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Deuces Wild - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Show Low, Arizona
United States
TriSports Racing
80F / 27C
Total Time = 7h 20m 15s
Overall Rank = 102/122
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 13/15
Pre-race routine:

Prepare for the mother of all race reports.

On the continuing journey to insanity I knew I was going to have to take some small steps towards the the boys in white coat. The training was part of it. A big part of it though was a race at the Half Iron (also known as 70.3) distance. I've now finished that step.

I've been following Joe Friel's training plan. Fundamentally it is composed of four week cycles that are combined to make a five month cycle. You target your "A" race and back the plans up from there. My A race is Ironman in November. Turns out that
Deuceman fit right in between my two cycles.

My training has gone OK, but not great. I got in some good weeks where I was doing over 15 hours. But the five weeks leading up to Deuceman were a mixed bag. Between a college graduation in Flagstaff, and a Cub Scout campout in Payson, I couldn't get long rides in on two of the last three weeks. I had moved from the attitude that "I can accomplish this" to "The run is scaring me", and that is strange. I'm a slow runner, but it is what I've been doing for a few years, so I'm actually very comfortable running. I know in the normal case I can go out and run a half marathon without issues or a lot of training. I was just worried about it after having been exercising for 4+ hours. At altitude.

Show Low sits at 6400 feet, in the White Mountains. So, it's not a desert plateau , it's going to be hilly and there is going to be less oxygen. How much less? It works out to having about 75% of the oxygen at sea level. But, none of that matters. I'm going to do this.

Based on some good reviews over on Slowtwitch, I did some more research and then booked us for two nights at the KC Motel. And by us, I mean Tammy and I. That's right, the first time we're going to be away from the little angels. Grandma agreed to watch all three. Tammy feels a bit robbed that our first time away is for a race, but I point out that if we didn't have the race, we wouldn't have taken the time away.

I take Friday off from work and begin packing and getting all of my stuff ready. It is really strange. I never get nervous or anticipate a trip. I'm a complete wreck. I spend all Friday morning packing, thinking, packing, making trips to stores, thinking, packing. Finally, about 1400 we head out. The requirement is to be there for the 1800 pre-race meeting. Every time we're in the car and driving, I'm OK. When we stop, all I can think about is getting on the road again. I guess all of this nervousness is because, even though my training has been sub par for the last four weeks, I've really been training for this for the last five months. That's a lot of time, energy and emotional commitment. I don't want anything to go wrong in the last 24 hours.

We roll into Show Low about 1720 and go check in. The reviews for the motel were spot on. It is nothing spectacular, but it is exactly what I expected. Because it is an older hotel, the rooms are bigger. They're clean and well maintained. Perfect for us. We then go figure out how to get to registration and the pre-race meeting.

We get there about 1745 and have time to register and look around before the meeting. It's pretty low key and there are a few good notes. This is where I learn that we really do have to ride over that patch of dirt. Several people are very concerned about this. I'm fond of saying that my bike handles like "a manatee in sand" on the dirt, but for roughly 130 feet, I'm not concerned. We also find out about the swim course. It turns out like all of the swims I've ever done, it is expected to be flat and wet. This one also happens to be cold. The temperature range given is between 52 and 60 (degrees F, since we live in the "New World"). That's a pretty big range. At this point I think about buying a neoprene cap. Fortunately, the kind people at TriSports have sold out of them, relieving me of the burden of a pre-race day purchasing decision. I am happy that I brought my swim bag with me, which means I have extra caps. I just decide to double cap it. The rest of the meeting is without much interest, although I do get to meet up with Remon and James. They had come in early, before they sold out of "VIP" parking passes. If I had thought ahead I would have had them buy one for me so that Tammy didn't have to shuttle it back and forth.

After the meeting we go down and feel the water (cold and wet) and survey the swim course. I have never seen a swim course laid out that didn't look long. I can go to the pool and swim 3000 meters without thinking, "Wow!", but put 2000 meters out on a lake and it looks like a journey to the moon and back. There is no pre-race bike check in so we go back to the hotel and unload, and then set out looking for dinner. This turns into a comedy routine. I would like some simple pasta with a good mix of protein and fat. Yes, I did think about it to that detail. The lady at the front desk recommends JB's. I was thinking something a little more Italian. We break out the GPS, which promptly directs us to two restaurants that don't exist. We end up at Mama Bear's. It's "rustic" Bar-B-Q as near as we can tell, but they have lasagna, and it fits the bill perfectly. We relax, then back to the hotel after picking up some gatorade and other stuff, and then back to the hotel. We get to the hotel, get ready for the morning. I take the time, for the first time ever, to mow my legs. It looks and feels weird. It will undoubtably save me precious seconds. This could be the difference between 100th place and 101st!

