Beach2Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
72F / 22C
Total Time = 5h 01m 22s
Overall Rank = 90/959
Age Group = M55-59
Age Group Rank = 2/39
Pre-race routine:

Let me preface this report by saying that I write these as I experienced them so you can learn from that and perhaps take something with you during the next B2B or next Half Iron distance. Also, note that the temperature started out in the 40s during the morning of the race and warmed up to low 70s by the time I finished.

First a good bit of commentary about B2B and events before the race. Interestingly enough, B2B Full was supposed to be my first full distance event back in 2011 and then 2012. But, several events changed those plans and I ended up doing the Great Floridian in 2012 instead (see that race report if interested). As I had already signed up for IM 70.3 Syracuse and IM Louisville this year, you may ask why I signed up for B2B Half? Well, really to support a BT friend, Chris D, who was making another attempt to complete his first HIM distance event. He was forced to cancel other attempts due to unforeseen circumstances but was going to try again. And B2B Half would be perfect for him as the much taunted fast swim with the current plus the mostly flat bike and run courses would work to his advantage as he's not yet built up speed on the swim or the run. He can go the distances, though. Since I have several HIM events under my belt, Chris also asked a good amount of questions, especially about training. Biggest concern was the swim cutoff and I assured him that the current would more than make up the time he needed. I later found out another beginner triathlete, Jon E, also signed up for it and it would be his first HIM event as well. So, after looking at my race schedule and the time after IM Louisville to recover, decided that B2B Half would be a perfect way to end my 2014 race season while supporting my fellow triathletes in their first HIM distance. Registered in July as I knew it wouldn't be long before the Half distance would sell out as it always does.

So, fast forward a bit to after Ironman Louisville and after my vacation the next week. Perhaps from not recovering enough and pushing more in the form of Du (which is another forthcoming race report), I don't think I was able to put in as much quality time preparing for B2B as I would've liked. Still, I was able to get back to intervals and long bricks. One of the most important was with my two friends. Though I'm faster, it was important to me to stay with them on the ride and run to provide encouragement and see how they were doing. Completing that long brick (44/10) was a big confidence booster for them. I was still having some running problems and continued to be plagued with them a bit here and there all the way up until race day.

Race week is upon us and I'm heading down with Jon E, staying in the Hilton near the race site. Jon was excitingly nervous and asking a good amount of questions on the way down as I expected. For me, it helped sharing the experience for once on a race I was traveling to. One thing that we didn't exactly have to worry about wat that overall good weather was to prevail during the travel and race days with lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s! Nice! And though I had some reservations staying at the Hilton Riverside (because in my experience, the more expensive hotels don't mean more amenities or services sometimes. Just more expensive ones), it turned out to be a good thing later.

One extra thing that happened along was the Base Performance guy, Matt Miller, was hosting a breakfast with the Pros racing and I decided to sign up as my friend and pro triathlete Suzy Serpico and husband Danny of Rip It Events would be there. It was a bit expensive but I found it was pretty well worth it. Also got to meet the 2006 Ironman Women's World Champion Michellie Jones! A bit embarrassed to say but I got in a bit of an argument over ISM saddles. But discussed later and she said ISM would set me up if I contact her. Perhaps I'll take her up on it. One more bit of "dig" later from Michellie.

Now for those that don't know, B2B has two transition areas, T1 was at Wrightsville Beach and T2 at the Wilmington Convention Center, which happened to be just a short walk from the Hilton :) and was the packet pickup location. So, after the breakfast with the pros, it was time to head over to the Convention Center for packet pickup. This turned out to be a fairly orderly process with plenty of volunteers on hand to help plus ensure (MANY times!) that you had your ID as well as proof that you had viewed the online race briefing. Yeah, that was different. Weeks/months before, you had to view an online race briefing, take a quiz, and prove that you did so when you picked up your packet. I personally still like in person ones in case of questions. And one note on that...the Information booth was at the end of the Expo which I missed the first time going through. I came back later to ask something about the buses that would pick us up the next morning (which I'll get to) and found out that I had completely missed it the first time. Expo was rather small and held the usual stuff to buy. I was all set to buy a B2B visor but they didn't sell those. Indeed, the only headwear was ugly farmer style ball caps. Yuk. I actually went back to them to show them the kind of caps Ironman was selling/handing out which were much better. I didn't even see pint glasses either but I have to admit that I think I might've forgotten too. Still, I got some at both IM and Rev3 events. Disappointed not to get one from here. At the expo, one place was selling lower thigh compression sleeves and I said I'd come back later when I turned in my T2 bag there (get to that too).

