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LongHorn Triathlon Festival - Half Iron - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Austin, Texas
United States
70F / 21C
Total Time = 5h 39m 50s
Overall Rank = 631/1929
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 97/235
Pre-race routine:

A couple of notes - I came down with a head cold and had bike problems in the weeks leading up to the race (aero bars needed an overhaul, broke my derailleur hanger, could not find a replacement, had to ride borrowed bike). I almost shook the cold but the stress got me and I started getting worse. That said, I pushed ahead with the race, albeit with lots of nose blowing and coughing.

Also, my father-in-law "Papi" Marcos Alegre did the race, he is a 3-time age-group champion and so is a veteran at preparing for and executing ironman races. So despite the problems, the final 48 hours was actually pretty smooth.

So on race day, I was up at 4:15, showered, then had my regular breakfast (raisin bran and coffee). I think the coffee helps except makes the bathroom trips more frequent. Our goal was to leave one full hour at the race site for setting up and warming up, but we ended up almost 1:45 early because our trip was 25 minutes (not 45), and the race was pushed back almost 30 minutes.

No worries, just got hungry a little early (see below), and had an extra two trips to the restrooms.

Event warmup:

Not really anything but some light jogging. It's fairly warm. My head cold is concerning me so I am not really pushing anything. Had some of my pbj sandwich before the swim (started getting hungry around 7:30)
  • 27m 55s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 19s / 100 yards

After getting up at 4:30, 3 hours later I was finally running my first HIM.

They pushed the race back first 15 minutes then another 15 I think. Got to see Papi off into the water, 4 waves in front of me. Lots of waiting around, in a crowd of people but feeling alone (the family will come out later in the day). Forgot to look around for BT'ers! Too bad.

So I got in the water - and broke my goggle strap with 1 minute to go. Yes, that's right. After all that went wrong though leading up to the race, I didn't panic, I laughed. In the last 10 seconds I got them fixed and with 2 seconds (literally) I donned the goggles and the cap in time to dive in at the very back of my wave.

Stayed calm, didn't push it too much. Drafted off a few guys who were going my speed. Did my own siting. Managed about 70/30 right/left side breathing, but old habit (right side) hard to break.

Got really crowded on last leg as several waves were mixing; I never really got kicked or hurt but I was not being aggressive at all.

What would you do differently?:

Start at the front. Push a little harder. Don't break the goggles. Don't have a cold. Find and wear a wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 04m 44s

I socked and shoed up at the bike sitting down. I washed my feet (they were nasty, but I brought a bottle just to spray). I took time to drink some and eat as well, and take stock of the head cold (would I get feverish? hack up a lung?).
What would you do differently?:

I could have rushed everything more but this was my first HIM.
I need to try riding/mounting with shoes in the pedals, maybe without socks.
I need an on-bike bag to carry food (and not eat during transition).
  • 2h 53m
  • 56 miles
  • 19.42 mile/hr

With all the things that went wrong leading up to this race (aero bars, derailleur hanger, borrowed bike) and with the head cold, I felt like I did fairly well.

My general goal was to negative split and hit 19.0 mph - go out easy by feel and push hard on the way back. Without a cyclocomputer I was familiar with (and no HRM) I was riding by feel, and I ended up hitting 19.4 with a strong second half. Lots of guys in my age group rode with nice equipment - aero helmets, solid wheels, aero frames. I could probably buy 10-20 minutes of time with my same level of fitness.

At 26 miles (the turnaround) we turned back out of a head wind and I found I felt really good. At 35 miles or so the left aero-bar went from "just loose" to "about to come off" so I stopped for 3-4 minutes and tightened it (glad I brought my mini-tool).

So on the return I pushed it a bit, esp. during the zig-zags where the headwind came back out to punish people. I passed a lot of people in the last 10 miles, even some of the tricked out bikes. I stood up in the saddle a dozen times or so in that last hour to sense how the legs were feeling; I never cramped nor burned really so I don't think I even "burned a match". I didn't cough much but did blow the nose a lot.

