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Troika Half Iron Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Spokane, Washington
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 6h 47m 18s
Overall Rank = 248/257
Age Group = Athena 40+
Age Group Rank = 2/2
Pre-race routine:

Everthing was packed the night before, so when I got up at 4 there wasn't too much to do - sunscreen, pump tires, load the cooler with all the bottles, and throw everything in/on the car. This was the first time I'd hauled my bike on my outside-the-car bikerack but it worked fine. On my last trip into the house I discovered one of the dogs got up and wet on the carpet...sigh. She has a brain about the size of a pea, and most of it is filled with 'flight response' so there isn't much room in there for housetraining. This hasn't happened for months, though...and this morning of all mornings... So today my pre-race activities included cleaning up after the dog. I wouldn't recommend it as a regular pre-race activity - it kind of threw me off. ANYWAY, then racinmason and our wonderful wonderful driver arrived, we loaded up his stuff and off we went. I ate my usual whole wheat with peanut butter bagel in the car and sipped water until I went to warmup in the water. We got to the site in plenty of time to get racked, unpacked, marked with the biggest el-marko I've ever seen, and to stand in the loooong portopotty line. What a difference a year makes - last year the swim course looked r-e-al-l-y long and scary... today it looked long but very doable. I got to say hi to all our club members who were racing today, and several who were out to watch. I really like our club, we have some great people in it. Even BT's own gentle_storm was out there (Yay!), looking not too much the worse for wear after her high-speed meet-and-greet with one of our local trees.
Event warmup:

As usual, getting my wetsuit on is part of my warmup. I had taken my bodyglide back to the car so I had to borrow some for my neck. Suited up and swam a few yards out and back a couple of times. It never fails to amaze me when I recognize anyone in their cap and goggles in the water, but I think I saw all the club members again while I was warming up with the other 256 people. They called us all out of the water in time to line the guys up for their first wave start. Gave racinmason a hug and a 'good luck' before heading back out of the way. (Racinmason is my big brother, who was doing his first HIM today. Way to go, BB!) Watched the men's wave head off, then ate my gel and milled around for a few minutes before realizing I had forgotten to lube under my arms around my wetsuit...where I ALWAYS chafe. Luckily one of the competitors had a stick handy and let me borrow it. (Bodyglide doesn't seem to stick to wet skin very well.) But big thanks to whoever you are! Even after all that, I had time to stand in the crowd and get my goggles seated before the horn.
  • 44m 9s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 05s / 100 yards

When the horn sounded (boy was it loud!) I waded in near the back and started swimming. The water felt good, my goggles weren't leaking, and I was very relaxed. As I swam, I realized that even with the borrowed lube I had apparently missed the place that I was trying to get, as I was getting some chafing under both arms. I was in a small crowd for the first two legs, then it thinned out a bit on the way back, but I never was alone in the lake. I felt like I swam pretty straight, and sighted about every four strokes. I felt pretty good the whole swim, but noticed my shoulder getting a little sore and my arms being a bit tired on the last leg. I did swim over a little school of fish on my way back in - they were down in the weeds where I never looked last year if I could help it. It was a good indicator of how much more comfortable I am in the water this year.
What would you do differently?:

Remember to lube my arms! Otherwise nothing, I was very happy with my performance, it felt a lot better than last year, but I only cut one minute off my time after a whole year of drills...just confirmed that I'm not getting any faster. Well, I guess I will be doing some more speedwork over the next year. Good swim.
Transition 1
  • 02m 42s

Ran/walked up the hill to my bike while taking off cap and goggles and the top half of my wetsuit. The rest came off pretty easy, but one heel was a little bit stuck. I really like my new timing chip band - it stayed on and didn't have any flappy bits (I have plenty of my own flappy bits, I don't need any more!) - I hardly noticed it compared to my old one. It's a keeper. I wore my lucky PMS socks for this ride since it was a longie, and they went on pretty easy, as did my shoes. The gloves were a bit of a struggle, but not too bad, helmet and glasses fine. I jogged to the mount line, clipped one foot in and started off. I had remembered to put my bike in an easy gear but the clipped-in foot wasn't clipped in after all...I struggled for a bit with both feet out of the pedals, but finally got them clipped in and was ready to ride.
What would you do differently?:

Learn how to get my feet in the pedals faster. I mostly can do it when I'm just riding, and I actually practiced doing my second foot on my last ride, but I just don't have it down yet. I feel like such a goober when I'm struggling along like that.
  • 3h 15m 7s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.22 mile/hr

I had to keep reminding myself that this was a long ride and to take it easy. Very soon after leaving T1 I heard the ice cream bike bell and racinmason went blasting usual. :) It's really cool to race with my brother, but he sure seems to catch me easily on his bike!

