Race starts in knee deep water. I'd like to say there were about 80 guys in the wave, but I'm not really sure. I positioned myself on the outside and towards the front. We trudged through the water for about 20 meters before we started diving in. It was white water and doggy paddle for the next 100 meters or so until things started to clear up. I originally intended to stay on the outside of the course, but as we got the first buoy I found myself hugging the inside. We turned to head north about 200 meters out from shore, which turned out to be pretty deep water. The water was relatively calm and upon getting out of the water there was a slight current to our back. The beach had a breaker which helped limit any choppy water. The only thing concerning about the water was the temperature which was a bit on the frigid side. I'm glad I got acclimated to it early as it felt rather refreshing as I got into the thick of the swim.
I'm not the greatest swimmer in the wave but I knew I was on the stronger end. I developed a good rhythm during the mile straight away when swimmers started to spread out. I was pulling the water well and found myself passing more people than there were people passing me. Coming up to the swim exit I noticed there weren't as many pink caps in front of me which indicated I was doing pretty well among my wave. I didn't look at my watch up until now and was astonished I was right at 30 minutes. I hobbled up the beach to the timing mat clocking my swim at 32:29, 6 minutes faster than the swim in my half Ironman the previous summer.
Bit of a jog back to transition. I had a stripper remove my wetsuit. I had to go to the bathroom for most of the swim so I went straight to the porta-potty. I dropped my wetsuit on the transition rack and dropped my goggles and cap on my towel. I splashed off the excess sand on my feet with a spare water bottle, and put on my helmet, glasses and gloves. Put my shoes on and trotted with my bike to the bike out.
What would you do differently?:
Maybe have a bit of urgency in transition. Outside of the bathroom break, that's what kind of held me back. I remember my head running through my mental checklist a few times before I left if I grabbed everything. Could of saved me some time.
My main goal for this race was to have a kick ass 1/2 marathon and that meant keeping things conservative on the bike. I crashed and burned on the run portion of my previous 70.3 as a result of poor hydration, so I also wanted to focus on nutrition and hydration on the bike. The Racine bike course does not have the best road conditions. A lot breaks and potholes in the road that lead to repeated "THUMP...THUMP* constantly. I was pretty concerned about having a flat, so I brought 2 spares tubes with me. Most of the course was also on fairly busy roads where you're riding a pretty narrow shoulder hugging traffic. There was also a section of road that was under construction which led to even more narrow sections of course that did not allow passing
My nutrition consisted of 4 gels to be taken every 40 minutes and 3 Clif bars spaced evenly between the gels. I brought 3 disposable bottles so I could chuck them at aid stations. 2 of the bottles contained Gatorade Endurance and 1 contained water. It was partly cloudy that morning, but there was a definite sun factor so hydrating would be paramount.The usual suggestion is a bottle of fluid an hour, but I decided to play it safe and do a bottle every 45 minutes. I started with the endurance and would then switch to water and then back to endurance... etc.
There wasn't anything about the course that I found to be that enjoyable. I felt like there was wind in my face 75% of the ride. Even though it wasn't that strong it came as a nuisance. The hills were also not that big, but I felt like any climbs you did didn't follow up with a rewarding downhill. There were a few spectators in small pockets along the ride, but a majority of the people we saw were volunteers.
At around mile 30 I ran into a bit of an equipment problem. The cleat on my left shoe was, at the time, attached with 2 screws instead of the usual 3. The 3rd screw fell out sometime the year before and I never bothered replacing it as the cleat continued to function fine with just 2 screws. The critical error I made was checking before the race if both of the two screws were tightened, so around mile 30 I had the unfortunate luck of having one fall out. What resulted with a single screw connected was the inability to get leverage trying to unclip from the bike; the shoe just pivoted around the cleat. This meant that I couldn't get off my bike without taking my foot out of the shoe while I'm riding, which I didn't have much experience with. The shoe was also very unstable on the cleat despite still being attached, so standing up on my bike was not a very good idea since I could slip pretty easily.
This equipment problem occupied my mind for pretty much the rest of the bike leg. I was mostly preparing myself for the last screw in the cleat to fall off. If that happened I wouldn't have been able to pedal with my left leg, so instead of eating time waiting for the maintenance team to get to me I formulated an idea to use a spare tube I had to jimmy a make shit strap over my shoe and pedal. Fortunately the last screw didn't fall out the remainder of the way.
In the last 5 miles I received my first ever penalty for not staying to the right which I found to be kind of bogus since the place it occurred was rather narrow due to road construction, so there wasn't lane distinction to begin with. Whatever. Since the next penalty tent was right next to the dismount line this would actually help me as I could use the time to uncleat my faulty left show before going into transition.
What would you do differently?:
Check the cleats on my shoes to make sure they're secure. Better idea! Use the prescribed 3 screws instead of 2.
Because of my cleat issue on the bike I wasn't able to make a stop to go to the bathroom, so by the time I got back to transition I had to relieve myself badly. No, I'm not that hardcore yet to pee while on the bike. The time savings isn't really worth the loss of respect with the other athletes. I dropped off my bike at my transition area and went to the closest porta potty. Probably cost me an extra time instead of just stopping on my way out, but hey, when you gotta go you gotta go.
