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Ironman 70.3 New Orleans - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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New Orleans, Louisiana
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
83F / 28C
Total Time = 5h 24m 3s
Overall Rank = 267/1261
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 32/138
Pre-race routine:

My usual, long winded trip/race report follows.....

Following a 2013 5:06 finish at Miami, my goal for 2014 was to go sub 5 at a 70.3. Given I was doing NOLA and Silverman, NOLA was the best chance. Like most regular folks, though, I had my share of bumps in the road and training interruptions, including a 10 week running layoff through Nov-Dec and a complete 9 day training layoff and serious illness two weeks prior. Whatever, everyone has sob stories, right? Anyway, sub 5 was still the main goal, but the backup goal was to have a freaking good time in NOLA whatever happened.

We flew in Thursday evening, and, since we were still on west coast time, after dropping our bags at the Dauphine St. Holiday Inn (kind of a dump inside...not worth FQ money. Stay at the Dauphine Orleans down the street if you are going to spend the money), we headed further into the quarter for dinner. Camelia's was closed (boo!) and we ended at a tourist trap at Jackson Square. Red beans and rice. Consolation was it conveniently the same location as Cafe du Monde. When in Rome.....

Logistically, the race is a PITA. Check in downtown hotel. Race start south shore of the lake 10 miles out of town. Race finish City Park. Luckily we had a friend that booked a hotel out of town, so he needed a car. He took me out to bike drop off and on race morning, made it much more convenient and inexpensive than cabs. The race runs shuttles but we didn't get on them so no idea if they were convenient.

Friday morning drove out to Slidell for a swamp tour (Cajun Encounters, lots of fun), and also check out the bike course. On the way back, we saw the aftermath of a fatal cycling accident where a race participant pre-riding the course was killed Wish I had not seen what I saw...... Put a pall over the race and put a lot of things in perspective.

Headed to T1 to check it out since it was on the way, and learned from tri bike transport that my gear bag went to Florida instead. Good thing it was still Friday, and that we had stopped by. After some scrambling I secured enough potential replacement gear if it was needed, and spent a nervous 24 hours as they overnighted the bag to NOLA. Got there in time, but it was an additional amount of unneeded stress. And lesson learned.....

Went to the quarter for Friday lunch (Camelia's - One Eyed Jack, WAY too much food and it somehow came as a po boy rather than a burger) and then walked over to the hotel check in site at the Hilton. No crowds, smooth and easy and helpful volunteers. Didn't even get to jump the line with my AWA creds..... :) After a rest took the streetcar to Carollton and ate at Jacques Imo's on Oak (soft shelled crab, amazing). Again, way to much food. Abita amber too.

Saturday I wanted a small breakfast and needed race morning oatmeal, so it was off to Starbucks (sorry). Wendy went of to a cemetery tour while I went to hang out at the pool and wait for the bag. After it arrived about noon ish my friend drove me to bike check in, dealt with some tube issues and realized I hadn't brought the flat kit. What else could go wrong. Crap, off to Bicycle World to spend money. Friend dropped me off at riverbend and I took the streetcar back. It was then - about 4 - that I realized I hadn't eaten since 7:30... not good. Hopped off the car at Canal wand went to the first place I saw. McDOnald's. I didn't care. I needed calories badly.

Rested a bit, then back into the quarter for a Hurricane at Pat O's (just one, sadly) and jumbalaya at the Gumbo Shop. Bed by 10 but slept like crap

Race morning up at 4:45. Realized that my only bottle of 3 hour concentrated Infinit had tipped over during the nite, and about 1/2 had leaked out.... with 1/2 my calories. Filled it up again but it was now more diluted. Would have to add more gels to the race plan.

2 oatmeals on the way over, set up the bike, and walk over to the swim start.....
Event warmup:

I recommend having an old par of flip flops to throw away at the start, or hand off. Makes the walk easier.

Prior to the anthem, the wife of the cyclist that passed on the road spoke, then the RD, a moment of silence, and a rather good a capella anthem. It was all very emotional.

I had thought I could wear arm coolers under the wetsuit. Nothing new on race day. Yep. Didn't work. Rolled them up and put them in my pocket, forming a nice little bumpy growth on my side.....

No warmup, as it's a time trial start, stand on the timing chip in groups of 6 or so, and go. They changed from the prior year individual TT start, and we were in the water in about an hour. No complaints here
  • 30m 42s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 27s / 100 yards

It was weird, you hear the whistle, jump in with 6 other guys and go...... First leg was easy to navigate as we'd been looking at it. First turn back into the marina, had to stop a couple times to find the next turn buoy. Hard to see but once I lined it up with a boat it was good. I tried drafting but was passing more than being passed. Two guys in my wave did pass at one point and I tried to hang on but they were cooking. I just did my best to weave through prior waves and not get frog kicked.

