Ironman 70.3 St. George - Triathlon

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St. George, Utah
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 5h 35m 50s
Overall Rank = 595/2653
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 23/109
Pre-race routine:

Flew from Houston to St. George on Thursday, arriving in the early afternoon. I checked into the hotel and then walked over to the Ironman Village (yeah, walking distance from the hotel!!) to check in, check out the expo, and buy a nice long-sleeved tech shirt. Stephen got in shortly after I came back from the expo and we headed out for a short run. After that, I wanted to get a short swim in at Sand Hollow Reservoir to preview the swim and loosen up the shoulders.

Friday included a short bike (previewing the start of the bike course) followed by a short run....then bike check-in. Drove both the bike course and run course -- looked like we were in for a hilly, challenging day, but it looked manageable. Took the rest of the day easy, trying to stay off the feet as much as possible.

Managed a decent night of sleep -- got up at 4am, ate a bagel with peanut butter, prepared nutrition and hydration for the day, and then headed over to T2 to drop off run gear and catch the shuttle to T1.

At T1, I needed to find a way to pump up my tires. The line for the compressor was crazy long, so I got in line for the hand pumps. Turns out every one of them that I stood in line for (which was three total) had the person using it saying, "This thing doesn't work!!" So I turned to head back to my rack hoping that I could find someone with a working pump -- a girl a couple spots down from me had one and graciously allowed me to use it.

About 30 minutes before transition closed, I ate a banana and then began the arduous process that is putting on my wetsuit!
Event warmup:

We weren't allowed in the water until the wave before us started (so 3 minutes before we were to start), so I did what I could to stretch my shoulders out, swing my arms, and make sure the wetsuit was sitting comfortably. Once the wave in front of us took off, I leisurely began to swim out to the buoy....I had just gotten there and popped my face out of the water as they were blowing the horn to signal us to go. Everyone was surprised (and some were upset) that there really wasn't much time to go from the entry to the start. Thankfully, being a fairly strong swimmer, I got there in time, but I can understand being irritated about it. With only 3 minutes between wave starts, it meant the course was crowded -- if there was more time between waves, people wouldn't have been so rushed to get to the start buoy and maybe the course wouldn't have had quite the congestion.
  • 32m 16s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards

The horn sounded and off we went. I started pretty hard at a pace I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain for the entire course, but wanted to give myself the best chance of finding some clear water. Within a few minutes, I settled into a manageable pace and noticed a girl in a Zoot suit swimming at exactly my pace. I said to myself, "Time to get to work, drop her!" Clearly, she said the same thing to herself....and we continued at the exact same pace. At that point, I thought, "If we're going the same place, why don't you just sit on her feet and let her do all the work?" So I did....and she did :)

There was another girl off to the left of me who apparently had the same thought. So the two of us shared one pair of feet for probably 1500m of the course. It was perfect....we were going the pace I wanted to maintain at an effort that would set me up for a good rest of the day. I checked her navigation often enough to know that she was solid, so I continued to follow. Every once in a while, I'd get slightly separated as we came through breast strokers and back strokers from the waves in front of us.

Swam in till my fingers dragged on the ground and then popped up and ran out of the water and into transition. Should probably find that girl and thank her for dragging my ass along the course! In return, I'm pretty sure there was a girl right behind me doing the same thing as I felt someone touch my foot every few minutes -- just passing on the favor :)
What would you do differently?:

Really nothing....well, maybe I would have actually thanked her when we were coming out of the water if I'd had enough bandwidth to do that and work on getting my wetsuit off :)
Transition 1
  • 03m 5s

Came out of the water, pulled my 910 off and clamped the band between my teeth, unzipped the wetsuit, pulled cap and goggles off, and started to remove the top when it didn't seem to want to come past my wrists....luckily for me, there were awesome wetsuit strippers who managed to get it off my wrists and off the rest of my body in no time. THANK YOU!! I love wetsuit strippers!

