Beach2Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
Total Time = 5h 44m 45s
Overall Rank = 268/654
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 60/118
Pre-race routine:

stayed at Hilton hotel; up at 530am dressed in goodwill clothes started to drink water/fruit smoothie 400 cals. Got T1 shuttle (party bus with champagne classes!) and chatted with others - felt good as this was second time and able to answer lots of Q's for others. At T1 went to bike set out bike kit and started to eat a clif bar/water. I already BM at hotel so basically hung around.
At 700 got on bus to swim start and sat in parking lot not dock. felt more sheltered/warmer than last year and sun rise hit you sooner feeling great.
at 800 put on wetsuit and took clif shot/water. Chatted to some more newbies then headed to water.
Event warmup:

swung arms and stretched triceps/neck. Usual splash face/bubbles to acclimatize;
  • 28m 1s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 20s / 100 yards

Everyone was crowding the dock, I choose to go mid channel where current was strong and had to do back stroke to stay still!! no one was near me so when gun went off I led for ~50yds :-) Got into a nice rhythm, sighted well, kept clear of others and tried to relax.
At first turn buoy it got busy as started to catch other wave/Full then sighting the next turn was a little more important to get correct line. Few bumps but nothing to worry about. Tried drafting but either couldn't keep up or too fast. So focused on form and relaxing.
At second turn got real busy with people swimming in all directions/lines! started to bump more but felt confident to get thru it; just focused on exit ladders. swam for the first ladder and climbed out feeling great - no dixxiness or cold, checked watch and it said 26:55.
Ran to showers to rinse off the headed for T1.
What would you do differently?:

still need to remember to swim my own swim; much better this year but still too much focus on others/buoy iso form.
Transition 1
  • 07m 2s

I was determined to beat last yrs 12mins and I did. I felt much warmer coming out of water and felt more together; I could clearly focus on what I had to do. Ran into T1 correct way and found bike no problem. First took only top of wetsuit down and dried body, put undershirt on (got stuck a little but kept calm), then put warner cycle jersey and checked nutrition in place. Turned on garmin; took off wetsuit legs and dried myself more. sat on towel and put on shorts, socks, shoes. Packed bags; helmet glasses, one last check - off we go!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. yes I could save more time here but in this 'cold' weather race I needed to be dry and warm for the ride. Last year was horrible and I was not repeating.
  • 2h 57m 12s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.96 mile/hr

I was hoping for sub 3hr and I did it! I loved every minute of this bike leg; much better than last year! warmer clothes, new tri bike and good nutrition.
Kept cadence high and changed gears once >100; focused on spinning and staying relaxed. I remembered to watch for speedbumps thru initial streets and then the first bridge - done this before piece of cake - but as soon as I hit it both front and abck wheels were fish tailing! my race flashed before me as I considered jumping off. After an 'oh crap' moment it was over. lesson learned and noted for second bridge at end.
First 8 miles was very busy and you could not help drafting. at one point there was a otor bike hovering by me and I thought I was going to get penalty but it was just a 'warning bike' rider.Once on freeway opened up a little and continued to focus on my race not others.
Played tag with several riders across I40 and kept up with nutrition - I wanted to use up both bottles of water/heed and a clif bar by Aid station at 20 miles. Was feeling good and staying easily in aero position.
Off I40 and looked for AS1, saw it and knew I was stopping to hand off more water/heed. Got back up to speed well, got comfy and span those heels/wheels. Cadnece was good and speed was 19-21; HR was 136 - awesome! felt like pushing more as I could go to 156 but choose to stay comfortable for first half.
Noticed several groups of pace lines drafting BIG TIME - easily doing 25+mph. Sadly no marshals around.
Just before turn into loop there was a long incline and head wind, speed dropped here and noticed it was tough going; dropped gears and kept spinning/nutrition per plan.
Back end of loop seemed to climb a lot and going was tough; four of us seemed to leap frog most of the way which mentally helped. Noticed that butt/back/neck was fine; felt great in fact; nutrition kept going well; remembered gel and second clif bar. I did not at times I felt 'bloated' and noted an article saying drinking water only which resolved the problem - awesome!.
last 20 miles rocked - 'downhill' tailwind sun, finish close by I cranked up the gears and was pushing 22-23 and passing all my leap froggers. even the slight inclines couldn't reduce my pace or enthusiasm - checking HR it was 146 so kept on going.
AS2 came in sight and I was even brave enough to grab a water while riding. Last leg I planned on no heed/clif bar just two gels; managed one and just had water for remainder.
I passed one of the I40 leap froggers and chatted briefly - I was really moving now and glad I took first half easy. I was even getting out the saddle every ten minutes to stretch and mix it up.
Second bridge cam up quick, I was almost home - deep breath; made it no problem as dry. Remembered to spin wheels at high cadence to wake up legs and even pulled my feet out early and weaved thru last few streets into T2. Saw family and waved/whooped with joy. Watched for dismount and noticed how good I felt.
What would you do differently?:

