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Ironman World Championship - Triathlon

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Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
85F / 29C
Total Time = 9h 37m 45s
Overall Rank = 338/2134
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 88/177
Pre-race routine:

The family and I started our voyage to Kona on Monday night. Since this would be our first time traveling with our 10 month old, we figured taking redeye flights would be best. This certainly appeared to help, but it was definitely a new experience that didn’t make things any easier. Nonetheless, we made it to the big island early on Tuesday morning Hawaiian time. The 6 hour time difference wasn’t an easy adjustment, but it definitely seemed to help getting there a day earlier than we did last year. We got a nice little place on Alii drive that was just towards one of the turnaround points on the run course.
Race week of any Ironman can be pretty intimidating, but its taken to the next level in Kona. Since we were on the run course, there were athletes running and riding by all the time. 99% all already had their game faces on and looked like they were running sub 6 minute miles. A friend of mine, Elliot, from Arizona that was also competing and I joked that you were aloud to warm up at around a 6 minute mile, but it would not be acceptable to run slower than a 5:30 pace. I was also very surprised when Elliot, who lives in Arizona and trains in 100+ degree heat almost year round (he stayed with us the first night) got back from a short run and said, “man, its hot out there.” I know there is not much humidity in Arizona, but I thought he was going to have an advantage over me by having trained in a much hotter climate, especially the last month or so. This is also put it in perspective of just how hot it is on the island.
We did do some fun stuff the week of the race and got some cool swagg. Throughout the week, I met Chris McCormack, Jesse Thomas, Crissie Wellington, Linsey Corbin, Luke Bell, and saw so many pro’s out training on the course. It was really cool. However, the highlight for me was meeting Chris McCormack at the team Clif Bar party. We did not realize Chris was going to be there and it was really cool to chat with him for a few minutes. The underpants run was a blast again this year and I ended up getting some cool free shirts and other swagg at the expo.
Leading up to the race, I was able to spend a decent amount of time resting. I never seem to have as much time to relax as I anticipate, but I really tried to take it easy the 2 days before the race. I had a much different attitude for the race this year as opposed to last year and I came to “race” as opposed to just finish. I will admit I was a bit intimidated by the course after the very challenging conditions last year, but I knew I was going to have a much better performance this year. I had a much better idea of what to expect. I also would be making some adjustments to try to stay cooler this year which included shaving my legs for the first time (Kristen was VERY resistant to this, but I finally got her to agree to this the week of the race. This topic had come up quite a few times in the last years and every time she would say “As soon as you start (shaving), I stop.” This was very clever on her part and worked for the past few years), wearing arm coolers, increased salt intake on the bike, wearing a road helmet as opposed to an aero helmet, and a couple other minor adjustments.

Event warmup:

Did a quite dynamic warm up on the beach and just the short swim to the swim start.
  • 1h 05m 16s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards

Last year I was quite disappointed with my swim and really wanted to improve on that. One of the challenging things about this swim is that because 98% of the field are very fast and experienced swimmers. This equates to the swim never really breaking up. Normally in an Ironman swim I experience a lot of chaos and congestion for the first quarter of the swim or so, but it never seems to break up during this swim. This year was no exception. It was completely congested all the way through the turnaround. It opened up a touch after that, but I was still almost always right next to someone. This congestion also equated to someone knocking my wedding band of my hand about a quarter of the way into the swim. I felt it coming off, but there was nothing I could do. I just kept on swimming because the water was at least 15 feet deep by that point and just thought to myself, “Oh boy, Kristen is going to be pissed! :)” Luckily she was very understating and we ordered a new one while were on the island. Besides all the congestion and losing my ring, the swim was relatively uneventful and went as expected. I just focused on my technique and doing the best I could to avoid contact. As I approached the peer, I was eager to get out of the water and ultimately to see my time. When I popped up out of the water and saw 1:05 on my watch and I was happy.
What would you do differently?:

I shaved about 5 minutes of my swim from last year so that is an extremely solid improvement. Last year was an extremely disappointing swim and I was totally shocked when I had swam that long (almost 1:11), but it was still nice see some improvement. Nonetheless, this is still an area I want to improve on. I’m also planning to start putting some tape over my ring when I get my new one so I do not lose it again! :)
Transition 1
  • 02m 57s

Well, I had thought T1 had gone quite well, but I sure did make a mistake. When I exited the water, I took my swim skin half way down and spent a good 10 seconds or so washing myself off with one of the hoses. This is something I did not do as excessively last year and it was definitely worth the few extra seconds to get the salt off. Since they allowed you to keep you shoes clipped into your pedals on the bike, it was nice not to have to run with my shoes on. I grabbed my bike from my spot and headed towards to bike mount. When I looked up, my friend Elliot was only 1 person in front of me which was pretty cool. Once I got to the mount line, I mounted fine and I was off. I thought everything was fine until a woman rode up next to me about a half mile in and said “Hey, do you know you still have your swimskin on???” As soon as she said it, I didn’t even need to look down to know I had never actually take my swinskin fully off. Doh!!! I kept going and thought about what I should do. I even rode up to Elliot and asked him what I should do. He thought I should just keep it on. However, since it was black, I really wanted to get ride of it. As a result, at the first turnaround, I pulled over, popped off my bike, and gave it to one of the woman taking photos and told her my race number. She told me she couldn’t make any guarantees that she could get it back to me and I accepted that. Unfortunately I have still not been able to recover it, but I am hoping the WTC has it and will be able to get it to me.
What would you do differently?:

Take my darn swim skin all the way off! This was certainly a first and hopefully the last time do something that stupid. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into about a $250 mistake! Besides that, everything went well.
  • 5h 04m 44s
  • 112 miles
  • 22.05 mile/hr

During my swimskin dilemma (which ended about 3-4 miles into the ride), I was still able to think about trying to keep my power in check, getting my heart rate down, and getting some nutrition in. I took a salt tab, half a Powerbar, and lots of EFS pretty quickly. This part of the ride is goes right through the center of town and its very easy to get caught up in all the excitement. However, I did a good job of not going out too hard.
Once I got out of town, it was time to really settle in and get into a grove. As expected, there was a tailwind on the way out of town. This made for fast speeds and this is a place where a lot of people make the mistake of going out too hard. I decided to keep it conservative. I was planning to average around 240 watts for the ride, but only averaged about 220 all the way out to the turnaround. The winds did shift a few times and there are some relatively short climbs along the way which I increased my power on, but I really stayed disciplined throughout. Despite this, my heart was actually a little bit higher than anticipated. It was still below what I was willing to let it go up to, but I was able to keep it under 160 throughout, including the climbs. Just like last year the winds did shift to a headwind for the last 5-10 miles before the turnaround. However, they were not nearly as severe as last year. My average speed drop with the wind change, but I still made it to the turnaround averaging right around 24 mph which was a certainly content with. The aid stations were every 8 miles or so and I took full advantage of each one. I grabbed a water bottle, drank a little, and then poured the rest of it on my head, back, legs, arms, and hands. I did a little of that last year, but nearly as much as this year which really seemed to help.
One the way back to town, I was highly anticipating some nasty battles with the wind. There were certainly points where it was significant, but I was still able to maintain a pretty good pace. I started to fatigue a bit around miles 80-90, but this is where holding back on the way out really paid off. I did not increase my power on the way back quite as much as I wanted to, but I was able to pass a lot of people and finish the bike really strong. I was shocked when I ended up having my fastest IM bike split to date. This is certainly not something I anticipated, especially considering I only averaged 223 watts (15 watts less than Mont Tremblant earlier this year). Perhaps breaking the 5hr mark is in my near future. I knew I had hydrated pretty well on the bike because I was able to pee 3-4 times during the ride.

