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Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016 - Triathlon

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Mooloolaba, Queensland
Ironman Corporation
20C / 68F
Total Time = 5h 50m 19s
Overall Rank = 2073/3100?
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 47/95
Pre-race routine:

Got up at (ugh) 3:45 AM, because I had to get dressed, eat, leave for the race site by 4:45. (Transition closed at 6 as pros started shortly after that, and i was staying about a mile away.) Had four granola bars and some coffee, got stuff together.

Walked over Alex Hill to race site, final setup of bike. (We had to drop bags off for T1 and T2 the day before and had no access to them race morning) Topped off air in tires, put on nutrition and water bottles, checked Garmin. Disaster---it gave one little beep, turned itself off, then refused to start. I had charged it for a few hours the day before. Lots of attempts to restart and re-set to no avail. No time to do anything as no cable, no power source, and transition was closing shortly. Left it there, hoping maybe it was a temporary issue (wet contact points or something) that might resolve itself before the bike leg.
Event warmup:

Not really. I had to walk a mile to get to the race site. I had two hours until my wave started, so after watching the pro starts, I went to a nearby coffee shop, got a nice strong latte, ate two more granola bars and a banana, and read the newspaper. Really. Well, tried to read the newspaper!

About 30 minutes before my wave, went back to the race area to stash street clothes, get into wetsuit, cap and goggles, etc. Decided not to do a swim warmup as I usually just get chilled standing around. (Air was still cool.) It was a deep water start and we swam out 100-150 meters to the start "line" in the water. That was my warmup. I think it was enough.
  • 35m 3s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

I think I could have pushed the swim harder. I got a fairly clear start and, while some of the faster swimmers from the last start came through our pack and raised some waves (causing me to swallow some water and stop to cough/gag a few times), compared to a lot of races, I was mostly swimming in the clear. I was maybe just a bit awestruck that I was swimming at Worlds! Could hear the helicopters and the announcer the whole time--it was eerie.
What would you do differently?:

Just focus on my own race, and push the swim a little harder.
Transition 1
  • 07m 20s

This is a very long transition area, and different than most events. You go to one area, take off the wetsuit and put it in a bag. Then run to another set of bags where your bike things are.There are a couple thousand bags (almost 3000 people in the race) so the area is quite big. Then run through the big transition area to your bike. Then it is still quite a trot to the mount line. I believe they said on the video it is 700m from swim exit to mount line.
What would you do differently?:

Not get stung by or step on whatever I did. Just before or after exiting the water, I managed to step on something (rock? marine critter?) which caused a really painful area and big purple mark on the ball of one foot. I basically ended up walking most of T1 and T2, as it really hurt, as I was afraid to further aggravate things for the run.
  • 3h 13m 58s
  • 100 kms
  • 30.93 km/hr

No Garmin data, so I can only describe what I think happened. I knew there was supposed to be a turn to the right with a steep hill between about 54 and 55 km. At some point just after 50 km, we turned left onto the first of the "hinterland loops" after leaving the Sunshine Motorway via some connector roads. Just as I entered "Loop 1", a large draft pack of at least 20-30 bikes blew past me, forcing me far to the left side of the road. Kind of rode along in their wake until they were past. Kept riding, no sign for 55 km, but eventually did get to a point where the road turned right and we headed uphill. I'd heard estimates of the hill at 15-18%; honestly it did not seem that steep; I figured they were exaggerated, and pumped on up. Nice long gradual descent after the top. I finished what I assumed was the first loop and then headed for my second.

Approached the intersection and was asked, "First loop or second?" by an official. I said second and was waved to continue forward. As I rode by, I spied the hill to the right and realized THAT was the steep hill from Loop 1, and that I had missed it the first time and ridden Lap 2 first instead. It also occurred to me that this might explain why I no longer was seeing the 5-6 riders I had been leapfrogging with for the first 50 km, but a totally different crowd! (They had probably started earlier, and were on Loop 2.) I had just figured that maybe the draft pack had split us up.

Backtracked and told the official what had happened, asked, is there any way not to DQ at this point? He said he wasn't sure (??) but the safest thing to do would be to ride Loop 1, then Loop 2 again, so I hit the timing mats in the correct sequence. So this is what I did.

Cannot with 100% certainty say that I did Loop 2 in its entirety twice, as no Garmin data, and the loops overlapped on the descent, but it looked mighty familiar! Looking at the map, there really weren't roads there to do anything else and remain on the course going in the right direction, which I was. There were always other riders, and no one going in the opposite way. In any case, total time given the effort and course difficulty was indeed off by the amount I would expect if I rode ten extra kilometers. I was riding HARD, at least till the 80 km sign, when all my wishful thinking that I was just feeling turned around but had actually ridden the course correctly was cancelled by the grim reality that it was now past the time I should have ridden with even a mediocre (for me) bike leg.