Event warmup:

Unfortunately, turning in early doesn't mean sleeping well. When the alarm goes off at 0430, neither of us has slept well. I drink two Ensure and then brush my teeth and get dressed. I'm trying something new for a race (although I've trained in it). I'm wearing a long sleeve UnderArmour white shirt and my Zoot tri-shorts for the whole race. We get ready, and roll down to the race start. Tammy drops me off and I lug all o my gear to transition. Transition opens at 0530 and I'm there about 0515 and people are setting up. I'm early enough to get one of the ends of a rack, although not one on the inside lane. Good enough. I fill my aero bottle, inflate my tires, and generally make sure everything is setup the way I want. For me, transition is free speed. I'm firmly a Back Of the Pack (BOP) athlete, but I'm consistently in the top 25% of transition times. It's because my goals for transition are simple:

  • Be simple.
  • Be smart.

Every other part of triathlon requires you to also be athletic. Transition simply requires you to be organized and smooth. It's shocking how well this works.

I talk to James and Remon, and get to meet Scott. I hadn't called him since I didn't want to wake him up if he was doing the Oly and getting another two hours to sleep. There is also a nice lady who asks for help inflating her tires. Her valve stems aren't threaded, so with a completely flat tire you can't get the pump on it. I use my Leatherman to hold it out and then my pump and we get it working. I make sure I'm drinking my diluted Gatorade and just relaxing. Finally, it's about 0615 and I start getting suited up in my survival suit and head down to the water. Normally I like to be in the water at the last possible moment, but I also know that the shock of the cold is something that I need to get used to. I get in and let the water seep into my wetsuit. My friends south of the border send me a telegram letting me know they would like visitation rights, but are planning on heading to someplace warmer for the winter. Regardless, by the time the "gun" is ready to sound, I'm acclimated. 0630 and the real race begins.

  • 44m 21s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 06s / 100 yards

Let the games begin. I have enough time to relax and even "warm" my wetsuit. I'm hanging off the dock, relaxing when the gun goes. The dock is to the left, and I figure we'll all mosey right to head out into the lake. I am evidently the only one that got the memo. Everyone else goes straight for the first buoy that they told us we didn't have to round. Eventually, everyone else figures it out. In the mean time, I've had my worst time. My goggles are leaking slightly, I'm having a hard time breathing, and I suck in a mouth full of lake water. I just try to relax and keep going. I make sure I roll over more on my breathing side and get a good breath in and keep going. After about 150 meters, I'm able to just concentrate on my form. That, and not swimming in circles. But, 44 minutes later I'm out. I've actually caught and passed people in the last 300 meters or so. Given my swimming prowess, I'm hoping they're still alive. I strip my wetsuit to my waist and head towards the "strippers" with a cry of "I DID NOT DROWN!". I promptly fall/slide onto my rear in
front of the strippers, and they peel me and I'm off.
What would you do differently?:

Try to learn out to swim straighter.
Transition 1
  • 04m 10s

Simple, fast and smooth. I come in and pull my socks on. I know that socks are slower, but I wear the same ones for the bike and the run, and blisters aren't good. I didn't set my helmet straps up quite right, so I had to readjust. Cost me probably 10 seconds. I grab my bike and start to go. That's when I notice my front tire is completely flat. No worries. I grab my pump, and pump it back up. I'm hoping that I didn't close the valve completely or that the Slime will seal a small hole. I go to the mount line and hop on with my feet on top of my shoes. I practice this way every time I ride, but I'm still lucky that I don't lose a shoe to the pavement. I forgot to open them up. It's always the little things.
What would you do differently?:

Make sure my shoes weren't squished. Change the tire in transition.
  • 3h 35m 57s
  • 57.8 miles
  • 16.06 mile/hr

I'm off. My bike plan is very simple. Get passed for the first 20 miles. Pick it up in the second 20. Do the passing at the end. half a mile in I look down and that front tire is nearly flat again. This is the point at the race when I'm happiest about my mental approach to this race. I'm not mad about the time I'm losing. I just recognize that there is a problem, I can solve it, and I'm going to move on. I hadn't planned on letting people pass me while I was changing a tire, but it doesn't matter. It takes me a few minutes to get it done, but I just focus on the task at hand. I'm done, and now it's time for cleanup. I had stopped by a construction pylon so I had something to prop my bike against, and there was a little space there I could toss my tube in. The cartridge and the rest of the stuff could go back in my wedge bag. My choice of clothing means I have no jersey pockets. But doing that would be "abandonment". This is really just littering on the course and is against the rules. There is no way I would have been caught, but I would have known. So, I take the old tube and toss it over my shoulder and take off. I cross the dirt area and keep on going.

