South Carolina Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Ninety Six, South Carolina
United States
Total Time = 6h 37m 43s
Overall Rank = 360/415
Age Group = 36
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Very odd, I don't think I've ever been so calm before a race, almost as if I was somewhat removed from the experience. Maybe a defense mechanism, maybe I knew that I was as ready as I was going to get. I didn't even pack my transition bag until after the pre race dinner.

The morning of I woke up at 4:10, 20 minutes before the alarm was to go off. I drank 1 ensure, showered, drank coffee, ate 1 serving of oatmeal and headed over to the race site. I did all of the pre race particulars, marking, race chip, weigh in, and porta potty and then decided it was time to set up transition. Again, just calmly going through the was a wierd sensation. I wondered if this attitude would lead me to foget somthing but I didn't. got the wetsuit on and got in the water. Found the NAMC group and was having fun talking until someone told me that Wave 2 was gathering in the corral (again, head just not in race mode). Time to go. You'd think I'd feel some urgency considering this is my first HIM.
Event warmup:

Maybe 25-30 meters of swimming. More just to make sure the wetsuit was pulled up in all of the right places.
  • 36m 23s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 53s / 100 meters

My goal time for the swim was to be in the 35-40 minute range. I thought that closer to 35 would be good and closer to 40 would be dissappointing. The plan was to start slow and steady and gradually pick up the pace as I got closer to the end.

Starting slow was no problem since I really had no adrenaline flowing but as soon as the horn sounded I was off and fell into a very comfortable groove. I was very pleased with how my swimming was going by the time I hit the first turn buoy, I was executing the plan perfectly. By the time I hit the last turn buoy I was less pleased with my swim. I felt very comfortable, wasn't tired but thought that I was swimming slowly, certainly never increased the pace like I thought I would. The last 500 meter or so, swiming to the finish, I thought for sure that my time would be over 40 minutes. Not just dissappointing but somewhat of a failure. It didn't get me down, it just was what it was b/c I still had a long day ahead of me. While I was not happy with my pace, my sighting was excellent, best it has ever been. I felt as though I was laser guided. Open water swim practice really paid off.

I looked at my watch while exiting the water, 36 minutes. Wow! ok, things are going well, I'm having fun.
What would you do differently?:

For this race? Nothing. For the next race? speed work (this will be a new theme for me) and over-distance swims.
Transition 1
  • 02m 5s

Actually, I'm surprised this didn't take longer. I started to run towards my rack but about half way there I decided that I had a long day ahead of me and walked so that I could start the bike with my heart rate as low as possible. I didn't stop and rest but I wasn't getting ready for the bike as quickly as possible either. Walked the bike out of transition, got on and got going.
What would you do differently?:

I knew this was just about getting through the distance. I can transition faster when I want to.
  • 3h 05m 24s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.12 mile/hr

My goal was to average between 16.5 - 17 mph. I've been told that the course was similar to Cartersville but really didn't know what to expect. While the course was very similar to Cartersville, somehow it was tougher than I had thought it would be.

While out there I broke the bike into 4 parts based on aid stations. So, three 15 mile segments and one 11 mile segment. The first segment I was dealing with some nasty heartburn but otherwise was very comfortable on my bike and was averaging faster than I had expected. I was being passed a lot but I expect that and it doesn't bother me. At the first aid station my average speed was 19 mph. I felt comfortable and didn't even consider the idea of intentionally slowing down and the heartburn was all but gone.

I think the second segment of the course got a bit tougher but I continued to feel strong. Not too long later the course made a right turn and there was a head wind. Nothing terrible but it was affecting my pace. By the second aid station my pace dropped to 18.6 mph but I still felt good.

The third segment was more of the same. I just kept the same mentality as I do on training rides. However I was starting to feel the ride more and more. My legs were getting tired and my back was starting to hurt. Not my lower back but my upper back and my lats. The only explanation I can think of is that it was from the swim?? My average speed began to drop but I was determined to maintain or increase my pace so I picked it up just a bit. My average speed was up to 18.7 at the last aid station.

The bike ride fell apart a bit at this point. My legs were getting tired, my feet were numb, and my back was getting more and more sore. The pace had caught up to me. I didn't mind b/c the run is going to suck regardless so I'm glad I made up some time on the bike. I did, however, decide that it was time to stop worrying about pace so much. I spent less time in aero position and I was getting out of the saddle to stretch the legs and back. I suppose my average speed for the last 11 miles was about 15.8 mph.