Many people DQ'd themselves by riding Loop 2 twice, never noticing the turnoff. Some others somehow rode back after only one loop (or maybe this is just how it appears with the computer timing when you ride the loops out of sequence). Since there were so many (I understand over 100), I have to think it was not just my own stupidity, but an issue with the marking and officiating on the course. In my case, it was compounded by not having a working Garmin to alert me that the turnoff should be coming up. I did know the course and in fact was carrying a map. I think had I had the Garmin and/or not been passed by a big draft pack on that stretch, I would have noticed and made the turnoff.

BTW the bike and run ranks are not for the leg itself, but one's overall standing after that leg. So it is probably worse than 62nd! I was actually surprised I ended up 47th in my AG after having biked an extra 10 km.
What would you do differently?:

Drive the course in advance if possible. The logistics of doing this were just too overwhelming with everything else going on. And still not sure I would have seen the turnoff on the right when trying to keep myself safe while being passed by a draft train on the right..

Have a backup Garmin (maybe wear my run Garmin) so even in the event my regular one fails I can still get distance and pace data.
Transition 2
  • 05m 56s

Despite my horrible emotional state at the time (I was crying most of the last 10 km of the bike and through T2) I actually managed a graceful flying dismount! My foot still hurt once I got it out of my bike shoes and felt swollen, so I kind of hobbled/walked through bike racking and on to where my run things were. To my relief, it felt fine once I got my running shoes on. It didn't bother me on the run, though it felt a little swollen in the last few miles and for a few days after the race, and about half my foot was a lovely shade of purple. But basically a surface-level injury--it was causing fluid to build up beneath the skin on the sole of my foot, not anything deeper.
What would you do differently?:

Not step on something and hurt my foot, so I could run properly through T2.
  • 1h 48m 2s
  • 21 kms
  • 05m 08s  min/km

It was a good run, actually, considering I'd ridden an extra 10 km, and my emotional state at the time. I knew at that point I was out of the running for any kind of competitive result I'd be proud of. (Actually had no idea what I could do; my coach later told me she thought with a good race I had a chance for top 20.) Thought about just letting it rip on the run but the idea of doing that for no real competitive point and then sitting on a red-eye flight the next night gave me pause. I just put it in auto-pilot and ran. Not really killing it, but not sandbagging either. I just ran how I felt. Actually surprised I ran that fast considering 4 X 700m hill!
What would you do differently?:

If I hadn't biked extra and knew I was in the running for my competitive goals, I could have pushed it harder. As it was, 1:48 felt quite easy, if anything can be called easy after nearly 6 hours of racing when one is trying very hard not to scream or lie down beside the road and sob.
Post race
Warm down:

None, unless you count a whole lotta walking. World's longest finish chute and walk to the finisher swag, photo area, street clothes, food area by the beach. I was wheezing a bit and thought I should go to medical for a while but never found it. Fortunately it didn't become a full-blown attack. Got some food but I couldn't finish the sandwich--it tasted like cardboard. Had some watermelon, decided to head back to the hotel and take a shower but just then they decided to open bike and bag pickup early, so I ended up picking up bike plus all my crap and schlepping it back over Alex Hill to the hotel a mile away. That actually felt worse than the last mile of the race.

There was nowhere good to eat near my hotel, so after cleaning up a bit and a very sorry e-mail to family, friends, and coach, headed back over Alex Hill (trip #7 of the day) to eat, then back over (#8) to hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not pushing hard enough on the swim.

Garmin issue on the bike. It would have helped me pace and MIGHT have prevented the missed turn snafu.

Errr...riding an extra 10 km on the bike?!

Plus my state of mind after that. When I hit 80 km on the bike I realized I was well and truly screwed and my race was pretty much over. I was just running to finish.

Event comments:

No complaints about most of the race setup--it is what it is with 3000 people, and some things, like transition, just aren't going to be very efficient due to sheer numbers. But, given my own experience and the number of people who DQ'd, I think that the marshaling and course marking on the "hinterland" portion of the bike course was inadequate and not up to the level of a championship event. I feel that I did my due diligence--studied the maps, went to the briefing, and was even carrying a map. But I still didn't see the turnoff, and many others didn't as well. Clearly something was wrong. The turnoff sign was quite small, a little ways up a steep hill, and on the opposite side of the road from where we were riding, so it was easy to miss if there were riders passing you at that point, which I believe is what happened in my case. Some people in earlier waves complained that an official was not stationed at the turn, either, when they went past.

