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Sado Astroman - A Type - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Sado, Niigata
24C / 75F
Total Time = 13h 46m 11s
Overall Rank = 327/955
Age Group = 55-59
Age Group Rank = 11/73
Pre-race routine:

In bed by 8 and up at 1:30-2:00. Breakfast about 2:30 am - cold oatmeal soaked in milk (350 cal), 1 daifuku (230 cal), 1 banana (100 cal) and a coffee. Left the hotel at 3:30 and was in the parking lot at 3:50. Got my bike set up and did the 10 minute walk to the race area. Body marking opened at 4:30. After that I made one more trip back to my car to refill the water bottle I was using pre-race (should have brought 2).
Event warmup:

At 5 am I did a 10 minute run warmup. That got my heart rate up and body warmed up. As soon as I finished, I put on my wet suit and went down for about 15 minutes of very easy swimming. The water was very calm and there was only a very slight breeze.
  • 1h 28m 34s
  • 3800 meters
  • 02m 20s / 100 meters

My longest swim to date was a 2km open water event I did on this same course at the end of July. I was completely beat for that race because I rode 300 km in the prior two days. So, I was fairly confident I could do the 1.9km loop twice if I paced it right. Of course, having very calm water helps too.

Plan: start at the very back, stay to the outside until past the first buoy and then move in closer depending on the congestion; swim very relaxed with my head out of the water the whole way.

Actual: per plan. I felt completely calm through the first lap, got out at the beach to rinse out my mouth and tighten up my goggle straps a little more while walking back in. On the second lap I felt even better and pretty much held the buoy lines the whole way. I came out feeling great.

FYI: I swim with my head out of the water because it works for me. That is the way I grew up swimming and I can make it work in a wetsuit. It also gives my 99% accuracy on my sighting and 100% access to oxygen. When and if my swimming improves to the level that allows me to feel comfortable with my face in the water, I will change.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - the swim was my warmup for the rest of the day. I came out feeling relaxed and ready to ride.
Transition 1
  • 07m 1s

I took my time - I dried off, put on chamois cream (essential), a good coat of sunscreen, sun sleeves, bike shoes, etc. and then walked my bike out of the transition area. No running, no jumping on the bike....slow and simple.
What would you do differently?:

I can probably knock off a good 3 minutes fairly easily and that is something I will consider next time around.
  • 7h 00m 41s
  • 190 kms
  • 27.10 km/hr

Weather: the high for the day was 30 C (86 F). My bike computer had the temp at 31-34 for the duration of the bike course (88-93 F). It was sunny for the duration and I am sure that was the temp radiating off of the tarmac. There was also a pretty good breeze that helped with cooling.

My plan was to ride the first hour at 150 watts and the rest at 165 watts, staying as close to those numbers as possible on the climbs and on the descents. For nutrition I was carrying 7 packets of SAVAS (Japanese maltodextrin based gel) in a bike bottle and 1 bottle of Aquarius (Coke's sports drink). Aquarius was available at all aid stations. My target was to get 170 cal/hour from the gel and drink 500-750 cc of Aquarius per hour (another 90-135 cal/hour for total about 260-305 cal/hour).

Things seemed to be working for the first 2 hours or so and then I started getting some really painful cramps in my gut. They did not last long, but they came 15-20 minutes after taking the gel. So, I decided to back off the gel and focus on making sure I was getting in enough Aquarius. In retrospect, I should have tried a different calorie source because the Aquarius by itself was not giving me enough calories.

Right around the 5 hour mark I started feeling tired and not quite right. I spotted a bathroom about 20 meters off the road and decided to stop. When I got off my bike, my balance was off and I probably looked like a drunk trying to walk into that bathroom. I felt better afterwards and made the decision to slow my power down a little and shift to coke to get in more calories. That turned out to be a wise move and after an hour I was able to bring my power level back up again for the last hour.

What would you do differently?:

I did my last race simulation (6 hour ride and 1 hour run) using the Savas/Aquarius combination - no problems. However, I was certainly spending less time in aero and I was not able to ride continuously (traffic lights, bottle refill, etc). I definitely need to revisit my bike nutrition approach.
Transition 2
  • 08m 11s

This took a little longer than I thought, but I did make a quick stop at the porto-potty and I did take my time getting the bike gear off, adding some sunscreen and changing my bike jersey to a looser shirt for running.
What would you do differently?:

This could have been 3-4 minutes faster - something to work on next time around.
  • 5h 01m 44s
  • 42.2 kms
  • 07m 09s  min/km

My plan was to run at a 6:30 min/km pace for the first hour and then try to bump the pace up to 6:15 or 6:00 depending on how I felt and heart rate. For nutrition I planned to walk each aid station and alternate between sports drink and coke. Ideally I also wanted take in half a gel per hour.

