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Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas - Triathlon


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Galveston, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Precipitation
Total Time = 4h 49m 31s
Overall Rank = 172/2800
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 12/248
Pre-race routine:

TLDR: I love racing. Learned a ton from this one. Met some great people. I love racing.

Full version:

I signed up for this one late, as a fitness test and to remember how to race before a longer one at the end of June. It has been over 10 months since I've raced, with a move/new job and such recently taking priority over racing (and family remaining at the top of the heap, of course).

So, my ingoing expectations were limited to seeing what my race paces/numbers look like now (haven't done much testing this year and prefer to just race), not "fully" racing (no beast mode and no injuries!), and maybe trying to crack 5 hours. Oh, and checking out Galveston, to which I had never been.

I learned A LOT from this race, which is always great.

LESSON 0.5 (sorry for the numbering scheme - put this in on editing): Confirm lodging arrangements. Just because someone takes money on PayPal does not, apparently, mean you have a place to stay. They can TAKE the reservation, they just might not HOLD the property...

The condo we'd rented for the family (including dogs) fell through, so we couldn't all go for the weekend as planned. However, I was able to get a hotel room for Saturday and decided to lone wolf it (and meet up with some BTers). Got in Saturday and it was pretty crowded, as it had been storming earlier.

LESSON ONE: if you squeeze a pre-race-day ride/equipment check and run in before going directly to the registration line in your spare kit, anticipate being in line long enough to get sunburned and plan accordingly. I, however, did not. Two hours (!) in line saw my shoulders, neck and ample pate pink up nicely in the sun. I did get to chat with Jonathan and Sean from the BT Manatee Pod, which made the line go from a sufferfest to fun. Racked my bike.

Went to IHOP for my usual pre-race dinner (pancakes, hash browns, bacon, two eggs and toast with lots of water). Got to see a bit of the island/beach in the sun, which was nice. Went back, got my morning shyte together and racked out.

Event warmup:

Bagel and Justin's Maple/Almond butter, coffee, morning constitutional. Over to park and set up transition, which threw me because there was no wetsuit. Lots of anxious folks in transition when that announcement was made, but I was strangely excited to see whether or not the last year of trying to learn how to swim would pay off - or if I'd be wicked slow without my magic suit.

Oddly, though, not using the wetsuit made it hard to visualize the first parts of the race (I "rehearse" the entire race with eyes closed - something I learned from arm-chair flying approaches - to be sure I have everything when I pack and then when I set up transition). Took a bit longer than it should have, but I had plenty of time (no need to put on the suit, after all).

LESSON TWO: when you move to Texas, anticipate warm water and when holding the Desoto suit that you want in your hands at the store, buy it! Don't think, "Oh, I'll come back for that when it warms up." It already has...

Happily met Marc and Nicole (other BTers) while waiting for my wave (the 17th!) to go. We walked over and watched the men and women pro's finish. Seemed spot on based on their times - and was cool to see them come out.

LESSON THREE: when racing in Texas, anticipate fire ants. Do not stand still on top of a fire ant mound while watching the pro's finish.

As these wonderful little creatures tend to swarm a body part and then all bite at once, it was my first test of self control to not jump about screaming like a madman while swatting crazily at my left foot. I figured I'd look silly enough running around in a tri kit shortly, so I tried to limit my embarrassment by non-chalantly brushing them off and suffering in polite silence. Ah, good character building...

LESSON FOUR: Sometimes things do not go as planned. Relax and roll with it.
Swim
  • 32m 32s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards
Comments:

This was to be my first non-wetsuit triathlon (New England water is rarely not-legal). I was actually looking forward to seeing what I could do. I also adjusted my expectations a bit and started to figure an extra 5-7 minutes on whatever my total time would be, but had to admit I had no idea how long it would take me to swim this one (no long, non-wetsuit OWS of this distance in my training or past racing). I actually loved the uncertainty of it!!

LESSON FIVE: Do not just roll with changes, try to embrace them. It's way more fun.

