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2018-09-24 12:54 PM

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Subject: A delayed not so brief Race Report for IM Steelhead 70.3
IM 70.3 Steelhead
There is lots of work and sacrifice that goes into a successful first 70.3 triathlon. However, what is actually the definition of success. Is it winning, or hitting a certain time, or just completing a process? I have really grown to enjoy triathlon. It’s a fun way to maintain and even grow my fitness as I pass through my mid-thirties! As Coach Scott with and I discussed in depth on several occasions that results goals are just a bi-product of process goals. Ok, that’s great but I still want to hit my time. We went over a very detailed race plan. That included goal swim pace, making sure to keep myself aerobic and not push my swim too fast and burn my matches. I had a detailed bike pacing strategy including pacing strategies on how to maximally utilize my energy to optimize time. One of the key strategies that we discussed was walking the aid stations. I’m a very heavy sweater. We had documented this in training over a variety of training temperatures and effort levels. So, in order to help me control heart rate and manage fluid balance I planned to walk the duration of each aid station.

I was able to check in 2 days before the race and brought my 6 and 4 year old with me. They seemed to really enjoy the ironman village and best of all we stopped for milkshakes from Sherman’s Dairy Bar on our way back to Saugatuck.
The morning of the race I wore up at 3 AM, well before my 4:15 alarm. I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep. So, I decided to get lunch ready for the family to enjoy at the beach while they waited for me to finish. Katherine dropped me off outside of Jean Klock Park at 5:45 AM. I had my transition setup by 6:15 and met with Coach John from BSC and walked down to the beach to watch the pros start and get in a quick 200 meter warm-up before I had to get in line for the swim start. I now knew the water temperature was 76.4, just slightly above the WTC cutoff of 76.1. I felt a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get to use my new ROKA suit. However, swimming tends to be my strongest leg and I would be ok.

I seeded myself in the 30-33 min wave start because I knew that I would be significantly slower without a wetsuit. It still was one of the first waves in the water. So, I started relatively early. Lake Michigan was a lot rougher than it had been over the previous few days that we had been staying in Saugatuck. I know that I was going to need to adjust my expectations for the current chop. I went off with a group of 4 swimmers and tried to stay toward the inside of the buoys swimming out because the current was going to gradually pull me to the outside. I went out with a moderate pace but felt myself start to get a little panicked as the waves were crashing over my head while I was trying to breathe. I mentally took a note, calmed myself and started to lift my head a little higher. I knew that as I got past the break I would have less waves crash and more rolling. I stayed straight sighting about every 50-75 strokes. I got to the red turn buoy and started my swim across. I continued to stay relaxed and was constantly passing people. I felt really good knowing that most of these swimmers were strong triathlon swimmers and I was still passing some. I swam the long segment parallel to shore on a great line. I hit the red turn to shore buoy and locked onto a pair of feet and just drafted in to shore at a pretty easy effort.
Final swim time 35:48 14/183 M35-39 91/1104 Male Overall

It was a good distance through the sand and up to transition. I saw my swim time on my watch but I felt good based on the conditions. This was a long transition. I quickly put on my helmet and grabbed 2 packages of cliff blocks. Most of my nutrition was already on bike in my Infinit mix. I tried to wipe off a little sand quickly and then got my shoes on and took off
T1 time 03:24 goal was 4 min. Coach Scott would be happy.

It took me a little bit of time to get up to speed we had to do a few right hand turns to get onto the Bluestar Highway. I missed clipping in on my first attempt and it took me a few extra moments to get up to speed. I flipped my visor down on my helmet and rotated my watch to see it while in aero. As I accelerated around each turn my power was spiking to over 400 watts, significantly above the race plan. It was important for me to not burn any matches early and I tried to even out my effort. My cadence settled and power evened out to about 240-270 watts, right in my sweet spot.
Early on the bike there was a good amount of traffic and I was trying to focus on drinking and following the nutrition plan. I had 24oz of water in my aero bottle out front and 1 liter of Infinit mix behind my seat with a total of 520 calories. I made sure I was drinking Infinit at every 10 mile marker and constantly sipping on water. I ran out of my water about 3 miles before the first aid station but was feeling good. I approached the first aid station opened my quick fill lid and slowed to ~15mph. I pointed to a volunteer carrying a bottle went to grab it. FAIL. I knocked the bottle right out of his hands and dropped it. Luckily another volunteer was waiting shortly after. Success, I grabbed the bottle and squeezed the water into my aero bottle as quickly as I could. I filled about 75% ~18 oz before I had to discard the used bottle and get back to racing. Overall, not bad for my first bike water handoff. I got back up to speed and into race mode.
We made the turn to head off the Blue Star highway for the 12 mile circuit through the country. This was the hilliest part of the course and I just focused on trying to manage my power output and keep an even pace. As I turned back onto Blue Star highway I saw the pro males zoom past. It was incredible seeing them bike past probably close to 30mph. One of the coolest aspects of triathlon is sharing the course and race with professionals.
I passed through the next bike aid station with no problems and was able to fully fill my water bottle. Although at this point I started to realize that I had probably swallowed more lake water than I thought. Good news was I was fully hydrated. Bad news, man I had to pee. I checked behind me, no one, eased my spin, and let loose. I guess I’m finally a triathlete. :P
We made the turn around in South Haven and it was time to kick up my effort for the straight ride back to transition. For the first 34 miles of the ride I had an average speed of 22mph with a power of 230 and NP of 243. I averaged a HR of 143 bpm.
I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable in my saddle but my muscles felt great. Next time I definitely need to apply my chamois cream in T1. During an Olympic ride DZ Nutz has always held up for the duration, even if I apply it before the swim. The half distance is just too much for it to keep the friction under control. Overall the last 22 miles went well without much to complain about. I averaged 23mph with an average power of 232 and NP of 245. I had under biked a little from the race plan. The goal was an average power closer to 255-260 and an intensity factor of 81-82%. Final power was 231 watts with an IF of 76%. Still, I was very happy for my first 70.3
Bike split=2:30:13 33/183 M35-39 and 169/1104 male overall

