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Ironman 70.3 Syracuse - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Syracuse, New York
United States
Premier Event Mgmt
60F / 16C
Total Time = 6h 21m 37s
Overall Rank = 1150/1610
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 102/146
Pre-race routine:

Busy weekend. First show of the season for Cafe Veritas was Friday night so the whole "get a good night's sleep two nights before the race" thing wasn't happening. I did get about seven hours, though so I was fine.

Dudley drove with me to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon to register and drop off my bike. I learned a lesson. When the choice is to believe the GPS or believe Dudley, go with the GPS. 'nuff said.

After registration we drove to the transition area about 20 minutes away. Decided not to swim. I could tell by the narrow road leading to the park and the traffic present that the next morning would in no way go off without a hitch. There would be too much traffic for everything to start on time.

Dropped him off, then went home to pack my stuff and obsess over what to wear during the race.
Event warmup:

Up at 4am, out the door at 4:15. Brought a banana and clif bar, bought a coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I always enjoy a drive of 1 to 1.5 hours early in the morning to a race. Lots of time to think about the day ahead and enjoy the road.

Transition closing was scheduled for 6:45 with the race starting at 7. I timed my arrival for 6. Add in a fudge factor of 15 minutes for parking etc and I figured that would give me 30 minutes to set up transition and then I could grab another hour or so of sleep in the car as I was in the last wave and it was scheduled to go off around 8:15.

At 6:10 I got within two miles of the race and saw exactly what I expected: a line of barely moving cars. It was moving though. I was waved into the parking lot at 6:30 and realized that due to the way they were directing cars I was as far away from transition one could be and still be in the parking lot. Great.

Hoofed it to transition, got everything set up. Two spaces right next to me were empty. I heard that 2200 had signed up, but 1800 had picked up their packets. Sounded about right for a big brand name race.

It was then announced that due to the traffic, there would be some scheduling changes. Transition would stay open until 7, the race would start at 7:15 and waves would be sent out closer together than originally scheduled. Sounded good.

After setting up, I realized that there was no way I was going back to sleep so I wandered around with my wetsuit and goggles. Used the men's room rather than a porta-potty because I certainly had the time to wait in line.

  • 45m 35s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 10s / 100 yards

Slow, even for me, but I expected it. I did exactly zero swim training for this race. And yet, my AG placement was about the same as my last HIM. Go figure. I now know what my base level is in swimming. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Still, I enjoyed this swim. The water was chilly but with a full wetsuit it was quite manageable. The overcast skies meant not getting blinded and being in the last wave meant not having to worry about someone swimming over me. I just took my time, tried to catch a draft when I could and tried to do more swimming than flailing. Within a few hundred yards I was passing people from other waves, not just the wave immediately ahead of mine. Some people were not having a good time.

The 400 yards or so, my stroke "clicked" and I could feel myself start to move through the water faster. If only that could have happened earlier. I wonder if going to a pool and swimming in the weeks and months before this race could make that happen? Nah, probably not.
What would you do differently?:

Commit to actually train for the swim. Be willing to do the work to get my behind to the pool and work once I get there.
Transition 1
  • 05m 46s

Wetsuit Strippers!!

I was in the last wave, so for once I had a legitimate reason not to feel bad when I got to T1 and saw that almost all the bikes were gone. As I was putting on my helmet, the announcer said that there were about 100 people still in the water. I figured that at least 50-60 had gotten out of the water after me already, so there was at least 150 people with slower swim splits than me.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 27m 32s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.19 mile/hr

The stories about the climbing in the first half were dead on. I wouldn't describe it as an incredibly hard course, although there were some spots where my Edge 500 read 14% grades and on two spots there were people walking their bikes uphill. I would describe it as a slow course, though. There's enough climbing to make sure that you'll spend a lot of time being careful not to over-exert and throw away your run.

It was chilly too, particularly by the time we got to the top of the initial climbs. Glad I wore arm warmers.

I finished in the time I expected. I knew I put enough training distance in, I did my long rides. What this ride really brought home is that I don't put in the hard work, the rides that hurt but build strength. I train on the bike to get by, but that's it.