Back at the hotel, we get our bikes ready and head over to T1 to scope things out there. T1 is a big grassy field located at Wrightsville Beach Park. I had expected to have an individually numbered spot but they were just ranges of numbers. So, Jon and I placed our bikes in our areas and checked out how things would work the next day as far as where we'd enter from the swim, how many rack rows to go by, and then get out to the bike exit. Then we went over to the swim exit area. This was going to be interesting as we'd have to run in bare feet from the exit across Hwy 76 to the grassy transition area. After looking over the water and the swim exit area, we saw where folks were placing shoes for this purpose for the next day. Jon and I considered this and would still be doing so that evening. After this, it was time to drive the bike course.

Due to traffic and such, couldn't do the very first part but it looked easy enough on the map. Go over the first drawbridge which contained metal grates for surface. At the first and last miles on the bike course, we would have to go across these and I was a bit nervous about doing so ever since 5 of my riding buddies went down on one on a local ride. Trying to ride on wet metal grates with a bike is like trying to ride on ice. This one didn't look too long and just have to be careful. Fortunately, it wasn't going to rain. Still.... So the first 7 miles or so of the bike course is on Military Road and Business 17 and these are fairly heavily trafficked roads. Not exactly the smoothest either but it wasn't too bad. At last we came to an overpass which loops around to the right and we come out onto route 17 heading west. This will be a pleasure to be on as it's all highway! Wasn't quite sure how they would do this but thought I had read earlier about having a lane to ourselves - Sweet! Just before mile 20, we again come to the only real hill with any long grade as we climb up and curve right to take a left onto route 421. One is on this for probably 14 miles and it's a gradual undulating road with surfaces in the beginning you had to be careful about, but did smooth out later. Then make a loop around after mile 32 onto 210 and then Blueberry Road. Road's pretty good here still. Come out back onto route 421 and headed back the way we came. Now, Jon and I needed supplies for morning breakfast and there was also traffic stopped ahead if we continued with the rest of the course. So, didn't see the last 6 miles but should be pretty evident where to go. Got our breakfast supplies and got back to the hotel so we could prepare and turn in T2 bags at the Convention Center. BTW, the concept of two transition areas is very strange to a newbie such as Jon. So one thing to remember here for you, the reader, is to think of your T1 bag as the transition bag you would normally take with you race day morning when you set up your area. And though I think we could still put something in the T2 bag early in the morning if we forgot something, we wanted to avoid that if possible. One thing to remember for T2 bag is your race belt with your bib number or else whatever you're going to wear on the run with it on. I actually forgot my race belt/number when I turned in my bags at Ironman Louisville because it's one item I set up in transition with my running shoes. But I was able to put it in the next morning. So, remembered that for the T2 bag. Jon and I put brightly colored duct tape on the bags so they could be identified more easily though that didn't really matter I think. Once we were sure those were squared away, we headed over to the Convention Center and tried to find the rack with our numbers on them. Think Jon found his pretty easily, but I had a heck of a time finding mine because it wasn't evident from the sequence of numbers I was looking at. Looked all over and finally found it on the opposite end of the racks. It was below the top sequence which was a different sequence altogether. I paused here to buy the thigh compression sleeves and ask my question at the info booth. Then later, we decided not to go to the race dinner and instead got dinner at the Front Street Brewery which had a multitude of food selection to satisfy anyone. We did so much want a beer but not until after the race. Then it was time to try and relax before trying to get some sleep. Jon was fairly nervous to say the least but also excited. Sleep didn't really come very well for either of us. Never really does for me prior to a race.

Well alarms goes off very early (4 AM ish) and it's time for race prep. I had yogurt, coffee, banana, some sports drink, and pretty sure a bar as well. Get into tri gear, grab wetsuit, T1 bag after ensuring again that everything's there that we need (though I forgot a somewhat important item), and headed downstairs to catch the bus which would take us to the T1 area.

Now, I actually disagree with paying for this bus though I kinda understand that not everyone had to use them and would instead drive to T1. Still, I would've preferred to spread this cost around to all and included in the entry fee. Just my opinion and I did understand why it was done this way. Brrrrrr, it's just barely at 50 if not a bit below when we start out for T1. But, it could be worse as it was last year when it was 39! The bus ride is relatively short and we're dropped off at T1 area with our driver wishing us well. Get body marked first and then head on over to my spot with my T1 bag and wetsuit to set up my area. And with overnight dew, everything's pretty wet including the grass. With me wearing sandals, it was making my feet quite chilled. BTW, one thing I saw on Facebook page and discussed elsewhere was buying old clothes (say like from Goodwill) to keep one warm on race morning and just discard them so they could be given back to charity. This is great thing to do BUT I would add that you should also try and find old flip flops or shoes as well which I'll get to shortly. Well, thought I was all taken care of, left my empty bag along with my old sweat pants there and got mostly in my wetsuit for the way over, taking my swim gear along with me as well. Jon and I decided not to deal with leaving shoes at the swim exit BTW. Just another thing to deal with. I also wasn't sure about leaving my spare shoes there either.

