Pigman Triathlon - Long Course
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Pigman Triathlon - Long Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman
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This was my first "run-in" start. My other races had all been wade starts. My plan was to walk in behind the pack and stay to the right. Since I only breath left, sighting to the buoys, which were all to the right, was a little difficult. I only strayed a couple of times and added a little yardage but not enough to effect my time. I was fully anticapating a few panics, where I would have to stop and catch my breath, but for some reason I was relaxed and calm and had no such issues. The only bumping occurred when the heat behind me caught up and passed me. Nothing real major, just a few ankle grabs and side punches.
Overall the swim went very well for me. A year and a half ago I didn't know how to swim and I still struggle. I was anticipating an hour to 1:15 finish time. When I got out of the water and looked at my watch is said 45 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I have no clue how I swam that fast. No clue.
What would you do differently?:
I wouldn't do anything differently. I just wish I knew how I pulled off this swim...relaxed, smooth, and much faster than normal with the same amount of effort as in training when it takes me an hour to swim one mile.
I really need to work on my transitions. I always seem to fumble around with stuff. This time I was wrestling with bike gloves (didn't need them) and re-arranging my timing chip for no reason. I need to simplify my transitions.
What would you do differently?:
Stop screwing around and GO!
Cycling is my strength. I don't worry about how well I do on the bike. My biggest problem is keeping my output where it should be.
After mounting 50 feet past the mount/dismount line I began to get in my groove. The course was 56 miles of constent rolling hills with a few tough climbs. My goal was to stay in zone 2 (130-140 bpm). I began at 165 and couldn't get my HR down. I kept backing off, and backing off and it wouldn't come down. It didn't feel like I was putting out zone 4 effort but I apparently was. It took about 45 minutes before I could force my HR down to 150, which is Z3. This was the best I could do and it stayed in Z3 the rest of the bike race.
Overall the bike leg went well. The roads were in poor condition and it was a struggle keeping my water bottles in. There were several railroad crossings where several people lost their water bottles. Since all of my calories were in my bottles I couldn't run that risk.
What would you do differently?:
Start out a little easier and keep my heart rate down.
T2 went fine. Not as much fumbling around. I took off with a bunch of junk in my pockets that I didn't need so I turned around and emptied them before continueing on to the run.
I knew when I began the run I had expended too much energy on the bike. Initially my goal was to run the first 6 miles and re-evaluate my plan from there. Fatigue was setting in at mile 4. I began taking small bites of Hammer Gel followed by water. At mile 5 I began putting ice under my hat and down my shirt. This helped take my mind off of the pain. At mile 6 was a 1/2 mile climb. I told myself to run tot he top and maybe I could walk down the hill. I ended up running up and down without stopping. I then told myself I would just run tot he next water stop. This began a game I was playing with myself. I would convince myself I would run to the next water stop and walk for a short while while drinking. But once I got there I wjust kept running, water in hand. Around mile 9 I had spent all the money in the bank with 4 miles to go and one steap hill ahead of me. I buried my head to keep from looking at the faces of people suffering ahead of me. When I looked up and saw someone walking I began thinking about walking, so I just buried my head and kept shuffling my feet. I knew I had to change my thought process because my mind was telling me to stop. So I began thinking about a little girl named Kerstin who I am doing all of this in honor of. Kerstin is a little girl fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with Leukemia last October. When I thought of her I began to well up inside. My legs would tingle, almost giving me a little shot of energy. I thought to myself, 3 more miles, that's 25 minutes of pain. How much pain did Kerstin tolerate? If she could handle months of chemo and constant agony then my next 25 minutes of suffering will pale in comparison. This was the only thing I thought of the remaining 3 miles. Before I knew it I could hear people cheering. The finish line was coming up. My wife jumped out of the crowd cheering my name. She followed me to the finish line and grabbed me as I crossed. It was all over. I finished in 5:41:48, almost 30 minutes ahead of my goal.
I walked to the beach and sat in the water for a few minutes, reflecting on what I just did. I had been debating with myself throughout the entire day whether or not I am in the condition to complete a full Ironman, which I'm already registered to participate in Sept. 23rd. My first gut reaction was..."If the half distance is this painfull, how can I tolerate twice the distance?" And I thought to myself, if Kerstin, God and my wife are my motivation then I can get through it.
The race director and volunteers were great. There wasn't an intersection throughout the course that wasn't controlled. Water and food at every mile on the run and every 10 on the bike. This event could not have been ran any better.
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Why is it that every hotel I stay in has wedding receptions going on while I'm there. This hotel, the Cedar Rapids Marriot had TWO wedding parties going on the night before the race. So, my pre-race routine begain with two, two-hour blocks of broken sleep. I officially started my day at 4:45 AM with wheat & oatmeal pancakes with honey and peanut butter and a double cup of coffee. I had to force the food down since the pre-race jitters robbed my appetite.
After setting up my transition area I ate a PowerBar and sipped a bottle of water as I walked to the beach and swim start. After the pre-race briefing I jumped in the water to try and relax my nerves. Fortunately the water temp was 76 degrees and allowed wetsuits. This is a big bonus for me.