Last leg I felt like I was way off course, as I was on my own, most swimmers to my right. Once we hit the last turn buoy it was head for the exit. I had not scouted the exit so no idea if it was ramp or stairs or what. Kept a steady rhythm to the stair exit and started kicking a bit. Also started my mantra of "slow is smooth, smooth is fast," for T1 as I can tend to hurry and make things worse.

Hit the exit and ran up the stairs, they had wetsuit strippers but I passed them by. Fairly decent run to the bike, but used the time to take the arm coolers out and put them on. I did not have a watch so I had no idea what my swim time was until after the race. There was only one bike around me that was gone however, which is always a god sign (I learned later that the guy swam slower than me, but just decided to start in an earlier wave).

The swim sort of felt long, and after I saw my time thought it might be, but then heard that Potts went 22, so...... no. LOL
What would you do differently?:

not much, given my training about what it always is
Transition 1
  • 03m 45s

OK, not horrible 26th AG so definitely can do better. Just went through it methodically.

What would you do differently?:

Move faster
  • 2h 30m 26s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.34 mile/hr

Got on the bike and immediately realized that the announcer's statement that wind would not be a factor was bullshit.... There's a short segment heading west up the Haynes bridge to a u- turn at the top to head east. Forecast had called for a SE wind which would have given us a headwind -ish out and a tailwind - ish back. Turned out to be a straight South wind, giving us 15-20 crosswind for nearly the entire ride. Even in that first couple minutes I could tell bike handling was going to be a chore.

Route goes east about 10 miles, then turns directly south into the teeth of the wind for a couple miles with a couple overpasses, then east again until about 25 miles. Entire stretch was a head or crosswind. Pushed the pace a little on the way out thinking there'd be assistance coming home. I was targeting 2:25 ish, but knew from the first few 5 mile lap segments that was unlikely, as they were in the 13-14 minute range.

Carried my diluted infinit in an A2 and a water bottle in a single BTS cage. Dropped the water bottle at the first station about mile 15, and put the plastic POS bottle into the BTS cage. Somewhere in the next couple miles, i lost it. I figured I'd get one at the next station, no biggie. Only problem was it didn't come until MILE 40!. So I went about 25 miles or so with no water. That definitely hurt me, and I tried to up the infinit intake, diluted or not. When I look at the run, other than simply less training I think the loss of hydration was a big factor. I couldn't really even take a gel comfortably as I had nothing to wash it down with

About 20 miles in passed the spot of the accident, and a nice memorial had been erected. Over a small drawbridge and a turnaround about 5 miles later.......

  • ....Right into the same headiwnd we'd been battling for 25 miles. Or so it seemed. Not sure how that worked, but it was demoralizing. My time was 1:20ish, and I saw my 2:25 goal go out the window fr sure.

  • NP at turn around was 227.

    We had a slight section of tailwind as the 90 turned slightly north -ish, but only for a mile or so. We turned on the 11 (?) for the out and back, directly north. While the tailwind was nice, it meant a biting headwind for the return. Off in the distance I saw the flourescent shirts indicating an aid station - FINALLY! - and took a gel, waiting for a washdown, but it was on the other side of the course. No big whoop, we probably turn around right after it, right? I glanced at the mile marker just past the aid station facing the other way, thinking it would be a couple miles. It was more like 7-10....... Jesus. Last aid station by the way was about mile 50......huh?

    Finally made the turn about 33 mile-ish, and right back into the wind. At least I finally got some water. I put the bottle in the back tri bib pocket so as not to lose it again.

    We had another nice section of tailwind - I was hitting 30+ on the flats - about miles 45-50, which was nice, and then 5 ish miles of crosswinds. Time was in the 2:1X range and I was surprised that I seemed to have made up a bit of time, I didn't hit my goal but I wasn't in the 2:4X where I feared I'd be.

    I felt OK on the bike, position was not perfect but I was in aero about 90%, some lower back issues I had to come out of the saddle a bit. I knew the bike was hurting me from about mile 20 on, and was a little worried on the run. The water situation didn't help. I think that hurt more than I realized.

    I watched my NP drop throughout the return ride to its final resting place of 217. While I'd expect that with some tailwind, I just started losing power throughout the return leg and just didn't really have it. I knew before the bike ended that I was probably not going to be able to run like I wanted to, and although I was able to stay in aero for most of the race, my arms, wrists and shoulders took a toll from the crosswinds

    Didn't see a whole lot of drafting on the bike, a few but not nearly as bad as Miami 2013. Surprising given the wind. But I also saw no marshals on the course.

