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Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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New Orleans, Louisiana
United States
Premier Event Management
75F / 24C
Total Time = 5h 02m 39s
Overall Rank = 195/1652
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 24/142
Pre-race routine:

The usual. Up at 0430. Ate a cliff bar, Ensure, OJ, Coffee. Michele drove me to the race site and dropped me off. She didn't stay for the race start but instead headed down to the French Quarter and the finish line later in the morning. Set up my transition area then walked the T1 and T2 routes again. Walked around and visited with some of the TTT gang.
Event warmup:

Swam for about 15'. The water was fairly calm at this point. But with the wind picking up I expected the chop to increase. By the time my wave went off, I had cooled down. So much for a warm up. Tried to do some arm swings, lunges, etc. to get my HR going. Didn't really help.
  • 37m 58s
  • 1963 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

I was in the 8th wave. I went off at 0728. By this time the waves and chop had picked up significantly. I watched the waves ahead of me dolphin dive through the shallow surf. I decided to do the same. The shallow water extended out several hundred feet.

This was one of my worst starts ever. I couldn't get my breathing going until the first turn bouy. That was about 300 meters down course. I was doing lots of breast stroking and rolling over on my back. After the first turn bouy, I got my breathing and rhythm going. Lots of athletes in my AG had passed me. But once I got going I started passing more of the white caps in my AG. I looked around for a draft but with the rough water there was no way I could stay on a draft. The waves were coming from my right side and I was breathing on my left. This worked well. And the waves from the right kept me on course (I tend to drift right). Even though this was the roughest swim I've ever done, I felt strong and comfortable. I was actually enjoying the challenge of swimming in the rough water.

After turning for the finish, the waves were from my left and I was breathing to my left. That was a bit more challenging. Started bi-lateral and sometimes breathing only on my right. But, I tend to pull right and with the waves on my left this made me drift right. Went back to breathing only on left in order to try stay on course.

Finally turned for shore. The waves were now at my feet. This was fun. Felt like I was body surfing. As I was swimming to shore I could see lots of athletes walking in the shallow water. I swam passed them until I was in about 1 foot of water then stood and ran.
What would you do differently?:

Have a better start by going out swimming steady instead of dolphin diving. I think this just made me go anaerobic and totally screwed up my breathing.
Transition 1
  • 01m 55s


Ran up the levee, through the sea wall and looked for the wetsuit strippers. Spotted the biggest, badest looking guy and pointed to him. I plopped down on my butt, feet up, suit off. Ran to my bike - cliff bar in pocket, glasses in mouth, helmet on, glasses on, off and running. Excellent T2.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 35m 5s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.67 mile/hr

Ran way passed the mount line. Too many people stopping at the mount line to clip in. Got into my shoes easily and headed out. My plan was to ride tempo to interval HR zone for the entire ride.

We had a headwind on the outbound leg. Just tucked in on the aero bars and focused on an easy spin and HR in tempo zone. Used the legal draft to leap frog from cyclist to cyclist. After the two u-turns I was finally able to enjoy the tail wind. It felt great. At one point a cyclist passed me while we were both going fast with the tail wind. I wasn't dropping back off of his wheel very fast. I could sense something behind me and looked over my shoulder at a motorcycle with an official on it. I sat up, stopped pedalling fell back very quickly. I thought for sure he was going to red card me.

Nutrition - 3 GUs, 1.5 bottles of Gatorade, 1 bottle of water, half a cliff bar. Worked well.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Good ride. Maybe go a little easier. My average HR of 142 is at the top of my tempo zone. That means I spent a good amount of time in my interval HR zone. But I was having so much fun on the bike, I just went with how I felt.
Transition 2
  • 01m 31s

Smoking T2. There weren't any bikes on my rack. That got me fired up. I literally threw my bike on the rack. Helmet off, socks on, shoes on, grabbed hat, glasses, gu, and ran.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 46m 11s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 07s  min/mile

Easily got into the run. At about mile 2 I was passed by a guy in my AG. I made a mental note and let him go. Continued running steady while grabbing something at every aid station. Alternated Gatorade and water. And always dumped some water on my head.

