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Soma Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
The Red Rock Company
88F / 31C
Total Time = 5h 19m 19s
Overall Rank = 203/615
Age Group = M 25-29
Age Group Rank = 30/72
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4am. Went downstairs and got the coffee maker going while I took a shower. I had a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and two cups of coffee for breakfast. I had placed all my gear out the night before according to S/B/R so I just put it all in the backpack and I was ready to go. Got to transition a little before 5:30am.
Event warmup:

Once I had my transition area set up I just tried to stay calm. I get really anxious before races and I didn't want to expend any extra energy worrying about how the day was going to go. I had a lot of friends and training partners participating in the race so I just hung out with them before Transition closed.

I was in wave 8 which didn't start for almost 30 minutes after the pros started. I got my wetsuit on about 20 minutes before my wave and then just hung out with everybody.
  • 37m 39s
  • 2000 meters
  • 01m 53s / 100 meters

I stayed in the middle of everybody that was in my wave. All the men 29 and younger went in wave 8 so there were a lot of us. I didn't want to go out too fast like I typically do so I stayed in the middle. Things were rough from the start. This was the first swim where I experienced the full contact aspect of a triathlon swim start. People were kicking and climbing over each other like mad men. I just tried to keep up with the flow and keep my face out of the water for the first 100M or so.

I felt like I did good at swimming a comfortable pace. I've realized that while I breath bilaterally and at every third stroke in training, this just doesn't work for me in a race. I don't feel like I get enough air and it makes it a little harder to site where I'm going. As in most races, I was breathing every other stroke and to my right only. I felt pretty comfortable the entire swim and started catching the slower swimmers from the wave that left 4 minutes before us. I even noticed a few swimmers from the wave that started 4 minutes behind us catching me. I maintained my pace and tried to draft off some of the faster swimmers that had caught me while trying to get around the slower swimmers in front of me.

Got to the steps and made sure that I swam into them. I've stopped just short of the steps leading out of the water before and I've had a hard time finding that first step. I popped right out of the water and got my wetsuit down around my elbows before asking a stripper for assistance. I went to the first stripper that I could find and unfortunately it was a teenage girl that probably weighted 100 lbs. She struggled a little with getting my wetsuit off but I was happy for the help. I jogged into transition ready for the bike.
What would you do differently?:

I need to work on my swim! I can put up nice splits in the pool while training. I've swam 100M in as fast as 1:20 and I can consistently swim in the high 1:20 to low 1:30 per 100M in the pool. I know that open water swimming is completely different then swimming laps in a pool but my swim training doesn't seem to be translating into an acceptable race performance. I'd be happy with a swim split anywhere in the 1:30's to low 1:40's per 100M. I'm going to have to work on this. I feel like for the amount of time and effort that it would take to improve my OWS time that I'd get better gains by working on my cycling and running. While that may be true, I'd like to not feel like I'm muscling my way through the swim and I'd like to be more efficient in the water.
Transition 1
  • 01m 37s

Could have been much faster. I took a little extra time getting my gel flasks into the pockets of my tri suit. I guess I should have put the gel flasks in my bento box and then I could have put them in the pockets of my tri suit as I rode.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe practice transitioning to get a little faster. I did move up three spots in my age group after transition but I could have taken much less time. I could also place my gear in a way the increases my efficiency in getting helmet and shoes on so I can take off faster. Other things that I did in transition could have easily been done while on the bike (gel flasks).
  • 2h 47m 14s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.09 mile/hr

My goal for the bike was to at least average 20MPH. For the most part the course is pretty flat with the exception of some minor climbing so this wasn't hard to accomplish. I thought that if I rode any harder I might sabotage myself for the run. I wanted to have a strong run so I held back a little on the bike to stay within a 20MPH average. I think at one point I had gotten up to 20.8 MPH but due to the sharp turns, climbs and intentionally holding back it fell but I'm fine with that. It took my legs a while to get warmed up. For about the first half hour my quads felt tired and burned anytime I got out of the saddle or tried to push the pace. Once I warmed up I felt pretty good.

Nutrition wise I felt great. It was overcast and the temperatures were pretty mild for the entire ride. The plan was to consume 3 gu's an hour. I had two gel flasks that held 5 gu's each. Every 15 minutes I took a hit off the flask. Once an hour I took a salt stick pill. I drank a complete aero bottle of fluid every hour. The first two hours I drank water and after I finished my second aero bottle I filled it with a Gatorade that I had grabbed at an aid station. I only drank about half to three quarters of the aero bottle of Gatorade. I came up a little short on my Gu consumption but this was a fairly easy bike course and I felt good about my effort and my nutrition.

