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Troika Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Spokane, Washington
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 49m 21s
Overall Rank = 216/237
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 12/17
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4 a.m. and took a short bath. Ate a breakfast cookie with almond butter, then put on my race gear. I was ready to go by about 4:15. Ha! I always do that. We left about 5:00 to head to the race site. Got there around 5:20 or so and I found a nice spot next to the tree. I remember taking a Tri class a few years back where the coach suggested a tree is a great place because you can lean, not rack your bike. She was right. I was able to lean it and since there wasn't enough room for another bike next to me, I had a nice wide spot.

I brought my bath mat, towel, and other gear. This was the first triathlon I've done with two transition areas, so my running gear was in a white bag with my number on it. I actually did not over-bring stuff because I knew someone else was going to have to schlep it, and figured that if there was too much the bag they gave me might rip.

I was really having stomach issues in the morning, but I tried to ignore them. I knew they'd go away. It's been an ongoing thing with me, get nauseous. Wait about an hour, feel fine. I think a LOT of it was nerves. I was VERY nervous. I had convinced myself I'd never make the bike cutoff time, they'd DQ me from the race, I'd cry and have an asthma attack and make a total geek fool of myself.

Cheryl and the rest of the HELP group arrived around 5:40 or so and started setting up. I was all set up so I talked with Cheryl some, but I was pretty nervous and not very chatty. (Those who know me know how ODD this is.)

About 6:30 I wriggled into my wetsuit. I'm sorry, but there is no sexy, demure way to put on a wetsuit. Got it all zipped up and prayed for the earth to swallow me up so I wouldn't have to do this. Didn't happen, dang.

Went out to the water which did not look intimidating at all, and warmed up a little bit. For some reason for the first time EVER I wasn't having any concern over the swim.

Kissed Roy one more time and waited for our wave to start.
Event warmup:

They were all ready to go on time, thank GOODNESS! I appreciate a well run race. You're nervous enough as it is, it's HORRIBLE when things are delayed. The only delay this time was a swimmer who had gone too far out (all the way to the farthest bouy) thus holding up the start of the race. Oh well.
  • 50m 58s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 25s / 100 yards

I was so bummed when I saw my swim time. I got right in there without any panic at the beginning, but was immediately grabbed from behind as someone tried to swim over me. As I moved out from under that person I got an elbow in the goggles and kicked in the face. Okay whoa...didn't sign up for the Whack-a-Mole special! I knew I needed to get OUT of there. Already a few people around me were panicking and I didn't want to be a part of that, having had a woman try to climb on top of me in a panic in another triathlon. I checked that they weren't going under (the two or three I saw near me) and swam on. I got out of the pack and laid back a bit.

My first bouy was great. Swam straight towards it, rounded it close but not too close. Feeling good. About halfway there I was able to bilaterally breathe. Bouy two was also great, right next to it. Got too comfortable at that point, I think. When I get too comfortable I catch myself breathing only every five strokes, which means siting only every 10. That's when I started to drift so far to the left that I think I ended up in Democractic Headquarters! I did get to see some nice real estate along the far side of the lake. Unfortunately I wasn't supposed to BE on the far side of the lake! Bouy four was like WAY over to my right! Hey! How did THAT get over there. I found myself having to cut in towards the bouy. Convinced I was back on course, got too comfortable again. Bouy six obviously was a traveling bouy because it TOO had gone to the right...probably a Rush fan.

Finally the last two bouys I figured out that if I wanted to hit them, I needed to LOOK at them. Wow! What a concept! Swam in chuckling at the sight of the guy in BRIGHT ORANGE with a whistle doing a little dance on shore. Now HE was easy to site on! Swam until my fingers touched and came out. Looked down at my watch and said "DAMN! How did it take that long!" I guess siteseeing on the course is probably NOT a good idea, huh?
What would you do differently?:

Looking at the bouys might be a novel concept. Other than that, I felt good throughout the swim and I saw some osprey overhead. They were very pretty. They probably thought we were some tasty school of black pink and yellow-headed fish.
Transition 1
  • 03m 28s

WAY better T1 than last time, which I believe was 8 minutes. Of course I had a Charley Horse last time. Nothing like that this time. The suit actually came off easy...probably due to plastering my legs with enough body glide to make a porn movie with. Probably need shoes that don't tie, but I like my bike shoes!
What would you do differently?:

Turn on my Garmin when I first get into the transition area instead of at the end. I didn't catch a satellite for awhile. Pooh!
  • 3h 32m 59s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.78 mile/hr

I was quite pleased with my bike performance. I really pushed it, but not so hard that I didn't have anything left for the run. I also biked with pain from mile 0 to mile 56. I had a lower back cramp that was SO bad that towards the end I had to stand up in my pedals a lot just to get some relief. I even had to step off the bike on one nasty hill, more because it was cramping SO bad I just needed to step off and the hill was an excuse, than not being able to get up the hill. That helped immensely and I was able to book in the last few miles. I've got to get that figured out because it's been my issue all season.

Other than that, I felt REALLY good. My knees didn't bother me. They got tired towards the end, but that's okay. I kept soft arms, a problem I had last year. I did realize, though, that while I was trained well on the swim and run, I definitely need to train harder and further on the bike. I missed two long rides due to marathons. Endurance wise, no problem. But I really would have liked to have had that pain that set in the last 8 miles, wait about 9 miles before setting in. That way by then I'd be OFF the bike and the pain would have nowhere to go!
What would you do differently?:

Train harder on the bike. More hills!
Transition 2
  • 01m 22s

I didn't have to do ANY of that stuff because they have bike catchers! It is SO cool! Fastest transition EVER!! As you turn the corner someone calls out your number, who calls it to the next person, and the next. One person grabs your bag with running gear, another person grabs your bike as you run in, while another holds open another bag with your number on it. I divested myself of helmet, shoes, and gloves and zipped over to a bench to toss on my shoes. I was out in a flash...going the wrong way. It's a darn good thing that Cheryl was there to point me in the right direction...I do believe that's been her role all season. Hey, this girl can get lost going to the bathroom at night. They don't call me Wrong Way Tory for nuthin!
What would you do differently?:

Hmmm, maybe scantily clothed men sponging down my body...but other than that, nice transition organization!
  • 2h 20m 33s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 44s  min/mile

I was SO ready for the run about mile 49, but I didn't think it would be prudent to start at that point, so I waited to finish the bike. OMG the run felt AWESOME! I love the run. For me it's like being home. I feel comfortable on the run. If my back hurts (and it did) within a mile it feels totally normal (and it did). I can easily get into the groove. My goal was to find someone to talk to and yap their ears off until we hit mile 13.1. Unfortunately that didn't happen. I found one woman at the beginning, but she was going just enough too slow that I had to do a walk/trot thing and I knew that would bother my hips. It was her first half IM too so it was nice to talk with her. Talked with someone else a little while later, but again just a bit too slow. I had planned a run/walk but decided I didn't need it. I was feeling fine. I just walked through each water stop.

And may I say these were the most awesome water stops since Grandma's marathon! There were ice water soaked sponges, the water had ice in it, there was gu, bananas, was like the Royal Fork of water stops! Awesomeness! Since I do not sweat much (one of my many charms) it can be a challenge on a hot day to stay cool, but with the cold sponges it was no problem! And the people were AWESOME! They called out "What do you need?" as I'd run in and before I said it, they gave it to me and tried to give me more "Two waters? Are you sure you don't want a banana?"

I was really hoping for about 2:10. I'd thought MAYBE 2:00 but then realized that was probably pie in the sky with the whole having to swim and bike annoyance before the half marathon. So I was going for the 2:10 finish. At about mile 10, though, I saw someone I'd passed awhile back. He'd been walking going in as I was coming out, so I was surprised I was obviously going to pass him again. I looked at his calf and it said "15". Oh man, I can't pass on by a kid and not make sure he's okay! So I stopped and asked how he was doing. He was blinking away tears and was in obvious pain. I offered ibuprofin, but he said that he'd taken some and it was his feet. They were all purple and puffy and his toes hurt. So I stopped and walked with him for awhile. I figured if I could take his mind off things, he'd have a little respite at least. I asked him if this was his first Ironman and he said it was. "But not your last, right?" I teased. "No. Not my last." "Probably your most painful, but definitely not your last. You just need to fix the shoe issue. It's not you, it's the shoes." I told him losing toenails was a badge of honor and chicks dig guys without toenails. He laughed. I got him smiling and laughing for a mile, at least. I really needed to get going so Roy wouldn't worry too much, so I told him I was going to run but he had to tell his parents I said NEW SHOES! He thanked me and I ran off. Everyone I passed after that who was cheering I told to give him EXTRA cheers because he was really hurting.

