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Ironman Newfoundland 70.3 - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Pasadena, Newfoundland
Wreckhouse Entertainment
85F / 29C
Total Time = 6h 17m 48s
Overall Rank = 150/238
Age Group = M 35-39
Age Group Rank = 21/33
Pre-race routine:

Entered this race right around Feb/March, then built a two-week vacation around the event. Came in feeling pretty drained, as I had (A) raced on each of the two previous Sundays and (B) gotten married on the intervening Friday. Add to these fatigue factors a 16-day trip to Asia in May/June and a move to new digs at the beginning of July, and it's been a hectic summer. Not the best way to maintain a consistent training regimen, and not the best way to get ready for my so-called "A" race.

Came in under-trained and pretty much wiped out from a three-week "cram" session and ended up paying for it in the end. Had hopes of sub-6:00 when I registered, but there wasn't enough gas in the tank, and stomach problems dogged me throughout the day. Hot weather and a deceptively challenging bike course conspired to put me at 6:17 overall. Not what I was looking for, but still my second best HIM finish, and a good chance to spread the Blazeman message.
Event warmup:

Checked my bike and bags on Saturday. Showed up on Sunday morning, double-checked gear that had been out in the rain the previous night, put on my wetsuit, and then headed down to the lake for a quick splash in the water before the start. Enjoyed a solid night of sleep, but pre-race heartburn (?) was a bad harbinger. Downed a gel with 15 minutes to go, and went through a small mental checklist as the fire started to heat up (literally) in my gut.
  • 32m 21s
  • 2078 yards
  • 01m 34s / 100 yards

Small field, so there was very little jostling/clobbering. Unfortunately, not much in the way of drafting opportunities either. Water was stained brown with minerals/sediment like over-steeped tea, but temp was comfortable and the water quality was good on the whole. I did a nice job sighting, and mixed in very little breaststroke. Felt a bit winded coming home and experienced a few strange moments of disorientation. Couldn't tell if I was caught up in hidden current or just tiring and losing form, but it felt weird, and made me think of the experience others have had with vertigo. Didn't last very long in any case, and I just plugged away until I could see the sandy bottom and get my feet down. Ran up the beach among the first fifteen or twenty age-groupers.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Good swim in pleasant surroundings.
Transition 1
  • 03m 54s

They handled the transitions like a full IM, with wetsuit strippers and changing tents. Not sure whether this saved me time or slowed me down.
What would you do differently?:

Struggled to get my tri-top on over wet skin (again). Might be time to start wearing it under my wetsuit.
  • 3h 02m 8s
  • 55.92 miles
  • 18.42 mile/hr

Struggled early on the bike. Wind was sapping my strength and nutrition fell apart early. Lost my Clif bar on one of the first bumps, so I had no solid food at all. Relied exclusively on liquid calories, which did a number on my already unhappy stomach. Was pushing the pace on the flats and downhills, but my legs felt leaden and unresponsive early on, and I was on the edge of nausea during long portions of the ride. Negative thoughts crept in very early as a result. Left for my second lap with some doubt about whether I would finish. Wind was demoralizing, and my speed really dropped wherever the terrain sloped upward. My fastest split ever for 56 miles (by almost ten minutes), but too much energy burned up as a result and problems putting fuel back in the system. Even though I came off the bike well ahead of my goal time, I already knew I was in trouble and that a PR for the day was unlikely. Maybe that kind of negative thinking got me further into trouble, but my body was sending plenty of signals that it was unhappy by that point.
What would you do differently?:

I've made some HUGE strides on my bike this summer, particularly on rides under 25 miles. Went too hard for too long here, and didn't have a proper base in any case. Would easing off have put me in better position for a stronger run? Hard to tell. Did lack of solid food send my already delicate stomach over the edge? So many different aspects to my discomfort and fatigue, but most of it probably boils down to being under-trained and chasing a PR too aggressively.
Transition 2
  • 02m 22s
  • 2h 37m 5s
  • 13.11 miles
  • 11m 59s  min/mile

Things pretty much shut down for me here. I left T2 at 3:41, which meant that anything under 2:19 on the run would get me home under six hours (my season goal). I ran 2:08 in Oceanside in March, so this should have been no problem. It's only too bad they don't log results based on "should."

Despite the math, there was never a realistic chance of me breaking six hours here. The bike left me feeling extremely sapped, and there was a big part of me mulling over whether to turn in my chip and spare myself further beating. In the end, I convinced myself to head out for the first run loop, with the caveat that I could quit after that if things still felt yucky.

