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USAT Halfmax National Championship - Triathlon1/2 Ironman


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Innsbrook, Missouri
United States
Ultramax Events
50F / 10C
Sunny
Total Time = 5h 11m 2s
Overall Rank = 99/203
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 11/15
Pre-race routine:

I was up at 4:45AM to have my requisite bowl of oatmeal I've come to enjoy before every race. I was pretty much all packed up the night before. I left my bike on the car since I stayed out at Innsbrook at the in-laws chalet. Pretty safe neighborhood!
It was cold on this particular morning, so I was having trouble adjusting at first. I put on my race shorts and top, then pants, 2 longsleeve tops, and course my stocking cap for good measure. Ahhh, that's better. I was a short 5 minute drive to the race site, so I was able to get there easily by 5:30AM. Racks were assigned by AG, but spots within those racks were first come first served. I got the end piece, just the way I like it. Then I headed to the timing chip table to get that taken care of. I was the first one in line and was happy to get it done. I was ready.
I spend the next hour or so shuttling stuff back and forth between TA and my car like a sherpa. I was just trying to stay busy and not be nervous. Anything to avoid thoughts about freezing my ass off.
Event warmup:

At about 7:05AM, I decided to get some blood flowing and start my warmup. I put on my racing flats and adjusted the laces just how I'd want them for later. Lots of others were heading out on a little jog, too, so I felt comfortable doing the same thing. Back in TA about 10 minutes later, thining about putting my wetsuit on, I see a huge line forming at the timing chip table. That's not right. Over the PA I hear that if any competitors have only recieved their chip ONCE, they need to go do it AGAIN. I'm not ready.
So I get in the line, and luckily it's move extremely fast, but what a way to make me nervous before the start. Geez!
I pulled on my suit and made small talk with some other racers as we all waddled down to the beach for the start. I was able to see my friends and family too. They wished me luck, and I enjoyed the warm send-off.
At first, lots of people were getting in the water for warmup swims, but it appeared that the event was not going to start on time. I didn't know it at the time, but the delay was to wait for the steam/fog to burn off the lake so that safety conditions could be perfect. It's understandable. Those in a full suit were fine. Those in a sleeveless, like myself, or no suit at all, like a few were, were extremely cold when the race director made us all get out of the water, off the beach, and back behind the timing mat. I didn't even bother to do a warmup swim. I was content to hang out in waist-deep water and chat. Anyway, we were herded back bend the mat for several minutes while we heard the national anthem, and a nice prayer from Sister Madonna Buder - Yes, the Queen of Kona herself!
Swim
  • 30m 44s
  • 1930 meters
  • 01m 35s / 100 meters
Comments:

About 1 minute before the gun went off, I asked if anybody wanted to punch me in the face now, and get it over with. That elicited a few good chuckles, but there were no actual takers. A guy toward the back proclaimed that "those are MY swim-fins stashed about yards out!! Nobody else touch them!" So the mood was pretty relaxed until 15 seconds before the gun went off. Dead silence.... BOOM!! A couple steps to get into waist-deep water, and I dove headlong into the action. The race was on.

HE'S GOING THE DISTANCE:

I started out wide to the right, keeping the vast majority of people to my left, and just a couple people to my right. This strategy worked well, as I only ran up on a couple people and was able to maintain composure well and keep myself aimed in the right direction with a minimal amount of lifting my head. I just let other people do my sighting for me, and it worked out well.
The next thing I new, I was making the first turn at the other end of the lake. I was feeling good about the swim so far, but didn't want to check my watch because I knew it wouldn't do me any good. On the backstretch, it was primarily clear sailing. I ran into one dude, who knocked the left side of my goggles loose, and that was it. I deftly got it sealed back up without even disrupting my strokes. I was pretty pleased with myself on that little move.
The glare from the sun was pretty nasty to my left, so I did quite a bit of right side breathing during the final stretch there. When I did breath to my left, I closed my eyes so as not to be blinded. It worked well. I felt like I was the only one in the lake for quite a while til I got just a couple hundred yards from the beach. At that point, I knew I was having a strong swim, and I wanted to keep it up. I went hard to the finish, catching up to a group of guys who ahead of me 25-50yds. I was ecstatic to be out of water... and so soon!
What would you do differently?:

Well, it's not often that I say this, but I would have to admit that I apparently went too hard. I should have tried to have a more relaxed effort. I really anticipated coming out of the water with a HR in the 130-140 range, not up in the 160s.
Transition 1
  • 01m 33s
Comments:

7th out of 15 AG
57th out of 203 OA

HE'S GOING FOR SPEED:

T1 includes a long uphill run to the TA. Earlier, I had made the decision to leave my tri-top in the TA so I would have something dry to put on. I was happy I did because it was extremely cold and windy on the course. I also decided to put on socks for the bike portion, which I was happy about, too. Even with the socks, a few toes went numb for a while. It could have been brutal without the socks!
I ran with my bike to the mount line and swung my leg over my steed to take off on the next adventure. I was barely a pedal stroke away when people were yelling at me because a water bottle had already fallen off. I wasn't bothered that much, but it was kinda crappy.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing to change here, realistically.
Bike
  • 2h 50m 25s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.72 mile/hr
Comments:

It was rough out there, especially with my HR blown up the way it was. It took a lot of mental effort on my part to keep from chasing the guys that were passing me. I'll just say this one time and get it out of the way; a LOT of people passed me. They weren't kind about it either. Inside the resort was over 7.5mi of tough hills. we're talking about steep, grinding hills, too. Nothing "rolling" about it! Until I got out on the rural hiways, it was impossible to get my HR back down where it needed to be. I was already running it higher that I would have ever wanted. Only thing I could do was accept that that's the way it was. I knew that with the course inside the resort being tougher than I anticpated, and the wind being stiffer than I thought it would be, I would have to adjust my finishing time to something beyond 5 hrs.
As a result, I never gave chase to the guys with the disc wheels. I let them go do their thing. I knew I had to have another gear to use when it came to the half marathon, so I kept myself in check out on the bike. Seeing my support crew back in the resort was awesome. I got a good boost from them as they made lots of noise for me. That stuff can go a long ways.

HE'S ALL ALONE:

Nobody was friendly out there on the course, it got pretty lonely at times. I kept myself busy by doing math in my head, and worrying about drinking too much/too little. I went through a bottle of Perpetuem, a bottle of Heed, and a bottle of water, plus 4 E-Caps. I stopped once to pee at about mile 44, and that's all the action there was out there. No deer, no dogs, and not much encouragement, other then by the nice aid station folks.

As a credit to my fitness and consistency, I will pat myself on the back because on the second lap I was able to negative split at a lower effort, so that's kinda cool.
What would you do differently?:

I would probably drink more, and just suck it up and make 2 pee breaks. Other than that, I don't think I could have done much differently on the bike. Certainly couldn't have gone harder. And had I gone easier, I don't believe it would have benefitted me for the run.
Transition 2
  • 00m 45s
Comments:

2nd out of 15 AG
9th out of 203 OA

What can I say, I rock at transitions.
I was pretty excited to get off the bike at this point, and without even thinking, had my shoes switched, my hat on, race-belt in hand, and was headed out. It's automatic, and I love that.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing.
Run
  • 1h 47m 33s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 13s  min/mile
Comments:

Chugging out of the TA I was feeling pretty good mentally, and decent physically. Ryan and Mark ran along side of me for a minute asking how I was doing. I reported back that my legs felt numb and I couldn't feel my hands either. But I was running well and had cranked the HR up to 160 where I planned to keep it for the remainder of the run. My biggest fear getting off the bike was that I would have to battle side cramps... but I didn't get a single one. I controlled my breathing, ran tall, and kept popping E-Caps. That made me really happy!
I was thrilled to be tackling the last leg of this race, and even happier when I started blowing through mile markers in 7:30, 7:15, 7:20... I was killing it out there. Taking in Heed at each aid station and gel from my flask occassionally, I felt good. Really good. The whole time, I knew I racing for something like a 5:03 finish. At least, that's what I thought for some reason. But as I headed back to TA to start my second loop, I was still on target!! The first lap had only taken me 48 minutes. If I could dig deep, I thought, I could still pull off the 5hr finish... and hell, I've got about 50 minutes to do it. Let's do this!

IN HIS TIME OF NEED:

And that was one of the last times I felt good. The next couple hills, while still at a very nice pace, were taking their toll on my quads. I could feel an unfamiliar deep burn and ache. It was a pain I could live with, however, and even though my pace slowed a bit, I kept pushing. By the time I made it to the half-way point of the second lap, my quads were trashed. They were absolutely throbbing from the pounding they were taking. My calves soon followed suit. I was reduced to a shuffle of sorts, each step hurting worse than the one before it. I was scared to stop, thinking I might not be able to get going again. My mind said not to even contemplate walking, but my legs screamed louder. With just a couple miles to go, my right quad cramped, and then my left calf knotted itself too, and I stumbled. I guy behind me shuffled by and mumbled, "I've got 'em too. Just walk 'em out." So that's what I did. I walked. I said I wouldn't do it, but my legs just wouldn't carry under the pounding. All the while, I had to watch my time goal slip away. I was so close to it, and yet it seemed to move farther from my grasp so quickly I couldn't stop it.
I forced running when I could muster up a stretch of it, with bits of walking on the steepest parts of hills. That got me through. For the last .5mi, the course flattens out, so I was able to keep a pretty steady run into the finish chute, but nothing like the dominant sprint I envisioned for myself in my dreams a 100 times. That didn't change the pure joy that I felt as I crossed the finish line. My smile in the picture betrays the pain that was coursing through my body. It was a great moment, made even greater by being surrounded by friends and family. It meant a lot to me to have their support.
What would you do differently?:

Well, I'm struggling with this. Should have gone easier in the first 10k? Maybe. I can't say for sure whether or not that would have saved my muscles from becoming obliterated anyway. I'm frustrated because I'm confident I could have kept my HR up in the 155-160 range for longer... but my legs just weren't willing to go.
I probably could have fueled better on the bike, and perhaps prevented the cramping.. But this was all new territory for me. I've never cramped before. I've never run so far so fast after a tough bike ride. I'll find a way to learn from it all.
Post race
Warm down:

I stumbled to a chair to sit and wait for a stretch/massage. I begged a dude from some potato chips because I was needing some salt. He obliged, so that was nice.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Experience was a big factor. These were untested waters for me.
Being self-coached is a limiter.
Not fueling properly and pacing myself early on the swim was probably a negative, too.

Event comments:

Quality race with a good Director. Lots of good volunteer. A beautiful setting. Be prepared for less-than-friendly racers, though. Such highly competitive fields tend to lose their kindness.




Last updated: 2007-09-17 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:30:44 | 1930 meters | 01m 35s / 100meters
Age Group: 11/15
Overall: 74/203
Performance: Good
My watch said 28:21 for what it's worth! HR @ 170 or so!!
Suit: ProMotion Sleeveless PowerGlide.
Course: Counter clockwise rectangle in Aspen Lake, leaving from Lionshead Beach.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 01:33
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
Biking
02:50:25 | 56 miles | 19.72 mile/hr
Age Group: 10/15
Overall: 105/203
Performance: Average
Taken from my watch... First lap: 1:25:00 @ HR 153 Second lap: 1:24:50 @ HR 148
Wind: Some
Course: Generally hilly inside the resort, and rolling outside. 90% of the roads were paved beautifully, but there was one stretch on hwy F that was a mess.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
T2
Time: 00:45
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
01:47:33 | 13.1 miles | 08m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/15
Overall: 85/203
Performance: Below average
First lap: 48:23 @ HR 156 Second lap: 1:00:00 @ HR 143
Course: Up and down. Up and down. Repeat.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2007-09-18 11:30 AM

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Expert
913
500100100100100
St. Louis
Subject: USAT Halfmax National Championship


2007-09-18 11:36 AM
in reply to: #969302

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Expert
913
500100100100100
St. Louis
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

The finish line, at last!





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2007-09-18 1:57 PM
in reply to: #969302

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Cycling Guru
15134
50005000500010025
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

Awesome swim!  And a solid bike and run to boot (even though things fell apart towards the end).

Congrats on the HIM and with experience at the distance you will only get better!

2007-09-18 3:14 PM
in reply to: #969302

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Veteran
139
10025
Columbia, MO
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship
Wow. I barely managed to get through that course 1 time, I couldn't fathom grinding it out 2 times, and at times like you cranked out.  Impressive race.  You can see from the pic how pumped up your quads got.  The brutality of the hills overshadows the beauty of the course. You'll go sub 5 next year for sure.  Great job.
2007-09-19 9:18 AM
in reply to: #969302

, Alabama
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

Hope you're walking well by now!  Too bad we didn't get a chance to meet up at the race.  You certainly kicked my butt!  Of course, the bike had already kicked my butt before you ever did.  Great job!

Sharon

2007-09-19 2:14 PM
in reply to: #969302

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Pro
4672
200020005001002525
Nutmeg State
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship
Nice job (and wicked fast).  Way to grind it out at the end (with numb limbs to boot).


2007-09-19 10:17 PM
in reply to: #969302

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Westminster, CO
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship
nice race!  great swim!  where did that come from???
2007-09-20 8:21 PM
in reply to: #969302

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St. Louis, MO
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

Damn. You rock!

Congrats on a new distance! Now, just imagine doubling that!

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