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Toughman Half Ocean Shores - Triathlon


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Ocean Shores, Washington
United States
Tri-Freaks
62F / 17C
Overcast
Total Time = 5h 32m 35s
Overall Rank = 6/24
Age Group = 40-49
Age Group Rank = 3/11
Pre-race routine:

Got up, had breakfast (two Mojo bars, coffee), headed to race at 6 AM and set up transition.
Event warmup:

Didn't really warm up much, which in retrospect might have been a mistake. It was cool and raining and just tried to stay warm and dry and make sure my things were set up so they would stay dry. Didn't do swim warmup as water was cold and didn't want to freeze waiting for start. We did jump in the water about three minutes before the start and had to tread water until the gun, so I guess that could be considered warmup.
Swim
  • 32m 39s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 43s / 100 meters
Comments:

Pretty straightforward swim. I felt okay but somehow always seemed to be out of the pack and couldn't find anyone good to draft off. It was a very small race--66 people total and we started in two waves (self-selected "fast" and "slow" LOL). I was in "fast".. The field got strung out very quickly and it was difficult to figure out where everyone was going, much less draft. Rain did not help matters. This was my best HIM swim split by almost three minutes--maybe course was short but I'd like to believe it was a combo of wetsuit swim in fairly calm water, and not having to waste time going around people in previous waves (women almost always start last in Asia) or having to either start faster than I want or work my way through people who start too fast and slow down. I was really able to swim my own pace for once. I have swum close to 25 minutes for 1500m in the pool, and under 51 for 3000m (within a one-hour time trial) with no wetsuit, so it does seem reasonable.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I did what I could. Should have tried harder to stay in the lineup but the one time I was drafting, I managed to get a big swallow of water when I came up to breathe and was too close behind a guy kicking hard. I just didn't bother with drafting after that.
Transition 1
  • 03m 40s
Comments:

Not the greatest T1, though most people with full wetsuits were around 3 minutes. My wetsuit got stuck on one calf and my hands were cold so I had a really hard time pulling it off. The wetsuit isn't in very good shape and has been getting new rips almost every time I wear it so I was less aggressive pulling it off at first than I could have been. I used lots of BodyGlide, but because of where the "ankle" falls on my calves (it's a bit short), it sometimes gets stuck there.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Maybe remove the timing chip to try to pull off the suit, instead of try to ease it off over the chip. But both approaches take time, esp. with cold hands.
Bike
  • 3h 03m 30s
  • 91.6 kms
  • 29.95 km/hr
Comments:

Not exactly a course to showcase my talents (well, relatively speaking) as a cyclist. Totally flat and felt like I was making no headway into the headwinds that happened twice on each lap. I really struggled on the first lap. For some reason (maybe cold water on the swim, or the difficult T1), my core muscles were really tight and my position on the bike felt awkward. Couldn't feel my feet, and hamstrings, glutes, and quads were also really tight. I kept shivering for quite a while even though I'd put on a long-sleeved jersey, which I never regretted. It was cool and drizzled periodically (driving rain on the headwind part by the ocean). The rain stopped and it warmed up a little (though wind didn't die down) on the second loop, and I started to feel better.

Nutrition: Why change it if it worked last time? I managed to find a bar of Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate with Mint on my last road trip, and I ate it all in increments on the bike leg! Also drank about a bottle and a half of Nuun. Could probably have gotten away with just the frame bottle and my aerobottle, but had no clue how much liquid I'd want/need in cool weather,
What would you do differently?:

I think the issue was more with the cold water on the swim which caused cramping and tightness on the first loop. I tried to acclimatize by doing some OWS prior to the race but an unseasonable heat wave since I've been home in Oregon (until a few days before the race) meant lakes and air temps have been warmer than normal. Also, it was a bit of a mental struggle. I really became discouraged with the conditions on the first lap and wondered if getting a PB was realistic, then realized at the turnaround that my split was actually in the ballpark for my goal pace (3 hours or just under). I didn't quite make it, but pretty close. Ironically, much of my training in Vietnam is on a tidal river peninsula with similar wind patterns, but these winds were stronger than almost any training ride I can recall. (Normally with the tri bike, my speed only varies by 6-8, not 14-16 kph). Basically just lack experience racing in such windy conditions. Probably was pushing too hard a gear into the headwinds and not hard enough with the tailwinds. The area was also infested with deer--I saw at least 50 on the bike leg and had to nearly stop for one that stepped right out in front of me. Had I not been so concerned about crashing into deer, might have let it rip a bit more when I had the wind at my back.
Transition 2
  • 01m 54s
Comments:

About average, maybe a bit slower, for the field. I took off my long-sleeved jersey and put on my race belt, hydration belt, and tied a shirt around my waist in case conditions along the beach necessitated that.


What would you do differently?:

Could have skipped the shirt around waist. Conditions continued to improve during the run and even on the very exposed part along the beach, I didn't wear it. I did need the hydration belt, though, as they were serving a sweetened electrolyte drink that I don't tolerate well and the aid stations were pretty spread out. Most HIM athletes took their own hydration.
Run
  • 1h 50m 55s
  • 21 kms
  • 05m 17s  min/km
Comments:

The run course was pretty unique in two ways--the 3 or 3 1/2 miles out on the beach, and the total lack of any mile or kilometer markers on the course. All that was marked were the turnarounds for the sprint/5K run, Oly/10 km run, and half-ironman/HM run. There wasn't even anyone standing at the latter when I got there! From the course description I knew approximately where I was, so no problem. I was able to lock into a steady pace and stick with it.

Starting out I really, for lack of a better word, hurt. Not really a specific cramp but everything felt tight and sore, especially hamstrings and glutes; even my knees and feet hurt. I even thought of running to the car and getting an ibuprofen! Not sure what my problem was but it gradually worked itself out, especially after the stretch on the beach, and I was able to get back to a normal stride. I really enjoyed the stretch along the beach. The sand wasn't all hard-packed and so it probably slowed my time somewhat, but it was just a beautiful experience.

Nutrition/Hydration: Two Power Bar Tangerine gels (at about 40 minutes and 1:20), one 500 ml bottle of lemonade Nuun, water from various stations on the course.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I felt I paced very well and really ran my own race. I passed lots of people and only one person (a guy who'd flatted on the bike) passed me. I also outkicked a woman in my AG in the last mile to (technically) win my AG since one of the top 3 women overall was 40 (she did 5:03--Yikes!) and the other 46. I finished strong and didn't have much more left at the end. I think my issues early in the run had to do more with cold, maybe insufficient warmup, and/or muscular fatigue from improper gearing when fighting the wind on the bike.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much. Just walked around a bit and talked with some other athletes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Probably the weather conditions and lack of experience dealing with them. Owing to the heat wave, I didn't really have any opportunities to swim, bike, or run in cooler weather until the last few days of taper, so I wasn't as acclimated as I normally would be by this time of the summer. Physically and mentally, I think my training took me a bit past peak. I found it a bit hard to get mentally "up" for the race when I realized how small and informal it was, and that conditions wouldn't be that great. But I think I resolved that as the race developed.

Event comments:

Would not recommend this race for most people. It's the exact opposite of the IM brand events with all their organization, hype, and swag. From the get-go (website not updated, last-minute change to packet pickup, no bike numbers, helmet number wouldn't stick on) to the race (many turns not staffed by volunteers, including some of the course turnarounds, honor system for not drafting and completing the course, only 6 aid stations on a HM course), to the post-race situation (they ran out of food at the finish line since the people in the short events ate it all; their order for bases didn't come in so I just got a thin sliver of metal for a prize, which ended up being for the men's 40-49 anyway), it was really a one-horse affair, almost comically so! (They did, however. still have bananas and the picked-over remains of a large jar of Nutella at the finish, which was much appreciated!)

Yet I enjoyed it. It reminded me of my early days in running. A small band of crazies showed up in unpromising conditions on a drizzly, windy morning, did a race anyway, and had fun doing their thing. The course was fairly uncomplicated, locals came out to cheer in modest numbers, the stretch on the wide, nearly empty beach was beautiful, and there was nothing to distract me from just going into the zone and trying to do what I set out to do. Much of my training both in my youth and now has been solo and at times I feel like the hype and crowds distract rather than motivate me.

