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Iron Star Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Conroe, Texas
United States
Out Loud Productions
48F / 9C
Total Time = 5h 51m 58s
Overall Rank = 138/278
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 17/26
Pre-race routine:

This season has been all about setting time goals and competing against those goals, and it's been generally successful. This race would be different.

I wanted to finish the season using this race as a learning tool to pace comfortably at long distances so I can achieve my goal of a sub-12 IMAZ in '08.

Today, comfortable pacing would yield a 5:40 finish. Anywhere between that and a max of 6:00 would be a good day.

Woke at 4:30 to allow time for my photographer/cheerleader/wife to get herself ready. Had the usual Clif bars, coffee and Gatorade while driving the 45 minutes to the site. Got there plenty early with no rush.

The split venue with T1 and T2 at two different places required a little planning so you didn't forget anything and the transitions would go smooth.

Walked around to find the start and exits. It was dark so you couldn't see the swim course. Saw BT'ers, Bonnie & Joe as she was getting ready. Set everything up, got chipped, and took care of the bathroom business.

It was pretty chilly and it felt good to get the wetsuit on once you took the warm-ups off. Wore an old pair of socks and just threw them away after walking to the swim start. Couple of people liked my idea. ;-)

Once the socks were gone, it was warmer to stand in the water than the cold air.
Event warmup:

Got in the water and stroked for about 150 yards. Stretched and tried to stay warm.

Found BT'ers, Aaron (JeepFleeb) and Big Red (Big Red) at the water's edge and chatted with them a few minutes while waiting for the first 2 waves to start.

It was a beautiful morning as the sun was breaking the horizon as the first wave started. We would be swimming right into the sun. There was a steady breeze blowing across the open water that produced a mild chop on the lake.
  • 46m 43s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 13s / 100 yards

Started towards the back like usual and had just a little bumping at the start. The wave chop was hitting on the front and left side. I breathe on the right and was able to establish a rhythym by breathing between the swells. Every once in awhile, wakes from the boats would get a little rough.

The buoys were far apart and sighting was challenging. I was pretty much by myself so I had no one to draft or work off of. Sighted OK going out and stayed on course. Swam within inches of the buoys, even touching them.

Took in several mouthfuls of water when I looked up and got hit by the swells. This resulted in burping up lake water throughout the entire swim.

Just relaxed and concentrated on swimming smoothly. Made a game out of pretending that I was swimming to a deserted island after my ship had just sunk. Yeah, I can swim as far as I have to; no problem. There would be no confidence issues today.

Never got tired and everything was OK (albeit slow) until I made the first 90° turn; then things started going south. I got a bit disoriented and wasn't quite sure where the next buoy was. Now the chop was at my feet and a little higher. I was swimming in the correct general direction, but was still off course.

Made the second 90° turn and now the chop was hitting from the right side and it affected my breathing some. Pulled up several times to try to see the shore and where to go. Again, I was going in right direction, but had already added time and distance to the swim.

A few of the fast swimmers (probably Aaron & Big Red) from the wave behind me were passing now and I was able to use them to confirm my directions. What was done was done; once I could see the swim exit, I relaxed and stroked it on in.

Despite getting off course, I was only a 1:43 slower than my goal, so it wasn't too bad afterall.
What would you do differently?:

I've gotten a little spoiled on short races on calm waters with easy-to-sight landmarks. Today was a man-sized race on big water and I didn't do well. Should've studied the course better before the race.

Oh, and learn to swim faster.
Transition 1
  • 04m 14s

They had strippers, so getting the wetsuit off was a breeze and then it was a short run into T1.

Due to the very cool temp and shady bike course, I had decided to put on socks, arm warmers, a dry jersey, and thin, full-fingered gloves. (I already had toe warmers on the shoes.) It was the perfect combination and it worked well.

Once ready, it was a short run to the mount line.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.

I knew all this dressing would take awhile, so I wasn't stressed over the extra time, but it sure seemed like *forever* getting ready. Plus you had to bag up all your swim gear so the staff could take it to the finish area at T2.

