Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Racine, Wisconsin
United States
HFP Racing
78F / 26C
Total Time = 6h 12m 54s
Overall Rank = 978/1256
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 58/87
Pre-race routine:

Didn't my pre-race routine start 20 weeks ago?? :)

(this is going to be a long race report, methinks.....)

The weekend started out a little atypically for me... Saturday I was ready so early, and didn't want to just sit around, so I got my bike and run out of the way. Then I decided I should clean my bike. Then I decided that I needed a mix CD to accompany me for the trip. And THEN - I was late (that's the atypical part!). If it weren't for traffic, I would have made the swim clinic with a little time to spare, but I'm usually way early for everything.

So, I get to the swim clinic -- 5 minutes late -- and I see a bunch of wetsuited people walking down the beach... so I grab my wetsuit and take off after them. Doh - forgot my goggles and swim cap in the truck. Oops. Didn't realize it until I was almost the full mile down the beach, too. So, didn't get quite the swim in that I wanted because I waited for one of my friends to come back in so I could use her stuff. Oh well. Gave me enough time to do some short out and backs, and to also remind myself that I can just bob in the water and not drown.

So - to the expo. Nothing too special, except long lines to check in.

Then, to the hotel to check-in (my hotel was across the street from the expo). Got there and was a little too keyed up for the nap I was planning (and plus, I had gotten 10 hours of sleep the night before, so wasn't really needing it). So, walked back to the expo and bought stuff. :) When I got back to the hotel, my posse was just walking in the door. Woohoo!

Turns out, my posse was a little injured -- my friend Kim was having issues with her back, but insisted she would be fine. As she was getting in my truck to go to dinner, though, she wrenched it again, and by the time we got to dinner, she was having trouble breathing and almost in tears. So - off to the hospital! My friend was Sue was great -- told me to stay and have dinner and she'd take care of Kim. CindyK was a GREAT help at this point, giving directions and getting everyone where they needed to go. I felt guilty, but knew that there wasn't really anything I could do to help.

Dinner was awesome -- always great to see old BT friends and make new ones! It always amazes me that one website has brought together so many people! It's a testament to the kind of place that Ron and Marmadaddy run around here...

After dinner - CindyK to the rescue again. She carted me to the hospital (since Kim and Sue took my truck) to visit Kim and then back to the hotel so I could get the rest of my stuff ready to go for the morning.

At the hotel, I got all my bottles ready to go and was in bed and asleep by a little before 10. My injured posse showed up around 11:30-ish -- Kim had a sprained muscle in her back that they gave her some very nice drugs for (glad to find out it wasn't anything more serious!). After that, sleep was hard to come by... one of my posse is a VERY loud snorer and that kept me up. Funny - when my alarm went off at 3:45, I was actually in the middle of a dream where I complaining to my parents about not getting enough sleep due to the snoring. :)

So - up at 3:45... quick shower and out the door to meet Hangloose and Schmize in the lobby. They needed to leave vehicles for their family, so I became the offical BT Sherpa. :) I was glad for the company, and knew that they were as anal as I was about arriving early, so it worked out really well.

Due to posse drama, I had completely forgotten to get myself bagel the night before for breakfast.... doh. Luckily, I did -- just for the heck of it -- pack a couple of Clif bars! So, that was my breakfast.

Transition opened at 5am -- we got there around 4:45. As I walked up, the guy told me I was the fourth one there...told him that I brought the two guys up ahead, so technically, I was the second one there. :) (yes, I'm competitive about everything...). Got bodymarked by the guy and then met up with Cindy and Mark and started the line to pick up timing chips.

This was probably the one really unorganized thing about this race. Transision opens at 5am, and at 5am the volunteers are just starting to sort through many, many bags of chips to get them in order to hand them out. We waited until 5:30 to get chips... and when I get to the table, the guy's like, "You need to have your bib". Of course, my bib is in my bag which is by transition. Me saying that "...but I'm bodymarked -- do you think that I'd get bodymarked with the wrong number???" didn't do me any good. That's probably the only part of the morning where I really lost my cool. I muttered one or two things (he's just a volunteer, I realize that) and stormed away. Of course, once they started handing out the chips, the humongous line went down fairly quickly, so I was able to get my chip without too much waiting.

Was setting up transition... realized that I lost my sunglasses. I think that when I pulled my shirt over my head for bodymarking, they probably fell off. I walked the area looking for them, asked if anyone turned them in, and nada. *sigh* Luckily for me, I packed a second pair of sunglasses (something I NEVER do!), so while I don't like them nearly as much, I had a pair to wear. Woohoo!