It was not an ideal race for me, mainly due to the weather conditions and my inexperience in dealing with them. I'm pretty sure I have a low to mid 5:20's HIM in me at present, and might have nailed it if not for high winds on the bike, running through sand for 3+ miles, and a lousy T1, but I'm much happier with 5:32 than 5:56 at Danang. The lack of mile markers, crowds, etc. would probably not work for more analytical or extrinsically motivated athletes, but it didn't bother me., The lack of distractions let me focus on doing my own race and putting together an effort I was happy with. I needed a race to show me what I am capable of doing, and this worked for me.





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Last updated: 2015-07-14 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:32:39 | 1900 meters | 01m 43s / 100meters
Age Group: 2/11
Overall: 6/24
Performance: Good
Suit: TYR Category 1
Course: One loop of a long, fairly narrow lake. Some light chop due to wind and light rain at start. Basically just swam a lap of the lake. Buoys quite far apart so sighting was a bit difficult.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 03:40
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
Biking
03:03:30 | 91.6 kms | 29.95 km/hr
Age Group: 4/11
Overall: 8/24
Performance: Average
Pretty even splits for each loop (within one minute of each other).
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Two "loops" of an out-and-back U-shaped course around a peninsula. One word to summarize--WINDY! Each "U" went like this--moderate headwinds through residential neighborhoods about a mile inland from ocean--turn at end of peninsula with variable crosswinds--strong tailwind on road about 1/4 mile inland from ocean--180 degree turnaround--strong headwind back to end of peninsula with crosswinds--moderate tailwind back to start. There was never a point where there was not a headwind, tailwind, or crosswind. The winds on the more exposed side of the course felt very strong--I was slowing to 22-23 kph in the headwind, and speeding up to 37-38 kph with the tailwind. It was really hard to maintain a constant effort and get gearing right.On the plus side, totally flat except for a few small rises to cross bridges over creeks.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: ?
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 01:54
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
01:50:55 | 21 kms | 05m 17s  min/km
Age Group: 2/11
Overall: 4/24
Performance: Good
No mile or kilometer markers, and no Garmin, so no splits. I did check my time at the turnaround and it was 55 minutes and change). Also came back in 55 minutes and change, so pretty even pace throughout. The Human Garmin strikes again!
Course: About 1.5 to 2 miles out through residential neighborhoods, left turn onto beach into headwind. Up the beach (tried to stay on more firmly packed sand whenever possible, quite close to water's edge) about 1.5 miles (maybe a bit more), left again into residential neighborhoods about 1/4 mile inland from beach, down a road into a moderate headwind to turnaround; reverse course (return with the same run on beach with light tailwind), turn right back through residential neighborhoods to finish..
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

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2015-07-14 3:08 PM

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Master
7860
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Toughman Half Ocean Shores


2015-07-14 4:26 PM
in reply to: #5128744

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Pro
6520
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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Toughman Half Ocean Shores

Wow!! 5:32 is really impressive.  Congrats on a great race.

I was a little bummed out I raced elsewhere that day until I read some of the things in your report.  Running on the beach would be very cool.  I did a 5k on that same beach years ago and running on the harder packed sand is very different.  It is always windy there and that must have been tough.  The deer, on-course support, and organization must have been a bit frustrating but you still managed a super day.  With such a small field it must have felt like a solo effort at times.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your time stateside. 

2015-07-15 10:48 AM
in reply to: #5128744

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Elite
7783
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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Toughman Half Ocean Shores

Great result, congratulations!

I think it's a riot that they split 66 people into two waves.  

2015-07-20 4:07 PM
in reply to: #5128744

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Master
2694
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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Toughman Half Ocean Shores
Super nice finish!
2015-07-21 7:02 AM
in reply to: #5128744

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Master
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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Toughman Half Ocean Shores

What a great experience to race that sort of race. I have found that the low key events have an appeal all their own. It is really cool that you were able to focus on your thing and do the best that the course and your body were giving.  AIt's also pretty cool that you were able to avoid all of the deer on the course. Congrats on finding the enjoyment.

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