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Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Sub10 Events
32C / 90F
Total Time = 6h 58m 26s
Overall Rank = 242/318
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 25/31
Pre-race routine:

The day before, I took my bike for a short test run, maybe a mile up the road and back. Everything worked fine.

Race was to start at 8:00 and transition opened at 6:00 so the clock went off at 4:30. For breakfast I had cereal and milk, with coffee and a half a banana. I got to the transition area just before 6 but there were already a few people there and the prime spots were taken. They had announced at the carb load dinner that the bikes were to be racked, no more than 8 to a section and facing alternating directions, so there was plenty of room anyway. I got a nice grassy spot near the fence where my wife could see and talk to me.

No pre-race adventures. I got my chip and markings, and then stood around for a bit getting slightly chilled. I used the porta-johns, got my wetsuit on, and went to the pre-race meeting. We went straight from the pre-race meeting to the warmup and start. I didn't take a gel or an eload capsule like I had planned. Doh!
Event warmup:

I swam out a little way and back but figured I'd do most of my warmup during the race. I'm planning to take it easy and save something for the run.
  • 41m 49s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 12s / 100 meters

I started right in the middle of everyone, not by planning but that's where I was when they suddenly started counting down from 10. The start was a little crowded but I just swam steady and it wasn't too bad. I had to pull up a couple of times because of people stopped in front of me. It seemed like a long way to the first turn and I just swam with the crowd. After we turned, sighting directly into the morning sun was impossible so I continued to follow the crowd.

About half way across the 400m leg a guy went past me and I tucked in behind his feet. He was zig zagging a little sometimes, obviously having trouble navigating but working at it, but he was also holding a good pace and I was swimming a lot easier in his draft so I stayed with him. Part way down the last leg, my left calf started cramping a bit but it worked out. I trailed those feet right up to the shallows and thanked him as we hiked to the beach.
Transition 1
  • 02m 30s

The transition times were included in the bike so I guesstimated. A wetsuit stripper helped pull off my suit. When I got to my transition spot, I tucked my suit in behind my stuff and sat down. I took my time, trying to get everything done right. Hah! Socks and shoes went on easily. I grabbed a couple of power bars and put one in each side of my tri-top's back pockets. Next the race belt, helmet, and fingerless bike gloves. I went to grab my bike, but first I had to quickly change out of my running shoes and into bike shoes. Doh!
  • 3h 08m 26s
  • 90 kms
  • 28.66 km/hr

I was worried when I drove the course but it wasn't too bad. I just peddaled easy up the slight grade heading west out of town. I felt pretty fresh after the easy swim so I started on the gatorade fairly quickly. I also had an electrolyte capsule and washed it down with lots of water. It seemed like everyone was passing me along the first leg of the route.

There were more hills after we turned north and some longer grades on the out and back. I kept the effort low and got passed a lot on the up hill stretches. It seems my weight and position combine to give me an advantage going downhill because I was almost effortlessly re-passing some of those people on the backside of the hills. My cateye clocked a max of 65.8kph during the race. I ate a power bar early in the second leg and tried to keep up on the water. It was a challenge though as I was often either too busy pedaling up the hills to drink, or tucked into the aerobars flying downhill.

On the north side of the rectangular course, heading east, it started to get interesting. I had already been using my lowest gear on the easier hills. When we hit the steeper hills, I had nowhere else to go. My usual 90+ cadence dropped to about 80 but I didn't want to let it go too low and have to stand on the pedals so I held 80 going up. I was chugging past everyone up the steep hills because I didn't have any lower gears. Then as we crested the hills, I quickly spun out my highest gear and tucked down to pass more people going downhill. I ended up holding my overall position from the start to the end of the bike.

I also discovered the second power bar had fallen somewhere but I did have a gel instead. Part way south on the last leg of the route I could feel my left shoe getting looser on the pedal. I guessed that I had a screw loose, with no screwdriver, and tried not to move it around any more than necessary while pedaling. The cleat held to the end of the bike but it almost wouldn't unclip at the dismount line. One screw was gone and another was very loose. Between all the distractions and dealing with the hills, I was getting behind on my hydration.
Transition 2
  • 01m 30s

The bike to run transition was relaxed and uneventful, besides looking for a few seconds at the bike shoe cleat that almost came off.
  • 3h 04m 12s
  • 21 kms
  • 08m 46s  min/km

The run started all right in spite of the hot sun. I had gone easy enough on the bike that my legs felt fine and the race clock was not quite reading 4 hours yet. They were expecting about 25,000 people on the beach, and it was pretty busy, but everyone I saw cleared the path for the racers. I stopped for a minute to use one of the public restrooms. When we got to the residential areas, lots of people had yard sprinklers set out to reach the roadway and the runners were all detouring through the water sprays.

