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Racing for Recovery Triathlon - Half Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Monroe, Michigan
United States
Racing for Recovery
90F / 32C
Total Time = 6h 56m 41s
Overall Rank = 122/161
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

First a little background: It has been an unseasonably cool May here in SE Michigan (temperatures in the low-70s/high 60s. On Thursday, a heat wave came through brining temperatures into the low 90s with moderate humidity. There was no chance to heat acclimate for this race.

Anyway, race morning was pretty typical. Got up around 4:30 and had the usual pre-race breakfast (coffee and toast with peanut butter). Got to the park around 5:30am, sipped on some Endurathon while I casually setup transition.

The guys in my rack were pretty nervous and I was starting to pickup on their nervousness, so I needed to get out of transition. Grabbed my wet suit and goggles and sat on a picnic table down by the beach until I saw people migrating to the start. Put my wet suit bottom on, had a gel and proceeded to the start.

Event warmup:

Not much. Went for about a two mile ride just to work through the bike gears and walked from the transition area down to the start corrals (about a 500 yard walk).
  • 39m 19s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

Positioned myself towards the back of the pack. When the gun went off, casually walked into the water--the day was going to be long, there was no reason to sprint like a mad man.

Lots of contact to start. Took about 200 yards to find some swimming room. The chop was really bad as you got further from shore. Mainly used the people around me to site off of as the sun was in your eyes and it seemed like every time I looked up I got hit with a wave.

Rounded the turnaround buoy and headed back to shore. Had a lot of trouble sighting here. There was a double buoy we were supposed to swim through before turning to parallel the shore and for the life of me I could not find it. Tried to stay in the middle of a pack and hope for the best.

The chop subsided as you got into shallow water and was finally able to find the double buoy. Made the turn, and really found my groove here. My stroke felt long and smooth. Looked for draft targets but couldn't find anybody (kept getting the feet touched so I knew someone was leeched on to me).

About a 3rd of the way down this straightaway, I T-boned another swimmer. How he was swimming 90 degrees from where he was supposed to be I will never know. Pretty uneventful until the last turnaround buoy. Took this turn too close, and caught up in the buoy lines a bit--but no big deal.

Shortly after the last turnaround buoy, had a head on collision with another swimmer. I was off course quite a bit so I have to take part/most of the blame for this one. Kept the stroke smooth until I hit thigh deep water, did a couple of dolphin dives and the swim was over.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I was happy as could be with this swim. One of my faster paced swims, and I felt fresh coming out of the water.
Transition 1
  • 02m 27s

Had the wet suit half off by the time I got to my rack. Finished taking it off, gave the feet a two second drying. Put on the shoes and socks, slapped on the helmet, grabbed my nutrition and was off.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Not the fastest transition, but I felt it was more important to take my time and do everything right then to rush and make a critical mistake.
  • 3h 25m 16s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.37 mile/hr

Goal for the bike was to get the heart rate under control in the first couple of miles, keep the heart rate in the low 140s for the first half, and the high 140s for the second half.

Heart rate settled down to the mid 140s after a couple of miles (a little high but within acceptable limits). Did the "out" section averaging 19mph and in my target heart rate and was right on plan with nutrition and hydration--so far so good.

It was at the start of the loop section that the wind started to pickup. Slowed down to keep the heart rate under control. After the first loop average speed had dropped to 18.5mph but I was still in my target heart rate zone and still ahead of my goal pace--no worries.

At the start of the second loop the wind was still increasing and starting to gust. The loop was oriented such that 75% of it was against the wind or in a cross wind (the cross winds never seemed to beneficial either). Let the heart rate creep up a bit here but was still losing speed. Swapped out a water bottle at the end of the second loop.

Third loop was more of the same. At the end of the third loop average speed had dropped to 17.0mph. Well behind my target pace, but I was OK with that because I was staying close to my target zones and my swim went awesome so I had a little padding.

Unfortunately, the wheels fell off on the "back" section. It was pretty much dead into the wind. Heart rate started to sky rocket and I was moving a wopping 9mph. Tried spinning a "granny gear" and mashing a big gear neither would let the heart rate come down.

The combination of a bump and wind gust forced me off the road. I recovered OK but at that point I was frustrated, tired, and mad (at who or what I had know idea). Calmed down, and continued working through the gears looking for one that would let the heart rate come down while still moving forward. Eventually, found one that kept the heart rate in mid 150s and the speed around 14mph--that would have to do. You have know idea how happy I was to see the park entrance and get off that bike.

What would you do differently?:

I just don't know. I could have pushed harder, but I think my run would have been even worse than it already was.
Transition 2
  • 01m 29s

As I approached transition, undid the velcro on my shoes, swung my leg over the bike and got hit with instant thigh cramp. Couldn't work it out because it was the foot still on the pedal--was just hoping I could walk when I went to put weight on it.