I purposely left the gels in transition because I did not feel like I could make them work. The first 20km went well and I had no problem taking in the planned fluids. As I approached the aid station at the 23 km mark, I started feeling really tired. I took a drink and noticed they had a bathroom available in the building behind the station. After coming out of the bathroom I started to feel chilled and wondered whether I should talk with the aid station staff. I decided to start out at a quick walk and see how I felt (could always turn around). After a couple hundred meters the chill was gone and I started running. I again decided to hold back a little on pacing (right around 7 min/km) and shift to coke only at the aid stations. That seemed to do the trick. I was able to hold that pace for the next 10km. After that my pace slowly dropped off, but it was getting dark out and I was at the point where it was more important just to focus on keeping my legs moving. I stopped at all the aid stations and took my time getting the coke down before resuming my run. The last km or so was back into the small city where it was well lit and the number of spectators increased. My garmin data shows that I picked the pace back up to about 6 min/km for the last 500 meters or so. There was a reasonable sized crowd at the finish line, lots of cheering and I got in a bunch of high fives on the way to the goal line.
What would you do differently?:

The base problem came from my nutrition on the bike. I may have been able to hold my run performance if I had switched to coke only from the start. There are about twice as many calories in the coke as there are in the sports drink. I don't think that changing (slowing down) my pacing for the first 20 km would have made a difference.
Post race
Warm down:

I was not ready to eat or drink anything so I walked around for about 10 minutes to loosen up my legs. Then I changed into some real clothes and slowly got all my stuff together. I was back at my hotel by about 9pm. I was only able to eat a very small amount of food and continued to drink water and soda water to hydrate. After a long shower I quickly fell asleep.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am pretty sure that my nutrition problems cost me somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes overall. I suspect I should also have been drinking more fluids and that hurt a little. From a training perspective, I lost a good 13 weeks out of my running due to an injury and I am sure that affected my overall run durability.

Event comments:

They did a great job. The aid station support folks and all the local people who turned out to cheer were wonderful.

Note: This is not Ironman. There are no wet suit strippers and no special needs bags and no massages at the end. I will be back.

Last updated: 2014-09-10 12:00 AM
01:28:34 | 3800 meters | 02m 20s / 100meters
Age Group: 41/73
Overall: 624/955
Performance: Good
Suit: DeSoto Full
Course: 1900 meter triangle X 2. They set up a water stand on the edge of the beach and allow you to come out of the water to get a drink if you like.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 25C / 77F Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:01
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
07:00:41 | 190 kms | 27.10 km/hr
Age Group: 8/73
Overall: 309/955
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Once around the island. That includes about 1550 meters of climbing and also 7-8 km of tunnels (3 of them are really long). It is a really beautiful course that passes through many small fishing villages and gives you some great views of the ocean. The road itself is mostly good although there are some rough areas in some of the smaller villages. There are a total of 12 aid stations on the course - 7 of them have food (powerbar gel, bananas, onigiri (rice balls)) and the other 5 are drink only. Sports drink, coke, water and Japanese tea were available.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 81
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 08:11
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
05:01:44 | 42.2 kms | 07m 09s  min/km
Age Group: 0/73
Overall: 0/955
Performance: Average
Course: The course is relatively flat but also has quite a few long slow gradients. It goes through some residential areas and also spends a little time out in the rice fields (a little tough in the dark on the way back in). There were 16 aid points on the course (9 drink only) - there were about 10 actual aid stations as some were reused on the start/end.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %5
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-09-12 3:30 AM

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Sendai, Japan
Subject: Sado Astroman - A Type

2014-09-12 5:50 AM
in reply to: #5049316

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Subject: RE: Sado Astroman - A Type
Congrats!!!!! GREAT race and great race report. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
2014-09-12 9:41 PM
in reply to: #5049316

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Sado Astroman - A Type

Super race!  You kept your head in the game wisely when you felt poor and made good adjustments to the plan.  Congratulations on a great race!

2014-09-13 8:35 AM
in reply to: QueenZipp

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Kennebunkport, Qatar
Subject: RE: Sado Astroman - A Type
Great report Dan! Nutrition is one of the biggest concerns I will have when I take on IMLT next year, I have a problem with leg cramps and need the electrolytes as well as enough calories.
Great job!
2014-09-14 5:16 AM
in reply to: #5049316

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Sado Astroman - A Type
Congrats Dan!! Really enjoyed reading your race report. Always so interesting how nutrition plays a bigger role the longer the distance. See it over and over again in the long races. Well done and your running pace is staggering to me!!
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