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Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Racine, Wisconsin
United States
HFP Racing
80F / 27C
Total Time = 5h 52m 21s
Overall Rank = 931/1360
Age Group = Clyde, 40+ 225+
Age Group Rank = 2/8
Pre-race routine:

Spent all of Saturday morning claening my bike and getting her all ready. Drove to Racine, meet up with my friend John and his possy from Stevens Point. I thought the race expo was a bit lacking this year compared to last. Got out to the site to drop off bike. When you enter transition you were also to be given a timing chip. My number is not there! They issued another and made not of the change. More on that later. Sorry to the donkeys for not making their dinner but John was the best man in my wedding and I don't see him that often so we went to Perkins at his groups request after my suggestion for the Chancery was shot down. Drove home and continued getting ready. Got to bed about 9:30, didn't fall asleep till 10:30 but then slep pretty sound until 4:20.

A quick note that last year this race was my very first HIM. Swim went great, bike was great, on the run I quickly had a ton of stomach issues and severe leg cramps within the first mile. I walked probably at least 75% of that race then and finished in just under 7 hrs. For 12 months I have been thinking about nutrition and hydration issues desperately wanting a better race especially looking at that moment of truth, when I get off the bike and start the run. That was my nightmare moment that stuck with me for 12 months.
Event warmup:

Got to the race site. At first I thought weather was good since the sky looked somewhat clear at my house. As I got closer to Racine though it looked darker and darker. Tons of fog on Lake Michigan and the other story was the water temp of 56 degrees. I always get in the water for a warmup swim which I did during the hour delay of the race due to fog. Initial shock of temp on my face was breathtaking but just have to get passed that so that chock is not quite as bad when the starting gun goes off. Took a gel 15 mins prior to race.
  • 29m 31s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 24s / 100 yards

Started off to the left (outside) which works pretty well instead of getting trapped inside. Turned the first buoy and sighted pretty well to the next one. Then, and this was inevitable, I couldn't really find the next bouy in the fog. Several time I would have to stop, lift up my goggles and look just to be able to see where I should be going. I can't imagine the actual path I was taking. I felt pretty good swimming though. Never got overally tired but due to the sighting issues I just really wanted to be done. Finally got to the last bouy and made my turn in. It seemed like this was taking forever but my watch said 28 minutes coming out of the water. Long run op the beach which is fun though since a lot of people are lining the chute with lots of cheering.
What would you do differently?:

Better goggles would probably help. Certainly more bouys would help too but I guess that's not under my control
Transition 1
  • 02m 53s

I think I had a prime transition spot since it was very close to the exit to start the bike. I didn't have to run with my bike very far at all. Rinsed feet quick, suit came off OK - not great.
What would you do differently?:

I think I should practice standing and taking wetsuit off. I always feel like I have to sit down.
  • 2h 47m 40s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.04 mile/hr

My plan due to last year was work real hard to slow down at least for the first 15 miles. That means probably going 18-18.5 mph and trying to get HR down in the 140s for an extended period. Well, got going and I seriously felt like I was not working hard at all to maintain 20+. HR was coming down so I just went with it especially since there was no wind and lots of cloud cover so real cool and comfy.

I took salt tabs every 30 mins except the last hour I think I took quite a bit more due to the sun coming out. Had three bottles of gatorade with me which I drank all of. Plan was to fill aero-bottle at every station and drink that too but a couple of times I didn't get through the whole thing. Took two aspirin in case my back got sore. Ate a cliff bar - 1/2 at 20 minutes. Other half I think at 50. Gel every 45 minutes starting 15 minutes into the bike including blocks during one of these 45 minutes.

I felt like I had to pee which is rare for me during a race but I took that as a good sign although I held it without too much trouble during the bike.

I got passed by enough people and I passed enough people. I tried to ignore all that though and just focus on what I needed to do to feel good on the run. I was maintaing lots of periods where I was 20+ so I knew I was ahead of schedule and my unrealistic goal of coming in under 6 hours was starting to creep into my head. Hmmm.

Lots of people changing tubes, I saw the ambulance out on the course but not sure what happened there although I did see one woman down on a corner and getting help. One bike I came up on the side of the road didn't have a person with it. As I got closer I was somebody deep in the weeds and looked like some vomitation was going on or possibly a #2 - couldn't quite tell.

Time seemed like it was going by quicker than last year. I could tell my legs were getting tired in the 30-40 mile range and then I started to fear I was going too fast. There are several long didtance training rides on my plan that I just couldn't get in on the weekends and I was starting to think here is where I was going to pay.