if I am happy with 3hrs, nothing - this was almost perfect execution.
if I want to go faster, then I need to push more on bike which means more training.
Transition 2
  • 03m 7s

this went much better than last year - firstly I knew where my bag was so ran there calling out my bib - picked up bag and consciously called out my number so I had correct bag :-) Hit changing tent and remembered shorts off. shoes on; lets go. hit lap button on garmin and switched to run mode - remembering 1100m/m!
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 09m 25s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 53s  min/mile

coming into this race I knew I could possible walk or even drop out the run due to discomfort in foot/calf/hip over past 4-6 weeks. Goal was 2hrs with a SLOW initial three miles. By three miles I was in discomfort and knew it was going to be a LONG 13.1.
out of T1 I was running 10m/m, not 11 but it felt slow and better than last yrs 7:30m/m. Saw the family on the initial out/back then settled in at 9:30/m/m avoiding temptation of others passing me. IT FELT SO SLOW but I trusted garmin. because of run concerns I focused on form - tall/light feet/relaxed, but already I could feel my left foot start to hurt.
At each AS I walked and had water/heed and poured water over head/body as it was getting hot. took salt tabs every other. Left foot was definitely sore now but my right calf was becoming more of a concern. wasn't a cramp just discomfort. As neither issue was painful or causing me to dramatically change my form I focused and carried on.
The turn around seemed to be forever - every stride I was talking myself thru form/light/pull back ...I so wanted to stop but as it wasn't pain I sucked it up and carried on - my pace was dropping nearer to 10m/m so I was still on for 2hrs.
After mile 7 the left foot was over powered by right calf FORM FORM FORM positive mantras ...aid stations seemed forever to come and the walk was heaven! but I noticed I 'couldn't' start running again - My body didn't want to so I had to 'fall' forward to get running again. Pace now was 10:30 and all I was hoping for was to finish without walking, forget 2hrs.
Then the last long incline - seemed to take forever to get to top but I kept running at 10:30 - one foot I front of other was all I could say to keep moving. Made it to top and walked last aid station - I was there! I purposely walked an extra 100 yds to the last corner so I could 'sprint' home. And I did - I ran hard passing many others walking I held my head up and smile thru the pain; I saw the family and got a high five I was in the chute and heard the announcer say 'Mark Hodges, how do you feel!?" I put my thumbs up and smiled at the camera - I crossed the line and broke down in tears.
I sobbed for almost 15 minutes, not from pain but from mental exhaustion; I realized the last ten miles of the run was all mental none of it was physical - I had done it and beaten last years time. Everyone I approached was concerned I needed medical attention - no I am just sobbing; never seen a grown man cry before!?
What would you do differently?:

Better manage my change of shoes - yes same brand, inserts, break them in on treadmill for 4 wks but is still hurt in the end.
Training was spot on leading into event; just new shoes 6 wks to close to race day.
Post race
Warm down:

walk walk walk - just walk. keep moving legs and try to avoid people as they kept pointing to medical test. Wife was worried, but I assured her (honestly) that I was ok. I got some water and food. Managed to sit down on floor and forced some food down. Tears stopped and reality of what I had achieved became apparent - screw the run everything else rocked!
Went and got a massage and felt whole bunch better, walked some more then headed back to hotel to get changed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

a conscious decision to want to go faster, nothing else. to go faster means train faster; simply.

Event comments:

This is my second half and second time at this event - I love it! its great for beginners and great for veterans looking for a fast time. The location is awesome and community makes you feel loved - the supporters have SO MUCH ENERGY.
You feel welcomed in to their backyards and they make you feel like an individual person not just another racer. I will keep coming back as long as I race Tri's.

Last updated: 2014-06-17 12:00 AM
00:28:01 | 2112 yards | 01m 20s / 100yards
Age Group: 28/118
Overall: 98/654
Performance: Good
Suit: yes; sleeveless
Course: P2P in an intercostal waterway.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:02
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:57:12 | 56 miles | 18.96 mile/hr
Age Group: 72/118
Overall: 360/654
Performance: Good
avg 135, max 150. first 30 miles was <140.
Wind: Some
Course: out&back with loop. mix of surface streets, country roads and the I40 freeway! described as pancake flat; garmin indicates 160 total elevation. TWO bridges to navigate with metal grates.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 95
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:07
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:09:25 | 13.1 miles | 09m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 59/118
Overall: 275/654
Performance: Below average
Course: out&back around downtown/river/lake.
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