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Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Maple Plain, Minnesota
United States
Cadence Multisports
70F / 21C
Total Time = 5h 01m 46s
Overall Rank = 45/253
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 5/20
Pre-race routine:

Packet pick up was the night before at the hotel so that was handy. I contemplated going and driving the bike course, but opted instead for relaxing. I slept the best I could despite thin walls and neighbors being loud at 3 in the morning. Had some peanut butter and bananas on toast mixed up my drinks for the day. I arrived at the race site plenty early and got a fairly decent spot. The guy next to me drew a big star on the ground in chalk with an arrow pointing toward his bike. Wow, what a great idea, and thanks for essentially marking my spot too.
Event warmup:

I got in and swam briefly just to get a feel for the water. Nothing major because I figured my arms were going to fall off in the upcoming swim anyway.
  • 36m 46s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 44s / 100 yards

Man, an out and back 1.2 mile swim just looks long. Nobody in our wave was really jonesing to start up near the front, so I though okay why not. Pretty soon we are on our way and it was definitely one of the milder starts I've experienced. I did a fairly decent job sighting for the first few hundred yards, but after that I was all over the place. If you were to track my progress from overhead it would probably look like one of those Family Circus cartoons were the kid walks home from school but does so in the most indirect path possible. Nevertheless, I kept a pretty decent stroke and overtook quite a few people from the wave(s) ahead of me. Arms were pretty tired by the end and I was glad to get out of the water
What would you do differently?:

Sight better. Swim faster. Seems so simple, no?

I was a little disappointed with the time. I put a lot of effort in over the winter and got some coaching and whatnot. I feel like I have a better stroke and I know I'm faster in the pool than I was last year. It just hasn't translated over to the open water yet this year.
Transition 1
  • 01m 30s

This wasn't too bad. 25th fastest T1. The suit stuck on my right ankle a little, but aside from that things went well.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 36m 45s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.44 mile/hr

Okay, so I'm on the bike. Yea! It was just a gorgeous day for a ride. Calm as calm could be. In fact, I couldn't tell you what direction the wind was out of that's how much of a nonfactor it was. Now, the hills on the other hand, I could feel those. It was a pretty good stream of rollers, but nothing too monstrous, except maybe that one up homestead.

I pushed pretty hard on the bike course, much harder than my first HIM. I figured my run couldn't get too much worse than my first one so why not push the bike a little harder. Played leapfrog with a guy for the first 20 miles. Other than that not much going on. I got taken by surprise by the hill up homestead and barely had enough gears to mash up it in the big chain ring. Ouch, that hurt. Note to self: small chain ring next loop for that one.

I finished the first loop in around 1:10 and knew I was making good time. Continued to hydrate and took in plenty of calories. Was much more prepared for homestead hill the second time around. I was hoping the 3 mile out and back added to the 2nd loop would be little flatter, but no it had 2 or 3 decent hills too. Made it through those and rode into transition, more than ready to be off the bike at that point.
What would you do differently?:

Hmmmmmm. Nothing I don't think. Maybe work on pacing a little bit. I was definitely slower on the 2nd loop and I could sure feel my legs getting tired.
Transition 2
  • 00m 58s

Some as I'm riding up on transition I reach down to undo the strap on my left shoe. The Velcro came off nicely, but for the life of me I could not pull the strap through the loop. I ran out of time and had to come to a stop, unclip, and run the bike in with my bike shoes still on. Still I somehow managed to have the 10th fastest T2.
What would you do differently?:

Get my dang shoes off while still on the bike. That was probably 10 seconds lost right there.
  • 1h 45m 49s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 05s  min/mile

So right out of transition is a steep decline, during which my quads take the opportunity to yell at me for pissing them off on the ride. Shortly after the decline we had to head back uphill on a woodchip trail. This SUCKED!!!! It was steep and it was far and it took forever and every step was excruciating. At the top a volunteer exclaimed, "You're at the top!" "It's about time," I said and shook my head.

My legs were torched and I could feel the cramps setting in both quads and I hadn't even gone a half mile yet. Great, so this run can be worse than last year's. I reached the first aid station and grabbed some HEED. I'm not sure how people can actually like that stuff. I grudgingly downed the cup and walked for a brief moment while massaging my aching quads. I started running again and a few moments later the cramps started to subside some. Okay HEED, while you may taste like a warm cup of tobacco chewer's spit you are doing wonders on my legs. I no longer despise you.

So the cramps didn't go away completely, but they became bearable. I alternated HEED and water at the aid stations and went along my merry way. The course was far hillier than anything I've run on. There weren't any massive hills (except for the woodchip hill), but you were constantly either climbing or descending. There were pretty much no flats to speak of.

About mile 3 I get passed by a guy who says to me, "It looks like you're favoring your right side." "Yeah, I'm cramping up pretty good," I told him. Look, if you are going to pass me while I'm running at least lie and tell me I'm looking good. A simple "nice job" does the trick. Don't critique me, I know I look like hell. I'm trying to survive at this point, not look pretty.

After that the run was pretty uneventful. I got passed a few times and passed just as many. Hit the turnaround and threw my arms in the air and yelled, "Wahoo! Halfway!" The volunteers chuckled, although they may have been laughing more at me almost tripping around the cone. I did the first half in 52 minutes and after bit of math I figured I needed to run the second half in 52 as well to hit my super secret goal of 5 hours.

