him to go back to the side, since I had heard people were getting DQed at other events from pacers. It wasn't a big deal, but that would have been pretty messed up to get in infraction at the slow pace I was going. He thought I looked much better than last time and wished me luck on the run.

Him and my wife went and grabbed lunch while I did the run, which was great to hear. I feel bad for the spectators coming out to watch me. I don't make it exciting and its a long day. But they are great support.

Anyway, back to the run, after I got past the crowd it got a lot lonelier. Luckily another guy in my age group was right next to me and we chatted it up a bit. He apparently was struggling at a 9min/mile pace due to some leg cramps. But we managed to hang together for the first 6 miles, which was great. It made the aid stations come by quickly and overall was an enjoyable thing to have during the race, thanks Tony! I was hoping to keep at 9min/mile pace, if I did that I would be extremely pleased, but it wasn't meant to be. As the run progressed I got a bit slower and slower, but still felt good.

Each aid station I grabbed a gatorade and a water, I would chug the gatorade and throw the water on my face to try and cool myself down. The tri suit REALLY helped keep me cool during the event. it felt so much better than what I wore last time.

I also had a bonk bar on the run that I ate starting at mile 4 and had a bite each mile until about mile 9. It was really hard to get down on the run without liquid, but it helped.

Some locals had their garden hose out to spray us down which was refreshing and at the la creme winery there was a mist tunnel to go through (at the halfway point) that felt great. At about that time I lost Tony due to him having to use the bathroom.

my goal for the run was to run the whole thing and walk just the aid stations. For my that would be an accomplishment. And I was able to do it! The 2nd half of the run hurt, but I felt in control and even felt like I was in a race. its amazing how many people you pass in the last half of the run when you start in the 2nd to last wave of the race. It makes you feel really good though, I guess.

I thought the volunteers were great for the whole event, but especially on the run. they really made the day a lot better.

The rest of the run went well, I kept the pace at about 10min/mile for the remainder of the run, and just kept struggling through it. between miles 8-11 it was getting really hot with little shade. if you come from a warm climate it probably felt like nothing, but I live in the bay and don't even have an air conditioner because we never need it.

The finishing chute was awesome.
What would you do differently?:

Overall fitness needs to be better. This is just my 2nd 70.3 and I am much bigger than most competitors. My goal is to drop more weight, get better fitness and progress into faster times. But I think I did as good as I would have expected to do.
Post race
Warm down:

I don't really have a warm down. When I finish a race this long I just look for a place to bend over to give my legs some relief. And I am scared to sit down out of fear of locking up.

But in all seriousness, I crossed the line, said hi to my dad, he took my picture. I then saw some showers in the distance so I drenched myself in water. Then went and saw my wife and son. We talked for a bit, I asked them how their day was, etc...

I met up with my buddy, who completely overachieved his goal time and did awesome. He was pretty happy. We went and grabbed some water and fruit and then I was in the mood to get home.

And of course I forgot clothes for after the event was over, so I drove home with my tri suit and only my tri suit on hah.

I realized quickly in the shower that I had multiple degrees of sunburns and chaffing scars. that was painful. When I took a look at myself in the mirror after the shower you can definitely see i was wearing a tri suit. My arms and legs are a good 6 shades darker than my stomach and chest hah.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Overall fitness, I am still really new to endurance training in all 3 disciplines. As time goes on I hope to just get faster and faster.

Event comments:

overall a great race, I would recommend it for others. I personally am not sure if I would do it again. Just due to the fact that I try to avoid hotter races and I got lucky that the weather was relatively tame in comparison to what it could have been. Had it been 90-100 degrees I would have been hurting much more.

Last updated: 2013-07-18 12:00 AM
00:37:58 | 2112 yards | 01m 48s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/214
Overall: 0/2156
Performance: Average
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 04:31
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:13:21 | 56 miles | 17.39 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/214
Overall: 0/2156
Wind: Little
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 03:44
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:12:41 | 13.1 miles | 10m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/214
Overall: 0/2156
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
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