Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Oceanside, California
United States
Ironman North America
60F / 16C
Total Time = 6h 05m 10s
Overall Rank = 1050/1958
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 168/265
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:15, banana, granola bar, oj, and coffee at 4:30 (2.5 hours before race start). Got to race and transition setup plenty early. Got transition mostly setup, then dropped into the bathroom line. I spent *forever* in line for the bathroom. I didn't realize that there were toilets reserved for the racers already in the swim chute. Had I known this, I would have finished my transition setup, put my wetsuit on half way, and proceeded to the swim staging.
Event warmup:

None, unless you count running down the swim chute and pushing my way through throngs of triathletes gathering for later waves.
  • 33m 22s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

What can I say? I missed my wave start, though not by much. I was about half way between the water entry point and the group already staged for the deep water start when the horn sounded. As noted before, I got caught in a long bathroom line (like 30 minutes long) but I had to take care of business.

Making matters a little tougher, I had surgery on my back a bit over three weeks before the race. I honestly wasn't supposed to be out there. But I had my wife tape up the incision and decided to do an easy paced swim with both arms to just get through to the bike. I'm glad I chose not to do a one-armed swim, because that would have been very tough out there in the harbor.

I wasn't counting on being late for the start, so it was a mad rush through throngs of later waves just to get to the entry point. My goggles never ended up sealing properly, and my right eye leaked the entire swim. I also swallowed half of the harbor shortly after entering the water. Oops.
What would you do differently?:

Now I know the layout and would just use the toilets available in the chute to the swim entry. I got to the transition plenty early, just the way things go. This was only my second race, so transition setup will probably improve by the next race.
Transition 1
  • 05m 43s

Wow, since I hadn't fully completed my transition setup, transitions ended up being a disaster for me. I was one of the first people back to the rack from the swim. I watched several come and go while I tried to get it together and head out. Finally I just went. Here came my next blunder -- I headed out on the bike without food.
What would you do differently?:

I need to buy a bento box and get that stocked and on the bike the night before.
  • 3h 00m 32s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.61 mile/hr

Going out without food was a big woops. But I figured that I'd hang in there until the first aid station and get a couple gels. Then I discovered that my bike computer wasn't working, so I didn't know my speed nor distance. They did have signs every five miles, but this was the first time I'd been on a big-race course, so when I made a turn and encountered an aid station I didn't realize that it was an aid station. Soooo, I didn't toss my bottle before the station, and I grabbed a water with nowhere to put it. Then I rode past the guy handing out gels and didn't have a free hand to take one. Smart. I guess I could have just stopped, but I rode on to the next station at just before 30 miles. I was a little smarter the next time, ditched my empty bottle before, got a new one, and grabbed a couple gels.

The ride went fine through the flat portion, and I was strong on the hills. I was mostly holding my own except against the mongo fast riders that would blow by occasionally. Then at about 45 miles, my knee that I had injured back two months earlier began to hurt. I instinctively backed off the pace, and from the point on the riders just streamed by me. Nothing I could do, every time I picked it up my knee started hurting. I probably could have finished ten minutes faster had I not slowed over the last 10-12 miles. Overall I was pleased with the ride given the circumstances.
What would you do differently?:

I will never take cycling gloves to a race again. I need to get a bento box. I should have done more training rides that were the full distance of the race.
Transition 2
  • 04m 56s

My second transition was also slow, but I did make a bathroom stop in there.
What would you do differently?:

I need to practice transitions. I just didn't practice them, because I was pretty uncertain that I would even do this race.
  • 2h 20m 38s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 44s  min/mile

Boy, where do I start. Running is my weakest event. Making it much worse was the fact that I'd injured my knee a little over two months out from the race, and that ended my running training at that point. So with my knee starting to hurt late on the bike, I knew this was going to be a real trial to get through.

That said, I just set a slow and steady pace, and I decided early to walk the aid stations. After about three or four aid stations, I began doing a one-minute walk between them, too.

It helped that my wife was there to cheer me on along the course. She was a big boost, and the people along the course were absolutely beautiful. The only time I even entertained the thought of throwing in the towel, I looked down and saw that someone had scrawled "HTFU" on the pavement. That just made me laugh, and I doubled my resolve to push to the end.
What would you do differently?:

I couldn't do anything any better given my injury and training issues. I was thrilled to get through the run at any pace and finish the race. I score the run as good, because this took way more mental fortitude than any run I have ever done when healthy. It was also five miles longer than my longest training run ever.
Post race
Warm down:

For a warm down, I walked around while eating slice after slice of pizza. :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Injury, surgery.

Event comments:

This was my first HIM, and I will always remember this race favorably. I hope to do more HIMs and improve my performance, but I will always think back to how I overcame the training setbacks, injury and health issues just to get the starting line. Finishing was the gravy.

I can't begin to express my thanks and gratitude to all the BTers who provided advice and support in the many months leading up to this event.

Last updated: 2007-11-06 12:00 AM
00:33:22 | 2112 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 44/265
Overall: 448/1958
Performance: Below average
Suit: Full wetsuit
Course: Oceanside harbor, out and back in calm ocean.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:43
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:00:32 | 56 miles | 18.61 mile/hr
Age Group: 132/265
Overall: 732/1958
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: First 25 miles was relatively flat and wind-free. Then about 20 miles of hills and winds followed by flat/descent with stronger headwinds. This was a pretty ride and a fairly challenging one, too.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 04:56
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:20:38 | 13.1 miles | 10m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 208/265
Overall: 1467/1958
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops out and back, pretty flat.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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] 5