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Ironman Arizona - Triathlon

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
72F / 22C
Total Time = 11h 03m 41s
Overall Rank = 428/2705
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 13/264
Pre-race routine:

Two nights before any endurance event I usually eat a sodium rich meal, either sushi or a Vietnamese pho bowl of soup. Seems to work for me - I never get cramps or feel dehydrated on race day.
The morning before this race I took in a large portion of storage calories: a couple of waffles, a side of eggs, hash browns, toast and jam. Throughout the same day, I kept adding small portions of high glycemic rich food (sweet potatoes, yams and fruit). From about 3PM on, I stayed off my feet, wore compression socks (mainly because they feel good), and generally just chilled out in the hotel room.
At night I had a small serving of pasta, light on the sauce and drank a bottle of Ensure. I consumed water when I was thirsty but didn't overdo it. Race morning I was up at 3:30AM. I made some oatmeal and put in some agave and chia seeds. I had a piece of toast with almond butter and a small amount of agave. I brewed a cup of coffee that I didn't finish but it worked well to start my intestines moving. I mixed up some sport drink which I sipped till race time.
Event warmup:

More of a prep than a warm-up: I re-inflated my tires since my bike was left out in transition overnight, I zeroed my powermeter and recalibrated it with my Garmin. I also made sure the gearing was right for the first few hundred feet out of transition.
As a new event that I hadn't participated in before, I'll traced my steps from the swim exit into transition and out to the mount line. I picked key visual points where my T1 and T2 bags were to provide good bearings when I was in the race.
I stretched a bit and was able to find an isolated porto-potty to empty any residual waste before getting my suit on. Tip: Go north out of transition to the heads 100 yards up the run course. The line was virtually non-existent.
  • 1h 09m 7s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 38s / 100 yards

The final 3 minutes before the gun goes off, sucks. A lot of nervous energy, people moving into your space and the fight or flight anxiety response is taking control of your heart rate. You really know what is coming and just have to breathe and try and relax.
In training, I put the time in both open water and in the pool to comfortably swim the distance. I did the practice swim and was able do 1:35 per 100 easily, without contact with anyone else. Based on swim times from results of previous years, I felt my pace could be in the top 15%, so I placed myself fairly close to the front, with 80% of the people behind me. I lined up left of center, about 3 rows off the front. The guy next to me was lamenting he had only put in a mile and a half in the pool. I told him he ought to move back a few rows.
There were some people that had a fast start but faded and created an obstacle to go around within the first mile, before the turn.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Contact was minimal and there was no mad rush from the people behind me. There was some shoving and grabbing, but I never got hit or kicked in the face. It all came from behind and only lasted the first 1/4 mile.
In training for this race, I practiced swimming hard the first 10 minutes in my long open water swims and then trained to recover for the balance of the swim. All I did was do it again in the race. Seemed to work out for me here.
Transition 1
  • 06m 23s

The changing tent ruled the transition process out of the water. Also good to know exactly where my swim to bike bag was from my prep walk through.
Exiting the water was a big step onto the stairs and when I was offered a volunteer's hand to grab onto, I took it with force. That was one of the benefits of the practice swim on Saturday - knowing how to get out of the water and where to plant your foot for that volunteer's help come race day.
I chose to wear a cycling kit instead of my tri singlet, so I didn't wear anything under my suit. Hence the passing up the wetsuit strippers prior to the changing tent. It took a few extra seconds to put my bibs on but the comfort on the bike was well worth it. Plus I got good access to my crotch with a slab of chamois butter before the bib shorts went on. Exiting the tent got me a nice smattering of sunscreen from a volunteer.
You aren't allowed to put shoes on your bike beforehand so you run with them on to grab your bike and head to the mount line. No flying start for me this time with the two water bottles behind the saddle either.
What would you do differently?:

If I can find a singlet that has a comfortable pad that I can sit on for 5+ hours, I'll use it instead of the kit. But then I'd have to get my hand in to smother on the butter.
  • 5h 32m 20s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.22 mile/hr

The real story is in the number of riders that passed me on the bike that I reeled in at the end. It just seemed like I was getting blown away, and I hated it! I so much wanted to stop the flow of passers in that first lap. But by the end of the second and third lap I had gained back a lot of spots when those people faded. I guess that prediction came true - stick to the plan and they will come back to you.
I was ahead of my pace on the first lap by 5 minutes, and then built it with each successive lap. I didn't slow as much as I had predicted by the second lap and with 10 extra minutes in the bank, I eased up on the third. I finished feeling great and my heart rate was in a near perfect zone to start the run.
Fueling on the bike was great. I hit the first aid station for a bonk breaker bar to start the process and then over the entire ride used up 2 EFS flasks and ate one powerbar. Calorie consumption (w/sport drink) was <1300 cal.
I took 2 salt tabs at the beginning of the third lap when my 3 sports drink ran out and I went to bottled water on the course. Took 2 more salt tabs 20 minutes before the end. I remember yelling to my support group in the chute that the ride was easier than my training rides.
What would you do differently?:

I'd have liked to use a deeper set of aero wheels, a 606 set or maybe a disk cover for the rear at minimum.
Transition 2
  • 03m 37s

Gotta love a full Ironman race where there are volunteers to take your bike from you entering transition. Sweet! Just ran over to my transition bag, into the transition tent and out in a flash. The volunteers even take care of your bags for you! Got another slathering of sunscreen before I hit the run course.
What would you do differently?:

  • 4h 12m 14s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 38s  min/mile

Overall a good run time for my age division but it was less than what I was capable of doing. I started out fast with a sub 8 pace and then slowed to my training pace of 8:20 after 3 miles. My heart rate was maybe 8 beats too high and when I slowed it dropped out of tempo pace to the more sustainable aerobic pace I trained at.
Where I went wrong was thinking I would need a fuel belt when I left transition. After an hour and ten or so, I started to get stomach cramps that came out of nowhere. It felt like the fuel belt was bouncing and cutting into my stomach. I was on the backside of the course and had to carry the belt back to the other side. I ditched the fuel belt when I got past the transition area and felt measurably better. Unfortunately while I carried that pain over miles 8-12, I slowed to 9:20's and couldn't eat or drink anything. I actually stopped at the porto-potty for a short time to see if I could clear things. It worked. The bad part was all that mass in my gut was backed up and it took some time before I could get back on pace. At that point all I could hold was 9:30's.
The number of people I passed in my age group was almost 15! I remembered some of them when they were passing me on the bike! From nearly 30th to 13th. Awesome! I was only passed by one guy who ended up finishing 12th, two minutes in front of me. I never saw him. Had to have happened when I was in the porto-potty! Dang. Funny thing was I met him on Saturday at check-in. Emailed him on Tuesday from his website and congratulated him. You met the nicest people at Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

The aid stations were so well stocked there's no reason to use a fuel belt. You could carry anything you need from one mile to the next if necessary.
Post race
Warm down:

Flash blankets handed out at the finish line got me warmed up. Volunteers were exceptionally helpful. They make the difference between a good race and an excellent race. I would have liked to get a massage but didn't have the patience to wait, even though it was only 10 minutes.
The food in the finishers tent was okay - french fried potatoes, pizza and chicken broth.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I believe wearing the constricting/bouncing belt brought on my gi distress. I trained with it on my long runs and never had a problem. I suspect it was because those long training runs weren't preceded by really long rides where I was fueling and hydrating to the extent as I was in the race. All that fluid and fuel was systematically going through at a normal digestion rate in the race until I slowed or stopped the flow.

Event comments:

IMAZ is a great race for the entry of the 140.6 distance and the venue is awesome for spectators. The volunteers are so friendly and helpful that they could be a family member! So many people called me by name when I was running through the aid stations too. The bike and run course is really friendly. I pre-registered for next year and because it sells out so fast, I'm glad I did!
I age up next year to 55-59 age division and with the same race I'll be placed much higher. This year I can only think of what might have been, and hope that if it was a simple mistake that can be reconciled next year, I'll have a better race. Overall, this WAS a great race for my first 140.6 distance.

Last updated: 2013-11-19 12:00 AM
01:09:07 | 4224 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 28/264
Overall: 474/2705
Performance: Good
No heart rate data here.
Suit: Aquasphere Phantom
Course: Out and back on a rectangular course with a slight arc. The course narrows so the convergence of people bring you next to others you can draft, both on the side and from behind. Seems to only last for a little while until you run into a slower swimmer, have to change course or loose contact for some reason.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 06:23
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
05:32:20 | 112 miles | 20.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/264
Overall: 513/2705
Performance: Good
NP=174watts ; Ave Heart Rate - 132bpm ; IF=.67. Didn't exceed 195watts on the hill up to the turn around and kept power in the 150's on the downhill. Pretty much held 185watts where I could.
Wind: Some
Course: 3 laps out and back on the Beeline Hwy. Nice roads with only a couple of 90 degree turns. Maybe it could be called boring, but it's steady and predictable. There's a climb to the turn around and a fast downhill section before it flattens out on the way back. Winds changed for us - first a tail (slight) on the way out with a head on the way back, to the reverse by the middle of the afternoon. It wasn't much of a hindrance. I run 303's and the cross winds didn't bother me at all. I saw some people with deeper wheels getting pushed around. Still nothing serious at all.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 80+
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:37
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:12:14 | 26.2 miles | 09m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 13/264
Overall: 427/2705
Performance: Below average
Course: Only two 13.1mile laps this year; last year it was three 8+ mile laps. Course was changed due to some construction. The course is generally flat but there are a couple of rollers on the backside, a lot of turns, and mostly in the direct sun light. Packed with people in every area cheering. Awesome aid stations with anything you need for fuel and hydration.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %2%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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

2013-11-20 9:29 PM


Subject: Ironman Arizona

2013-11-25 1:13 PM
in reply to: #4902207

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Extreme Veteran
Casa Grande, Az.
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats on a great race!!! 1st IM and fought thru some issues to still have a fantastic time!!!
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