17th fastest in AG, so it was pretty average.
  • 2h 56m 19s
  • 54 miles
  • 18.38 mile/hr

This was pretty much the same bike course as last year, so I knew what to expect. No really big hills or steep grades, just lots of rollers and few flats. The goal was to ride steady and finish the bike in 2:50.

It was very cool and I was glad I had chosen the extra clothing. My wife told me later there were several people who went out underdressed and DNF'd when they returned early with deep chills.

It was breezy at times, but early in the ride, the trees broke up the wind, so it had a negligible effect. The bike traffic was strung out pretty good, so there weren't many packs, just singles and pairs of riders.

Got into a good cadence and average and stayed there. Started playing leap-frog with a young guy, call him Green Floppy Shirt, who would blast down a hill, only to struggle up the next hill in the big ring. He'd pass me, then I'd pass him. It became a little annoying, but I didn't want to break my plan just to drop him. Finally, when the road leveled off, he was gone and I let him go.

The road was smooth as silk until you crossed into the next county, and then the road turned to crap. It was night and day difference. This county has a well-deserved reputation for poor roads and they didn't disappoint. Rough and bumpy chip-seal it was for the next bunch of miles. Felt like you could never get speedy. Oh well.

Still feeling great and going comfortable. The land was more open with fewer trees, so the wind would come and go. It was never a hard head-wind for long, but every once in awhile you'd get slammed with a gust, especially if you were in a "corridor" of trees.

To save some weight, I had decided to leave the aerobottle off the bike and go with two 24 oz bottles on the frame. The plan was have one full of Perpetuem and the other with Gatorade Endurance. I would drink the G-ade dry and pick up a water bottle at the last hand-up.

I tossed the empty, picked up the replacement cleanly and tucked it in. It was a perfect plan until I pulled it out a few minutes later only to have it slip out of my hand. It hit the road and busted open, spilling it all. Dang it! I was sure counting on that water. I would have to finish the last portion of the race with a 1/3 bottle of thickish Perp.

You really get thirsty when you don't have anything to drink. Fortunately, it was a cool day, so the thirst was more of an inconvenience than a limiter. I would have to grab a bunch of water at the first aid station on the run.

The course came back into the original county and the roads turned back to silky-smooth. You gained 3 mph just that quick. Still riding very comfortably and feeling strong. I had changed my saddle position a week ago with a new seatpost and it resulted in a really good feel.

Along the way I'd passed a bunch of guys in my AG and was making up for my poor swim. With 6-8 miles to go, who did I come up on? Why, there was Mr. Green Floppy Shirt, pouring sweat and still mashing the big ring. As I passed him, I asked how it was going? He said, "Man, I'm dying!" It was classic.

Started getting close to T2, so I pulled the gloves off in preparation for the finish. The dismount line came up quick and I felt really good coming off the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I didn't hammer it, but that was the plan.

I thought I had ridden a pretty good bike split and frankly was a little surprised that I missed my goal by 6:19, but I rode steady and comfortably so that part was right on plan.

I didn't research the results really close, but I basically went from BOP on the the swim to MOP on the strength of a solid ride.

Transition 2
  • 01m 26s

I had no idea what to expect after the dismount, so it was very fast on-the-job training. Ran to the rack as directed by volunteers, racked the bike and started taking off everything.

A volunteer brought your run gear bag to you and then helped you bag up your bike gear. She had bagged up my sunglasses, so we had to dig them out and that cost a few seconds.
What would you do differently?:


Having to wait on the volunteer to bring your stuff slowed it down some, but it went smooth enough to be 8th fastest in AG.
  • 2h 03m 18s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 25s  min/mile

Reminded myself this was no sprint, so take it easy and no going out too fast. I wanted to run it in 2:00 or less, so that meant ~8:45/miles would be a comfortable pace.

My primary goal was to not walk; not even through the aid stations. Slow down a little to grab cups of fluids, but NO walking. It seems like that once I start walking, it takes extra mental energy to start running again. It's easy to justify walking and that's what makes it so easy to do.