I was also surprised that the official didn't really seem to know if it would be a DQ if I just rode Lap 1 second without repeating Lap 2. He just said it was "safest", to do 1 and 2 in sequence, if I didn't want to DQ. Plus at that point I wasn't entirely sure that's what had happened, only that I'd missed the Lap 1 turnoff somehow. Still wonder if I shot myself in the foot unnecessarily.

Maybe doing the loops in the other direction, so turnoff is on the left (the side people ride on) would be better. Others (on ST) suggested a colored slap-on bracelet system so officials and athletes could keep track. I have seen that done in large road (run) races and it worked--maybe harder with bikes. Or just do away with the two overlapping loops--I think they weren't suitable to the size of race and number of athletes on the course.

I trained for nearly two years trying specifically to qualify for Worlds and spent over $2000 just on my trip there (entry, accommodation, flights, etc.), as did, I would assume, most other overseas athletes. There's no guarantee any of us will get a chance to do it again. I have to admit that I am bitterly disappointed both in myself (that I missed the turnoff) and in the course marking and officiating. While I'm proud of qualifying for and finishing this race, I REALLY wish I didn't have to remember my first trip to Worlds this way.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-09-07 12:00 AM
00:35:03 | 1900 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 39/95
Overall: 1841/3100?
Performance: Average
Suit: ProMotion Full Suit
Course: One loop in counterclockwise direction. Paralleled shore going out, toward a peninsula. Turned, went about 150m, then headed back the other direction (away from peninsula). Turned left and headed for shore about 200m. Caught a nice wave on the way in.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 21C / 70F Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:20
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:13:58 | 100 kms | 30.93 km/hr
Age Group: 62/95
Overall: 2307/3100?
Performance: Below average
No working Garmin, remember? (It never did resolve.) Splits do not make much sense between 40 and 80 km. It has me at 34 kph for the first stretch on the Sunshine Motorway, which does makes sense, as it was basically flat with a nice tailwind. Then 27.8 kph to 40.2 km--again, reasonable as now riding into a moderate headwind. After that the splits make no sense for the next 40 km, especially between 40.2 and 60.5, where they have me riding an average of about 23 kph on what was basically a rolling course with no wind, where I was riding hard and passing people, with one big, short hill of a few hundred yards. And this was all before I doubled back, talked to the official, and walked a short distance up the steepest hill. Does. Not. Compute.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Supposed to be--Out and back on the Sunshine Motorway, about 40 km total. About 12 km to a point where you start two overlapping loops. One of the loops (supposed to be first) is shorter with a cutoff on a short, steep hill between 54 and 55 km.The other (second) is a bit longer with a less steep ascent. The loops join at the top and descend via the same route. Back on the connecting roads, back toward Mooloolaba and T2. I put in 100 km, because I believe that's what I actually rode. I believe I did three loops of the "hinterland" part: Loop 2, Loop 1, Loop 2 again, instead of two. It is the only way to explain what I observed and rode. Anything else would have had me riding against the direction of other racers, and I/officials would have noticed that. Overall pace (31 kph) makes sense considering effort level and course difficulty if I call it 100 km. Calgary was comparable difficulty if not harder, and actually I was a bit faster there.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: ?
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:56
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:48:02 | 21 kms | 05m 08s  min/km
Age Group: 47/95
Overall: 0/3100?
Performance: Average
Kept a fairly steady pace, though splits varied as the run course features four ascents/descents of the fairly sizable Alex Hill.
Course: Out of transition, up Alex Hill (about 400-500 meters), down Alex Hill, out a combination of flat roads and trails along the beach to Alexandra Head, Moloochydore (or something like that!), and Cottonwood neighborhood, little loop around the block, back to Alex Hill, up, down. Wash, rinse, repeat. (Two lap out and back course.)
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Bad
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

2016-09-08 6:48 AM

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Eugene, Oregon
Bronze member
Subject: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

2016-09-08 8:10 AM
in reply to: #5198008

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Aledo, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Sorry to hear about the negatives of the race. Still, what an accomplishment to qualify and compete! And, in catching yourself, you prevented a DQ, which undoubtedly would have been way worse. 

Great race report and read. Hope your foot is feeling better, and congrats on making it there and competing honorably!

