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Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Knoxville, Tennessee
United States
Revolution3 Triathlon Series
70F / 21C
Total Time = 7h 12m 13s
Overall Rank = 213/246
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 25/28
Pre-race routine:

Wow, this Not my best showing here - my lack of training was pretty apparent (thank you Michigan and you're horrible weather). I was only able to get in 2 long rides of around 50 miles and just a few other short ones through the hills of Kensington - not nearly enough for this course.

Anyway, to start, we had a week long vacation in Nashville (which was awesome) and then drove over to Knoxville on Friday. That night we walked over to Market Square which is a really cool place - lots of shops and restaurants. We picked a place for dinner called Soccer Taco. Ya, in hind-sight, we should have guessed by the name that it wasn't going to be good :) Horrible nights sleep that night as we had a room on the street side of the hotel and Knoxville has a very active fire department. There were 4 call outs during the night and we heard every one of them. This being the most important night of sleep before the race, we should have just stayed in Nashville and drove early on Saturday...oh well, live and learn.

Saturday it rained in the morning, but cleared up into a beautiful day. Got registered - Sarah sat with me for the jumbotron picture - she was pretty excited that she'd be up on the big screen when I came across the finish. Dropped off the bike, then Sue and I took Sarah to the park and then swimming in the pool. Saturday's dinner was not at Soccer Taco! We moved to a different room on the park side which was much quieter and got a better nights sleep that night.

Sunday morning - up at 5:30, showered, drank a cup of coffee, had a Cliff bar then walked down to the T1 where I got suited up then walked over to the swim start to watch the pros take off.
Event warmup:

This was the first I'd actually seen where we'd be swimming....hmmm, deep water start. Ok, that shouldn't be a problem. How far upstream do we swim? 700? 1000? I really don't know, I'm guessing it was at least .5 miles. There really wasn't any warmup other than to swing my arms a few times then jump in the water and swim out a ways where we all treaded water till the horn blew. And we're off!

  • 52m 13s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 28s / 100 yards

Ok, I swear that I'm not this slow of a swimmer. My average 1.2 mile pace has been around 40 minutes. Not blazing speed, but generally in the area of 2 min per 100 yds. Looking at the results of this swim you'd think that I doggy paddled the entire way.

I started out fairly strong, passing a few people and getting into some open water, but then my shoulders really started to burn and I could tell that I was fighting a bit of current. Every time I looked up to see the buoy it looked like it was just as far away as the last time I looked - this is not good. After awhile I had to switch to breast stroke to let my shoulders rest - I was wishing at that time that I'd worn my sleeveless wetsuit cuz I the full was making me work a lot harder than I'm used to.

I kept thinking though that the return trip downstream would be good, that I'd make it up there.....Not. Turning at the buoy I found that the wind was coming upstream causing some pretty choppy water. I kept taking on water and a few times ended up throwing up a bit and my left calf started cramping - not a good sign - now I'm not sure which way was easier, upstream or down. Apparently both were bad cuz I ended up with the absolute worst swim time I've ever done. I was a good 15 minutes off of my normal time for that distance - I couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch and saw how long it took. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the race....I knew this would not be easy.

The end of the swim was interesting. Again, I hadn't done this course before, or even previewed it so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought that maybe there would be steps in water or a submerged dock. Nope, had to pull myself out of the water. They had volunteers there helping pull people out of the drink but I was able to handle it ok.

Now a longish run up the dock, across the road and into T1. The guy next to me was having issues getting his suit off so I helped him, then he pulled mine off for me too since it got stuck on my heals. He was amazed by how hard the swim was too - at least it wasn't just me. But, looking at my rankings, not everyone had issues...but scanning through some of the times in my age group, no one had killer times, so I'm going to say this was a hard swim!

What would you do differently?:

Wear my sleeveless wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 04m 13s

Nothing stellar here - took my time putting on my socks, ate a Gu and took off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 35m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.63 mile/hr

Son of a b.....This was hard, much harder than I expected. I knew it was going to be hilly, but this much climbing I definitely wasn't prepared for. I'm not sure how this compares to other races like Louisville or Lake Placid, but get this....Near the end of the course I was talking with a girl who had done Ironman Austria and she said that over the 56 miles of Knoxville there were more climbs than all 112 miles of Austria. I'm gonna say that based on that comment, Knoxville is a tad hilly.

The first hour was pretty bad for me. I wasn't feeling that great - stomach was queasy and I kept throwing up in my mouth - at one point I thought I was going to fully spew...yes, gross. But I just rinsed my mouth out and pushed on.

At around 8 miles or so we hit our first big hill. There was a huge caravan of us going up it and we were topped out at a solid 4mph. Now to put this into perspective for those of you who know Kensington, the hill that runs by the main head quarters of is one of the steepest and I usually average about 9mph on it without standing up. The long uphill climb by Maple beach I usually am able to do about the same. After 1 hour I looked down and I'd only gone just under 17 miles, not a good start as I'm normally in the 20-21 mile range at that point...and that was the easy part of the course.