I got back to my area, changed shoes, chugged the rest of my water, grabbed my race belt, visor and glasses; and then headed to the sunscreen station. I got lubed up and then trotted through the run out.
This was the only part of the race where I actually had a goal in mind. I wanted a consistent strong run. No real time goal, but I wanted to be able to demonstrate good course management and not crash and burn during the last couple miles.
My training group had a tent set up close to the run out. Which was also conveniently at the 10k turnaround and the final 300 yards of the race. It was nice seeing the number of people who came to support. Really gave me some adrenaline. As per usual I felt really good to start the run. There was good crowd support at the start so the adrenaline could of pushed me, but knowing that the first mile is not a good indicator of you're overall run I kept it conservative. I held an 8:50 pace.
It was warm but the storm from the previous day pushed out all the humidity so the weather conditions were not as bad as you'd think. The sun was definitely out, but there was enough hazy cloud cover to where you weren't getting absolutely fried. I enjoyed the course as it ran through pretty much all residential areas. Many homeowners brought out their hoses and sprinklers to offer cool downs. Despite being on the warmer side I didn't elect to get hosed down by anyone.
Unlike past races I decided to approach this race by breaking up the run portion by aid stations. Instead of focusing on how far I've gone and how much I have left to go I decided to just think about the next aid station as the next checkpoint. This pretty much breaks the run up into short 1-1.5 mile runs, which I guess helps keep your attitude in check. I planned to walk every aid station to get fluids and gels which would give me planned breaks so I wouldn't cheat myself to thinking "oh I'll just walk for 30 seconds to the next light post." I found this strategy to work quite effectively. I was just focusing on the individual mile I was on instead of the scope of the race.
During my previous 70.3 I crashed and burned 2 miles into the run and had a miserable experience. As I moved along in this run I kept things on the conservative end but was expecting to bonk at some point, but that never occurred. By time I got to the last few miles of the run it occurred to me that the bonk may not come. I started to think about the finish line and started to pick up my pace. My feet were starting to hurt from the constant pounding, but outside of that I felt great.
I passed our team tent for the 3rd and final time to a high five line and got into a sprint to the finish line. The finish line sits beside a hill in a park that offers a pavilion type setting. It really gives you the impression of there being more people present then there actually are. I got onto the carpet and tried to strike a good finish line pose, but with 2 other people right next to me I'm sure it wasn't as cool as I would've liked it to be.
What would you do differently?:
Executed 100% the way I wanted to. I think I could've afforded to push myself harder in the beginning stages, but that's for another race. Goal was to finish just as strong as I started which I did. I'd be pretty content taking this run time for a stand alone 1/2 marathon..
Sat at our team tent and had snacks and a few beers as we cheered the remaining people from our team in. I didn't have any family members at the race, but debriefing with all the people at our tent was nice. I felt good, as if I could keep going if the race asked for it.
Race was organized well, but I'd hope they could do something to improve the bike course. Not the best.
Last updated: 2015-01-12 12:00 AM
World Triathlon Corporation
Overall Rank = 607/2044
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 71/147
Alarm went off at 3:30am. Slept surprisingly well the night before, probably around 5 hours. I stayed just North of Chicago as I put off booking a hotel until everything was filled up. Breakfast consisted of the usual generous helping of Oatmeal and a Banana. Gulped down 2 cups of coffee more in an attempt to get a trip to the bathroom in the works. Went through the morning routine quickly as I was paranoid about parking for the event and had an hour drive.
Driving in the middle of the night on an open highway is rather comforting to me so I listened to some low key tunes. I think I saw 4 cars total in the 60 mile drive I had. Weird to think I was going to be covering more miles that day on my own than in the car on the ride up there.
Parking was a breeze. Had about a 5 minute walk to transition. Was slightly concerned about the condition of my bike as a Tornado warning swept through the area the day before right after I dropped it off. Glad to see it wasn't swept off the Oz and still in one piece. I set up my area, loaded nutrition/hydration on the bike, grabbed my wetsuit, cap and goggles and headed towards the run-out where my training team was to meet for pictures.
I was in the second to last wave of the day so I had 2 hours to kill once transition closed. I walked down to the swim start to watch the start of the race and chat with a few of my teammates who were going off earlier. I realized getting to the swim start this early was unnecessary. I walked back towards transition to be by the porta potties and stay out of the sun as much as I could. I probably made 6 bathroom breaks before the race as a result of excessive hydrating.
About 30 minutes before my wave went off I decided to walk back to the swim start, put on my wet suit and got in the water to warm up. Since the lake was a chilly 60 degrees that morning I was told it might take longer to get acclimated. This was good advice as my feet and arms were numb upon getting in and took about 10 minutes to adjust. By the time the pink caps, designating my wave, were lining up in front of the chute I was feeling comfortable in the water and decided to get out and join them. As we waited for the gun to go off I kept paying attention to the music that was playing at the moment. Was really hoping I wasn't going to have the Black Eyed Peas stuck in my head for the whole race.