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ChelanMan Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Chelan, Washington
United States
Lake Chelan Multisport Foundation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 5h 53m 41s
Overall Rank = 6/55
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 1/9
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4 AM since we were staying about an hour's drive away (no rooms available in Chelan as I registered late). Oatmeal, coffee, Cliff Mojo bar. Drove to race. Got there a bit early--about 5:45 AM. Set up transition.
Event warmup:

Jogged around a bit, stretched, several trips to porta-potty. Got into water around 6:45 for swim warmup, swam about 7 minutes; got lined up for start.
  • 35m 36s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 52s / 100 meters

Overall a good swim for me. Got out in a good position with straight line to the buoy but away from contact. The "scrum" all tried to follow the orange line so I just swam parallel to them a few feet away. Many people slowed down drastically after the turnaround due to strong current in our face; I thrashed right through it, got well ahead of the big pack but probably wasted some energy making my own way. Some guys from the second wave made up the stagger(40+ athletes started 5 minutes ahead of under 40's), but not many. The first few who passed were too fast for me to draft but eventually I was able to draft off one of the guys and this helped me fight the current.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure--it was a good swim. Would have been faster if I'd had someone to draft off on the return leg but there weren't swimmers of the right pace in my wave.
Transition 1
  • 04m 35s

Questions don't capture the problem. My hands were cold and I was shivering hard due to stiff cool breeze off the lake. Once the wetsuit came off I kept dropping and fumbling with things. Repeated attempts to get my watch off before taking off the wetsuit and then on again. Very hard time putting on arm coolers. Even getting my bike gloves and shoes on was hard. Didn't warm up until 2-3 miles into bike leg.
What would you do differently?:

Hmmm....definitely ditch the stupid arm coolers. They cost me over a minute, probably. I was wearing sunscreen anyhow. But I tend to freckle even with it, and was worried about burning due to clear weather and much of bike plus all of run being lakeside. Just reapply spray-on sunscreen with high SPF. Don't bother taking watch off/putting on again (this was suggested by our club coach), just be careful and hope for the best. My arms are skinny so the wetsuit usually comes off pretty easily anyway. Keep neoprene cap on until ready for helmet, or slip on a wool cap in T1, to keep body temp up. Maybe don't bother with gloves. Just have to plan for the reality that I don't deal well with cold (a practice transition with temps in 40's took me 23 minutes!) and race-day adrenaline makes me even clumsier and slower.
  • 3h 27m 38s
  • 93.5 kms
  • 27.02 km/hr

For me it was a good bike leg, but other top women were much stronger. I ended up 13th on the bike out of 55 women, and 2nd in my age group, but was over 20 minutes behind the top 3 women. Just not in their league. They gained too much on me on the bike (and, to a lesser extent, T1) for me to have a prayer of making it up on the run.

Very noticable strengths/weaknesses--I passed quite a few people on the hills, esp. the long climbs; everyone seemed to catch me on the flats and downhills.

Time slowed by three stops to deal with bike issues--I twice jumped the chain off the large ring, both times after I shifted quickly from climbing gear to big ring. This was on steep climbs followed by steep descents. Since I had to have the gearing totally replaced two days before the race, I didn't have time to try them out on steep climbs such as those on the course. In retrospect I should have found some short, steep climbs and descents to get a better feeling for how the new gearing worked, without wearing my legs out for the race.

Also stopped once as back tire felt very bumpy and was afraid I had a flat. It turned out to be a glob of pine resin that was bumping on each rotation. Rubbed off what I could quickly and got on with it. Overall, the mechanical issues probably cost me about four minutes. Lots of people had flats as some sections were quite rough and potholed owing to recent landslides so I guess I got off fairly lightly.
What would you do differently?:

*Better bike fitness in general. A recurring theme in my reports. I've improved but it still holds me back. I would be the OA winner in most of my tris at all distances if I could improve modestly on the bike. Tough as I have no one to train with in Vietnam and very poor situation for outdoor riding. Planning to get a trainer and pretty much stick to that except for maybe Sunday outdoor rides.

*Get aerobars, get a proper fit with them, and learn to ride them when safe (i.e. on trainer, in industrial park, in Singapore and US races).

*Make sure I'm familiar with equipment if riding new bike, using new gearing, etc.

*Nutrition issue--For some reason I decided to carry two chocolate/ coconut/ almond Mojo bars and two Cliff Turbo chocolate cherry gus. I like these individually but in the race it just turned out to be too much chocolate. Ended up eating only one of the bars but both gus as my hands were coated in grease after the two chain issues and it was getting in my mouth (yuck). Two chocolate gus plus more chocolate in the Mojo bars was slightly nauseating--not GI distress but just felt yucky. Hard to explain--have always been hypersensitive to sweet tastes and find too much of any sweets nauseating. Drank a bit too much water/lemon Endurolyte to get sweet taste out of mouth and had to pee on run! In the future, solid nutrition should be less sweet and definitely not chocolate if using the Turbo gels!
Transition 2
  • 02m 6s

About average. Not sure what I was doing for two minutes but I didn't have a very good spot in transition--far from both bike in and run out.
What would you do differently?:

Don't wear arm coolers in the first place so I don't feel the need to take them off for the run.
  • 1h 43m 46s
  • 21.08 kms
  • 04m 55s  min/km

Very happy with my run. It was the fastest of all women and 12th overall including men. I felt pretty good and debated how hard to push on the way out--legs felt good but energy levels a bit low and calves felt tight so just ran as fast as I could while staying totally relaxed, the way I pace in marathons (well, until mile 20 when all hell breaks loose). Felt very strong and passed lots of people; no one passed me. One gu (with electrolyte) at halfway. Carried my own lemon Endurolyte as I can't tolerate the Heed that was served at aid stations. Took some water for variety, also a few pretzels and orange slices to boost energy levels and get the chocolate taste out of my mouth! After mile 6.5 started running with a guy who was riding near me for much of the race (I passed him on the ups, he passed me on downs, he finished right behind me.) We were both trying to break 6 hours and encouraged each other. At about 10 miles after a long gradual uphill my right calf started cramping; he went on ahead when I stopped for a few seconds to stretch and try to find an accupressure point. I stopped a few more times to do so and was able to continue but a bit more slowly on the uphills.