I took my feet out of my shoes with 1 mile to go. Wiggled the toes and moved the feet around until feeling came back. I was worried that if my feet were still numb I'd fall while getting off the bike or in transition.

Just a few glitches during the ride. The first time I tried to pull a gel out of my back shirt pocket I dropped it. Got another one and didn't worry about it b/c I had an extra gel and I'd be done sooner than I had planned. Later when I tried to pull another gel, I dropped it agan. Now I was short a gel. I think this had some affect.

A couple things that helped, I kept reminding myself that I was doing a HIM. Everytime this put a smile on my face. Also, as luck would have it, while packing to leave the house on Saturday, Smokey and the Bandit was on television. One line in the theme song is "We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. We're going to do what they said can't be done." In my head, I sang this line more times than I could ever count, it really became my mantra for the day.
What would you do differently?:

My training rides were long enough but not fast enough. It's clear that I'm capable of faster times on the bike but not if I'm training at 16.5 mph. So, much faster short rides and somewhat faster long rides.

Also, I needed to pay more attention to my nutrition. I got off track at the beginning b/c of the heartburn but I never really caught up. I finished the bike having had about 210 calories less than what I planned.
Transition 2
  • 02m 50s

I was sore coming off the bike. Not tired really but stiff and sore. I walked through transition. Sat down to put on my socks and shoes (never sat before) and walked out of transition. I started running just as I crossed the timing mat.
What would you do differently?:

not much
  • 2h 51m 2s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 04s  min/mile

Not much to say about the run. It hurt and it sucked (I say that in a very fun kind of way, I never stopped enjoying the day). My plan was to average 12 minute miles. I thought I'd start at about 10 min/miles and pretty much only walk aid stations for the first loop. I knew I'd fade on the second loop and start walk intervals.

The first 3.5 miles really went very closely to the plan and the remainder of the 1st loop was not as far off from the plan as it could have been. I took one longer than necessary walk interval and some unplanned short walks but I was not unhappy.

The second loop kind of came crashing down on me. I walked more than I wanted to. The first half of the second loop was a mental battle. I had to mentally stay in it to run as much as I could before starting to walk and then make sure I started running again in a reasonable amount of time. The second half of the first loop was a physical battle. Every time I started running my heart rate would skyrocket. I used the utility poles to set intervals for myself. Run to the next utility pole-walk to the next-and so on. Unfortunately the utility poles stopped at the enterence to the park. I counted off cones to continue similar intervals. NAMC was very energizing so there was no need to walk anywhere near them. Continued with 1 minute run/1 minute walk intervals though the parking lot portion of the run, then ran to the end.

I've known about that big hill at the end for several weeks and everyone in the parking lot part of the run made sure to remind me that I should save a little for the hill. I don't know what they were thinking. With 69.9 miles behind me what did they think I had left to save? Either way it didn't matter. My body was at the point that it didn't matter if I was running uphill, downhill, or on a flat it really all felt the same and there was certainly no chance that I was going to walk anywhere near that finish line.

Nutrition was tough. Somehow I just ended up with a mental block against the gels. I train with hammer gels and the first went down fine but I just couldn't bring myself to have another. I've always had trouble with sports drinks on triathlon runs but w/o gel I gave it a try. Instant bloat but it went away quick enough. I tried the coke...not good not bad. I did have endurolytes and I ended up eating lots of orange slices. They really kind of saved me but I won't want an orange for a while.

What would you do differently?:

I knew going into this that my run training was my weak link. I'll work on that and I'll start working on speed. I'll also eat those gels. They were not affecting my stomach it was just my head that didn't want them.

Post race
Warm down:

Not totally sure, it was all a bit of a blur at first. I know I kissed and hugged my wife, stood in the shower tent until I decided to just get in the lake instead, got some food, and headed over to the NAMC tent.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I need to start incorporating speed work. I don't think I can use the excuse that I'm working on my base anymore. So, faster swims, faster bikes, and faster runs.

Event comments:

Great race, well organized, great course, lots of great volunteers, and a very supportive competitors.

Extra thanks go to NAMC. It is amazing how supportive they are, I'm honestly not sure I would have made it this far without them.

Extra Extra thanks to Kristen and Jack. I KNOW I would not have made it this far if they were not supportive and cheering me on.

Last updated: 2008-02-01 12:00 AM
00:36:23 | 1931 meters | 01m 53s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 158/415
Performance: Good
Suit: T1 First Wave
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:05
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:05:24 | 56 miles | 18.12 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 329/415
Performance: Good
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:50
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:51:02 | 13.1 miles | 13m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/415
Performance: Bad
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4