Beach 2 Battleship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Setup Events
75F / 24C
Total Time = 12h 20m 20s
Overall Rank = 264/574
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 28/65
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:00, got dressed and grabbed some food to eat before the race. We left the hotel about 4:30 and pulled into the parking lot about 5:00 with transition opening at 5:30. I ate two hard boiled eggs, finished my coffee, hit the port-o-pot and took my bike stuff into the transition area. The grass was cold and wet from the heavy dew. Tires were fine and I saw another local triathlete (Jennifer) getting ready so I chatted with her for a minute. I walked over to put my flip flops at the swim exit and saw the ladders ready to deploy. I walked back to the truck and it was time to board the trolly that would take us to the swim start so I took off my wind pants and fleece, keeping my shoes and t-shirt along with my jammers. When I got off the trolly, I found a place and started to put my wetsuit on. I walked the block to our meet-up point and got in line for the port-o-pots (AGAIN). Got back to the corner and chatted with Jennifer, Mike, Debi, and a couple other athletes and ate my banana and an orange. Got some body glide and finished pulling on my wetsuit as the sky lightened up and it was time to walk across the sand to the start line. As we walked, I saw some other friends spectating and/or doing the relay so got some last minute encouragement from them. Gave Debi one last hug before lining up and pulling my goggles down. Spent some time visualizing a good race while waiting for the countdown.
I set my watch timer for 12:43 as that was my PR until this race. While <12:00 was possible, I expected to be 12:15-12:30 given my training paces.
Event warmup:

Besides walking and putting on my wetsuit? Nothing.
  • 48m
  • 4200 yards
  • 01m 08s / 100 yards

When the gun went off, I walked out and started wading into the water. I usually try to stay towards the outside and somewhat off the back, but found myself with a lot of people to either side and also behind me. Nevertheless, I started swimming, stroke-stroke-breathe, stroke-stroke-breathe. Someone hits my goggles so I stop long enough to clear and re-seat them. I have no idea just how fast I'm swimming, which will be my theme later in the day. The water was salty (I don't usually swim in the ocean.) We are to keep the bouys to our left, so "outside" would mean staying to the right, but I feel as I'm being pushed left, and I see the row of boats and paddleboards not too far to my left. The sun is to my right and a water tower towards the front. I recall passing one yellow bouy (there were supposed to be several) and soon I saw the orange turn bouy up ahead. I rounded it fairly close, still in a decent crowd and now the sun was more behind me. I continued stroking without worrying about pace or others as long as I could see people to either side of me. At one point, I came through a cold spot which felt refreshing. More stroking and I could make out the orange wavey balloon-guy at the marina exit. I swam up to an open ladder and climbed the 4 steps to the marina dock as volunteers offered hands. I lifted my goggles, pulled off my cap, and took out the ear plugs. Up the ramp and a wetsuit stripper offers to help me out of my suit. She unzips my suit and I pull the suit off my arms and low enough I can sit down for her to pull it off my legs. I remember to relax my hand enough that the suit slides over my fist full of goggles and cap. I find my flip flops along the fence and start the jog across the timing mat and across the street into T1.
What would you do differently?:

The favorable current knocked 20-25 minutes off my normal swim time. I won't complain about anything during the swim. Sighting and navigating was decent. I was relaxed the whole time. I'd done a couple 4000 yard swims, but nothing longer.
Transition 1
  • 09m 7s

Wetsuit strippers took off my wetsuit before I crossed the timing mat. No reason to attempt the flying mount and riding barefoot. I got my bag, went into the changing tent and got my stuff out, went out to the port-a-pot for some relief, then came back to someone sitting where my stuff was. No drama, I just stripped, pulled on my bibs, zipped my jersey, and stuffed the wet stuff back into the bag. I put on my gloves, socks, shoes, and sunglasses. I debated whether to wear or take the arm sleeves as it was chilly, but I was dry so I opted to leave them in my transition bag. Dropped my bag, grabbed my bike and trotted across the timing mats to the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

This is a long day. Go steady and get things right, which I did. Fastest transitions were 2-3 minutes.
  • 6h 09m 19s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.20 mile/hr