2016-09-08 9:04 AM
in reply to: #5198008

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
Sorry to hear that the race didn't go to plan and wasn't organised as it should have been for a world champs. Must say that you handled and over came it well and to finish in the top 50 of you AG whilst still riding 10K longer is a great achievement and one I could only dream of so well done!

I'm sure it won't be your last trip to the worlds as you put in the hard work!
2016-09-08 8:10 PM
in reply to: tomsimper

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
I enjoyed reading your the report. I agree the course was not marked well enough when that number of people all make the same mistake. You did the right thing by asking what to do when you realized you missed a turn.

You still qualified which is a great accomplishment.
2016-09-09 9:46 AM
in reply to: #5198008

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
Such a bummer about the bike course. I know how disappointed you are, but hopefully with time you can get a bit of rose colored glasses going and have some good memories of this race. You qualified, you caught yourself from a possible DQ, and you ran a heck of a run with a sting (or cut?!) in your foot. All things to be proud of!
2016-09-09 11:58 AM
in reply to: #5198008

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Karen, you are a beast! Great job on working for a full 2 years to hit your goal race. It has been really cool watching you work so hard and to see how the race itself unfolded is a bit sad. But I still think you should be very proud of all you did especially given the less then ideal race course that you were given to race on.

2016-09-10 7:10 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
Totally sounds like poor course officiating at a crucial point in the bike! Darn it! But your determination to push through and carry on is admirable--a DQ was not going to be in the cards for you! What a great overall experience though! Worlds! Holy shitballs!

Edited by ingleshteechur 2016-09-10 7:10 PM
2016-09-10 9:18 PM
in reply to: #5198008

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New user
Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Ah geez, Karen, what you just described is something that I've had dozens of nightmares about. I'm so so sorry that  happened to you during a race that you had invested so much time, effort, and money into. I know the traditional piece of wisdom is that it's more about the journey there than the race itself, but I wouldn't have been half as cheery as you if it had been me. Thank you for the detailed writeup. Even though it didn't pan out as you had hoped, it was a good read and I appreciate how much you love the sport in good times and bad.

2016-09-10 10:27 PM
in reply to: trijamie

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Eugene, Oregon
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
OMG I have had a nightmare about riding extra laps, or getting lost, on a course every single night this week. I still have them occasionally about my first marathon (no wrong turns there, just a run into the physical and mental twilight zone/wall!). I was 14 then, and now 47, so I have a feeling this may well last for the rest of my life, at least until I become too senile to remember it.

As for cheery, well.....I was crying for most of the last 10 km of the bike and T2, and at the finish. (For some reason, running and crying are difficult to combine for me.) This dude (RD?) high-fives you at the finish, and he asked why I was crying--did I need medical? I sobbed that I rode an extra lap and he looked dumbfounded, as did the lady behind me (who is over the moon in the finish pic). I was still kind of teary when I got to the "finisher swag posing area" and the photographer kept telling me to smile. Kind of caused a hold-up while I got myself together enough to pose. Then again, even when I am happy, I often finish long races in tears. Normally not a very emotional person but there's something about finish lines, I guess...

But yes, the journey was the amazing part. When I think about some of the places it has taken me and how far I have come from the clueless beginner who was 123rd out of 136th on the bike leg of her first Oly (no mechanical or wrong turn there, either!), it is pretty amazing to me.
2016-09-12 10:38 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Originally posted by cdban66

Karen, you are a beast! Great job on working for a full 2 years to hit your goal race. It has been really cool watching you work so hard and to see how the race itself unfolded is a bit sad. But I still think you should be very proud of all you did especially given the less then ideal race course that you were given to race on.

x2 - It sucks that you didn't get to really race that day However, you rocked it in getting there! Great job! 

2016-09-12 10:44 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Wow, Karen, what a day!  Sitting drinking coffee and reading the paper in the time between transition and the race start?!  I'd be a wreck, unable to concentrate on any of the words!  I'm so sorry you had to have a foot injury/sting so early on, then have the lap situation go down the way it did on the bike.  As some others have said, I do hope you are able to eventually pull some positives out of this day and experience.  You are a very talented athlete both mentally and physically, so I have no doubt you will move on and continue to do great things and make to to Worlds again if you so desire.  Congrats on finishing!

2016-09-12 2:21 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016
Sounds like a tough day but congrats on getting the medal (not a DQ!) and qualifying for a race many of us would dream of doing!
2016-09-13 12:17 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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, Minnesota
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2016

Yikes, what a bummer about the bike!  Congratulations on finishing it, despite that disappointment. Also, cute trisuit!

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