Tread water start. Did a quick warmup in the couple minutes after jumping off the dock to warm up (thankfully, as I don't like to start the race without at least a short swim).

Hit it fairly hard at the start and found what seemed a good pair of feet. I was sighting and every time I did, saw that he was also sighting. We were going very straight. That's when I decided that I would hang on these feet, even if it meant swimming on the rivet the whole time, and mostly trust his navigation (with the occasional spot check).

He surged a few times (seemed every time I brushed a foot with my hand!), and I had to dig to stay with (I think he was trying to shake me). But then we'd eventually go through the back of a previous wave and he'd slow just that little bit that saw me back well within my comfort zone. My addiction to oxygen did not pose a problem, and I was able to stay on his feet until about 100' from the exit where it just got ridonkulously crowded and we both were melee swimming to get out intact.

LESSON SIX: Tactics matter, even in a long race where you are being very careful to not totally bury yourself. Staying on those feet made a big difference mentally, and I'm sure helped my overall time significantly - or at least let me come out of the water feeling fresh.

LESSON SEVEN: all the BT-ers were right. Masters swimming helps. No more proof needed than my survival of this swim without my "wubby" (wetsuit).

Also, on the run my teres muscles felt ok and did not cramp up after the race, as they have the last two. I credit this to both my masters coach giving me some suggestions and my daughter, who told me I swim, "Flat and splashy." Good reinforcement of what not to do, and these small changes in form really helped, I think.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I had more gas in the tank, but if I tried to pass my draftee, I would have been able to probably only hold his pace rather than go much faster (good draft).

Very happy with the practice drafting, the way I swam technically and the tactical decision making.

This was the most fun swim I think I've done (though certainly not my fastest).
Transition 1
  • 02m 29s
Comments:

Decided to put shoes on at bike and run in them (Specialized ones are made for that) rather than having them on the bike, as it was a long and not so well swept jog over concrete/tarmac to the mount line. Worth the extra 0.7 seconds it took me to avoid a bone bruise on my heel.

No wetsuit to strip out of helped, although it felt weird to just grab and go!
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Longish run. Could've done it a tiny bit faster, but this race was about remembering what the heck to do here, so I'm good with this one.
Bike
  • 2h 24m 51s
  • 56 miles
  • 23.20 mile/hr
Comments:

I was really curious to see what a flat course would be like, and this one was FLAT. But, as often happens, conditions weren't otherwise ideal. We got rain about 10 miles in to the bike, and then hail at around mile 20 for a few miles (the "plink plink plink" off my helmet and glasses was an interesting sound, as was what felt like an impromptu acupuncture session). Wind went from very little to starting to honk just before the turn. I got a few miles of tailwind before turning back into the teeth of it. Why it never seems to go the other way 'round, I'll never know.

LESSON EIGHT: You will always be happier if you embrace the suck (and happy helps you deal with pain).

At one point when the hail started, I actually started laughing out loud. A guy (who'd been drafting off me for a while, but anyway) said, "Dude?!?" As in, what the heck is wrong with you. I could only reply, "I love the way this sucks!" And I did - it was a blast riding in those conditions.

As far as execution, this went pretty well. I was figuring based on my previous 2 HIM's and some non-ideal training rides, that my HR should be low 140's and I'd accept whatever W I got from that. Sort of testing where I am, but I thought it might be in the low 200W range (205 or so). My AP was 201W and WAP was 204W, so that estimate was about right.

Focused on staying consistent and in aero. Only came out of aero a couple times, for a few seconds, the whole race (a couple sharp corners and when one dude in front of me veered across the whole course and almost straight into a truck - that got my HR jacked just seeing it unfold, happily to no harm).

LESSON NINE: Don't ride like a roadie in a tri. If you limit your power spikes to staying legal (and it required quite a few of those), rather than trying to beat someone who passes you and win just that mile, you'll finish faster and feel better for the run.