What would you do differently?:

I am happy with my bike split. Getting off my bike to take my swim skin off didn’t do me any favors, but that only took my about 30 seconds or so. Looking back, I think I would have been ok to push a little bit harder on the 2nd half of the ride, but after I struggled on the second half of the ride last year, I respect my decision to keep it on the conservative side.
Transition 2
  • 02m 50s

Transition 2 was very smooth. Went I got off my bike and started running, my legs felt really strong. I knew this was a good sign that I should be able to put together a solid run as I could usually tell these things with about 15-20 steps off the bike. I switched my socks, got my run shoes on, and I was off. This a relatively long transition so that is why it took so long. I did start eating my banana as I left transition.
What would you do differently?:

I’m not sure how I missed them, but I did not see any volunteers putting sunscreen on people. As a result, the only sunscreen I put on all day was the couple layers I put on before the race. Its too hot and too long of a day not to have repercussions for this. My “wings” are quite red and I definitely was burnt by the end of the day.
  • 3h 21m 58s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 43s  min/mile

As mentioned in my T2 comments, I got off the bike feeling great. I did my best to keep my pace in check, but I ultimately went out just a touch faster than I probably should have. However, I was keeping an eye on my heart rate and was able to keep it low. The course is relatively flat and the toughest element is definitely the heat. I was having no trouble maintaining a cadence of around 90 and I was passing quite a few people on the first out and back. Since it is pretty challenging to get to the swim start and spectators don’t get to see much of the participants on the bike, I recommended that my family stay at our condo until they see me on the run. As a result, I was very eager to see them. This allowed them to hang out at the pool all day and they were still able to see me twice on the run. It was great to see them and it definitely put a little extra pep in my step. Everything was going great up until this point (around mile 6) and I was actually thinking that I may be able to PR! However, shortly after this, the wheels started to slightly slowly slip off. I noticed my cadence dropping and I was struggling to keep it up. I was doing a good job of trying to keep cool by putting sponges in my visor and on my chest, dumping water on my head and body, and pouring ice in hands and then running with them until they melted. That was all fine and dandy, but what unfortunately did happen is most of my Cliff Bloks and salt tabs (which I had in my race belt), got dissolved by all the water I was dumping on myself. By the time I got the mile 13-14 my stomach was starting to bother me. I really focused on breathing deeply through by belly and I was able to keep running, but I was fading. I kept pushing on and just took it one mile at a time. However, as my stomach started to hurt more, I started taking a bit more time at the aid stations. I switched over to coke from perform at about mile 13, but by mile 16, I was a hurting puppy. By this point, my goal of a sub 3:10 marathon had turned to shooting for sub 3:20. I did take some gels, but my stomach wasn’t having it. There was a whole lot of hurting going on from miles 18 to the finish. However, I just focused on my breathing and trying to do my best to keep my cadence up. I tried to minimize looking at my watch and seeing what my current pace was. I just thought about my family, my clients/NEMS, how hard I had worked to get there, and told myself it would all be over soon.
By the time I got to Palani Rd (which is a big downhill), my spirits were lifted, but not as much as normal. Usually by this point in a race (around mile 24-25), I am very excited and can find another gear to push through to the finish. I was able to manage a smile most of the way home and on Alii drive, but I must admit, it was not nearly as enjoyable as last year. My family was waiting for me on Alii and it was so great to have them there to get me across the line. For the record, despite was Ironman Live says, I was NOT running at a 5:34 pace for the last mile. I wish that was the case, but that is just a bit off.  Regardless, it was still a great feeling to cross that line and to go well under 10 hour at the Ironman World Championships.

What would you do differently?:

I totally botched my nutrition during the run. I was mad at myself evening during the run so I surely have the same feelings about it now. This was a mistake I am not accustomed to making and as a coach, I am disappointed in myself for doing so. However, I did my best to remedy the situation the best I could and it could have gone a lot worse. I was still able to run throughout the entire race hopefully this just opens the do for me to improve next year.
Post race
Warm down:

After the race, I had nothing left. I eventually made my way to the med tent in a wheel chair. My stomach was in shambles and remained so for at least a couple hours after the race. They did check my wieght and sodium levels in the med tent, but they said I was ok. After about 30 minutes or so of resting in the med tent, I headed out to find my family. I was able to catch up with Michelle Collier and Sarah Crane (both NH residences) and it was great to see them. However, I felt a bit bad because I was not as chipper as I usually am due to my stomach pains.
Ok, now for some POSITIVE stuff! Despite the nutrition plunder on the run, I still must say I had a pretty darn good day. I shaved around 1:20 off my time from last year. Its pretty hard to be disappointed when you go that much faster. :) I was faster in all 3 disciplines. However, the conditions were much better than last year and that certainly helped. I was surprised to be 88th in my age group and expected to at least be in the top 50, but as I always say, you can’t control the competition, only yourself. There ended up being 8 guys in my age group that went under 9 hours. It just shows what incredible athletes we have in our sport and I just motivated me to want to get faster! I ended up being the 17th American in my age group and I’d say that’s not too shabby.
Overall, my family and I had a fantastic time. The Kona experience really is like no other. I really can’t say it any other way than that and its something I wish every triathlete got to experience. It was so awesome to have so much support for everyone in the area and it is greatly appreciated. Now its time for a little break to rest up, spend of extra quality time with the family, and then start getting ready to get back there next year! :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

A fear of the heat and the tough conditions may have held me back a bit too much on the ride, but the nutrition mistakes on the run were the biggest limiter.

Event comments:

There is no other race like the Ironman World Championships in Kona! It was an amazing experience.

Last updated: 2013-08-20 12:00 AM
01:05:16 | 4224 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 103/177
Overall: 692/2134
Performance: Good
Suit: Blueseventy Swimskin
Course: A straight out and back from the pier
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:57
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
05:04:44 | 112 miles | 22.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/177
Overall: 0/2134
Performance: Good
Avg HR: 156 Avg Power: 223 NP: 232
Wind: Strong
Course: Long out and back with some rolling hills
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 84
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:50
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:21:58 | 26.2 miles | 07m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/177
Overall: 0/2134
Performance: Below average
Avg HR: 161 Max HR: 180 Avg Cadence: 87
Course: About a 5 mile out and back along Alii Dr. then over for an out and back on the Queen K with a trip to the energy labs in the middle
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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] 5

2013-10-16 8:27 PM

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Bedford, NH
Subject: Ironman World Championship

2013-10-16 9:28 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Awesome job out there. I took a lot out of your RR and can see some of the things I could have done better. Great job getting everything out of your body that day. Thanks for sharing. ETA: On a side note, I also accidentally left my swim skin on my lower half during an Oly early this year. So you're not the only one who's made that mistake. I just left it on because I would be off the bike before it got warm, but I hope you eventually get your swim skin back.

Edited by Jason N 2013-10-16 9:30 PM
2013-10-17 8:35 AM
in reply to: #4878835

Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great race report Colin! It was exciting to follow you on race day!!! A huge PR. Well deserved. Congrats on another stellar performance!
2013-10-17 8:55 AM
in reply to: #4878835

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Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
awesome! Thanks for sharing!
2013-10-17 10:25 AM
in reply to: #4878835

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

Well done dude! To get to Kona is a great honor but you definitely raced well there too! All your hard work and talent pays off! Happy for you! :-)

2013-10-17 11:53 AM
in reply to: sallya

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Just South of Boston
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Fantastic performance, Colin! 1:20 better than last year is incredible. Do that again next year, and you'll win

So happy you had a great race, and were able to make a second trip back to Kona. Had a great time 'watching' you race online. Well done!

2013-10-17 12:47 PM
in reply to: Mike_D

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The Woodlands, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Congrats!!! Such an inspiration!!
2013-10-17 8:35 PM
in reply to: rach5928

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

Congratulations on a great race! Thanks for sharing the write up!

2013-10-17 9:17 PM
in reply to: trigal38

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship

Congratulations!  That was an awesome race performance.  Thanks for sharing it!

2013-10-18 4:15 PM
in reply to: #4878835

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Subject: RE: Ironman World Championship
Great job Colin. Although conditions were easier this year, I now see why people say it take a few times to get this race down. Hopefully we race again on the Big Island soon. Congrats again man!
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