There are trolleys to take us over to the swim start area and it's fairly quiet after I boarded with folks a bit nervous and tense. B2B brings out a LOT of newbies to the distance and even first time tri folks too, primarily due to the flatness of the course and the swim with the current. Think I tried to lighten the mood a little bit along the way but the ride wasn't too long. Get off the trolley and look to see if I can find Jon and Chris. Also racing in his first HIM was Bill H from Frederick as well. Interestingly, Chris, Bill, and myself are all in the same AG. It's here now that I wish I had some sort of disposable footwear as the waiting parking lot area is a bit chewed up and I have to walk carefully here the entire time I'm waiting. I meet Bill here first, chat a bit, and see about finding the others. I think I found Chris and his wife next and we go over to check out the water. Colder there with the breeze - brrrr! But sun's coming up and starting to get a bit warmer as we're waiting. Find Jon not too long after that and he's chilling/trying to relax off to one side of the parking lot. The Half doesn't start until around 8:30 and just before or around 8 the Full distance folks go by the water to cheers from the Half folks. Man, they are just zooming along!! Even folks breast stroking are moving along! I think I pointed this out to Chris and I think that helped alleviate any lingering doubts he had.

After the Full folks went by, not much to do but wait as my wave didn't start until 8:58. So, I took care of as"business" as I could during that time as I didn't want to have to use a porta john on the courses like I did during IM Louisville. Yes, longer race but cost me too much time. Didn't want that here as I was actually going to attempt a sub-5 hour HIM race here if everything was coming together. UNFORTUNATELY, one thing I forgot since this was a different setup is my body lube :( I kinda asked a little bit around but resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be doing the entire bike without it and would have be prepared for the consequences later. Ugh...not looking forward to that part of taking a nice shower afterwards :`(

At last, it was time to ditch the sweater I had, leave it on the fence for the charity folks to pick up, and get into wetsuit. Water temp was 70 degrees but it sure did seem like it was colder. Testing things out for just a bit and then tread water near the start line. Gosh, I was shivering since I wasn't doing much of anything. Heard the starter say 1 minute, started my Garmin in multisport mode, wished everyone a good race, and I positioned myself a bit more out in front. 30 seconds....10 seconds.....and.....GO!! Off and swimming in Beach 2 Battleship Half event!!
Event warmup:

Y'know, you really couldn't in this situation unless you were closer to the start and could go for a run or something beforehand. I just did a very short out and back while waiting to start so I could get myself warmed up a little.
  • 31m 34s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 29s / 100 yards

Note that there wasn't a lot of chop but was there CURRENT! Also, the OA rank is out of 635 men as they didn't have a combined rankings available. The first thing to do with the swim was to get out into the channel as much as possible to get the famed B2B swim current. And I believe I was fairly successful with that as I could just feel myself being carried along! It was a joy to be feeling like this, let me tell ya! For the first part, I seemed to be matching my strokes with guys on either side for a while. But in this situation, I really didn't need it and found a way to get clear as I really didn't need any bumping here. I was watching the land off to the left just whiz by and seeing the sighting buoys go by so quickly reminded me of the 2nd part of the swim at Ironman Louisville where I was with the current there as well. I found I was keeping time with a couple of other guys who were far enough away that they didn't interfere with my progress. I found I was at the left turn buoy in no time flat and headed off to the channel marker in that direction. Here I got a bit confused about whether to angle near 90 degrees or angle more towards the docks. Others around me seemed to be doing this as well. But there was a paddle boarder nearby who said to go right more. So, that's what I ended up doing. I could also see pink caps ahead as well and was wondering if I was catching up to them. So kept going and still feeling like I was moving quite well here. Reached the next angle point where I could see the tall white building that was in the back of the dock where I would exit the swim and headed in that direction around this small island which was to my left. Was trying not to get too close to the docks as I had be advised to stay more in the middle as I angle in to the docks since the current would be stronger. So, now with the white building set as my end sighting point, I proceeded onward. I was now passing pink caps from the previous wave too! Wow! Just how fast had I been moving?? Continue to close on target and pass more pink caps. At last I can see where folks are exited at the dock and press...just...a...bit...more....and....I reach the ladder at the dock! Climb up it with the help of a volunteer and I am done with the swim!!
What would you do differently?:

Really with this current, not much. I really should've been clearer on where to go after I made the left turn. It seems like most folks just angled a bit more toward the shore to the right. Not sure if it made much difference or not.
Transition 1
  • 04m 51s

7 in AG, 193 OA Men. So, I try to let the wetsuit strippers do their job but they were a little unsure and I had to assist with letting them know what to and we managed. One thing I had done with my Blue Seventy suit was get the legs cut shorter so I wouldn't have as much of a problem around my ankles and this did seem to be easier. BTW, one thing I also did was to safety pin my timing chip strap so it wouldn't accidentally come off like it did a IM 70.3 Syracuse when I got my wetsuit stripped there.