I let a number of guys in my AG pass me over the first 15 miles, but reeled every one of them in by the end (and stayed legal doing so, which was... ummmm.... not so much a concern among several of them). Finished where I started, in 9th in my AG - not because I targeted that, but I was happy with the execution here and I think it paid off.

LESSON TEN: Plan your race and race your plan.

I felt really good on the bike and could have gone way harder - for the first half. Pretty sure that would have bitten me hard later, though, and I wouldn't have been able to get good data on my overall fitness. One of these days, I'll plan to try a HIM with a crazy bonkers bike and see what happens on the run - but that wasn't the plan for this race.

Nutrition was good, although I was a touch hungry by the end. Took about 4.5 GU's (strawberry banana) and two large bike bottles of Skratch Matcha stuff, plus the better part of a hand up bottle of water. Figure it was around 700 calories, which is what I usually shoot for, but I was wishing I had one or two more GU or a bar or something at around mile 50.

LESSON ELEVEN: Bring just a bit more food (nutrition, for the tri nuts amongst us... guilty!) than you think you need.

I brought the one flask filled with 4.5 GU. While it was not a big deal to have maybe wanted one more or so, getting to it in my tri top pocket while riding a crowded course in the wind and hail? Well, I could have easily dropped that bottle and I'd have been well and truly off my plan. I could have picked up something at the stops (I think they had food), but that would have been difficult, not what I'd necessarily trained with (or maybe, but I don't know) and something that could get in my head.

So, next time I'll have juuuuust a couple extra packets in addition to a flask. If I drop the flask, that will get me to the next aid station and whatever they have there. I can live off the course, but the bike doesn't provide enough stops and concentrated food options to get what I personally need (three or four GU's over a whole ride would be slightly less than optimal). I also could have just drank more Skratch, but I don't want to overhydrate and get all bloaty just to get some calories. Eat food, drink fluids....
What would you do differently?:

What everyone seems to say - train more! Actually, for only having one build cycle after my base period, this was a good ride for me. While I did learn a lot on this ride, I would do it about the same in terms of power for this time of the year. I'd like to push my AP at this distance up by 10-15W or so by later in the season...
Transition 2
  • 01m 51s
Comments:

Took a little extra time to get socks on, but at the HIM distance a blister will slow me down more than the 12 seconds I lost to my socking. Again, probably could have been a few seconds quicker in grabbing my stuff, but not more than 10 or so. Good practice.
What would you do differently?:

Put socks/shoes on first, then grab race belt and go. I put the race belt on top of my shoes so I wouldn't forget my number, but I think even after a long ride I can be pretty sure I'll remember the number if it's also RIGHT there. Not sure why that one thing got in my head -that I'd forget my number!
Run
  • 1h 47m 48s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 14s  min/mile
Comments:

My goal here was to run at a HR of about 155 or so for the first 9-10 miles then see if I could push up to 165 (my threshold HR) for the last 5k or so, and also to avoid injury or burying myself sooooo deeply that I had to take a couple weeks to recover (as I should have done the last two, but didn't - and sustained minor injuries coming back to training too quickly both times). Said another way, to race smart and not recover stoopid.

My last two HIM runs, I was muscularly fatigued to the point that I could only manage a slow decline in HR over the last 10k and could not move my legs fast/hard enough to push my HR back up. Definitely felt like a muscular fatigue over lack of aerobic capacity (my pace at the end didn't feel limited by cardio, but rather by being able to "pick 'em up and put 'em down" quickly).

Wasn't sure what the pace would be, but was hopeful that it would be steady and get me close to a 1:43. That's about what a good run should have been for me given a recent 10k race time and a well executed bike (which this felt like it was coming in to T2).

LESSON TWELVE: Triathlon is just like flying or deep-water sailing. Always have, and be willing to use, a plan B (and maybe C). It keeps you from getting into some nasty jams.

So, it turns out Texas can be hot. I know: shocker.

The run started great. It was reasonably cool and overcast, and my target HR saw a pace in the low 7m/m range through mile 3.5 (so it was sustained, not just a fast start and then a blow up). Then the sun started to peeeeeeek out. Boom - same HR got me up to around 8m/m.