The only negative on a wonderful run was number 158. He was coming in last. I saw him as I was going back in and I smiled and nodded and started to say something, "SHUT UP!" he barked at me. At first I thought he was joking, but no. Dude... I get that it hurts, we all hurt. I get that you're disapointed in your place but that is SO not cool! I did NOTHING to him outside of smile and be pleasant, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who got a load of his vitriole. That's NOT what these things are all about. They are about challenging yourself, and being proud of ANY performance. They're about getting to know other people and having experiences that most will NEVER have. If you get to the point where you're so mad about your performance that you're screaming at other racers, it's time to re-evaluate your priorities. It's one day in your life and every bad race has the blessing of lessons for the next one. Get over yourself!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing! Not a thing! I felt good the entire run and finished strong, but not so strong that I could have done a lot more.
Post race
Warm down:

At the end of the race I ran into the finish line (obviously) and saw a bunch of my favorite people. First, of course, there was Roy taking pictures! He's such an awesome supporter. Then there was Cheryl and Ann and the crew from HELP! Thanks everyone for making my finish feel special! I felt GREAT! Honestly didn't feel tired, so much as leg tired. No exhaustion. If my legs could have gone further, I could have done the entire thing again. I swear. Of course endurance has never been my issue. I went over and grabbed my food (sandwich, watermelon, cookie, and soda) and inhaled that. Man did it taste GOOD! I chatted with my teammates and when the 15 year old came in, I cheered really loud for him. We saw his feet afterwards and no WONDER he was in so much pain! Poor kid!! After cheering in the last wonderful lady from HELP Roy and I walked over the car. After showering and throwing on some clean clothes, Roy and I went to Imax to see Dark Knight. I was pretty sure that I would be asleep before the opening credits, but nope! We walked over to dinner then to movie and I stayed awake and even LUCID the entire time!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The fact that I'm not very fast. I can go on and on and on but I can't go on and on and on fast. I'm going to work on that next year.

Event comments:

I had a marvelous race! Ann talked me into this (like it took two minutes...let's face it, I love this kind of stuff) in February. It sure seemed like a better idea THEN than it did all this week before the race! Honestly I went into it very very nervous, but that's part of the reason I do these things. They scare me. If I know I can do something, no problem, where is the challenge! I love endurance events because you never know what might happen. Plus you get TIME to enjoy the scenery. I loved seeing the Spokane area in a whole new way. I'd love to take Roy out on that bike ride. I loved the new people I met, even if all we did was exchange a "Looking good" as we passed each other. I enjoyed every single volunteer, and tried to thank every one of them. Thank you volunteers!

Things I learned from mistakes I made:
-Train harder on the bike next year so the pain is minimal.
-Nerves before the race are normal, but you can't let them rule you
-Eyes are an important part of the swim component of the race. Use them next time.

Things I did well that surprised me:
-Hill attacks on the bike. Oh I know I'm not knocking Lance out of the running any time soon, but for me I did well on most of the hills.
-Letting go downhill. I did not brake on the hills at all.
-Fueling--this has been a challenge ALL training season. I bonked seriously on three bike rides. Well this time I fueled and drank very well.

Things I'll totally do again:
-Thank every volunteer
-Stop and walk and talk to someone in need
-Say hi to all the animals on the route, even if other people think I'm crazy
-Sing songs at the top of my voice during the windy parts. No one can hear me anyhow, and those who can already think I'm crazy because I just greeted a herd of cattle.
-Smile the entire race, even when my back hurts
-Sing Broadway showtunes in my head on the swim
-Dedicate each portion of the race to someone. The swim was dedicated to my friends and family. The bike was dedicated to Roy (so I sang all Roy-related songs, although I could not remember the Smokey and the Bandit Theme). The run was dedicated to Michele's son, Michael. When my body wanted to call it in, my brain reminded it that it wasn't doing this for ME but for someone else.
-Make a race plan. That really calmed my nerves.
-Put a bunch of motivational sayings and a picture of Roy on my bike. Yes, I kissed that picture more than once. It was a HUGE help when in those last few bike miles, my back was singing opera.

