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Door County Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
United States
Door Country Triathlon
72F / 22C
Total Time = 5h 56m 40s
Overall Rank = 452/835
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 47/80
Pre-race routine:

Back Story: Coming into this event, I had no idea what to expect in an overall performance... I had thoughts on each individual segment what I should be able to do as a standalone event for this distance. To back-track leading up to the Door County Half, my training in preparation has been a roller coaster. Had a solid start to the new year training until a knee injury basically kept me from biking and running for approximately two months, which then led into the final month of wedding preparation, the wedding and then the honeymoon. Needless to say, the tri training took a big hit, with set backs in physical strenght, plus the gain of weight during that time frame. I basically had 7 weeks to prepare for my first HIM distance.

I signed up for the Door County Half Iron as a learning experience to prepare for Ironman Florida this fall. I had not raced longer than olympic distance and have one half marathon in the books (1:56). I looked forward to seeing how the body will hold up and perform at this distance... this could later create stress/anxiety or that positive boost that I need for IMFL.

Myself, wife, and three friends all drove up to Door County from Chicago two days prior for an extended weekend out of town to soak in the experience, relax a little, volunteer for the Saturday Sprint race and overall just enjoy the time away from home.

Race day morning, woke up at 5am, got dressed, made my pre-race meal of a blueberry bagel with almond butter and coffee, loaded up the car and wife and headed to the race site. Transition closed at 7:45am with my wave starting at 8:36am, I had plenty of time to eat along the drive, set up transition, and relax prior to the start.

Sipped on two bottles of water, took a salt pill an hour prior to start and some Perform chews 30 minutes prior to start.
Event warmup:

Light stretching of body
  • 39m 48s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 53s / 100 yards

Swim start was in waist deep waters with approximately 80 people in the start wave. This was a typical swim start... alot of positioning, dodging arms and feet, and trying to find some clean water to dig into. I finally got a rhythm going after about 75 meters.

The water was not bad, but there were still 2-3 ft swells to navigate though, which made sighting difficult for me on the out swim. My overall sighting was quite poor as I felt as if I was zig zagging the entire swim, going from buoy to buoy. Part of my mistake was trying to latch onto to feet and get a draft, however the good drafts that I found went offline, and I could not keep up with other feet that were the barracudas in the water. I knew of my difficulties during the swim and still could not correct it in time... frustrating.

Swim strength was fine for the distance as I did not tire out. I would estimate that I lost up to 3 minutes in the swim due to the poor line around the course. Lesson learned.
What would you do differently?:

More open water time to practice sighting.
Transition 1
  • 01m 28s

No problems in T1... uneventful. Skipped the wetsuit strippers, took suit off at bike, shoes one, helmet one and off we went

I had sunglasses ready to go for the bike segment, but tossed them aside due to the overcast conditions.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, T1 was fluid.
  • 2h 42m 18s
  • 56.3 miles
  • 20.76 mile/hr

I was looking forward to the bike segment... I like to bike and after getting the new Adamo Prologue saddle, I am more comfortable which helps to make riding more enjoyable.

I had the following nutrition plan for the bike:

two bottles of Infinite (450 calories each)
salt pill every 10 miles
two bottle of water throughout the ride

I had the goal of a 20mph avg ride, which was roughly 2 hours 45 minutes (at best).

With the pre-race rain shower that we had gotten, the roads were quite slick for the the first 15 miles... I about lost it in a turn, going off on the high side, but was lucky to keep the bike off the gravel... my race was almost over early.

I quickly got into a comfortable pace at the start of the bike, only a couple of guys passed me within the first 10 miles. I had decided to go without my GPS watch and just use the regular Timex lap timer as my guide. This was good move as it kept my mind occupied the entire race doing calculations in my head figuring pace, approximent finish times....

The first hour quickly passed by as I averaged a little under 22 mph, so there after, I had to force myself to back off a bit to save some legs for the run, but I just felt good at the 22 pace.

I grabbed a water bottle at each aid station and used that bottle as my primary water, leaving the bottle on the bike as a back up. I would get a bottle from the aid station and tuck into my tri top back pocket. This worked quite well for me as the sensation of the bottle on my back reminded me to drink.

I ended up taking in 4 salt tabs, 2 bottles of Infinite and 3.5 bottles of water. I was conscience of staying hydrated for the event, and it worked.
What would you do differently?:

Ha, push harder on the bike. I so badly wanted to put the hammer down and go, but I knew better. Regardless, my run was not going to be good, but I was here to learn something.
Transition 2
  • 02m 57s

Unremarkable T2. Took my time to put on socks and shoes. Took in a salt tab with water, loaded my gels and tabs into the back pockets, grabbed my visor and bib, then took of for the run.
What would you do differently?:

Normally my T2 would be about a minute faster, but I wanted to make sure that I was prepared for this run.
  • 2h 30m 7s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 29s  min/mile

When you hear people talk about the Door County Half run course, they will mention some hills that you have to run up. Now this is completely wrong! Never believe what these people say. This run course is climbs with a couple of mercy flats along the way. I HATE this run course! Ha.

