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Welland Triathlon - Half Iron Distance - Triathlon

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Welland, Ontario
Multisport Canada
20C / 68F
Total Time = 5h 22m 40s
Overall Rank = 123/305
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 23/38
Pre-race routine:

Felt very calm and not at all nervous. With Ironman Canada only a 8 weeks away this felt more like a training day. On the drive down I picked up a Tim Horton's BELT sandwich and XL coffee. Forgot my pump but borrowed one from a dude near by.
Parking was a pain - I lined up and drove into one lot only to be informed it was full. It was a big mess for all those cars to back out. 20 minutes wasted.
The transition was simple - set up my gear, peed, and got dressed in my suit.
Event warmup:

Jumped into the canal and did 50m just to get water. Peed again. (don't judge me - we all do it :-) )

Chatted a bit with a nice lady (Trisha) from Ottawa and then the start horn went off. The washing machine started to churn.
  • 41m 59s
  • 2000 meters
  • 02m 06s / 100 meters

I positioned myself nearer to the back and shore. There was some jostling and contact in the first 350m but nothing violent and aggressive. I was calm and composed and started trying to draft of others. My problem with drafting is that it requires some concentration and I have trouble maintaining good form and bilateral breathing while focused on drafting. 500m into the swim I had some rhythm and enough free space to swim comfortably. There would be some congestion rounding the green buoys but nothing too scary.
1000m into the swim my right hand started to go numb. The numbness got progressively worse throughout the swim until I exited the water. By the end it was becoming a real problem as my right arm was losing power and my stroke was affected. I had this happen once before, 3 years ago when I did an Olympic triathlon swim. I suspect that my T1 wetsuit top was restricting circulation somewhere. I think (hope) its not fit issue but simply how I put on the suit. I wore the same Desoto T1 wetsuit top when I was 15lbs heavier and not had problems so hopefully it’s just the armpit seam cutting in due to position and not size. I need to figure this out before the my full ironman in August.
The other swim problem was that I started to realize I needed to pee about 1200m into the swim. I guess that XL coffee was taking its toll. For the life of me I could not relax enough to ‘let go’ while swimming. I had to hold it (painfully) until i got out of the water.

What would you do differently?:

1.Still need to work on swim technique, particularly in open water.
2.Wetsuit cutting off circulation to right arm. Need to find a sweet spot where the top does not cut off circ. This means lots more long distance swims in the suit.
3.Having to pee. I need to learn to ‘let go’ while swimming or to pee it all out before the start.

Transition 1
  • 05m 55s

I really screwed up this part of the race. The T1 involves a 400 run up from the canal to the transition zone. As soon as I exited the water I sat down on the grass and removed my wetsuit. Then I ran 100m into the bushes for that much needed pee. This run-up, wetsuit strip and pee took 3:53. When I got into the Transition zone it was really easy to find my bike. It was one of three remaining on my bike rack. My ego shrunk down two sizes. I sat down and started putting on my shoes. For some reason I did not have the motivation to rush through this. The transition took 2:02 – one of my slowest of all time. All together, my run-up and T1 time was 295th out of 300 racers – not my best performance.
  • 2h 38m 54s
  • 90 kms
  • 33.98 km/hr

Cycling has traditionally been my only good discipline. Despite my poor showing in the water and T1, I decided to make up for it on the bike. I started hammering away, averaging 35.5km/hr for the first 30km. I had a 500ml bottle of ‘Boost’ liquid meal replacement and a 710ml bottle of Gatorade on the bike, plus 2 gels and a granola bar. I did a good job taking in calories. I drank almost all the Boost over the 90km (sipping it every 20min or so), and ate the granola and one gel. I skipped the first bottle exchange and replaced my Gatorade bottle with a water bottle at the 60km exchange. It was only then that i realized how much i need more water. I gulped the entire 750ml in one go and was still thirsty. The last 20km my average speed dropped to 31km/hr. I was feeling fatigued and sore.
I feel great for having maintained an average speed of 34km/hr over the 90km course. My analysis of the race results shows that I passed 97 people on the bike while only 4 people passed me. I also feel very good about that. But what surprised me is that my bike split was only the 24th fastest out of the 38 people in my Age Group. These are some fast guys that I’m competing against.
What would you do differently?:

I did not take in enough water. I should have drank the Gatorade before 30km and grabbed a fresh water bottle at the first exchange. I need to drink more.
I was just barely trained enough for the distance. With a full Ironman coming up in two months I need to train much more on the bike.
I started to chafe ‘down there’ by 70km. I had applied ‘Chamois Butter’ before the race but the lubrication had worn off. Next time I’ll bring a little with me or find a brand that does not wear off as easily.
I applied sunblock cream in T1 but did not spread it around properly. I tried doing it on the bike and my hands became so slippery I lost my grip on the handlebars and almost crashed at 35km/hr. In the future I’ll bring the spray-on type.

