General Discussion Race Reports! » Duke Liver Center Half Rss Feed  
Moderators: k9car363, alicefoeller Reply

Duke Liver Center Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
North Carolina Triathlon Series
80F / 27C
Total Time = 5h 33m 43s
Overall Rank = 10/67
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/7
Pre-race routine:

I know this is a novel. If you just want a recap of what I learned, go down to the box labeled "Post Race Thoughts".

Woke up at 4am. Had 2 cups of coffee and a PB&J on a white pita. Packed up all my stuff and headed out the door. I wanted to get there early so my car was close to transition. I had brought stuff for a makeshift ice bath post race. Was just right - I got a parking spot in the first row. Had plenty of time to set up transition.
Event warmup:

Just swung my arms around a little while waiting for my wave to start. Ate a Gu 45 min, and then 10 min before swim. Someone was talking about snakes in the water. I wasn't too worried about it, since my wave was near the end, I figured the snakes would be long gone!

Talked a little with Alice(love2tri), Jeff(jlhoward), Wade (nuthouse) and Tommy (tzmitch). Nice to meet Linda (Havin'Fun) and my twitter friend @Darnyce. So happy to see Scottie (halfpint) and Jennifer(jrj0924) cheering me during the run! Also gave Doug (DougRob) a sweaty hug shortly after crossing the finish line. He had come out to volunteer that day.
  • 38m 5s
  • 1931 meters
  • 01m 58s / 100 meters

The course was counterclockwise. That's always bad for me, as I tend to veer right, so end up swimming wide. Sure enough, I found myself veering wide. The swim seemed to take forever. Each time I approached a buoy, I thought it was the last one, but no, there were more and more!

Finally, got to the triangular shaped turnaround. I hoped maybe the currents would be more favorable and I would swim straight. Nope, still veered to the right, meaning it was me, not any current.

About half way back from the turnaround, I decided to breathe every 3 instead of every 2. I swim straighter that way. Sure enough, I kept on a better line. I was worried I was swimming slower, but finished it up breathing every 3.

I exited the water and looked at my watch. I thought it said 34, but it must have been 37, given my finish time of 38 minutes. I ran up the boat ramp and a guy yelled out "Wetsuit Stripper?". I have never done that, and also have it in my mind to skip the strippers at B2B for warmth while running to T1. So I ran past the guy and said "No". Then, I turned around and said, "Acutally, YES!".

It was fantastic! I started fumbling with my zipper, and he said "Turn around" and he undid it for me. Then I started to get my arms out, and the guy directed me to put my arms down and "Let me do the work". He was kind of bossy, but it was just perfect, because then I just mindlessly did whatever he said. "Sit down", "Put your legs up"...YANK, it was off so fast! Loved every minute of that experience. I hope the air is warm at B2B, so I can take advantage of the strippers.
What would you do differently?:

Breathe every 3 sooner. I don't think I am much slower swimming that way, and probably even faster because then I swim straight.
Transition 1
  • 01m 44s

As I ran into T1, I hit "Stop", "Save", "Restart" on my Garminn50. It crapped out on the "Restart" and started blinking. I noticed water under the lens. Crap, that meant I wasn't going to be able to watch my heart rate or time during the race. Oh well, race by feel is what Stacey Richardson said to do, so here I go.

Was pretty fast here, but did not rush like crazy. I skipped the sunscreen, since it was pretty cloudy. I grabbed a bottle of Ensure, and stuck it down my shirt. Then off on the bike.
  • 2h 53m
  • 56 miles
  • 19.42 mile/hr

I drank the Ensure while riding and stuffed the empty bottle into the back of my shorts. Haha, I bet that looked funny. I planned to ditch that at one of the water bottle handoffs.

I fiddled with my watch again, and got to Timer mode and was able to start the timer. I had preset it for 20 minute beeps, to remind me to drink my Infinit. I could not switch back to Train mode, so still no clue of my heart rate.

I forgot to go easy the first half hour after drinking the Ensure, and my stomach cramped up. This has happened in other races, and I just keep up with my nutrition plan, and everything goes okay, I'm just uncomfortable.