As I mentioned earlier, my training took a hit early on, and this was largely my run training. With a nagging knee issue, I had struggled to put in sufficient miles to train for a half mary, yet alone an excursion up what felt like Mt. Everest. My longest run in preparation for the race was a 7 mile sufferfest in 95 degree heat. This run was going to be interesting.

The nutrition plan for the run was as follows:

Salt tab and gel every 3 miles with water
Water at every aid station
Don't eat dirt when laying on the ground crying

Right out of T2, my knee was acting funny, so I started with a 4 minute run, 1 minute walk until the knee loosened up and stopped aching, and by mile three, the pain had gone away. Pee break at mile 3 aid station.

For the next 5 miles I was able to pick up the pace and had a steady method of 9 minutes run, 2 minutes walk. I did have an extended walk of approximately 4-5 minutes up one of the climbs, where very very few people were jogging. But I knew that the big climb was still to come.

There is was... at mile 9.5, the climb of a quarter mile at over 20% grade. I begged a couple of spectators to drive me up the hill, but they just laughed at me, thinking that I was joking. Later, I wished I got a ride... This climb was brutal on already tired legs, the walk was slow moving, everyone was slow moving. If I fell over, I could easily roll down the hill topping out at 30 mph, this was life or death for me. There was a sign on the side of road that said, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN... this was quite fitting. What did help though were all the spectactors on the side of the road for this climb, cheering us along, some guy had a cowbell bell so big that it looked like it was made for an elephant.

I eventually chugged my way up to the crest of the climb, feeling completely drained at this point. They had an aid station at about mile 10, I took in more water, wet towel and walk some more just to get some strength back. I was done with this run, just wanted to get to the finish and relax, but nooooo.... I still have a 5k left to run.

The last 5k took my approximate run time from bad to worse... my pace dropped as I was back to a 3-4 minute run, 2 minute walk. BUT, I kept moving, inching my way to finish.

Now, the last quarter mile of the run is where it got real interesting for me... What goes up, must come down. This meant running down the Mt. Everest to the finish line. The finish started as a jog, then into a fast jog, into a run, into a sprint, into Usain Bolt, then into the speed of light... I was afraid to slow down, try to stop and quite frankly scared of the spectactors, cars and the police bus on the side of the road... I had no control where I would go, I had to keep the legs moving at Mach 15. But alas, the finishing chute appeared like a light from the heavens. My aches and pains went away and I was cruising to the finish line with a smile on my face and legs of steel below me. I was done with the run!
What would you do differently?:

Besides more run training... find some friendly spectators to give me a ride.
Post race
Warm down:

Got my ice cold water and towel, finishers medal and waited to get my photo taken while lightly stretching.

After the race, the legs tightened up and were quite sore, but this was to be expected.

I snacked on some fruit, drank several cups of water and gatorade before celebrating the race with friends over a couple cups of beer.

Even though the I had my troubles with the swim, and may have over dramatized my run, I was happy with how I finished. My goal was to break 6 hours for my first HIM, to learn some lessons along the way, and just enjoy the race.... Mission Accomplished!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Obviously my lack of training leading up to the race. However, with my training group for IMFL in full swing now, I have more confidence in a better race this fall.

Event comments:

The Door County Half Iron is a fantastic race! The race director, towns, locals, business, volunteers... Everybody associated with this race were amazing. We could not have been happier to have selected Door County as our group race together and we all look forward to returning.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-07-23 12:00 AM
00:39:48 | 2112 yards | 01m 53s / 100yards
Age Group: 31/80
Overall: 0/835
Performance: Below average
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: Out with a right hand turn to swim parallel to the shoreline, then 180 degrees back to a 90 left hand turn toward the shore.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:28
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:42:18 | 56.3 miles | 20.76 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/80
Overall: 0/835
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:57
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
02:30:07 | 13.1 miles | 11m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 72/80
Overall: 0/835
Performance: Below average
Course: Run into Egg Harbor and back. Oh yeah, some little hill work along the way.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-07-23 6:10 PM

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Subject: Door County Triathlon - Half Iron Course

2013-07-23 8:39 PM
in reply to: #4812186

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Subject: RE: Door County Triathlon - Half Iron Course
Woo hoo but you got er done Matt. And in great time. so proud of you. Glad you pushed through the run. Didn't sound like a fun course. Throw in 89 degree heat and sun and no shade and you got the Muncie run course. Hee Hee. You rock dude.
2013-07-23 10:28 PM
in reply to: infosteward

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Subject: RE: Door County Triathlon - Half Iron Course
Great RR. That hill at 9.5 was a beast, huh? When I saw "Embrace the Suck" written on the road at the bottom of that bad boy I mutterred "No chit" under my breath. Then, 150yds later, I saw "Now, REALLY embrace the suck" I started laughing like a derranged idiot. Great course. Good luck on your IM:)
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