The first several miles were hot and in the sun. Once we hit City Park we were able to run in the shade.

I checked my HR and pace at each mile. I was running steady but my HR was climbing. The heat does this to me. At about mile 7 I could see ahead of me the guy who passed me at mile 2. I made him my target. Almost as soon as I caught him, there were two others in my AG running with us. This was fun. We were all pacing off of each other. After a mile or so my target got dropped. Now there was three of us. I had both of them in front and pacing me. Then there was 2 of us. I tried to stay with this last guy but he was picking up the pace and I got dropped. New goal...not be caught by the guys behind me.

Running down Esplande I could see the wall of the French Market. It was shady at this point, but I didn't really have any kick left. I was just maintaining my pace and trying to avoid walking. Turned onto Decatur. Only 6 blocks to the finish. Heard and saw Michele standing near Cafe du Monde. Waved to her but kept going because I didn't want to be caught. Looked back. No one behind me. Crossed the finish line.
What would you do differently?:

The only thing that would have made my run better would be to go easier on the bike. But this run was not far off of my half marathon PR of 1:36, so not too bad.
Post race
Warm down:

In the finish chute, I saw the guy that dropped me on the run. Talked to him while catching my breath and driking water. Got my medal from Bear's boys. Then saw Mama Bear and chatted with her for a few seconds.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I ran this race 15 minutes faster than last year - 5:17 vs 5:02. Last year I was 14th in my AG. This year, even with going 15' faster, I was only 24th in my AG. The competition at these races is becoming increasingly stiff.

My goal was sub 5. There are some places where I could have made up 2'. But overall I'm happy with this performance. First race of the season. Now looking forward to Buffalo Springs.

Event comments:

I love this race. I'm already planning to go back next year. The course changes they made improved the course.

Last updated: 2009-12-01 12:00 AM
00:37:58 | 1963 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 35/142
Overall: 472/1652
Performance: Average
Avg HR: 146
Suit: Zoot Synergy full
Course: Rectangular course in Lake Ponchatrain. Not enough bouys.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: High
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:55
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:35:05 | 56 miles | 21.67 mile/hr
Age Group: 31/142
Overall: 273/1652
Performance: Good
Avg HR: 142
Wind: Some
Course: Out and back. Good roads. Closed to traffic.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:31
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:46:11 | 13.1 miles | 08m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 24/142
Overall: 221/1652
Performance: Average
mile, pace, avg hr; 1,7:58,149; 2,8:03,155; 3,8:03,155; 4,8:07,157; 5,7:58,158; 6,7:58,158; 7,8:13,158; 8,7:54,160; 9,7:40,162; 10,8:20,160; 11,8:17,160, 12,8:22,160; 13.1,9:15,161.
Course: Point to point course from the lake to the French Quarter. Nice course through City Park and the French Quarter.
Keeping cool Good 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] 5

2010-04-27 8:15 PM

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

2010-04-27 8:58 PM
in reply to: #2821272

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Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
Great job banging out another solid 70.3 performance. I think you've that distance figured out.

Stiffer comp for sure. When I saw 5:02 and "only" 24th, I said WTH?

There's easily 3 or 4 minutes hiding in there to get you that sub-5.
2010-04-28 9:17 AM
in reply to: #2821272

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
That looks like a really nice day! Congrats - 1:46 in the heat is no joke!
2010-04-28 9:40 AM
in reply to: #2821272

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
Great job Coach Tommy, I knew you would crush it!
2010-04-28 10:07 AM
in reply to: #2821272

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Longview, TX
Subject: RE: Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
Super race Tommy! I'm sure you'll find a way to eek out those last 2 minutes and go sub 5 soon enough. Very well done!
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