Vineman Full Ironman - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc
79F / 26C
Total Time = 15h 40m 20s
Overall Rank = 494/
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 383/
Pre-race routine:

On race morning: Wakeup 3 hours prior to race start, drink big glass of water and 1 bottle of Ensure (250 cals), stretch, and shower. Put on sunscreen, race kit, heart rate monitor and timing chip. Drink another bottle of Ensure (250 cals). Pack up the car and leave for the race transition area. Once at the race site but before leaving the car, prep bike: put on water bottles, fill bento box, check tires for 110 psi and other misc items. Finally go to transition area and pick an ideal spot on the rack. Get body marked with race number and put on wetsuit.
Event warmup:

My warmup included getting into the water 15 mins prior to the beginning of my swim wave and doing a few warmup laps back and fourth from one side of the river to the other.
  • 1h 40m 33s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 23s / 100 yards

Swimming is my weakest leg of the race and I was concerned about not finishing it before the swim time cutoff. Thus, to make sure I was on pace, I put my watch under my swim cap and set it to alert me every 30 mins. It worked great!

At the start of the swim, it was a battle trying to find an open area of water to swim in. Either you were getting pushed from the side, someone was grabbing your feet or you were grabbing someone else's feet. After a few hundred meters, that struggle was over with and our swim wave started opening up, unfortunately I was one in the group falling toward the tail end of the pack.

After swimming under the two bridges looking ahead about fifty to a hundred meters, I was surprised to see some of the triathletes actually walking through the river. Sure enough when I got to that point, the water level was so low (about 3 ft deep) that I stood up and walked for a bit to catch my breath. During this point, I actually ran a little bit through the water and was passing up some athletes that were swimming. But I learned the hard way that this was not a good idea because my feet started to hurt running on the gravel that is at the bottom of the river bed. I said to myself..."self! You know you still have to run a marathon today on those same feet so don't mess them up now!" Thus I continued back to swimming...

This low level of water showed up again at the turn around point and athletes were walking through that. The thing about this part also was that even after passing the turn around point, the low water level continued for another 50 meters or so.

The rest of the swim was just about keeping a constant rhythm of strokes, breathing and kicking. It doesn't clearly state it in the map but the turn around to start the second lap is a red buoy placed pretty much where your swim started.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I executed the swim according to my plan. Given I'm still working on my swimming skills, I was just hoping to finish the swim within 2 hours which I did. Thus I was very happy with my swim performance.
Transition 1
  • 05m 17s

T1 went very smooth for me. My wetsuit came off with no problems. Usually it would get stuck around my ankles but then one of our coaches instructed us to trim off some of the bottom of the legs of our wetsuits. Doing this makes the hole at the bottom of the leg bigger and thus easier for the wetsuit to come off your ankles.

Given this race has two transition areas, one extra step I had to add in for this race was to put all my stuff in the plastic vineman bag with my race number on it. They give you this bag in your race packet. What's great about this is, once you put your stuff in this bag, you leave it at your transition spot and then it magically appears next to your run stuff at the second transition area. It's great!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I executed T1 according to my plan.
  • 7h 26m 39s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.05 mile/hr

The first 30 miles of the bike portion was great for me, mainly because I was so excited I got past the swim portion before the time cutoff. It was a little cold at the beginning given there was overcast but I liked it because I knew it was going to warm up later on in the day.

Given my goal time for the bike portion was between 7 to 8 hours, my nutrition plan on the bike was to consume about 3,200 calories of Shot Bloks (1,600 cals) & G Series Pro 02 w/ CarboPro (1,500 cals). I also took down 3 Thermolite sodium pills every hour.

Usually I don't use bike gloves in triathlons but for this one I would definitely recommend using them given some roads of the bike portion were rough. Five+ hours of absorbing the bumps from the road without padded gloves to reduce them could do a number on your hands, as I learned doing my pre-race training rides on the race course.

During the bike ride, I made sure to stop at the aid stations, top off my speedfil hydration tank and take just a minute to stretch out my legs. I believe the stretching worked for me because I didn't experience any cramping during the bike ride. Woohoo!

As for Chalk Hill, it did slow my pace a lot but the climb was fine. The first round up Chalk Hill I stayed seated and climbed up it but for the second round up Chalk Hill I was struggling, due to fatigue, and had to stand up during parts of the climb. I was going at such a slow crawl that if I didn't stand up while climbing, my bike and I would have just fallen over.