Then the clouds went away... BAM - felt like a lobster who just arrived at a "clam bake," only to realize how inaccurate that event name is.

Here is where I decided to switch to plan B. I think I could have held a similar heart rate and just had a slightly lower pace, but I pulled back even a bit more, trading my first goal of seeing what pace would correlate with a given HR (even with those data being not entirely informative, given that the high heat and humidity came on midway in the run) for my second and more important goal of not burying myself so dang deeply again.

I consciously walked the rest stops. That was the plan for high heat, but I have never done it before and definitely had the internal conversation about wussing out and such. Then rational thought prevailed, and I walked the aid stations, grabbed and ate lots of ice, hydrated to thirst (not ignoring it in favor of running past) and made sure to eat two of my three GU's for both the calories and the salt (even though my stomach didn't entirely want food - also a nice change from previous races where I bailed on my run nutrition when my stomach felt a little iffy... this worked better).

I also allowed my HR to drop below the target by an additional 2-4 bpm for a few middle miles. When I got to the last 2 miles or so, I decided that I actually felt pretty good and could at least test whether I could push the pace back up and see if I could get my HR near my LTHR. I did, and finished strong.

While about 8-9 of my AG passed me during the middle, slower portion of the run, avoiding blowing up in that heat (and I knew what pace would work to keep me from exploding - see below) let me pass all but 3 of them in the last 2 miles.

Finished 12th in my AG, with which I was quite happy. I also learned a thing or two about the trade offs of mitigating heat effects against pace, and that going slower (walking water stations) in spots in the heat can lead to going faster than you would otherwise (finishing strong). I wouldn't do that on a cool day, but it sure worked here.

LESSON THIRTEEN: Train in conditions you might encounter in your race.

This one applies to all three elements. I swam without a wetsuit and learned body position - that really helped. I biked in rain and wind and snotty conditions - that gave me confidence when the weather went a bit south. I ran in the heat of the day and that... well, that sucked. But at least I knew by how much I needed to modify my pace to avoid blowing up or digging myself into a hole that would take 2-3 weeks from which to recover.

It felt great to finish actually running for the last couple miles instead of jogging and coming across the line feeling all tall and stridey (which is something, for a short guy).

What would you do differently?:

Not my fastest, or even the fastest I could have perhaps run on this day, but it was sure close. Much more importantly, I finished well (about 30" from an overall PR at the distance), got a good test of fitness and really had to race intelligently. Perhaps not something for which I'm known... This was the most challenging race I've done from that standpoint, and I really took a ton away from this one. Not much I'd change.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the line. Stretched and drank water and chatted with racers - awesome energy and emotion among all those finishers! Ate my extra GU (still was hungry!). Stretched lightly and took inventory. Best I've felt after a HIM - and a couple Oly's, too - so far.

Marc and Nicole went off after I did and didn't pass me, so I waited a short time for them both to come across and tri-geeked out talking about our races and such. Great fun.

Saw Andy Potts and thanked him for some running advice he gave me a couple years ago after another race that had really helped (how's that for a name drop and fan-boy-ing all at the same time!?!). Super nice guy. Marc asked him a question on how he targeted the bike effort and he responded with, basically, "I just race hard on the bike." On follow up, he responded, "I just go out and race hard on the bike." What a killer answer!

Got some Pizza with Nicole and her mom in the after tent, then cleaned up and met them and Marc at Galveston Island Brewery for more tri-talk and a fantastic IPA (my kryptonite or spinach, depending on the hero cycle I'm in... after a race, it's more the latter!). Went back for awards and roll down with Marc, but got there late and just caught the very end.

Drove home through an epic lightning storm and was finally able to get on top of my hunger!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I went faster than I thought I would in this race. Non-wetsuit, early in the season, fewer long bikes than I'd like even at this point in the season and then some tougher weather in the form of wind, hail and then heat by the end of the race (I don't like late waves!)... To be about 30" off my previous best, even with a very flat course, was more than I had hoped for.

