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Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Springfield, Ohio
United States
HFP Racing
85F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 09m 10s
Overall Rank = 14/106
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 3/12
Pre-race routine:

Finally a good routine for the morning.
The only thing that was jacked was that I woke up at 4 AM and tried to get back to sleep for an hour before finally falling back into a deep sleep only to wake 45 minutes later feeling like I had just went to sleep.
Breakfast was a little bit heavier consisting of a half a bagel with Nutella ans a small container of yogurt. This was a slightly heavier breakfast than I am used to before racing but I had about 2.5 hours until the swim start so this worked out well.
Event warmup:

I didn't do much of a WU because there was such a large amount of time between the swim start and the transition area closing. Transition closed at 7:30 AM to allow for the earlier events to take off and keep the area from being cluttered for all of the shorter distance athletes to have solid transition times.
I swam about 150-250 yards about 10 minutes before the swim start. the event had an area that allowed for athletes to WU and this was very nice.
  • 32m 27s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards

I was feeling a lot of stress near the beginning of this race and I was glad to get everything underway. I had planned to take the first half of the first loop at a slow and easy pace to set up a rhythm. However, the first 200-300 yards was probably the hardest of the whole race. I think the excitement of the initial beginning of the race got to me and I allowed myself to get outside of my plan.
After I settled into my rhythm I relaxed and focused on staying with an even effort, breathing every third stroke and sighting every fourth stroke cycle. This swim seemed fairly well executed for what I was thinking about prior to the race.
My wave was the next to last wave of the HIM distance and there were plenty of swimmers in front of me once on the course. I picked the outside of the wave I was leaving in to make sure I had as little of the "washing machine" as possible. As soon as my wave left I could tell I was going to be able to hold the front of this wave's line. Many of the swimmers weren't wearing wetsuits and they seemed to all be willing to hold back and try to draft others.
About half way through the first loop I began to run into the waves that had went off before me. I am not sure but I may have swam right up next to Matt and about 10-15 feet to Austin's right side on this stretch. Obviously I didn't stop to ask any questions but I did pause slightly when I thought I was next to Matt but I never got a look at this persons face.
During the rest of the first loop I continued to pass many of the previous waves swimmers, I also may have begun to pass the some of the final "mini" triathlon swimmers that were left on the course as well.
With the beginning of the second loop the field had thinned out considerably. There were very few athletes that were in front of me at this point so I knew I would be on my own for the rest of the swim......No chance for drafting! This was okay with me because it also meant no one to swim around to force a change of my lines. The rest of the second loop went smooth and uneventful.

Personal safety issue: A lot of my thinking recently had been on the 2 deaths in triathlon and I didn't want to hit the water unprepared for anything that may occur. I felt that I prepared well and I wasn't worried about myself but I also feel it is important to guard against any mishaps on my part. With that in mind I planned to back stroke if I began to feel any distress. From this point and further I plan to practice a little bit of back stroke during many of my swims to get acclimated to the stroke itself thereby giving me an opportunity to regain control prior to any of my personal safety issues should they ever arise.
What would you do differently?:

Not much I would have done differently for this race. This being my first HIM I wanted to make sure I was in the right effort zone to ensure i didn't blow up later in the race. For Rev3 Cedar Point in 2 weeks I'll plan to put a little more ffort into the swim and maybe shave a little time from this race's swim.

The sight lines for this race were pretty good and I was able to hold one of the best lines I have been able to hold for this race. I only struggled a few times to find my markers but even than I was able to stay on track. I made sure to allow time during the swim to check my lines rather than follow on the heels of other swimmers.
Transition 1
  • 01m 1s

This seemed to go fairly smooth. My wetsuit came of well, as it always seems too. (I don't seem to ever have problems getting my suit off.) I did take a little bit longer just trying to make sure everything was as planned and this helped me relax a little bit so I knew I didn't have to worry about what I might have forgotten. Again, being my first HIM I wanted to keep everything in check.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing for this race. Rev3 Cedar Point should be a little bit quicker but the transition area will almost certainly be much larger so my times will probably be longer.
  • 2h 45m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.36 mile/hr