What was funny, near the end of the bike portion as I took the last right turn onto Windsor...for some reason I had the "I've got a golden ticket" song running through my head. Weird! I guess I was just so happy to make it through the bike portion without bonking and without any mechanical issues like a flat tire.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I executed the bike portion according to my plan.
Transition 2
  • 00m

My T2 went according to my plan except there was an aid station right outside of the transition area which I took advantage of before heading off to the marathon. But what I didn't notice is that the timing mat that stops my T2 time was past this aid station. So my T2 time included "hanging out" time at the aid station...Doh! But I guess that didn't matter because my official results didn't breakout the T2 time separately from the run for some reason.
What would you do differently?:

Speed up my the time I spent in T2 and pay attention to where the timing mats are.
  • 6h 34m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 02s  min/mile

I hit my time goals for both the swim, T1, the bike and T2...and then came the run. As I ran out of the transition area, I was feeling great! I had a relatively good pace going and then the first hill came...I jogged half way up it and then my whole inside leg muscles from top to bottom cramped up. It wasn't one of those little cramps either, it was one of those "stop running right now or else" types of cramps. Thus I stepped over to the side of the road and let the cramp do it's thing. After a minute or so, it was okay and I continued on. From that point, I decided to just walk up the hills and jog the downhills and flats.

The first loop went okay. There was a point where I was reaching the turn around point, during the first loop, and I heard behind me "make way, the first place woman triathlete is coming through". It felt kinda cool running next to the first place woman but then thought to myself," man, she is on her last lap and I'm have finished my first?! I have a long way to go..." Another thing I won't forget about the first loop was at one of the aid stations, I tried to take down some shot bloks but I guess after 7+ hours of eating shot bloks on the bike, my stomach was not having it anymore. I almost hurled...thus lesson learned, eat something different during the run.

The second loop was slow and steady...more slow than steady. As I reached the turn around point and turned around, I felt a tear like pain on the bottom of my right foot. It hurt and I thought I ripped skin later to find out it was a blister.

The last loop was THE worst. Among all the other challenges I was fighting including muscle cramps, legs feeling like lead and the voices in my head telling me to stop...the sun has set now the most of the course was pitch black. The race coordinators gave us a glow in the dark circle thingy but that did little to light the road for us. So unfortunately I ended up walking most of the last few miles because I could not see the road that I was running on. And the thought kept going through my head, what if I start to run but then step on in pot hole or an uneven part of the road which then causes me to twist my ankle. That would suck especially at this point of the race, thus I least until I got back into town onto the lighted streets and then it was all good from there.

As I saw Windsor High School in front of me, all the pain went away and I just started to run. I reached the finishing chute towards the finishing line and I was ecstatic. Surprisingly, even though it was late in the evening there were still a lot of spectators waiting for their Ironman athletes to finish their race. It was a great sight to see. Once I crossed the finish line all the pressure I was carrying up to and throughout this race lifted off my shoulders. I completed my goal to become an Ironman!
What would you do differently?:

I would try harder to finish before the sun goes down and to make sure I have some other form of nutrition that is different from what I had on the bike.
Post race
Warm down:

Given I was walking most of the last loop of the marathon, I didn't do much of a warm-down other than walking back to the car.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Given the run course was pitch black on most parts outside of the school, my marathon time would have been faster if they lighted the run course better or if I brought a better headlamp.

Event comments:

Given this being my first full ironman distance race, I thought it was done very well. There were plenty of volunteers at T1 area, bike aid stations, T2 area and run aid stations. Also, the local police did a good job with traffic control at the intersections of the bike course. It's great they offer the buy 2 get 1 free entry deal for this race. As for the t-shirts, you get one during your race packet pickup and you get another one once you finish the race (this one said "Finisher" on it)! I really liked the design of their t-shirts. I'll be wearing these proudly. Finally, the finisher's medal was great because it had a good weight to it and it had the year on it. I would definitely recommend this race to others.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-04-20 12:00 AM
01:40:33 | 4224 yards | 02m 23s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: USAT
Course: The 2.4 mile swim course was a 2 lap out and back in the Russian River.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:17
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
07:26:39 | 112 miles | 15.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: A 112 miles through the rolling hills of Guerneville, Healdsberg, Geyserville and Windsor.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
06:34:00 | 26.2 miles | 15m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Course: A 26.2 mile run that was broken up into 3 loops through the rolling hills of Windsor.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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