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Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene - Triathlon

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 5h 31m 2s
Overall Rank = 392/1677
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 13/94
Pre-race routine:

Up at 3:45 AM; three granola bars, coffee. Drove to park near race start, set up transition, body marking, put pump back in car. One last trip to porta potty and put on wetsuit.
Event warmup:

I didn't do a swim warmup due to low air temps (50's) and water temps (64). Jumped up and down and did some dancing to get HR up a little; with five minutes to go I bent down in the water and exhaled several times into it--my coach suggested this to prevent some of the breathing issues I had early in the swim at Calgary and it seemed to work.

  • 35m 12s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 40s / 100 yards

I think I didn’t do a good job of sighting. It was a counterclockwise loop, so it seemed like one would need to breathe to the left to see the buoys well and I tried that, but the sun was rising in clear sky to that side and I couldn’t see anything. So I was breathing mostly to the right (on the way out) and then lifting my head to sight on the buoys. I tried drafting people—there were plenty doing a good pace--but many of them were also drifting to the right. Kept realizing I was heading too much to the right and correcting myself.

It was better swimming back in, but for some reason (current, maybe?) I then started drifting to the left and coming so close to the buoys that I almost swam into half of them.

Other than that, I actually felt really good. I was in a good rhythm and the water temps (it was about 64 on race day) didn’t bother me (until I took my wetsuit off!). The rolling start (I was in 30-35 minutes, toward the front, as hoped to swim 33 something) was very well managed, and they were only letting 5 or 6 people in at once. There were several crowded spots, but I never felt penned in or panicked. I just think I ended up swimming further than 1900m!
What would you do differently?:

Figure out the situation with the rising sun in advance and probably check my position a lot more frequently, don't trust the people I am drafting to do a good job of sighting because, in general, they didn't!
Transition 1
  • 04m 7s

They had some wetsuit strippers but not everyone was using them; I did as my hands were quite cold and afraid I'd struggle getting my suit off. But they didn't seem that experienced and I think I lost some time; also kind of regretted it when I felt really cold during rather long run to my bike.
What would you do differently?:

I think it might have been better to keep the suit on while running to my bike, and just deal with it myself. Would have stayed warmer, which "might" have helped with some of my issues on the bike. I don't think it would have made much difference in my transition time, though.
  • 3h 02m 25s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.42 mile/hr

Just didn’t feel good from the start. As usual for when the swim is cold and air temps not high, I was shivering hard out of T1. There was a headwind for the first part and plenty of shade on the course at that time, so I was really cold and it was a bit hard to control the bike. My arms started cramping.

When I got to the second, hillier part of the course at about 18 miles, I gradually got warmed up, but didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. I’m usually a good climber and pass lots of people on the uphills, but this time I think it was about 50/50 (passing and being passed). Then I would get cold and freeze on the downhills. Some were quite steep, so not really possible to pedal or “work” much and they were over very quickly, then back up another big hill. It seemed like with the exception of a few false flats, I was always going up or steeply down. I tried to keep power in 150-160 range (ended up with NP of 152), but it was difficult to stay consistent with all the hills and variable winds. Mainly crosswinds as the winds seemed to be coming from the east (off the Rockies); some other athletes (after race) said they were from southeast, which would have been somewhat of a headwind out on the longer loop, and tailwind back. Headwinds/tailwinds were rarely noticeable, crosswinds were, especially when descending.

I cramped quite badly in about the last 15 miles of the bike (adductors, both sides). Kept trying to stand up, change position a little; but nothing really seemed to help.
What would you do differently?:

Get a different body? Different gearing on bike? Choose an easier course? I think this was maybe a bit much given my fitness at this time of the year. (I've only ridden my tri bike outside four times since last September, and only once up a hill (last week). Aside from a few rides at a training camp in February on my road bike, I haven't ridden outside or on hills since then, due to my training situation in Saigon! Maybe this wasn't the best course for me right now....
Transition 2
  • 03m 8s

Pretty smooth transition. I had cramped really badly on the last few hills and was so worried I would cramp on dismount and fall over that I actually threw away my taller water bottle from the rear mount at the last trash station! But I felt better as soon as I got off the bike. I did stop for about 10-12 seconds to get sunscreen, but felt that was necessary as much of run was lakeside and in the sun.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I think it was a pretty smooth one considering how miserable I was by the end of the bike. Maybe pick up my non-essential crap (hydration belt, hat) and put it on as I ran out, not at spot.
  • 1h 46m 10s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 06s  min/mile

I decided after the bike when I felt good running (by about one mile in) that I would try to keep a steady pace and pick off as many people as I could, especially in my AG. Hoped that maybe I could get my best run split (course was not that hard, though there was one long hill that we hit twice, not that steep, and I’m usually good at running down those) if nothing else, so I’d have SOMETHING to be happy about in this race.

Everything was great until my shins and calves cramped at about 9 ½ miles (on the long uphill on the second loop). It came on suddenly and all at once in both legs—ZERO warning. Hoped it was just a passing spasm (I usually have a few in most longer races), but it didn’t go away and then got worse. Not sure what triggered it. I was running the downhill on the first loop (and, to a lesser extent, the second) quite aggressively, but it wasn’t that steep and I have always done that, especially in my marathon days.