Event comments:

Very fun race. Great people, volunteers, racers, etc. Well run, even if the registration taking 2 hours was not ideal, and a nice venue. I even didn't mind the short loops on the run (three more... two more... last time around!). Likely will be back yearly.




Last updated: 2015-04-08 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:32:32 | 2112 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 9/248
Overall: 134/2800
Performance: Good
Suit: None
Course: Flat, salt, warm triangle. Swim from the deep water start away from the finish, turn back parallel to the shore, then cut in perpendicular to the finish. Seemed on or a tiiiiiny bit long (?), but not by much if at all.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 02:29
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
02:24:51 | 56 miles | 23.20 mile/hr
Age Group: 9/248
Overall: 152/2800
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Flat and mostly smooth. A bit of really rough road getting onto and off of the bridge before the turn (mile 20-ish), and the cones sometimes narrowed a bit unexpectedly. Had to watch for that. Open to car traffic in parts, so one had to keep one's wits about them. With the rain, the crossing over paint lines frequently added a bit of sphincter tone...
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 83
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 01:51
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
01:47:48 | 13.1 miles | 08m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/248
Overall: 172/2800
Performance: Good
Was shooting for low to mid 150's HR until the end, where I was planning to let it drift up to 165 or so - if I was able muscularly to drive it there. Was a bit below target on the middle miles, then finished as planned mostly.
Course: Three loops. A lot of turns about a point, which always feel hard accelerating back up to pace out of. However, on the plus side it means a lot of aid stations and three times more density of cow bells! I love cow bells during a race. Interesting in that the psychology of a loop course (and this one even had out and backs within parts of the loop) is so different than a point to point, single loop or even single out and back. I was able to break it down into much smaller segments and then the last loop was able to think - this is the last time I do this segment or that segment. Went by pretty quickly, as a result, which I did not expect. Not my favorite for a run, day to day, but was an interesting way to race.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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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2015-04-30 3:16 PM

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Subject: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas


2015-04-30 3:24 PM
in reply to: #5112102


7

Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
ok, I am not going to whine, maybe a little but starting off wave 20 of 23 not sooo good. Swim was ok, it was slow and having the wetsuite yanked race morning was a bummer. The earlier racers did not seem to have to deal with the rain that was on the bike course and wind really picked up. Had a 20mph going out and 17 coming in and I was pushing, some have said run was not that good(course lay out) I agree then the sun really came out and the humidity soared.

Overall though it was fun, family was there and the crowd was very good. Too much walking but that is on me. Now I have a sprint this weekend and then can finally recover a little before I move over to primarily cycling for the rest of the year.
2015-04-30 3:36 PM
in reply to: cyclingaddict

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Fantastic stuff Matt!

I love all the lessons. IHOP is your before race g-oto, eh? I like it! And IPA after, I am 100% on board with this one. Although, after a hard race it'll getcha quick!

Questions: How do you balance tactics (lesson six)  with lessons ten and twelve (plan/execution)

Example: If you want to keep your HR within certain ranges but a dude in your AG has passed you 4 miles into the run how do you decide whether you should race him or stick to your plan and see if it naturally sets you up. Maybe that's not a great example but I think you probably know what I am trying to ask. 

2015-04-30 3:38 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Also, I love what you said about embracing the weather.

 

2015-04-30 4:43 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
GREAT report! Although I'm yet to race a HIM, a lot of your points resonate with what I've experienced in Oly distance races. I'm very impressed how you keep to your strategy. Thanks for the detailed write-up!
2015-04-30 6:19 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
Great job Matt, way to stick with your plan but with enough flexibility to make the changes you needed to in order to account for the weather.


2015-04-30 7:25 PM
in reply to: #5112102

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Katy, Texas
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
Awesome report Matt!! It's awesome to be able to see the same race I did through your eyes/experience.