Started off wearing my sunglasses, but they were splattered up with sweat, so I took them off and put them in a jersey pocket for later. There were no clouds and the sun was strong, but we had a nice cool breeze.

Nothing special about the run course; just ran along the roads and through the nearby neighborhoods. The hills were minor enough and didn't require any special efforts. I had a good rhythym going and was able to stay at a consistent pace. The legs transitioned well and by mile 2 all the post-ride crampiness was gone.

I grabbed something to drink at every station and 2 gels along the way. After several miles it was time for the sunglasses because of the strong sun. I reached to the back of the jersey and NO glasses. Dang it again! Somehow, they had worked their way out and they were GONE. Well, there went $60.

I really wanted them back, so I was actually running with more purpose now. Looking for the glasses on the return leg kept me motivated and slightly distracted from the boredom of the run. Never did find them.

I passed people and people passed me. I never tried to pace off anybody or run anybody down, just kept my comfortable pace going.

Was able to run through all the aid stations and with about 2 miles to go there was one of the bigger hills left. I made it up without slowing down, but it cost me and I ended up walking about 20 yards after I topped out. It wasn't long or far, and just a few seconds. No defeat; just caught my breath and started running again.

By now, I knew I was getting close, and I knew I was over my 5:40 goal, but I was going to be sub-6, so I was satisfied. I could hear the crowd cheering and the music and it was just a few more yards until I was finshed. I was ready to be done.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I ran my race and stayed disciplined about no (minimal) walking.

Only missed my goal by 3:18.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, got some pizza and drinks. Felt pretty good, just the usual stiffness and feeling of exertion.

Talked with some people my wife had met while spectating. Packed up my gear and we left.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure. I really thought I had put up a faster bike split, but the clock says differently. The body felt good all day long and I was never in any distress.

Not sure if my training didn't prepare me well or I didn't taper enough, just not sure what should've/could've been done differently. Maybe nothing.

Maybe this comfortable pace is just where I'm going to be come April '08 and IMAZ.

Event comments:

It was a well run race and the RD did a good job handling the split venue situation. That is definitely better than cancelling the race.

Plenty of food and drink and a good way to end the season on a positive note.

Last updated: 2007-08-30 12:00 AM
00:46:43 | 2112 yards | 02m 13s / 100yards
Age Group: 24/26
Overall: 0/278
Performance: Below average
Suit: 2XU full
Course: Big rectangle going out into the lake, 2 right turns, and back to the shore.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:14
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
02:56:19 | 54 miles | 18.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/26
Overall: 0/278
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Two-lane country roads through local National Forest and rural areas. Lots of rolling hills. Very enjoyable.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:26
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:03:18 | 13.1 miles | 09m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/26
Overall: 0/278
Performance: Good
Course: A basic out and back through neighborhood streets with side loops to get the miles. Some minor inclines and declines.
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-11-01 5:55 PM

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Waller County, TX
Subject: Iron Star Triathlon

2007-11-02 8:04 AM
in reply to: #1034035

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Subject: RE: Iron Star Triathlon
Nice solid race out there, way to get under the 6hr mark as well. Arizona will be here before you know it. Way to stick to your guns and continue to run (minus the little walk), sounds like your plan worked for you. See ya in Arizona
2007-11-02 8:46 AM
in reply to: #1034035

Subject: RE: Iron Star Triathlon
I saw a pair of red glasses on the ground somewhere between miles 1 & 3. I thought about picking them up, but I thought maybe whoever dropped them would get them on the way back in.

I looks like you had a great race. Way to go.
2007-11-02 9:51 AM
in reply to: #1034035

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Iron Star Triathlon
Congratulations! As I recall, this race was your first HIM last year. It was nice getting to be there for your first.

Split venue? Interesting. That was a new one, eh?

Well, you did an amazing job. As always... I would kill to go as fast as you!

Great job!
2007-11-04 5:21 PM
in reply to: #1034035

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Iron Star Triathlon

Nice race.  Great job going sub 6.  Looking forward to'll go sub problem.


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