My bike computer died a few weeks ago, so I had absolutely no data to look at. I was riding 'naked'. I usually watch my hr and make sure it's in the right zone, and also watch my average speed, to try and bump that up, without my heart rate going too high. It's kind of a numbers game. Without that data, how was I going to race?

I decided to just go as hard as I could without letting my breathing get out of control or feeling any burning in my legs. I also decided to make a game of passing everyone I saw. Not by going harder, but by riding more efficently. I tucked tight, put my head down, used my hips for power (the way they do in the Tour de watching those guys butts)!

I was also thinking about my "Locker #1" blog post. I started chanting "Hip power, hip power, locker #1" in my head. I pretty much chanted that the whole bike ride.

Whenever I hit a headwind, I would tuck my head down (again, like they do in the TdF). It's a tricky game, because when your head is tucked down, you can't see the road. So you have to tuck down, then bob back up to look, then bob back down. It does make you faster in the wind tho.

I had a headache again this time around, but not nearly as bad as last race. At times, tho, it radiated down to my jaw. So weird. I tried to stretch out my neck (ala Pilates "align your head with your spine"). I also tried moving my head around once in a while. Nothing seemed to make a difference.

I was taking the Infinit every 20 minutes. Sometimes that stuff gets foamy or something, and then gives me a bloated feeling stomach. That happened today. I still kept drinking it, as it was all I had. On top of the cramps from the initial Ensure, my stomach was not a happy camper. I just tried to ignore it can keep going. I am lucky I can do that.

I was playing leapfrog with a guy almost the whole way. We were about even on the flats. He would pass me on the uphills. I would pass him on the descents, and any time there was a headwind! We chatted a little, and he said his name was Clay. We'd say stuff like "You again!", or "Man, I thought I got rid of you back there". It was nice to have company! He got away from me on a longer climb. Then there was a long headwind stretch where I caught him again. I told him my head bobbing secret. I guess it worked, because I never caught him again after that. Damn, I wanted to give him a chick hit! Just kidding. Or am I?

They didn't have any mile markers on the road, because they were wet (it was a rainy morning). At the 3rd water bottle hand-off, I estimated I was at mile 47. I started to go a little hard. My legs burned just a little and my breathing picked up. I was hoping that I wasn't going too hard, but somehow, it felt right. As I came into the final stretch, I ate a Gu Roctane. That stuff really helps me stay focused on the run, so wanted to get some of that in me ahead of time. I also started to wonder how well I was doing on time. I did some math in my head, and figured that I'd need to finish the race by 1:45 in order to get a 6 hour time. I planned on asking someone on the run course for the time of day.

Transition 2
  • 02m 1s

As soon as I took off the helmet the headache subsided. I really need to get a new helmet. Racked my bike, put on my visor, shoes, grabbed my water bottle waist pack, my three mini rice krispy treats, and small bottle filled with warm coke. I was not super fast here, but did try to keep moving. I did take time for sunscreen, as it was getting sunny and I burn easily.
  • 1h 58m 54s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 05s  min/mile

As I ran out of T2, I strapped the waist pack on. It didn't fit. WTF? I think it was all the bloating from the Infinit. I had to stuff everything else I was carrying down my shirt, then loosen the straps to get the waist pack on. Too funny! I pulled one rice krispy treat back out of my shirt along with the coke. Those were my special treats for when I hit my 'Suffer Section'. I expected that to happen in the 2nd lap.

As I ran down the main road, I saw Scottie (halfpint) and Jennifer (jrj0924) had come out to cheer! It made me really happy to see them. I waved and then remembered that I had no idea where my time stood. I yelled "What time is it? What time is it?". They fumbled for their cell phones, and replied "11:20". That made me really excited...that gave me almost two and half hours to do the run. I knew I could do that, as I was feeling great!

I had to pee really bad, and I knew it was a mile until the porta potty. As soon as the crowd thinned out, I ducked into the woods near where a pregnant woman was standing, and did the yank and squat method of peeing. I said "I just can't hold it any more" to the pregnant woman. I figured she would understand!