Love the Potts dialogue. Must be nice to be fit enough to just race hard. I've got a new goal.
2015-05-01 4:09 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Great race and great report Matt!  Love reading all your thought processes and lessons learned - lots of good stuff there.

That's one speedy bike split on those watts, you're a slippery dude!

2015-05-01 6:56 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Master
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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Great job in less than stellar conditions!!! Embrace it, indeed. I love that you raced your plan and have come out of this one looking at all the data and moving forward. Congrats on a race well run and on all that education, which will be invaluable. Nicely done my friend.

 

2015-05-01 7:31 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
Great report, great race !!

It was a pleasure to finally meet you

Based on your lessons , lesson 1 for me : I really really really need to learn to draft on the swim.
2015-05-01 8:24 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Really great race, Matt.  Honestly, though, I think you're full of crap when you say you weren't well-trained for this and signed up only a month ago.  I think you've been secretly training for this as an "A" race since the start of the year, based on your stellar results!!

Lots of really great lessons you've learned and will carry with you for future training and races.  Can't wait to follow along and see how you put them to use!



2015-05-01 8:30 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Master
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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Matt - thanks for the report and the lessons - a very good read! But mostly congratulations on what seems to be a well considered and executed game plan. And I was thinking the same as AREND - that seems to a fast time on 200w, especially in what sounds like windy conditions. Only advice I can think to offer is that if walking the aid stations is part of your plan (or plan B) then you should actually run the length of the station like you normally would, grabbing everything on the fly. Then when you get to the END of the station start your walk. You will find you will get the recovery you need much quicker, and you will get back up to speed quicker as well. trust me - this really works! Awesome job - really a fantastic race.

2015-05-01 8:34 AM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Master
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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

And, oh yeah. "I love the way this sucks!" That is pure gold right there.

2015-05-01 8:39 AM
in reply to: #5112102

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Great overall result Matt, and that was a smoking fast ride.  Those power numbers are close to what I would target, but no way I'm getting that speed = jealous.

2015-05-01 8:50 AM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas
Originally posted by TankBoy
that seems to a fast time on 200w, especially in what sounds like windy conditions.


It actually makes sense.

I noted it in my RR and I see it in Aerolab analysis where you can actually see the wind direction change because it appears to aerolab as an elevation gain. That description only makes sense if you've used Aerolab, but trust me, you can tell wind direction

We mostly had a tail wind on the way out. Maybe 10km from the turn around it flipped to a head wind and then back again on the way back. I got equal head.tail wind.

So I had 35 tail, 10 head, 10 tail 35 head

Matt started about 10minutes before me, swam faster and was riding faster. He may have made it to the turn around just at the switch and got a bit more of tail wind.

He may have had 45 tail, 10 tail, 35 head or something like that

Matt, if you send me your power file we can see it, if you are interested.

2015-05-01 11:08 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by marcag
Originally posted by TankBoy that seems to a fast time on 200w, especially in what sounds like windy conditions.
It actually makes sense. I noted it in my RR and I see it in Aerolab analysis where you can actually see the wind direction change because it appears to aerolab as an elevation gain. That description only makes sense if you've used Aerolab, but trust me, you can tell wind direction We mostly had a tail wind on the way out. Maybe 10km from the turn around it flipped to a head wind and then back again on the way back. I got equal head.tail wind. So I had 35 tail, 10 head, 10 tail 35 head Matt started about 10minutes before me, swam faster and was riding faster. He may have made it to the turn around just at the switch and got a bit more of tail wind. He may have had 45 tail, 10 tail, 35 head or something like that Matt, if you send me your power file we can see it, if you are interested.

This is so awesome.



2015-05-01 3:53 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by Asalzwed

Fantastic stuff Matt!

I love all the lessons. IHOP is your before race g-oto, eh? I like it! And IPA after, I am 100% on board with this one. Although, after a hard race it'll getcha quick!