I struggled a bit in the early miles - I wasn't comfortable on my seat (the incredible shrinking seat syndrome) and I got this weird cramp that I can't figure out. It is the same one as in my other races - right at the top of my leg in the back, that makes my whole leg feel kind of achy and weak. I felt like I was working too hard and had to keep reminding myself to relax and slow down. I had a bunch of little aches and pains during this time...I know, whine whine whine. it was just not very comfortable and I was a bit worried about 3+ hours like that. It got better. I passed one lady during this time who said "you don't LOOK 41!" as I went by. I took that to mean I looked younger (maybe I looked like I was in my 80's!) but she made my day. The ride finally came together and I had a very nice and moderate effort through the middle miles, even up the hills. About mile 45 I started sitting up to climb the hills. Partway through I realized I had forgotten something else - to sunscreen my lower back where my top rides up. I remembered in time to avoid much of a burn.

The last 15 miles or so were the best part of the ride for me. It started with a long fast downhill where I passed several people I'd been following for miles. The last miles were the strongest for me and I had to continually remind myself to slow down. I felt like riding hard here.

All through the ride I sipped my 4-hour-bottle of Perpetuem/HEED mix every 15 minutes, and tried to sip water every five minutes or so. At points I felt some stomach pains and eased off the nutrition a bit, but was worried about having enough fuel for the rest of the day, so I kept sipping. I felt plenty hydrated on the bike.

This was a fun ride, and I came off the bike feeling a little stiff but darn good.
What would you do differently?:

Sunscreen my lower back. Figure out how to pull things together earlier in the ride - those first few miles were rough.
Transition 2
  • 01m 34s

This was great! I rode into the transition area toward four or five guys standing in the way. (At the race meeting they talked about this - "they said there were big guys, you WILL stop" - funny) They all pointed towards one guy, so I rode toward him, he grabbed my bike by the handlbars and held it while I got off. Leg and back spasmed a bit going over the seat - ouch! Another guy held an open bag for my helmet, shoes, socks, and gloves. I jogged over toward the benches, where yet another volunteer handed me my run bag as I sat down and started getting ready. She tried to help but there wasn't much to do.

I had noticed some wheezy breathing during the last hills on the bike, so the first thing I did was to use my inhaler. My fresh socks went on easily, as did my shoes. I changed my glasses to the ones that are more comfortable (after all, I'm gonna be out there awhile). I took my hat and number belt with me to put on while I was moving. The memory theme continues as I forgot to lube up my toes. I looked in my bag, saw the lube, and simply didn't think about it even though that's why I put it in there. Took my final inhaler hit and was ready to go.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I'd like to be faster, but the fact that I'm running a half-marathon which is longer than my longest training runs dictates (for me) a certain amount of preparation.
  • 2h 43m 46s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 30s  min/mile

I feel good about my run. I ran the majority of the time and even though I was hot and kind of tired, I felt surprisingly good.

I bypassed the water at the transition but did stop at the POP. While I thought I drank enough on my bike, I realized after I passed the water that I felt like I was starting the run a little low. It took the first few miles to catch up. At the first station I got a cup of water but was still thirsty when I left it so I figured I'd better start taking in a bit more at the next. I drank a bit more from then on, and only had too much at the third station, which meant I walked a bit longer than I'd planned, but it soaked in pretty quick and I felt a lot better. I alternated a half-pack of HammerGel and HEED at most of the alternate stations, and took water at all the stations. It's amazing what a difference fueling correctly can make. :) I had to avail myself of the vaseline at the first station for the chafing under my arms (and while I was laughing about having to put vaseline there, the lady holding it said that was where everyone was putting it) so I couldn't open my gel at the next station with my slippery hands...I had to ask for help - how embarassing. It was hot and I didn't sweat as much as normal all through the run, but I did feel pretty good. I also got fresh ice-water sponges at each station. I had to stuff them down my shirt while I was managing the drinking and gels and stuff (which I'm sure was very attractive), but as soon as I could I put them under the shoulder straps of my top - felt like it was cooling the blood going to my brain. :) I even got a scoop of ice in my hat a couple of times. It was so cold it hurt where the ice touched my skin, but well worth it.

I'm not sure how I did it, but shortly after the turnaround I managed to soak the tops of both shoes. I could feel it soaking through my socks and around my feet, and pretty soon my socks and shoes were wet and squishy. Ugh. That was when I remembered that I hadn't lubed up my toes at T2. Duh. Even with all that, I didn't get any blisters...hooray!

As I was running along one stretch, I saw a spectator up ahead under a tree who looked was my DAD! What a great surprise that was! (I have a really cool family!)

I finally caught my brother just after the 9 mile marker and we stayed together for a bit - that was a very welcome distraction.

The last couple of miles were the hardest mentally. I could feel that I was tired but knew I was so close. I started figuring out how long I'd been out there, and really hoping my family had come early since I was ahead of my best case estimate. Luckily for me, they had and there they were when I turned the corner. The two younger girls ran up the final hill with me - that was a great way to finish!

Overall I was very happy with my run. I think my running pace was similar to my long training runs which is a bit of a surprise after swimming and biking, although the total pace was brought down a bit by the walk breaks.

