I think this race has roughly 2100 competitors.
I started near the rear of my age group so not to cause too many problems for faster swimmers. Because of logistical problems and other issues they had to cram the AGs together and shorten the gap between waves to 3-minutes. I knew I was in for a fight for the swim portion because I knew I would be getting passed by wave after wave of faster swimmers. This turned out to be true. However, every time I got hit, or hit someone I was greeted with a "Sorry dude" or an offering of "Whoops! Sorry man". Triathletes (for the most part) are pretty cool people. I punched a lady so hard in the head I thought I hit concrete. I stopped, looked up and saw a female in a Red swim cap (probably two heats behind me). I apologized and she just smiled and said "that's ok". I did my best to grab the feet of faster swimmers who would pass me and try and draft as long as I could hang on. Not sure if this helped, but at least it took my mind off of the swim panic that I tend to get. The rest of the swim went as most of my race swim go....three strokes, prairie dog, three strokes, prairie dog, three strokes....what the phuck am I doing.
As I hit the beach I looked at my watch, which read 34+ minutes. Not bad for me...a total non-swimmin' SOB.
What would you do differently?:
More swimming = better swimmer I suppose.
As mentioned earlier we had two separate locations for T1 and T2. We could not come back to T1 after the race so we had to pack our wetsuits and other other stuff into a plastic sack after the swim portion so that it could be transferred to T2. This added a little time to everyones transition times.
My strategy on the bike was to go hard. Not red-line, but harder than I should for a Olympic distance tri. I didn't care if it was going to effect my run because the run was going to be a question-mark. I'm just coming off of IMKS 70.3, trained every day from IMKS to Hy-Vee so no taper and no recovery...and not to mention I was suffering from an aggressive head and chest cold. Maybe not a smart strategy but I planned to just thrash myself on the bike then drag myself through the run. Well...it didn't exactly go as planned. Once I got on the bike and started putting the hammer down the 20 pounds of phlegm lodged in my head/chest started coming up in 1/4 pound globs. Pretty nasty, but it was helping. I could breathe. Once I found my groove my HR dropped to Z2-3. I was passing people non-stop. I felt strangely fresh. I was probably putting out 70% effort throughout the ride. Not the "hammer" that I originally planned. During the entire 40k not a single cyclist passed me. Not one. This isn't bragging up my cycling skills...but maybe an indication that I need to be a faster swimmer so I don't have to pass so many people.
What would you do differently?:
Triathlon is still a skill I haven't mastered. Even after three years I'm still learning how to gauge my effort during different race distances. I would have pushed harder on the bike and shot for the goal of a 1-hour bike finish time.
The run began fairly smoothly. Legs felt fine and I knew I had gone too easy on the bike. I started out running with a high cadence and as high of speed as my legs would move. Again...maybe not the best strategy but I figured I'd try and run my legs out of steam and drag myself the last few miles after I blew up. I guess I was thinking I'd put Time in the Time-Bank for when the wheels came off.
For the first time in a race I started eye-balling people who were running just a little faster than I was. I'd catch up to them then run on their heels or by their side for as long as I could. This forced me to run faster than my run threshold. It worked! I kept climbing from person to person. The miles were clickin' away one after another. I was waiting for my engine to shut down but it never did. At mile four I found my last pacer who kept me moving at a good clip (a fellow ironman finisher). I hung on to his heels as the finish grew closer and closer. Before I knew it I was rounding the corner towards the finish line.
I don't have the vocabulary to properly describe the Hy-Vee finish line. It was probably a 1/4 mile of lined barrier with crowds you'd see at Ironman Hawaii. Stadium seating, announcer yelling names. It was an amazing finish area.
Anyway...I crossed the finish line feeling great.
After crossing the finish line I hooked up with a few of my friends who raced or volunteered. I noticed they were staring at my tri jersey. When I looked down at myself it looked like I had been spit on by a heard of camels....or llamas. I was coated with a film of slobber that I had hacked on myself for the past 32+ miles. Fortunately my wife was carrying a dry shirt for me to put on.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
I guess I did OK considering I was still recovering from IMKS and continued training up until this race. Not to mention the lung boogers I was trying to fight off. In the end I don't think the cold effected me too much, and based off of my perceived effort I don't think I had carried over much fatigue from last weeks race.
I can't say enough about the Hy-Vee Des Moines tri. I did this race last year and it blew me away. It is truly a top-notch event. Considering all of the flooding problems, course and venue changes, du vs. tri changes...the RDs knocked it out of the ball park. The volunteers were excellent. The only hiccup was at the very end of the day we had to sort through 2000 plastic bags to find our T1 stuff. This was a mess. I ended up hopping in the back of a flat-bed trailer that contained transition bags and was handing out bags to athletes who were standing around wondering how to find their stuff. The volunteers didn't know what to do. Otherwise the race went off without a hitch...with the exception of the poor guy who died.
If you're within a days drive of this race, or can find cheap airfare, you've got to check this race out. You'll be blown away.
Last updated: 2007-10-19 12:00 AM
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 35/131
Before launching into my race report I want to acknowledge a competitor who died at this event during the swim portion. Jim Goodman age 46 of Urbandale, IA died after being rescued from the water. It was a sad ending to an otherwise perfect day. Prayers go out to this man's family, friends and those who played a role in the attempt to save his life.
The Race that almost Wasn't.
Most are probably aware of the flooding issues around the Des Moines area. The Hy-Vee RDs had canceled the swim portion about a week ago and made the race a Duathlon. I decided at this point I wasn't going to show for this race so I canceled my hotel reservation and put the race out of my mind....until they re-opened the swim at a different location just four days before race day. Amazing work done my the Hy-Vee RDs. I scrambled and found what was probably the only hotel room left in Des Moines.
My day started early after a typical pre-race night of little/no sleep. I may have slept 3 hours. The only hotel room I could get near Des Moines was a smoking room at a Hampton in. The stink is still stuck to me. I don't know how smokers can live this way. Anyway...I was up around 3:30 and started stuffing oatmeal and coffee into the tank then I was off to the race site. Transition closed at 5:45 and my swim wave started at 6:18.
Only those who attended or raced this event can understand the logistical nightmare that this race was. Hats off to the Hy-Vee RDs who pulled this thing together. This race consisted of two separate transition areas. T1 was at the lake where we swam. After swimming and transitioning to the bike you had to pack your wetsuit and gear in a bag, which was transported a few miles away to T2. The bike course ended at a different location. At T2 we had to set up an additional transition area, which consisted of your running gear, etc. Rain was on the Radar for the night before so your run gear had to be tied up in a bag. So upon return to T2 from the bike you had to rack your bike and retrieve your gear from your Run bag. Considering how funked up this originally sounded, it went fairly smooth. It just added a few seconds/minute to T1-T2 times.