    Actual 15th AG, AP 211, NP 217, IF .71, VI 1.02
    What would you do differently?:

    Not sure. Be more careful about my nutrition. Figure out the water situation. I lost the same type of bottle at Miami 70.3 out of the same (gorilla) cage
    Transition 2
    • 01m 59s

    23 AG so better than T1 at least. And the guy that went early and his bike was gone in T1? Still gone in T2 :)
    • 2h 17m 11s
    • 13.1 miles
    • 10m 28s  min/mile

    I set off on the run. Plan was mile 1 at 9-9:10, miles 2-6 at 8:50, 7-11 at 8:45 and then a 5K. well....... First mile was good at 8:57 but I knew it wouldn't last. My shoulders and chest were tight from the bike and the crosswinds, and I was just uncomfortable. We had to climb a decent bridge in mile 2, biggest climb of the run. Guy ahead of me was walking, well, a few were. It looked good. I walked a few yards then thought "shit, I am not walking at mile 2...." So I started running again.

    But soon I was running 10s. Then 11s. It "felt" like my effort was the same as running a 8:45 at home, but I could only go that fast (or slow). I carried a hand bottle and t every station had cold water and ice put in, which lasted to the next one. I have to say the volunteers were fantastic. I saw many occasions where they'd run out to racers to get them water, perform, etc. There was some coke and I took it when offered. I took a gel at 4, 8 and I think 12. I honestly did not think it was all that hot but some locals are saying it was. The wind was still blowing pretty good as a cross wind, so that helped cool things I guess.

    First 8 miles are an out and partial back along the lakefront. Spare, no shade, not very good views. Mile 9 turns into some nice shaded neighborhoods then you run along the park, and the run gets much nicer. I have heard the old run (they will return next year) is much more like this.

    I did not have a running clock, so no idea where I was. I came off the bike 10th AG and about 3:06 race time (found out later). I would have had to run a 1:54 to break 5. Definitely was not trained for that split. Just as at miami, I decided to abandon all hope of pace and concentrate on running the entire 13.1 but the aid stations. Except for that first hill and one other portion of a hill, I was successful in at least that.

    There were people passing, me, but with some exceptions they weren't passing me going all that fast, and there were a LOT of walkers out there. I actually ended up smack dab in the middle of my AG on the run. Even though I had no clock, I knew I wasn't going sub 5. I had also defeated myself mentally in the first couple miles... "what am I doing out here," "I can't run for shit," "I'm not a runner." Stuff like that. Getting rid of that line of thinking will be part of my training going forward, as once it takes hold, you're done.

    Between miles 2 and 3 though, I found my reason to go on. I was racing in my Stop the Clot jersey, and a guy came up to me. "Clotbusters," he said, "hmm, I had a PE 2011 after a 70.3." I shared my same story, 2009 PE after a 70.3, etc. We talked for a bit how endurance athletes really don't know about PEs. He had no genetic predisposition, like me, and we both thin it came from our races and then travel, even though our docs disagreed. This guy was as fit a 54 year old as you will ever see. As he ran slowly away, he said "you'll be getting a donation after the race." And that gave me the reason to keep moving forward and do the best I could, even if I wasn't going to meet my goal.

    Eventually entered the park, a spin by the finish then a short out and back. The last right turn, you can see the finish a quarter mile away, it's both fantastic and difficult. Crossing the line, I looked up and saw Andy Potts reaching out a medal to me. I shook his hand and congratulated him.

    What other sport do you get greeted by the winning pro???
    What would you do differently?:

    There's lots of reasons I didn't perform to potential. [added this after re - reading]Or maybe, that was my potential on that day, this is the kind of thinking i need to get rid of. My training was not where I wanted it to be for a few different reasons. That you can't do anything about. The nutrition on the bike I think played a big role. The last few miles my HR was down in the 152 range, way low for the effort I felt I was putting out. I couldn't put enough calories back in to make up for the deficit, I think, and I was also dehydrated.

    Plus not eating pretty much all day the day before. I wasn't very smart about that. I did hit Bourbon St the night before, and had one hurricane, but when I say "hit" Bourbon st, I mean walk a couple blocks of it, then get the F out.

    That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the race and if it wasn't for the logistical nightmares, I would come back and do this race again.
    Post race
    Warm down:

    After the race, I found Wendy, then hit the food tent a little jumbalaya, some cookies and an Abita Amber and I was good to go. Hung out on the grass waiting for my friend. After about an hour we skipped the massage tent, walked to the car, drove back to the race start and cleaned up T1/T2. Headed back to the FQ for a shake and some fries. :)

    That night went to Dickie Brennan's for dinner, filet and au gratin spuds. It was OK, don't need to go back there again (been twice), and want to try some different things. Ended the night with a chocolate freeze at Camelia's. Slept like the dead.

