Ironman World Championship 70.3 - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Henderson, Nevada
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
95+F / 35C
Total Time = 4h 52m 12s
Overall Rank = 199/2096
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 47/166
Pre-race routine:

We arrived in Vegas on Friday afternoon, went to packet pick-up, set up my bike, then went to the welcome dinner. On Saturday morning I got in a 1/2 mile swim and a 2 mile run, then dropped off my bike and transition bags later that afternoon. Took the rest of the day easy, and was in bed by 8:30.
Event warmup:

Up just prior to 4 AM, and had breakfast in our hotel. Katie and I headed over to T1, arriving around 5:20 AM. I literally almost walked right into Crowie when I was headed to a porta-potie! After setting up my bike, I waited around until my wave went off at 7 AM. Short warm-up swim while waiting.
  • 38m 23s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 49s / 100 yards

The swim is my least competitive tri leg, and without a wetsuit I pretty much sucked! I was shooting for a time around 35 minutes, which I thought I was capable of in a speed suit. During the practice swim on Saturday morning I swam a half mile in 13 minutes, so I thought I'd do decent in the race, but clearly that wasn't the case.

The course headed down Lake Las Vegas for maybe 600 yards, then took a slight left hand turn. I decided it would be shorter to cut that angle, but that meant not drafting. In hindsight, I probably should have tried to stay with the majority of the swimmers in my wave, who stuck to the buoy line.

I actually felt quite good during the swim, but I guess I was going slower than I thought. I guess it could have been the warm water (83 degrees!), but when I came out of the water I was pretty shocked to see 38 minutes - already three minutes off my goal pace - not a great start!
What would you do differently?:

Try to stick with my wave and daft more. By taking a slightly shorter route to the first turn buoy I probably actually lost some time.
Transition 1
  • 03m 53s

Long run from the swim-out around the end of the lake to the transition area. Also, a decent hill to run up out of transition to the mount like. It's not a good sign, when you can find your bike super easy at a race of this size - my swim sucked! Not the speediest transition, but overall ok.
What would you do differently?:

Be a little quicker
  • 2h 31m 16s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.21 mile/hr

With this being the world championships, I knew I had my work cut out for me trying to make up time on the bike, but I feel I could definitely do some damage and close the gap in my AG. Back in June at Tremblant I went out a bit to hard on the bike, so I decided to be a little more conservative here, then try to dial up the power in the second half of the bike.

My plan was to target 265-270 watts for the first half, hitting around 300 on the climbs, then push the second half around 280-285 watts. However, I soon realized that the heat would come into play. Generally for a HIM the first 15-20 minutes on the bike my HR is elevated, but then settles down into the 150's. After 20 minutes or so I was averaging 270 watts, but my HR was still in the low 160's. I made a decision to back off then because I knew riding in the 160's would make the hot day longer when I got to the run.

I ended up going down to around 250 watts for the remainder of the first hour, but then backed off even a bit more to make sure my HR was in the mid 150's. I guess the heat effected me more than I expected. I've gone on 4 hour rides and averaged 250-255 watts, so I was expecting to be in the 270-280 range, but it just didn't happen. I was hoping for a time around 2:25 on the bike, but with the lower power #'s that dropped to around 2:30.

I was passing quite a few people on the bike, and when I made the turn just over the hour mark I was feeling good. Mentally, I was upset that I wasn't putting the expected power. At the 33 mile mark one of the two bolts holding my right arm pad on happened to shear off - what great timing! For the next 23 miles I tried to not put much pressure on the arm pad as I didn't want the other bolt to break or come out. The arm pad kept on sliding around, and I had to keep adjusting it. Overall, I think that I rode a smart race - it definitely wasn't the course with the hills and heat to go over the limit.

The general profile of the bike course can best be described as almost always going up or down. Some of the ups had speeds as low as 10 mph, while on the downs I was in the low to mid 40's, often running out of gears and free-wheeling. The last 6 miles back into T2 was a steady gain of around 100 ft per mile - not real steep but not fast. I lost about 1/2 mph in the last section.

