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Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Tokoname, Aichi
89F / 32C
Total Time = 6h 32m 28s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I left home at 6am on Friday morning and drove to the Nagoya area with a racing buddy of mine. It took us about 10 hours. When we left the forecast for race day was cloudy and a high of 86. I liked the idea of "cloudy". On Saturday we got up early and drove about 2/3 of the bike course. The roads were a little rough and it was quite windy/rainy at times. After that we headed to the swim area to check out the swim course. The waves were pretty high inside the breakwater and it looked really nasty outside the breakwater. Note that there were (still are) two typhoons in the general area of Japan. There were also two high pressure systems on either side of the typhoons. Anyway, we then headed out to the airport to check out the expo and attend a mandatory orientation session. At the session they explained that if the weather did not change they might have to 1) shorten the swim course to 1200 meters to keep it inside the breakwater 2) cancel the swim portion. From the orientation, we went to registration and after that we were allowed to take our bikes to the T1 area. When we got to T1, the wind was a constant 20-25 mph and the waves were even higher. We talked a little with one of the marshals who lived in the area, he said the wind was not caused by the typhoons and would probably be gone by morning. It turns out he was right.

Now on to that pre-race routine. I got to bed about 10, but woke up around 2:30 and never got back to sleep again. At 4am I had my usual pre-race coffee, yogurt drink, banana and bread. By 5:30, we were in T1 and getting set up. The water in the harbor area was pretty calm and they soon announced that the swim would be shortened to 1200 meters because the waves outside the breakwater were too high.

They also announced that the water temp was 28C and that people wearing wetsuits would not be eligible for awards or qualifying for the regional HIM event. They had talked about this in the meeting on Sat too and I was a little surprised to hear that the ocean was that warm, but then again, that's what happens when you go south. All the events I've done to date have been in pretty cool water. I gave a little thought to swimming sans wetsuit, but I had not practiced open water without a wetsuit and I decided better not to try something new on race day.
Event warmup:

I got to body marking just before the crowds hit and then jogged for about 10 minutes. Bikes were not allowed out of T1 so no bike warmup. I got into the water for the last 20 minutes of the swim warmup period. The water was warm and the waves were quite gentle.
  • 22m 43s
  • 1200 meters
  • 01m 53s / 100 meters

I lined up fairly far to the right and a couple meters behind the start rope. People were not crowded together at all and it was the easiest swim start that I've had so far. During the entire swim I only got bumped/hit far less than I have in any other race.

Anyway, I had a good start and was able to relax and settle into a consistent rhythm. The first part of the course was straight out towards a big buoy near the breakwater and there was a slight wind/current against us. I was swimming with my head out of the water and swimming parallel to another guy almost all the way to that first big buoy. As I was approaching I looked around and noticed it was not going to be crowded. So I cut in right under the buoy for the turn and came out without getting bumped at all - amazing. The second part of the course went to a second large buoy all the way at the back of the harbor. That also went smoothly, but I did not find anyone to draft off of. The second buoy turn was just like the first. From there I think I must have started running into some of the folks from the previous wave(s) but I was able to swim around most of them without getting bumped. A few of them somehow sensed I was passing and swam into my side - not sure why that always happens. I kept swimming fairly strongly until I got to the ramp up out of the water. I kind of crawled up that and then headed on into T1.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I want to get faster, but that will happen next year. I do need to come up a plan for doing more open water swims without a wet suit so that I can go that route if the conditions warrant it.
Transition 1
  • 07m 30s

The time is estimated based on my Joule ride time, but there is a chance that it is a minute or two long. I did take my time. I had decided beforehand that getting sunscreen on was a priority and that did take up a chunk of the time. I used spray for my arms/legs and then put lotion on my face. I also put on my bike gloves to keep my hands from slipping - slipping with my right hand means banging my ring finger into something and that still hurts like heck even when it is wrapped. I also had to bag the wetsuit, etc. and drop the bag off on the way to the bike. I know I can do this faster, but I figured comfort first this time around.
What would you do differently?:

Use a different sunscreen approach and practice getting the sunscreen on while riding. No gloves - I have only used them because of the finger. Move a little faster.
  • 3h 33m 25s
  • 91.1 kms
  • 25.61 km/hr

I was surprised by the amount of climbing on the course, but I thought that I handled it pretty well considering my current experience/strength level. I did have a problem with my Joule mounting very early on the course and at first thought I might lose it. I stopped for a minute or two and need to figure out if the Joule logged that in the ride time or not. I am guessing it did not log it and that my T1 time was therefore faster. Anyway, I had juryrigged the mount myself and one really good bump caused it all to loosen up. I used a small amount of extra tape I had for my finger to tighten it back up again. After I started riding again, I realized that even loose, it was not going to fall off, just rattle every time I hit a bump.

