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Ironman 70.3 Calgary - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Calgary, Alberta
Rocky Mountain Triathlon Company
Total Time = 7h 28m 14s
Overall Rank = 839/869
Age Group = M60-64
Age Group Rank = 16/18
Pre-race routine:

Went to bed about 10:30 (camping in a tent) and woke up early thinking the alarm would go off at any moment only to lay awake for quite awhile with a song playing in my head over and over (North to Alaska - you'd have to be old to know it). Finally, the alarm went off and I got up and dressed then headed over to my friends trailer where coffee and porridge were waiting for me. Headed off to the start about 5:30am.
Event warmup:

Got my T1 set up and body marking done then lined up for the porta-potty. Had fun chatting with others in the line up until my turn. Afterwards found my wife and friend at the end of the line and immediately realized I had to line up again. So, with 20 minutes to our wave time and lots of anxious fellow athletes I struggled to put on my wetsuit while waiting in the line with the time running out.

Finally, out of the porta-potty I headed to the start location and found my friend just in time for them to send us off so my two line-ups were my warm-up.
  • 40m 55s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 09s / 100 meters

We started from the shoreline running into the lake. It was quite shallow for a fair distance and I started swimming in knee deep water. I started off fairly well and comfortable - not too fast. I could see the first couple buoys well but there was something wrong with my sighting and I found myself at least 20 degrees off course 4 or 5 times.
By the halfway point I was passing people from the preceding wave but then the women's wave came from behind and were really moving fast.
I just kept going and correcting my imperfect line until I was on the last leg heading for the water exit.
I came out of the water breathing a bit hard and worried that I took way too long swimming too many detours.
As I came out of the water heading towards transition they had wetsuit strippers so I went down onto my back and the two ladies grabbed the suit and whipped it off and helped me up. I thanked them profusely and headed on.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure why I struggled with my sighting and in the end my time was almost what I had hoped for but I should have made more of an effort to know the swim route beforehand and also get into the lake for a good familiarization swim.
Transition 1
  • 06m 53s

From the lake to Transition was a fair distance and I was breathing hard from the swim so I walked as quickly as I could but also tried to calm my heart rate down at the same time. I managed to change quickly and after bagging my wetsuit grabbed my bike and headed for the exit. I consciously chose not to put on sunscreen and my gloves would've added a couple minutes to my time so I bagged them as well.
What would you do differently?:

I'm way too slow in T1. I'll never be as fast as the Pro's but I definitely need to cut my time here to at least :4 minutes.
  • 3h 33m 19s
  • 87.8 kms
  • 24.70 km/hr

Coming out of Transition I moved as quickly as possible to the mount line and jumped on the bike and got going. The route was a lot of rolling hills and masses of people would pass me on the uphills while I would pass many on the downhills. Just not as many as were passing me.

People were friendly and encouraging. I was having fun and enjoying the countryside until a young girl passed me (quite easily) and she had an "18" on her right calf. Wholy Kwap!! I have two grandsons just a year younger than her. I only dwelt on it for a few moments and what the heck - So I'm old. I'm still out here having fun. So I carried on.
I knew the first half of the ride would be slower and harder but I expected the second half to be faster than it was but this leg was into a fairly strong wind. On the second half I passed quite a few people but I was worried that I was using up my legs.
There was no shade anywhere along the route and the sun was quite intense but the wind did keep me comfortable. I just couldn't get going as fast as I wanted.
I stopped at the 60km AID station for a quick break. I was drinking lots and felt really good.
Time was passing quickly and I pushed as hard as I could finally turning on to the last road to the bike finish and T2. Here I was able to finish well and dismount without falling and moved quickly into the transition area.
What would you do differently?:

I only recently installed aerobars on my bike and I did make some use of them on the ride but I'm still a bit shaky on them so when the shoulder was narrow I didn't use them. Hopefully, I'll be able to use them more as I get more confident with them and realize some speed gain.
I also must get stronger at climbing hills. I ride hills all the time but in three years I'm no faster. Something not right about that.
Transition 2
  • 05m 24s

T2 was in a different location than T1. It was also different in that we had to lean our bikes up against rows of fences. Turns out it was actually pretty good and gave us more room to change and move out again. I wasted a bit of time here as I chugged what was left of my Perpetuem then moved out of T2.
What would you do differently?:

I thought I was pretty fast here but obviously I need to get better organized here as well.
  • 3h 01m 45s
  • 21.08 kms
  • 08m 37s  min/km

Coming out of T2 I realized pretty quickly that the headwind on the bike had kept me cool while the temperature had been rising and now it was really hot and there was very little shade, no more appreciable breeze and I had 21km to go.

As I came out of T2 Steve King was announcing and called out my name and he remembered me from Penticton (where he lives as well) and that I train with Greg who had just passed a while before me. I know he has a lot of computer info on each athlete but he also has an amazing memory.

I started running fairly well (for me) but my heart rate was elevated and I was trying to calm myself down while keeping running. At first there was some nice shade and I was running well but soon after the shade disappeared and it was just hot. Not as hot as my Granfondo two weeks before but still hot and the UV Index was pretty high.

I ran as best as I could but there were hills to climb and I had to walk up them. For a while I tried to run downhills and in any shade then walk up the hills (not a lot of flat areas).
The AID stations were sporadic at varying distances so I doubled up on water and Perform whenever I could. By the second station I needed ice in my hat and sponges under my Tri-shirt (front and back).