Pressed the interval button on my Garmin and it said 31:30-something...WHOA!! Well, that's a PR fer shure!! Have to wait to see what the official time is but best wetsuit time is like 38 min for me. I'll take it! And actually that AG place put in top 20%. I'm usually a bit lower. Guess I also know how to ride the current too ;)

So, done with my wetsuit, fairly quickly and here's where I would've take more time to get on shoes but didn't need to do that and started to quickly jog to get to the transition area. Others were a bit slower or walking and I had pardon myself in trying to get around them as I was moving just a bit faster. Get under fresh water sprinklers to get salt water off but don't too much time here. Out of those and turn right onto the sidewalk and then onto Hwy 76 to cross it in order to get to the transition area. I'm glad I didn't waste time putting on shoes here as I found I really didn't need them. Lots of folks here cheering as we all made our way along! Even though no one's there for me, I still soaked it in! Up over the curb and onto wet grass as we made our way around the one corner to transition and then having to excuse myself again I think as some volunteers were a bit in my way. It wasn't a big deal but I was moving along in a bit of a controlled hurry. Get to my spot, put wetsuit in the T1 bag as quickly as I could. Then tried something new (which one shouldn't do) in T1. Since it was chilly to start the bike, I decided to wear arm warmers like I had done in Knoxville. But, being wet, they were difficult to get on. So taking a lesson from getting in my wetsuit I had a small plastic bag with me. Slipped my one arm in it and slipped my arm warmer on top. By golly, it worked! I only had to pull a bit to get the rest of the warmer on and then did the other one. Wow, really saved some time and aggravation there! Then got in bike shoes, sunglasses, get towel and such in bag, and I think I'm ready to go...but, I'm not. I forgot to put my sandals in the bag and had to quickly untie the bag and get them in as well. See you left T1 bag there tied so it could be returned to you later. Otherwise, like the Goodwill charity sweat pants I left there, the sandals would be donated too if I didn't put them in the bag. And a volunteer saw I was finishing up and was hovering a bit to retrieve my bag when I was done. So, with that done, headed out to start the bike portion. Over the curb, cross the mount line, get clipped in, and I've started the bike in B2B Half!
What would you do differently?:

Probably no fault of my own, just not used to not bagging gear in T1 and not returning to it later. Probably took only 15 more sec to untie the bag, get the sandals in, and retie it.
  • 2h 41m 57s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.75 mile/hr

OA rank is out of all men. Also, while a good bit of the course is smooth, the first 7 miles is a bit bumpy here and there. Then there are sections be mindful of about halfway up and back on 421. Plus a set of railroad tracks (which caused me an issue!).

Now I knew this being Half event popular with first timer as well as me being in a later swim wave (number 8) that I would have a LOT of folks ahead of me on the bike which I would probably be passing since I'm a decent cyclist though not as fast as I'd like. And such was the case right off. This first part winds around some side roads until we get up onto Hwy 74. Then the first drawbridge. Here volunteers are telling folks that it's drier to the right. I only realize what this is about after a bit and understand that the metal grate might be a bit wet. Sure enough, my back tire skids slightly and I see about moving right a bit more. Control the downhill portion and thankfully get back on solid road surface without issue.

So, I gearing up for the 56 mile ride and checking my power readouts as I'm starting out. I had thought that I should be able to go to .70-75 IF and maybe more considering what I did at the Maryland Du. But as I started out, I just couldn't seem to push more than I was with any consistency. Not sure entirely why and it almost seemed like I had a headwind at times too. Also understand that since Louisville, the quantity of time on my tri bike wasn't very much, especially since the week before the race when I was going to do my last 50 mile ride, my left crank arm (where the Stages Power Meter is located) pulled loose from the retaining bolt of all things!! Got that fixed the week prior to the race and tested things out. But the last long ride was 44 miles and I wasn't really racing it or pushing things. So, I think I went into this race a bit undertrained. I was still confident that I could at least push past 20 mph on average, perhaps to 22 given this course. It's just that I didn't feel as strong on the bike as I would've liked and I also knew I had to save something for the run, another issue I had been having as well.

So, this first part is a bit crowded from time to time and I attempt to move along passing folks as nicely as I can. Since there are newbies here, I do have to watch for folks who are on the left and blocking as well as folks who may want to pass me since I'm passing a good number here during this first part. I do have to mention that the police and volunteers were doing a super job at keeping the traffic from interfering with our progress. Difficult at intersections and entrances to shopping places let me tell ya! And there's a LOT of traffic due to all of us here on our left, but local officials have been warning folks for quite some time about traffic delays today too. Still, always folks who don't get the word and are not pleased.