Questions: How do you balance tactics (lesson six)  with lessons ten and twelve (plan/execution)

Example: If you want to keep your HR within certain ranges but a dude in your AG has passed you 4 miles into the run how do you decide whether you should race him or stick to your plan and see if it naturally sets you up. Maybe that's not a great example but I think you probably know what I am trying to ask. 

Thanks!  I love me some IHOP the night before a travel race, and at home we do pancakes and eggs the night before anyone's race or competition (swim, run, tri, fencing, whatever).  Good carbs, quality protein, makes it way through the system before even an early race... and delicious!

For me, the tactics need to support the plan.  Otherwise, a move that might get you a bit ahead in the race could blow up your larger plan (anything from testing a particular discipline at a race to not wanting to bury yourself and be fresh for another race, etc.).

In the case of this race, I was ready to go as hard as possible on the swim, so I grabbed the fastest feet and went off.  Then I decided to stay on them, even though I had a little extra, knowing that I'd work harder for the same pace or MUCH harder for a little faster (and maybe actually blow up, given that I was already near full gas).  So, I accepted a very fast swim on moderately hard effort over a slightly faster swim on a wicked hard effort.

As for switching to plan B or C, that is for me a different beast.  That happens only when things outside of one's control or the original expectations for the race (weather, a couple flat tires, a muscle tweak - something like these).  That's a change of strategy from your first set of goals to a secondary set (maybe your bike was terrible, so your PR plan is out, but you have a B goal of crushing the run and go for it, as an example).

In this race, the tactics on the swim supported my goals for the race (fitness test, practice, maybe break 5 hours but go as fast as I could while staying within myself, fun, not burying myself cuz a hard swim won't but a hard b/r would).  The weather on the run changed one of my overall goals to elevate not burying myself for 2-3 weeks to the top of the list.  For that, I changed my tactics on the run to walking and drinking and such, and also elevated the test of seeing if I could raise my HR over the last couple miles higher on my list.

If I was, instead, trying for a certain place in my AG, for instance, I would have raced more based on where I saw other old dudes on the run (lots of out and back loops, so I had a good idea where they were).  This would be an ideal course to practice those tactics for that goal, but my goal dictated different tactics on the run.

Make sense, or did I just manage to confuse the issue?

Matt

2015-05-01 4:07 PM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by axteraa

Great race and great report Matt!  Love reading all your thought processes and lessons learned - lots of good stuff there.

That's one speedy bike split on those watts, you're a slippery dude!

It's my super aero head - even under a helmet. 

Actually, one thing that was a benefit to being in a later wave (one of the few, as compared to the many downsides) is being able to legally sling-shot along as you are passing the slower riders from the previous SIXTEEN waves.  While it required a lot more concentration on bike handling to do safely (especially with the wind, rain and hail), I was able to get some shelter for a second or two coming up behind riders.

It wasn't a constant stream, but there were a fair number of opportunities to do this.  Oddly, more on the way out than back...  I wonder if that made less difference (going with the wind, whereas against on the way back) as the resistance increases with the square of relative speed, so rolling resistance would be proportionally larger going downwind, making a legal draft slightly less useful?  OK, that's way above my physics paygrade... 

What hurt was the power spikes to pass some of the who were leap-frogging (and I think trying to form a draft line).  Staying legal had me doing more short spikes in power than I would have liked, and the crowded course didn't help with that (when there was a knot of slower folks ahead and the people sucking my wheel - I had a bunch drafting off me for miles - would try to pass/box me in, I'd surge to not get cut off).  Wasn't a ton of situations like this, but even a handful during a race has an effect - at least on me.

Overall, that second part was pretty minor and I was able to ride a fairly consistent W.  The flatness of the course really helped with that, too.  While the surges are memorable, I don't think there were actually enough of them (when looking back at my power trace) to make a difference in my run.  Just enough to get grumpy about! 

Matt

2015-05-01 4:09 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by marcag Great report, great race !! It was a pleasure to finally meet you Based on your lessons , lesson 1 for me : I really really really need to learn to draft on the swim.

