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Challenge New Albany Half Triathlon - Triathlon


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New Albany, Ohio
United States
HFP Racing
73F / 23C
Overcast
Total Time = 4h 51m 17s
Overall Rank = 60/271
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/29
Pre-race routine:

I was able to sleep all the way to the alarm for the first time I think I can remember. Once up I got a few things around and got my breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese and a small cup of coffee.
We left the hotel a little later than planned but the venue was only 10-15 minutes away so I didn't get stressed.
I also ran into a pro athlete I met at my very first triathlon. I walked out of the rest room and saw Ryan Rau and he and I talked for several minutes. It was a good distraction from the normal nervousness that race day brings about. (Ryan placed 20th overall out of a somewhat stacked pro field with Starky taking 3rd.)
Event warmup:

I didn't take a warm up other than a few push ups. I didn't want to run on a leg that had not had much of anything other than walking a few minutes. The RD also had it set up the there would be a swim warm up but it would be over 30 minutes prior to my wave going off........I opted out of the WU.
Swim
  • 29m 44s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 25s / 100 yards
Comments:

For one of the first races in a very long time I took my swim ability seriously and places myself in the front of the group. I was in the second row and tried to pick someone that appeared to be fast and waited for the gun. The wait was only 2 minutes but it seemed like much longer.
With about 15 seconds remaining and the countdown beginning everyone was getting anxious to get moving. The lines of men began shifting and pushing a little closer to the waters edge, and then the gun began our wave.
The first 50-60 feet was wading and running through the shallow water until we were out far enough to warrant swimming and the dolphin diving began en masse. I took my place behind one of my selected fast people and tried to settle in some sort of pattern. I wanted to control my effort for the first couple of hundred yards in order to get warmed up and then feel things out. I also hoped I would be able to put into practice some drafting techniques I learned a few weeks ago. The opportunity was there but I could only hang out there so long. As it turned out I wasn't behind someone who was faster than me so I launched after only a short distance.
The crowd was mostly behind me and I was out on my own and sighting pretty well from the start. Some of my competitors had swung a little wide, closer to the beach but I seemed to be able to maintain my line fairly well according to my sight lines. By the first buoy there were only a couple of guys that seemed to be remotely close to me and I felt the rest of my wave was behind me.
At the second turn, now heading north, I was virtually alone as the others that were up front were either in front of me or well wide of me. At this point I was pretty much out on my own for nearly all of the rest of the swim.
I began to relax more and take things a few strokes at a time. I thought about my breathing and sighting pattern. I was able to rid myself of the initial adrenaline surge and settle in and be comfortable for the rest of the race.
AS I moved forward I tried to take note of where others were along the course and make sure I was still on a line. a couple of times I felt I was well inside of the buoys as I looked around at other swimmers but my lines felt pretty straight throughout. I really didn't have to alter my course very much at any point.
After the final hard corner I found a line of athletes that were all strung out and drafting off each other. I wasn't catching them rapidly, per se, but l was pulling up to them and felt I could maybe get a sling shot effect from them. There were about 5 athletes in this line and I pulled in behind for about 1 full stroke cycle and launched. Once I committed to the pass I felt like I was flying through the water at an almost effortless pace. this string of swimmers allowed me to relax a little more for a few extra seconds and, if nothing else, conserve energy while maintain effort if I didn't go faster. At this point I was about 300 yards from the finish as I pulled clear. I waited until about 100 yards left and then I began to kick to get my legs ready and get the blood from my upper body and into my legs. I made the short turn toward the beach and found the bottom, stood up and ran into the beach through the timing mats and began to strip.
What would you do differently?:

Probably nothing. Well maybe I would have started at the front of the group over all but it really wouldn't have saved much time.
I think I was able to dial this effort into the correct zone. I feel really good about this swim. This was a PR for this distance by 1:23
Transition 1
  • 02m 1s
Comments:

This was a long run up from the beach so that's part of the longer time. But I also had to pack my wet suit and goggles away since this was a point to point race. the time it took for me to get the suit in the bag accounted for an extra 20+ seconds.
What would you do differently?:

I may have been able to move a little quicker but I think it was a decent time. I also had everything laid out well but there was nutrition I had to pack it away in my jersey so that added some time too.
Bike
  • 2h 33m 6s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.95 mile/hr
Comments:

As left on the bike I knew I was going to feel like I was pounding a little bit and I knew I would have to catch myself to make sure I didn't try to pull off an Oly effort. I tried to focus on getting things dialed back to the effort I needed to ride. Looking at the HR data I nailed the effort almost exactly where Zach told me to dial in. He asked me to dial to about 151 HR and race the way I know how to race. I didn't check my HR average at all during the race and I hit an average of 152. BOOM!!
The first 13.5 miles of the bike was slightly rolling before pitching up for a steady but constant climb from mile 15 up to almost 23 miles. At the top of this long climb the course rolled again for a few miles before beginning sharper short climbs. I enjoyed the challenge of climbing the hills but staying under control of my effort was the bigger challenge. It was on these hills that others seemed to stand out of the saddle while I stayed aero and picked a smaller gear to maintain effort. My success was likely in large part due to my control here. Most of these riders took me a while to work up to passing them but many of them were passed on the uphill portion while they were out of the saddle climbing and I was in the aeros spinning.
By now I had passed the first aid station and was nearing the second, my water bottle was close to being dry and I knew I wanted to have more for the remaining 30 miles (this was the last aid station). As I was coming into the aid station there were 2-3 volunteers for each Gatorade and water. As I approached the area they began to call out "Gatorade first, water second." I called back "water" and slowed only a little to get ready for the hand off. I have never done this in a race or otherwise and I was worried if I would be able to take the hand off or not. After calling out that I wanted water a lady stuck arm out and tried to hand the water to me. As I approached I slowed a little more and threw my hand out to grab the bottle from her. At 18+ MPH hitting someone hand to hand while the other is standing still and trying to grasp what they're holding is a foolish attempt and even clownish to watch, I imagine. I wondered just how this might end and it seemed to match just what I thought would happen. I hit the water bottle with my hand so hard this poor lady may have lost an arm. But hey, it's a race and I had a PR to work toward.
But the bottle exchange wan't over! There was one more attempt at getting ore water on board. There was a man at the end of the line. He was the "last in line" to put in the words of Ronnie James Dio. He saw the missed exchange and didn't want to see me go the rest of the way without any water because he suddenly propelled himself in the opposite direction in an apparent attempt to run away from me. He turned to look at me as he wretched himself somewhat sideways to find my position. Then at the most opportune time he threw his water bearing arm toward me and I was able to grasp the bottle and replenish my new torpedo between the aeros.
At about mile 33 I began to catch up to and pass the elite women. I passed one of these ladies on an uphill and she looked at me and shook her head.....I don't think she was having a good race! As i looked ahead further I could see another rider that later I found out was another elite lady. I found pride in catching these faster ladies, not because of their gender but because they had gone off about 15 minutes ahead of me. This was my first real sense of how far I seemed to have moved ahead in the field while on the bike.
During some of this section of the race I hit some of the fastest speeds during the race that came from the descents after climbs. But there was one descent that I know wasn't driving as fast as I would have liked. It was a long descent with a nice grade to gain speed but it was riddled with poor pavement and potentiality treacherous conditions. I chose to be on the horns and tuck as closely as possible to the frame and see what happened. I believe it was here that I maxed out at only 32 MPH after hitting 36.5 on an earlier descent. It was still fun as I love hitting higher speeds. this was about mile 34 where it got pretty sketchy for the roads. This was the only place that was very bad.
From about mile 40 up to almost 48 miles I was constantly climbing. The road seemed to never provide any break from a long, long, slow and steady ascent. I had looked at the map prior to the race and I knew I was going to have a very long descent back into New Albany and I thought it was coming sooner. I kept waiting for the road to begin to fall off but it didn't seem like it was ever going to end. Even so, I was still carrying fair speed as I continued to climb. This was despite beginning to head into the wind.
As I approached the crest of this long climb I could see it coming and I knew I would have an easier ride back into T2 with the decline coming. As I crested the peak all of a sudden the wind seemed to be more in my face and I could feel a little more wind. It was slowing me down some but I still had plenty of speed and I was feeling pretty good.
This stretch of road was very straight too. There were no curves for almost 5 miles and I could see everything that was coming at me, which really wasn't much. I kept an eye on my HR to make sure I didn't try to take advantage of the reduction in grade and burn myself out.
Just past mile 50 we made a turn to the north and I could feel the push and I remember relaxing a bit to enjoy the reduced effort. This turn was only about a half mile before heading back into the wind but I took the break for a got ready for the final push before the run.
The last 5 miles or so wound around and had a little bit of an increase in elevation but nothing crazy. It was here that I saw Julia (friend from HS) waving like crazy as I passed. She had been out for lunch at work and saw me coming and got out of her car and jumped up and down cheering me on. This was a big mental boost.
Then I crossed 161 and began to wind my way through the final stages of the ride. I was ready to get off the bike and see what I had left on the run. I had taken in most of the nutrition I had planned and now it was time to see what it did for me.