Around 7km I met a young fellow (in this case 40 is young) who was persevering with a calf injury so we started run/walking together which really helped me. We were running at 6:40/km and walking at 9:30/km but as we travelled we were slowly walking more and running less.
About 8.5km my buddy Greg passed me only about 4km ahead of me. In the end he found that the heat had slowed him down by at least 20minutes over his normal pace. I have no such excuse I am just slow!
The young fellow I was running with was running for his grandfather whom had just died 6 days before at 96yrs old. So we ran for Charlie. Not our best running but the best we could.
We finally reached the turn around point and turned to head back. 10.5km to go. A bit later about 12.5km along we passed a lady close to my age who was looking pretty rough but chugging along so we encouraged her as best we could.
By now we had a couple other fellows running with us or ahead of us and then falling behind and then catching up again. On the way out it seemed like the route was mostly uphill but when we turned around we found it was still all uphill again.
I was loading up my hat and tri-shirt with ice at each AID station but by the next station it was all gone again so it was melting pretty fast.
Km 17 was great news. Up one last hill and then 4 more flat km and we were done.
Now there were three of us staying together and keeping each other going. Now it was all walking. As fast as we could but getting harder. At least no one was passing us. At the last AID station we loaded up on water and coke.
We were still walking trying to store up some energy for a last burst of running across the finish line. Passing 20.5km my buddy Greg yelled from the distance, "Come on George, get running!" and it was just the jolt I needed and the three of us started running to the finish. I seemed more inspired than the other two and ran faster crossing the line first of the three of us.
Shook my two companion's hands and to the young man thanked him for the inspiration.
Got my medal and felt quite comfortable except for the heat. Then got my finisher shirt from a fellow I knew from Ironman in Penticton.
What would you do differently?:

I have a lot to work on over this next winter. I really need to get stronger at running. I could tell during the run that I felt stronger than I was last year but I need to get a LOT stronger.

Take some time for sunscreen. I did get a bit burnt on the run.
Post race
Warm down:

As I came out of the finish area I was thirsty but not sure how hungry I was. I would've loved to have some watermelon and 7Up but they had Johnsonville Brats. Somewhat tentatively I got two and some new potatoes/salted. I actually enjoyed them both.

Not long after I finished my food I went to the finish line to look for a friend who had competed on a relay team and she was waiting for her partner to finish. About then in the distance I see the lady I had passed about the 12.5km part of the run and this is my friends team mate. Then Steve King announces the last athlete is approaching the finish line. It is about 30 minutes overtime but en masse EVERYONE is on their feet and lining the chute to the finish line and cheering this lady in. She's limping and hurting but she's finishing and everyone is loudly cheering and clapping her in. I was hugely impressed by the overall genuine enthusiasm for this lady.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I know I'm a lot stronger this year than last year but I must get better at climbing hills and running off the bike. I need to just get stronger at running - then I'll worry about getting stronger at running off the bike.

Last updated: 2014-01-22 12:00 AM
00:40:55 | 1900 meters | 02m 09s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/869
Performance: Average
The map shows a heart shaped course around a man-made lake. Not certain of the water temp but it was just right in a wetsuit. Not too warm nor too cool.
Course: One loop around the lake.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 06:53
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:33:19 | 87.8 kms | 24.70 km/hr
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/869
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind
Course: According to the elevation map the first half of the course is a steady climb and the second half is a steady decline.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:24
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:01:45 | 21.08 kms | 08m 37s  min/km
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/869
Performance: Below average
Course: Paved path around Glenmore Reservoir.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2014-08-01 10:47 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

2014-08-02 4:18 AM
in reply to: #5034022

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Gold Coast, Australia
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Great report George. I do find your race write-ups inspiring, the way you deal with endurance pain (ie no fuss, just get on with it) gives me some hope for my HIM--I hope I can do that too!

2014-08-02 9:20 PM
in reply to: Taringa

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St. Louis
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary
Awesome report George!
2014-08-02 11:17 PM
in reply to: #5034022

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

I forgot to include:

The run course was open to the public while we were running and we were running in both directions on a paved path about 6 feet wide.  The whole time we were running there were people weaving back and forth between the runners on mountain bikes at top speed (none of them slowed down in the least).  If anyone had stepped in front of one of these riders they would've been seriously hurt.  The miracle was that to my knowledge no one was hurt but it will happen eventually.

2014-08-04 8:00 AM
in reply to: wenceslasz

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Levittown, PA
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary
Congrats and very impressive. Looking at your age and reading your story is inspiring. Way to get it done out there.
2014-08-04 11:28 AM
in reply to: #5034022

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Sounds like a great time, George. Not only did you race, but you encouraged a bunch of other racers, too!

Yeah, that's the problem with HIMs - by the time you're running it's too hot. Way to persevere through another one!

2014-08-11 4:01 PM
in reply to: miche033

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Originally posted by miche033

Sounds like a great time, George. Not only did you race, but you encouraged a bunch of other racers, too!

Yeah, that's the problem with HIMs - by the time you're running it's too hot. Way to persevere through another one!

Nice race, George!  This was my first HIM a couple years ago.  The course has changed some, but that last hill up on the run is still there...and then you have to run by the finish line and loop!  Grrrr.  At any rate, great job!

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