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Devilman Half Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Cedarville, New Jersey
United States
Piranha Sports
66F / 19C
Total Time = 5h 55m 44s
Overall Rank = 257/348
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 21/25
Pre-race routine:

Lisa came into town for the race, which was nice. We went down to my parents' place on Long Island on Friday night, then drove down to the race site in southern New Jersey on Saturday. Got there, picked up my packet, and drove the bike & run courses. I hadn't been feeling good at all on Friday - cold symptoms and allergy symptoms; hard to tell which was more significant. Took some sudafed Friday and Saturday, got a nice long sleep Friday night, and took a Claritin on Sunday morning before the race. Didn't really have much if any effects of the cold/allergies on the race, except for my nose running a bit more than I might like, mainly on the bike.
Had a nice dinner on Saturday night with a bunch of other triathletes, some Yale people, others associated in various ways. Didn't sleep well at all on Saturday night. The hotel bed SUCKED; I felt like I was tossing and turning all night, I doubt I slept any longer than 20minutes at a time. When I got up at 5:30, I really felt like I hadn't slept at all.
Event warmup:

None, really. Got up ass-early, loaded everything in the car. Ate 2 bananas and some Hammer Extended Nutrition in the car, and a little more Hammer at the race site, and a decent amount of water. I might have even had too much; stomach felt a little bloated, but I stopped eating/drinking and it got better.
Got transition all set-up, nervously walked around, stretched a little. Listened to the National Anthem, and then it was on. The start seemed to come awfully fast.
  • 40m 54s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

The start did come really fast. There was a narrow entry into the lake, and so everybody went in and waded out to the start line/area. But no sooner did I get there when the gun went off! No time to pee, but oh well. Had to calm down a bit over the first 100yds or so. Breathing was definitely not normal, but I kept at it - I had experienced this before, I thought!! Just kept going, and soon the breathing came under complete control.
Breathed every 2 almost the entire time. Didn't really feel comfortable enough to breathe every 3 strokes, although I want to do that at my next race. I was afraid if getting smacked and swallowing some of that shitty water.
Parts of the course were shallow - caught some fistfuls of murky lake weeds or some shit, hit my hands on a few rocks, and ran over some BIG thing right around on of the buoys. It was either a big rock or tree stump or other debris - hopefully it wasn't a dead triathlete... It did leave a mark in my nice new wetsuit - poo!!
Only got smacked bad once, causing me to choke and pause for a few seconds. This guy came right down on my head with his arm right as I turned to breathe. But, did a good job getting over it.
On the first loop I didn't do a great navigation job - took an outside/circular line between the buoys - mainly because my stroke wasn't even. Did much better on the second lap, I think, although there was also more traffic.
Did a decent job with using my pull, arms were decently tired at the end.
What would you do differently?:

Not a whole lot, other than get the breathing every 3 strokes down. And keep working on swim technique.
Transition 1
  • 02m 21s

First, I want to take the top of the suit off while running to transition. DIdn't take it off this time until I got to my rack. Suit was mildly stuck around the ankles, but not a big deal.
What would you do differently?:

Take wetsuit top off while getting to transition area. Learn to run with shoes clipped onto bike pedals.
  • 3h 01m 44s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.49 mile/hr

I was about a mile into the ride when I look down at my cycle computer and see that it wasn't reading any speed/distance data. I had cadence info, but nothing else. I looked later after the race and the spoke magnet had gotten twisted so it was pointing in the wrong direction. So I had no idea during the ride how far or how fast I was going. So, I just judged by HR and effort.
It took a good 30 minutes for my HR to settle; it was in the 170s when I started, and finally got down to around 140. My HR plan was to spend miles 1-10 at 140, 10-20 at 145, 20-40 at 150, and the rest at 155 until the last couple miles. I was able to do 140 and 145 for the first twenty miles, but I couldn't keep my HR at 150. My legs just did not have the strength. So the rest of the time I just tried to keep it around 140-145. Sometimes it even dropped into the low 130s. I definitely need to work on bike strength and endurance. I also was using surprisingly large (easier) gears than you might expect. I was always in the big front chainring, but in the back I was usually in the top 3-4 rings. Tried to keep cadence high, but too often it was a struggle to keep it at 75 or so.
At the end of the first lap, I was at 1:28:30 (Avg HR 149, max HR 190 (at the beginning I'm sure)), which I knew was "good". I knew that 3hours flat was over 18mph, although I didn't realize it was 18.67mph, I thought it was more around 18.2mph. And I knew I needed to do over 18mph - between 18.2 and 18.8mph from my pre-race calcs if I wanted to break 6 hours. So I knew I was in decent shape, although I was worried about not being able to keep the same pace on the 2nd lap.
By the end of the first loop, I had finished my bottle of Hammer Extended Nutrition, and I was also out of water. I had passed on taking a water bottle at the 2nd of 4 water bottle hand-ups, which was a mistake. I went without any fluid for at least 15-25 minutes.
On the 2nd loop, I used Hammer Gel in a gel flask that I had in my jersey pocket.
There was one scary part where I ran over a partially used water bottle, near the end of the 2nd loop. Fortunately I hit the body of it, not the cap (was one of those gatorade bottles with the large green plastic cap). I would have been pissed if I went down, needless to say.
By the end of the bike, I was hurting - shoulders, ass, and lower back to a lesser degree. And my quads hurt. I was pushing it at the end in order to get under 3 hours, or at least close. 2nd loop was 1:31:26 or so (avg HR 143, max HR 159 - although that maxHR was probably in transition, I didn't actually hit lap on my watch until the start of the run). I was nowhere near my HR goals for the 2nd loop. I'm just can't do that level of exertion for that long on the bike.
What would you do differently?:

I need to work on bike strength and endurance. Top off my PodiumQuest aerobar water bottle thing at every water bottle hand-off.
Transition 2
  • 01m 56s

Generally, good. Very fast; in fact faster than the vast majority of other people. I still need to learn to hop off the bike faster and ride with feet on top of shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, other than ride with feet on top of shoes (and learn to get on the bike with shoes already clipped in)
  • 2h 08m 50s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 50s  min/mile

As soon as I got off the bike, I could feel my quads, they were cramping slightly. The first mile was kinda touch and go, but soon the quads got a little better, although I could always feel them. By the end of the first mile, which was in 9:21, I felt pretty settled, and generally the first ~6 miles were good, no real problems, though the quads were always 'there'. Miles 2-3 were at 8:57/mile (too fast), mile 4 at 8:44/mile (too fast, although the times are approx. because of the screwed up mile markers). Miles 5-6 were at 9:38. I stopped at almost all the aid stations for the first 6 miles and had either water or gatorade. By mile 6 I was on the longer of the two legs of that Y, and was just hoping I'd be able to see the turnaround sometime. I felt good, but still wanted to know the turnaround was there. I kinda knew the turnaround was far away, because I was early into the run, but I was still hoping. At every bend in the road I was looking into the distance to see if I could see where the line of runners stopped, but for the longest time I couldn't see it. The cruelest thing was that at around mile 7, there was a road sign that said "Dead End", so I thought "well, the turnaround MUST be SOON!!" - but it wasn't. Mile 7 was at 9:14, mile 8 was 10:11 and mile 9 was 10:34. By the last turnaround, there were 4.5 miles left to go, 3.5 back to the Y-junction and one more mile back to the finish line. By this point, I was hurting. But it wasn't any one thing that was hurting, just kinda generally didn't feel good. I couldn't pinpoint any one thing that hurt, I just wanted to stop. BUT, I had been doing some math and figured that I could run the last 4.5 miles at 10min/mile and still break 6hours, and that was with some VERY generous leeway (an extra 5 minutes on top of a 5 minute T1). I didn't put my watch on until the bike, so I only knew how long it had been since I started the bike leg. But Lisa had yelled out to me that my swim was in ~40minutes, so I was figuring 45minutes for swim+T1 and an extra 5 minutes because I'm probably forgetting something. So I kept adding 50 minutes to my watch time, and figured that I could do 10 minute miles and still make it.
But at mile 9 or so, things were getting painful, and over the next few miles I started getting worried that I wouldn't make 6 hours. I knew I was cutting into my 5 minutes of bonus time. I just wanted to stop, dammit!! Somewhere in here I saw Catie, a girl on the Yale tri team. It was great to see a face I knew. Mile 10 was 10:18. Finally at around mile 10.5, I peed for the first time all day. I actually had to pee before I even started the swim, but didn't have time to go in my wetsuit, and then I had been having to pee for a while on the run, but just figured I'd wait until the end. I actually thought, "hey, maybe I'll run faster if I need to piss really bad". But finally I was like, 'screw it, I'm taking a leak', so I found a nice telephone pole and watered the grass.
Mile 11 came in at 11:32 because of that.
Somewhere around here I was passed by this hot chick in an Army/West Point tri uniform (there were several people from West Point there). I had been a good mile ahead of her before, but she caught me. I tried to keep up, but there wasn't a chance.
By this point, I could feel and hear fluid sloshing around in my stomach with every step, so I stopped drinking more than a sip or two at the aid stations. I knew it wasn't much farther, and didn't think I was dehydrated, so I wasn't very concerned. After mile 11, I started doing some creative run/walk sets. I'd run to the next big tree, then walk through it's shadow, then run to the telephone pole at the end of the street, then walk till the fire hydrant, etc. I made mile 12 in 11:22. At mile 12 I was back at the Y-junction, and there were a bunch of young girl volunteers doing this cute chant which I can't fully remember but was something like "it's alright, it's okay, the finish line's a mile away". I stuck that in my head over the last mile.
I had brought my ipod to the race site so that I could listen to it before the start and get a good song in my head, but I didn't have time. So I just used the last song I heard before the race started - the National Anthem. I hummed a lot of it during the bike, which definitely helped, and also during the run, especially over the second half. But over those last few miles I couldn't really remember anything except the very end, "Land of the free, and the home of the brave". That part always sends a little tingle up my spine; I probably sang it in my head a few dozen times during the race.
Over the last 2-3 miles I had been getting passed a lot, and finally with about 1/2 of a mile to go, I get passed by this guy in my age group. So, I think to myself, "okay, here it is - beat this guy to the finish line". I didn't want to be last in my age group, and this would guarantee I wasn't. I had been on a walk break when he passed me, so I started running again, and was 20-30 feet behind him. Picked it up a little and got within 10 feet, then 5 feet. By this point we're about 150yds from the finish line, on the final approach. He picks it up a little, I hang back, 10-15 feet behind. I was hurting. Then he puts on a final spurt with around 75 yds to go, I try to match but can't really do it. I thought he had me here, but then he stopped accelerating, and I kicked in the final gear - sprinted the final 30-40 yards, and passed him a few feet from the line. I beat him by 2 seconds. And, that was it! Damn, I was glad it was over!!