What would you do differently?:

Not taken so much water in my system. The calories were probably alright but I as full!! I seemed to have a full stomach from all of the nutrition.
Transition 2
  • 01m 26s
Comments:

I was a little slower than I felt I should have been. I can't really think where I may have saved much time other than not having to pack gear away.
What would you do differently?:

In retrospect I should have racked and dumped my cycling gear as I do at any other race.
Run
  • 1h 44m 58s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 01s  min/mile
Comments:

I began this run feeling like an animal. I felt pretty amazing as I came off the bike and it showed as I exited transition. I was flying and smiling at Lis as I races out of the T area, I gave her 2 thumbs up and was ready to go!!
It wasn't long before I checked my HR and thought I might be running a little hot and tried to slow down some. I began to pull back but apparently I didn't realize just how hot I was running. By the time I reached the 1st mile and my watch alerted me I had run a 7:04 and I knew this was likely to spell trouble. I immediately went into pullback mode and attempted to reduce my pace to something I would be able to hold for the rest of the race. It took me the next 2 miles to get there but I finally slowed enough that I thought I was where I needed to be.
Inside of the first mile I was running and I could hear footsteps coming quickly behind me. As I was being passed I told the other athlete to "Slow down! You're embarrassing me." The dude was flying in my estimation and after the race I ran into him and we spoke for a little bit. As it turns out I had been talking to a pro athlete who had placed 11th in a stacked field. His name was Mike Caiazzo.
While this was going on I also began to recognize I wasn't feeling as well as I would like to have been. I noticed just how full I felt but I kept to the nutrition plan to take a full EFS Liquid shot during the first hour of the race and then live off the course. But by the end of mile 3 I was not feeling any gastric emptying at all and I still remained full.
As I paced myself through the next couple of miles I could feel the fullness in my stomach was not going to let me running a "comfortable" race." I kept trying to get some fluids in at the aid stations, as much as you can get while running, but it seemed only to make things worse.
By the end of the first loop I felt I had my pacing established and I was ready to finish the race with this finally where I needed to be. The turn around had me feeling pretty fatigued but I was still mentally into the race but I wasn't looking forward to the final lap.
Somewhere after the turn around I thought about how I was having just a little bit more trouble getting air than I thought I should have been for this kind of effort and I grabbed my inhaler and took a shot. I don't know if this had any physical effect or not but I did seem to have a little mental boost.
The second loop slogged on but seemed to move a little faster because I knew the route now. The down side to know the route is I now knew when the hills were coming and I was beginning to feel even worse than the first loop. I was still really full and I wasn't experiencing any emptying that I could really have used. I hadn't taken much of anything other than water at the aid stations since mile 4 or 5 and I knew that my nutrition was going to become an issue if something didn't change.
Despite feeling like I was on a very slow death march I don't recall many people passing me, yet I was passing many. There were several races going on so it's likely I was passing some of the Oly or Du athletes and even some of the HIM athletes that were just off the bike for their first loop.
There was one guy that I was changing positions with every aid station. He was passing me while running and then he would walk the aid station and I would pass him back. This went on for a several miles until I was no longer capable to hold pace.
The last 2 miles of the run my nutrition ran out. I had nothing left in the tank. My stomach was still pretty full and I was still out of gas. These two miles were the slowest of the day coming in at 8:43 and 8:50. I had known it was coming and I didn't feel like there was anything at all that I could have done. I had only taken about 300 calories during the run with the first 100 coming inside of the first mile. I had tried some Gatorade early and water to hydrate and seemingly only made the issue worse (early).
As I rounded the final very long turn I was very ready to be done! I was now feeling like I was crawling to the finish and I knew there was no way I was landing on the AG podium. I felt as if I had run a horrible race and mentally I felt the real fasties had already been done and had a shower and a burger already. I was mentally blown and for the next 30 minutes I was physically blown too.
What would you do differently?:

I would have dialed back the amount of water on the bike and maybe concentrated the nutrition into smaller 20 oz bottles rather than the 24 oz bottle I normally use. This would have reduced the amount of fluid in my stomach and likely how I felt throughout the run. I'll be chatting with Zach about this in the coming weeks.
I also gave in mentally, which seems to be one of my strong points. I don't seem to give up easily and I think I did for the last 2 miles. I think, if I had my normal mindset, I could have pushed harder and gotten to the finish holding the 8:10-8:15 average.
Post race
Warm down:

I was totally exhausted! I finished and walked to the curb and laid down in a heap of sweat and agony. My legs were completely thrashed and I was in no way able to move for a few minutes. As I lay on the ground I looked up at Lis and I could see the look of concern in her eyes. I must have looked pretty bad. After a few minutes she asked if I wanted some water melon and other food to try to get something to begin rehydration. There was no way I was ready for food yet but I knew watermelon, if cold, sound as good as it was going to get and I thought I'd try. Before Lis left she asked me several times if I was going to be alright. That was my first clue to how bad I must have really looked.
When she returned to my spot I found the watermelon warn and offensive and I couldn't eat it. I was now turned against food for a long time.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The swim was a pretty decent PR for me and one that I suppose may hold up for a long time. I enjoyed the swim but I'm not sure swimming faster would have been the right thing to do, but I could have. I was under control the entire time and never gasped for air.
The bike was 3 minutes slower than my PR but this course was much more hilly than any other course I've ridden. The hills were much more steep and longer challenging me more to climb under control and I still rode well. Nothing to change here either from a performance perspective.
The run? I think that's was already covered in the run segment and that's enough recalling of that fiasco.

Event comments:

This was a very good race. Well organized. The only thing I thought was a little off was the awards. Having won my AG I would like to have been a part of the official ceremony but they weren't doing awards until the end of the awards dinner which didn't begin until 3:30 and the awards not being planned to be handed out until 5:00 or after. Knowing Lis was driving almost 3 hours back home I wanted to get out of there. I was able to get my award but it was a little sketchy. Anyone could have walked up and said they had won their AG and grabbed the award (a Champion medal) and walked away without being question. When I asked for my award I asked if they needed my name or anything else as proof that I was indeed the right person, nothing was required.
Side note: I had the opportunity to talk to Andy Starkowitz after the race and found him to be very down to earth. It was clear that he was who he is with everyone and was willing to talk about anything that was on his mind. When I asked him how his race went he responded with a bit more description than many people may have wanted (i.e. "colonic explosion"). He told me how he had crashed his bike and still placed 3rd, was turning 500-600 watts for the bike and how he had laid off because this was his 3rd weekend in a row to race. He had raced Racine, Muncie and now New Albany. Clearly he's an animal!

