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Tawas Triathlon Festival - HIM - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Tawas, Michigan
United States
58F / 14C
Total Time = 5h 17m 51s
Overall Rank = 26/173
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 4/24
Pre-race routine:

I woke up many times during the night. No alarm needed. The walk from my tent to the bathroom was pretty cool because it was calm and the sky was so clear. I don't recall seeing a sky where I could see as many stars as I did. Anyway, I went back to my tent and ate my mini-bagal, Clif Bar, and blueberry yogurt. I was alone, so I left to go to the race site early. I arrived in time to get a great parking spot and lots of time to ease into transition, set-up my gear, get my chip, get body marked, etc. unhurried and stress free.
Event warmup:

Hmmm. Warm-up? I don't think I EVER warmed up prior to the race. With a brisk east wind and temps in the upper 50's, I mostly shivered on the shore. When it was time to get into the water I walked out reluctantly into the 55 degree water. Generally when entering the water when the air temperature is only 60, the water feels warmer than the air. Not today. Anyway, I submerged myself to begin the shock to my system. That was the extent of my "non" warm-up.
  • 32m 7s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 08s / 100 meters

These were the most difficult swim conditions I've faced in my 15 years of triathlon. The waves came in one after another and they smacked us around like driftwood. The upside was that the water was less than 6 feet deep in most areas which allowed us to stand up for air and reprieve. I normally do NOT like it when people walk during the swim if they can touch. It is a triathlon after all. However, today, I set that bias aside, threw up my arms feeling hopeless, and started walking with many others. I did TRY to swim as much as I could, but I kept getting pounded and kept taking in water. It was more of a matter of getting air and simply getting through it.
Now, once we got to the first turn, we could no longer touch and had to swim. I tried getting into a rythm, but just couldn't manage to settle in. I resorted to swimming on my back to make sure I could get air and move forward. My hope was that the water would settle down some and that I could swim freestyle again. I tried periodically to swim freestyle and did have moments of success, but it was an ugly swim. Either way, I got back to dry land and that is ALWAYS the first goal in the swim.
What would you do differently?:

I think I did everything I could do given the conditions, but I might have given up too easily on freestyle because it was so cold, so rough, and it shook my confidence.
Transition 1
  • 06m 40s

I had a REALLY long T1 and that was for a couple reasons. One reason was that it was a long way from the beach to the transition area that was across the street and behind a building. (If you saw the layout, you would understand the reason for this, but it was long nevertheless). The other reason it was so long is that I took the time to put arm-warmers on and they DO NOT go on easily.
What would you do differently?:

I wouldn't do anything differently because having the arm-warmers on was critical later. I would have been quite cold.

  • 2h 37m 40s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.31 mile/hr

I rode hard, but controlled. However, in the last 7-10 miles my effort began catching up to me. I struggled a little in the last few miles, so I went from aggressive to passive, but I didn't fold. In about the last half mile my energy level picked back up as provided by the crowd on hand.
What would you do differently?:

I didn't feel like I needed it, but MAYBE take in more GU. My ride was fueled by one bottle of GU Brew, about half a bottle of water, and one GU gel. I didn't feel depleted or dehydrated, but I might have needed more heading into the run.
Transition 2
  • 01m 32s

This transition was more like a "normal" transition. It took a little bit longer, but about average for a 1/2 Iron distance.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It was a pretty standard T2 for this distance.
  • 1h 59m 55s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 09s  min/mile

This seems to be the story of my 1/2 Iron distance participation this year. The first half of the run went pretty well, but I fell apart in the second half.
I started out slow and easy with the intent of easing into the run. Within the first 1/4 mile a gentleman by the name of Tyler came up and we ran together for about 3/4 of the first 1/2 of the run. He helped a lot, but I started losing confidence and I interpreted that as losing energy and I talked myself into being unable to hang with him. I let he and his friend (who caught us late in the first 1/2 of the run) go. I think I would have had to let them go eventually, but I should have hung on.
After about mile six I started to come undone. It was a mess after that. I walked more than I would have liked, I focused more on my woes than on my positives and it became a task of survival.
I did experience soreness in my right Achilles, but my calves and my hips held out pretty well. I also felt serious fatigue in my legs in general, but that's just part of running long.
When I finally made my way back to the finish I was happy to be done, but I was not happy with my performance. I finished feeling relieved but "relieved" is not the kind of emotion I in which I like to finish.
What would you do differently?:

I would have tried to stay with Tyler and his friend longer. I would have tried to believe in myself more.
Apparently I'm lacking in mental toughness. I realize part of it stems from fear of injury, but I've got to BELIEVE.
Post race
Warm down:

I hobbled over to the food/drink table, drank some water, ate some watermellon and some cookies, and plopped down on a city bench on sidewalk.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Confidence in very rough conditions in the water and confidence in myself when I began to feel fatigued on the run.

Event comments:

The race itself was well run and reasonably priced for this distance. 3D also threw in a finishers sweatshirt for the half iron distance athletes, which was a nice touch. The volunteers did a good job, but they could have used a little help on the run course. I would recommend this race to athletes considering doing it. I just hope you have a little better weather.
The race as far as my experience was very humbling. It had me questioning whether or not I should be doing long-course triathlons. Interstingly, my results were about where I expected in terms of time. Generally when I do a 1/2 I expect a sub-5 hour effort. This time due to my training, etc, I expected a 5:15-5:20 effort.
The biggest problem I realized after later reflection is that my heart was just not in it this time.

Last updated: 2009-10-17 12:00 AM
00:32:07 | 1500 meters | 02m 08s / 100meters
Age Group: 12/24
Overall: 72/173
Performance: Bad
Suit: Wetsuit
Course: The course was a rectangular swim. It was abbreviated due to the very windy conditions and choppy two foot waves. These were not rolling waves, but smash-mouth waves that take away any hope of getting into a rythm.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: High
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Below average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 06:40
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Good
02:37:40 | 56 miles | 21.31 mile/hr
Age Group: 2/24
Overall: 7/173
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The course was mostly flat. There were some small rollers, but mostly flat. The "big hill" portion helped gain some speed and provided somewhat of a challenge climbing back out, but it wasn't the kind of hill that would break you. It's a beautiful course with nice roads and easy to get into a rythm and go after it.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:32
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:59:55 | 13.1 miles | 09m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/24
Overall: 55/173
Performance: Below average
Course: Double out and back, flat course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-09-13 5:05 PM

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Subject: Tawas Triathlon Festival - HIM

2010-11-19 8:46 AM
in reply to: #3096358

New user

Subject: RE: Tawas Triathlon Festival - HIM

I did this race too, and I agree - the swim was the worst ever. You said you just wanted to finish th swim. I just wanted to SURVIVE

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