Just past mile 12, I spied a woman running quite slowly about 200m ahead. Decided I'd never forgive myself if she was in my AG and I let her go, so gave chase. Passed her with about 1 km to go (paralleling the swim course), couldn't see her age on her leg, so decided to "outkick" her. At that point I could see the flashing police light for the final turn into the finish and just started running for it--one landmark at a time. To motivate myself I thought of people, workouts, places that helped get me to this finish, one per landmark. Actually was saying them out loud. Rapidly running out of gas, calf registering complaints. "God" got me to the police car and "Mom" to the finish.

In fitting irony, the woman I passed (getting almost 5 mintes on her in the last km) wasn't in fact in my AG. She was under 40, which meant I didn't actually beat her as the over 40's started 5 minutes ahead in the first wave! This didn't occur to me until at the awards it was mentioned that she had finished fifth overall and I sixth--oh yeah, waves. But if you know me, great passion and effort in pretty meaningless situations for no external reward is kind of my modus operandi! George Sheehan no doubt had people like me in mind when he wrote "We are all heroes in our own minds"!
What would you do differently?:

Hmmm....I wonder about the pacing. My last mile was under 7 minutes. I probably should not have had that much left at the end of a HIM. I always run totally by feel--no Garmin, only use watch to time hydration. Maybe push the bike harder, or early miles of the run? I do know that by the finish there was nothing left to give. Period.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much at first as I felt really bad. Tried to keep moving but legs cramped and rubbery and hard to catch breath due to finishing kick and maybe asthma. (It doesn't bother me during exercise but sometimes after.) Mom tried to get me to eat but I couldn't for almost an hour. Walked around a bit, finally just flopped down on the ground for a while and convinced her I wasn't going to die, just tired. Evetually felt a little better and went to get transition stuff, change to dry clothes, and get a massage--really helped with calf issue.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

*Being in the 40+ wave on the swim. I could have been faster with more people to swim with/draft, given the choppy conditions.

*Crap T1. Need to ditch the watch off/on routine and the arm coolers.

*Weak bike fitness relative to other legs, esp. for downhills and flats. In retrospect, improper position on the bike (seat too low).

*Not using aerobars when appropriate.

*Lack of familiarity with new gearing on bike.

*Maybe not pushing pace hard enough on some parts of run--not sure though.

Event comments:

Beautiful race. Very well-organized; excellent logistical and community support. Swim course was easily the best marked and one of the most enjoyable I've ever done. Bike course well-marked and lots of local cheering squads in even the remote stretches far from town, which really helped as much of the time I was riding with few or no others in sight. Run course rolling but very doable--a bit crowded as runners in both directions were restricted to one shoulder of the road, traffic not stopped, and bikers were still going on the course.

My only major complaint has to do with traffic control--it was there at intersections but traffic was not stopped during the race. Didn't feel safe in a few areas--the first few miles out of/into town (supposed to be a no-pass zone but many riders ignored it) and the descent through the tunnel after the first major climb. A car crossing the center line at high speed entered the tunnel from the end opposite me--there is no shoulder in there and I would have been toast had he not swerved back in time. They need to stop traffic at the tunnel with the race in progress.

No other complaints--this race played perfectly to my strengths (OWS in moderately tough conditions, climbing on the bike, hilly, warm run) and was very well-run. Definitely would recommend it to others as a first HIM.

Last updated: 2012-07-23 12:00 AM
00:35:36 | 1900 meters | 01m 52s / 100meters
Age Group: 1/9
Overall: 4/55
Performance: Good
Suit: TYR Cat 1
Course: Basically parallel to shore. Into stiff wind and resulting current on inbound leg; wind not blowing at start and didn't notice current outbound. Course marked underwater with flourescent orange cable which I was able to follow continuously inbound; outbound I paralleled a group who were following it so little need to sight.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:35
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
03:27:38 | 93.5 kms | 27.02 km/hr
Age Group: 2/9
Overall: 13/55
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: About 1.5 to 2 miles flat at beginning and end. First an out and back leg, rolling hills with a few flat stretches along the lakeshore, for the first 34 miles. Then about 20 mile loop with three major climbs and descents.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: ?
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:06
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:43:46 | 21.08 kms | 04m 55s  min/km
Age Group: 1/9
Overall: 1/55
Performance: Good
Pretty even; about 1 minute faster on outbound than inbound leg, due to calf cramp between miles 10 and 12.
Course: Out and back, rolling hills, none longer than 1/2 mile or so. (Overlapped with last 10.5 km of bike course.) By lake, little shade but cool breeze.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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] 5

2012-07-23 10:58 PM

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: ChelanMan Triathlon - Half Iron Course

2012-07-23 11:40 PM
in reply to: #4327086

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course
You were awesome.  Congrats on a great race.  Can't wait to hear what's next.
2012-07-23 11:42 PM
in reply to: #4327086

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Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course
Great race, HR!!!  I hear you about the sweet stuff --I am the same way, just feel yucky.  Glad it didn't affect your race too much. 
2012-07-24 11:53 PM
in reply to: #4327086

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Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course

Great Race.  It's been awesome following your journey and I wish you well in your future endeavors and look forward to your whacky training stories!

Way to race hard!  You certainly rocked that race, and it must make all the hassles worth it.  Great Job.  Great report.

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