My summary report is that while I may have had placed first in my AG I didn't have a very good race. There was too much that went wrong on the run to have noted this race as a good race overall. I have a lot to figure out before Wisconsin but even if it doesn't work out the best in Madison I'll still have a great day because I will be an Ironman at the end of the day.
Results: http://www.challenge-family.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Results-...




Last updated: 2014-07-20 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:29:44 | 2112 yards | 01m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/29
Overall: 11/271
Performance: Good
Suit: Neosport
Course: A long rectangular course with a counter clockwise direction. Navigation was pretty easy due to the location of the sun. The sun was always in a place to allow good visibility and the buoys were large and easy to spot.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
T1
Time: 02:01
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
02:33:06 | 56 miles | 21.95 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/29
Overall: 0/271
Performance: Good
1 13:40.0 5.00 22.0 2 12:56.3 5.00 23.2 3 13:09.5 5.00 22.8 4 14:15.9 5.00 21.0 5 13:16.7 5.00 22.6 6 13:51.6 5.00 21.6 7 13:18.2 5.00 22.6 8 13:57.3 5.00 21.5 9 15:25.1 5.00 19.5 10 14:02.6 5.00 21.4 11 12:54.7 5.00 23.2 12 2:12.1 0.57 15.5
Wind: Some
Course: This was a point to point race. The route was mostly east with some winding toward the southeast before heading west toward the T2. There were numerous hills with only a couple times I felt like I wanted/needed to get out of the saddle.
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Too much
T2
Time: 01:26
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
Running
01:44:58 | 13.1 miles | 08m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/29
Overall: 23/271
Performance: Below average
1 7:04.0 2 7:25.5 3 7:53.7 4 7:55.2 5 7:53.6 6 7:54.7 7 8:13.4 8 7:50.9 9 8:11.5 10 8:10.8 11 8:16.3 12 8:43.6 13 8:50.2 14 :33.9
Course: This was a 2 loop course that rolled slightly throughout. Nothing extreme but enough to make you want it to be flatter when you're suffering.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Evaluation
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

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2014-08-02 5:43 PM

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Master
3486
20001000100100100100252525
Fort Wayne
Subject: Challenge New Albany Half Triathlon


2014-08-04 1:10 PM
in reply to: #5034226

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Master
2327
200010010010025
Columbia, TN
Subject: RE: Challenge New Albany Half Triathlon
Let me know if you come to a solid conclusion about what was going on in your gut.

It sounds to me like you weren't digesting. This is a very common thing because every athlete has an effort level beyond which digestion shuts down.
A lot of people race IM and have this problem because they ride the bike at an effort level (at least initially) that shuts down their GI tract and they are eating to replace calories. The end result is a body that's not getting the calories and a stomach full of unused calories causing an upset stomach.

I wonder if this is what you were experiencing? If so, you may not experience this at all in your IM simply because (I assume) your effort level will be lower and will hopefully be below that level that shuts down digestion.



2014-08-05 9:58 PM
in reply to: JeffY

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Extreme Veteran
1123
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Sidney, Ohio
Subject: RE: Challenge New Albany Half Triathlon
Woohoo! age group win, that is just awesome.
2014-08-06 2:36 PM
in reply to: mambos

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Expert
2380
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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Challenge New Albany Half Triathlon
Congrats on winning your AG Dirk. You may not be pleased with how your run turned out and with the nutrition issues you were experiencing but there is a lot of positive things to take away from this race. You had great swim which you PR'd and it sounds like you were right on target with the effort on the bike which was great as well. I think had you not experienced the GI issues your run would've been better for you but it's hard to argue when you can go sub 5 hours and win your AG group. Congrats again on a great effort and race.
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