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LongHorn Triathlon Festival - Half Iron - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Austin, Texas
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 6h 36m 14s
Overall Rank = 1375/1929
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 203/235
Pre-race routine:

We drove down Saturday and checked into the hotel around 1400 on Saturday, then lit out for the expo for the athletes meeting, buy an Ironman coffee travel mug, and then to drop off the bikes. We saw some of the usual BT crew at the expo. It was nice to see familiar faces when you are a couple hundred miles from home. Dinner was at Spaghetti Warehouse and then back to the crib for some sleep. I did sleep this time. What a concept, right?
Event warmup:

Even with the bus line wait, we still had a lot of time to get transition set up. The atmosphere was definitely charged and you could tell this was a big-time race. I chatted with John, Erin, Brittany, Sydney, Jonny and Karen, Tommy and the usual suspects prior to my wave starting. As John and I joked around (he is in my AG) I looked down at the water and it looked like OUR wave was starting, based on the cap color. We kind of freaked for a second and then realized we had 2 waves to go. So we made our way down and John gave me his swim strategery, so that I might be able to draft off him. It was a good theory, anyway. :)

  • 36m 49s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 55s / 100 meters

I did draft off John...until the 1st buoy. Then the 1st of many MMA water assaults began. Being the polite person I am, I just endured it for awhile until it felt like people were purposely swinging at me. When A gaggle of goobers started swimming directly at me (off course), I started swinging back. It's amazing how clean the water can get if you Marvin Hagler a couple of swimmers. Still, every couple hundred meters there would be some serious body contact. I expected it at the turn buoys and at the start, but not 1500m into the race. I did manage to keep my breathing under control and came out of the water a little taxed, but ready to hit the bike.
What would you do differently?:

I forgot to get my 'slow is smooth, smooth is fast' lecture from Brian prior to the race (he did a warm-up swim and I did not...he was going off 3 waves before me). I was still sub-2:00/100m so I am not bummed. I purposely left my wetsuit at home because I wanted to do this swim without it. The fact that the lake temp dropped 10 degrees in a week (lol) didn't make me lament the fact that I didn't have it. Still, I did rib each one of my BT buds that was wearing one. Oddly enough, each one of them finished the swim faster than me. Coincidence? heh
Train more.
Transition 1
  • 04m 1s

I felt zero sense of urgency in either transition. I treated it like an "A" race, as I do all my races, but I wanted to get a feel for how I would transition at IMAZ next month. So I was methodical and clear minded when I left T1. I want to give a shout out to Mila, who came all the way from the ATL to stand by the swim exit and say one sentence to me: "Move those legs, Karhu!" That was way cool and I got a boost of energy from it. Thank you! If I had known I was going to have a very average race, I would have stopped to chat. When you think about it, what's 6:36:14 as opposed to 6:39:14? Life is too short. :)
What would you do differently?:

I was racked in row J at the very end, so I had a PRIMO location with one caveat. I mount my steed shoe-less. This means I had to traverse the entire Transition area barefoot. My feet were wet. The ground was muddy. You do the math. I still stuck my muddy, rock-filled feet into those shoes after wiping them off as well as possible at 20mph. This would haunt me a little during the run. I did mention to Keith at the athletes meeting that they might consider sprayers at the bike mount area for those that went shoes-on-the-bike, but I don't know if it will be implemented next year.
  • 3h 01m 5s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.55 mile/hr

I got going and got passed a lot at first by the disc-ers. I reeled a lot of them in as the course unfolded, but a lot of them continued leaving me as well. There were some strong cyclists out there. I saw Marcy about half way through the bike, or rather I didn't see her until I had done a legal pass. Then she screamed at me for not saying hi. Of course I took this opportunity to slow my cadence, look back and apologize and then said hello! I told her she would be passing me soon, as I was having some major lower lumbar issues. This is the result of a sneaky injury I sustained earlier this summer that I haven't had fixed yet. I went through 3 aero bottles of hydro, 2 G2 downtube bottles, a cliff bar, a Nutrageous peanut butter bar (I like to call that one "Chocolate Sex"), 4 Advil and 6 Endurolytes. I never got hungry or bloated or needed a RR break. I winged it well, I suppose. I was sure I was going to finish sub 3:00:00, but a 5 minute mechanical issue 20 miles in negated that. My cleat on my left shoe felt like it had about 6" of play in it. I stopped, which I HATE doing on the bike, and pulled out my Allen tool and fixed it, then checked the other one. I took the opportunity to replenish fluids and a nice young man volunteered to get them for me. He didn't understand my urgency and lollygagged, bless his heart. Anyway, I figure without that unscheduled stop, I would have come in around 2:57:xx, which I believe was my last HIM bike leg time. Consistent, I am. I had heard about Quadzilla, but had not seen it. When I came up on it as the "last" hill, I groaned and pushed my clicker guy at the end of my aero bar to small ring and stood. I didn't pass anyone and the hill didn't seem THAT bad. Yeah, not so much. I came to the top and lo-and-freakin'-behold the hill I had just ascended was in fact NOT Quadzilla. It was Calfzilla. There was one more to go and it looked like a biatch. A lot of people walking their bikes up it. I hit the downhill of Calfzilla and got some good speed, but it was no match for the incline. I got back in the small ring and stood again and grinded it out. I passed a lot of people. Near the crest, I had some pretty irrational thoughts going through my head. Instead of thanking the volunteers, I became incensed that they would pick such a vulnerable area to watch and encourage racers (stick with me here a minute). I got within 50 yards of the apex and one guy, with a huge smile on his face, said, "Doing great! Great job!". I thought to sadistic little effer, you're only there to watch people suffer..."doing great"...eff that, I am going EIGHT MILES PER HOUR, my lungs are draped over my bike computer, my quads are quivering like I have hypothermia and look like Ahnolds on HGH, I have a grimace on my face that would resemble Jim Carey's if he got his package tazed. Yeah, doing great. That very negative thought passed as soon as I got to the top of the hill and I was very proud of myself for conquering that hill at mile 55. Good job, me.
What would you do differently?:

I guess push harder. 18:55mph average is nothing to complain about, but I was hoping for something closer to 20mph.
Train more.
Transition 2
  • 04m 33s

The same mud principle applies here. Although I did attempt to towel off the feet before starting my run, I wasn't able to extract the pebbles, klingons and crusty mud ensconced in my feet from the 56 mile ride, so I just slipped my shoes on and headed out. I did pop some more Advil, a Gu, some Endurolytes and some water.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Again, I treated this as an IMAZ transition and stayed calm and methodical.
  • 2h 49m 44s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 58s  min/mile

HAHAHAHA! Okay, I have done a handful of Half Mary's (5), and this one was 19 minutes longer than my PW (Previous Worst). It's not like I expected to go out and run like I hadn't just swam 1.2ish miles and biked 56, but schikey I could have at least hit 2:30:00. No, this was a run of huge suck. The muddy feet provided a slimy blister between my littlest piggy the the next door neighbor toe that gave me the creeps each time I had a left foot strike. I quickly developed a running style that is probably best not to emulate. I ran the aid stations and walked the distances between them. Okay, not really, but it seemed that way a couple times. I know I did negative split, but that may have had something to do with the Advil kicking in and having Jonathon (Huckleberry) running with me. We stayed together for about 7 miles until he wanted to take off and try to beat his brother Dennis. Soon after he took off, I remembered it was a race and I started a better turnover and gait. As each mile passed, I got more energy. I did run UP Quadzilla each time, but the 2nd time was the hardest. There was nobody there to encourage me, nobody knew I was there..I could have walked and nobody would have known except me. I ran it. It hurt, but I did it. It was a little harder this time for a lot of reasons, but one of them was because I was carrying an ice cold beer in my left hand. Yes, a beer. One of the girls at the Superwoman aid station at the base of the hill was handing out water with one hand. I saw her open a beer right before she turned to hand more water out. I asked her as I ran by where the line for the beer was and she flat out handed me her ice-cold, just opened sweet nectar of the hops and barley family. TOUCHDOWN! The announcer dude at the top of Quadzilla even made a comment: "Here comes Chris Karhu...looking good...hey! I hope you brought two of those, I need one!" Cracked me up. My finish line photo's clearly show the beer in my hand. I crack me up.
I did see a lot of the BT crowd along the run. I saw Brian a couple miles into the 1st look coming the other way and he looked like he was in bad shape. I asked him what was wrong and he said he crashed. I thought he meant bonked. Nope, he crashed on the bike. Check his RR out for some cool updated gruesome pictures. I then asked him the obvious question: "Is the bike okay??" He nodded that it was. His injuries did not make me a believer. Dude had some serious road rash and swelling all over his left side. He mad a game time decision to go with a pair of my Zoot tri shorts, as it had more pockets than the pair he brought. Well, they were shredded. He apologized for it and I laughed. He crashes his $6,000 bike, loses half his left side to the road and feels remorse about a piece of cloth (which he probably bought for me in the first place!). He gutted the run out, even though the crash happened at mile 50. That's determination. I saw some others on the course, too. I stopped to hug Marcy and Bonnie, high-fived all the usual suspects, and got to get screamed at and scream at the BT tailgaters. Gary and crew were manning it with great skill. I met up with Steve (Doughboy) right before I started to veer off to the finish line and I walked with him a minute. He said, "You don't have to walk with me, Chris". I said, "Dude, PLEASE don't start running, because I NEED to walk." He smiled and we walked together until it was time for me to go right and for him to gather that courage he has and finish the race. He did, too!
What would you do differently?:

It happens at every long-course race I do...I forget it's a race about mid-way through the run. Stay focused.
Train more.
Post race
Warm down:

I finished the beer as I crossed the finish line and got my medal and a finishers picture with Brian, who had crossed a minute before me. Walked to the BT tent and scored some brisket (Thanks, Mark!). Chatted up some BT'ers and made my way to the long walk to the parking lot. We loaded up and headed north, back to the confines of Big D.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I haven't made it completely public, because it's not that big of a deal, but my training has been affected by 2 significantly painful injuries. My left foot, the middle 3 toes in particular, have deep bruises where the toes meet the foot. This only hurts when I run. *blink* I strained my lower lumbar earlier this summer lifting some things and it never corrected itself. These are not boo-boos you can see, but they had a profound effect on triathlon. I still manage to get some running and biking in, but at this point I am just trying to hang on so I can get through IMAZ before getting those malady's fixed/rested. I found out at this race that with the right mindset and correct concoction of pain reducing medicine that I can complete a long-course race with my slow healing injuries. IMAZ is up next!

Event comments:

Keith and his crew did a great job. This was my second HIM, but my first Ironman race. I was pleased. I am planning on OLY's and Sprints only next year, but I am sure if Brian and I have the urge to do a HIM, this will be it. Good times.

Last updated: 2008-04-28 12:00 AM
00:36:49 | 1931 meters | 01m 55s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 0/1929
Performance: Average
Suit: NOPE
Course: Triangle swim. Yes it was short. No I am not complaining.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:01
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:01:05 | 56 miles | 18.55 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 0/1929
Performance: Average
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Lots of turns, but everyone else had to make them, too. Hills and more hills.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:33
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:49:44 | 13.1 miles | 12m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 0/1929
Performance: Below average
Course: 2 loops. Some pavement, some trail, some hills.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-10-11 8:47 AM

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Plano, TX
Subject: LongHorn Triathlon Festival - Half Iron
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