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Ironman 70.3 Vietnam - Triathlon

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Da Nang,
Ironman Corp.
89F / 32C
Total Time = 5h 31m 49s
Overall Rank = 199/1140
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/13
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:15, gagged down 3 granola bars and some coffee. Got stuff together, went out around 5:15 to set up transition. Walked down to beach and attempted swim warmup (below).
Event warmup:

Errr....Make that attempt at swim warmup. Made it about one minute out through the break, had just started swimming, and managed to swim into what seemed to be a nest of baby jellies--stings all over face and arms. Then apparently I met Mom who stung me with a proper tentacle on the leg. Hightailed it back to shore (I guess counts as a tempo pickup) to med tent and they had to go get the vinegar. Swelling pretty much down by the time the start rolled around. That was warmup. I guess it got the adrenaline flowing.
  • 35m
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

One of the roughest swims I've done, but they were big swells, not windy chop. Kind of fun in a sick way, except for the jellies. On the plus side, water temp was perfect--not too hot or too cold. And I kept thinking, "If any of my AG rivals aren't competent swimmers, they don't have a prayer in this today."
What would you do differently?:

Try to figure out where the first buoy was. For the life of me, I couldn't see it. Not at the start, not during the swim. I saw it yesterday. Maybe as I was mostly standing with big guys at the start and I couldn't see much of anything. Try to draft more when possible. I did to some extent but could have been better. Not freak out about jellies in mouth and walk the first minute and a half. Or maybe that was a good idea. Some dude mentioned that possibility at the start--he was an older Aussie and I think he knew from experience--and as I was already covered with stings, it made me paranoid!
Transition 1
  • 05m 21s

Very long T1--almost 600m of running, if not more. Plus had to deal with my inhaler, which I had accidentally put into my run belt. After my last race (when I started wheezing on the bike) didn't want to take any chances, so I got it out and put it in my tri suit pocket.
What would you do differently?:

Put the inhaler somewhere easier to get. (As it turned out, I didn't need it, but better to carry it.) Other than that, an okay transition for this event.
  • 2h 55m 58s
  • 90.6 kms
  • 30.89 km/hr

I tried to pace using my PM as my coach suggested and stay at 145-155, but at times I had trouble seeing it. (Sweat in eyes, dirty sunglasses for some reason--maybe salt in the air, maybe my eyes were still swollen from the jellies.) Lots of gusty wind for first 60+ km made it hard to keep power steady but I tried. Then it was pretty much straight into a headwind until the last 6 km. I know my bike fitness is a lot better than last year but time doesn't really reflect it--I think due to tougher conditions. Power was a bit lower than I'd planned (NP = 143).
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Maybe pay attention more in the last 20 km--I think my power drifted too low sometimes. Plus pay attention at the 180's. I was having trouble with switching my water bottle and failed to notice that we were at the turnaround, rode right on through it. Had to unclip, turn bike around, and go back to the turnaround. Probably cost me 20-30 seconds.
Transition 2
  • 03m 10s

I managed a flying dismount without killing myself or others! Pretty happy as this is only the second one I have done in my life when actually riding a bike outdoors. Really helped as my bike shoes SUCK to run in. Again, this is a long transition, especially for the women as they make us run around the men's zone first. NO idea why.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I did forget to apply sunscreen again--fortunately not too badly burned as I did reapply after the swim and it seemed to keep working to some extent.
  • 1h 52m 20s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 05m 19s  min/km

As I mentioned, I think I started a bit too fast. Running entirely by feel--I wasn't paying attention to splits at all, just using watch to time hydration. I couldn't do the math in my head. Just tried to keep a steady pace. I felt pretty strong the whole way although it was a struggle to keep cool (about 90 degrees, high humidity, very little shade). There was a pretty stiff headwind the last 5-6 km (so windy that the signs for 17, 18, and 19 km had blown over, leaving me to run without splits!) which actually helped a bit with cooling. I tried to speed up the last 5 km and if splits can believed I did so to some extent. Great relief to be back at the hotel but then recalled that last 100m or so is on soft sand. That felt awful. Plus, why oh why do IM brand races have that little finish ramp? Do people really need to be slowed down at that point for photography purposes? Thought I would fall on my face. Anyway, very glad to be done, although at that point I had no idea I'd won, or even podiumed. But I did know I'd come back, faced down that horrid run again, and conquered it in terms of doing an effort that better reflected my abilities.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Maybe start a little more slowly, try not to ease off so much between km 10 and 15. Then again, my splits showed a similar pattern last year even when I was sick--maybe the km markers are not quite spot on. Possibly could have paced a bit more aggressively on the bike and run.

This is a hard judgement call in tropical conditions.I finished strong, but everyone else in my AG, except for the woman in second (including three other All World Athletes), as well as many other athletes, completely imploded on the run. There wasn't much left in the tank at the end but there was something. I would have been unhappy if what I'd done wasn't enough; thank goodness it was.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much of one. The famous ice kiddy pools were replaced this year by deeper tanks with huge ice blocks more suitable for polar bears. So didn't spend too much time immersed in those. Cooled off a bit and then signed up for a massage. Started feeling light-headed and nauseous (I think from not enough electrolyte//too much water--it's happened before and I know the feeling) so drank a bunch of electrolyte and that helped. Very tired, so lay down under a palm tree until my name was called for massage. After massage, walked very slowly to the post-race food. Got my food but started getting chills and felt totally filthy, so I took it to my room and ate it after a long, hot shower. At some point managed to get the Tracker and realized I'd won my AG!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure. I think maybe not keeping track of splits on the run. Probably could have pushed the middle part a bit faster. I did get back on it at the end. Ditto for some of the later km of the bike although stiff headwinds and very crowded conditions on the final 12 km loop were an issue. But did work the end very hard--there wasn't much left to give by the finish.