Ran up the ramp to my bike, shoved the wetsuit into the bike bag (took two tries as I didn't have it opened all the way), quickly pulled on my shoes, socks, helmet, and sunglasses, and then shoved the rest of my transition stuff into the bike bag for transport to T2. Pulled the bike off the rack and quickly ran out to the mount line. I still haven't taken the time to learn to do a flying mount or even just start with my shoes clipped in (this is slower for me than running with my shoes, probably because I've only tried it a couple times).
What would you do differently?:

Maybe commit to working on a quicker mount, but I'm rather risk-averse and haven't felt like the few seconds it would save are really worth the hassle.
  • 2h 58m 12s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.86 mile/hr

This is the first race I've done with power. I did a number of race simulations where I held a target power for longer than I'd expected to be on the course and then tried to run off it to see how things felt. I narrowed it down to a power that I thought would allow me to maximize my bike pace while not impacting my run pace....the target for the race was to be somewhere in the 152-155W range. What I failed to take into account was the fact that many (most?) of the descents were steep enough that I would not actually be able to put down that kind of power. In an effort to be smart about my on-the-fly adjustment, I decided that I wouldn't try to artificially raise my NP/AP up to the 152-155W range by hammering it on the hills, but rather try to hold power around mid-150's during the climbs and occasional flats. My biggest goal for this race was to be able to run the run course....and in order to do that, I needed to not ride like a maniac.

Of course, not riding like a maniac is hard when people go flying past you on the climbs. But I just kept reminding myself to race my own race and to keep my shit in check.

I also reminded myself to really look around and take in the gorgeous sights. The scenery was beautiful from the very start....exiting Sand Hollow Reservoir and seeing the beautiful water with the awe-inspiring red rocks in the background was just breath taking. And Snow Canyon....oh, Snow Canyon!! It was a long freaking climb, but it was gorgeous....every time my mind wandered to, "When am I going to be done climbing this??" I reminded myself to look around and take in the beauty....and then all was right in the world again. I didn't concern myself with the people who passed me on the climbs....I passed many of them on the descents (though what I wouldn't have given for a few more gears or 50 more pounds when going down!!).

As I was descending Snow Canyon, something about the bike's steering felt weird to me. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it felt tight. We got to a no passing zone on a bike path with some fairly tight corners and I was really unsure of my bike's steering abilities at that point. Thankfully they weren't so tight that I really needed to turn the handle bars and shifting weight was sufficient....but I was worried. Once past that, I realized that my aero bars were tilted downward and I was basically sliding off of them. I don't know what caused this (other than the obvious not tightening the bolts enough when putting the bike back together....but not sure why it happened then, as opposed to the 9 miles I did the previous day or the 50 miles earlier in the day...), but I eventually realized that the reason my steering was tight was that the cables were limiting the movement. Thankfully there were only a couple miles left and no tight turns.

I ate two Honey Stinger Waffles (320 calories), one Gu (100 calories), and drank 2.5 bottles of Skratch (300 calories), for approximately 240 calories/hour. I also grabbed water at two of the aid stations, drank a tiny bit and poured the rest of it on me to keep cool. Calorie-wise, this seemed to be just right. Hydration-wise, it seemed pretty good as well....I noticed that I had to pee in the last mile or so of the bike, but by this point, it was pretty flat and I didn't want to coast and slow myself down too much to attempt to learn how to pee on the bike.

Once I turned onto Main St, I started to loosen my shoes....right after turning onto Tabernacle, I pulled my feet out of my shoes, slid my right leg over the top tube, and dismounted easily and ran into transition quickly.

NP: 147W
AP: 142W
Max 30s Power: 191W (kept it under FTP!)
What would you do differently?:

If I'm being perfectly honest, I'm mildly disappointed with my bike split. I'm not at all disappointed with the execution of it, as it allowed me a better run than what I was expecting. However, I thought I would be closer to 2:50....and I'm not used to losing positions on the bike. In my build for this race, I dropped my four bike sessions per week back to three so that I could increase my run volume without injuring myself....and while it was the right thing to do for this race, I think I need to add that fourth session back in if I want to break through my current plateau.

As I said, I am not disappointed with the execution of the bike; I just realize what I need to do to get stronger for future races.
Transition 2
  • 02m 49s

After dismounting, I quickly made my way to my transition spot, racked the bike, slid my shoes on, grabbed my hat (which was storing two Gu's and my race belt), and headed out of transition while putting stuff on. As I ran by the porta potties, I decided to make a quick pit stop in an effort to really allow myself to run the entire run was a good decision, but certainly slowed me down
What would you do differently?:

Gotta figure out how to pee on the bike or drink a little less ;)
  • 1h 59m 28s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 07s  min/mile

Oh, the run! It has always been my's not running's fault, per se. It's just that I've never been able to stay healthy long enough to actually build a decent base. But this time was different....I started at very low volume and steadily increased. I had a setback in early January, but was back on track a few weeks later. My goal for this race was to run the run course! Of course, it's not that requires a number of things: 1) you must train the run, 2) you cannot swim and bike like an idiot, 3) you cannot run the first two miles out of T2 like an idiot, and 4) you must be confident in your training!

