Grand Rapids Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Ada, Michigan
United States
70F / 21C
Total Time = 4h 48m 58s
Overall Rank = 117/714
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 27/91
Pre-race routine:

Missed the registration for my local June HIM, saw this one, thought I'd drive through OH and visit old friends on the way - and saw it was the National Championships (for which I qualified by way of paying my registration fee - a high bar). ;) Also have never traveled more than a couple hours to do a race, so I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out airplanes go faster than cars - who knew. :) Saw great friends on the way out and back. Got to listen to a couple audiobooks. Raced a great venue with super SUPER nice folks. Yep - winner winner chicken dinner for this one. (although next time I'll fly)

ETA: Forgot to mention up here that this was a PR for me - by like 12.5 minutes! So, I was pretty stoked about that, for sure.

Everything bagels with maple-almond nut butter and coffee (tasted great halfway through the swim!). Grab my stuff. Pause to write an email to the family and then scurry through the cold monsoon to the truck. Got up early and still JUST made it in time - as in, I heard the first horn (I was in the 3rd wave) before I was even in the corral! Missed having anyone around (family) and it was a loooong drive, but once there the typical triathlon atmosphere hit and it was awesome.
Event warmup:

Zip the suit up as I'm walking into the water and go (unless "warmup" means taking care of business with a wetsuit on right before the horn). Would have preferred a bit more time, but was slower than I thought in parking, riding to the event and getting set up in the cold rain.
  • 31m 36s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 30s / 100 yards

Walk in, wait a couple minutes and start! Least time ever to stand around, but was OK. Found fast feet immediately and was in top 6 or 7. Lost said feet about 2/3 of the way through when I was just winded. Got breath under control and hopped on another fairly fast dude's feet. Finished toward the front of the wave, and was happy with that.

Course read long on my and many others' GPS - closer to 1.33-1.35 miles on average. Could be poor sighting, but I was pretty on target. Garmin had 1:19/100 as a pace, and I was very happy with that!
What would you do differently?:

Warm up. Not be injured for a couple months prior. Have unlimited time to train. So, not much, really...
Transition 1
  • 02m 27s

This was longer than I'd have liked. Got slowed a bit with everything being wet, glasses all foggy, fingers cold and not wanting to buckle helmet, etc. Usually much faster, but whatevs - my HR was spiked from the run through the long transition in a wetsuit, so probably just as well!
What would you do differently?:

Remember to do helmet/wetsuit off at the same time. Stuff glasses into back pocket instead of messing around trying to clear them. Basically just move through more smoothly (first race of the year, too, so I was rusty).
  • 2h 29m 33s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.47 mile/hr

Overall, VERY happy with this ride. I hadn't trained nearly as much on the bike as I'd have liked and was still able to break 2:30 (my stretch goal). Miiiiight have burnt a match or two passing. But, hey, you gotta have FUN, too!

Specifics: Got passed by a BIIIIG draft pack about 10 miles out (looked and sounded like the TdF pelleton - would have been a pretty cool sight if it hadn't been during a tri) and then held my own wrt position in race. Had to spike my HR a couple times on the back half passing a couple lines of racers from the earlier waves (long lines, but you have to pass them ALL once you come around). Better to blow up than to cheat! Was fun, as there were some fast riders out there, for sure…

Wet and wild, but thankfully the actual rain had stopped shortly after starting the ride. Roads were wet and sandy, with potholes and debris - saw a BUNCH of wrecks, more than any other race I've done - but was able to race mostly to plan. Pretty flat, overall, which helped with speed...
What would you do differently?:

See swim wrt injury, unlimited training time, etc. Given life's constraints, I'm very happy with this one!
Transition 2
  • 02m 6s

Another slower than normal one, but mostly because I chose to put on socks (wet wet wet and I didn't want blisters). Even with the socks, I just felt slower than normal trying to remember how to do this, but was OK with it (17th in wave).
What would you do differently?:

Practice at least once before the first race of the season, I guess, but it's not that complicated…
  • 1h 43m 15s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 53s  min/mile

This, like the bike, was a HIM PR (OK, this was only my second HIM, so not a high bar!). Buuuuuuut, this was also about my open HM PR from last season, so I was very happy with the run! Passed by 3, maybe 4, dudes in my AG - all the other fasties were already well ahead of me.

Having had a very poor April and not much better May of training (two injuries), especially wrt run training, I was most concerned about fitness coming into this. And, that's how it went. I was running 7:20-7:40's for the first 8 or so (fast, not hard) and then just sputtered, going to 8-8:30's the last 4-5 miles.

Prolly should have taken more than 1 GU on the run. Maybe should have gone out slower, but I think it was more that I had a certain amount of time in me, less than pace. In the end, this was a good run for me (getting better at being a runner, but certainly not there yet). I think I have a few minutes to gain from better endurance and also another year of training...

Lots of FAST dudes! Last year my overall time would have been within 4 seconds of the podium (and I think I had 4 more seconds in me), but not this year. Lots of great athletes showed up (ITU Nationals seem to be gaining some traction - and Sweden is one heckuva carrot!). Doesn't bother me a whit, as I took over 12 minutes off my HIM time and am psyched with how it went. It was actually really cool to see how fast and how fit others of my "advanced chronological status" can be - inspiring!
What would you do differently?:

Duh - train more! While that is often a specious answer to this question, it's kind of true here. I should have trained LESS after my March HM (which I am convinced would have helped prevent injury) and then trained MORE in April and May. Oh well, pretty happy regardless!

(although I have NO IDEA how people do a full IM… the pain at the end of this one was "notable" - pretty sure I didn't have another HIM in me on the same day!)
Post race
Warm down:

Water, pizza, etc. Spent some time looking for the beer-truck in vain. :) Went and cheered for the awardees. Had an outside hope that I'd make the list for Sweden (far outside!), and managed the roll down list - so that was part of the fun, too. Talked with a BUNCH of very cool people - I really do love the midwest.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Same old same old...

Event comments:

Great race, terrific competitors and volunteers, fast course and faster racers! Overall just a great time!

Last updated: 2014-06-18 12:00 AM
00:31:36 | 2112 yards | 01m 30s / 100yards
Age Group: 12/91
Overall: 56/714
Performance: Good
Suit: 2Xu T:3
Course: Left hand turns around an elongated/bent rectangle - out and back in the river.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:27
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:29:33 | 56 miles | 22.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 24/91
Overall: 109/714
Performance: Good
Was targeting 141-145 bpm and ~210W. Hit the second, but let the former jump a few times (although average was 143, so not tooooo bad). Had tospike now and again to ride legal...
Wind: Some
Course: Out and back. Mostly flat, with a few rollers at ~15-20 and same place on the way back. Very wet and a fair amount of sand/dirt/potholes.
Road: Potholes Wet Cadence: 82
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:06
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:43:15 | 13.1 miles | 07m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 34/91
Overall: 185/714
Like always, was trying to get my HR to look like an open HM HR, but just couldn't. Something about a burnt match or two on the bike… ;)
Course: Two loop, with a small hill at the intra-loop turn and another decent one about 2 miles before the finish. Got warm and sticky when the sun came out, but not terrible by any stretch.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5