About halfway to the campground, I finally realized my HR was too high and started to walk whenever it went over 170. I was getting both water and gatorade at the first few aid stations but soon I was full and could only get a little more down each time. I didn't feel bad or sore but I was just getting tired, my HR was going up, and I was panting all the time. From the campground on I walked a lot. I was still running quite often but I couldn't keep it going. I saw the ambulance, lit up, pulling away from the run course ahead of me at one point but don't know what happened there.

One guy was out soaking runners down with a hose. I said sure, go ahead, but he overdid it a bit. My shoes were full of water and squishing at every step for a long time after that. It also felt like my sock kept bunching up under the ball of my left foot even though it wasn't. After the campground on the way back, my HR was staying up even walking. My calves and hamstrings kept tightening up, not quite cramping, but I was always able to relax them and keep going. They had said there would not be ice at the aid stations but about halfway through the run the aid stations started offering ice so I usually had a cube or three under my hat after that. At the last aid station just before the beach, they said it was only 1.4km to the finish. I looked at my watch and decided I might get under 7 hours if I really pushed, so I started running again. I made it to the finish in 6:58:26.
Post race
Warm down:

They gave all the finishers a medal and a nice big beach towel with the race logo and 'Finisher' printed on it. I got those but must have taken a wrong turn because I missed all the food and the medical station they said was at the finish. I saw my wife and we went over to the transition area to collect my stuff. I just wanted to go to our room and lay down. I was on my hands and knees putting stuff in my bag. When I went to get up, I was getting dizzy so got back down for a few more minutes but eventually made it. I still couldn't seem to catch my breath all the way to the room but I was ok once I rested for a while. I remembered to stop my HR monitor when I got to the room so the average of 154 includes a 20 minute cooldown. We went to the awards dinner and I went to bed early after that.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I let my hydration slip too much on the bike and couldn't catch up during the run.

Event comments:

They had announced at the carb load dinner that there were 450+ registered but only 318 showed up at the starting line. Number 301 crossed the finish at the nine hour mark.

I really enjoyed the race. The problems I had were all of my own making. At the awards dinner the race promoter was talking about how tough the course is. Sure, he was pumping up his race, but he does have some grounds for his claims.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-03-20 12:00 AM
00:41:49 | 1900 meters | 02m 12s / 100meters
Age Group: 10/31
Overall: 146/318
Performance: Good
Course: The swim start was from in the water just off a pier on a point of land. The course was a single triangle. We went out for 700m roughly north, across for 400m east, and then south for 800m to the beach. The timing mats were up on the beach a bit but the lakeshore is shallow enough that we were walking in through the water for about 50m too.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 02:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:08:26 | 90 kms | 28.66 km/hr
Age Group: 19/31
Overall: 146/318
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: The bike course followed good roads in a rectangle around the lake, with an out and back leg towards the lake added in to the second side. We started from the southeast corner and traveled clockwise. Lots of rolling terrain with a few steeper hills on the north side and one last big sharp hill partway down the last leg.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:30
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:04:12 | 21 kms | 08m 46s  min/km
Age Group: 28/31
Overall: 282/318
Performance: Below average
Course: The run course was out and back on residential roads up the east side of the lake, except that halfway up it followed trails around one side of a provincial campground going out and around the other side, the lake side, coming back. The first and last 1.4km were along a pathway in the trees between the public beach and the roadway. From the campground and on, the route was far enough from the lake to include some more hills.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
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] 4

2006-07-25 11:01 AM

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Lethbridge, Alberta
Bronze member
Subject: Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman

2006-07-25 12:14 PM
in reply to: #492522

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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman
Fantastic effort and a great race! I've done the shoe swap dance in T1 before as well. I'm glad your cleats held out!

2006-07-25 11:52 PM
in reply to: #492522

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Chilliwack, BC
Subject: RE: Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman

You must have a screw loose!!!

I think we all do

Great job again and great pics!

Keep it up.



2006-07-26 5:37 AM
in reply to: #492522

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Subject: RE: Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman
Nice job, way to tough it out on the run.
2006-07-27 12:05 AM
in reply to: #492522

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Subject: RE: Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman
Way to go!  It was a hot weekend, and you did great.  Relish in your accomplishments!!
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