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Ironman 70.3 Steelhead - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Benton Harbor, Michigan
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 6h 05m 21s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

FIRST HALF IM! Woke up at 4am, and had a 35 minute drive to Benton Harbor. As always, I was really anxious about being late/forgetting something, so I hopped out of bed, grabbed my bags, started drinking Gatorade, and made my way to the car.

Twenty minutes into the drive, I had a horrible feeling I'd forgotten something. In my failed attempt to be efficient, I'd packed my swim cap and goggles in a seperate bag...AND FORGOTTEN IT AT HOME.

I quickly pulled over, turned around, and gunned it back to the house. Grabbed my bag, and was back out the door. Eventually made it to Benton Harbor by shortly after 5am. Still freaking out that I wasn't going to be able to set up in time.
Made it to transition, only to realize I'd left my running shorts in the car. F*******K. And it was way too late to make it to the car and back in time before transition closed.

Needless to say, this wasn't the preparation I'd hopped for. I headed back to the car, put my shorts on under my wetsuit, headed to the potty line and tried my best to decompress.

I figured nothing else could go wrong, and at this point, i'd just have to deal with it, even if it meant doing the bike course in a skirt and no shoes.
Event warmup:

Felt much more relaxed after my intial set-up debacle.
Walked down the beach for a mile to the swim start,swam a little to ease the nerves, and waited for my wave. Water felt great.
  • 43m 35s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 04s / 100 yards

I was in the M30-34 wave, and it felt packed.
I need to get over my inferiority complex. I always feel like a boy in a man's world at these events. It seemed like everyone I looked at was ready to bust out a sub-5 time.
As I waded in, I positioned myself to the left, away from the buoy, and toward the back. This was by far my biggest tri to date (by # of athletes), and by going wide my hope was to avoid getting beat up. It worked pretty well.

I thought I was swimming pretty well. I spent much of the first half overtaking others from my wave. Then came the wave behind, and it got a little messy for a while. At the same time, I was catching the wave prior to me, so we had 3 waves of very different paces.
My line was terrible. At some points I found myself going left, away from the buoys, and at one point I was inside the buoy line. I guess I just need to sight more, or just become a straighter swimmer.

Rounding the final buoy, just before the finish, was a sh*tshow. Just a ton of people, probably 5 separate waves represented, trying to squeeze through a stretch of water about 2ft wide.
What would you do differently?:

I wish i'd have gone harder from the start. I had plenty in reserve when I exited the water, and probably could've shaved a couple minutes off my time.
Also, swim straighter.
Transition 1
  • 06m 30s

T1 is probably something I need to put some work into.

Firstly, exiting the water, you have to run up a steep, sandy beach to T1. I ran about 20yds, and walked the rest so not to gas myself before the bike.
I wish they'd had a kiddy pool at the top to rinse the sand off my feet.

In T1, I went slow and deliberate on purpose, not wanting to screw anything up before my longest bike ever. I shed my suit, pulled off my run shorts (laid them out to dry before the run), put on my bike shorts, bike shoes, t-shirt, helmet, gloves, and made my way for the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, probably just move quicker.

Maybe i could've run to the exit and put my shoes on there. I don't know how people put there feet in the shoes while they're attached the pedals.
  • 3h 02m 41s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.39 mile/hr

This was the section of the race I was most nervous for.
After my first ever tri resulted in a DNF, I focused (maybe too much) on my swim, and I've been a runner for several years. I was confident in these 2 aspects of my tri, but the bike was a wildcard.
Living in Chicago, I don't get the opportunity to bike all that much. I put in some time on the trainer, a few spin classes, but I really wish I had access to the well maintained stretches of asphalt they have in the burbs.

Anyway, too late to do anything about that now. I get going, and just try to focus on keeping a good pace, without going too hard and trying to keep something in reserve for the run.
As I'm at mile 8, I pass the leaders at mile 48. Damn. This was psychologically the hardest part of the race. Knowing I had so far to go.

The ride actually ended up being quite enjoyable. I went back and forth with several riders which made for some friendly (I hope) competition. I wore a 100oz Camelbak, as I hate using the bottle cage, and my hydration was spot on. After a failed attempt to grab Gu at the 2nd aid station, and almost falling off my bike, I slowed way down at the 3rd station, and Gu'd up.

The feeling of crossing the 28 mile marker was surreal. My spirits were lifted, and my attitude completely changed. I actually enjoyed the 2nd half.
The sun came out for the first time at about mile 35. I know the sun/heat saps my performance, so I focused on getting finished, staying hyddrated, and giving thumbs-up to all the volunteers.