At last get through with this first part and going up the overpass, looping around to the right and get on route 17 heading west. As I'm riding up this ramp, another guy passes me which didn't happen too often during the bike course. Kept him in sight as he wasn't pulling away too quickly. As I came down the on ramp, saw that they were stopping traffic and we cross over the right lane into the left which would be ours for the race - SWEET! And this lane is fairly smooth for the most part though I do remember there being a few rough stretches where I tried to find smoother road. I didn't want to block others but there were just a few times I really did have stay in the middle or elsewhere so I wouldn't be bouncing so much. Interestingly, the guy that passed me earlier had slowed I think to take nutrition and I had no choice but to pass him early on this stretch. But not too long afterwards, he did repass. Think we traded places one more time and he pulled ahead one last time slowly extending his lead as he pushed onward. It's okay...I don't think he was in my AG anyway...I don't think ;) Now, as I'm moving along fairly well at around a 21 mph clip and passing a good number of folks since I started in a later wave, I'm getting word of encouragement from folks I! Perhaps because of my age? Probably. I have to admit that I do derive a bit of satisfaction when I pass folks in younger AGs. But, that also speaks to the fact that I'm a bit more experienced too. Still, I will take the encouragement! Now, this is a LONG stretch of the course and goes for about 10 miles. Mostly lightly rolling but there's two spots which require more effort going uphill. And it's just before the first one at around mile 18 in the course where I catch up to my friend Jon E. He's doing well but also blocking me riding on the left and I have to admit I was a bit sharp with him telling him to move over to the right. Jon understands but it sounded like he was more afraid of the traffic near the right side vs getting a possible penalty from the motorefs. So, I pass Jon trying make up for things by offering a bit of encouragement and press onward. Not too long after, I come to the end of this stretch on 17 with a good number of other folks. It's here where we loop around and down to our right, coming to a T intersection where we turn left onto 421 heading north. Unfortunately, we were bunching up into single lane here and tried to be nice about eeking ahead of this one guy I was alongside of so that we could be safe. Wasn't trying to be an idiot, just trying to be safe. Think he understood.

So, from driving the course the previous day, this is another long stretch of road which is lightly rolling and a bit rough at the start and when coming back on. Dealing with the roughness, but able to continue passing folks here and there. Now, unfortunately, right after I bump over some railroad track at around mile 21, my chain drops! REALLY??! Gosh, shades of what happened during the bike course at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse earlier this year where I had 3 chain drops! And I can't seem to recover pedaling back. So I'm forced to stop and take up a bit of time to put it back on. It's more a nuisance than anything else, but as wrote in my Black Bear report, can be a game changer as I possibly took a 1st place away from a guy in my AG due to his dropped chains that day. Hmph...little did I know. Fortunately, that was the only issue on the bike for the rest of the course.

Back on track again and have to repass a number of folks I had just passed prior to the chain drop. Fortunately, 421 does smooth out after a bit and I continue to move along steadily at around 21 mph. There is one guy here I'm trading places with for a couple of passes and I ask him if this is how it's going to go to which he just smiles for a bit. But, not too long after I pass for the second or third time, there's no challenge back from him. Well, that's okay. One must race one's race. Just after mile 33, turn left onto route 210 and stay on this for 3 miles. The "crowd" of folks riding with me is starting to thin out now and I'm riding alone a bit more often. 210 makes a sharp left at around mile 36 and then I make another sharp left turn onto Blueberry Road. This is a decent road as well though I don't remember writing this report so late after the race if it had much of a shoulder. Still, not too much traffic to deal with. This road takes me back to 421 and make a right turn onto that just over 43 miles into the bike course.

My spirits got a bit of a boost here because I knew I was really on the way back now and in the last quarter of the bike course. The crowd of folks on the course earlier has really thinned now and I am pretty much on my own though I can see folks up ahead of me too. Think I was still passing someone every now and then and there might have been a few guys passing me too. But, the occurence now was not nearly as often as before. The last aid station on the course is along this stretch and I may have taken something from it as I usually do during a half iron distance. Pass by the T intersection where I had gotten onto 421 earlier and now essentially I don't really know the rest of the course as Jon and I hadn't previewed this part. Alas, saw someone down along this last stretch just around 50 miles now. Another guy I'm passing says he hopes the person's okay and I agree back with him that never like to see that. Press onward. As I'm coming into Wilmington, traffic has increased but the police and safety people are doing an excellent job of letting us get through the course and I try to thank them as I go along. Gosh, traffic is backed up for us and glad I'm not one of the folks there. Feel for them a bit. Just about at mile before being done is that last metal grate bridge and it's a bit of an uphill until dropping down the other side. I again take this easy as I just don't need any issues with only a mile to go. No issues coming down that bridge and now I can see the convention center off to my right! Work my way through this last part with a few turns and believe I started to get out of my shoes along this stretch. Coming down to the last part, see the dismount line, swing my right leg over, balance on my left pedal, and....hit the ground running into T2! B2B Half Bike is done!
What would you do differently?:

Really not too much. I will say that I was a bit disappointed later that I couldn't or didn't muster more than around 21 mph on the bike. This is something I need to work on for next year. I didn't train quite as much as perhaps I should've for this race but I was also a bit sick and injured during the latter part of Sept. Think that affected my training. Still, this is a PR for this distance for me.
Transition 2
  • 02m 55s

The unique thing about B2B is the two transition areas. T2 is at the convention center and after a short jog with my bike into the center, it's taken from me by a bike valet to be racked somewhere. Make my way around to the T2 bag area yelling out my number to the volunteers. As I read elsewhere, I did have to yell out my number a few times to ensure someone got my bag. And because of where it was at, they did have a bit a problem finding it but that was solved in short order. Went into a closed off changing area for the guys and there were several here doing what I was. But, as I was already out of shoes, it really didn't take me long to trade my helmet and arm warmers for my running shoes, visor, and nutrition. And I was pretty much done a good bit before others there. Wished them all a good race and headed out to start the run.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Not bad T2 time considering there was a bit of complexity to it being in the convention center and having to get a bag rather than going to one's spot in transition.
  • 1h 40m 6s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 38s  min/mile

I'm feeling fairly decent as I head out onto the run course. Now it's sunny and had gotten quite warm with temps I think reaching up into the upper 60s to start and by the end of the run, it was in the low 70s. Knew I had to stay hydrated and cool here whereas probably a good number of others would not take the increase in temperature into consideration. As I had attended the BASE Performance breakfast with the pros yesterday, I had along one of the tubes of BASE salt/electrolytes. One isn't really supposed to try anything new during a race, but I've used similar products in the past and figured this probably wouldn't be too much of an issue for me. I also had my Clif Bloks and would use water/sports drink/other nutrition along the course too.

As a personal goal, I was trying to get just under 5 hours race time if I could. With the swim and relatively flat bike/run courses, this would be the course where that would be a possibility. Working things out, I figured that if everything worked out on the swim, transitions, and the bike, that I had to shoot for a 1:40 half marathon or better. That worked out to around a 7:37 pace and that would be PR pace for me for the HIM distance half marathon run. Except for my disappointing run at Ironman Louisville, my run performance had been serving me well this season and I had put in some fast performances for nearly all my races this season, none the least of which were the two runs at the duathlon I had just finished the month prior. With my season's positive run history behind me, I was fairly confident that I could do this pace for this event. So, I had set up my Garmin pace for that in order to perhaps pace better and not fade too much near the end. The first part of the run has us going north for about a half mile and with a bit of a hill at first too! Around here, a much younger guy passed me with a darn good pace. More power to him! Interestingly enough, it was only at the beginning here and right near the finish that anyone passed me on the run that I can remember. So, get up the hill, turn around, make up some time back down since I can run downhill. We then make our way onto a boardwalk that runs along the river. I remember passing one or two gals here as I make my way along. Getting some encouragement from the crowd as I move along as well. At mile 1.5, pass another guy as I move pass the Finish line where I hoped to be in a little under 12 miles later. Now just after this, hit bricks/cobblestones for running surface! Egads, took this a bit easy because last thing I needed was a twisted ankle or to fall. And after this, turn left only to have to go up hill! Well someone remarked that it was the only hill in Wilmington ;) Hopefully that was true for the rest of the course.

To be honest writing this report months after the race, I don't remember as many details as I would like about sections of the run course. I see from my Garmin data that for the next mile after the hill, it's a nice mostly downhill section of the course until we turn left and go back up a slight hill for a short section while crossing 421. After turning right onto Lakeshore Dr, we will start to get onto the path that runs alongside Greenfield Lake and be on this for the next 4 miles before turning around and coming back. Now just before mile 3, I noticed I was at a 7:17 pace and backed off a bit as I might've been going out too fast and still had 10 miles to go. Next two miles I was right on pace too. Now, I'm not sure why but the next two miles I started to drop off. I remember I really didn't like running on the path around the lake because it was somewhat uneven plus there were a fair number of just little adjustments I had to make to stay on the path. They're not turns, but the path around the lake obviously wasn't straight. So, I think these might've been taking their toll on me during the 4.5 miles I was running on this part of the course. Now my pace wasn't dropping off terribly. But it was noticeable as it was in the high 7s to around 8. Not where I wanted to be at. At least it wasn't dropping off significantly like in the marathon portion of Ironman Louisville. Still, it concerned me and I remember trying to pick up my pace after mile 8 and getting back down to what I thought was reasonable. I don't remember being in any sort of distress per se, but I think I was having some difficulty with the unevenness and the twistiness of the path and trying to maintain pace with that. I did note that I still continued to pass folks. At one point I remember pacing off a woman who looked to be perhaps near my age. She had good strong-looking pace going and I believe I commented this to her until I left her a bit later. And also on the way back, I started pacing off another woman who had a good pace going as well. Found out she was a relay person and so no wonder. She remarked that I seemed to be doing well and that I should not let her hold me back. She wasn't and I told her that I'll just stay here a moment and run along with her. I did end up pushing ahead a little while later.

