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Ironman 70.3 Austin (69.1) - Triathlon

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Austin, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
90F / 32C
Total Time = 4h 57m 5s
Overall Rank = 455/2566
Age Group = M55-59
Age Group Rank = 8/89
Pre-race routine:

Flew into Houston to hook up with our family/crew, Denise's older sister Deb and husband Bob offered their house to hang out in and came with us to the event. We drove into Austin on Friday and they dropped me off so I could register and pick up my bike. Registration was relatively fast and there was a lot of chatter about whether it would be wet suit legal. Water temp was 75 degrees on both Friday and Saturday. (This would later be a moot point, of course) Walked around and checked out the vendors-really nothing special. Picked up the bike. A+ for Tribike Transport from me. No hassles and they put on my pedals and cadence sensor and even made sure it worked before I left. Waited around to be picked up by Denise so I could take the bike back to the hotel, but they had to check in and she had to drive back to get me. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn which was about 12 miles away. No issues getting in and out for sure. Did a warm up run and later biked in circles in the parking lot next to our hotel and felt pretty good. We had a few sensational meals at a few local Austin restaurants and shared nearly incessant conversation about tons of topics, as usually happens when you haven't seen family in a while. Felt pretty good but was quite worried about the heat and thought it might not be wet suit legal. I was planning on using the wet suit if it was >76.2 and just forego any attempt at WC 70.3 as I'd NEVER swam any OWS without a wet suit. Better to be alive, IMO.
Event warmup:

Nuthin'. Got to the venue early and it has a giant parking lot. I knew Denise would be able to get out and back to the hotel to pick up Deb and Bob after seeing me off in the swim. Having 2 transitions was no big deal, just weird, which by the way is apparently the 'theme' of the city of Austin. No, I'm not kidding. So we park, go to T2 and leave the run bag. They wanted a 'clean transition' so no one could lay out their stuff. (Why?? There was ample space...I don't get it) We hung our run bags on the rack next to where we would eventually rack the bike and got into the huge line for the shuttles to T1 and the swim start. Our bus got boxed in and the nervous, neurotic athlete's started jabbering about backing up and getting out ASAP. People are very impatient on race day. Got there and found my bike and tried to remember which way to go and how I was going to carry the bike out and mount at the line. Put my Garmin on the bike and calibrated the power meter and left it. Put iced gatorade in my bottles and borrowed a pump from a guy a few racks away in my AG. He said he'd loan it to me if I was certain to let him pass me. I told him that he shouldn't worry about it as he'd likely be in front of me after the swim anyway, which made him happy. Went down to the swim start and saw that you couldn't see anything. Now, it was bad enough that the initial swim waves started with the pros at 7:00 AM, until the brilliant people at the race venue realized that sunrise was 7:36AM, so the amended swim times started at 7:30, still at dawn. The curveball was that on race day, there was surprise fog. It was so dense that you never could see past the second buoy and most of the time you could barely see the first buoy. After waiting about an hour, the decision was made to call off the swim, which was very appropriate. The lake was calm as glass, but visibility was awful. People would have had serious issues. So now it's a 69.1 mile race! Time trial start, 2 people at a time and starting by lowest numbers. Automatic advantage to AWA athletes again, sigh.
  • 00m
  • 2112 yards
  • / 100 yards

SWIM CANCELLED. Good, safe choice by the RD. Although I heard a lot of comments by runners saying they wished the run was cancelled, not the swim, because it was SO hot out there later on.
Transition 1
  • 00m
  • 2h 44m 20s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.45 mile/hr

With the time trial start, I knew all the AG athlete's in my division would be with me, except the AWA guys who started way earlier. Initial goal was to hold power until they were gone. Then I could see different age groups, younger guys and women. It was sunny and hot right from the start but almost no wind on the first half. I just did my job, eating/drinking and spinning. Held power and just watched the AP/NP screen to try to keep aero and not let those numbers get too far apart and keep it all close to 195W. Felt good on the bike and wanted to get to the halfway point, mile 28, in less than 1:20 to keep my goal of 2:45. It's net down the first half and net up on the back half. I hit it in 1:17 and was very happy. Then the sun continued it's beat down and the wind picked up. I was having a hard time even holding 185W, but tried to suck it up and push the gears. I was passed by about 5 people in the first 40 miles and I passed them all back. Then the kids started coming. The 20 and 30 year olds steadily blasted by me late in the race. I eased up considerably for the final 5 miles and saw my speed drop from ~21.3mph to 20.5mph average. I knew that I was starting to cramp up and tried to spin them out before beginning the run as an emergency trade-off. I took 2 salt caps at around mile 50 and slowed my pace a lot those last few miles. Cramps were in my quads and calves, but just little twinges at that point. It was then that I realized I did not drink enough fluids or take enough salt earlier.
What would you do differently?:

Take salt earlier, in smaller amounts and drink a lot more water.
Transition 2
  • 03m 40s

I almost went over the bike dismount line. Verrrry close. My family yelled to me and I tried to jog with the bike but my quads were cramping so it began with a fast walk, alright, a regular walk, then a fast walk and then a jog. Denise was yelling and cheering me on-I do love that girl. Tried to be quick and dumped the bag and systematically did what needed to be done. My socks were totally sweaty so I decided to change into a second pair to minimize blisters and then put everything into the bag afterwards. Stood up and jogged towards the Run Exit. Felt dizzy. Denise ran with me and I told her I wasn't feeling good and was cramping. I love to hear her yell 'Go Dale'- it's instant energy. I knew Bobby, my son Mike and probably Mike F would be watching Ironman live tracker, so I also felt support from all across the country.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Felt slow and I could have been considerably faster.
  • 2h 09m 5s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 51s  min/mile

That was a pure sufferfest. I was dizzy to start and just like at Syracuse, wondered if I would pass out along the way. I was right on the edge of threshold and knew I had very little error. I drank multiple drinks at every aid station and at mile one and took 2 salt capsules along with the multiple extra drinks to try to catch up. Cramps were immediate from the start and pretty bad in my quads, which was a bit weird (but keeping with the Austin theme).. Every step pretty much hurt with varying amounts of pain. Started out too fast, even knowing I wanted to go slow. I walked through every single aid station and drank until I didn't feel quite as thirsty. Stomach didn't like the salt. Puked at mile 4 and went to the BR at a port-a-potty later that mile with lots of GI distress which I guess was from the salt load, which was what happened to me at IMLP. (Garmin says that was about 1.5 minutes) Tried to soldier on up the hill at mile 4 and knew time goals were gone and it was now survival mode. New goal was to try to not walk. Second loop seemed to go okay and I dare say I felt a bit of an energy boost. Passing my crew the second time helped fill me with hope of finishing. Deb and Bob were melting in the heat and Denise was still shouting encouragement, even though I could only give a 'thumbs up' to them at that point, it helped an awful lot. Looks like I walked very slowly through the stops at mile 7/8/9/10.2/11.2 30-60 seconds at each of those stops. Seemed to cramp even more as the race progressed and especially on the hill the second time at mile 8, I felt really bad. It was a dark place. My crew brightened my mood, but I was very close to DNF at that point. Decided to try a gel and 2 more salt caps, which I kept down for only a few miles before dry heaves at mile 10, just before the hill. Drank 3 or 4 glasses of water and put the ice on my continually cramping quads and headed out to try to finish. Did not walk at all on the course, just through the aid stations, and felt that was a real triumph. There were 3 'lanes'. The zombie walkers on the right side, the joggers in the middle and the fast f*ckers on the left side. I stayed in the middle pretty much the entire time. My pace was 8:11 mile one and 12:19 during the first hill at mile 4. I stayed in between for the duration which was a big success, despite the physical challenges.
What would you do differently?:

Start slower. Train more. Losing run fitness was part of the problem and the heat was the bigger one. Not optimally hydrating was just silly.
Post race
Warm down:

Every volunteer at the finish seemed to ask me if I wanted to go to the medical tent. I declined. I just wanted to sit and get off my feet. I went to the left and eventually Denise, Deb and Bob found me on the other side of the arena. They had been on the right side and had to go up and around to get me so I had a few minutes alone to try to get my breath back to normal before hooking up. They let me vent about my race. I did not see food anywhere, but it must have been there. I heard they ran out of ice on the course later on. Perhaps I took too much..I repeated over and over 'never again!'. My wife responded, 'until the next time...' and then looked at her sister and said 'I've heard that before'.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat. Run fitness.