I took off on the bike with a little bit lower effort than I have been used to for the sprints and olympics that I have completed. However, I didn't leave at what my target level was intended to be. Again, the excitement of the race got to me again but I got this under control as quickly as I noticed where I was.
The first 2 miles of the bike were basically flat and this gave me enough time to regain my focus and start riding in the planned zone.
Once the rollers started on the way op the first half of the loop. I noticed my HR was higher than I was planning. I took notice of where I was on the course to check if I was on a slightly sharper climb to see if my HR was spiking because of the added effort and this was not the case. I was simply working too hard for my goals. Again, I needed to get control of the race and try to tackle what I thought would be my ultimate enemy during this race.......ME! I checked my forearm where Lis wrote "DISCIPLINE" and this drew my focus back in. From here on out I was able to stay very close to where I was attempting to place my efforts for the whole bike course.
The rest of the first half of the first loop was a still a slight but steady climb. My HR was only slightly higher than the goal but well within what I thought would work for this race if I went into a harder race. I was working into a low 140's HR for these smaller climbs and occasionally into the mid 140's.
These lower HR's would not work out for about 2 of the climbs that would occur later on the loop. There was a sharp climb at the beginning of mile 18 and 44 that had me completely out of gears. I was still able to stay in the saddle for all of the climbs and this probably saved my legs for the run to some degree. This was the hill that Matt had written on the road "Asphalt Junkie Own This Hill!" in large letters. This was immensely encouraging and I was able to laugh about this as I rode down the road. I was looking forward to reading this again on the second loop.
Once at the top of this hill I saw the bottle exchange that I was planning on using for the second loop if I needed it. From here the course began a solid downhill portion that allowed for some recovery and some of the faster seeds on the course. I was able to see over 30 MPH a couple of times on the back part of the course and this was the highlight of the cycling leg of the race for me. I loved that speed!!!
I soon cam upon the second of 2 Junkie messages. Matt had left a another motivational message near the 23 and 51 mile markers the read; "Asphalt Junkies Rock!" Again this was very encouraging especially on the second loop when tired legs and worn out sit bones were longing to be relieved.
The second loop brought on a duel between me and another rider that had passed me a couple of times on the first loop and had irritated me fairly well. He would pass me toward the bottom of a hill but only enough to get in front of my wheel and then draw me into a draft. I would either reduce my pedaling or stop pedaling altogether to avoid any kind of suspicion for drafting. This occurred several times on the first loop and it began again on the second loop. What caused me to sour over this was the nature of the course, up and down. He could not climb like I am able to and I would pass him handily on the uphill and he would BURN down the backside wearing himself down only to go through it all again on the next hill. I finally had enough and added just enough effort to gap him enough that he was unable to keep up any longer and he had to drop back well out of any threat range. As a matter of fact I had to make a stop in the corn because my bladder was so full that I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. As I was finishing my natural break, i turned to see him pass me as I was getting ready to grab my bike and get back on course. I caught less than a mile up the road and gaped him again and later crushed him on the run.
I finished the bike well ahead of my plan but in very good shape for the run. My only concern as I headed for the T2 was the heat that I had noticed building as I climbed the hill leading into Catawba on the second loop. I had executed the bike at a slightly harder than planned rate and still felt like I was going to have plenty left for the run.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing except for the first mile or so where I was trying to get control of "my" race.
For Rev3 Cedar Point I'll try to get the bike a little bit harder. Something like a mid to high 140's HR over the course.
Transition 2
  • 01m 12s

This one was little slower than normal T2 for me but I had a couple of extra things to do in this one that normally isn't done in short course transitions. I had to make sure I grabbed my flask of gel and my salt tabs, which I did not use nor did I require them......But I had them just in case.
What would you do differently?:

I could be slightly quicker but just as with T1, I wanted to make sure everything went well and I didn't forget anything. Cedar Point will be different.
  • 1h 49m 27s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 21s  min/mile