I had an awesome rack spot -- all the way on the end by the fence. AND then person directly across from me never showed up, so I had all the room in the world. Very nice, especially since transition racks were fairly tightly packed. Only downside was that I was by a bunch of sand...(more on that later!)...

Got my wetsuit on (I was cold!) and meandered around awhile, socializing. I love having tons o' time in transition. :)

Event warmup:

Around 6:30, met up with jschmitchicao and jowisc and walked the beach down to the swim start. On the way, we took a quick dip in the lake -- which was unbelievably calm! -- nothing more than getting a little wet, swimming a little bit, and bobbing around a little. Just what I needed.

At this point, I should mention that through this all I was barely even nervous. The whole thing was rather surreal -- I kept expecting for the panic/anxiety to kick in (because before most tris, I get a really nervous stomach), and it never really did. In my head it was more a mantra than me trying to reassure myself, "I can TOTALLY do this...". I was completely confident going into this race.

Had a gel about 30 minutes before going off, and even managed to get through the porta-potty line with at least 10 minutes to spare (and really -- 2 porta-pottys at the start line for over 1200 racers???).

Then, stood there with Jen, looking out at that first buoy. Knew that I just had to get out that far and the rest would be cake. The sun was coming up right in front of us, beautiful morning. Wish I could have had a camera.
  • 46m 48s
  • 1931 meters
  • 02m 25s / 100 meters

This is the part that I was worried about, coming into the weekend. Between the whole bronchial infection thing and my well-known history with OWS freakouts, I figured if I got out of the water before they pulled me out, the rest would be cake.

As I stood on the beach, waiting for the siren to go off, I was mostly just calm and confident -- kind of a switch for me. I knew I could do it, I was sure of it. I knew I had 1:24 to swim and that I wasn't getting back to the beach unless I either got there under my own power or they pulled me from the course. By taking away the possibility of giving up -- regardless of whether it was anxiety or a bronchial spasm or whatever else might come up -- I erased all doubts in my head of finishing this race.

Getting out to the first buoy was a little slow, but after that, things just kept moving along. Went back to what I did at Pleasant Prairie last year... a little counting. 1,2,3,sight. 1,2,3,sight. When I got tired of counting, I sang (only in my head, though). Before I knew it, the yellow buoy signifying the turn back to shore was next up -- didn't feel like I was in the water for anytime at all. Dare I say it -- this swim was almost enjoyable. And, as it turns out, the easiest part of my day!!

My pace was better that PP last year, and my actual swim time was somewhere around 44:30, give or take. Swim time from the chip timing included a long, slow slog up the beach.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much. Go faster? But, in the end, I was totally pleased with this swim. No panic. No anxiety. No breathing problems. Really started my day out great.
Transition 1
  • 02m 32s

I took my time in T1... looks shorter mostly because a lot of it was lumped in with my swim time. I knew it was a long day, so I took my time, made sure my feet were clean and that everything was in place for the bike ride.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe speed up a little -- I know I can go faster, I made a conscious decision not to.
  • 3h 05m 30s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.11 mile/hr

I was largely unfocused on this bike ride. I was trying to not go too hard, while trying to not draft, while also trying to remember to eat/drink when I was supposed to. And all this kind of merged into one big ball of "eh, just ride" kind of attitude.

I had ridden the course already, so I knew what to expect, which was really good. Knew that I had about 8 miles or so to kind of find my groove, get some nutrition in me and recover from the swim. After 8 miles, the hills would start in earnest.

There were times when I felt that I was slowing or decreasing my pace because I didn't want to be drafting, but also thought that the effort that I'd expend passing wasn't in my best interest. Those kind of race conditions are hard to replicate in practice (or at least I didnt' think to) and I'm not sure I always made the best choice. There were at least two times going up hills where I lost momentum where I otherwise wouldn't have if there weren't someone in front of me. Live and learn.

As usually happens, I hit about 40 miles on the bike, and I get bored. Just done and want it to be over with. And that's when I made my mistake, I think. While my pace dropped a little, I was definitely pushing harder -- just wanted it done. And I become less conscientious about taking in food and water.

Funny thing... I've practiced taking my shoes off while riding and jumping off the bike while coasting to a stop. Have done it without a hitch probably 20 or 30 times. Apparently, I've never done it after a 56 mile bike ride coming down a steep hill. :) I hopped off and my legs just about collapsed under me! Luckily I was holding onto my bike, which kept me upright.

