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Ironman Calgary 70.3 - Triathlon

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Calgary, Alberta
Triathlon Alberta
86F / 30C
Total Time = 5h 53m 13s
Overall Rank = 142/649
Age Group = W50-54
Age Group Rank = 1/10
Pre-race routine:

Up at about 4:45, ate breakfast at the hotel (oatmeal and Cliff bar, coffee), drove to race site (about 30 minutes). Set up transition around 6-6:30 and got into wetsuit.
Event warmup:

Did about 5-10 minutes of easy jogging. I swam about five minutes before we were asked to get out for the start. The race was supposed to start at 7 but the start was delayed 15-20 minutes due to mist rising off the lake, which was making it hard for swimmers to see the buoys and safety boats to see swimmers. So we stood around jiggling to music for a while. Fortunately it was not too cold!
  • 37m 53s
  • 1900 meters
  • 01m 59s / 100 meters

Not sure of course accuracy, but I don't think it was a great swim as my AG ranking was lowest for this leg, and usually it is highest! I felt like I paced steadily but maybe swam some extra distance.
What would you do differently?:

Practice sighting more. I haven't done as much OWS this summer as in the past since we had a long, cold spring and water temps didn't really allow it until late June/early July.
Transition 1
  • 02m 56s

There were wetsuit strippers and I used them. Not sure that was a great idea as I had a big muscular dude, my suit is tight around the arms, and it felt like he tore my wrist and shoulder off! They were sore for the first part of the bike. Otherwise it went smoothly except for a sock issue once again--somehow one of them was inside out. Took the time to put it right. But I still got blisters on the run. Sigh....
What would you do differently?:

Maybe take off my own wetsuit. I'm not sure it saved any time to use the strippers. And double-check my socks!
  • 3h 10m 15s
  • 85 kms
  • 26.81 km/hr

This was the hardest bike course I have ever done in a tri. It seemed like I was always either going up a steep hill at about 8 mph, or screaming down one and debating how many risks to take with speed and staying in aero. I hit 41 mph at one point, which is definitely a first for me! There was a woman in my AG who was giving me a run for my money in the first half, so I was more aggressive with downhills than I normally would be. (I ended up getting about 10 minutes on her in the last half, and another 20 or so on the run.) Despite the slow time, it was actually a strong bike for me.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe use a different gearing setup. Some of the climbs were really at the outer limit of what my bike and body could handle! There were many more people using road bikes and even MTB's on this course than in any race I've ever done.
Transition 2
  • 01m 56s

There were a lot of volunteers at the race and they practically did everything for you! (At least they did for me.) The guy racked my bike, stopped my Garmin and turned it off, even handed me stuff. Fairly big transition zone so it was about as efficient as I/we could make it.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure.
  • 2h 00m 13s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 05m 42s  min/km

Kind of a slog! My legs were very tired after the hilly bike and I felt a bit wobbly for the first 2-3 miles but eventually got into some kind of rhythm. My shins and calves cramped periodically, especially on the second loop, but it never got to a catastrophic level. (When it does, which it has, I can barely shuffle!) I felt very hot, so I walked a bit through each aid station to make sure to get down plenty of fluids and cool off a bit. Fortunately we had lots of aid station support with drinks, ice, cold sponges and towels, and even kids spraying athletes with super-soakers at some stations.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Maybe all that walking wasn't physically necessary. It did make me feel better mentally and physically. I really didn't know I had a chance of qualifying for Worlds, so my thinking was more like, whatever, just get through it, finish vertical and out of the med tent. I was racing the woman I'd passed on the bike, but actually had no idea I was ahead of everyone in AG by 30 minutes at the end! I got a text from a my coach a few minutes after I finished that I'd won and qualified, and I thought she was joking!
Post race
Warm down:

Not really! I walked through the finish chute and found Mom(somehow they'd let her inside the athlete area--she was wearing an event shirt, so maybe they thought she was a volunteer?!). Had a bit of the post-race food, changed, and walked back to get my stuff out of transition. There was very little shade anywhere, so I spent a couple of hours (no kidding) lying under a table with my feet up on my transition bag. A nice volunteer found Mom a chair and a small patch of shade to sit in. Poor Mom got to experience what happens when you qualify for Worlds--you are the LAST ones out of there because you have to stay for the whole pony show--awards, Worlds slots roll-down, and computer sign-up and deposits. When we left, there were only a few cars left!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor sighting on the swim, relative lack of run fitness, and heat. Plus probably my mentality. I didn't think I was in serious contention for Worlds qualification--if I'd thought it was up in the air, I probably had a few more matches that I could have lit up on the run (but at the risk of serious cramping and med tent). Serious lack of race-oriented training. I basically had done no serious training for almost a year, beyond just "putting in time", until starting to work with my coach again in early June. I had kept up the long runs and rides on weekends, was pretty consistent with Masters swim, and tried to run and bike at least 2-3 X a week, but with very little intensity or planning.

This was only my second race in over a year (the first was last week--really). Hard to explain--Covid, the state of the world, my job.....I just couldn't get excited or motivated about anything beyond the immediate workday. This report could probably be called, "How to qualify for Worlds by accident"! (Not in terms of race-day effort; that was definitely there in spades, but in terms of intention and training.)

Event comments:

This is the third time I have done this event, and there's a reason for that. They really go out of their way to put on a safe, athlete-friendly event. The course also played to my strengths (dealing well with altitude, heat, and climbing on the bike). Each year I've done the event, the bike and run courses have been completely different. This year's bike was definitely the hardest course I've done in a tri. I preferred the run in years past. But the heat could have had something to do with that (it was probably 15 to 20 degrees hotter this year). Excellent volunteers who do everything but swim, bike, and run for you! My only issue was the near-total lack of shade, not just on the course but in the transition/finish area. It made for a long, hot day for spectators, especially older people, young children, and dogs. They did repurpose some sponsor tents to try to keep people cool but needed more, plus some more fans, sprayers, and water for spectators and post-race athletes. Given that these were exceptional conditions for the area, I think they did the best they could on short notice. I would recommend this race, unless you're in my age group!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2022-08-04 12:00 AM
00:37:53 | 1900 meters | 01m 59s / 100meters
Age Group: 3/10
Overall: 126/649
Performance: Below average
Includes a short run on the beach between loops and up to a timing mat (maybe a minute total or a bit more?). As I recall, lap times were both about 18:30 (very slow for me).
Suit: ProMotion Full Suit
Course: Two loops in a man-made lake at a country club. Pretty tame except that there was mist on the lake and the sun was rising--very hard to see the buoys. I don't think I was always swimming the shortest distance between them!
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:56
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
03:10:15 | 85 kms | 26.81 km/hr
Age Group: 1/10
Overall: 163/649
Performance: Good
NP= 159.
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Hard to explain except that there were constant hills. Very few flats, even false ones. Pretty much always going up a steep hill, or down one. It was a "lollipop" course--out about 6 miles (gradual climb, the only one!), then two extremely hilly loops from a point about 6 miles out, then back on a gradual descent to T2. Everything except the first and last 6 miles or so was very, very hilly (nearly 4000 total feet of climbing).
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 79
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:56
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:00:13 | 21.1 kms | 05m 42s  min/km
Age Group: 1/10
Overall: 143/649
Performance: Average
Honestly cannot remember. The second half was probably slower because I was fightng cramps and it was really hot. (It was 86 when I got off the bike and I'm sure it continued to heat up over the next two hours. NO shade anywhere on the run course.)
Course: Two out and back runs of 9 km each, through a park and golf course beside a small lake. Basically flat with a few very slight up and downhills. A gravel section of about 1/2 mile that one hit a total of four times. Then a final 3 km loop past transition/finish area, up a small hill, to a turnaround and back to the 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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2022-08-04 6:13 PM

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Ironman Calgary 70.3

2022-08-05 7:22 AM
in reply to: #5282175

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Calgary 70.3
Originally posted by Hot Runner

Congrats! We're going to Finland!!
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