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IM Vietnam 70.3 - Triathlon

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Da Nang, Da Nang
IM Corp
35C / 95F
Total Time = 5h 57m 19s
Overall Rank = 236/941
Age Group = 45-49 W
Age Group Rank = 6/26
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:00. Ate breakfast (coffee, banana, three granola bars). Taxi to start, set up transition.
Event warmup:

Didn't realize swim warmup would close early so was just getting in to warm up when they closed it for the pro start. Ended up warming up in the hotel's pool/lazy river. (About 10 minutes.)
  • 36m 40s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

Quite a rugby scrum at start as it was shallow for a long way out and all manner of locomotion was going on--run, dolphin dive, swim, stand there and whimper.... Tried to get behind Yanti and draft her but we lost each other. and I ended up a few minutes ahead. Anyhow, when I got to to the long side of the course I got on a great pair of feet and just stayed with them for most of the race, drafting shamelessly. Thank you, big woman in tri-suit with purple stripe, whoever you were.

All women started in last wave so lost quite a lot of time going around big packs of BOP guys, all doing breaststroke (one doing butterfly on back) or kicking like they were trying to dispel sharks from behind. WHY do men kick so much? Never noticed women doing that. (Then again, I'm not normally passing BOP women for the entire swim, so maybe they do.)
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Considering I had to start conservatively owing to being sick, I did what I could. Maybe be braver about plowing through packs of BOP dudes. But then, I'm massively outweighed by them, so maybe smarter to be cautious and go around.
Transition 1
  • 04m 55s

Very long run into T1, maybe 400-500m up the beach and through the hotel grounds. I felt awesome coming out of the water (as a consequence of being sick, very well-rested, and had had a good swim) and was pretty efficient. But had to stop and blow my nose and it just kept on coming.....gross!
What would you do differently?:

Not be sick. Also, I should have taken a hit on my inhaler in T1. I felt like I needed it a couple of times on the bike but didn't want to stop and didn't feel safe doing it in motion.
  • 2h 58m 40s
  • 90 kms
  • 30.22 km/hr

Very happy with bike split. I felt good starting out and felt pretty strong the whole way, except for some asthma issues toward the beginning and end. (For some reason in the same spot, near the last bridge. Maybe related to effort on the climb, or pollution from a nearby factory.) I didn't use heart rate but could tell it was within the range of effort I'd done my training rides at. The course was a bit scary as it was very narrow and three loops with my wave starting last meant I was always being lapped by someone, including the pros, as well as passing and lapping others. Almost got nuked by James Cunama on one of the 180 degree turns. He took it really wide (I think as going very fast) and I'd taken it wide too (since I'm not that great at turning the tri bike) and I didn't hear him coming as people were cheering. Managed to avoid both riding into a flowerpot or being taken down by the the race leader!
What would you do differently?:

Probably not much. Not get sick before racing. Practice 180 degree turns more. (Originally there was only one, but the course was changed five days before the race.) Stay out of James Cunama's way. And eat all the chocolate earlier in the bike leg. (The choco was awesome as nutrition, and no gagging and nausea, BUT at 70 km, it had melted into goo all over my bento box. So I made the awesome move of scooping my hand into the box and then licking my fingers while in aero.) Only to get my first-ever warning. I'd just passed a guy and thought I'd gained more on him than I had. Had slowed down to deal with the chocolate and the marshal thought I was blocking. But I picked up the pace (smearing chocolate all over bars in the the process), got out of the zone, and he didn't give me a penalty.
Transition 2
  • 03m 38s

T2 was really odd, and not what they'd announced in the race briefing. All athletes had to turn right and run around the half of transition to the right, where the guys' bikes were. Women then had to cross the drive, run to the far end of our own transition, and enter. So women had twice as far to run as men. No fair!
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I think I should learn how to get my feet out of my shoes while riding. My new bike shoes are really hard to run in so when I realized how much extra we had to run, I actually stopped after the dismount line to remove them!
  • 2h 13m
  • 21 kms
  • 06m 20s  min/km

Easily the most awful tri run I've ever done. The 95 I wrote above was the temp (on my bike computer, which is pretty accurate) at the end of my bike leg at about 10:45 AM, so I'm sure it got even hotter over the next 2 hours plus. From the get-go I was wheezing and coughing (gagging at some points) and every time I picked it up beyond a shuffle I got dizzy and nauseous. My legs felt okay but the rest of my body was not having it. Just too hot and too far for being sick. I really felt it wasn't related to my bike pace as I have held that in training and had okay runs. Not dehydrated (peed on run) and no real soreness/cramping, just felt woozy and overheated. Wondered if maybe some of the cocktail of cold and asthma meds I was taking were making it harder for me to keep my core temp down, or I was running a low fever to begin with.
What would you do differently?:

Not get sick for major races. Training-wise, not sure. I've done my long bricks so that the run fell in a very hot time of day, though not quite as late as in the race. But the place where I run in Saigon is shadier with more breeze. Plus the longest brick run I did was about 52 minutes/10 km. By the end of each one I was really suffering. Thought the aid stations would make it more tolerable, but even though they were every 1.5-2 km, I just got too hot between them. Maybe try doing some of my long (1:45-2:00) runs in the full heat of the day so I have a better idea what that's going to be like.

