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Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Cambridge, Maryland
United States
Columbia Triathlon Association
93F / 34C
Total Time = 6h 17m 43s
Overall Rank = 306/533
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 30/53
Pre-race routine:

Arrived in Cambridge around 2:00pm to pick up race packet and rack the bike. Nice expo. Lots of people. I got there and the pro forum had just started. Got to see Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae. Kind of neat. All participants looked extra, extra, supremely fit. Also very neat. While racking the bike realized that I forgot to pack my bento bag. So went back to expo. Picked up a bento bag, little headband, and 70.3 magnet. Then listened to pre-race course talk.

Off to hotel. Picked up some foods. My Days Inn had seen better days. Forgot to pack earplugs.

Didn't sleep well. Never sleep well before big events like this so that was no surprise.

Up really early to make sure I was able to park near transition. Lots of other people had same intent. But I ended up with a nice spot.

Got to transition to get things laid out. Forgot to put speed laces on new shoes. Race was wetsuit legal (amazingly). So much of morning spent trying to decided on whether to wear wetsuit or not. Stood right behind Craig Alexander in porta-potty line. (I would have thought they'd have their own - so this surprised me).

Laying out things was interesting. Since this was an Ironman brand event, there were people checking to make sure things were correct. The lady checking my row just didn't know the rules. She was instructing us to put our gear right underneath the crank area. There's just no way to do this! And be able to get your stuff. Finally some very seasoned athletes took over and instructed her on the proper transition setup!

Then just waited until start.

One thing...the level of athletes at this event was incredible. In my age group, I could just tell that many of the women were on a whole different athletic level than me. Just by the way they held themselves, their gear, their experienced way of getting ready. Intimidating but inspiring too.
Event warmup:

  • 36m 14s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

My wave entered the water while the pros were getting lined up. The water was calm. Temperature quite nice. I could touch the bottom with my big toes.

At some point before the start, I just became very relaxed. All worries about the race went away. I would swim, bike, and run to my race plan. I felt very calm and happy.

This swim went as usual. Good 200m and then drop to 20 strokes freestyle and 20 strokes breastroke. This seems to work for me. So I think that will be race strategy from now on.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I cannot hold freestyle for an entire race. I seem to do ok regardless. I was 20th out of the water. My time investment for training will be better spent focusing on the bike.
Transition 1
  • 03m 24s

Decent transition. Nothing special. Just made sure to keep heart rate down. Lots of dry grass in the socks and on the feet.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 08m 52s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.79 mile/hr

My goal for this race was 18 mph. I almost hit this goal. I was passed by most of my age group. This was a bit disheartening as one after another passed me. The bike leg is my weakest.

I was tempted to work harder but given that it was my first HIM and would be my longest bike ride EVER - I decided to stay with the plan. High cadence @ about 18 mph. This was a good move given the weather.

My legs were a bit tight in the beginning but eventually I felt good. After about 25-30 miles I got really uncomfortable in the saddle and lower back seemed to be having issues. I am going to have to explore other saddles as the one I currently have didn't well for this long ride. My feet also started bothering me during the last 30 minutes.

Heat wave kicked in about 1/2 way through.

I could not wait to get off the bicycle. My feet and my groin area were so thankful when it was over.
What would you do differently?:

I've got to develop more leg strength on the bike. Not sure how to go about doing this since most of my biking is commuting. I don't want to make commuting a chore.

Transition 2
  • 05m 46s

No hurry here. Just wanted to be purposeful and get things switched out without forgetting anything. Had to put my bike in a bit differently than I'd planned.
What would you do differently?:

Given this race - a speedy transition was not part of my plan.
  • 2h 23m 29s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 57s  min/mile

So...this was a hot, hot, hot and humid, humid, humid run. 93F with 80% humidity. It took it's toll on me.

The first two miles were fine. Well into mile 3 I realized that I needed to switch to heat management rather than run management if I wanted to stay out of the medical tent. So I switched to 8 minute run/2 minute walk. This worked well for the next 5 miles or so. So for a bit I was on pace to hit by 6:00:00 goal. (Early into the run!) Then I had to switch to 8 minute run/2 minute walk AND walk at the aid stations. I knew I would finish but it was now a question of when.

