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Health First Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Melbourne, Florida
United States
Health First
83F / 28C
Total Time = 3h 22m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 14/24
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:40am and started my routine off with coffee, banana, popped some electrolytes and did some stretching. Double checked my backpack and remembered that I forgot my 1/2 gal bottle of water, this is a must for after the salt water swim in the Intracoastal water.
Event warmup:

I rode my bike to the event nice and easy like (~5 miles). Saw some friends and ran into my son's swim coach. She was doing the sprint and it was her first tri, she was nervous and needed someone to talk to for a bit!
  • 53m 33s
  • 1640 yards
  • 03m 16s / 100 yards

This was a swim of 2 halves, first half felt good and quick. The wind & waves were tailing somewhat so they were more or less coming from the side and behind. I remembered how the winds kept blowing me off course in April at the TriAmerica event and was determined not to go off because of them again. They only had 1 buoy marking the turn around that was ~700 yards away and it was impossible to see the turn buoy at the beginning of the leg with the waves. And there was a lack of a major horizontal landmark heading out this way; this was a pretty lame setup if you ask me. Especially when sitting on the shore near the start was a spare buoy with rope and anchor. I used a No Wake Zone sign as a guide as it seemed on the right path. When I got there I stopped to look around and thought I had done one of my full hard right maneuvers as most of the swimmers were way off to my left. But when I sighted the buoy I was dead on line for it! Everyone else was being blown off course by the winds, chalk one up to experience there!
On the way back though I lost sense of reason. In past years you could site off of a large condo, why should this year be any different? So I used that. Plus I was running into swimmers coming the other way that were off course, nearly doing a head to head collision with one. So I went more to the right than I probably should have. Coupled with the fact that the wind and waves were now coming at me I had a harder time with things. Using the condo as a landmark, about halfway down I heard someone yelling and stopped to look around. It was a lifeguard on a surfboard saying to check my sighting; apparently I wasn't the only one either! I looked up and thought "what I'm heading for the condo", but then I was able to see the pier and saw that the end of it was more off to my left and I had to go around it to finish, @#%$^@!!! You see, it's a brand new pier that replaced the old one damaged in the hurricanes 2 years ago, and its twice as long as the old one was! Now I had to swim harder into the waves more than I wanted to. So I settled down, kept the head low and shorten my extension so that I could time the waves better but made sure I did a full stroke. Once I got to the pier I was so relieved that it was almost over and swam harder on the last 150 yards and actually caught and passed several swimmers on the way in. Phew that was rough and long! Overall I gave it an average rating even with the AG 20/24 placing since I felt good and was confident about the swim. I’m just not a powerful rough water swimmer, yet!
BTW, in the local paper, the 1st swimmer out of the water said the swim course was long and not accurate and also there were other comments about the lack of sight buoys, so it wasn't just me!

What would you do differently?:

Well on hindsight, the way back I should have sighted better and made sure the old landmark was still accurate for the new pier.
Transition 1
  • 03m 21s

It was a long way from the timing mat to the transition area so I walked out of the water to the mat (~25 yards) then proceeded to do an easy jog making sure I didn't hit my left foot/heel on anything along the way. Once in T1, I did a full body rinse off with my large water bottle, then sat down and dried my feet and put on my socks and shoes. Took my time getting arranged and walked the bike to the out of T1 to the mounting line.
What would you do differently?:

Only thing I could have done was run harder and forget the water rinse, but no thanks, I'll take the rinse off instead!
  • 1h 22m 58s
  • 27.1 miles
  • 19.60 mile/hr

Woohoo! 1st race with my brand new aero helmet! I liked it, actually was easier to keep my head up in the proper position with the tail on the helmet. I had some time to make up and since I wasn't sure if I would be able to run all the way I was going to go medium hard on the bike. The ESE winds were actually a blessing for the northerly directions since the winds were tailing. For the 1st 5 miles I took it easier slowly building up my progression and pedal rate. I took in a gel right after I mounted and settle in knowing that the 1st bridge headed right into the wind was coming up. I had several people pass me in this stretch that I soon caught and passed once the riding got tough!
Heading up the 1st bridge was a challenge to say the least, holy headwinds and absolutely nothing to hide with. I dropped it down in the lowest gear I have, stayed as low as possible tucked in and muscled my way up the bridge. The large bridges are ~1/4 mile long base to the top with a 5% grade. I used the draft of the other riders I was catching as much as possible without looking like I was drafting! The draft was actually off to the side not directly behind. Reaching the top was awesome and on the way down I was able to really crank up the speed while staying low. The whole easterly leg was ~4.0 miles. When I got to the south leg the winds were from the side so other than staying alert for strong gusts it could have been worst. Saw one guy with a disk get pushed off the road, he recovered nicely! About half way down to the east a dark rolling base cloud was heading in and you knew it was going to blow and rain hard! Right before the turn for mini loop back towards the north, the winds started to howl and the rains came. On the turn I stayed low and started hammering the ride as wind angle was more tailing going up South Tropical Trail. This leg is a lot more sheltered then the rest of the course and I have to say I am glad on was on this road with very limit cars vs the main roads, as the winds were blowing hard during the rain storm. I was cranking out 23+mph for most the 4.5 mile and passed several riders like they were standing still. It was gutsy doing this though as a good gust or hydroplaning/ loss of control and I would have gone down hard. But I had confidence knowing I did this in the TriAmerica race too and knew what was possible! Once I was back up between the large and small bridges again we headed back east into the winds and I settled it down, stayed low took some electrolytes and let the aero helmet do it work, LOL! When the rains finally stopped the winds backed off some. The south leg back was uneventful except when I caught several riders who were drafting right before an area that had some construction and the cars were lined up stopped by Mr. Officer and bikes had to share a wet lane with them. I had to hit my brakes to slow down and passed all the cheaters as soon as possible and made way for the westerly return leg back to the transition. This part was fun and hairy scary at the same time. With the winds I was easily doing 27-33 mph but the lane that was closed down for the event was used by the runners, and the bike lane to the right is in rough shape in a number of spots. And to make matters tricky, some runners were not getting the hint of the high speed bikes being in the bike lane. I had to stay focused and dodged runners for the last 1.8 miles over the last big bridge into T2. Going down the bridge with the gusting winds was screaming fast and I loved every second of it! At the turn for the last 100 yards I unclipped waited for the line and swung the leg over and coasted to a stop. Had to be careful with the wet pavement and painted lines.