The run course started much too fast! I began the course with Lis taking pictures of me as I ran by and I commented to her that I needed to be running much slower. I noticed coming out of T2 that within the first 150 yards I was running sub 7 minutes and I knew there was no way I would survive this heat and the distance at this pace.
It took me 3 miles to get settled down and into a pace range that I thought was going to last for all 13.1 miles of this run. I noticed mile 4 was at 8:10 and felt this was going to be a good pace to be able to finish out the race at. I knew it would be hard but I thought it would be doable.
I always hate the first loop of runs because it seems to take forever to get to the turn around point and this was no exception. I finally reached the turn around and was happy to be heading in the other direction. At this point I was beginning to feel the strain of the day and the heat was settling in "nicely???" I changed my fueling strategy as I headed back at the first turnaround point. I felt that if I took in as much liquid as I thought I wanted I was going to begin sloshing and it would get uglier from there. My new hydration and fueling strategy became staying cool rather than taking in liquids at each aid station. At each aid station I grabbed at least one cup of water to dump over my head. This was VERY cold and sent me into some shock waves for a few seconds but once it was over I was greatly relieved by the cooling affect it had. This continued for the remainder of the race and probably allowed me to continue at the pace at which I finished.
At the halfway point turn around I grabbed my flask of gel and took a swig. I grabbed hold of myself at this point mentally and prepared for what I knew was about to be a very difficult finishing loop. By now the heat was settled into my body and I could tell I was going to struggle for the climb back into the finishing area. There was a long subtle climb back into the finish area that I was not looking forward to. I paced ahead considering what my strategy would be for the last few miles. Originally I planned to attempt to run the last 3 at a faster pace than the first 10 but with the heat and wasted energy on the first 3 miles I knew I wasn't going to do that.
I ran miles 7-10 with one goal in mind........Finish running! No walking except through the aid stations to pour water over myself to keep the threat from heat exhaustion as low as possible. I was able to stick to this plan well and not stop running. Mentally these last miles were very tough. My mind was working overtime to quiet the voices in my head that were screaming at me to stop and walk. It was even more challenging to start running again at each of the aid stations after adding more water to cool my body down.
I saw Brenda and Barb in this last loop and they were able to offer me some encouragement that kept me going. Honestly that probably did more to keep me running than I thought at the time but in those moments I knew I wanted to call this off and walk. Thanks to Brenda and Barb for those little encouraging words.
At the final turn around all I could think about was that I was getting much much closer to the finish. I was also hoping I would see Brenda again and maybe pass her because I knew she would be able to support me with her smiling face. When I did come up on her I had been in enough of my own anguish that I had forgotten that Lis told me she crashed on the bike. As I approached her I placed my hand on her shoulder and asked how she was doing and I noticed I placed my hand on the abrasion on her shoulder. I only remember her trying to encourage me yet I could see the pain on her face and I knew how much she was struggling. She told me to go on and finish strong for her and I left her apprehensively. We were close to an aid station and I grabbed more water to drench myself in and continued on my final 2-3 miles.
As I approached the final aid station I developed a little more enthusiasm to finish but as I looked up the long steady incline and examined my planned quicker pace I began to blow up within 500 feet. I had to back down! I did not have it in me to finish as hard as my mind wanted too! I was beginning to blow up and there was little else I cold do but slow down even further. Those last 2 miles were a test of my will almost like the miles of last year's marathon in Indianapolis but not quite as severe. I was as well hydrated as I could have been and I feel I was as well fueled as think I needed to be. I was experiencing fatigue and heat related exhaustion (in my opinion) and I was just ready to end this race.
As I rounded the last corner and headed toward the finishing line I felt nothing of the "I am finishing mt first HIM" elation that I have seen others finish with. I just wanted to cross that line and fall over!! Lis was there to capture these few moments on the camera and despite the pictures being out of focus the strain on my face and body were very evident.
But.........I FINISHED MY FIRST 70.3 RACE!!!!
What would you do differently?:

I would pace properly at the beginning of the run and take more consideration to the heat that I knew was coming. Had I taken these 2 factors more seriously I may have had a more comfortable race or at least a faster time if I had paced correctly.
Post race
Warm down:

Leaned over gasping for air.
Other than the last marathon in Indy I had never received any medical attention and Indy was only a member of the medical staff asking if I need help.
After this race I was struggling to breath fairly severely and I told Lis I needed to lay down to open my airways a little more. Lis began to get concerned, being a nurse, and got the medics to come take a look at me. She also retrieved my inhaler (provental) for me to take to attempt to work that into my system. However, I was coughing so badly that when I took it I only cough all of the meds out before anything could actually get into my lungs.
She and the medical staff advised me to take more provental but I told them I needed to wait until I could keep my lungs closed up to allow the meds to actually get in and begin their work. As we were discussing these things they were checking my BP, O2 sats, color and general health questions. As I recall my BP was 108/82 and my O2 sats were 99%. The HR according to my monitor was 82 at the time they were taking the rest of my vitals.
It took me about 25-30 minutes before I could get my chest calmed down enough to control my coughing but I was able to get more asthma meds into my system about 15 minutes after this began. It was about an hour after I finished before I could get any food into my body. As far as my personal health this was the worst I have felt immediately post race that I can remember. I was never concerned for my personal safety or that I was in a serious situation but IO knew I was deep into a struggle for proper air exchange.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Fitness. There is nothing more than that. I could have went faster on the bike and the swim but not on the run. I planned this race and stuck fairly close to the plan and was successful except for lack of planning for heat.

Event comments:

Th e post race massage cost $15 but it was WELL worth it! With a 3 hour drive facing me this probably became more important than usual.
Race Results:

Last updated: 2012-03-21 12:00 AM
00:32:27 | 2112 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 2/12
Overall: 6/106
Performance: Average
The run up into transition calculates out to .15 miles so my time is a little slower than I was planning.
Suit: Neosport
Course: This was a clockwise 2 loop course on the edge of a beach at the state park.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:01
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:45:02 | 56 miles | 20.36 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/12
Overall: 31/106
Performance: Good
Split/Avg Speed/Max Speed/Avg HR/Max HR 1 17.4 24.2 152 159 2 20 24.9 147 152 3 17.5 21.4 149 154 4 19.6 22.3 144 149 5 18 20.1 142 148 6 17.1 21.3 145 152 7 17.3 20.6 143 149 8 18.6 23.1 143 149 9 20.7 27.3 140 144 10 19.7 24.9 140 147 11 21.5 24.7 139 143 12 22.9 32.7 141 148 13 24 32.6 146 150 14 17.8 24.4 145 149 15 22.3 28.1 143 147 16 20.1 26.9 142 149 17 28.6 36.3 135 141 18 17.2 26.1 144 155 19 25.6 32.1 132 139 20 15.9 26.1 144 152 21 19.7 23 142 147 22 23.2 28.4 136 143 23 21.6 26.8 140 143 24 22.6 26.4 137 143 25 22.4 25.3 137 140 26 25.7 33.1 134 139 27 21 26.2 139 146 28 18.6 21.9 138 147 29 19.9 24.9 143 146 30 19.7 24.1 138 145 31 18.1 21.2 142 151 32 18.5 21.7 141 145 33 18.2 20.2 142 145 34 17.3 21.6 143 150 35 16.2 20.7 145 149 36 20.3 26.2 142 149 37 20.2 23.6 142 146 38 20.7 25 146 150 39 20.1 24.9 145 150 40 23.9 31.4 143 149 41 21.8 33.2 147 154 42 19.8 24.8 150 156 43 22.9 27.3 144 149 44 21.3 35.9 145 152 45 18.4 34.1 150 159 46 25.7 32 143 151 47 23.2 32.1 143 146 48 15.5 20.8 149 156 49 21 29.1 145 148 50 22.7 28.9 142 145 51 20.6 26 143 147 52 22.5 26.1 143 147 53 23.8 31.1 144 146 54 22.8 28.8 142 147 55 21.6 26.7 145 148 56 18.3 21.7 144 146 Summary 20.2 36.3 143 159
Wind: Some
Course: The course was basically a lollipop course over some rolling hills. The first half of the loop had an overall gain in elevation with a steady long and gradual climb with a few rollers.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:12
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:49:27 | 13.1 miles | 08m 21s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/12
Overall: 12/106
Performance: Below average
Split/Time/Avg Pace/Avg HR/Max HR 1 07:32.4 7:32 150 153 2 07:55.4 7:55 152 155 3 07:56.7 7:57 153 155 4 08:10.1 8:10 153 156 5 08:19.3 8:19 154 157 6 08:15.1 8:15 155 159 7 08:25.5 8:26 156 160 8 08:31.6 8:32 155 158 9 08:46.3 8:46 153 156 10 08:30.7 8:31 152 154 11 08:59.5 8:59 150 154 12 09:04.9 9:05 149 153 13 08:46.7 9:03 148 153 Summary 49:14.1 8:25 152 160
Course: A 2 loop out and back course through an asphalt trail system on the est side of Springfield
Keeping cool Bad 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? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2012-08-27 8:32 PM

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Fort Wayne
Subject: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon

2012-08-27 9:23 PM
in reply to: #4383335

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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon

Dirk congrats on completing your first HIM. I think you did a great job in following the plan you set for yourself. You were pretty disciplined through out the race. I really think you did a good job of pacing yourself as well. I know you were not going all out here which is pretty amazing considering since you finished in at a little over 5 hours and you guys didn't have it easy with the heat. I'm sure this experience is going to go a long way towards the Cedar Point Rev3 race coming up. Overall you did a great job and had a great race.

2012-08-28 6:53 AM
in reply to: #4383335

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Extreme Veteran
Racine, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon
Dirk congratulations! it sounds like your race went according to your plan, 3rd in your ag and your time was awesome! Way to go!
2012-08-28 8:01 AM
in reply to: #4383335

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Wilson, NC (East of Raleigh, NC)
Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon

Way to go on your 1st HIM - I enjoyed reading your race report - it was extremely well written and I loved the messages they wrote for you on the road!


Good luck at Cedar Point!

2012-08-28 11:20 AM
in reply to: #4383335

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Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon

Dirk, you are amazing...nuff said!  Congratulations!!!

2012-08-28 4:33 PM
in reply to: #4383335

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Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon
Great race, well within your plan.  Now you know the distance and I can't even imagine what the next one will look like.  Great discipline, I guess the tatoo worked!

2012-08-29 9:24 AM
in reply to: #4383335

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Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon
Yikes.  Post-race didn't sound good, hope that doesn't happen at Cedar Point!  Nice race though, and I can't wait to hear about Rev3 when you can go all in!!
2012-08-30 6:06 AM
in reply to: #4383335

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Subject: RE: Great Buckeye Challenge - Half Iron Triathlon

Great race and entertaining race report. I felt like I was right there with you while reading that one. I think it's important to read how even the fast guys want to walk. Just looking at your splits I could think your just fast and this comes easy to you but I know how hard you work, the planning you put into your race the the fight you put into it meet your goals.

Congratulations on a fantastic first HIM!!!!!!!!!!!

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