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HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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La Quinta, California
United States
HITS Triathlon Series
75F / 24C
Total Time = 5h 02m 59s
Overall Rank = 13/218
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 3/34
Pre-race routine:

We were staying about 15 minutes away from the race site, at the La Quinta amazing place! Alarm off at 4:30am. Loaded bike and gear in/on car. Oatmeal at 5am. Got to transition around 5:45am. Part of a banana and Clif bar around 6/6:15am. After getting my gear set up in transition, I chatted with my family and my friend Mike, who was doing the race with me. He and I walked down to the water together, did a quick, easy swim and then talked on the shore. We participated in a short group prayer, then got ready for the start of the race.

HITS made you feel like a pro in that everyone had an assigned transition spot...lots of space, your number and name listed, a little stool to sit on, etc. That part was pretty cool....the thing I didn't like is that I prefer to locate my transition spot as close to the bike in/out as possible, to minimize running with the bike. In this case, my assigned spot was about the furthest I could have been from the bike in/out, so I had to run the furthest with the bike for T1 and T2.
Event warmup:

Not much, just a short 100m or so swim.
  • 34m 42s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

Overall, I was very happy with this best swim to date.

Start was rather unorganized, some stayed on the beach, some wading in the water. Directions were to go straight out to the first buoy, about 30m out, around it to the right, then keep the remaining buoys to your left, swimming counterclockwise. Perhaps 15 of us went around that buoy, nearly everyone just headed immediately to the right, skipping that initial buoy. Was a mass start of about 300 (Half and Full distances started together) in a very small area, so it was VERY crowded for at least 1/2 of the first loop. I was hit on the head, back, legs many times....I mostly kept going. One time I felt someone essentially "climbing" over me, so I backed off to let the person go. I drafted better than most other races, sighting was marginal....sometimes good, other times I was way off.
What would you do differently?:

I just need to swim more and get lessons.
Transition 1
  • 02m 19s

10th overall / 1st in AG

I've been keeping my shoes clipped in on the bike to speed my T1....usually, this works well for me....Everything went really well until I attempted to get my foot into the first shoe. We were on a slight incline after the mount line, I lost momentum, couldn't get my foot in cleanly, and had to stop. Got going again for attempt #2....this time, worse results....also losing momentum as I tried to get my foot in, this time I pushed too hard and my shoe unclipped and fell to the ground! Crap! I had to stop, get off my bike, run back about 10 feet to get my shoe. I just put it on, clipped it in as I mounted and road to the top of the little hill before attempting to get my other shoe on. Finally got my other foot in and then was off! I think I lost a solid minute with all that messing around.
What would you do differently?:

More practice on getting my feet into my shoes while riding....WAIT to put feet into shoes until I'm on a flat or slight downhill. Had I just rode up the little rise from the mount line with my feet on top of my shoes, I had a nice little flat and downhill that would have made getting into my shoes rather easy. Poor decision making.
  • 2h 29m 28s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.48 mile/hr

I was a little frazzled about the issues I'd just had trying to get my feet into my shoes. I knew I'd lost a little time there and wanted to settle in to a good pace. I was feeling great...happy to have the swim behind me and was really happy with my swim time. I felt like I was moving well on the bike but I didn't think I was working to hard. I started passing people with some frequency and continued to feel good.

I was shocked by the number of people drafting, working in was a disgrace! I yelled at one group of about 7 or 8 guys, as I passed them on the first outbound section...."come on guys, stop drafting....get real will ya!" Something like that. At the first turnaround, I told the guys working at the turn to be on the lookout for the draft pack...don't know if they did anything or not.

I did not see any officials on the course...they NEEDED THEM! I was just shocked....a few groups were literally wheel to and women. Disgusting! You people are CHEATING!!!!

2nd loop was a bit different as I could feel the wind, pretty strong in places. I felt like I was working much harder and was going slower! I must have put too much into the first lap...and this would come back to get me on the run!
What would you do differently?:

MUST pace better....I keep thinking that I'm going easy for the first 1/4 to 1/3 of the bike, but I obviously need to go easier than I think.

I had a great bike split, but my run suffered. If I'd given up 5 minutes on the bike, would I have made up 10-15 on the run? I'll have to adjust to see.
Transition 2
  • 01m 31s

25th overall / 5th in AG

Good T2. Took a moment longer than needed to insure I'd not forgotten anything. Overall happy with my transitions.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 54m 59s
  • 14.1 miles
  • 08m 09s  min/mile

3 to 4 weeks ago I ran a stand alone 1/2 Marathon in 1:22...similarly flat course but a bit cooler weather. I was shooting for a 1:30ish time today; disappointed that I was 25 minutes off that goal (call it 17 minutes off when the extra mile is considered). I started out feeling pretty good...was happy to get off the bike as I was ready to get off the saddle...if you know what I mean!

After the first few miles, I really started to slow....just low level of energy. I don't think I had my nutrition dialed in well enough, perhaps should have had a bit more fluids but I think the main culprit was too much effort on the bike that cost me on the run.

My training was well short of my what was in my plan...between work and family obligations, for the 13 weeks leading up to the race I ended up doing an average of just 6.3 hours per week of training with only about 16 mile/week of running)
What would you do differently?:

1. Better align my expectations with my preparation
2. Back off on the bike...aim for a negative split
3. Spend more time planning my nutrition
4. Embrace the sufferfest more than I did today!
Post race
Warm down:

Light stretching and laying on the grass post race. Drove home that afternoon and slept quite well Saturday night! Long walk with my wife and dog Sunday....easy 30 minute recovery run on Monday morning.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Preparation, nutrition, too much on the bike

Event comments:

Add officials to the bike course, get us off of the sidewalk for the run and get the run distance correct and this would have been A+....

HITS has a good formula going...if they fix these things they will be among the best.

Last updated: 2012-05-04 12:00 AM
00:34:42 | 2112 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 13/34
Overall: 65/218
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex full suit
Course: Calm, clean water...nice swim. 2 loop counter clockwise....exit water on beach, over timing mat, back into water for 2nd loop
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:19
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Bad
02:29:28 | 56 miles | 22.48 mile/hr
Age Group: 2/34
Overall: 7/218
Performance: Good
1st lap about 1:13, 2nd lap about 1:16. HR Avg was 135 which is zone 4.6 for me, 90% of max. Avg cadence was 85....but 1st lap avg cad was around 90, dropped to around 80 for 2nd lap.
Wind: Strong
Course: Flat with some false flats, 2 loop out and back. Roads overall pretty good, some parts excellent, others not so good. Roads open to traffic, but intersections were all monitored by police and traffic was pretty light. Other than being in the park, we were on just 3 roads, so it was very straight forward. 2nd loop I felt the wind pick up.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:31
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:54:59 | 14.1 miles | 08m 09s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/34
Overall: 22/218
Performance: Average
HR avg was 134, zone 3.7 1st 3 miles avg pace was about 7:15, slower than my goal pace, but not too far off. From there I slowed considerably as I stopped at some of the aid stations and had to take a "nature break" and hit a port-a-potty.
Course: Flat overall - most on a winding sidewalk covering just a few streets. An out and back 1 loop course with trees providing shade over parts of the course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2012-12-03 2:15 PM

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Subject: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
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