My heart rate stayed higher than I wanted it to for that first flat leg, but I felt like I was riding Z1 so I'm guessing heat and excitement were factors. Even after the stop to tinker with the Joule, my heart rate jumped right back to that same level - what I think is low Z3. The first aid station was early in the course and I had no plans to stop there. The only other aid station was located at a loop point that we would pass 3 times (34, 70, 88 km points). I passed that aid station at the 34 km point and realized later that was mistake. I was thinking that I could do the bike course in 3 hours and that was not happening. Anyway, I realized what I had done and made my second bottle last longer than I wanted to - I figured 20 ounces per hour was about right. When I did hit that 70 km point, I made my 2nd mistake and only took one bottle. The folks handing off the bottles were on my left and moving the bottle to my right hand and then into the holder took me past the last bottle handoff opportunity. In retrospect, I should have gone into the parking area on the right where you could stop and fill you own bottles. In the end, I did hit the aid station again at 88km and managed to drink a little over 3.5 bottles. My nutrition intake was about 880 calories and I was happy with that (bottles with diluted sports drink, gels, some powerblasts and a Japanese sweet made of mochi and sweet red bean paste - almost all carbs and much tastier than those gels).

One other note - both my Joule and my buddy's bike computer said the course was 92.0 km.
What would you do differently?:

Ride more. Ride farther. Ride more hills. Get that Joule mounted so it never comes loose. Plan conservatively for the water stops.
Transition 2
  • 05m 43s

The T2 time is estimated based on my Garmin run time and I think I got the stop/start right. For the bike leg I was wearing my De Soto 400 mile shorts. I had checked in advance and confirmed that there were indeed changing tents. So, I decided to change into my running shorts. I went into the tent first and changed shorts, shoes. I then went back outside the tent to use the spray sunscreen. I didn't want to kill anyone in the tent - that spray stuff is overwhelming in small closed areas. I then bagged my bike stuff and passed it off to the T2 staff. FYI - T2 was in a different location and they ended up trucking the bags and bikes back to a central parking lot for pickup later.
What would you do differently?:

I did move pretty slowly after racking my bike and in going out of T2. I'm not really sure why it all took 5:43 though. I guess I could just hit my legs with the sunscreen in T2 and then juggle my face/arms while moving. Getting the sunscreen on in both T1 and T2 was worth whatever time it cost me. I ended up burning less in this race than in any of my Olys including the last one when it was cloudy.
  • 00m
  • 21.1 kms
  •  min/km

It was brutal from the beginning. The first section was through the ricefields. There was no breeze and the heat/humidity was overwhelming. The course was a very slight decline and that kept my legs moving faster than I probably should have allowed. I did not do "glacial". I tried slowing down a couple of times, but my pace felt right even though my heart rate was running faster. I hit every aid station and walked long enough to take in 1. sports drink plus some wate, 2) coke plus some water, 3) just plain water, I think I gradually slowed down and somewhere around the 17-18 km mark my left thigh cramped (the quad muscle on the inside of the leg down near the knee - vastus medialis). I ended up walking a couple of times and ended up applying pressure to the muscle to get it to release the spasm. All told I had to stop and walk 3-4 times and my total walk time was 10 minutes or so. For the last 3 aid stations, I asked them to pour cold water over my head. I had avoided that because I knew I would lose my sunscreen. In retrospect, I may have been better off doing that from the start and somehow reapplying the sunscreen. It felt really great, especially when a slight breeze picked up.

I now remember what the pain cave feels like. I've been there before (half marathons and the one full marathon I did), but it has been quite a few years.
What would you do differently?:

Try harder to do the glacial bit at the front end. I need to look at the data, but I guess I may have been better off walking for 5-6 minutes at the beginning and allowing my heart rate to come down. I also think that if I can keep my running volume high through the winter/spring, I will improve my overall run endurance and heat acclimation capability.
Post race
Warm down:

I had several more glasses of coke and a couple of water. I then met my friend who had finished earlier (he was in the 2nd wave and ended up about 4 minutes slower than me). We got in line for a massage. The line moved quickly and the massage was great. We then headed for the parking area at the airport to pick up our gear bags and bikes. Our hotel for Sunday night was a two hour drive away - slow traffic because it was a holiday weekend. Two beers and two glasses of sake along with an assortment of mostly fish/meat dishes (no more carbs, thanks) was just the right combo to put me to sleep by 9 pm.