After that, I settled into my long run pace. Just by feel, I tried to simulate the pace I ran on my long hilly training runs. Kind of working it, but not too hard. Still conversational. But 100% focused on good running form. I started chanting "Fast, and fluid and free" in my head. That helps me run fast and fluid. Just like in my training runs, whenever I hit a hill, I changed "Drive with your arms, work it work it work it". Man, if someone could record my thoughts while I am racing (and training), it would be pretty damn monotonous! On the downhills, I tried to let my body go, like @GoSonja does, and thought "Go, Go, Go!".

At mile 3 I ate a Gu Roctane. I had my own water mixed with NUUN in a waist pack, which I pulled out and drank as needed. Sometimes I'd grab a water cup as I ran past the aid stations. The water was ice cold, which I did not like. So, I mostly stuck with my own water. I had practiced in training using the waist pack, and was very good at pulling it out, drinking, and putting it back without missing a beat in my pace.

I got to the dead end turnaround (mile 4?) and smiled at the volunteers and said "I'm always so happy to see you guys". They were two teenagers and looked at me like I was an idiot. It was funny. I took another Gu Roctane at mile 6.

I was feeling really strong, and I was keeping ahead of my competitors and the hills were not bothering me one bit. When I got to the turnaround for lap 2, I am usually dragging and dreading going out to tackle those hills again. But I felt great! I saw Scottie and Jennifer again. I gave them a big smile and thumbs up and asked them "What time is it now?". They said "12:23". OMG, I was having a great run. If I can keep this pace (and I thought I could), I'll get my sub 6 hour race. That really energized me to keep going strong.

I ran back up the roads towards the trails. The hills were starting to feel a little harder. It was around mile 7. And my feet were killing me. I knew I'd see some blood when I took my shoes off at the end of the race. I said okay, this is my 'Suffer Section'. This is where I bring out my arsenal of things. #1. water. Getting low, so I planned to stop at the next aid station to fill it up. #2.Rice Krispies treats. I opened one up and took a small bite of it and washed it down with a swig of the warm flat coke I was carrying. I stopped at the next station to fill up my bottle, I dropped a NUUN tablet into it, all while running. Go, Go, Go.

Then I started running hard. I thought to myself, this is too hard. But I only have 6 more miles. I can do this. It hurts. Then I remembered the Cervelo commercial where Ignatas Konovalovas says "You must forget the love of yourself. Pain, pain, more pain...when you like pain in your legs and all your body, you know you are good". (I spent alot of time watching that video that past couple months!). I decided to forget about the love of myself and to like the pain. This is when I started chanting "Fast, Fast, Pain, Pain, Locker #1". It worked, and I was running fast, even staying fast on the uphills, and I thought wow, where is this coming from? This can't be me!

I was in such a focused 'out of body' state of mind that I don't remember much after that point. I remember occasionally taking bites of Rice Krispies treats. It was hard to chew and swallow while running and breathing so hard, so sometimes I had to spit it back out. I'm sure that was a pretty sight! When I got to the dead end turnaround, I again made a fool of myself in front of those two teenagers and said "I love you guys!". Lol! I knew it was mostly downhill from there, so I just ran as fast as I could the rest of the way... "Go, Go, Go".

It's usually so so hard to finish this race, but I finished it really strong. As I ran into the finish chute, I saw 5:50 on the clock. I thought "Woohoo" I beat my goal by 10 minutes. I raised my arms in victory as I crossed the final mat. I thought for sure I would cry tears of joy and relief, but I didn't. I was just all smiles. A few minutes later, I realized that my wave started 20 minutes after the timing clock, meaning that I had finished WAY before the 6 hour mark. I was like "OMG, WTF, where did that come from?".

Post Race Thoughts:
I think doing the Rev3 race, that was so much hillier helped me develop strength and mental toughness. Pretty much any race feels easy compared to THAT one! I highly recommend doing a really really tough race like Rev3.

Aim high. Know that you can do it! 'Nuff said.