What would you do differently?:

Not bypass the water at T2 and not soak my shoes.
Post race
Warm down:

Milled around a bit with the family and club, stretched (only a little, but some is better than none). While I was bent over stretching, I heard one of my daughters ask her dad in a quiet voice, "Is Mommy ok?" So cute! Watched racinmason's finish, milled around some more, took a little walk and was finally ready for my MASSAGE! That was the best thing EVER! I felt so much better when I got up off the table than when I layed! Drank a bottle of Recoverite, then walked what seemed like several miles to pick up my bike and stuff. After that, I picked up the yummy post-race meal - some fruit, a yummy cookie, a wonderful turkey and cheese sandwich on my favorite Great Harvest bread (although they were running out of turkey so I got - I kid you not - a 1/2" by 2" slice of turkey on my sandwich!) Major thanks to RM for sharing - he must have looked hungrier than me! :)

Sat and ate and watched the other finishers. Waited for the last finisher (who looked great but had battled serious GI issues the whole run - boy is she ever tough!) then packed up and came home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Hmmm, training and extra weight. :) I didn't have enough bike miles this year - I didn't start serious base building early enough this year and struggled to fit in the few miles that I DID get. Even so, I took 13 minutes off my bike time. I did manage to keep my run volume up through the spring, which really showed this year. I took 22 minutes off last year's run time and felt better throughout the run. I know I could go faster if I carried less weight...we'll see what next year brings. (7:23 last year, 6:47 this year...)

Event comments:

This was a fun race! The event is very well organized and the volunteers did a great job. They had enough water stations on the run this year (twice as many as last year) and were sponsored by HammerNutrition, which conveniently is the fuel I prefer and train with so they were stocked with all the stuff I would have otherwise carried with me. :)

They allowed one earbud for music on the run this year. I can understand people not wanting to wear music when they race, but I enjoyed having some tunes with me. I hope they continue this.

Every year there seems to be a worry about whether the lake will be cool enough for wetsuits, but the two years I've been there they were allowed. If you swim in the lake for practice, go early in the morning - the lake smells horrible later in the afternoon. I was in it a few weeks ago and was quite worried about having to swim in it again, but it was fine on race morning.

I hope to be back next year.

Last updated: 2007-05-21 12:00 AM
00:44:09 | 2112 yards | 02m 05s / 100yards
Age Group: 2/2
Overall: 211/257
Performance: Good
Suit: Blueseventy Sleeveless Reaction
Course: One lake-shaped lap clockwise
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:42
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:15:07 | 56 miles | 17.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 2/2
Overall: 238/257
Performance: Good
Average HR 146.
Wind: Little
Course: There are two bike course water stations but the water bottles at the first station won't stay in a cage, so I'd suggest using an aerobottle to refill. The second bottle hand-up is where they give you the bottle printed with the race name, so if you want one you need a place to carry it for 10-15 miles. I had bought a grocery-store bottle to carry in my spare cage so I could throw it away and replace it with the race bottle. The bike course is a good one - some rollers, some flat, and a couple of excellent descents. Watch out for the hill in the park, it goes up and around a bend, then it gets steeper - that second part always surprises people. Great view from the top, though. :)
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 82
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:34
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:43:46 | 13.1 miles | 12m 30s  min/mile
Age Group: 2/2
Overall: 248/257
Performance: Good
Mile 1: Forgot to turn on timer Mile 2: 11:26 Mile 3: 12:16 Miles 4 and 5: 25:00 (12:30-ish each) I walked a bit during this mile Mile 6: 13:37 - another walk break Miles 7 and 8: 23:26 - not bad Miles 9 and 10: 25:20 Mile 12: 11:48 Mile 13.1 plus the time I forgot to turn off my timer: 19:19 - I walked some during the last lap, but felt strong at the uphill finish. Also, I walked all 10 aid stations and three or four other times to bring my HR down.
Course: Out and back along the Centennial Trail. The run course is mostly flat with a few small rollers. Most of it is scenic along the river, but there is a l-o-n-g stretch in the middle that goes along a road with no shade and nothing much to look at.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-08-06 2:49 PM

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Spokane, Washington
Subject: Troika Half Iron Triathlon

2007-08-06 4:14 PM
in reply to: #915242

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Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon

Excellent RR. You improved a lot from last year despite less than desired bike and run miles. It was good to see you out there and watch you finish. Looking forward to do it all over again next year!

2007-08-06 4:38 PM
in reply to: #915242

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Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon
Way to go little sister!!!!  It's so much fun having you for a training partner although I have to admit I didn't really like getting left behind on the run but you were going so strong, it was really fun to watch.  Way to go!!!  Can't wail until next year.
2007-08-06 9:46 PM
in reply to: #915242

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Madison, Wiscansin
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon
Dang! I forgot that I was going to try to find some BTers at this race. Oh well. If you saw anyone in a blue and orange Team Duofold get-up, that was me.

That's a great race report. Way to crush last year's time. It sounds like it was really fun to share that race with your brother.
2007-08-08 5:38 PM
in reply to: #915242

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Extreme Veteran
Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: Troika Half Iron Triathlon
Great race! Congrats on your accomplishment!
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