Overall, I'm pleased with this split -- I really thought I'd be more around 3:15 -- but think that the last 15 miles probably hurt my run. I did okay at the beginning kind of holding back, but got impatient as the ride wore on.
What would you do differently?:

Stay focused. Long bike rides bore me and my attention wanders and then I just want it to be over.
Transition 2
  • 03m 3s

Again, I took my time in this transition as well. Now... back to the sand reference above....apparently while I was out on the bike, the pros finished. And there was a helicopter hovering pretty low following them. Which blew sand EVERYWHERE. There wasn't a single item that I owned that wasn't covered with it. And not only that, but my hat had blown away -- at first I thought that someone had taken it (and DAMN was I pissed!), but after a nice spectator told me about the helicopter, I widened my search and found it about 2 racks away. Thank god! The run would have been just that much worse without a hat on. And plus - the pictures would have looked awful with my helmet-head hair. :)

Probably lost a good 1:00 to 1:30 looking for the hat....
What would you do differently?:

Tie things down!! :)
  • 2h 15m
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 19s  min/mile

Sufferfest. Death march. That would about describe it. This run totally kicked my ass! In my head, I always thought that once I got to the run, I'd be golden. Uh, not so much.

Leaving transition, I knew I had about 2:02 to do the half to break 6 hours. I kept pace for about 2 miles, then realized that I'd be VERY lucky to hold a 10 m/m pace and completely stopped caring about everything except one foot in front of the other. Right out of transition, there were two hills out of the park which just killed me. After that, though -- all flat.

I thought some of the miles were not marked correctly... my second mile split was under 8 m/m -- I'm positive I wasn't going that fast. And then my third mile split? Over 12 m/m. So - over the two miles, it was probably right. Not that it mattered, even by that point.

The beginning of the second loop brought you so tantalizingly close to the finish line... kind of mean, if you ask me.

Throughout most of the run, I had the beginning twinges of cramping. At every aid station I threw out all the "don't do anything new on race day!" advice and took in anything and everything. Tried endurolytes for the first time, Infinit, Oreos (mmmmm....), pretzel chunks with peanut butter in them (a little too sticky) and oranges. While I'm not sure that any of that helped (though I never did totally cramp up), none of it hurt me. Lucky me!

I also did about 3 gels... had them with me, figured I might as well use them. :)

The second loop was actually better than the first. It was very slow, but I kind of found a comfortable pace and was walking less. And knowing that I was about halfway done did my psyche a world of good as well.

And the guy with the hose?? And all the other people with sprinklers?? The BEST. It was great to see all the people out. What a boost! There was a little kid handing out dixie cup glasses of water... came right after a real water stop, so no one was taking any, so I stopped, drank down a glass and loved seeing the smile on his face.

Aside from all the pain and suffering, about my only real mistake on the run was dumping so much water over myself that my shoes were completely soaked. Made for a very squishy 7 or 8 miles out there.
What would you do differently?:

Not push so hard on the bike? Maybe. But while out there, I put forth my best effort. The pace isn't indicative of my running ability on the whole, but certainly the best that I could do on that day.
Post race
Warm down:

Stumbled across the finish line... my posse was there to greet me, which was awesome!! Went to the medical tent, got some ice, ibuprofen and gatorade. Then wandered back up the finish chute to watch my friend Kathryn come in, and then Jen. Seeing people cross the finish line was almost more emotional than my own finish, not sure why. It's really great seeing people push themselves and compete and succeed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First time at this distance -- still need to learn what my best pace is on the bike to have a successful (or at least less painful) run.

Event comments:

Overall, I'm totally pleased with my finish time. Going into this, I was going to be happy with anything under 6:30, I thought that 6:15 would be a very realistic goal as long as nothing went too wrong and I was able to race the way I trained (somewhat of a wild card because of the bronchitis), and 6 hours was my pie-in-the-sky goal, everything going absolutely perfect. So - 6:12 made me pretty happy.

And let me add -- all the BTer's out on the course was AWESOME!! It's so great to be going along and get a shout out from someone -- really keeps you going! I doubt that I would have attempted a HIM without the peer pressure, but this turned out to be an absolutely wonderful weekend, start to finish.

Last updated: 2007-01-16 12:00 AM
00:46:48 | 1931 meters | 02m 25s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/87
Overall: 0/1256
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy sleeveless
Course: Out to a buoy, then parallel to the beach until the end, when you make a right turn at another buoy back to shore.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:32
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:05:30 | 56 miles | 18.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/87
Overall: 0/1256
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Rolling hills, a couple of larger ones. Roads were probably 80% nice blacktop, but had some really jarring sections.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:03
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:15:00 | 13.1 miles | 10m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/87
Overall: 0/1256
Performance: Average
Course: 2 loops... out along the lakefront, into residential streets and then back into the park.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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