I ate the rest of a sandwich and 4 gu paks on the bike. I grabbed a gatorade at each stop and a water. I only had one empty cage, so I tried drinking/splashing the water and then saving the g'rade. I usually ended up with extra g'rade at the next station, maybe I needed to drink more steadily.

On Quadzilla (Papi and I had scouted it) I went right up both hills fairly easily, standing up to feel the legs, and came off the bike feeling good. In retrospect though, I barely made the top 3rd of all bikers, so I have some work to do.
What would you do differently?:

Go out a little harder. Wear a HRM and push it. Check all bike components at least once - tighten screws, etc. Bring a cyclocomputer I know how to operate. Bring the aero bottle (fillable) and use it.
Transition 2
  • 04m 4s

I was dismayed (surprised at least) at how my legs behaved off the bike. I took some time to hydrate, eat a gu, wipe down, clear nose & lungs.

I didn't rush too much, but only took a few seconds to spray own some bullfrog (which puddled up).
What would you do differently?:

Apply sunscreen more evenly after wiping, or get a tri-suit with broader shoulder straps. Rush more.

  • 2h 10m 5s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 56s  min/mile

I was really uncomfortable the first couple of miles - the cycling legs wouldn't loosen up. I had to walk 5-7 times, later I walked less. Then I managed to run miles 3-13, walking only the water stations. Miles 9-12 were tough, my knees and hips were aching, and I had some coughing that hurt my lower abs and just sapped energy.

It was windy and hot, I actually dried out between stations in the second half. I used sponges and towels alot (stay cool), and drank gatorade and then water until I felt really full. I ate 2 gu's (maybe 3?). Never felt cramps or got a headache.
What would you do differently?:

Run more miles leading up to the race - prepare for a 13mile pounding (hopefully reducing the pain). Run harder - more pain probably would have been okay.
Post race
Warm down:

Nothing really, just walked around and ate and drank and then sat in the lake. The massage line was too long. I wasn't really hungry but I ate anyway (steadily) pretty much till I went to bed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The head cold, the unknown, and the limited run training.

Event comments:

My first half-ironman!


The swim was short but it didn't phase me (nor would another 200 yards). I'm happy with 19.4mph by feel (no HRM, strange bike, first HIM). I could have used some more running fitness, could have dropped 10-15 minutes off my time. Need to practice my transitions - knock off 2-4 minutes there too!

The dry Austin season made for ugly, dusty, brown conditions. The parking was screwed up but we got there early so missed everything.

Overall, I was very happy.

Last updated: 2008-06-24 12:00 AM
00:27:55 | 2112 yards | 01m 19s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 429/1929
Performance: Average
Suit: none
Course: Triangle course, sandy beach wading start, counter-clockwise, out into the rising sun, then a long leg with the sun on the right (a little behind), and a short leg back to a sandy beach wading exit. Note: race organizers agree the swim was short
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 78F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 04:44
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:53:00 | 56 miles | 19.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 674/1929
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong
Course: Outbound headwind. Well marked. Some traffic interleaving but the entire course was well populated (with riders and aid stations and police). Lots of cracks and bumps (mostly marked) that posed hazards. There were a couple of bridges with big bumps (poorly marked) where many cyclists lost equipment - those were easy to spot when not marked well because of the crap all over the road.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:04
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:10:05 | 13.1 miles | 09m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/235
Overall: 717/1929
Performance: Below average
Course: Two loops. The first 3 miles was an out and back to "the energy lab" on paved roads, with some of it kind of crumbly (by the Expo center). Then back through the transition area on asphalt, changing to dirt path in the park going down to the bottom of the spillway in the dam. Then back up "quadzilla" and around the outside of the park and through the woods finally back to the transition area to make 6.5. It was windy out on the roads, hot on the trails. Quadzilla had a headwind today (ouch). The dirt and dust was pretty bad. There were some areas with tricky footing.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-10-13 3:24 PM


Austin, TX
Subject: LongHorn Triathlon Festival - Half Iron

2009-02-12 4:31 PM
in reply to: #1739310


Austin, TX
Subject: RE: LongHorn Triathlon Festival - Half Iron
Finally dug out the old photos, nothing much there but here they are none-the-less:
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