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Liberty Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Rockford, Minnesota
United States
The Final Stretch
55F / 13C
Total Time = 5h 39m 30s
Overall Rank = 125/261
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 21/42
Pre-race routine:

I learned something important in the prep for this race. Don't ever eat spicy wings on the day before race day! This will come in handy later. Otherwise, prep was consistent with prior races. Tried to get a good night's sleep, but couldn't fall asleep due to typical pre-race jitters. I might have slept 3 hours total. It didn't help any that I had a crummy night's sleep on Thursday night as well. At any rate, I got up at 4:30 to the sound of driving rain. It tapered and there was a dry window for a while, but the radar was not promising. I got to the race site at 5:50 (transition opened at 5:30) and the lot was still relatively empty. Brought out my bike and gear bag, but didn't shed my jeans and jacket just yet, as the radar was getting worse and worse. Sure enough, at 7:00, thunder came through and rain delay started. Everyone bolted for the cars. I left the bike but covered the drivetrain with a towel. Net result was an hour-long delay, with the race starting at 8:30. It took some hustling to get everything laid out, and I actually put my wetsuit on backwards as they were closing transition. I figured it out on the way to the beach and had to strip and start over. Got my watch set up (i thought) and headed for brief swim.
Event warmup:

Minimal, 200 yard swim, if that. The wetsuit was decent, but still a little tight in the shoulders. Yesterday I swam at Fish Lake and spent A LOT of time getting everything hiked up, and it was very comfortable. I did notice some issues with tracking yardage on the watch at Fish lake, but thought it was just being in the water...
  • 40m 26s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 55s / 100 yards

Actually negative split. 18:50 to the first buoy, 20:00 at the second. Out of the water at 38:15, but long run up to transition. First half felt to be a struggle. Second half felt comfortable, warmed up, relatively easy but fast. And this was despite going into the wind on the back half. There were rumors that the course was long, which would be understandable given the 15mph wind going straight away from the beach.
What would you do differently?:

Try training for a change? Time in the pool this year has been crap, and my thinking in general has been that I can rely on past swim fitness and technique to power through. That may work for sprint tris, but not even remotely for anything of this distance. Nevermind full IM length...
Transition 1
  • 02m 34s

Transition was a sloppy mess. I was more interested in making it out alive without falling, so I was purposeful in my pace, but not hurried. I didn't bother with flying mounts or shoes on the bike, as I cant do that in Madison anyway.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Maybe a little more pace, but 20 seconds here is small change
  • 2h 46m 3s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.23 mile/hr

Overall this went as well as it possibly could have (maybe even too well...) The conditions were brutal. the first 16 miles were in a steady, cold rain, but were almost entirely down wind. Just as the course turned, the rain relented and I finished the first loop back into the wind in relative ease (thought the wind was no picnic). I focused on staying as low as possible, taking all nutrition from aero position whenever possible. The first (southward) part of the second loop was fast and down-wind, but the rain started back up. As I made the turn at St Bonifacius, I realized I was in for some serious suffering to get back home. Nearly 20 miles into the teeth of a driving rain, 15-20mph headwind at 55 degrees. After 10 miles of it, I was completely ready to be off of the bike. I powered on, but was pretty miserable. I honestly never thought I would look forward to the run in a race like this.
There were two issues in this race. First, my watch was not working correctly. For whatever reason, it was tracking HR and instantaneous speed, but was not tracking any averages and did not record the total distance or course. Thus, I had to constantly check the watch to ensure I wasn't over-cooking (or under-cooking) the bike based on HR. I couldn't track overall pace and was reduced to doing math on the course (it wasn't even tracking my split time accurately). This is what I get for relying on technology. The second issue was nutrition related. I thought I could get by on 3 water bottles with Gu Brew. Caloricly it should have been OK (as long as I didn't overcook), but I was counting on the low temps keeping sweat losses down. As I got on the run, I felt fairly dry and was playing catch-up on hydration
What would you do differently?:

Pacing, Pacing Pacing. This will be the key to the ironman. Going into the race I've been feeling very comfortable at high Z2 paces and thought I could carry that pace for the race. The bike felt good, but the results on the run did not support it. Maybe the cold conditions keep my HR much lower than it otherwise would have been. As they say, there is no such thing as a great bike but horrible run equating to a great race...
Transition 2
  • 03m 42s

Had to stop and pee, so slowed overall time substantially. Also still using laces, not yanks in my running shoes. I wasn't sprinting through this, simply taking my time to get things right.
What would you do differently?:

Put the yanks I bought with the shoes in October, into the shoes! and learn to pee on the bike. Still can't do it...
  • 2h 06m 48s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 41s  min/mile

Pacing, Pacing, Pacing. I felt good, fast, running about :30/mile slower than my open HM pace, with HR in check. After about a mile into the run, I needed a port-a-john in the worst way. This is where I discovered the mistake of eating Buffalo Wild Wings on the day before a race. However, I was confident that I remembered seeing them on the course 2 years ago. They're sure to be here this year too, right?! I tried to focus more on pace, easy breathing, good form. As I came to the turn around, my pace had slowed slightly for slightly increased RPE, but my biggest fear/disappointment was realized. No Port=a=John. about 300 yards after the turn around, I found a mountain bike/horse trail that wound into the woods. After now feeling much relief, I was now noting much fatigue. The miles slowed to about a 9:00-9:30 pace between miles 8-10, then it became a slow walk through water stations, and more of a shuffle. After the water stop at mile 11.5, the legs just wouldn't start running again. After having a great race, I now was relegated to the death march, but thankfully for only a mile and a half. It ended up costing me a little more than 10 minutes from where I thought I would finish as of about mile 9.
What would you do differently?:

No wings for pre-race meal. I definitely need to work more on my pacing for both the bike and the beginning of the run. Overall run endurance could improve, but I'm actually in a good place for this right now.
Post race
Warm down:

Food, food, food. I was totally bonking, leading to the death march. I did some light stretching as I had a two hot dogs, chips, banana, cookie, muscle milk, and water. After packing up, I headed back to the scene of the crime (Buffalo Wild Wings) for a post-race reward. Then off to the hot tub for me.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Time in the pool, and pacing on the bike are my two biggest limiters right now. To build for IM, I will need much more bike endurance. It also would have been nice to have pacing/avg HR info from the watch, but it goes to show the importance of race day flexibility when things go wrong.

Event comments:

Final Stretch did everything they could given the conditions. The park was turned into a swamp (nearly a lake). They got us out and gave us a fully supported course despite the crummy conditions. Had I been in the mood, and not exhausted and sleep deprived, I would like to have relaxed a bit at the park after the race.

Last updated: 2014-06-10 12:00 AM
00:40:26 | 2112 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
Age Group: 22/42
Overall: 118/261
Performance: Below average
18:50 to the first buoy, 20:00 at the second. 18:15 on the return, but into the wind.
Suit: Full Wetsuit
Course: Clockwise rectangle
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:34
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:46:03 | 56 miles | 20.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 11/42
Overall: 77/261
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 88
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 03:42
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:06:48 | 13.1 miles | 09m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 32/42
Overall: 168/261
Performance: Bad
Pace was initially in the 8:10-8:40 range. It felt hard, but not horrible. I after the turn around I had slowed to 9:00-9:30. By mile 11 I was run walking, and Mile 12 I was just plain walking. Boo. Started off around 155-160, spiked into mid 160s, then slowly fell from mile 10-12. I then walked from 12 on in.
Course: Rolling hills on wooded trails in the Lake Rebecca Park Reserve
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-07-01 1:21 PM

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Maple Grove
Subject: Liberty Triathlon - Half Iron Course

2014-07-01 2:11 PM
in reply to: #5020124

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Liberty Triathlon - Half Iron Course

Sorry I distracted you in T1!

I'm glad you found that first loop to be okay.  If I had gotten through the first loop "okay" I might have finished the ride (but I had the driving ran hit me at the end of that first loop.)

It was a hard day to really plan for - late start, cold/wind/rain.  Congratulations on whatever victories you had, not the least of which was finishing!

I didn't mind the sloppy park, but the lack of potties was inexcusable...

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