I'm also a lard-ass who needs to lose 15 or more pounds.

Still, I enjoyed it. Hit 48mph on the big downhill, and left just enough in the tank for my run.

The big victory for this ride was that I nailed my nutrition. No GI issues. No nausea. The secret, I have determined, is that I can't drink anything with protein. My gut just doesn't like it on long workouts.
What would you do differently?:

On the day? Nada. I executed perfectly given my fitness level.
Transition 2
  • 03m 24s

No problems here. Had to pee pretty bad so I ran to the one porta-potty in the transition area by the run exit. There were two people waiting in line. Waited a full minute and whoever was in there didn't come out, so I said "screw it" and ran.
  • 1h 59m 20s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 07s  min/mile

Who's a happy guy? Me. Why? Because of this run.

In my Longhorn HIM race report from three years ago I wrote "With God as my witness, someday I will do a HIM where the run isn't a death march under a blazing sun with temps in the mid-90's and I WILL post a sub 2 hour half marathon."

This was that day.

I started the run feeling good and absolutely thrilled that I felt good. I was very suspicious of this. My "ambitious" goal for this run was to run the whole thing and average 10 minute miles. I did the first mile at 9:26 and even though it felt easy I held back. Plenty of time to go harder later. Still, I was passing lots of people, very few passed me in this mile, maybe two or three.

I saw a porta-potty at an aid station and someone yelled "what do you want?". I yelled "Don't get in between me and that Porta-Potty!". Just then, a volunteer did just that and they all started screaming "GET OUT OF HIS WAY!" I almost felt bad for hi, but I had to pee really bad and I was doing a half ironman so my capacity for empathy was pretty much non-existent at that moment.

Mile 2, I passed someone who yelled "BT!". Not wanting to be impolite, I asked for her username. It was NanCan29 and we chatted for a mile or so. She's a really interesting, very cool lady. My goal pace was a bit higher than hers so we said "Have a great race!" and I picked up my pace.
Mile 2 pace: 10:05

Miles 3 through 7 are basically downhill and my splits got progressively faster with each mile. I still felt fine. It was work, but knew I was maintaining an effort level I could maintain for the duration, barring anything like overheating or GI issues. I was passing everyone I saw. One guy passed me around mile 6 and it startled me.

Mile 7 pace: 8:32

At this point we were entering the city on Erie Blvd. Some people didn't like this part of the course, I thought it was fine. The messages written in chalk were hilarious. I can't remember any, but I do remember thinking that they were hilarious.

Oh, wait I remember one. In front of the Denny's someone wrote "Hey! Let's go get a Grand Slam!"

Miles 8 though 10 are kind of a blur. I did start to fade a bit which I think was due to nutrition. My plan was to take water and Gatorade every couple of aid stations and gels every 45 minutes or so. I recall thinking "I need a gel" around this time and the aid station only had fluids. I was walking very briefly at the aid stations where I got fluids so I could actually drink the stuff rather than pour it in the vicinity of my mouth and catch what I could.

Mile 10 pace: 9:20

The station around mile 11 finally had gels and it worked almost immediately. Even though I was now going uphill again I felt stronger. This is where I allowed myself to attempt to do the math for a run split. If I wasn't totally delirious, it was possible I could actually do a sub 2 hour half marathon if I ran sub 9 minute miles.

This realization was met with a combination of joy, amazement and dread. The reasons for the joy and amazement should be obvious to anyone who's aware of my HIM history: I tend to end my HIMs at a slow shuffle with onlookers shaking their heads saying things like "he don't look too good". Then I throw up for a while and go visit the nice people at the medical tent.

The reason for the dread should be obvious to anyone with their own HIM history: if I were to go under 2 hours, it would probably hurt. A lot.

I decided to go for it. It might result in my typical HIM finish, but this time it would be worth it.

Miles 11 and 12 were basically uphill with some decent grades. Nothing like the bike course, but in the last few miles of a HIM, a two mile climb on any grade will hurt. Still, my pace dropped. I continued to pass a lot of people. One woman even said "Wow, you're flying! Go for it!" as I passed her.

