Ironman North Carolina 70.3 - Triathlon

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
47F / 8C
Total Time = 4h 52m 42s
Overall Rank = 32/1057
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 5/127
Pre-race routine:

A couple of firsts for me:
Podium at a WTC race!
Qualification for the Ironman 70.3 Worlds Championship!

Woke up at 4AM, ate breakfast (oatmeal, protein bar, banana, coffee) and left the hotel by 4:45. Parked over by the convention center, then got on a shuttle to T1. After setting up my bike, checking it 3 or 4 different times (paranoid much?), then dropping off the bike bag, I got in line for the shuttles to the swim start.
Event warmup:

It was a chilly morning. At the suggestion of a buddy, I dressed super warm and stayed out of the wind. A little later that morning, I caught up with Art, Jason, and a few other ppl while the time ticked down to our 8:42 start. At 8:30, I squeezed into my wetsuit and started to jump around, stretch, and get loose.
  • 30m 35s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 27s / 100 yards

The wind was a factor in this swim. Although we had a good current, the wind made the swim choppy and there were many times when I was caught in swells that were at least a foot, or two. After rounding the first buoy, the wind was to your left, pushing water in unpredictable patterns. I got a mouthful of water during several breaths.

I continued to swim at my comfy pace and was glad to see the end of the course approach fast. At this point, I started to kick, frog kick, and make different motions with my legs so they wouldn't cramp when I climbed out of the water.
What would you do differently?:

Looking at the strava swim data, I could have probably cut the final corner a little closer.
Transition 1
  • 04m 54s

This is a very long run to T1, much of it on roads that have debris and rocks. I navigated that part of the course as quickly as I could, then entered the transition area. The only negative was that I could not find my bike bag. I guess I was a little disoriented and was looking at bags in the 3500 section, rather than the 3300s. It took me about 15 seconds to figure that out.
What would you do differently?:

Next time, I think I'm going to put some bright tape on my bag.
  • 2h 37m 35s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.32 mile/hr

The biggest factor in this race was the wind, bar none. It was BRUTAL. 20 mph winds, with gusts in the 30+ mph range. It was in your face for most of the ride. There were a few sections in which it was at your back, and these sections were AWESOME! With the disc I was using, it made 30+ mph possible for short periods of time. When it was in your face, it was time to hunker down and ride at 14-18 mph. Some gusts, especially on the bridges, required you to ride sideways, at an angle, so as to not get blown over.

I felt good throughout the entire bike, even when I was battling into the wind, but I'll attribute that to a good nutrition and hydration plan, sticking to my power goal of 180 watts, and keeping the HR under 150 bpm. I started to consume both my Infinit and water right away. After the first 15 miles, I started to lick my Base salts at every 5 mile marker. It worked great.

The grates on the bridges were horrible/scary/slippery. Add the heavy winds into the mix and it was the thing of nightmares...I could just imagine what'd happen should you fall into that meat grinder. Ouch.

I was passed by a total of 10 cyclists, 3 of which were in my AG. I was a little surprised to see one guy, a big and tall guy who seemed to be way up high on the bike, cut through the wind so easily. I tried to fall in behind in, at the legal draft distance, but the winds were just too much.

Speaking of drafting, I did not notice a lot of intentional wheelsucking during this race. The course was fairly packed, but most ppl were trying to do the best they could in the windy conditions.

Towards the end, I did a dismount and ran towards T2. I was GLAD to be off that course.
What would you do differently?:

I don't know what I could have done differently with those conditions. Maybe not use a disc? I think the disc was the right call, however.
Transition 2
  • 04m 36s

The lane leading into T2 was just too narrow to be able to bypass other athletes. The mat used was even narrower, and the dirt sections around the mat had HUGE rocks. I ended up having to walk behind a line of ppl. You could not go around.
  • 1h 35m 2s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 15s  min/mile

Felt absolutely great at the start of the run. I tried to slow it down a bit, but the first 5 miles were comfortable and there was not an ounce of hurt, tiredness, or soreness in my legs. I'll attribute that to the mini run focus (after the disaster of White Lake) leading up this race.

The pace was comfortable up until I hit mile 9, then I had to slow down due to the fact that I had to hit the bathroom in a really, really bad way. I ended up waiting at 3 port o potties, at different miles, but the campers wouldn't come out. What the hell are you doing in there? Get out! I ended up waiting until after the race to go to the bathroom b/c I could not find an open one.

In the last mile, as i was making a turn after the boardwalk section, I noticed a fellow AGer about 20-30 seconds behind me. Crap! I had no idea where I was at in the AG standings, but having counted red 70.3 wristbands as they went in the opposite direction, I knew I could not afford to let him pass me.

In the last 10th of a mile, I almost went the wrong way and made the turn into the finish lane at the last moment. I was glad to be done, although I wasn't super pleased with my overall time.
What would you do differently?:

I should have gone to the bathroom in the trees!
Post race
Warm down:

Had a few slices of pizza, waited around to find out where I finished (athlete tracker was down), then attended the Awards Ceremony.

This was my first podium at a WTC event. I soaked in the accomplishment and then punched my ticket to Worlds, which is also a first! There were 5 slots to Worlds in my AG, one of which rolled down a position, or two.

Coming into this race, I was not confident that I'd be competitive in my AG. There were no long rides, runs topped out at 8 miles, and training time was always seeming to get bumped down due to life priorities. I had set a goal of qual'ing for Worlds earlier this year when I decided to not race an IM. I thought that I could take last year's fitness and carry it over into this year. It didn't quite work out that way and I had to re-prioritize my training after Muncie and (especially) White Lake (non WTC race).

I'm grateful to have had a chance to compete against a tough age group during a tough race and come out in the top 5. I'm also happy to have met a few people that I know I'll be seeing on the WTC circuit. Good times.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The wind!

Event comments:

The atmosphere was definitely more electric than B2B. Tons more ppl. The unfinished construction was a pain, but hopefully won't be a factor next year.

Last updated: 2016-04-20 12:00 AM
00:30:35 | 2112 yards | 01m 27s / 100yards
Age Group: 28/127
Overall: 124/1057
Performance: Average
Suit: ZOOT Sleeveless
Course: Point to point swim in the Channel.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:54
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:37:35 | 56 miles | 21.32 mile/hr
Age Group: 10/127
Overall: 54/1057
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: A flat course that starts with a bunch of turns, sees you enter a busy highway that has bridges (grates and short climbs), 180 degree turn arounds, and a few railroad crossings that become quite littered with ejected water bottles.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:36
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:35:02 | 13.1 miles | 07m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/127
Overall: 33/1057
Performance: Average
Course: Scenic run along the boardwalk, then through parts of downtown, and through a park with walkways, shade, and plenty of support.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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