Finally came on to Main street and the last turn to go downhill to tranisition. Good ride but I am sure glad that was over. Now we are getting to the moment of truth.
What would you do differently?:

I felt I might have left a little on the course, especially if the cloud cover would have stayed but all things considered I am happing with nutrition and hydration which is huge for me. I probably could have had more water and taken advantage of a bananna which were offerend on the course. Nice that they were handing out 16 ounce bottles of water on the course.
Transition 2
  • 03m 16s

I actually went in on the wrong side of my row but there was room once I threw my bike on the bar to duck under and get to where my stuff was. I think I wasted a few seconds just making sure I have what I wanted. My fuel belt stocked with 6 bottles of gatorade was staying nicely chilled in a Little Playmate cooler I kept in transition. I pulled that out, put it on and saw I had a huge amount of ice in the cooler. Put a bunch of that ice in my running hat which felt great. Dumped other water on my head which was nice too.
What would you do differently?:

I guess move quicker but I don't know really
  • 2h 29m 2s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 23s  min/mile

Well, here it is. Was I going to crash and burn re-living the horrors from last year or actually benefit from better decisions and planning. I ran out of transition, saw my jock-strappers which was a big pick me up and started looking to the porta. Last year I remember there being several right there. This year, 1. And there was a line!! I'm not going to wait in line to take a leak in the middle of a race so my quick reaction was to just keep running. Well, first couple hundred yards, legs feel good, stomach no problem, any cramps? Nope. So far so good.

I walk up the first two hills. I figure at this point there is no reason for me at least to struggle and hammer up it. Got to the top and really looked now to see if I can get into a good rythym.

Now, what to do about peeing. I started to think maybe I should have waited in line. I hear of people peeing on the bike but can it be done while you run without anybody noticing and no Center for Disease Control violations? What else is there to do? I can't go in somebody's yard so here goes. My first running urination. Worked fine. Worked so well I did it one more time later. BTW, those wet spots on the pavement may not always be spilled water or drinks.

My plan was to run 5 minutes and then walk 1 which I did for the first 4-5 miles. This was just to make sure I pace myself OK and build my run over time. As I'm running though I am feeling very good. My legs felt great. As I made the turn to come back at the 3.5 mile point I ran into a friend of mine from the club and we chatted a bit. I was even laughing and just having a good time. How could this be. I'm in a frickin' half ironman almost halfway through the run and I'm having a good time. All the hard work and training seemed to be paying off and nothing could have felt better. High-fived lots of donkeys and other peeps. Great stuff!

At mile five I pretty much went to a only walk a bit of the aid stations plan. Got close to the turnaround with lots of people hangin' out and a great atmosphere. Saw Maggyruth and her gain cheerin' like all get out along with my strappers which was a great pick me up too although I already felt up. That was about to change.

Mile 7 I started to feel like my heart wasn't quite right. It felt like it was working too hard and sure enough, I checked my HRM and I'm in the 180s and soon to be 190s. I keep running but now I've hit a pretty serious wall. Aw crap! I'm way ahead of pace on my dream goal and not this happens. Not only that but my heart doesn't seem right! Do I stop? Keep going and keal over?

After struggling a bit more I decide to keep going but to walk for over the next mile to see if I can get my HR down. It's not really working! Around mile 8 I dump a ton of cold water on my head with tons of ice which I had been doing all day but I figure I really have to get my temperature down. I had been drinking all along, taking a salt tab at every station but as I leave that station I'm not really doing much better.

I think I still walked at that point and got some light running in but I feel like what I dreaded was going to happen by my day slipping away and I don't know what I can do about it.

Well, I must have done enough at that last aid station because all of a sudden I start to feel better. HR is now at 156 which just shocked me! I got back into a nice running pace again on mile 9 and things start to look better. Might I still make it?

I tried not to overdue it but just maintain what my body was now giving to me it seems as a gift. Mile 11 as you can see below is actually a time that was about as good as the ones I started the run on! Yes!

Within 2 miles to go I could tell that I was creeping back into that danger zone so I did have to back off some but no way when I am this close am I going to be denied. With less than a mile to go I am in the zoo part of the course I'm spiking again so I did walk some yet but I can start to hear the crowd!

Interestingly I come up the little hill probably 30-50 yards from the finish and I start to cramp in my legs! I literaly put the cramping off for about 70.28 miles out of 70.3 but I was able to finish strong. Yes! And I am under my far out goal by about 7.5 minutes!