At 10 miles I thought I could manage to finish without too much impact on my time and it would just hurt, but by 11, I realized I was in trouble as the cramps were periodically getting worse and making me stumble. There was an aid station at about 11 miles, so I got two cups of Gatorade, but it didn’t seem to help. By 12 miles I was really struggling to keep running. Lots of other people in the same boat—I passed a few women in my AG walking; a few passed me running faster. I couldn’t push off my toes and really run anymore, just kind of shuffle.

Turned the last corner and it was a downhill finish. Normally I love those, but it was the final nail in the coffin. Just wanted to scream. Very painful and everything I could do to maintain any kind of running motion and not fall over. To make matters worse, I had the finish stretch and red carpet to myself for some reason, so I had to look happy while I wobbled/ shuffled my way past all the cheering people when what I really wanted to do was scream the F word! To distract myself from that thought, I high-fived a bunch of kids.

System-wise I felt fine. Didn’t feel uncomfortably hot at any point on the course. There was actually a lot of energy left in the tank—I just couldn’t run normally as my shins/calves were locked up. It seemed like completely a muscle fatigue type issue, not pacing and I don’t think electrolytes, nutrition, etc.

What would you do differently?:

Not cramp at 9 1/2 miles. This is, I think, the third time it has happened in a HIM, all in comparatively cool, dry races with hilly bike courses and a hill late in the run course. Trying to figure out with my coach what triggers this and what I can do to prevent it. She thought it had to do with sodium (after Calgary) and I have been taking in more. I thought it helped since I didn't cramp at Worlds, but I did today (with very similar weather conditions, run course and pace, and same sodium and fluid intake) so now thinking it is something else.
Post race
Warm down:

None. Absolutely none. My legs were just useless for anything except slow, painful walking, until over 24 hours later!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

???? Something to do with muscular fatigue on the bike, I think, which may have triggered the cramping. I find it hard to believe it is a hydration or electrolyte issue when it has never happened when training or racing in tropical conditions.
Not sure how much a training issue (lack of matchup with course difficulty), maybe gearing, or something else.

I also felt like I didn't taper enough for this race given the levels of fatigue I was carrying into taper two weeks ago, which were pretty extreme. My coach has had me do a less extreme taper, because she thinks backing off training too abruptly contributed to my tendency to get sick before races in the past, but maybe when taper coincides with the hectic end of the school year and a 28 hour trans-Pacific trip with 14 hour time difference, I need to be more conservative. My legs never really felt fresh before the race, and was still having sleep issues some nights. I have never tried to do more than a casual 5 or 8K road race this close to the "World's Longest Commute", I'm also not getting any younger, and I think I needed to go into this race a bit more rested than I was.

Event comments:

The "rating" is for the race organization, not my own performance. Really couldn't fault this race organization-wise on anything, and I am a pretty tough customer. The swim was very well-managed despite the large field, and I never felt seriously crowded on it. Bike course was well-marked (though very hard); lots of volunteers and cheering locals along the entire course, aid stations very well-stocked and smoothly run. Really a great integration of town and race.Mom enjoyed spectating and going to the expo. I just felt like I wasn't really ready for the difficulty of this bike course!

Last updated: 2017-06-27 12:00 AM
00:35:12 | 2112 yards | 01m 40s / 100yards
Age Group: 11/94
Overall: 319/1677
Performance: Average
Suit: ProMotion Full Suit
Course: Basically out and back in Lake CDA. Out about 900m to south, turn to east (left), about 100m swim to east, right turn, north back to shore.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:07
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:02:25 | 56 miles | 18.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 18/94
Overall: 633/1677
Performance: Bad
Pretty even pace, according to the tracker, considering the hills.
Wind: Cross-winds with gusts
Course: Shorter (about 17-18 miles) out and back around lake to east (?) with smaller rolling hills, then a longer, much hillier out and back for the final 38 miles with pretty much continuous hills interspersed with a few false flats, to the south of CDA on Highway 95.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 81
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Bad
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:08
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:46:10 | 13.1 miles | 08m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/94
Overall: 295/1677
Performance: Average
According to the tracker, pretty steady 7:45-7:50 pace (considering the hills) until around mile 9 (near where the cramping stated, on a long gradual uphill). Then slower (8:15-8:30).
Course: Two loops. Net uphill out and net downhill back. Through lakeside parks and residential neighborhoods, out to a long gradual uphill (about a mile) on a lakeside parkway (no shade), down a few hundred meters, turnaround, back up, back down, back through town and parks. The final few hundred meters was downhill, on the main street (Sherman Ave.) in CDA.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %?
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? No
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2017-06-27 10:04 PM

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene

2017-06-28 11:05 AM
in reply to: #5223250

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene

Sorry to hear about the painful cramping on the bike and the run, I hope you and your coach can get to the bottom of that mystery.  While the final result isn't what you were hoping for it was still really good.  Congrats, now rest up!

2017-06-28 12:11 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene

Seriously amazed that for such a rough race with the cramping you still posted those kind of times.  You are a bad a$$   

Edited by ingleshteechur 2017-06-28 12:22 PM
2017-06-28 12:34 PM
in reply to: #5223250

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene

Hope you and your coach are able to come up with some theories as to why you cramped, both on the bike and on the run.  That's a really solid run split, and even more so considering the cramping/shuffling for the last four miles. 

Good news, though....Chattanooga is sure to be hot!  If you don't find anything else to explain the issues, maybe the pattern will continue and you'll really crush Chatt in a couple months!

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