Event comments:

It wasn't nearly as bad as it was billed. Yes the roads were rough, but we all ride on some rough roads. Putting a carpet down to avoid the sticky/burr/prickers on T2 would solve the problem of carrying your bike and IM ought to address that since most people know about it and I saw an awful lot of people carrying their bike. I did see more flats than I have at any other race in the first 5 miles, so I suspect this is still an issue. Cancelling the swim was the right call, so kudos to the RD for making the correct and safe decision. It's still Texas and I melt in the heat so I probably won't be back for this race.

i did not go to the awards/rolldown. I realized prior to the race that there were 11 'All American' /'All World' athlete's in my AG and I had very little shot at top 3 or 4, but I wanted to lay it all out there. I did hear that there were no rolldowns in my AG, as expected. Big props to Bobby and MikeF for pushing me all during this training cycle. I appreciate Jim/Tony/Jae/the many Cyclonauts and so many others encouraging me along the way.

Pictures to follow when I get home.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-08-02 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 2112 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/89
Overall: 0/2566
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:44:20 | 56 miles | 20.45 mile/hr
Age Group: 11/89
Overall: 434/2566
Performance: Good
I had decided to try to hold 190W on the way out and push to 195W on the way back to get close to even splits, but plans changed as the race progressed and I decided to go out at 195 and cut back to 185 on the way back to save myself for the run. My AP was close to 190 and NP about 200 for about the first 35 miles. I knew that the hills on the second half started around there. The first few at mile 15/22/27 didn't seem bad at all. Almost no wind and I was holding close to 21.5mph. I knew I couldn't and wouldn't hold that pace/power in the second half with the wind and I lowered my power target during the race. I think the AP was down to 176 and NP down to 189 by the end. av HR=144/peak HR=162, much higher than I wanted and some of that was likely from dehydration. Should have started a bit slower even still. 0.80 IF per Garmin w FTP at 235, but I think my actual FTP is up to 240+ based on last testing, so IF was likely closer to 0.79.
Wind: Some
Course: Single loop with rolling hills and bad, but not as terrible as was billed. A few potholes and several rail road tracks caused 'yard sales'. You could almost always carry some momentum with you. My Garmin gave it 1780ft elevation gain, so pretty c/w the website which said 1550ft. It also had it at 56.7 miles.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 03:40
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
02:09:05 | 13.1 miles | 09m 51s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/89
Overall: 455/2566
Performance: Average
Doesn't look like Garmin remembered any data initially. The battery had drained down so I thought it may be lost forever, but at home, I fully charged it and the data reappeared-weird again, but I'm happy!. I had used 2 watches and left one on the bike and kept one on my wrist for the S and R. My heart rate was very high for the entire run, starting in the low 140's and slowly came down to ~135 by the end as I cramped and bonked. At least I got to use the data in real time (to watch my bonk happen right in front of my eyes).
Course: 3 loops out of the transition area down to the water, along rolling hills at mile 4/8/12. The course was congested right from the start and although there was lots of support with people out and about, there were only a few sections with any energy. I do NOT like multiple loop runs, as of now. Volunteers were awesome and helpful. They all tried to get the right drink/ice to you ASAP.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2016-11-03 8:31 AM

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Austin (69.1)

2016-11-04 9:41 AM
in reply to: #5203880

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin (69.1)

Keep Austin weird

It was definitely a tough race with the heat -- I'm grateful that I was training in it up to race day....can't imagine coming from a cooler climate and trying to manage it!  Despite a tough race, way to push through and hit the finish line!  If you decide to take on a hot race like this again, hopefully you came away with some good learning about how to manage it.

Sorry we didn't get a chance to meet up, but maybe a future race!

2016-12-12 12:29 PM
in reply to: #5203880

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Austin (69.1)

Great RR Dale!  You sucked me in and I was was right there with you.  Just like on the actual Race Day when I was tracking you and texting Denise!! YOU ARE A ROCK STAR gutting it out in that heat and finishing at the point-end of your AG field.  Well done Dale!!

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