What would you do differently?:

Not a thing! I cranked when I had the op and stayed low and rode hard all the way. I didn't come out of the aero after I settled in except twice to brake.
Transition 2
  • 01m 50s

It poured but again thanks to the TriAmerica race I knew what to do! I placed my running shoes & a spare set of socks inside my water resistant backpack in a plastic bag. I sat down pulled out my towel stripped off my wet socks and put on the new ones. I put on my race belt and hat and walked out of T2 gauging my foot and it felt ok!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I took it easy and didn't want to run in my bike shoes with all the water around.
  • 1h 00m 20s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 09m 43s  min/mile

I walked out of T2 to the 1st water station right out side the transition, took my last gel and started the run. My foot felt ok other than a few phantom pains here and there so I stayed loose and took it easy since it's been ~6 weeks since I've run over 4 miles. At the 1 mile marker I walked for 30 sec then ran again. There were several thunder boomers in the distance and I thought for sure it was going to rain during the run but it never did. Again at the 2 mile mark I walked for 30 and did a quick walk at the water stations in between to wet my mouth. After 3 miles it was the start of the long out and back run up and over the bridge. I felt good and my foot and legs were not bothering me so I decided at this point to keep running unless I absolutely had to take a break. 3/4 up the bridge the stiff head wind coupled with the bridge I gave and I took a quick walk as leaning forward seemed to be doing nothing! But, it was harder to walk so I started running again. On the way down it was easy to get in a rhythm as the wind wouldn't let you go too fast. I was perfect temp with the winds and had no heat issues. I hit the turn around water stop for some GA and decided it was time to let the wind carry me back. It got hot at times as it usually does when you run with the wind, so I took off my hat opened up my suit top and stayed with the quicker pace. Going over the bridge this time was easy with the push and heading down I increased my turnover the best I could. Coming to the last turn for the finish I started looking out for my family and saw them right at the entrance to the finish line chute and they gave me a big cheer that made for a perfect end to a tough day!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing since I haven't run more than 2.5 miles in 6 weeks!
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, got a bottle of ice cold water that I doused my head with. Ate a banana and found some friends here and there.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Weather, training volume, etc.

Event comments:

I give it an average this year based on the lack of sight buoy's on the swim, they really nee dto fix that, I and other had issues with it last year too. The bike and run portions are top notch though.

Last updated: 2007-02-01 12:00 AM
00:53:33 | 1640 yards | 03m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 20/24
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Course: Saltwater swim in the Intracoastal was a L shaped (¬) course. Long legs were more or less perpendicular to the shoreline and to the strong winds were off angle some. The short legs (~ 150 yards) were somewhat protected by the Causeway (bridge) and there was loooong pier on the left to go out past and around on the way in.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:21
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
01:22:58 | 27.1 miles | 19.60 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/24
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Course was a large 15 mile loop with a mini loop in the middle for the Oly. 2 large bridges and 1 small bridge (2x) on an otherwise flat course.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence: 96
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:50
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
01:00:20 | 06.21 miles | 09m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/24
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Course: Mostly flat for 1st 3 miles that out and back over an Intracoastal Bridge.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2007-10-08 7:48 PM

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Melbourne FL
Gold member
Subject: Health First Triathlon

Edited by Donto 2007-10-08 8:09 PM

2007-10-09 7:28 AM
in reply to: #997621

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Indian Harbour Beach, Florida
Subject: RE: Health First Triathlon
GREAT JOB! If only you'd had the Monday weather on Sunday! Way to hang in there!
2007-10-09 7:37 AM
in reply to: #997621

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Health First Triathlon

Great job, Sgt Hulka!!

Seriously, super job any way you slice it!!  Did my last sprint on Sunday as well - nice way to end the first season. (link to my RR is in Sunday log).

Hope things are well for you; look forward to catching up during the "off-season."

2007-10-09 6:41 PM
in reply to: #997621

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-10-10 7:51 AM
in reply to: #997621

Red Sox Nation
Subject: RE: Health First Triathlon
Congrats!  Very smart race!  And wonderful that you got the run done! 
2007-10-15 3:39 PM
in reply to: #997621

Rockledge, Fl
Subject: RE: Health First Triathlon

Hey Don,

Nice race! When I first saw the results online with you and Steve 50+ min swim I thought maybe a gator got you two for a while or something :-)  Glad you were able to run with the PF!

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