Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 7h 00m
Overall Rank = 1377/2974
Age Group = Male 45-49
Age Group Rank = 180/297
Pre-race routine:

This race was done as part of a family vacation for the Thanksgiving holiday. My pre-race "routine" was characterized by visiting my Alma Mater and attending the rivalry game. There was a lot of walking around on the Friday eventing and Saturday before the race and a late (after midnight) bedtime on race night due to the football game. I followed none of the conventional "rest and take it easy before the race" recommendations.

In the days leading up to the race I did hydrate and eat fairly well. Could have been more disciplined however.
Event warmup:

Did not complete any training rides, runs or swims on the course prior to the race.

On the morning of the race I conducted a series of dynamic warm-ups as described in the USAT Triathlon Training Series and Bobby McGee.
  • 1h 22m 23s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 57s / 100 yards

The swim was a typical tri swim in that it was pretty crowded and there was a lot of contact among the swimmers. There was very little clear water to swim in until after the turn and even then the space was quickly occupied. It was difficult to get into a smooth swim stroke/motion. I spent most of the swim doing a single stroke breath pattern verse my normal three stroke alternating breath pattern.

I started the swim in the middle of the pack, whereas in other races I started toward the back and on the side. I don't have enough experience to know if this resulted in a better time than I might of otherwise. I do know that it was definitely more aggressive in that area and that it felt more like a survival exercise verses a swim event.

All that said - I finished better than I thought I would.
What would you do differently?:

Perhaps start further in the front in order to stay ahead of the chaos and reduce the number of athletes that are in the area.
Transition 1
  • 07m 18s

I took my time in transition. I was not concerned with getting through as fast as I could. I made sure that I was ready to move on to the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Make the transition as part of the race - get through as fast a possible.
  • 6h 42m 26s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.70 mile/hr

While my time was not great I was satisfied with my race. I had hoped for a better time but I erred on the side of taking it easy and having energy for the run. This was especially important since this was my first Ironman. It turned out to be the best strategy.

I felt very good during the first loop. Remembering the advice of my coach - I slowed down during the second loop. My third loop was a bit faster than the second. I was able to keep aero for as much of the ride as I wanted.

Nutrition - I used Perpetuem as my primary fuel source supplemented with Hammer Gel on a 15 minute schedule (15, 30 and 45 minutes Perpetuem, 00/60 gel). I started with one full bottle that lasted through to mile 60. The gel flask had all the gel I needed. I had a full aero bottle of water that I sipped during each nutrition uptake and periodically throughout the race. I refilled the aero bottle once.

Bathroom - I took the time to stop for a bathroom break. Knowing that I was not going to be in any danger of qualifying for Kona or placing in my age group I was content to take a comfortable pee break. Maybe if I ever get to the point of high finishes I might consider a different tactic.

Toward mile 100 I started to have some sciatic nerve issues in my right leg/knee. I figured it was limited to the bike and would not be an issue during the run. I was right.

Overall I had hoped that my time would be an hour shorter - so that will be the goal going forward.
What would you do differently?:

Increase average power output and push the pace a bit more.

Add dual water bottle rack. I could have had all the nutrition I needed when I started which would have eliminated the need to stop for the bike special needs bag that had my second supply of Perpetuem.

Transition 2
  • 09m 30s

This race format did not allow for jumping off moving bike or for racking the bike.

Similar comments as for T1. I did not race through transition. I took it easy - allowing for another bathroom break. I took on more water and took time to cool down with ice on the shoulders/neck.
What would you do differently?:

Race through.
  • 4h 50m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 06s  min/mile

I felt great coming out of T2. My run pace was a brisk 8:30 up to the first timing mat. That was well ahead of the 9:30 pace I wanted so I slowed down. I went into the run with a run to the water stations and briskly walk through. I did that through the first two loops - by the third loop I included walking up hills and started to take extra walking breaks.

The first loop I felt very good. Starting the second lap I knew I was in for a challenge. By the third loop I was questioning my sanity. But the crowds were great and they kept me motivated. Having my family at transition areas to encourage me was very motivating.

My form was good throughout - I believe. Pictures and the ending video bear this out.

I started out the race carrying extra water with me - I dropped those after the first lap. The event organizers provided plenty of water stops making the extra water unnecessary - plus I didn't need the extra weight.

As the sun set the temperature dropped. I had thoughts that I could use a long sleeve, light jacket or shirt. In the end though, it was probably not necessary.

Again - overall I was satisfied with my run though I was hoping for a better time (around a four hour marathon). So, that will be next IM goal - a 4 hour or less marathon.
What would you do differently?:

Train harder to improve power and run strength.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

Clearly my pre-race activities had a negative effect on my performance.

Additionally, my training toward the end of the season leading up to AZ started to falter. A late race and an early start (late March/early April) to training added up to a very long season. I started to lose the mental edge and motivation to continue training hard. I started missing a lot of mid-week training sessions, concentrating mostly on the weekend long run / ride sessions.

I also was quick to eliminate strength sessions during weeks when my work schedule necessitated dropping a workout. I think that was a mistake. Power was a limiting factor and a failure to maintain muscular strength contributed to that.

Now that I know what it takes to complete an IM and the relationship to the training - I am sure I will have better preparation in the future.

Event comments:

A great race for my first IM. The spectator friendly nature of the race provided ample motivation from family and spectators. That aspect can't be overlooked considering that other than motivation from the sidelines - you are on your own.

For next year I will focus on increasing my bike and run power. My next goal is to complete an 11 hour IM.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-12-04 12:00 AM
01:22:23 | 4224 yards | 01m 57s / 100yards
Age Group: 178/297
Overall: 1358/2974
Performance: Good
Suit: Yes
Course: Single loops - out and back in Tempe Town Lake.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Bad Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:18
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:42:26 | 112 miles | 16.70 mile/hr
Age Group: 224/297
Overall: 1663/2974
Performance: Average
BIKE SPLIT 1: 37.4 mi 37.4 mi (2:01:56) 18.40 mi/h BIKE SPLIT 2: 74.6 mi 37.2 mi (2:25:11) 15.37 mi/h BIKE SPLIT 3: 112 mi 37.4 mi (2:15:19) 16.58 mi/h TOTAL BIKE 112 mi (6:42:26) 16.70 mi/h 1663 224
Wind: Headwind
Course: Three loop route - slight climb toward latter portion of loop.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 09:30
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
04:50:57 | 26.2 miles | 11m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 180/297
Overall: 1377/2974
Performance: Good
RUN SPLIT 1: 2.5 mi 2.5 mi (21:53) 8:45/mi RUN SPLIT 2: 11.5 mi 9 mi (1:27:23) 9:42/mi RUN SPLIT 3: 20 mi 8.5 mi (1:42:46) 12:05/mi RUN SPLIT 4: 26.2 mi 6.2 mi (1:18:55) 12:43/mi TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi (4:50:57) 11:06/mi 1377 180
Course: Three loop, mostly flat with some hills. Mostly paved road with some hard packed dirt trails.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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