Total HR and pace data (somewhere in one of the miles there is an extra 0.1):
Mile 1: 9:21 (AvgHR 174, MaxHR 170)
Miles 2-3: 8:57 (AvgHR 167, MaxHR 171)
Mile 4: 8:44 (AvgHR 169, MaxHR 172)
Miles 5-6: 9:38 (AvgHR 169, MaxHR 176)
Mile 7: 9:14 (AvgHR 171, MaxHR 176)
Mile 8: 10:11 (AvgHR 169, MaxHR 176)
Mile 9: 10:34 (AvgHR 170, MaxHR 176)
Mile 10: 10:18 (AvgHR 169, MaxHR 175)
Mile 11: 11:32 (AvgHR 163, MaxHR 175)
Mile 12: 11:22 (AvgHR 167, MaxHR 174)
Mile 13: 10:37 (AvgHR 171, MaxHR 192)
What would you do differently?:

Well, work on run speed and endurance, of course. I think I would have had a better run if I was stronger on the bike and so my quads didn't hurt so much.
I also probably would have done better on the run if I hadn't known my overall time. Once I knew that with 4.5 miles to go I could "take it easy" (although it wasn't even remotely easy) and still break 6 hours, I slacked a bit. I had made 6 hours such a 'dream goal' that there wasn't any motivation left to do better than that. Maybe not having my speed sensor on the bike was a good thing.
Post race
Warm down:

Kinda stumbled around when I passed the finish line mats. I uttered a lot of "good gawd almighties" and "holy shits". Walked a little bit, sat down under the food tent, stretched. Got some food. Lisa rubbed my sore shoulders. Had some water, a pepsi, random bits of food.
I actually didn't know if I had broken 6 hours when I crossed the finish line, because someone had told Lisa that the displayed time was for the 2nd wave, 3 minutes behind mine, which meant my time would have been 3 minutes slower, and I thought the clock time was around 5:57 something. So, soon after I'm done this guy comes and posts all these sheets with race times. I quickly scan to the end and see it goes up to 5:55. So I don't even bother to look at the names, and say 'oh well, I'll have to wait until he posts more', and go collect my gear. We take all my crap back to the car, chat with the parents of Catie (Yale tri team member), come back, talk to Catie for a few minutes, she had just finished. Then as we're ready to go I figure I'll check it again just to be sure (no new sheets were up) - and THERE I AM!! 5:55:something. I was like "AWESOME!!!". I couldn't believe it.
We loaded up the car, drove up to Princeton. Stopped on the way to get a Friendly's ice cream sundae - OH, SO GOOD!! Went up to Princeton, it was 'lawnparties', the last day of a crazy 3 day party after the last day of classes. Hung out with Lisa's sister, had a few beers, got a hoagie at this great sandwich place in town. Lisa stayed with her sister and I headed back up to New Haven. Got a cup of coffee and hit the road, got home around midnight. LONG DAY!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Uh, I'm a bad swimmer, weak biker, and slow runner!
BUT, I CUT ALMOST 2 HOURS off my last half IM time!!!! 1hr 55 minutes, to be precise. That is pretty incredible. Granted, this was a flat course and last September it was a TOUGH course, but still. I am thrilled. Totally thrilled.