After you get one race with a good draft on the swim, you will definitely be looking for fast feet from then on! 

Great meeting up.

Matt

2015-05-01 4:18 PM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by ligersandtions

Really great race, Matt.  Honestly, though, I think you're full of crap when you say you weren't well-trained for this and signed up only a month ago.  I think you've been secretly training for this as an "A" race since the start of the year, based on your stellar results!!

Lots of really great lessons you've learned and will carry with you for future training and races.  Can't wait to follow along and see how you put them to use!

Thanks!  Very kind words. 

I was definitely in good shape for this one, so I don't want to sound like, "Oh, I've been eating bon bons and guzzling beer and thought I'd do this tri thing as a hoot."  Although beer and bon bons do sound good... 

Ahem, anyway.  I was ready to race something and this one fit my schedule, which I only drew up a month before the race (didn't need a skedj for the base period).  I was looking for an oly, but this one was too tempting not to do.  I was fit, but was only 1/3 of the way through my build cycles. 

I was honestly surprised and very happy with the outcome, as it was faster than I'd expected!

Now off to some beer...  Hey, it's Friday of a recovery week. 

Matt

2015-05-01 4:47 PM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by TankBoy

Matt - thanks for the report and the lessons - a very good read! But mostly congratulations on what seems to be a well considered and executed game plan. And I was thinking the same as AREND - that seems to a fast time on 200w, especially in what sounds like windy conditions. Only advice I can think to offer is that if walking the aid stations is part of your plan (or plan B) then you should actually run the length of the station like you normally would, grabbing everything on the fly. Then when you get to the END of the station start your walk. You will find you will get the recovery you need much quicker, and you will get back up to speed quicker as well. trust me - this really works! Awesome job - really a fantastic race.

Jeez - so much good stuff in the replies here!  As an aside - thanks all!

Rusty, I will definitely try that on the next one at the stations.  Hadn't thought about it that way, but will give it a go, for sure.

Thanks!

As for the speed, see my response to Arend above on sling-shots (legal until I'm a pro - Ha!).  Also, I read ahead to Marc's post.  I definitely had a quartering tail wind until about the bridge before the turn.  That's where the hail turned back to rain and the wind shifted.  It was a quartering head wind to the turn and then a push until about the bridge again.  It was definitely a head/quartering head wind on the way back from about a couple miles past the bridge.

I think the wind shifted right around that cell that produced the really snotty weather.  So, I might not have had such an even split as Marc, but perhaps more from having a few miles with less wind (while in the "eye" of the cell?).  I suspect it might have moved sufficiently past that Marc had more wind (?).

I sure did like seeing those high speeds on the way out!

Matt



2015-05-01 6:22 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

Originally posted by marcag
Originally posted by TankBoy that seems to a fast time on 200w, especially in what sounds like windy conditions.
It actually makes sense. I noted it in my RR and I see it in Aerolab analysis where you can actually see the wind direction change because it appears to aerolab as an elevation gain. That description only makes sense if you've used Aerolab, but trust me, you can tell wind direction We mostly had a tail wind on the way out. Maybe 10km from the turn around it flipped to a head wind and then back again on the way back. I got equal head.tail wind. So I had 35 tail, 10 head, 10 tail 35 head Matt started about 10minutes before me, swam faster and was riding faster. He may have made it to the turn around just at the switch and got a bit more of tail wind. He may have had 45 tail, 10 tail, 35 head or something like that Matt, if you send me your power file we can see it, if you are interested.

Definitely interested!  So.... How would one find said file?  Can I just export from TP or Garmin Connect?

2015-05-02 9:17 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

What a great race you had Matt.  Very much enjoyed your race report. 

2015-05-04 12:13 PM
in reply to: #5112102

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Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas

What an enjoyable, entertaining and insightful RR, Matt!  Sounds like you learned a lot from this race, but also races previous which allowed you to have a very good outcome from this race, with regard both to finish position (wow, you are fast!) and mentally.  Solid work!  I may need to re-read this closer to my HIM...

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