Now I just want to mention that for the most part, the aid station folks did a great job. However, at one, the music was too loud and they had difficulty hearing what I wanted. So I had to shout out my needs. At another, I don't know why but they weren't paying attention that I wanted I think a sports drink or water and couldn't get it to me in time. Now I remember they were supposed to have bananas which I usually take a few times. And my friends said they did have them. But when I was running, didn't see them being offered at all :(

Somewhere between miles 9 and 10, I see pro Vinny Johnson who I meant the previous day and really liked his laid back attitude to the upcoming racing and training in general. Yelled out to him but don't think he took notice. At mile 10, I see my pace has dropped off again to a little under 8. Already had thoughts on why from earlier. I think just around here I see home area pro Suzy Serpico of RipIt Events. Suzy's been having some running problems but looked pretty good here and we shout out to each other. Somewhere along here I also remember shouting out to my friends Jon E and Chris D as they're on their way out on the route around Greenfield Lake.

Now as I pass mile 11, I've slowed even a bit more and unfortunately not too far beyond this, I'm on this upgrade section that I came down on between miles 2 to 3. So at mile 12, I'm seeing 8:13, more than 30 seconds off pace. Perhaps everything's just wearing on me now. I'm feeling it but I've been fairly consistent the whole time here too. At this point, I made a mistake in not pushing as much as I should've because I shortly come up to the turn that leads down that one fairly steep hill I had to go up in the beginning and upon turning right after that, the Finish is in sight! As soon as I saw that, I really did pick up my pace and started to pass folks nearby. Gosh again over the bricks and trying best I can to push while not falling or twisting something. Garmin has me at sub-7 and possibly low 6s during this section. And here after I pass this one guy not too far from the Finish, he repasses me and also kicks. The announcer then comes on the line saying "And folks, we have a race going on here at the Finish!" I actually wasn't sure what was happening here as this guy crosses over just ahead of me. But, I find out later.... And just after him, I cross the Finish shortly thereafter! Yes! Completed Beach 2 Battleship Half distance triathlon!!
What would you do differently?:

Due to a few issues prior to the race (injury, illness), I didn't train exactly like I would've wanted for this race. Plus the course path unevenness and curviness kinda wore on me too. Still, this was PR for me on a HIM Half Marathon run coming in just under 3 minutes faster than the run at Cedar Point.
Post race
Warm down:

I'm always a little out of sorts after pushing at the end during the run but recovered quickly and gladly accepted my Finisher's medal plus something else they handed me after asking what size I wanted. Found out later these were leisure pants/PJs (wasn't sure about them but they've actually become my favorite item to wear around the house when it's chilly :) ). Now I looked at my Garmin and it said 4:59!!! Oh wow! Maybe???? Guess I'd have to wait for a bit later to find out my official results. Beyond the finish there's plenty of food and drink for finishers which I gladly accept. Can't remember now what was being served, but it wasn't pizza which I can NEVER stomach after a race (I was VERY surprised that's what was on hand for Ironman Louisville too). Got enough and found a place to sit down. And even starting in a later wave, finishing in around 5 hours, I note that there aren't a lot of folks here either, which means I've finished fairly well. AG award...maybe. Never know who will come out to race but I was being hopeful. I think I saw from previous years that this kind of time should put me on the podium. But for now just trying to recover. Music sounded good and I did get to talk to a few folks and their families who also finished. I remember seeing the one woman who looked to be around my age and I got up to congratulate her on a good race.

Now the food and drink were taking their desired effect and I was feeling pretty good after a bit. As Jon E and Chris D wouldn't be coming across the Finish for a while yet, I decided to head over to the hotel and wash up a bit. I mean why not? It was just down the street. I didn't take anything off, just wash my face and any other place that had a lot of salt on it plus drop off the leisure pants in the room as I didn't want to carry those around. In retrospect, I probably should've removed the thigh compression sleeves as they had salt trails on them. Headed back down with my phone so I could hopefully take pics with of Jon and Chris.

Well, got to the Finish line and it was still a good wait for Jon and I actually kinda missed him coming across the line. Met him afterwards and led him through food, drink, and finding him a place to sit down at. Definitely wore on him but he seemed to be doing well overall. I tried to go and see Chris finish as well, but didn't make it in time. Got together with him as well and his wife Karma who was support. When ready we all got pics taken in front of the B2B background. Jon and I celebrated with a couple of complementary free beers too while Chris and Karma headed back to their hotel.