Note on the coke: I am sure that I consumed more coke in that one day than I have consumed totally in the last 25 years. It did taste great during the run and just after the race ended.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The sun was probably the biggest factor. After that it just comes down to more training on all three fronts.

Event comments:

The overall race organization was very well done, but the bike road conditions were terrible. The aid stations were sufficient in number, but there was no ice and the water, sports drink and coke were lukewarm at best. I think the warm coke was okay, but I wanted cold water and sports drink. The sponges were also just wet, not cold.

Last updated: 2011-09-20 12:00 AM
00:22:43 | 1200 meters | 01m 53s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: full De Soto
Course: The course was one loop around buoys set up in the harbor area. There was a start buoy (smaller), two large buoys for the two major turn points and then two smaller buoys for the turns in closer to the finish ramp. Those were the only buoys for the swim. There were 10 waves starting with the elite wave and then going up by rough age groupings. I was in the 7th wave - the "old guys" wave. The 8th wave was the "really old guys" wave, the 9th wave was women (probably only happens in Japan). The 10th wave was for relay teams. The original plan was 3 minutes between waves, but when they shortened the swim, they made it 5 minutes. I think that worked out really well. It was a floating start and to get to the start point you had to climb down a ladder to a floating platform, get into the water and swim about 50 meters to the start point. Things would have been pretty rushed if they went with that 3 minute wave gap.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 82F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:30
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:33:25 | 91.1 kms | 25.61 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: The first 10 km or so of the course was relatively flat, along the ocean heading south and into the wind (not too strong, but still extra work). The road itself was really rough. After that, the up/down started and it never stopped - there was no flat. There were a couple sections of the course that we drove twice and one section that we looped around three times. All in all, the roads were a little too rough. The climbs were tough and the downhills were fun. My Joule said it was 1259 meters of climbing and 1220 or so of descent. T2 was in a different location than T1 and at a higher elevation so that does make sense. The Joule also said 33 degrees C which is 90F. I figure that is about right if you consider reflected temperature coming off the road.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 05:43
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
00:00:00 | 21.1 kms |  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: From T2, the first 7 km or so was on roads winding through the rice fields and then through a small village to the coast. From there, the course ran due north along the rough boardwalk that borders the beachfront. The last 6 km or so was a 1-1.5 km loop type course near the finish. By loop type, I mean it was looping, but they had designed it to take advantage of the paved beach path and two other roads running parallel to the beach
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2011-09-20 7:56 AM

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Sendai, Japan
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname

2011-09-20 8:37 AM
in reply to: #3693158

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Sounds like a brutal course weather-wise. Way to overcome! Welcome back tot he pain-cave. Your room was kept waiting for you. Nice report BTW.
2011-09-20 8:39 AM
in reply to: #3693158

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Great job on finishing your first HIM in tough conditions.  Sounds like you handled everything well and will be ready to build on that for the next one.  And I love the after race meal!  Awesome!!!!
2011-09-20 9:10 AM
in reply to: #3693158

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Way to perservere through some tough conditions and finish your first HIM with style! 
2011-09-20 11:05 AM
in reply to: #3693158

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Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Great job!!! I also like the fact that you did not try anything new on race day!
2011-09-20 7:23 PM
in reply to: #3693158

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname

AWESOME!!!!  Crazy conditions!!!  but about this 13+ minutes lost in transition!!!!

HA!   Congrats Dan!!!!

2011-09-20 9:18 PM
in reply to: #3693158

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Extreme Veteran
NW Georgia
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Great job, Dan!  Congrats on finishing a tough race.
2011-09-20 11:57 PM
in reply to: #3693158

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname

Good job Dan! I know what you mean about running in the heat when there's no wind, it's almost suffocating.

Enjoy your rest

2011-09-21 10:25 PM
in reply to: #3694382

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
You da man, Dan!!! Fabulous job. I cannot even fathom racing in those conditions. Congratulations!!!!!
2011-09-21 11:43 PM
in reply to: #3693158

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san francisco
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Great race, Dan, way to overcome some crazy conditions and stay strong and focus! Terrific first HIM!
2011-09-22 7:41 AM
in reply to: #3693158

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname
Great job Dan, sounds like pretty tough conditions that day.  Congrats!

2012-06-19 4:55 AM
in reply to: #3693158

New user

Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Centrair Tokoname


Thanks for a detailed race report.  Both my wife and I are traveling this weekend for the 2012 70.3 You are detailed and articulate, so thanks for your time. 

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