Time to push. I caught up to my running critic with a few miles to go. he was walking and I smiled with a smug sense of satisfaction as I went around him. Am I a bad person? A few seconds later the critic is at my side running again. He says to me," you're stride looked so smooth that it motivated me to get going again." Now I have a smooth stride. Oooookay, weird, but you're doing much better on the compliment thing this time around. He didn't last much longer with me and had to walk again.

With 2 miles to go I stole another glance at my watch. 4:46. Great, 2 7 minute miles to bring it in. Doable, but not so much in my current condition. I pushed but it wasn't quite enough. I came across the finish line strong, through a nice throng of spectators, with a big smile on my face and huge PR!

What would you do differently?:

Train more hills. Not bike as hard
Post race
Warm down:

I walked around some. I heard the announcer call out a guy's name from Ames about a minute after me so I stuck around to talk to him. They put the food and water up on top of a hill after the finish line. Uh, I had enough of those last 70.3 miles, thank you. Collapsed on said hill with food and watched people finish for awhile.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I need to figure out this pacing thing. If I dial back the bike a bit, would I be able to run a half mary closer to my PR?

Event comments:

This was a pretty well run HIM. The course was well marked and they had plenty of volunteers. I was very pleased with the outcome. I was shooting for 5:15 and had filed a 5:00 time under the "if everything goes perfectly" category so coming out with a 5:01:46 was great! It was a 33 minute PR on a much tougher course than my first HIM so I have little to complain about.

Last updated: 2009-02-01 12:00 AM
00:36:46 | 2112 yards | 01m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 7/20
Overall: 101/253
Performance: Average
Suit: QR ultrafull
Course: Out and back
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 01:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
02:36:45 | 56 miles | 21.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/20
Overall: 40/253
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: This was a 2 loop course. The first loop followed the olympic course and the second loop had an extra 3 mile out and back.
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:58
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
01:45:49 | 13.1 miles | 08m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/20
Overall: 54/253
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back on park trails.
Keeping cool Average 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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-06-14 7:07 PM

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Ames, IA
Subject: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

2009-06-14 7:46 PM
in reply to: #2216850

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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

Nice race report Neal.  Way to go shattering your PR!

2009-06-14 8:12 PM
in reply to: #2216850

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Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

Congrats.  You did awesome.

2009-06-14 8:16 PM
in reply to: #2216850

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Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Wow! A 33 minute PR on a tough course! That's fantastic!!!!

That chalk arrow is a really good idea. I'm betting you're about to invest in some colored chalk too.

On your swim, 1:44/100 yds is a good time! Especially if you were doing a "Family Circus" route! And 21.44 mph on the bike? Yeah, you were flying! Your run was good too, despite the cramping.

Fantastic job! And Congratulations on the big-time PR!!!!

2009-06-14 8:56 PM
in reply to: #2216850

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Shalimar, FL
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

Incredible job!  A 33 minute PR is amazing -- you did fabulous!!!

2009-06-15 5:34 AM
in reply to: #2217098

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Quebec, Canada
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
AWESOME job Neal! I bet your swim was faster, now you just have to stop the zigzag while swimming Tongue out

Congratulation for this kick PR!

2009-06-15 5:42 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Arden Hills, MN
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Nice job! Very impressive bike considering the hills and all the turns in the course.

That wood chip hill to start the run was brutal!

2009-06-15 6:28 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Gold member
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Fantastic!!! a PR!
Gotta laugh at your description of your "family circle" swim.
2009-06-15 6:45 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Amazing & Awesome!!!!!! I can't imagine racing those distances (yet)! You did very well and with a new PR!
2009-06-15 7:36 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Greenville, SC
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
GREAT JOB!!! This is a great season for you!
2009-06-15 8:47 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

Very nice! Congrats!

2009-06-15 10:01 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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New Brunswick, Canada
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Nice job Neal, 33 minutes faster than you previous HIM on a tougher course is a pretty big accomplishment, congrats
2009-06-15 10:53 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great job congrats on the PR.
2009-06-15 11:06 AM
in reply to: #2218359

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman

I love the Family Circus analogy - we've all been there.  I think the little buoys they use at this race are too small.  I also benefitted from a chalk arrow - so nice.  I am seriously impressed you made it up Homestead in your big ring.  Wow.  Great race and great report!

2009-06-15 11:21 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman


2009-06-15 2:40 PM
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Sacramento, California
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great Race Neal!!!

2009-06-15 3:11 PM
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Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Congrats on the PR!!  Great RR.  You'll get sub 5 next time!
2009-06-15 4:11 PM
in reply to: #2216850

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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
that is an awesome effort!!! great job!!!  nice nice PR!!!

2009-06-15 7:51 PM
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Liverpool, New York
Gold member
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
w00t w00t!!!!


2009-06-15 8:13 PM
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Dodge County, MN (out in the corn)
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Great job!!! 
2009-06-16 10:22 AM
in reply to: #2216850

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Science Nerd
Redwood City, California
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Ironman
Awesome job!!  Congrats on the PR!!

I feel like I'm in a Family Circus cartoon when I swim, too.  I just wish I was as fast as you. 

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