Heat management included putting ice under cap, ice in bras, ice down back, ice under shorts, running under the hoses that community members were spraying, etc.

It was a slow slog till the end.

By the end my stomach was really full...looked like I had swallowed a small soccer ball. Need to work on race day nutrition and electrolytes. Cramped up a bit right at the end.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. Today was not a good run day for me. I couldn't get into the good rhythm that I am usually able to get going. Can I go faster? At this distance, after swimming and biking what I did? I think so but I won't know until another day.
Post race
Warm down:

Pretty much collapsed into a volunteer's arms. They were really terrific with ice cold towels, chairs, etc. Kudos to everyone who helped.

Sat in a finish line chair for a bit. Then off to the porta-potties!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training, training, training.

Heat, heat, heat --- but everyone was subjected to the same conditions so this really isn't a very good excuse.

Training, training, training.

Bike saddle. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Event comments:

Thank goodness for all the volunteers and the aid stations at every mile on the run. Without them, I'd not have been able to finish. This is a really great race. Love the atmosphere. Love being surrounded by uber-fit people (even if they are uber-intimidating). Everyone was very friendly.

Yesterday I told myself I would never do another HIM but as I write this --- who knows.

I am very proud of myself for having signed up, trained for, started, and finished an HIM.

I rewarded myself with a medium cherry-dip vanilla ice cream cone from Dairy Queen on the way home.

Last updated: 2011-09-19 12:00 AM
00:36:14 | 2112 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 20/53
Overall: 0/533
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra full vortex
Course: Choptank River. Saltwater. Sight buoys to my right. Turn buoys on right shoulder.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:24
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:08:52 | 56 miles | 17.79 mile/hr
Age Group: 38/53
Overall: 0/533
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Flat, flat, flat. One stretch with some headwinds. Through Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 95+
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:46
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:23:29 | 13.1 miles | 10m 57s  min/mile
Age Group: 30/53
Overall: 0/533
Performance: Below average
Course: Flat, flat, flat out and back. Aid stations every mile. Thank goodness!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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] 5

2012-06-11 1:03 PM

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Falls Church
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon

2012-06-11 3:33 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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Temple, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon

So you did a HIM and it hurt!  Yeah, it's supposed to be like that, because it's a race!!  From my end of things it looks FABULOUS!!  Start with the swim... I can't believe you got that pace and you were doing half breaststroke!  Unbelievable... makes you wonder what you COULD do if you got your freestyle endurance down... but swim speed takes a ton of time in the water for just a small return, most people opt to work on the bike or run.  The bike:  I can't believe you were passed up non-stop by your AG and you averaged almost 18 mph!  I'd love to have that pace for that distance... and with saddle issues and feet issues to bbot!  Get thee a good saddle and it will make a world of difference.  The run:  O.M.G. how can anyone run in 93 degrees and 80% humidity, that is like a living HELL!  I would have been doing the death shuffle by that time.   Even if you run in that type of weather often, I don't think you truly acclimate to it, it just sucks.  Thankfully you didn't collapse on the course and thank god for ice!!  I think you did an unbelievable job in 6 hours and 17 minutes!!  That is AWESOME... just imagine doing one where your girlie parts aren't screaming at you and the run temps are not like Hades, I have no doubt you'd be hitting 6 hours or less.  Yeah, you're just gonna have to do another to find out!  I think the big name races like this one really draw out the uber athletes... you don't get the overweight beach cruiser mamas at HIM's like you do at local sprints, so the level of athleticism is clearly up there, but don't sell yourself short, you are right up there too!  Might have to tweak the training a bit, but I have no doubt that you are in that league.... 

I gotta say, I just love reading the HIM and IM race reports from the comfort of my computer chair, I am living vicariously through all you crazies! 

AWESOME job, Melanie, you should be VERY proud fof your accompishment... how many 50-54 year old women are feebly sitting on the couch, with a sack of McNuggets while you are out there being AWESOME?!!!

2012-06-11 3:40 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon

Congrats on making it through your first HIM on a hot, hot day! The pros have it easier, as they spend so much less of their race in the heat of the day.