Things I won't do again:
-Ummm...hmmmm...oh I know, Strawberry Newtons are NOT Fig Newtons. They suck. Definitely going to take Fig Newtons on the bike next time.
-Spend so much energy the week before worrying. Just call me Alfred e. Newman.

Last updated: 2008-08-05 12:00 AM
00:50:58 | 2112 yards | 02m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/17
Overall: 243/237
Performance: Average
I am SO not happy with my swim time! What happened? I have been swimming MUCH faster than this all month. What a disappointment.
Suit: Reaction Blueseventy
Course: The course was a clockwise triangular course in Medical Lake. The lake was small, calm, and very beautiful. There is nothing like seeing the sun rise over a lake, and we were blessed with that before the triathlon started.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:28
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:32:59 | 56 miles | 15.78 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/17
Overall: 247/237
Performance: Good
I broke the race into 8 races of 7 miles each. I set my Garmin to ding me every seven miles and turned off the mile auto lap. I just didn't want to be reminded that I had gone 2 miles and ONLY had 54 to go! That worked well. I knew I had to hit a maximum of 30 minutes for every 7 mile "race" in order to make the cutoff time.
Wind: Little
Course: The course was NOT FLAT! Okay on the map there are these indicators of elevation...poppycock I say! Oh sure, they may be technically right. But just because at mile x the elevation is y and mile q the elevation is r, doesn't mean anything. No one mentions that in between miles x and q there is a whole JUMBLE of alphabet soup rolicking along in the form or roly poly hills! Actually, I liked the course. It wasn't hard, but it was challenging in a really good way for the most part. I could have done without the last 8 miles, which sucked the big wong. They were more up than down, not and were icky. That's a technical tri term, look it up. Icky. But other than that we rolled through wheat fields which reminded me of my grandparents' farm in Montana. I saw lots of cows, some sheep, goats, and two farms with llamas. I even saw two Texas Longhorns! Beautiful animals! (Also saw a few dead animals, but we won't mention them.) I enjoyed the scenery very much. Just about the time I was tired of wheat we entered some forest. That was also beautiful. The Spokane River was to my left as we went through the campground. Yes, the terrain was icky, but the scenery was beautiful. Had mostly a great time on the bike. Number 146, as we came out of Medical Lake, rode by me and said "That was the easy part, NOW comes the hard part!" So not cool, Dude. Seriously. Don't psych people out like that. I mean he was RIGHT! It was the hard part, but I didn't need to know that. I like a little surprise in my life. This is why I don't ride the course ahead of time. I like to be surprised. It keeps me young and virile, as opposed to middle-aged and bitter. Number 166, though...rocked out loud. He rode by me a few times and encouraged me. How did he get behind me? Maybe he's magic! At one point he rode next to me for a bit and told me I was pacing well. Do you have ANY idea how much that means to someone who is a noob like me? That was awesome number 166! Oh that's right! His name is Gary Martin! Easy name for me to remember! Thanks SO much Gary! You are a true athlete.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:22
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:20:33 | 13.1 miles | 10m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/17
Overall: 207/237
Performance: Good
Fastest mile was mile 13. All miles were under 11 minute miles.
Course: Straight out and back on the Centennial Trail. It's a nice, relatively flat trail with a few little "bumps". I heard someone refer to them as hills. Apparently a flatlander.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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

2008-08-05 2:13 AM

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Extreme Veteran
The Great Pacific Northwest
Subject: Troika Half Iron Triathlon

2008-08-05 7:51 AM
in reply to: #1581854

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Spokane, Washington
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon
Wow!  AWESOME race and hilarious RR!  Nice job out there - I wish we could have connected before the race - there were quite a few BT-ers out there!
2008-08-08 10:02 AM
in reply to: #1581854

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Bellingham, Washington
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon
Great RR.   Lots of learning done in this race.  You will smoke the next one.
2008-08-08 6:48 PM
in reply to: #1589794

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon

I really enjoyed this report - nice job!

Best part: "I was SO ready for the run about mile 49, but I didn't think it would be prudent to start at that point, so I waited to finish the bike."

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