Got to the mount line and clipped in. Switched to the big ring after the first block or two and started to settle in for the long ride. First few miles were through town with a number of right-angle turns. I wasn't focused on pace, just staying upright and warming up. Crossing the grating on the bridge was dicey as we rode into Wilmington. There wasn't much wind so I was riding 19ish heading up Rt 74. Made the turn to Rt. 17 and a few miles later the turn onto I-140. LT passed me right at mile 10 like a man on a mission. I started eating figuring on eating something solid about every 60-80 minutes and supplementing with sports drink. For about 30 minutes, my toes were cold. They didn't start out cold, but they got progressively colder and then warmed up again. I cruised by the first of the aid stations as we started up Rt. 421. The miles clicked along as we jockeyed for position. I played leapfrog with a few people. I stopped at the mile 42 aid station to pee and stretch. Hopped on again and cranked along to the Westward leg into a little headwind. By now, riders had pretty well thinned out and it was a matter of keeping a low profile and turning the cranks. I started running numbers in my head for when I'd come into town and how much time I'd have to run. I was thinking I might return with 5:30 remaining on my countdown timer to get <12:00 and eventually realized that I'd have 5:30 to equal my PR and about 4:45 to go <12. Ate and drank about as planned. My nutrition is mostly "regular food" so I'd packed a granola bar, trail mix bar, 2 packages of snack crackers, and a Payday. I expected to drink the bottle of Gatorade and replace it with a bottle or two of Heed as well as drinking plain water. Eating occurred at mile 20, 45, 62, 80, and 92. I make the 13-15 miles into the wind and start back towards Wilmington. I stop for another pee break at the mile 71 aid station where I grab my first bottle of Heed. By now, my neck is getting stiff but I'm past the worst of the headwind. I pedal along still at 18-19 mph with a few "sit up" breaks. When I try to take a drink of Heed, it spills out over my hand, so I attempt to tighten the cap and eventually figure out that I cannot squeeze the bottle at all. My legs are feeling decent and I'm half lost in my own thoughts about pace and finish time. Play leapfrog with a guy wearing a Purdue kit. I pass the aid stations at miles 80, 90, and 100 and realize I've only got 12 miles and 40 minutes until I'm off the bike. I'm able to stay aero much of the time, but relish the reprieve offered to sit up for turns. There are a couple small hills/bridges/overpasses and I shift out of the big ring for these. I make the left turn from Rt. 421 to Rt. 74 and climb up the bridge. Volunteers say to "stay inside" which I mistook for the right lane, but I was able to move into the left without any incident. Riding across the grating on the bridge was especially nervewracking as I'm definitely tired and don't want to fall now. I make it across and successfully navigate the remaining turns into downtown and the convention center.
What would you do differently?:

Kept the effort pretty easy. This ride was consistent with my longer training rides without hurting nearly as much as the end. My target was 6:10 and I was 41 seconds under it including three short stops.
Transition 2
  • 07m 37s

Dismounted outside and trotted into the convention center. Volunteers took my bike and grabbed my transition bag. I ducked into the changing area and stripped down, put on running shorts, shoes (left my socks on from cycling). Put my jersey back on so I'd have pockets for the run, hit the urinal, reassembled my gear into the bag and trotted towards the timing mat.
What would you do differently?:

A well executed change. I did a training run in tri shorts a week earlier and that was NOT going to be an option.
  • 5h 06m 19s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 41s  min/mile