Now, when I was sitting with Jon, found out my time was 5:01 something and I was elated as well as just a tad disappointed since this was over my under 5 goal. Still, this beat my best HIM distance time by 13 minutes the previous year at Cedar Point. Now that one should've been 5:10 if we had been able to stick to the original course. And the extra push from the current here REALLY helped. This still would've been a PR for the distance but probably around a 5:08 accounting for the current on the swim. I tried to find out if my time was good enough for an award but those results weren't being posted. So, stuck around for awards after the beer.

So move forward to my AG. I actually really didn't know if I was going to get an award here or not. Well, Michellie Jones is handing out awards and the 1st place guy in my AG is called up. And then I hear my name called for 2nd in AG!! WOO HOO! Michellie congratulates me and says "See, if you had that ISM seat, you would've take 1st". Good last dig! I get a nice wood burned plaque for my AG award. Found out either here or just a bit later that it was the 1st place guy I initially passed near the finish, only to have him repass me right before the finish. Hence why the announcer got so excited. He took 1st by 5 seconds. And really the only difference between 1st and 2nd place award was that it said "First Place" instead of "Second Place". Third place guy finished 4:21 behind me.

After the awards, Jon and I headed back to room to get cleaned up. Jon, Chris, Karma, and I all enjoyed a superb steak dinner at a local steakhouse (Port City Chop House)!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Quite honestly, I don't think I trained quite as well as I could've but it wasn't as important a race for me either. I was primarily going to support Chris and Jon because it was their first HIM distance event. Didn't hurt to have some goals of my own and make no mistake I was training in the couple of months leading up to the race. But, I did have some injuries as well as bike issues prior to the race that I had to deal with. Still, I probably could've trained for at least a better bike. Though it's a PR time for the HIM distance, it wasn't by much and could've been for this course. Something to work on for the 2015 season.

Event comments:

Really this is around a 4.7. I mean this is a very well run and supported event for a non-Ironman brand. The Half distance usually sells out too. The fast swim is very attractive to folks who aren't found of the swim as well as the relatively flat bike and run courses for the promise of a fast finishing time. The two transition areas do make it a bit challenging logistics-wise and one does have to consider that the swim start isn't right next to transition either. Plus, it can be downright cold for this event. It was rather chilly as I wrote prior to the swim start and folks told me of sleet occurring during one year prior to the swim. Thank goodness they moved the race to late October rather than keeping it in early November when this first started years previously. So weather can be a big factor and I have seen where there's a been a chilly rain which is never fun on the bike. Even this one did present a bit of a challenge as what to wear on the bike considering the temperature at the start. I made the right decision going with just arm warmers as I didn't really find myself chilled otherwise. There were plenty of volunteers and race support folks to take care of the athletes and there were enough restaurants and such downtown with a variety of food. I will say staying at the Hilton near the finish was a good thing though I usually don't like paying as much for a hotel. I found the same to be true for Ironman Louisville earlier and was glad I stayed 2 blocks from the finish as well as close to transition. It was very true here as well. I liked the post race food and I think someone was offering massages though it wasn't complimentary. I do like practical AG awards though and would've like a pint glass instead of the plaque. Not really important to the race though.

Looking at the results later, I see my run once again came through for me! I was 8th on the swim and 7th on the bike, though I was probably 4th to 6th in overall time after T2 going into the run. I was nearly 6 minutes faster than the 1st place AG guy (hence why I almost won the AG) and 11 minutes faster than the 3rd in AG on the run! That means I had to have passed a few in my AG to take the 2nd place finish...heck, almost 1st! So, I was very pleased with that once again!

This race brought my 2014 tri season to a close and ended on a very high note! If you're looking for your first HIM event which provides nearly the same level of support to the athletes as an Ironman 70.3 event but doesn't cost quite as much, consider B2B. Heck you might also consider this for your first full as well. I had originally but opted another instead. But, I may be back in 2015 as part of a relay team in the full. We'll see...

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Last updated: 2014-07-16 12:00 AM
00:31:34 | 2112 yards | 01m 29s / 100yards
Age Group: 8/39
Overall: 287/959
Performance: Good
Suit: Long sleeve Blue Seventy Sprint
Course: The course is point-to-point and kinda like an jagged line. Go straight north in the channel, turn left at the buoy, angle that direction to a channel marker, bear right around a small island, and then head for a dock with a tall white condo/apt building to use for sighting.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:51
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:41:57 | 56 miles | 20.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 7/39
Overall: 146/959
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: The bike course is, of course, also point to point heading out to the north, west, northwest, and eventually looping back around on a return route after 30+ miles.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 82
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:55
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:40:06 | 13.1 miles | 07m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/39
Overall: 51/959
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly an out and back course. The first part for about 1.5 miles heads north out of the convention center, then turn around, and run along a boardwalk next to the Cape Fear River. Then out and back along side roads and on the path next to Greenfield Lake, turning around about mile 7.25 and retracing that route to the finish which is across from Battleship North Carolina sitting on the other side of the river.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4