Heading south to the finish line, I was just counting down the miles to the big hill I'd come down earlier on the course. Man, it was tough, for me at least. I don't ride hills...ever. I was out my seat, cranking away, and when i crested, I was wiped, but i knew it was over and it was flat/downhill to the finish.

Negotiating the thin path with sharp corners into the finish was a little hairy. But i was done. The bike was over. I was SO relieved.
What would you do differently?:

Much, much, MUCH more biking. I need to improve my conditioning and power on the bike.
Transition 2
  • 03m

My transition space was immediately inside the bike-in. I mounted my bike, dumped all the bike stuff (helmet, gloves, shoes, shorts), put on my running shoes and hat, and headed for the exit.

The transition area was a couple hundred yards long, so it gave me a good opportunity to get some of the jelly legs out my system before hitting the course.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 08m 58s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 50s  min/mile

After exiting T2, I tried to keep a decent pace, even though my jelly legs from the bike section were telling me to chill out and have a beer.

I was in awesome spirits on the run. I knew I was going to finish, I just wanted to post a time I would be happy with. My goal coming in was 6:30, and I don't carry a watch, but roughly I knew if I ran a 2:30, i would probably hit my goal.

There was a steep hill in the first mile, I chose to walk up that since I had a long run ahead of me. You run into the loop at mile 2, and it's roughly a 5-mile loop.
There were plenty of aid stations, and the volunteers were so awesome.
The section of the course which was run on the Whirlpool campus was great. Mostly flat, well shaded in sections. Right as you exit the campus, you climb a big hill. You have to do this twice, and I walked it both times.

I felt fantastic through about mile 7-8. At this point I started to feel really sluggish, so I switched from water/gatorade/gu to coke/pretzels/bananes to try and get more calories in my body. It worked rather well. I was concerned that in the sun I might get nauseous. There was a brief period around mile 8 where I didn't feel so great, but the increased calories seemed to help settle me.

The final 3 miles were rough. I was really tired, but knew I was SO CLOSE. At mile 12 I jogged down the big hill which felt amazing, and as I rounded the corner, a runner in front of my asked some guy what time is was..."2 o'clock" was the reply. This was the first time I'd known the time since 8am, when my wave started. I was half a mile from the finish, 6 hours down, I could've floated across the finish.

With a quarter mile left, I put down the hammer and gave it my all into the finishers chute.

I smiled at all the people cheers along the chute, and high-fived a ton of people. I wish I could bottle that feeling.

The only disappointment was that my family were running late, and missed my finish. I feel dumb that it affected me as much as it did, but...
What would you do differently?:

Racewise: abolutely nothing. Maybe take in more calories earlier it the run. I loved this run. I really did.

Other: I'd tell my family to be there by 11am.
Post race
Warm down:

It was hot and sunny, and I needed shade, so I stood under a tent drinking water for a few minutes watching people cross the finish line and basking in the "glory" of achieving my 2012 goal of finishing a half Ironman.

Probably should've stretched, but all I wanted to do was sit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My slow T1, and the sun/heat.
It could've been much worse, so I was thankful that the swim and most of the bike was overcast.

Event comments:

I absolutely LOVED this race. Next year I'm thinking about doing either Racine or Steelhead. I'd love to come back to this one, but a mate of mine alreday signed up for Racine, so....we'll see.

I will be back, though.

Last updated: 2012-09-05 12:00 AM
00:43:35 | 2112 yards | 02m 04s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Full
Course: Point to point swim, heading north along the shore of Lake Michigan
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:02:41 | 56 miles | 18.39 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: North out of Benton Harbor. Lollipop course. Some rolling hills, mostly flat, and a doozy of a hill at about mile 48.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 03:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:08:58 | 13.1 miles | 09m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Lollipop course, with 2 loops. Well shaded, mostly flat. 3 significant hills, one of which you get to run down at mile 12. Overall, I really enjoyed this course.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2012-09-06 9:29 AM

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Chicago, IL
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Steelhead

2012-09-06 11:08 AM
in reply to: #4398071

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Extreme Veteran
Westchester, NY
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Steelhead
Nice race report .. Well done.
2012-09-06 6:46 PM
in reply to: #4398281

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St. Joseph, MI
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Steelhead

louamerica - 2012-09-06 12:08 PM Nice race report .. Well done.



2012-10-15 7:43 AM
in reply to: #4398071

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Steelhead
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