Started out into the afternoon sunshine glad to be off the bike. Another guy was clipping along just ahead of me. We traded places twice before hitting the turn-around I got ahead of him and ran along the riverfront boardwalk. Transitioned to the brick street. Made the short climb off Front St. and rounded the corner to the aid station around mile 2. Time was about 20 minutes, so I'm running about 10 minute miles. I grab some water and a few pretzels. The pretzels caught in my throat but I kept running. Mile 3 and the aid station I grab a Heed. Turn and start along the lake trail. I'm seeing a lot of people and can't tell which are on their first loop, second loop, or doing the half and on their only loop. I hold 10 minute miles around the lake to the turn-around at mile 7 and even for another 2 after that. Mile 9 in 90 minutes and I'm smiling. It's getting hard, but I'm on track. I grab water or Heed and maybe an orange slice or something at each station, walking long enough to take in what I get. Mile 11 takes me 11 minutes and I start feeling out of sorts. Joey passes me finishing the second loop of his relay leg. He looks good. I take a walk break and can't find the motivation to start running again, so I walk as are a lot of people around me. Exiting the park, I see Mike and a couple minutes later, Jennifer, outbound on their first loop. I'm feeling a little light-headed, but my stomach is on the verge of not taking any more, so I walk along for a while. Pretty much, I walk back to downtown and run along Front Street and the riverfront, but I'm hurting and I've given up most of my buffer towards <12. I hit the turn around/special needs and continue walking. There is a bridal party taking pictures and an outdoor wedding set up overlooking the river and battleship. I think "this was the wrong setup" because the guests are squinting directly into the low Western sun. (which means they might not see me walking behind the alter...)I talk to Deb for a minute just past downtown. With the walking, it took me almost 2:30 for the first half. Still I walk. I'll finish, but now I'm wondering if I'll PR even. More walking, and when I get to Mile 15. I decide on the long stretch that I'm going to try to run/walk and I commit to running 150 paces before I walk 50 paces counting 50 paces at a time. My legs agree so I do 2 or 3 cycles of that. I'm now focused on counting my paces so pretty much zone out of the crowd, volunteers, and other participants. At Mile 16 I bump the ratio to 4:1, walking through the aid stations. I am focused on counting, not pace, so I haven't looked at my watch as I make my way along the lake. I get to a clearing and snap two pictures of the setting sun. I'm doing OK with the counting strategy and I'm eating/drinking as I come through the aid stations. I resolve to try 5:1 once I hit the final turn around with 6 miles to go. I'm now completely zoned out and it is dark, so I collect my glow-stick at the aid station and tuck it inside my jersey. As I exit the park, I see Mike and about a minute later, Jennifer. For much of the second loop, there are a lot more people walking...suffering...the fasties and the HIM participants are done leaving us MOP'ers and BOPers to find resolve within. It is about this time that I've been trading places with a guy, Elton, from South Carolina. He's walking some and I offer him to join me on the 5:1 ratio. He agrees. I count 1-50 to myself and announce 1-2-3-4-5-walk. He stays with me as we run towards town. We pass mile 25 and I call Deb that I'm a mile out. We run down the hill and turn onto Front Street and I ask him what AG he is in...M50-54 and he tells me to finish ahead of him since I pulled him along. As we cruise into the final stretch, I hand my glowstick to a spectator and start high-5'ing people. I hear the announcer call our names and see Deb and Steve (another friend who also did a relay) just ahead of the finish line. Steve reaches out to give me a high-5 just as Deb snaps the picture she's been waiting to she gets a close up of Steve's arm. I see 12:20:20 on the display as I finish. Elton gets 12:20:23.
What would you do differently?:

The middle third, miles 10--17, seem to be my nemisis. Not sure if it is nutrition on the bike, the run, or something else, but I struggle to keep running during this part of the race.
Post race
Warm down:

Stop. Wait for them to take my timing chip and give me my finisher medal. Got a mylar blanket and looked at the post-race food. Drank a Sprite, but otherwise skipped the food as I wasn't interested in pizza and had enough orange slices and other stuff during the run. Hobbled up the street to find a place to eat. Cleaned up in the bathroom. Got some food (burger and fries) and a couple beers with friends and Debi. Got a souvenir t-shirt because I was freezing in my sweat soaked jersey. Of course, they seated us UPSTAIRS which meant coming back down stairs after eating. Walked back to the finish line to get my finisher pants and then a slow walk to the truck.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This has been a challenging year. I did this race on far less training than my previous two IM's. Yea, I got a couple 100-mile rides, but mid-week rides were usually 18-20 miles instead of 25-35. My longest run was 17 miles. I'm sure that factored into my mid-run demons appearing.

Event comments:

This is a good race. Decent organization and community support. Given it is pretty flat and usually not brutally windy, it's a good course for PR's.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2014-01-13 12:00 AM
00:48:00 | 4200 yards | 01m 08s / 100yards
Age Group: 6/65
Overall: 115/574
Performance: Good
Suit: Full Aquaman
Course: "L" shape swim in the channel between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Current pushed us along nicely from the tip to the marina. Race is set up for favorable current and this time was exceptional. Exit is up a short ladder to the marina deck, then up a ramp to a bench with the wetsuit strippers. A short jog (with flip flops) to the timing mat is included in the swim time.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 09:07
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:09:19 | 112 miles | 18.20 mile/hr
Age Group: 33/65
Overall: 290/574
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Single loop around town then up near Clinton and White Lake. A few bridges and highway overpasses, but otherwise a pretty flat course. Where we were on highways, we usually had a lane to ourselves. On some county roads, we shared the lane with motorists. Most intersections were well controlled and we got priority.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:37
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:06:19 | 26.2 miles | 11m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 27/65
Overall: 279/574
Performance: Average
Course: Two loop out-and-back run with some meandering along the riverfront and downtown, a short climb to the roads to Greenfield Park, then following the park trail most of the way around the lake. First loop had a small out-and-back to the North with a short, steep hill. Pretty flat but lots of corners running along the riverfront then onto the brick streets of old Wilmington. A climb towards the neighborhood South of downtown and then a straight run across some RR tracks. Turn to the park and then follow the park path to the far turnaround. Nice route to see people coming and going. Mile markers for the second loop came 200 yards before mile markers for the first loop.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4