I've been drinking water and I start adding in my Infinit. I'm planning on trying for 500 calories an hour on the bike, figuring I'll get less. I have two 900 calorie bottles and I just plan to mix it in my aero bottle by grabbing water only from the aid stations. I hit the first aid station and drop off my old tube in the trash area and grab a water bottle. This works fine and I'm off.

Now starts the real race. I want to keep a good pace and get in nutrition so I can go the full distance. The problem is that I have to pee, and my stomach isn't feeling good. For the next 40 miles I would "burp" and throw up into my mouth a little bit. I mean this literallly. I would then look to the right and spit. It tasted like Ensure and Clif bar. I only actually threw up once, and not much. Honestly, it wasn't that bad because the ride was going well. That's right, my mental attitude was so great I spent a good portion of 3.5 hours throwing up into my mouth a little bit every 10-15 minutes, and I was fine with it. I did drop my chain once, which I wasn't happy about, but it was otherwise good. But, I really had to pee. So, the standard approach there is to actually pee. You'll notice I didn't say "Stop and pee", I said "pee". That's right, I pee'd on the bike. Not once. Not twice. More times than I could keep track of. It is not a comforting feeling. I haven't peed on myself that much since I wore a diaper. I mean I hade 4.5 years of college, and I never got so out of control that I had that problem even once. This is impressive. This is epic. I wonder if I should call Time Life Magazines? The problem was I couldn't ever completely empty my bladder. It meant I spent the entire time up to the last aid station very uncomfortable, and not pedaling on the downhills because I'm trying to relax so I can pee. The last aid station has a port-a-potty and I take the time to actually use it. I'm hoping this jump starts my stomach on feeling better. The rest of the bike is uneventful, and I cruise into the dismount line with no issues.

What would you do differently?:

I would have changed the tube in transition. Not sure how else to handle the fact that there were no port-a-potties for most of the bike.
Transition 2
  • 01m 59s

Simple, fast and smooth. As I get off my bike I yell:

"Who stole my legs!" It's a hit with the "crowd" observing

In spite of that, I pull my shoes on. Grab my hat, sunglasses and Garmin strap that are all in my hat. Grab my Garmin and get moving. It works like a charm.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. No way to make this faster without running faster.
  • 2h 53m 45s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 16s  min/mile

My run plan was simple. Take it easy. I've gone a long way, hard. I want to keep running. Keep a good cadence and run until the aid stations. More important than anything, keep moving. Move slow, but move. This worked pretty good. I knew I was slow. I couldn't really get a good stride in, but I was always moving. I was just taking water in for the first few aid stations, trying to see if my stomach would settle. I knew I also needed to get some calories in and by mile 6 my stomach felt pretty good and I was starting to get some nutrition in. Until 9.47 miles in. Yes, it was that precise on the Garmin. My right IT band expressed its displeasure. I've been doing therapy on my left, but my right must have felt neglected.

For those of you who have never experienced IT band syndrome consider yourself lucky. I lovingly describe it as feeling like someone is trying to jab an icepick through your leg, just below the knee. It's that much fun. I know what it is, and I know how to deal with it. You stop running and call it a day. Of course this is a race, and that is not an option. I just start walking. I then try to run ten paces, and then walk. Ten then walk. I keep this up until just before mile ten. There, I see a guy in a tri suit, who looks young and fast. He's clearly suffering. He's walking as much, if not more than I am. I set my eyes on him. This is when I switch my run to what I call the "Wounded monkey". My right knee doesn't bother me at all if I don't actually use it. So, I start running using my left leg, and swinging my right leg through straight legged. When the road allows it, and there is a height differential, it works ok. When the road is flat, or even worse, cambered up from the left to the right, it's pretty uncomfortable. I go with 100 paces of "wounded monkey" and 50 of walking. Now, you pass the transition and finish line area at mile eight, and you head out and around the lake. By mile nine or ten you're thinking you get to start heading back in. The entire time you can hear the announcer from across the lake. The entire time you think you should be heading back, a volunteer points you further away. Finally, you get to a turn around at the top of a hill. It is a single folding chair in the middle of the road. You have got to be kidding me. I expected to see a pole with flashing lights and a party like Mardi Gras. It definitely needed more cowbell.