After that my stomach calmed down, but I wasn't hungry at all. I forced myself to drink a lot and eventually ate a couple of Gu's and had a Payday candy bar (much tastier than a Cliff bar), but that was about it.

Mile 48 brought a monster hill that just kept going up and up for about a mile. I never thought it'd end. At this point I was fried. The lack of outdoor bike training really hit me hard - my hamstrings were killing me and my quads were on fire. But we weren't done. Coming back into town there was one last hill - not real long but where it lacked length it made up in steepness. I was forced to stand up in saddle and give it everything I had just to keep it over 3mph and not fall over.

So after 3 dropped chains (lots and lots of shifting here) I finally rolled back into transition.

What would you do differently?:

Train go up the hills at Kensington towing a sled loaded with weights!
Transition 2
  • 03m 49s

Again, just took my time here. At this point I knew that my run would be really long and painful. I told Sue that at that point the only reason I was finishing was so that Sarah could see her pic up on the JumboTron!
  • 2h 36m 54s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 59s  min/mile

Right outside of T2 were a series of steps....Seriously?!! Oy vey! The first mile went by pretty slowly - my legs felt like lead - I'd totally burned them out on the bike. The first 3 miles of the course was flat, just some small hills, nothing big, but even so my legs never loosened up one bit. My cardio was fine - it was just my legs that decided they'd had it. Then we entered a beautiful subdivision - huge mansions, nice big trees, and yes, nice rolling hills, just what I was hoping for! Needless to say I did a lot of walking.

Got a lot of "Go Navy" shout outs as I had on my Navy jersey - about all I could respond with was a hearty grunt that would have made my drill instructor proud. Ran for a while with a girl that had on her Army jersey. I'd paced her husband on the bike until I dropped a chain and had to stop.

I finally came back up to the World Fair Park for the last .5 miles of the run. Some small hills there that I seriously wanted to stop and walk, but with all of the people also on the walking around and urging me on I couldn't - so I just hunkered down and sucked it up. Finally I came out of the park and saw Sue and Sarah. I grabbed Sarah's hand and she and I ran the rest of the way across the finish line. Actually Sarah was pulling me cuz I could barely keep up with her as she really wanted to run for real! Was a good feeling hearing the loudspeaker announce that the United States Navy was crossing the finish line!
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a water and Sue, Sarah and I walked back down to transition to get my bike.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Conditioning. No amount of trainer rides can prepare you for something like this. Ya, you can ride a computrainer or jack up the resistance, but its really hard to simulate the conditions that you face when you're outside going up real hills and feeling real wind. The weather here in MI hasn't cooperated at all - its been so flipping cold out till lately that I wasn't able to get out as much as I should have for a race like this. Not sure what I could have done about the swim. I'm in pretty good condition for that having kept up on all my training with the MAC team. I'm just not as strong a swimmer as I was when I was younger.

Event comments:

Rev3 did an awesome job. I can't complain at all about their organization or the venue itself. The course was beautiful and it was challenging. The issues I had were self-inflicted due to not enough training. I'm pretty sure that I could have gotten away with doing Steelhead with the training I'd had, but then there's simply no comparison in terms of course difficulty with those two venues. Knoxville is very hard and not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for a challenge or are gearing up for an IM like Lake Placid or Louisville, I'd say this is a great race to practice with.

Last updated: 2010-12-01 12:00 AM
00:52:13 | 2112 yards | 02m 28s / 100yards
Age Group: 24/28
Overall: 213/246
Performance: Bad
Suit: Full XTerra
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 61F / 16C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:13
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:35:02 | 56 miles | 15.63 mile/hr
Age Group: 24/28
Overall: 215/246
Performance: Bad
Wind: Little
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 03:49
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:36:54 | 13.1 miles | 11m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/246
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-05-17 4:04 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Milford, MI
Subject: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon

2011-05-17 4:57 PM
in reply to: #3504707

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Subject: RE: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon
Great report and congrats on finishing!! It was indeed a tough course but at least the weather was great. I only had a few outdoor training rides myself - so I feel your pain (literally!).

Edited by Frank in St. Louis 2011-05-17 4:58 PM
2011-05-19 6:09 AM
in reply to: #3504707

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon
I kept thinking the same thing on the swim.  Nice job gutting it out fellow Midwesterner!
2011-05-19 2:23 PM
in reply to: #3504707

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon
Way to go, Coop! Nice job muscling through the hills and gettin' it done on the run. Sounds like a very tough course.
2011-05-19 8:05 PM
in reply to: #3504707

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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Subject: RE: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon

>>go up the hills at Kensington towing a sled loaded with weights!<<

Best Quote ever!  You're one tough athlete, Coop.  TN has been my 2nd home for 30 years and I know those hills, they sneak up on ya and you're a brave soul to conquer them!

great report!

2011-05-24 10:14 AM
in reply to: #3504707

Subject: RE: Revolution3 Half Ironman Triathlon

Great report Coop! Way to stick it out!

Those hills sound brutal - should have taken a page out of the cyclocross handbook, shouldered the bike and ran up those bad boys!

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