I think I also was a little deficient in something--sodium, etc. This has to do with carrying my own electrolyte drink and just using the stations for water as I can't tolerate the drink they serve. I think i drank too much water and needed more electrolytes.

I got sick two days AFTER the race this time, so possible I was already fighting a bug. At the time I attributed the light-headedness and chills to insufficient electrolytes, fatigue, or possibly girl stuff (we won't go into that---TMI) but maybe I was coming down with a cold already that took the edge off my bike and run.

Event comments:

Few complaints about the race other than the heat (which is inevitable) and the fact that none of the aid stations appeared to have ice. (Few did last year, either.) Volunteers mostly inexperienced but very helpful. Thanks so much to everyone who threw cold water over my head! The race is well-organized and (this year when I wasn't sick as a dog I actually noticed this) quite a scenic and "fast" course, except for the heat. I would only recommend it for those experienced with racing in tropical conditions.

I started in triathlon shortly after moving to Vietnam, and just as it meant a lot to me last year to finish the first IM event here, it meant a lot to me to win my AG here today and qualify for Worlds racing in the country where I do most of my training.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-05-08 12:00 AM
00:35:00 | 1900 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/13
Overall: 208/1140
Performance: Good
Actually closer to 34 flat. It includes a goodly amount of time standing under the shower at the swim exit as I was stung quite nastily in the face by the baby jellies on the way in, and was afraid my eyelids would swell and hurt my vision. I also walked out about the first 90 seconds as I was paranoid about getting stings in my mouth.
Suit: 2XU Compression
Course: Basically a big T-shaped loop. Out about 300m, left some distance (to a buoy I never saw until I almost ran into it--swells so high I could see nothing, just followed the herd), right maybe 25m, right again, long way on a crazy rolling swim treadmill against strong current, right, 25m, right again, with current on conveyor belt rolling violently, then get washed the final 200-300m into shore while being stung in the face.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 26C / 79F Current: High
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:55:58 | 90.6 kms | 30.89 km/hr
Age Group: 2/13
Overall: 306/1140
Performance: Average
According to my Garmin, course a little long. Similar to last year but only two loops of the part furthest from transition and then an additional 12 km loop south of transition. Windier than last year. Winds really picked up on the last third of the course--pretty much all into a stiff headwind over the last 28 km, and my pace reflected that--32-33 kph until that point, then more like 29.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Out, past resorts, through town, across two bridges (one small, one big suspension bridge with a 1.1 km steep climb up and steep descent), 2 loops of about 22 km each along oceanfront, back over the bridges, back through town and resort area, additional 12 km loop south of the transition area (new this year).
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:10
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:52:20 | 21.1 kms | 05m 19s  min/km
Age Group: 1/13
Overall: 199/1140
Performance: Good
Pace for each 5 km section: 4:51/km, 5:29, 5:37, 5:17. I think I started a bi too fast. Typical--felt like I was running really slowly. The middle 10 km also includes some more time at aid stations as they become quite crowded and chaotic. I kept looking for ice and NONE had it on offer!
Course: Out and back, in the glaring sunlight, Past resort area and then along the city beachfront. Very little shade. There was a breeze this year--some tailwind on the way out and stiff headwind inbound. It actually helped as otherwise would have been much hotter. (As it was, about 89-90 with high humidity at finish.)
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2016-05-08 8:12 AM

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Eugene, Oregon
Bronze member
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

2016-05-08 7:15 PM
in reply to: #5180707

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New user
Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Winning your age group after being stung by a jellyfish? You're my hero! Seriously though, awesome job. I'd love to see what these iceberg tanks looked like.

2016-05-08 11:45 PM
in reply to: #5180707

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
Good Job Karen
2016-05-09 4:39 AM
in reply to: #5180707

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
Awesome effort and really well done, it is certainly motivating!
2016-05-09 8:46 AM
in reply to: #5180707

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
Wow, you're incredible! First place AG, and big congrats on qualifying for Worlds!! I don't think I could have handled jellies on my face. Icky!
2016-05-09 10:31 AM
in reply to: #5180707

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Speedy lady!!  Congrats on the win, and doing so with determination, not being daunted by numerous jellyfish stings - that's some serious perseverance! 

2016-05-09 11:21 AM
in reply to: #5180707

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Great job. Congratulations on a race well run and an AG win. Throw in a World's qualification as icing on the cake and it looks like a pretty cool day!

2016-05-09 12:00 PM
in reply to: #5180707

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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Awesome job! Congrats on working through the challenges for a WIN!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how you do it. I would melt!

2016-05-09 12:22 PM
in reply to: #5180707

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Nice race, congrats on AG and Worlds

2016-05-09 12:46 PM
in reply to: Goggles Pizzano

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, Minnesota
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Great job!  I saw Liz post about your AG win on Facebook and I was so happy for you.  Great race.

2016-05-10 7:59 AM
in reply to: BikerGrrrl

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Katy, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
Just unbelievably awesome!! Congrats and well deserved!!

2016-05-10 2:47 PM
in reply to: #5180707

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

Well done Karen!  You are speedy!  Congrats! 

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