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Big Kahuna Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Santa Cruz, California
United States
Firstwave Events
Total Time = 6h 20m 33s
Overall Rank = 619/815
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 40/65
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:45 (well, 3:45, due to an error setting the alarm, and then couldn't really get back to sleep) but we got to TA later than I wanted to, closer to 6am. I was a little frazzled getting everything set up and ready to go, had to rush getting my wetsuit on and heading down to the start, etc. I worked on a Clif bar starting about when I woke up, but I was so nervous that it tasted like cardboard and was hard to get down. I managed to eat about 80% of it, plus a shot block or two. Also sipped diluted Gatorade until I had to leave the TA. Had butterflies the size of pterodactyls and was really feeling unwell right before I had to get in the start chute.
Event warmup:

Jumped in the water and swam around a bit to get water in my suit and get things loosened up. Didn't have time for much. Stretched the arms a little while standing around in the pre-race meeting.
  • 35m 30s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 41s / 100 yards

To my relief, my kamikaze butterflies disappeared when I hit the water. The start was much more civilized than my last mass start was (at the Splash & Dash). There was some bumping of feet and arms, but not nearly as much pulling and whacking. I settled into a groove early on: found a good stroke rhythm, kept a consistent breathing pattern, and sighted at a good frequency. The water was pretty calm, which was nice. I took the turns a little wider than normal, which I thought at first was bad, but it actually allowed me to keep my pace better. L shoulder was hurting a bit through the first and second buoys (not the rotator cuff, some other muscle) but it started feeling a bit better heading into shore. Didn't start feeling tired until halfway through the return leg, and even then it wasn't a big deal.
What would you do differently?:

Not much! It was a pretty solid swim, especially given how little I've been swimming lately (trying to keep a rotator cuff injury at bay).
Transition 1
  • 08m 40s

The run from the beach was long (~1/4 mile) and painful (cold/numb feet on rough pavement). I took my time in the TA. Knowing how nervous I was about the race, I wanted to give myself a few extra minutes to breathe and make sure that I had everything I needed for the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe go a bit more quickly, but for my first HIM I'm okay with how long I took.
  • 2h 58m 27s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.83 mile/hr

Hopped on the bike and my legs felt GREAT. It was like they knew it was race day and time to go. I knew I should take it easy for the first 20-30 minutes out of T1, but I was going pretty fast for the first few miles with very little effort. Basically kept the gears comfortable and my cadence around 90. I didn't push on the first few hills, just wanted to see how my legs were feeling.

With all systems go, I kept things comfortable but edged the effort up a bit. Kept an eye on my time and the mileage and continually ran pace numbers through my head. Got my nutrition plan started at around 25 minutes with a small piece of Clif bar (I had broken one up into pieces and put the pieces in my bento box, along with some sport beans and a gel). I tried to keep drinking every few minutes, with the goal of finishing one 20 oz. bottle every hour. It was very nice weather, a bit chilly but not so much that I needed my arm warmers (decided to leave them in transition), so I had to keep reminding myself to drink.

Approaching the turnaround it looked like I was going to make it in just about 1:30, maybe a little more. Knowing I was on pace to make 3 hours put a bit more zing in my stroke, as did the fact that my legs, back, and neck were feeling good. Kicked up the pace a bit again and pushed a bit more on the hills, but not too much. I was wrestling with myself over whether I should push harder on the bike in order to give myself more time for the run (hoping for a <6hr finish) or exercise a little restraint on the bike in order to save as much as possible for the run. I went with the former, rather cautiously, and I think that maybe it was a mistake. My legs were feeling deceptively good, but evidently not good enough to hold a strong pace on the run.

Around mile 35 I was down in aero and felt something sharp on the third finger of my right hand. I took my hand off the bar and sure enough, there was a bee attached to my finger (on the palm side, no less--no idea how that happened, since I thought I was holding onto the bars). I had to laugh. What are the odds of that? (And what are the odds that I'd have a wasp land on the tip of one of my aerobars AND get stung by a bee on a ride in the same week?) Anyway, I was able to flick the bee away with my thumb, but that still left the stinger. I kept pedaling away until I was in a position where I could comfortably use my left hand to extract it. I kept checking on it, but nothing drastic happened--it swelled a bit and there was a bit of white around the puncture mark, but I didn't have a bad reaction (never have had).
What would you do differently?:

In retrospect, maybe hold back a bit more. Definitely do more long-ish brick runs after long rides in training. I think knowing better how my bike effort would affect my run pacing would have been very helpful. I didn't have that sense/knowledge on race day, and it hurt me in the end.
Transition 2
  • 02m 21s

Took it easy again. Didn't want to forget to remove my bike gloves like I did in the Sandman. :) And I didn't want to forget my Camelbak!
What would you do differently?:

Move my bike out of the way so that I don't have to reach across it to get to my stuff.
  • 2h 35m 33s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 52s  min/mile

Oof, this was not my best run. I started out at what I thought was a comfortable and sustainable pace, but I guess I was wrong. I really thought I was going to be able to hold 10:30 or better for the run, especially if I walked the aid stations (just for a few seconds). I just kept getting slower, almost with every mile. I was hoping that I'd start to feel better around mile 4 or 5, since that's often when I get sort of a second wind, but it never came. My perceived effort went a bit like a yo-yo throughout the run, although it was in the "ugh, this is awful" range more than it was in the "this isn't so bad" range. I had brief periods when I felt okay, and like maybe things were picking up, but then I'd go back to slogging along and wishing desperately for the next mile marker.