Again I had a solid transition especially for the distance. I was able to apply more chamois cream to avoid any unfortunate run chaffing. I grabbed my nutrition and took a quick swig of Infinit hydration and was off.
T2 03:06 again under goal of 4 min

Now was the time my race plan was really going to be tested. It was definitely hotter than initially forecast the temperature was already 80 degrees when I started the run and would climb to a high of 88 before I finished. In the past I have always left T2 running beyond my fitness. I have trouble slowing my cadence and feeling my legs running off the bike. I knew that it was going to be a long run and I have never run this distance off the bike before. I really tried to focus on pace and staying under control. Success, first mile 08:07 split.
I felt great and I really thought I had a good run in me. However, I was not going to take anything for granted. I needed to follow my plan. I got to the first aid station. The plan was to walk every aid station and make sure to stay hydrated, 2 cups of water, 1 Gatorade, and Red Bull as needed. The extra surprise which I didn’t have in my plan was ice. I didn’t need any for the first aid station but I knew that it would come in handy later in the day.
I continued to run between aid stations and walk the aid stations with consistent splits of 8:10-08:25 per mile. My heart rate stayed solidly in the 150-160 range, easy zone 2 for the first 4miles. Most of the first half of our run loop was downhill. I loved that but in the back of my mind “what goes down, must go up” (at least when you are starting and stopping in the same place). I could feel the heat. I knew I needed to stay hydrated. At the second aid station I experimented with something new, ice down my trisuit. WOOAAAA, it shocked my system a bit but wow it felt great.
I headed into the whirlpool campus loop and was overwhelmed by the support at that aid station. The volunteers were so amazing, cheering, and enthusiastic. I made sure to thank them with as much energy and they were sharing with me. The whirlpool campus has a little bit of shade which I really appreciated at the time. When I went to exit the whirlpool campus I saw basis behind “what goes down, must go up.” I made the decision that I needed to walk that hill. It was a 6% grade that was less than 0.1miles. Running that hill would probably cost me more time over the course of the race than just walking it. Despite walking that hill my heart rate still was jumping into zone 4 and I’m glad I was walking. The hill was over fast. I continued with my run and my pace was maintaining solidly at about an 8:20 min mile. I finished the first loop and was starting to feel the fatigue set in. Now, it was time to get mentally strong.
The sun was getting hotter. I was getting tired. I needed to stick to the plan. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I didn’t want it to be easy. I still had a shot at trying to keep my time under 5hrs. After 7 miles, the first lap of the run was done I was starting to look for the aid stations. I wanted to give myself permission to walk. Wow, it was getting hot. Every aid station gave me another shock of energy and the ice (now I was taking 2 cups, front and back). I kept going my heart rate was creeping up to the top of zone 3 and I knew the last 4 miles would hurt. I slowed my pace a little but was still running about an 8:30 mile. Mentally, I just focused on keeping moving. The run course was starting to fill up with more runners and I was passing a lot more runners than were passing me. I felt pretty good about my time. I passed the last aid station and had 2 miles to go. There wasn’t much left and the rest was downhill. I was going to finish strong! The last mile I switched my watch to total time and just went for it. I didn’t care about heart rate or pace. I just ran. I closed out running the finisher chute and it wasn’t comfortable but I FINISHED STRONG.
Run Split 1:50:47 36/183 M35-39 196/1104 male overall

I kept moving, grabbed my medal, and poured as much cold water on my head as I put in my mouth. I just wanted to find Katherine and the boys. They met me by the photographer at the finish line. I could tell that the day had been just as hot and probably as challenging for her hauling a 6, 4, and 1 year old around on the beach. It was time to relax and enjoy the beach with family. Katherine had probably devoted as much time and effort into my training as I had and I’m just so thankful for her and the boys. I also need to thank BSC multisport for helping me to complete my first 70.3 triathlon. I’ve learned a lot and the plan that Coach Scott formulated was critical for making my first attempt successful.
Final Time
05:03:17 26/183 M35-39 126/1104 male overall

2018-09-24 4:36 PM
in reply to: #5249686

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Franklin, TN
Subject: RE: A delayed not so brief Race Report for IM Steelhead 70.3
Stellar race Jordan! Good job managing the heat...I wilt in the heat!
2018-09-25 6:47 AM
in reply to: JoelO

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Subject: RE: A delayed not so brief Race Report for IM Steelhead 70.3
Thanks Joel. I definitely am majorly effected by the heat too. I think I would've totally blown up if I didn't walk all the aid stations. There is no way I could've stayed on top of hydration without that. Just don't tell Scott he was right.
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