In my build up to this race, I had done a number of bike-run sessions to test/confirm bike power, nutrition, and dial in how easy I needed to start the run to set myself up to finish strong. I found that if I started running with my HR in the high-130's and then build up to the mid-140's over the next few miles, it would put me in a good the plan was set.

And then reality set in. I left T2, keeping the pace EASY, but I looked down at my HR and it was already in the mid-140's. Oh, and I was running along a false flat (uphill)....oh, and what followed the false flat was an 8% grade! Okay, time to revise the plan: keep the HR in the mid-140's for the first couple miles, allow it to go up into the low-150's on the steep sections, recover back in the mid-140's on the downhills.

So that's what I did. The first part of the run had everyone in the race passing me. I told myself to just race my own race. I'm not out here to win it (though I wouldn't pass up a slot to 70.3 WC if one came to me) and I have a very specific goal: run the freaking run leg! So every person on that course passed me in the first two miles of false flat....and then we turned to go up the big hill and I just kept moving steadily along and soon, many of those people who intiially passed me were walking or stretching or stopping at the aid station or whatever....and I was just getting into my groove. Things were feeling good.

Aid stations were fantastic -- I've heard of cold sponges being handed out on course before and had seen it at one race I watched, but this was the first time I got to experience it, and it was glorious! Of course, my race pics all look ridiculous with sponge boobs and sponge back-boobs, but whatever. I felt amazing! Ice in the hat, ice down the shorts, water on my sleeves, a little bit of water down my throat....all while running. Amazing!

I kept on running and started watching out for the few people I knew on the course....found two of them, didn't find the other three (though apparently one was right in front of one of the ones I did find! woops!). A couple of the aid stations were rockin' and made me grin like an idiot. I was having a blast.

And then we hit the turn-around and I knew there was nothing stopping me. Not only that, but I was feeling great and was able to pick up the pace. With a little more than a 5k left to go, I knew it was time to let it rip. Coincidentally, this was where I got to go down the big 8% grade.

On the downhill, I thought two things: 1) OMG, this is an amazing view....I wish I had a camera (and skills to take a decent picture), and 2) who needs toenails anyways? My toes were jammed in the front of my shoes, but I was flying!

I came to the final aid station, ditched the sponge boobs in hopes of getting a decent finish line shot, and ran my very happy ass off to the finish line! I crossed and felt great....I had made my goal....I had run the entire run leg! Not only that, but I had apparently done it in sub-2 hours, which was a stretch goal (well, not even really a goal....I didn't set a time goal as I had an execution goal....but sub-2 was a stand alone HM goal of mine, and I somehow managed it at SG after swimming and biking).

Ate one Gu (100 calories) at the turn-around point -- seemed sufficient calorie-wise.
What would you do differently?:

Not a single thing -- I executed this as close to my plan as I could have....I revised the plan on the fly to a new plan that would work and was very pleased with how it turned out. I could not have asked for anything more on this day.

Of course, I'd like to continue to build on my run base and eventually add in a bit more speed, but that will come with time and consistency. For now, I am extremely pleased.
Post race
Warm down:

Got my medal and a finisher's hat (which, I have to say, WTC's one size fits all hat clearly does not fit's far too big for my, apparently, tiny head), drank a couple bottles of water, did some stretching, and then headed over to the massage area

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being relatively new to the sport, being new to running consistently, inexperience....and with time, I hope/expect to improve and build on this

Event comments:

Volunteers and crowd support were amazing! WTC always puts on a good race and manages to find great support. Their post-race activities are always lacking though....oh well.

This course is amazing. Beautiful, challenging, and so rewarding!

Last updated: 2013-09-24 12:00 AM
00:32:16 | 2112 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 9/109
Overall: 284/2653
Performance: Good
Suit: TYR Hurricane Cat 5
Course: Rectangular course around the big rock at Sand Hollow Reservoir
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:05
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:58:12 | 56 miles | 18.86 mile/hr
Age Group: 23/109
Overall: 546/2653
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Beautiful, hilly, challenging course from Sand Hollow Reservoir through Snow Canyon and to downtown St. George
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:49
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:59:28 | 13.1 miles | 09m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 35/109
Overall: 595/2653
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5