1 10:37 163
2 10:46 162
3 10:16 164
4-5 22:00 167
6-7 23:16 170
8 14:03 175
9 12:29 165
10 11:26 160
11 10:32 167
12 11:24 170
13.1 12:05 173
What would you do differently?:

I suppose drink even more. More salt tablets even beginning at the bike. Train more in the heat?
Post race
Warm down:

Heat wise I was roasting so lots of water over the head and bending over. After a few minutes though I felt good. Even did a little jig which I think one of the volunteers got a bit of a kick out of. Really that whole race I had very good legs which I never really felt like I was at the point of exhausting them.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My biggest threat was the heat. I do believe that if that cloud cover would have stayed I would have breezed on the run. I know that's true for everybody but guys 6'7" and 250 lbs really get hit by that and I did but I am quite proud of myself for taking over an hour off of last year's time and feeling great for maybe about 10% of the race.

Event comments:

Now, official race results have data that is entirely different than what I have posted. When I check my bike in, the assigned timing chip for my number was gone. Somebody must have gotten it by mistake. They gave me a different chip and made note of it but I'm thinking they never made a change. I'm trying to work that out. Either was I was still 2nd out of the old fat guy division (225+lbs, 40+ age) but when they gave me the new chip I knew this would probably happen.

I thought the bike course seemed much more crowded than last year for some reason. With lots of DNS's I'm surprised at that but I guess they could maybe have more waves to even things out? I don't care on the run in fact it's a lot of fun but the bike it is just dangerous and almost downright impossible not to draft.

Post race food was much better than last year with a tasty pork sandwich.

The hour delay was annoying but my understanding is that it wasn't the race directors decision but the Coast Guard instead so not much you can do.

Last updated: 2007-10-15 12:00 AM
00:29:31 | 2112 yards | 01m 24s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/8
Overall: 0/1360
Performance: Average
154 Avg HR
Suit: XTERRA full sleeve
Course: Point to point along the shore mostly
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 56F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:53
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:47:40 | 56 miles | 20.04 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/8
Overall: 0/1360
Performance: Good
Avg HR 156
Wind: Little
Course: Flat with small rollers. Not real major hill climbs to speak of.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 03:16
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:29:02 | 13.1 miles | 11m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 2/8
Overall: 0/1360
Performance: Good
Course: 2 loop course along the lake front.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %2
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-07-21 4:05 PM

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Mukwonago, WI
Subject: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon

2008-07-21 4:24 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Westchester, IL
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
I ran into the same problem peeing. I'm glad I was not alone standing and peeing.
Great Job.
2008-07-21 4:32 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Awesome race!! The heat was a factor for everyone I think! Great job!! Nice to meet you!
2008-07-21 4:48 PM
in reply to: #1546740

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Alright, wildee!!!  Solid performance!
2008-07-21 5:02 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Living in the past
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Congrats on exercising (ha, no pun intended) the demons of last year! Great to see you out there.
2008-07-21 5:16 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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West Allis, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon

 Great job out there donkeywildee!!!  oh, and i may have added to the puddles on the run, but i aint sayin!!!


2008-07-21 5:20 PM
in reply to: #1546955

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Mukwonago, WI
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
djdavey - 2008-07-21 5:16 PM

 i may have added to the puddles on the run, but i aint sayin!!!


2008-07-22 1:07 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Extreme Veteran
Wauwatosa, WI
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Great race wildee!!! It makes me happy, though, to know that I was avoiding almost all the puddles on the run....... Nice job!
2008-07-22 3:40 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Great race, Mark! It sounds like your experience from last year and redemption race this year were very similar to mine! Way to be tougher than what the race could throw at you!
2008-07-23 9:06 AM
in reply to: #1546740

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Mukwonago, WI
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
I just checked with HFP's official race results and they must have found my data since it is updated!  Pretty close to what I had on my HRM so now I feel a bit better.  Well, except for the fact that if I could have moved a minute faster during the day I could have taken first place in the old fat man's 225+lb, over 40 division.  Maybe next time.
2008-07-24 2:59 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Great race Mark!  Sub 6hr club and 2nd in your AG.  Sweet stuff.  Great improvement over last year!

2008-07-26 2:41 PM
in reply to: #1546740

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman Triathlon
Great job at the race. And way to hang in there and figure out what you needed to do with the run when things got tough!
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