Finally, at the aid station at mile 11, I catch my target. I look at the age on his calf. It's 17. He's 20 years younger than I am. I feel a little better. I'm also glad I don't have to try to sprint with him. But on to the grace that is my new found running form. I change to tenths of miles. Finally, by mile 12+ the end is near. I look back, and there are a few ladies closing on me. I wish them the best...I have no intention of trying to "wounded monkey" faster or longer. Close to mile 13, and still no one behind me. I'm trying to make my non-ambulatory simian look better coming into the finish line when I hear the announcer saying that someone is coming in. And that someone is not me. I look back, and I'll be damned if it isn't that 17 year old kid. I left him two miles ago. He hadn't had the HTFU to run then, and he hadn't been running when I'd looked back a half mile ago, I'll be damned if I was going to let him just sprint around me at the end. I put the wounded monkey out of its misery and I sprinted as hard I as I could towards the finish line. There were two sets of timing mats, one about 10 yards in front of the one at the finish line. I ignored the first, and just ran for the line as hard as I could.

I swam, biked and ran for over 7 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds. I beat him by 0.6 seconds. The "old" guys win occasionally.

What would you do differently?:

Do therapy on the other IT band.
Post race
Warm down:

Gathered my medal, some water and a popsicle and went down to the lake to soak my legs. Sat around a lot. Tammy did the yeoman's work of carting stuff around. Catching the shuttle. Going to get the car. Doing all of the things that a fantastic Iron Sherpa does. James remarks on how nice Tammy seems. He is clearly perplexed about how she made a mistake like me.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Right IT band.
Tube puncture.
Stomach wasn't right until 6 miles into the run. Need to get that ironed out.

Event comments:

A few things:

1) Every bike aid station (there are only four) needs port-a-potties
2) Need sunscreen available at transition

Last updated: 2008-06-02 12:00 AM
00:44:21 | 2112 yards | 02m 06s / 100yards
Age Group: 12/15
Overall: 89/122
Performance: Good
Suit: Profile
Course: Triangular
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 61F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:10
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:35:57 | 57.8 miles | 16.06 mile/hr
Age Group: 14/15
Overall: 106/122
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: One big square. GPS measures it (and several people agree) and 57.8 vs 56.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 84
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:59
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:53:45 | 13.1 miles | 13m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/15
Overall: 104/122
Performance: Below average
143 bpm avg
Course: A sort of double loop
Keeping cool Average Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-06-02 11:37 PM

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Subject: Deuces Wild

2008-06-03 11:17 AM
in reply to: #1440564

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Surprise, Arizona
Subject: RE: Deuces Wild
Great job out there and a fantastic race report, Jot!  Congratulations on finishing 70.3 - that is a remarkable accomplishment.  You really dealt with a lot of tough circumstances well and got back on track each time.  Way to go!!
2008-06-03 12:19 PM
in reply to: #1440564

Subject: RE: Deuces Wild
Way to push through some tough conditions!! The flat and no pockets totally sux!! And reading your run and IT band issues was like reliving my Duces Wild race from last year.  Way to stick to it and get it done!
2008-06-03 12:40 PM
in reply to: #1441739

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Subject: RE: Deuces Wild
Thanks! Honestly, it was a good race. hard to believe.

2008-06-03 2:42 PM
in reply to: #1440564

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Subject: RE: Deuces Wild
Way to go Jot!  Sounds like a tough race but you worked through it all. Flat tires suck! Good job out there.
2008-06-03 7:29 PM
in reply to: #1440564

Somewhere over there in Az
Subject: RE: Deuces Wild
Awesome report. I saw you finish the swim and busted up laughing at your "I didnt drown!!!" I feel for you in drinking the lake water. I too drank a good gallon of water.. Love reading your report... Sorry about the tire. I had to re-explain the on the bike thing. No one seems to believe me when I say people actually do that.

Good job!!!

Edited by mm5093 2008-06-03 7:30 PM

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