Event comments:

The run mile markers thing was just unacceptable. Also, the water was kinda skank, and I'd think they'd avoid putting a swim buoy right near a huge underwater tree stump or whatever it was.
Overall HR avg 155, max HR 192.

Last updated: 2006-02-04 12:00 AM
00:40:54 | 2112 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 23/25
Overall: 269/348
Performance: Good
Suit: T1 Black pearl
Course: 2 loops, in this small NASTY lake. The water was BLACK. Not muddy or brown like most (i.e. the lake at Triangle tri). I mean you couldn't see SHIT. Actually, Lisa was talking to a coach/local guy, who said that the water was so dirty because it was filled with goose shit. YUCK!!
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:01:44 | 56 miles | 18.49 mile/hr
Age Group: 21/25
Overall: 257/348
Lap 1 was ~1hr 28min Lap 2 was ~1hr 32min
Wind: Headwind
Course: Generally flat - probably as flat as most courses can get, but there were still ups and downs. I felt like there was a good bit of wind - not lots, but a good amount. It seemed like it was always a headwind too!! I kept waiting for the tailwind, but it never seemed to come!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: ~82
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:56
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:08:50 | 13.1 miles | 09m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 20/25
Overall: 261/348
Performance: Good
Course: Y-shaped course. BUT, the morons had us running it in the wrong direction. Meaning, the course was shaped like a Y. You were supposed to go for a mile out to the main Y-junction, then do the left leg and then the right leg. But the people on the course directed you to do the right leg first and then the left leg. NOW, this would not have been a problem if the mile markers were done that way. BUT, they weren't, so the mile markers were TOTALLY off, and most of the time nobody knew how far they had gone or how far was left. Everybody was asking each other - "hey, do you know what mile we're at?" - "Nope, no idea, sorry...". It was RIDICULOUS! Course was almost totally flat. Sun was out - not bad, usually. Some wind, also, but not too bad.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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

2006-05-08 8:50 PM

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Seattle WA
Subject: Devilman Half Ironman

2006-05-08 10:05 PM
in reply to: #418232

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Royersford, PA
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
Wow PR by almost 2 hours, that awesome!!!. I was stoked with a 50 minute PR you must be flying high. That was one nasty swim, prefer not to think too much about what was in that water. Way to tough it out on the run, those last few miles, with not alot of shade and the temps rising was tough.
2006-05-09 5:32 AM
in reply to: #418232

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North Carolina
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
Great Race!! Thanks for all the details with heart rate and effort. Just think what your times are going to look like when you are 10 beats higher on the bike and grab a water at the water stops. It looks like you had no problem keeping your heart rate up on the run!! Was the race course crowded? It seemed like it might be with all the loops but it always depends on how many people do the race. Great job!!
2006-05-09 8:39 AM
in reply to: #418232

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New Jersey
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
Congratulations on the PR! Awesome.

We probably finished right near each other - the clock said 5:57 when I crossed.

I saw Mile 1 marker on the run, then never any others. I think the messed up course made me forget about time and just concentrate on HR.
2006-05-09 12:57 PM
in reply to: #418232

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Extreme Veteran
Winston-Salem, NC
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
AWESOME JOB TOM, JUST INCREDIBLE!!!!! 2 hrs better than your first HIM!! Great swim in the skank! and way to hang in there on the bike, and just an EXCELLENT run. Just think if you take off 2 more hrs on your next one!!!
2006-05-09 2:01 PM
in reply to: #418232

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Whitsett, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman

  It was either a big rock or tree stump or other debris - hopefully it wasn't a dead triathlete... 
OMG.  I'm so glad I didn't have anything in my mouth.

Tom - exceptional bro.  What a great race.  You nailed your dream time too!  I think you're an excellent swimmer, biker, runner.  Congrats.  Hope you didn't swallow too much water.  Yummy


2006-05-09 5:24 PM
in reply to: #418232


Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
I too cracked up at the "dead triathlete" joke. Hopefully none of us WILL come down with any deadly illnesses after exposing ourselves to that water!!!
2006-05-10 2:33 PM
in reply to: #418232

Wilmington, NC
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman
Awesome job TOM!  Having been one of those fans who cheered you in at your last HIM, I am very proud of you for blowing this one out of the water by almost 2 hours!  Sure ... invite ME to the 8-hour one, and then finish the 5:55 one when I'm not there!  Just kidding ... awesome race!!!!!
2006-05-11 3:33 PM
in reply to: #418232

Extreme Veteran
Randleman, NC
Subject: RE: Devilman Half Ironman

You are absolutely friggin amazing! I am going to print your report to remind myself if you just hang in there things will get better. You just made my day reading that report. I have been a little bummed out since White Lake and your report was a huge pick-me-up. Way to go! You gutted it out and brought it home.

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