Coming out of the swim I really had to pee. I didn't have a chance to go while swimming and I wasn't about to stop and tread water so I could go. As I rode the urge to pee became stronger and stronger. I tried to do it while riding but mentally I just couldn't do it. I saw several riders pull over and use the porta-potties or just pee in the bushes. I told myself there was no way I was going to stop riding to pee. It would kill my average and I'd probably burn myself out making up for the lost time. Every time I would try to go on the bike my average would drop and since I wasn't allowing myself to go I'd abandon my attempt and speed up. Finally I just told myself that I'd stay on the nutrition plan and I'd eventually just piss myself. No such luck, I completed the entire ride with an uncontrollable urge to piss.
What would you do differently?:

I felt really prepared for this ride and the race in general. I used the intermediate BT plan and it was amazing. I'll definitely use it again in the future to prepare for a HIM. In preperation for this race I did 4 or 5 rides of 90 miles and several that ranged from 70 to 80 miles. I knew that I would have no problem on the bike course. Doing those high millage rides put me in a position to average 20 MPH on the bike in my last race and in this one. If I had to do anything different in preperation for the bike portion of a HIM would be to focus a little more on intervals and higher intensity rides. I would not have sacrificed those big bike days of 90 miles but I would have added higher intensity rides during the week to complement the benefit gained by riding higher mileage then what will be required during the race.
Transition 2
  • 02m 20s

Way too slow! There was a backpack where my bike was supposed to be racked. I had to kick it to the side in order to rack my bike. I got my shoes off, socks and running shoes on. I had to unstrap my Garmin and get it on my wrist. I then had to reset it for the run since I didn't have it in multi-sport mode. I took off running and realized that while I had my run gel flask in my hand, I also had both the gel flasks in the pockets of my tri suit. I turned around and ran half way down my row and threw the two flasks in the direction of my bike. I then made my way out of transition.
What would you do differently?:

I wasted way too much time with my Garmin. I probably should have just strapped it to my wrist for the bike so I didn't have to mess with it for the run. I need to be more focused on what I'm doing and what I need to do to get out of transition faster.
  • 1h 50m 27s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 26s  min/mile

Coming out of transition I had to stop at the porta-potty to take that pee I had been holding in for almost three hours. I relieved myself which gave me a feeling of indescribable joy! I set out on the run with the intent of holding a 9min/mile pace for the first two miles and then picking up my pace from there. My overall goal for the run was an 8:30/mile average. I don't know if it was my bathroom break or my usual inclination to go out too fast but I started running sub 8min/mile. I made a conscious effort after the first half mile to slow down. I wanted to have a strong run and maintaining that fast of a pace was a recipe for disaster. During the first lap I found myself running between 8-8.5 minutes per mile. I felt really comfortable and for the most part I hovered around 8:15/mile. At each aid station I took in water and dumped water over my head. When ice was available I put it in my tri suit. I had a gel flask with three Gu's in it and I took a little sip off of it at just about every aid station for the first 9 miles. By the time I had started the run the sun had came out and it started to get hot out. I don't recall the exact temperature but it was getting into the high 80's I believe. I felt pretty good after the first lap but at my pace I knew the second lap was going to be hard. My overall goal was to average 8:30 a mile and I had exceeded that by a good amount on the first lap. I kept up my pace until about mile 9. I started to get a slight cramp in my quads. It was more of an annoyance then anything. It didn't bother me to the point of walking but it did slow my pace down a little. I wasn't too worried because I was already ahead of where I wanted to be. I just kept pushing along taking in water, gel and keeping cool at every aid station. By mile 11 I was pretty tired. My pace started to slow down above 8:30 a mile. I didn't panic because I had already exceeded my run goal pace and I only had two miles left. I knew that there would be a point in this race where my ability to hit my overall goal would become more mental then physical. This was that moment. I told myself that no matter what my pace was that I was going to give it everything that I had and just keep pushing towards the finish line. My pace over the last mile was between 9-9:30/mile but I didn't care because I could hear the crowd at the finish line. I got some great cheers from some BT friends that were under the Mill Ave bridge as I tuned left and made my way towards the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This was a half marathon PR for me and it came after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike. I felt pretty good the entire run with the exception of the last two miles. I think that after nearly 70.3 miles you're not supposed to feel fantastic by any means and fatigue is to be expected.
Post race
Warm down:

Poured a bottle of ice cold water over my head and ate some oranges and animal crackers. Hung out with my family that came to support me and some friends that had finished ahead of me. Then I spent some time walking around and exchanging race stories with friends and training partners.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm not sure what to write here. This was my first Half Ironman. When I signed up for this race my goal was to finish under six hours. After my performance at the Nathans OLY I knew the goal of six hours was going to be too easy for where my fitness was at. I told myself that I didn't want to finish any slower then 5:30:00 but realistically I wanted to push myself and finish under 5:20:00. I just so happens that is exactly here I finished without much of a cushion.

There are a lot of things that I need to work on. Training for this race has tough me a lot about the importance of consistency. If I want to keep progressing I've got to be able to find the balance between training and life outside of triathlon. I was able to find that balance during the past 20 weeks. I've got to do the same thing next year. My bike and running performance have really improved and I hope to be even better next year in all three disciplines. I want to race a couple OLY's next year and possibly two HIM's. I will do the SOMA HIM again. I like those distances and I hope to be able to improve in my abilities.

Event comments:

I've always said that as I move up in distance I gain more and more respect for the sport of triathlon and what it take to be an Ironman. I started in triathlon with that goal in mind but this race humbled me in a way. I had a great performance but I gained so much respect for what it takes to go long. I'm excited for another year of training and racing and I think I'll assess my Ironman readiness after next season.

Last updated: 2009-09-01 12:00 AM
00:37:39 | 2000 meters | 01m 53s / 100meters
Age Group: 34/72
Overall: 216/615
Performance: Average
Suit: Blueseventy Sprint - Full Sleeve
Course: 1.2 mile rectangle in Tempe Town Lake
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:37
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:47:14 | 56 miles | 20.09 mile/hr
Age Group: 44/72
Overall: 340/615
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Three 18.67 mile loops around Tempe. Since the race is confined within the city limits of Tempe, the course had 5 hair pin turns.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:20
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:50:27 | 13.1 miles | 08m 26s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/72
Overall: 164/615
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops around Tempe Town Lake. Pretty flat course, I think only 200 feet of elevation gain.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Good
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

2009-10-26 1:14 PM

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Chandler, Arizona
Subject: Soma Half Iron Triathlon

2009-10-26 1:15 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Chandler, Arizona
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon

Oops, ETA that overall ranks are based on just men and not total participants.


Also, sight not site

Edited by Mirg 2009-10-26 1:37 PM
2009-10-26 1:42 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Wow, you PR'ed the half marathon? That's fantastic!

Congrats on a great race, Kevin.
2009-10-26 2:11 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon

Like Chad said, a PR on your half is amazing! Great job, your training has really been paying off. i agree with you on the swim, I couldn't find open water anywhere!!. Don't be too hard on yourself about the time though, too many factors that make it WAYY different. You're a strong swimmer and you had a great race! Good Job!

2009-10-26 2:42 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Awesome job out there Kevin!  All that training really paid off for you.

2009-10-26 3:01 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon

Super job! yes, we've never met but I'll bet we crossed paths yesterday, I started in the wave right behind you!

Congrats on meeting your goal time and for the 1/2 marathon PR (I did too!). Looks like the HIM distance suits you!

2009-10-27 11:28 AM
in reply to: #2479869

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Extreme Veteran
Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon

Nice work Kevin, a 1/2 mary PR in a tri is awesome!!! All your miles sure paid off!!

2009-10-27 12:00 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Nice job, Kevin, very solid run!
2009-10-27 1:05 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Congratulations on your first 70.3 and awesome 1/2 marathon PR.
2009-10-27 3:53 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Great report. I really how you touched on how important it is to find a balance and being consistant. As people, I think we have so much going on (work, relationships, school, social life etc) that gets in the way of our tri goals. Ultimately, we have to decide what is more important...cause as they say in swimming: It's not about getting stronger, it's about eliminating resistance.
2009-10-28 4:35 PM
in reply to: #2479869

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Soma Half Iron Triathlon
Great race, and great race report. All of your training really did pay off in a very impressive performance. When you decide to do an Ironman, I'm sure you'll dedicate the same amount of hard work in your training and finish with equally impressive results! Congrats on the half mary PR (during a HIM - WOW!).

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