Grand Rapids Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Ada, Michigan
United States
Total Time = 6h 08m 36s
Overall Rank = 256/384
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 33/40
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4am (race starts at 7, transition opens at 5:15). Had a breakfast of coffee and banana mash (banana, protein powder, almond milk). It tasted better than it sounds. Everything was packed the night before so I hung out for a bit and left around 4:50 for the 30 minute drive to the race site. Parking is about a 15 minute walk from transition so I pulled in, gave directions to some nervous and confused people who didn’t know where they were going and rode my bike to transition. I set everything up and was ready to go by 5:30. I walked around talking to friends for a bit, identified landmarks so I could find my bike, and put my wetsuit on around 6am for the practice swim. I had around 150 calories of Infinit around 6 as well. We had a team picture around 6:30 and they started loading us in the corrals for a prerace meeting around 6:45. We were in the water around 6:55 and the gun went off promptly at 7.
Event warmup:

5 minutes or so in the water just to see how it felt. Water temp was great, borderline too warm by the end of the race with a sleeved wetsuit.
  • 34m 41s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

Far and away the most physical swim I’ve had to date. I had a couple moments of panic but slowed my stroke rate for a minute to allow for a couple of bigger breaths and was able to recover. Lots of contact for the first 300y and then sporadic contact after that. I swam side by side with a guy for pretty much the entire race, which was a little weird as I breath to the right and he breathes to the left so we essentially stared at each other for the entire swim. The sun is in your eyes heading back after the 2nd turn so you just have to follow the splashes you can see ahead of you and hope they are going in the right direction. I seem to be swimming straight with a minimal amount of sighting, which is an improvement over my first OWS earlier this year. The official swim time includes wetsuit stripping and the run to transition area. I stopped my watch as I came out of the water at 33:52 for a 1:36/100y pace, which is exactly what I was hoping for. My swim couldn’t have gone any better.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 02m 10s

It felt slow and I’ve only practiced my transitions mentally this year, but I’ll take top 10 in my age group.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 52m 54s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.43 mile/hr

I took in too much water either before the race (Infinit 60 minutes before the start?) or too much on the initial portion of the bike b/c I felt like I was going to explode about 16 miles into the ride. It took forever to get to the porta-jon around mile 25 where I experienced the longest pee break of all time. In reality it only took 3 minutes, but a lot of people passed me and it was enough to drop my average speed from 19.8 to 19.4, which is depressing. I tried to stick with my nutrition plan, which was; stroopwaffel every half hour, 300 calorie bottle of infinit every 90 minutes (drinking every 15), and water as needed. I went through 2 bottles (600 calories) and approximately 6 stroopwaffels (180 calories), along with 2 xlab versas full of water. I divided the ride into 4, 14 mile sections and feel I did great except for the 2nd section, which contained some hills. I started out aiming for 200-205 watts (FTP of 264) for the first half and 205 – 211 for the 2nd half. My normalized power/vi for each section was 202/1.01, 201/1.07, 207/1.02, 207/1.02. I left a little on the table in each section and am a little disappointed by my overall placing in my category, but it was my first 70.3 and I wanted to make sure I was conservative enough on the bike to allow for a strong run. It took me almost 20 minutes to get my heart rate to drop down into the mid 130’s.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure. It seems like I'm a weaker biker compared to the field than I thought, which was disappointing. Losing weight would help raise my watts/kg and that would help on the hills, but overall it's a relatively flat course outside of a 5-7 mile stretch east of Saranac. I hit my power targets and had a VI of 1.0, so I can't complain too much.
Transition 2
  • 02m 49s

This was a bit slower as I used tie laces and had to put on my IT Band strap. The two probably added 20-30 seconds to my transition time.
What would you do differently?:

Install faster laces and use them before hand. Overall, not bad, not great.
  • 2h 36m 1s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 55s  min/mile

This was a disappointment. The plan was to start out the first mile with a heart rate of 144 or less… mission accomplished. My goal was to ramp my heart rate up into low z2 over the next 3 miles (149-159) and I was nailing it until my IT band flared up somewhere into mile 4. I was on pace, running an average of 10 minutes per mile and things were going well, although I’m not sure how strong I was mentally. I’m not sure if it was fatigue, being mentally weak, not liking running, etc, but it’s depressing seeing so many people pass me on the run. I know, most of them are going out too fast, but it seems like most people can go out and run 8 or 9 minute miles whereas I struggle to run 10. I’ve noticed that my perceived effort doesn’t really match my heart rate. Running in the low 150’s is supposed to be an easy Z2 run, but it feels like much more work than that. Again, is this mental? Do I suck at running (yes)? Is my stride that inefficient? Anyways, back to the IT band. At that point I was a couple of miles away from the finish line and end of the first loop so I decided to add a few extra walk breaks and then make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to continue once I got back to the finish line area. I seriously thought about quitting, but I seemed to be limping along at around an 11 min/mile pace and that wasn’t too bad. I decided to make the turn and continue, only to find my IT band had other ideas. Within about a half mile of the turn I knew I was in trouble and was going to have to spend more time walking. The walk breaks got longer and the running shorter until I was having thoughts of quitting as Louisville is the goal for the year. A friend rode alongside me for 5 or so minutes and told me to just keep moving forward. I took that to heart and decided I would finish, even if I had to walk. My daughter was planning on meeting me at the finish line and there was no way I was going to let her down. I ended up walking the last 4 miles and decided to turn myself into a cheerleader for those who were passing me. I kept telling people I was pacing myself so I could finish strong for the final pictures... that got a few laughs. My best estimate is that the injury added 20-25 minutes to my run, which is actually less than I expected. My time wouldn’t have been great, but it would have met my goal of beating a friend's time from sat year and would have improved my overall position by 5 or so spots.
What would you do differently?:

Pay more attention to strength training my hips and glutes. I've been struggling with IT band issues since the GR Marathon last fall and let the strength exercises and rolling fall by the wayside once I started to feel better. Unfortunately when I get fatigued and what little form/technique I have begins to degrade it seems to rear it's ugly head.
Post race
Warm down:

Felt okay, mainly b/c I walked the last 4 miles. Hung out with family and some friends who came down just to see me finish and then walked back to the car with my family.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

IT band.

Event comments:

Andy and Ann do a great job of putting on this race. The volunteers are top notch and everything is well organized. The only drawbacks are some of the rough roads, and that's out of their control. My team sends 20+ people to this race every year as it's our hometown race and we always have a blast.

Last updated: 2016-06-14 12:00 AM
00:34:41 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 10/40
Overall: 83/384
Performance: Good
Suit: Roka Maverick Elite
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 02:10
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:52:54 | 56 miles | 19.43 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/40
Overall: 190/384
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Out and back
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:49
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:36:01 | 13.1 miles | 11m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 37/40
Overall: 334/384
Performance: Bad
Course: 2 loops with a couple of big hills
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5