Mile 12 pace: 8:59

Mile 13 started with a left turn and a view down a beautiful hill. I knew that 2 hours was close but not a guarantee. I pushed. Don't remember much, just that it hurt and I was telling myself it would be worth it. Passed more people.

Mile 13 pace: 8:16

Turned into the park, saw the chute, let fly with everything I had left. Had no idea if I was going to make 2 hours or not. As I entered the chute I passed one woman and saw a guy up ahead who was facing backwards having fun with the crowd. He saw me barreling in, made the "oh sh!t" face, turned around and started running again.

I crossed the finish line and realized that I had run the entire half marathon. I was totally pleased. Then I looked at my watch and it said 1:59:20. I had done it.

This race went in the win column. Totally happy with it.
Post race
Warm down:

Went to the food line, it was incredibly long, so I went and got my after race clothes and changed into them, then laid down in the grass for a while. The food line had shortened so I got a sandwich, ate that, saw WittyCityGirl, took the shuttle back to transition, got my stuff and went home.

Event comments:

Very well organized, particularly for a first time event. The way they handled the swim start was impressive. The transition/swim venue is great, and the bike is challenging. Some say they didn't like the run course, I thought it was fine. Then again, I like being in the city and I don't expect to be entertained while racing.

I was a bit disappointed that there weren't gels at more aid stations and that there was no cola at any, as had been promised.

The real stars of this race were the Onondaga Sheriff's Dept and the Syracuse Police Dept. They did an amazing job of traffic control on a very busy course. They were supportive of the racers, one SPD cop even gave me a high five. An outstanding job by the LEO's working this race and it was much appreciated.

Last updated: 2009-09-16 12:00 AM
00:45:35 | 2112 yards | 02m 10s / 100yards
Age Group: 103/146
Overall: 1228/1610
Performance: Below average
Suit: Nineteen Full
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:46
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:27:32 | 56 miles | 16.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 122/146
Overall: 1359/1610
Performance: Average
Wind: Some with gusts
Road:  Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:24
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:59:20 | 13.1 miles | 09m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 102/146
Overall: 855/1610
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-09-28 4:38 PM

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Fairport, NY
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

2010-09-29 7:16 AM
in reply to: #3122526

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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

Graet job, Mike!  That is one heck of a run!!!!!

2010-09-29 11:14 AM
in reply to: #3122526

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
SWEET pulling out a sub 2 run like that!! 

Funny how you and Dud always seem to get each other lost too Wink
2010-09-30 8:25 AM
in reply to: #3122526

Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
nice report,  great run!  The things that go on in our head while racing!!!  Go for it and deal with the pain...great choice!
2010-09-30 12:45 PM
in reply to: #3125477

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

Great job, congrats on the great run!

2010-10-01 3:42 PM
in reply to: #3122526

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West Grove, PA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

Great race and great report!  I was one of the people you passed walking his bike up the hill! Embarassed

Well done!

2010-10-02 6:36 AM
in reply to: #3122526

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
Great race and how sweet to have a solid negative split half IM run!

2010-10-02 7:26 AM
in reply to: #3122526

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Melbourne FL
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
Awesome job Mike!
2010-10-03 2:47 AM
in reply to: #3122526

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
So what DID you wear??? After that obsessive lead in ...

It's heartening to know I'll be fine on the amount of swim training I'm doing too. Seriously--doing that well on zero seems to me you have swimming in the bag.

Here's how I know you really did awesome on the bike ...

THE RUN!!! CONGRATULATIONS on hitting your goals!!!
2010-10-03 4:20 PM
in reply to: #3122526

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

Awesom Job MIKE!!! Huge congrats on an outstanding run!!  Well deserved. 

2010-10-04 2:20 PM
in reply to: #3122526

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
Excellent race, marmadaddy, and I really enjoyed reading your report. Congratulations on the sub 2 hour run! Feeling so good like that for the run in a half sure is great!!


2010-10-04 7:31 PM
in reply to: #3122526

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Syracuse

FAntastic race! Way to nail the run

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