Jumped off the bike and was able to walk on the leg. Cramp was still there but it was not getting worse. Swapped shoes, grabbed my hat and race belt. Temperature was obviously climbing (and there wasn't a cloud in the sky) so I took the time to spray on more sunscreen. Decided to walk out of transition to give the cramp more time to work itself out.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I made the conscience choice of taking the time to put on more sunscreen and to walk out of transition. Without this time could have easily broken one minute.
  • 2h 48m 12s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 50s  min/mile

There was an aid station as you left transition. Grabbed two cups of Heed here in hopes that some extra electrolytes would help work the cramp out. Even with the terrible bike, I thought I could still come close to my goal pace.

My plan was to keep the heart rate in Z2 for the first portion of the run. About a half mile in to it, was already in high-Z3/low-Z4. Knew there was no way I could maintain that effort, so I started walking. Did the first mile in a little over 11 minutes. It was hot (about 95 degrees with humidity and not a cloud in the sky). Every time I tried to run, my heart rate spiked. At this point threw out all time goals and focussed on just finishing.

About mile two, took in a gel. It was almost instant stomach distress (I did keep everything down though)--no more gels for the rest of the day; time to punt.

Got into the following groove. Would run (all be it slowly) until the heart rate got into mid Z4 and then walk until it came down to low Z3. Walked every aid station where I would pour water over me. For nutrition alternated between a half cup of Heed and half cup of cola with a salt tablet (the generic cola left an aftertaste in my mouth so I usually chased it with a little more water). The new nutrition plan was working because I wasn't cramping and I wasn't bonking.

Not much else to say about the run. It was just a suffer fest. Unfortunately, quite a bit carnage on the course. Saw a bunch of people lying in the shade trying to recoup and/or workout cramps and at least four people get hauled off the course in a med cart. Whenever the aid station had them, I would grab ice or an ice soaked towel.

Even though I was having a horrible run, my spirits stayed pretty good (seeing Brandy, my parents, sister, and nephew every now and then really helped). I did hit a low spot around mile ten. It was here that my watch read 6:20. I was already over my goal time and still had 3.1 miles to go. The thought that got me over this was a feeling of thankfullness that I was healthy enough to compete in an event like this.

Stayed with the plan until the last mile and decided to just run as much of it as I could (probably about 3/4 a mile). Crossed the finish line with a smile. Even though it was slow, I had finished my first half ironman.

What would you do differently?:

Even two days later, I honestly don't know. I knew there was absolutely no way I could run an entire half marathon with a Z4 heart rate. I did everything I could think of to get the heart rate down.
Post race
Warm down:

Tried not to fall over. Made my way to a bench where I just tried to not pass out. Eventually, started eating enough food to feed a small village.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat and humidity. I had no chance to acclimate to this. I think I could have handled the wind; most of my long rides were in winds that were as strong, or stronger than today. I think my goal time (6:15) was probably a bit optimistic, but I think I could have broken 6:30 without the heat.

Event comments:

For the conditions, I think this event went off very well. I was obviously in the back of the pack and every aid station had at least water and Heed. Most of them still had ice and/or ice soaked towels too. I had the tools I needed to safely finish the race.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-03-25 12:00 AM
00:39:19 | 2112 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 57/161
Performance: Good
Suit: Full
Course: L-shaped course in Lake Erie. First 400 yards out was straight out from shore, second 400 yards was back in, remainder paralleled the beach.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:27
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:25:16 | 56 miles | 16.37 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 131/161
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: About a 13 mile out, followed by three ten mile loops, and a 13 mile back. Mostly on wide open farm roads (aka NO wind block). Except for two really bad spots, the roads were in decent shape.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:29
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:48:12 | 13.1 miles | 12m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 130/161
Performance: Below average
Course: Two laps around the lagoons at the state park. Pancake flat, mostly blacktop with a few packed dirt sections. Had at least some shade for most of the course.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-06-10 10:12 AM

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Ida, Michigan
Subject: Racing for Recovery Triathlon - Half Ironman

2008-06-12 10:37 AM
in reply to: #1456668

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Peoria, AZ (Near Lake Pleasant)
Subject: RE: Racing for Recovery Triathlon - Half Ironman
I think you had a hell of a good race and in all I focused on the fact you beat me by about 5 minutes!!!  Great swim, but having just started with the heart rat trainings myself, not sure if I would have faired much different.  However, did you have fun?
2008-06-13 11:06 PM
in reply to: #1456668

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Subject: RE: Racing for Recovery Triathlon - Half Ironman

Sounds like you knew what you needed to do and followed a good plan.  You can only control what you can control.  Weather is out of your department.  You had a great race all things considered, and handled the conditions well. 

Next time, set up your treadmill in the sauna to train for the race :-)

2008-06-14 11:04 PM
in reply to: #1456668

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Lakewood, CO
Subject: RE: Racing for Recovery Triathlon - Half Ironman

Wow what a swim even with all the "contact".

As for the rest of the day, it just sounds like it was brutal, especially with no hot weather acclimation time (kind of like many of the folks at IMAZ this year I bet)

Way to persevere all the way to the finish line.  I bet next HIM you will crush this time. 

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