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Vietnam International Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Hoi An,
30C / 86F
Total Time = 2h 43m 58s
Overall Rank = 1/24 (W)
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 1/4
Pre-race routine:

Got up two hours before race (7 AM start). Attempted to eat breakfast; really nervous and felt kind of nauseous so didn't get much down-- 1 1/2 Mojo bars, 2 small cups coffee, aborted attempt at oatmeal, finger banana.
Not sure if it was just nerves or other factors--stomach has been kind of weird since course of antibiotics that finished last Sunday. Went to get bike at depot.
Event warmup:

Not much as I felt quite nauseous and the ground was really wet from storm the night before. I jogged a little thru transition and then went into the ocean for a few minutes but we got called back by the RD for last-minute announcements. (Change to bike course due to bizarre situation, and change to swim start due to beach washing away as we warmed up!)Then did about five minutes of swim warmup and felt better.
  • 31m 34s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 06s / 100 meters

Kind of got stuck in a crowd of guys at the start, but pretty aggressively got out of it and was in a good position by the first buoy and no problem subsequently. Drafted on big guys when I could as waves were high and sometimes I couldn't see to sight. I swam rather conservatively due to illness/asthma issues last week; was scared of having an asthma attack in the water but this didn't happen. I did manage to swallow a huge mouthful of water about 200m from the end (hit in face by chop) and had to stop for maybe 20 seconds to cough and gag but no asthma ensued, so swam for the beach! #11 out of water (including guys) so pretty good effort compared to others; all times quite slow.
What would you do differently?:

Not be so conservative with pacing. Except for the swallowing water incident, I wasn't working that hard. Could easily be at least 1-2 minutes faster.
Transition 1
  • 02m 25s

Time slow but the transition area is long and most people were in the 1:45-2:00 range last year when it was a much shorter run off the beach. There was about 100-150m run along the sand, then into transition and about 100m out to the mount line. Felt kind of sluggish--not a morning person and slightly nauseous again, this time from swallowing all that salt water.
What would you do differently?:

Not stop to take a drink of water from my parked bottle. I always end up doing this for various reasons, when I could just do it on the bike. In this case, due to gagging on seawater, I felt like I needed to get the salt/reflux taste out of my mouth or I'd puke.
  • 1h 21m 5s
  • 42 kms
  • 31.08 km/hr

Overall was happy with the bike. Much better use of gears! I know I had a strong effort (for me)--my kph was almost always above 30 and I even came close to 40 on the downhills. Was just disappointed that it wasn't a standard distance. I know I broke 1:20, which was my goal, but not sure exactly by how much--probably close to 1:17 flat. Really got into a groove--ignored everyone else, just put my head down and rode. Also did better on hydrating--bigger bottles and drank every 10 minutes after the first 30. Still managed to gag on gel, though!
What would you do differently?:

Not sure, besides make better use of technology to figure out my split for 40 km. I did check roughly at 20 km and then forgot at 40 km. Could have done it with watch and bike computer but didn't have the presence of mind--too busy dodging trucks and dead rats!
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

A little slow but my assigned spot was one of the furthest from the dismount line. Tried to rack the bike the wrong way and hit my head on the rack (still had helmet on, thank goodness.)
What would you do differently?:

Pay more attention to what I'm doing!
  • 46m 35s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 40s  min/km

Felt okay coming off bike--legs quite good but a little low-grade nausea and stomach cramps. Just kept picking people off. I thought I was fourth or fifth off the bike but was told I was third---apparently at least one of the "women" who passed me was on a co-ed relay; maybe one was a short guy. Anyway passed them back. On the last lap about 800m in I passed the woman who'd been in second, so assumed I was then in second. Kept passing people; no one passed me. (I have a perfect record, except for my first tri!) I thought I was running conservatively due to the asthma scare. (With typical presence of mind, had left my inhaler on the bike in T2.) About 250m from the end, passed a woman running very slowly. I figured she was on lap 1 or 2, but actually she was leading the race. (She'd gotten dazed with the heat and headed for the finish after 2 loops; someone sent her back out but apparently she really ate it on the last lap.) Had no idea I was winning until our LBS owner (watching) yelled that I was first as I entered the last 50m. I sprinted like hell when I realized it had to have been the woman I just passed. Sure I look extremely shocked in finish photo. Burst into tears in chute. End of race.

What would you do differently?:

Hard to say. Run less conservatively. If I ever get the chance again (at my age, not too likely) try to win a little more commandingly than that, which would be less cruel--at least crush her dreams 800m or so out! Something not right about hydration on run. I think I drank a bit too much trying to keep cool as I actually had to pee while running. They were serving a Vietnamese isotonic drink that turned out to be sweetened with cane sugar. Normally I use sugar-free drinks as I don't tolerate sweet stuff, esp. late in a long race. So that may have worsened the nausea issue. It didn't really affect my pace; might have puked if I'd had to turn on the afterburners, though.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around for a while in an awestruck daze, and stuck ice cubes down my tri top to get cool. Got a quick massage. Tried to go back into ocean but surf was by then so high that I got kicked out (literally) on my butt by the breaks. Gave up, went in to shower and change, and finished my warm-down with about half an hour of joyous paddling in Vietnam's longest hotel swimming pool (150m)! After cleanup and brunch, rented a local bike (bell and basket) and rode about 10 very easy miles round trip into town. Stopped on way for excellent body massage. Whatever I did seemed to work as I feel about 100X better than my last race. (Plus, honestly, I was kind of sandbagging the swim and not totally all-out on the run.) Think better hydration (maybe even a bit too much!) and nutrition helped as well.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Mental stuff--fear of having an asthma attack in open water. It's not terribly rational as I don't have EIA. My asthma is allergy-induced and rarely an issue unless I'm already sick, but I'd just gotten over either a bad allergy incident and/or throat bug, and something that irritates my throat (like inhaling smoke or swallowing water) can occasionally trigger an attack, and in a Vietnamese village, it's possible to have triggers like smoke. (Oh, and did I mention the burning plastic in the rubbish bin right next to my bike as I was setting up transition?!) If not for that I would have pushed the swim and run harder. On the bike I did push hard because I knew I had the inhaler. Other than that, some nausea/gut issues. Probably a combo of antibiotics efffects on gut, AM race, sugary drink on run, and nerves. In retrospect, maybe PMS joined the party, too. Also, bike fitness still not great. Compared to all finishers (inc. guys), I was 7/133 on the run, 11/133 on the swim, 59/133 on the bike. Sigh--progress for me, but still a long way to go!

Event comments:

Please note that normally this race is quite well-organized and fun but they were under severe constraints owing to the political situation and, to a lesser extent, the weather. This meant we had to ride much of the bike leg in traffic with no police support; many local volunteers couldn't come; they weren't allowed to have music or "celebration" type stuff at all. Start was delayed owing to the beach washing away (a tropical depression is offshore and weather/waves have been abnormal for the past few days). I think the organizers and athletes did a good job of pulling it off in really tough circumstances. My only complaint is the awards--first place male and female didn't get any special trophy or medal, just the one for winning AG. They just get a huge umbrella (really) advertising that horrid sugary drink and a goodie bag. Got some good goggles but there were other items that I couldn't use and/or were hard to transport back. I'd happily give them up (well, maybe except for the cool reflective OWS goggles) for a piece of metal stating I actually won a race! At my age, there probably aren't too many chance for getting that kind of hardware again!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-09-11 12:00 AM
00:31:34 | 1500 meters | 02m 06s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/4
Overall: 2/24 (W)
Performance: Average
The swim time in the official results includes T1--they were using manual timing. I checked my watch as I exited the water and it was 31:34.
Suit: trisuit: Zoot top and bottom
Course: Two loops of 750m out and back with very short run around a pole on the beach in between. Storms over the summer and esp. in the past few weeks (even last night) washed much of the beach away so we started just inches from the water. There were large breaks on shore, which made it scary getting out and running onto the beach (I got knocked over twice during warmup). Beyond the break, there were high swells which sometimes made it hard to see the buoys. Kind of like trying to swim on top of a roller coaster. Kind of fun--reminded me of Hawaii but no doubt intimidating to OWS newbies. Would have been a great day for body-surfing!
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 29C / 84F Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:25
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
01:21:05 | 42 kms | 31.08 km/hr
Age Group: 1/4
Overall: 3/24 (W)
Performance: Good
Editing--finally got the bike and T2 splits from finish certificate. Race distance was officially listed as 42 km although I think it was closer to 42.5 according to my own and others' cycle computers, but whatever. This works out to around 1:17 for 40 km, which makes sense as my 20 km split was 38+, so pretty even pace.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Out about 1 km, then three loops of a 13+ km course, then back 1 km to transition. It was supposed to be all on one side of a divided highway, with vehicle traffic re-routed to the other side, but due to "special situation" (see below)*, they had to change it last-minute to using both sides of the highway and riding in traffic, moving the turnaround point up to where you could cross to the other side (divider otherwise). This extended the course to 42+ km. *An ex-president of Vietnam had died the day before; he's from this area, and the funeral was that day. The govt. first cancelled the race, then after hours of negotiations allowed it to go ahead. However, there was no traffic control as of start time as police were told it was cancelled. Thus the change to riding with traffic in the traffic lanes.(Very exciting!) Police did show up just as I hit the turnaround on Lap 2, but race continued as before. Oh, and have to mention the dead rat right in the middle of the lane coming back. Once, twice, three times! Fortunately it appeared no one hit it.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 95?
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:19
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:46:35 | 10 kms | 04m 40s  min/km
Age Group: 1/4
Overall: 1/24 (W)
Performance: Good
Only looked at minutes. Humidity very high and about 32 degrees by that point so brain melting, body on auto-pilot. All laps in the 15+ range, so pretty steady.
Course: Three loops of a 3.3 km course with about 100m run-in to finish. First 800m or so on paved road near beach, cut in on sand/gravel to rougher small local road, then narrow lanes through village for rest of each loop. Some flooded areas due to storm so a little hopping around. Very narrow bridge in middle of village.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2011-09-11 7:55 AM

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Vietnam International Triathlon

2011-09-11 9:53 AM
in reply to: #3680818

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Vietnam International Triathlon

Dang, lady!!! CONGRATULATIONS! Incredible job on a tough swim, last-minute changes and open traffic on the bike, and a hothot run ...

only in Asia would you have some addendum 'because of the political situation' regarding a triathlon change ... ha ha ha

2011-09-11 2:59 PM
in reply to: #3680907

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Central Kansas
Subject: RE: Vietnam International Triathlon

Excellent job! Your run was speedy, but I guess that's to be expected. :-)


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