Unlike most races, I had absolutely no trouble here limiting my speed/pace in the early goings. It was a slog from step one, and I was already into a run/walk regimen by mile three. Took some fluids and forced a gel down, which caused my already upset stomach to twist itself into a painful knot. Jogged and walked with stringy saliva roiling in my mouth and thoughts of projectile relief. Decided around mile 5 that I would definitely quit when I got back to the start and that it was better to DNF gracefully than do myself real harm in the afternoon heat.

Not sure why I kept going really, except that I didn't want the DNF albatross around my neck. Maybe that's foolish pride? On the other hand, I was wearing a Blazeman tri-top, and thinking about Jon Blais' strength and courage put my problems into a different perspective. I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and focus instead on the beauty of my surroundings, the good health and good fortune I've enjoyed throughout my life, and the strength and determination of other competitors on the course, some of whom were having better days than mine, others worse.

Anyway, I started out for loop two knowing it would be ugly, and I was 100% correct in that. My split for loop 1 was already grim (1:11), and loop 2 proved even more tedious (1:26). Walked a lot in miles 11 and 12, trying to muster some energy to run in the last mile. Got my legs going with about half a mile to go, and with nobody else around me, decided to do the Blazeman log-roll at the finish. Announcer was VERY cool about and spent a few minutes talking about Jon Blais and the Blazeman Foundation. Good to help get the word out even on a tough day. Knowing that I had endured a little bit of adversity so that others could hear a few words about the Blazeman and maybe learn more about his story cheered me considerably.
What would you do differently?:

Slogged my way to my second best HIM finish, though I wouldn't say I performed strongly or even competently. One nice thing about the sport of triathlon: there's rarely any dishonesty that doesn't come back to bite you in the tush. Uneven training and lack of focus this summer caught up to me on a course I had underestimated. Sub-six remains the goal, though, so there's more work to be done. Glad to finish another HIM with good health and without injury.
Post race

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-02-27 12:00 AM
00:32:21 | 2078 yards | 01m 34s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/33
Overall: 0/238
Performance: Good
Suit: DeSoto Black Pearl Full
Course: Basically out and back from the beach, with a short jog over to the right at the halfway mark to ensure that inbound swimmers didn't crash into those still heading out.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Time: 03:54
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:02:08 | 55.92 miles | 18.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/33
Overall: 124/238
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind
Course: Double out and back on the Trans-Canada Highway. Very scenic, but much more taxing than the profile might suggest. A LONG, steep climb at the turnaround proved challenging (twice), as did the headwind which slowed things considerably on the way out.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Drinks: Too much
Time: 02:22
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:37:05 | 13.11 miles | 11m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/33
Overall: 192/238
Performance: Bad
Course: Double out and back on a mixture of paved and unpaved.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2008-08-04 12:55 PM

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Central New York
Subject: Ironman Newfoundland 70.3

2008-08-04 12:59 PM
in reply to: #1580323

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Subject: RE: Ironman Newfoundland 70.3
No idea you were doing another HIM... COngrats on gutting out what sounds like a tough day.  Definitely an experience you can use for future motivation
2008-08-04 1:31 PM
in reply to: #1580323

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Cambridge, MA
Subject: RE: Ironman Newfoundland 70.3

Wow, Newfoundland has a Pasadena...and a 70.3?!   Could be worth a trip up to the NE for me next year...hmmm...but about you, Xan. 

First, congrats on the marriage and the prior successful races and trips that have kept you busy.  Life has been good to you, just not good to your training it sounds like.  No biggie.  Next, the critical thing here was the lack of cals on the bike with the CLIF bar drop.  What a bummer!  You just can't get through a fast (congrats!) bike leg of 50+ miles on liquid cals alone.  No shot blox, No gels?  Not even a banana at an aid table...that's a huge problem setting up a tough run. 

And finally, the run == two loop courses are so tough, and you were a real Blais-like trooper to push through fatigue, cramps, and that whole second loop!  Wow.  Way to not settle for a DNF.  I love what you said here: "I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and focus instead on the beauty of my surroundings, the good health and good fortune I've enjoyed throughout my life, and the strength and determination of other competitors on the course, some of whom were having better days than mine, others worse."

 That's what a rough day at the races is all about...well said!

Better luck and timing for the next HIM adventure you have.  3rd time's a charm! 

Cheers, -Sunny 

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