And that's neat about bumping into Craig Alexander in the potty line -- what a democratic sport we have. 

2012-06-11 6:08 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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South Shore, MA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Congrats on your HIM, Melanie!  I really enjoyed reading your RR!!  Truly inspirational, makes me almost want to do one, haha!!  2 things really stood out to me while reading your report...  Can't believe your luck in standing right behind Craig Alexander in the PP line and your HOT HOT run!!!  Either one of those experiences alone would have made me pass out!!    Awesome job on your race!
2012-06-11 6:48 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Nice job on your first HIM! I had the same bike split on my last one- you smoked me on the swim, though! A new saddle/bike fit and a few more long training rides would have made it easy-peasy. Your bike speed isn't bad for this distance - the only reason people were passing is because you were so fast out of the water, and you had some really strong competitors. I have no doubt that if the temps were cooler, you'd have easily hit 6:00. Just pick a cooler time of year or locale for your next one! 
2012-06-11 6:50 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Well done.  Congrats on finishing your first half!

2012-06-11 7:08 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Wow congrats on your first half and more impressed with  your swim time swimming 20 free and 20 back strokes.  Build your swimming endurance and I'd bet you can get that swim time down by about 5-7 minutes...  Nicely done.
2012-06-11 7:22 PM
in reply to: #4255687


Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Awesome job! Way to stick it out and finish tough! I'm shocked that you managed such a strong swim time with half breastroke, that's incredible!
2012-06-11 7:38 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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Somewhere in the Swamps of Philly
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Great effort for your first HIM.  It is amazing how you realize what hot and humid really is once you leave town.  Believe it or not, it gets easier (mentally) the second time around!
2012-06-12 4:41 AM
in reply to: #4255687

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon

Great race Melanie, you did so very well. Your swim time was great. Your bike was very solid. You might look for a new saddle to make it easier on yourself. It does make the longer rides more tolerable. With the heat & humid conditions for the run, well it just plan 'o survival time. You can't control that, it's just how you respond to the conditions making adjustments along the way. And you adjusted very well to those tough conditions. A 1//2 is a very tough event, especially when you've never finished one. Your mind is everywhere, hard to grasp what is really needed to get it done. You training was solid! You SHOULD be proud of yourself. Now as you mentioned in your report, what's next....that's always the toughest question to answer. Your always saying to yourself what else can "I" do????? I will leave that for you to ponder. Again congrats!!

2012-06-12 5:15 AM
in reply to: #4255687

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
Congratulations on finishing your first HIM! Fantastic swim time! A little bike work and some normal temps for the run and you're gonna have a sub 6:00 finish no problem! Great job!

2012-06-12 3:51 PM
in reply to: #4255687

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New user
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
I LOVED reading your race report!  I would be absolutely ecstatic if I were you- you killed it out there!  You are one tough lady to conquer that race in those conditions.  93 degrees sounds like hell.  Your swim was freakin' fast and like Tammy said, the only reason people were passing you is because you were so quick out of the water and those strong, strong athletes were behind you.  About 18 mph on your longest bike ride ever is phenomenal. And way to persevere on the run.  6:17 is a beautiful number!  Bet your cherry dip cone never tasted so good!
2012-06-12 5:31 PM
in reply to: #4258319

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon
What a great race report - it was so inspiring (almost enough to make me want to do a HIM, ALMOST)!  If I could do a breaststroke/freestyle combo that fast, I wouldn't change it either!  Hey, I would love to just be able to do freestyle that fast.  I live and train in central texas and can't picture finishing a HIM in that heat.  I am so impressed with how well you were able to execute your race and hope you are proud of yourself!  Way to go!!
2012-06-15 10:25 AM
in reply to: #4255687

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon

I am also impressed by your freestyle/breaststroke pace!  Awesome!  I swim at a similar pace, but all freestyle.  Those passing on the bike were probably weaker in the swim.  I think your bike speed was wonderful for your first at that distance.  Running in the heat is always difficult.  I think your approach with the 8/2s was just right.

Congrats on a well run race, Melanie!

Edited by rustymom 2012-06-15 10:27 AM
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