Nutrition-wise: I took a banana piece at almost every aid station, and I think that helped. Same with the margarita+salt Clif bloks. I hadn't trained running with them, so I was a little concerned, but I had at least used them before on bike rides (unlike the Endurolytes, which seemed like a great idea except that I'd really NEVER trained with them, so I wanted to use them sparingly). I went through them slowly, over the course of about four miles, and they were fine. At the second or third aid station I also started taking two cups of water: one to drink and one to pour over my head to keep me cool. At a couple of aid stations I also took a cup of HEED, which was nasty but probably helpful. Ate two gels over the course of the run, but they didn't give me the energy boost that they usually do.

Around mile 10 my left shoulder started hurting, so I tried to relax it and give the muscles a rest. Eventually it got bad enough that I was trying to immobilize it against my side or with my other arm, which I'm sure made me look pretty odd. By the time I finished I could barely lift my arm over my head (I needed help getting my tri top off when we got home). Not sure what I can do to prevent that sort of thing, other than strengthening the muscles and just getting my arms/shoulders used to doing long runs.

I was definitely glad that I wore my Camelbak. There were lots of aid stations, but sweating the way I do, I like to have fluids available at ALL times. But with about two miles to go my Camelbak ran out. That was a bummer. There was only one aid station in the last two miles, and I came up on it pretty quickly, which left about a mile and a half with no water. Not fun. I was SO glad when I could finally see the Boardwalk and people finishing. Just had to push on through to the end...

... Which was on the beach. The last quarter mile or so was on sand. You ran down some steps onto the soft sand, which I heard was horribly demoralizing. Oddly enough, perhaps because I knew it was coming or because I knew it was THE END, I suddenly got this huge boost of energy when I hit the sand. I got down onto the hard-packed sand and my cadence increased, I started picking up my feet more, and I didn't feel quite so miserable anymore. I went along at a pretty good clip (or what felt like one--I was probably still only doing 10 or 11 min/mile) until I got close to the finishing chute, which was back on the soft sand. At that point I just gave it everything I had and plowed on through to the finish. Crossed the timing mat(s) and got my lei and little tiki necklace, and Steve was there to give me a big hug. I sort of fell/hung onto him, and he said later that I was shaking quite a bit. I couldn't tell, I was just SO glad to be done, and so amazed that I actually did the race. I half expected to start crying like a little baby. Somewhere around mile 9 I had started trying to psych myself up by visualizing the finish, but I had to stop pretty quickly because I was getting choked up. Partly because I was so tired, I'm sure, but mostly because at that point it was starting to sink in that I really was going to finish and be okay. After so many weeks of stressing and worrying and wondering if my spotty training was going to be enough, I was going to finish. my. race. And that was a little overwhelming.
What would you do differently?:

Honestly, I'm not really sure. I feel like I'm still getting to know myself as a runner. I suspect that not going as hard on the bike would have helped, as would getting more practice with brick runs, but other than that....?

Oh, but I would fill up my Camelbak. It wasn't quite full for the race (forgot to fill it up completely) and running out with 2+ miles to go was a little disheartening.
Post race
Warm down:

Walk around on the beach getting food. Nothing specific--just walking and trying not to fall down.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of preparation. This was, I'm sure, far and away the biggest limiting factor.

Event comments:

I really wish they'd had us use neoprene timing chip straps instead of the plastic ones. I'm definitely getting my own strap. Steve's came off in the water during his warmup, and mine ended up cutting into my leg a bit. Providing my own definitely seems like the way to go.

Last updated: 2007-03-23 12:00 AM
00:35:30 | 2112 yards | 01m 41s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/65
Overall: 428/815
Performance: Good
Suit: BlueSeventy Reaction and TYR tri top & shorts
Course: Out on one side of the Municipal Wharf, right turn around a buoy, perpendicular to the wharf to another right turn around a buoy, and back in along the other side of the Wharf. Pretty straightforward.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 51F / 11C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:40
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:58:27 | 56 miles | 18.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/65
Overall: 433/815
Performance: Good
Negative split! 1:30:40 on the way out, 1:27:49 on the way back.
Wind: Little with gusts
Course: Out-and-back, almost entirely along Hwy 1. Some rolling hills, but mostly flat. Overcast and a little cool.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:21
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:35:33 | 13.1 miles | 11m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/65
Overall: 690/815
Performance: Bad
Started off at 10:30 per mile and went downhill from there. I don't have most of my splits because my watch's memory filled up (oops).
Course: Out-and-back along cliff paths and trails. Sunny with no real shade.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-09-11 12:46 AM

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Mountain View, CA
Subject: Big Kahuna Triathlon

2007-09-11 2:07 AM
in reply to: #959421

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Subject: RE: Big Kahuna Triathlon
Hey Doc, you ROCK!!  How fabulous to complete a HIM!  Congrats on your new PR .  I learned a lot from your RR.  My first sprint is this Sunday.  Thanks for recording all the details.  Good stuff!
2007-09-11 10:50 AM
in reply to: #959421

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San Francisco
Subject: RE: Big Kahuna Triathlon
Hi Anne.  Great race and great race report.  Incredible finish on your first half IM.  It was great to meet you and hang with you and Steve.  Can't wait to hear what's next for you!  Of course, getting a Ph.D is an endurance activity for sure!
2007-09-11 2:38 PM
in reply to: #959421

Subject: ...
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2007-09-11 3:31 PM
in reply to: #959421

Subject: RE: Big Kahuna Triathlon
Great job Anne!  Sorry to hear the run was pretty miserable, though.  But you finished and did a great job of gutting it out!  Nice to see you and Steve again, too!
2007-09-11 4:24 PM
in reply to: #959421

SF-Bay Area
Subject: RE: Big Kahuna Triathlon

Right on, Anne!  You rock!  I'm so sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you and some of my fellow BT'ers at the Expo on Sat.

Read the great RR, one word re: bike pacing...powermeter.  It's definitely an investment, but properly used it almost guarantees you'll "have your legs" under you for the run (it did for me).


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