Most people including pros had very subpar runs, but I think if I'd been healthy I would have at least been able to manage 1:50-2:00, which would have put me on the AG podium, possibly on top. Grrrr....
Post race
Warm down:

Totally awesome. Right after the finish, there was cold water, cold beer, and plastic kiddie pools full of ice water. About 20 minutes lying in one until I felt human again. Then walked around until I found the post-race munchies. Got a massage later. No other "warm down" . Already warm enough LOL.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat plus being sick. Not sure exactly when it started as have been struggling with asthma/allergies on and off for a couple of weeks (typical for this time of year) but by Thursday it was clearly more than that. Chills, throat so swollen I could hardly swallow, sinus and chest congestion, headache, nausea. Had to work Thursday as they couldn't find a sub in time and getting through the day was almost as hard as the race. Started feeling really ill just after breakfast and couldn't eat rest of day. Violent coughing, asthma, dry heaves all night Thursday. It took a whole lot of drugs and a huge leap of faith just to get on the plane to Danang. Friday felt like absolute crap, Saturday still congested and headache but lungs a bit better so decided to go for it. Ugh.

Possibly the meds (which I have to take as sinus and chest congestion trigger my asthma and make it impossible for me to sleep) affected my ability to deal with the heat. Not sure but I train in the heat a lot and while it can be a struggle, normally I can hold 5 minutes/km or close to it even after biking 90-100 km at hard pace in pretty extreme conditions. Luckily, the heat/meds/illness combo didn't seem to affect swim too much (it was more a matter of time wasted due to "traffic" plus my slow start), and there was some cloud cover (plus, obviously, breeze) and temps lower on the bike as it was earlier, so that went okay. But it just killed my run. So frustrated! But I am glad I was able to participate in the inaugural IM event here and complete the race. And on the plus side it was a good swim, a very strong bike leg, and I was smart enough about nutrition, hydration and cooling to stay out of the med tent. That is the hardest I have had to work to finish a race in a long time! Never doubted I could do it, but that run just seemed to take forever and was non-stop misery.

Just want to know why it is I only get sick for big events. Not psychosomatic--this is nasty, heavy-duty respiratory stuff, and I've infected half of my class! I've only been sick enough to affect performance twice this year. Why at end of taper after a week off work?????????????????????????????????

Event comments:

The organizers did a great job with very challenging conditions (local government requirements, insane heat) to put on a safe and fun event. There were the inevitable glitches for a first-time event and for Vietnam (rerouting of bike course, no portapotties on run, some aid stations lacked cold water and ice), but overall a great job. Just wish I'd felt better so I could have enjoyed the run more and had a better time!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2015-05-10 12:00 AM
00:36:40 | 1900 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 2/26
Overall: 176/941
Performance: Good
Just over 36 :(01 or :07, not sure) when I left the water, so the mat must have been a ways on where we ran through the shower.
Suit: 2XU Comp trisuit
Course: T shape, one loop, most of course parallel to shore. Onshore current. Very shallow for a long way out/in.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 30C / 86F Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:55
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:58:40 | 90 kms | 30.22 km/hr
Age Group: 6/26
Overall: 330/941
Performance: Good
VERY steady pace except when going into headwinds. Very steady effort. Some dropoff of pace from 55-63 km as this was going into a stiff headwind (wind picked up on my third loop). Otherwise always steady at 30-31 kph for each section on the results.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: About 15 km out, across two bridges, one with a slight climb, one with a fairly steep climb of maybe 800-1000m in length. Three loops of about 20 km (10 km each way) headwind out and tailwind back. (Five sharp 180 degree turns.) Some crosswinds off the ocean, strong at times, as well. 10 km back to town after last up/down of the big bridge. Course flat except for the climbs/descents to/from the bridges.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: ?
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:38
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:13:00 | 21 kms | 06m 20s  min/km
Age Group: 6/26
Overall: 236/941
Performance: Bad
Not too bad for first 5 km (5:37/5 km pace--not ideal but maybe realistic given heat). But then awful 6:24/km for second 5 km, 6:47/km for third (hottest stretch, where I was feeling most nauseous and wasted a lot of time getting ice and dunking myself), 6:25/km for last 5 km.
Course: Out and back, basically, except for a finishing stretch of maybe 400m around the back of the hotel and onto the beach (run from swim out to T1 in reverse). Flat, almost no shade (a few small trees in first/last 3 km, if you got up and ran on the sidewalk). Sun reflecting off ocean and white sand on middle 10 km or so. Very little breeze except a little during the first/last 3 km stretch. Past a series of resorts, along the city beachfront of Danang, then back.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2015-05-11 12:46 AM

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Eugene, Oregon
Bronze member
Subject: IM Vietnam 70.3

2015-05-11 7:20 AM
in reply to: #5114332

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: IM Vietnam 70.3

Too bad about being sick, that's a real bummer.  Congrats on persevering and getting it done!

2015-05-11 10:30 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: IM Vietnam 70.3

Awesome bike!  I imagine the swim was, ummmm, interesting with all the legs flying...  And the run sounds full on terrible - for anyone!  So, that you put together a great race being sick and in that heat is really impressive.

I think you nailed it with the "sick and hot" being huge factors.  Tapering won't make either of those go away (although not tapering could make the sick piece worse, I suppose).

As for getting a respiratory bug during taper, I think that's not as unusual as you might imagine.  As the immune system comes back from being slightly suppressed during hard training, what might have felt like a mild infection will feel more severe.  I've noticed that I almost always feel more punk AFTER some stressor (race, presentation, whatever - including tapering after a BIG block of training) than leading up to it.  Your body might read the taper as a time to recovery (rightly), but then you feel craptastic for the race...  Just a thought - not much to do about it. 

Again, great effort out there in what sounds like BRUTAL conditions!


2015-05-29 2:53 AM
in reply to: #5114332

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Subject: RE: IM Vietnam 70.3
Congrats Karen!!!!

You raced well!!!!

2015-05-29 9:05 AM
in reply to: #5114332

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Subject: RE: IM Vietnam 70.3
Great job fighting through the sickness!!!
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