Negative splitting works. I ran moderate the first half, then went hard!

I did treadmill tempo/hill workouts where I ran 22 minutes at LT alternating 1 minute of incline with 1 minute flat. That helped me learn to keep a hard pace even on the uphills. I had done those at a pace of 8 m/m. And during the warmups and cooldowns of those sets, I had done 10 min blocks at 9min/mile to 'practice the pace'. I think these workouts really helped alot.

I did a lot of bricks. Even if my plan doesn't call for a brick, sometimes I'd just run for 20 or 30 minutes after, at a pace of 9, to tell my legs "This is what I expect of you".

Weeks 2 and 3 leading up to every race, I restrict calories by 300 per day to lose a pound or two. Then during taper, I balance calories in/out. 2 days before a race, I eat 300 over. The day before I eat 500 over. I don't like the full feeling of eating over calories, but it does work to preload my body with energy.

For three days leading up to this race, I did my Rodney Yee yoga conditioning for Althetes, combined workout. Flexibilty=Free speed. This works! Get that DVD!

I think it also helped that I was training for an Ironman. I mean, a 56 mile bike ride was just easy for me this year. I am curious how well I will do at B2B because I am not training overdistance for that race! Who can train overdistance for an ironman??

I should have skipped the Ensure in T1, as that set up my stomach cramps (which lasted the whole day). But, I knew I still need to take calories in the rest of the race, so just kept up my plan and ignored the discomfort. I guess I am lucky that I can do this and my stomach doesn't completely shut down. I talked with a woman named Tanya after the race who said that if your stomach cramps up, it's probably from too much nutrition. She learned to cut hers to just 1 gel per hour to avoid cramping, and she got a sub 5 hour split, so she must be doing something right!

Wetsuit strippers are fun!

When riding against a headwind, focus on tight tight aero position, knees to the top tube, and still upper body. Put your head down like it's a rocket. Bob your head back up every few seconds to look ahead. Try to make the wind sound quieter. I always pass alot of people when it's windy!

You will have a 'Suffer Section'. Plan on it. Have something ready to help you get thru it. Know that you can get through it WELL. I think I will have alot of 'Suffer Sections' at my ironman race.

Racing by feel, without data was super! This was my 5th half iron race, so that probably made it so that I knew how hard I could push myself. I actually pushed myself just a little harder than what I thought on the bike. Not much, just a little. Not sure I can do this at B2B, because that will be my first IM, and I really have no idea how to pace that race. hmmm...?

Post race
Warm down:

I went back to my car and sat in my makeshift ice bath for 20 minutes. Ice baths work. Do them. I was feeling great the next day and ready to resume my B2B training. The guy I had played leapfrog with on the bike, Clay, was sitting next to his car. We chatted while I sat in my ice bath and he ate red beans and rice. (Oh, and yes, my feet were bloody when I took off my shoes.)

My stomach was cramped up the rest of the day, so I hardly ate any post race food. I forced down a bottle of Ensure for recovery, but did not want anything else. Weird, because I am usually ravenous after a big race like that.

They skipped the awards ceremony because everybody wanted to go home. @Darnyce took a staged picture of me on the podium.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-12-04 12:00 AM
00:38:05 | 1931 meters | 01m 58s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/7
Overall: 21/67
Performance: Good
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 01:44
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:53:00 | 56 miles | 19.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/7
Overall: 10/67
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:01
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:58:54 | 13.1 miles | 09m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/7
Overall: 13/67
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-10-04 8:18 AM

User image

Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: Duke Liver Center Half

2009-10-05 8:14 AM
in reply to: #2441421

User image

Whispering Pines, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Duke Liver Center Half
awesome job, girl! you did absolutely great! you destroyed your goal and brought home the hardware! way to go!
2009-10-05 11:32 PM
in reply to: #2441421

User image

Durham, CA
Subject: RE: Duke Liver Center Half

Nice Race Report and AWESOME effort. 


General Discussion-> Race Reports!
General Discussion Race Reports! » Duke Liver Center Half Rss Feed