    Finished our trip with coffee and beignets on the banks of the Mississippi.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    I was 10th off the bike, but I don't have a 10th place run in my legs, yet. I started tris as a FOP swimmer, BOMOP biker and BOBOP runner. I've moved the bike to FOP ish. I would like to put in the work to do the same with the run. 2015 sub 5 for sure!

    Event comments:

    I really think this is a very good race, save the logistics. The bike aid station is the only complaint I have (granted it's a big one). But I would recommend this race for anyone's list.

    Last updated: 2013-10-29 12:00 AM
    00:30:42 | 2112 yards | 01m 27s / 100yards
    Age Group: 6/138
    Overall: 128/1261
    Performance: Good
    Course: "M" shaped course inside a marina
    Start type: Dive Plus:
    Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: High
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Drafting: Below average
    Waves: Navigation: Average
    Time: 03:45
    Performance: Average
    Cap removal: Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
    Jump on bike:
    Getting up to speed:
    02:30:26 | 56 miles | 22.34 mile/hr
    Age Group: 10/138
    Overall: 107/1261
    Performance: Good
    Wind: Strong
    Course: Out and back with one small out and back spur.
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 80
    Turns: Average Cornering: Average
    Gear changes: Average Hills:
    Race pace: Hard Drinks:
    Time: 01:59
    Overall: Average
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike
    Running with bike
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    02:17:11 | 13.1 miles | 10m 28s  min/mile
    Age Group: 32/138
    Overall: 283/1261
    Performance: Below average
    Course: Along the lakefront, no shade, some small hills over levees and such, then turn south into the park where it got nicer.
    Keeping cool Drinking
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    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? No
    Post race activities: Average
    Race evaluation [1-5] 4

    2014-04-19 7:15 PM

    User image

    Subject: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    2014-04-19 7:44 PM
    in reply to: #4983998

    User image

    South Windsor, CT
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
    That was a terrific report Chris!

    I was held captive by the entire race as it unfolded. You did a fantastic job considering the GI grief you had to deal with very recently.
    One of my friends who is a cardiac nurse ran this event and I am waiting to see if he writes a report or at least run into him at my hospital to hear the details.

    Please give me some details on 'clotbusters' so that I can make a donation. One of my very good runner friends who is chasing sub3 marathon time in his 50's had a PE after a minor knee surgery a few years ago. It is a scary thing from an athlete's perspective, let alone as a patient.

    Congrats again!
    2014-04-20 5:46 AM
    in reply to: #4983998

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    PEI, Canada
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Chris, what a great report!  Sounds like a tough race logistically, probably one I will have to avoid.

    Considering all the things that you had working against you, I think you did really well.  You did a great job of adjusting the plan on the fly and finding the proper motivation to keep things together!


    2014-04-20 9:48 AM
    in reply to: axteraa

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    Montague Gold Mines, Nova Scotia
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
    Fantastic race Chris - great work despite the challenges in training and the conditions of the day!

    2014-04-20 5:25 PM
    in reply to: #4983998

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    Houston, Texas
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Great race and report, Chris!  With as many things as life threw at you along the way to the finish line, it takes a really tough and determined athlete to make it there.  So glad you're back to healthy and running again (how's the foot anyways?) -- sub-5 will happen!!

    2014-04-21 12:18 PM
    in reply to: dtoce

    User image

    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Thanks Dale,.. it's

    And nicole, foot seems to be A OK.  Yay for being uninjured!


    2014-04-22 9:07 AM
    in reply to: ChrisM

    User image

    Norwalk, Connecticut
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
    great report as always Chris, you are still one of my absolute favorites on this site and i always look forward to your no nonsense race reports.

    All things considered you did awesome and i am dang proud to know you.

    2014-04-23 10:47 PM
    in reply to: Rudedog55

    User image

    Melon Presser
    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Andy Potts got to give you a medal?! So jealous ... of him!

    CONSPANKULATIONS CHRIS ... ferkin' amazing what with a difficult pre-race week, odd race logistics (water!), etc. Ferkin' amazing no matter what ... just like you.

    2014-04-24 8:34 PM
    in reply to: #4983998

    User image

    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Great job Chris.  It's hard to meet goals set prior to the season when training/health don't even come close to what was planned.  You still did great all things considering.  

    2014-04-28 1:57 PM
    in reply to: #4983998

    User image

    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
    Great report Chris. Always a great read. Way to battle thru a very tough day. I hope that you are able to get to that sub 5 mark in the future. Hope to run into you at an upcoming event in the near future.
    2014-04-28 5:23 PM
    in reply to: StevenC

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    Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

    Great job Chris! I think it's very exciting that you have the "opportunity" to really work on that run. It might sound a little daunting but room for improvement is a good thing!

    Very well done, especially considering some of the uncontrollables leading up.

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