Transition 2
  • 02m 2s

Once again my transition skills were not working. I struggled to get my bike stuff put away and my run stuff put on. I had to stop and go to my bag at the fence to re-apply the ‘Chamois Butt’er’ to relieve the chafing and also get some tissues to blow my runny nose. I was very thirsty and felt cramps coming on. I had to then run to the HEED station by the Porta-toilets to get some fluids. T2 took a full minute longer than it should have.
  • 1h 53m 32s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 05m 23s  min/km

The run was where my perceived performance and actual performance diverged. I felt like I was having a terrible run but in reality I ran a very solid race. In the first 1km I realized I needed to pee so I pulled over into the bushes (again) and tinkled – I realized I was dehydrated from the colour and quantity. From then I decided that at EVERY aid station I would drink 1 to 2 cup of water. I also grabbed grapes, pretzels and coke whenever available. I must have drank 2 litres on that run and I could feel my stomach getting full of water and grapes. All that liquid helped me get over the tight calves and shin splints – if I hadn’t started drinking I would have cramped up quickly. Unfortunately I was starting to suffer GI problems by the end but managed to complete the run.
My refuelling strategy meant that I walked at almost every aid station. This felt like a horrible waste of time and I was sure my run split would suffer terribly – but it turned out not to be the case. I had been working on tempo runs for the past few months (running 10km @ 4:35 min/km pace) and it really paid off. I must have been averaging that sort of speed since even with all those walks my pace for the total run split was 5:23.
The last 3km were painful – I was really feeling the muscle fatigue. Its a chilling thought that in two months I am going to do a race twice as long in the BC mountains.
Doing a race analysis for the run I was passed by 18 runners while I passed 14. This is a significant improvement for me as in past years I would be passed by 10 runners for each 1 I passed. 2 of those that I passed were in my Age Group. The most amazing stat is that for my Age Group my run rank was 22nd of 38 – better than my bike leg. Who would have thunk it?

What would you do differently?:

I had been using my Timex Ironman watch to time the splits but in the confusion of T2 I accidentally stopped it off instead on hitting the split button. I did not turn it back on until 500m into the run, so I had lost about 3min. This meant that I was never quite sure of my exact run time. Next time I’ll be more careful with the watch.
I’ll keep a bottle of water in T2 to take with me so I can drink as I start the run.

Post race
Warm down:

I was very happy with my 5hr:22min:40sec time. This is 1hr:18min faster than I did the Muskoka 70.3. It was disappointing to see that I was 23rd out of 38 in my age group but the level of competition here was much higher than at most of the regular weekend sprints.

Hero Burger, milk, coke, oranges... Chatted with Jody Miller for a while – she gave me some good insight on my Ironman training (i.e. I need more of it). I packed my stuff and loaded the car and came back for the awards. Once again the curse of the draw-prize continues. After 30+ triathlons in 6 years and I’ve won only one measly prize

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1. Weak Swim - mostly technique but wetsuit cutting off circulation and having to pee.
2. Terrible Transitions.
3. I had just flow in from a week long Eurpoean business trip, so I was jet-lagged, a little undertrained and just plain tired.
4. My kids were competing at a Tri-Kids event at the same time. I was constantly wondering how they were doing.

Event comments:

Fun race and ideal for setting a PB at the distance.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-06-27 12:00 AM
00:41:59 | 2000 meters | 02m 06s / 100meters
Age Group: 34/38
Overall: 205/305
Performance: Average
Suit: T1 DeSoto
Course: The Welland Canal is the perfect location for weaker swimmers (like me) to race longer distances. The canal is approx. 75m wide, with very slow moving water. The water itself is clean and deep, with the sides of the canal dropping off quickly about 1m from shore. During the entire swim you can be within a few strokes of shore (except when crossing the 75m to the other bank) – this makes for a psychological advantage. You can also use the shoreline as a guide to keep you on course, you don’t need to lift your head up as often as in a lake swim. The only thing to watch out for is the bridge you have to swim twice under. It’s a good idea not to collide with the concrete supports. The set-up is a simple rectangular course. The mass start followed by narrowing lane makes for some turbulence in the first 500m but it’s manageable even for weaker swimmers like me.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 20C / 68F Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:55
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:38:54 | 90 kms | 33.98 km/hr
Age Group: 24/38
Overall: 95/305
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: The bike course is a giant lollypop shape – if that lollypop was left out in the sun too long. The road is pancake flat with only some minor rollers around the 50km mark. This is a course designed for fast bike splits.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:02
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:53:32 | 21.1 kms | 05m 23s  min/km
Age Group: 22/38
Overall: 129/305
Performance: Good
Course: The run starts with a 2km run to a park on an island, then once in that park you run two time a 7.5km out and back on paved jogging trails. The course is quite flat and shady. There are plenty of aid stations once you are in the park.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too easy
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-06-27 9:30 PM

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Rural Ontario
Subject: Welland Triathlon - Half Iron Distance

2011-06-28 2:25 PM
in reply to: #3570223

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Ontario, Canada
Subject: RE: Welland Triathlon - Half Iron Distance
Congrats Mark, great race, 1hr 18min faster than Muskoka is totally awesome!!  Looks like we both had a good bike leg despite some wetsuit and transition issues, but yeah, some REALLY FAST cyclists out there.  And great hydration and nutrition management to produce a solid run.  Good luck at IMC!  Perhaps we'll meet up at Lakeside when you can tell me how you conquer the BC Mountains.

Edited by patricia7 2011-06-28 2:27 PM
2011-06-28 6:26 PM
in reply to: #3571431

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Subject: RE: Welland Triathlon - Half Iron Distance

Great job out there yesterday.  I'm impressed you got rehydrated on the run.  I thought I came off the bike in good hydration, but turns out I didn't.

Great race and enjoy the last 5 weeks of hard work!

2011-07-01 7:23 AM
in reply to: #3570223

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