Grand Rapids Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Ada, Michigan
United States
72F / 22C
Total Time = 4h 42m 11s
Overall Rank = 81/711
Age Group = M 30-34
Age Group Rank = 11/49
Pre-race routine:

The 4 weeks leading up to this race were not great as I had chest congestion that would not go away. I ended up racing an Olympic two weeks prior to this race and that really got me sick. I got on an anti-biotic after that which ultimately got rid of it about a week before race day.

I ended up missing some key workouts and had to bail on a few others because of the sickness but the taper week workouts went very well which gave me confidence. Plus, I had 6 months of exceptional training leading up to this point to rely on.
Event warmup:

This was the USAT Long Course Nationals which really grew the field and brought alot of top talent from across the country which was great for the event.

Nutrition: I had a bagel with peanut butter and a banana about 4:30. I made my bottles and night before and already had the bike packed up so it was a pretty stress free morning.

It was a 50 minute drive to the race site and it was raining the whole way there. I walked my gear the 15 minute walk to transition and got everything ready to go. It rained the whole time during transition setup as well. Got the wetsuit on and headed down to the water.

Nutrition: Gel 20 minutes prior to race time and washed down with water. I was not able to get a swim warmup in which was not good.
  • 33m 44s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 36s / 100 yards

I was in the 1st wave with Males 18-34 and relays. It was a pretty big wave about 200+ people. I started in the front left and wanted to get out quick per the plan and get on some fast feet.
I could not figure out prior to the start if the first buoy was a sighting buoy or I actually needed to stay to the right of it. I was inside the buoy line at the start and had a good start but I actually needed to get back right to get around the buoy which brought me back into a mass of people. This started the blender for the next 200 yards but then it cleared up past that point.
It was really pretty non eventful swim past that point. I got into a bit of a groove and tried to just think tempo tempo tempo. I thought my sighting was ok and stayed on course pretty well. I was on and off feet most of the way.

Out of the water sub 33 minutes and then hit the wetsuit strippers. They got that off real quick and started the jog to transition.

This was actually my best AG rank event, a complete reversal of my history so the work in the pool has obviously paid off.
What would you do differently?:

This was a decent swim. It would have been nice if I knew beforehand if I needed to stay right of that first buoy but that was my fault.

Transition 1
  • 01m 37s

46th OA
9th AG

Because the transition is ridiculously long I decided to leave my shoes on the bike and run barefoot to the mount line. I think this worked out really good. I practiced about 10 times Saturday night and felt comfortable about it.
What would you do differently?:

Went great
  • 2h 26m 42s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.90 mile/hr

Race Setup: Reynold Stryke 66 front and DT Swiss PT hub w/ wheelcover rear.
PD Aero Bottle on down tube and single cage between bars.

Nutrition: 2 Servings concentrated Infinit in PD bottle (550 Calories); 2.5 bottles of water

The plan was 215-225 watts for the ride and I pretty much nailed it.
218W NP 211AP
AHR: 168

The average heart rate is why I could never race with HR before and what makes the PM so valuable to me. My LTHR is 163 based on years of training and testing - it is just always high during the bike leg and reduces to normal ranges again for the run leg.

This was a very wet ride for the first half. My position coming out of the water was pretty good so there were not a lot of people to pass. For the most part, I rode the entire course by myself. I thought the course would be more crowded but being in the first wave, swimming fairly well and riding well, it was a bit lonely of a ride. I just concentrated on holding power which was not really hard to do because the legs felt good. The only draft pack that came through was about 45 miles into the ride - a group of 7-8 and several were folks that I passed a long time ago. Amazing they were able to suddenly ride 25mph!!

Due to the mild temperatures during the ride I really needed to hold back on the liquid consumption. I definitely felt a little bloated and knew I needed to cut back on the water. My last few HIM were all 90 and humid so quite a change. Only had 2.5 bottle of water but probably only needed 2 total.

About 2 miles from transition, riding great, suddenly I get a sharp cramp in the inside of my left knee and thigh. Oh Shit - c'mon! It stopped me dead and I gave it 30seconds to work out and rub and then was able to pedal again. I thought that was going to end my race. Never got that on the bike before.

Cruised into transition with a very solid ride and eager to see what the legs had in store for the run.
What would you do differently?:

Less water in the mild conditions - good ride.
Transition 2
  • 01m 33s

35th OA
4th AG

I had my shoes in a plastic bag since it rained all morning. This kept my shoes and socks nice and dry. This was a good quick transition.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 38m 34s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 31s  min/mile

Plan: Start around 7:00 min/miles and try to drop it down based on how I felt.

Coming out of transition I was bloated from the liquid intake on the bike. So, I started around that 7 minute pace and was just hoping this would go away so I could run better. I laid off any liquid/nutrition until the 3 mile mark or so and did feel better by that point.

Nutrition: 1.5 Hammer Gels - 2-3 cups gatorade.

My nutrition for this race was minimal - it was mild temperatures and my stomach being full I just did not want anything. It took everything I had to force that small amount of nutrition in.

By the Turnaround on the first loop - my pace started to slowly drop, partly due to the couple hills but partly because i just could not. The run really felt more like a shuffle. I was just not running well and the only thing I can think is that I just do not have the mileage in my legs.

By the second loop, about mile 7 I started taking short 10-20 second walk breaks, 4 or 5 in total. Instead of just plodding along, these seem to help as I as able to bring my pace back to 7:15-7:20 pace right after and hold for a mile or so until the next short break. I absolutely hate taking walk breaks but it seemed to help here. I believe only 1 or 2 miles were over 8:00 pace and just barely so was able to hold pace ok but not the pace I was looking for ultimately.

Once I got to the last 2 miles, I just let it go - my pace was good and was able to finish fairly strong. I did not look at my overall time on the run - just focused on running the best I could. I was thinking in my head probably 4:45 since I ran so bad so to see 4:41 on the clock as I came in was good.
What would you do differently?:

Less liquid on the bike. The race gives me confidence I can go 4:30-4:35 at Steelhead if I can get the run where I realistically think it can be - which is 1:32 or so.
Post race
Warm down:

Legs were really sore after I finished. I walked around and then jumped in the river which seemed to help. Got dried off and my parents helped my haul stuff back to the car. Did not stick around long as I knew there was no chance of a podium in this field today.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of run training - really focused on bike/swim for the past 6 months which paid dividends.

Event comments:

Great race w/ great race directors and excellent course.

Last updated: 2014-02-03 12:00 AM
00:33:44 | 2112 yards | 01m 36s / 100yards
Age Group: 10/49
Overall: 115/711
Performance: Average
Suit: Blue Seventy Helix Sleeveless
Course: rectangle in Thornapple River - no current
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 01:37
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:26:42 | 56 miles | 22.90 mile/hr
Age Group: 12/49
Overall: 78/711
Performance: Good
AP: 211W NP: 218W VI: 1.03
Wind: Some
Course: Out and Back Course along the Grand River - generally flat with 1100+ feet of climbing.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 85
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 01:33
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:38:34 | 13.1 miles | 07m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 15/49
Overall: 123/711
Performance: Average
AHR: 163
Course: 2 loop out and back - flat course with 2 short steep hills on each loop.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4