I never actually felt hot on the bike, but I knew that the heat caused me to be significantly slower than what I was hoping for.

For nutrition I had 500 calories of Infinit in a bottle and 400 calories from Cliff Blocks. I went through 7 bottles of water from aid stations. I also took in 8 Saltstick caps on the bike.

I moved from 144th to 65th in my AG on the bike.

My Garmin 500 said the average temp for the bike ride was 92 degrees and that there was 3,885 ft of elevation gain.
What would you do differently?:

I guess I needed more heat acclimation and training in the heat. Living in New England that's not easy to do, as we probably only had around 10 days in the 90's this summer.
Transition 2
  • 02m 16s

I took this transition a little easy, getting in 2 gels in a flask, and a couple big sips of water. I put on my FuelBelt, grabbed my SaltStick caps, got on my shoes & hat, and headed out.
What would you do differently?:

Again, I could have been a little quicker, but I wanted to make sure I got everything I needed.
  • 1h 36m 24s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 22s  min/mile

For the run I was targeting a 1:35 split, so this was actually where I was closest to my goal. With the up/down nature of the course my goal was hitting 6:40's on the downs and 7:30's on the ups, and I came relatively close to this pace. I had bad side cramps in the first 1-2 miles in my last three races, and had begin taking salt caps for this reason, and they seemed to work - no cramping at all on the run!

Coming out of T2 I felt pretty solid, and hit the first mile around 6:50. My HR was in the upper 150's, but once I hit the turn-around and began the two miles up-hill, my HR went into the 160's and stayed there for the remainder of the run. My HR generally stayed in the upper 160's on the way up and the low 160's on the way down.

I felt steady on the run, and I was passing a few people from my AG. Similar to the run, I didn't necessarily feel all that hot, but I knew that the heat was causing my pace to be slower than usual. I made a point of getting a coke at every aid station as well as at least two waters, throwing one of the waters on myself. One of the aid stations also had ice, which I put down my trisuit to try to cool down (it seemed to melt almost instantly!).

The run actually seemed to go by pretty quickly. There were a few guys in my AG that I was able to keep pace with and slowly pass in the last lap. When I finally got to the top of the hill on lap three I knew I had one mile to go, and really tried to push the pace downhill. I knew that I was loosing time from my goal of around 4:40, and I was then hoping to finish under 4:50. However, that finish line seemed so far away - you can see the finish area well before getting there - almost like a mirage in the distance. I finally got to the finish area, and crossed, being quite exhausted. I couldn't take in any food for a while, but finally managed some watermelon and some pretzels.

The pace I ran here was the same pace I ran at Boston this year when it approached 90 degrees, so I think that's pretty encouraging, especially since this course was much hillier and it was in the upper 90's by the end of the run.

I went from 65th to 47th during the run.

I took in 5 SaltStick caps on the run, using my FuelBelt water to wash them down.

What would you do differently?:

I feel that the run was the best executed leg of the day. Maybe I could have pushed a bit harder, but in the heat and with hills, I think I did as well as I could have.
Post race
Warm down:

I hung out in the food tent (which was air conditioned!) for a bit, chatting with a few other racers, then made my way out into the furnace. I headed to the massage tent, and got a great massage, then found Katie. Eventually, we headed down to get my gear bags and bike, then went over the Cheesecake Factory to get a nice milkshake!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat and hills! I have the hills to train on at home, but it's hard to replicate temps approaching 100 degrees in Massachusetts. I didn't bonk, and actually felt quite good during the race. I think I paced myself well, and it's simply putting in consistent training over the course of a year that will allow me to become a faster racer.

Event comments:

This was the f-ing World Championships, and I managed to finish within the top 200, so I shouldn't really be disappointed. However, I feel that I underperformed on the swim and bike, leaving several minutes on the course. Even though I never really felt hot, I know that the heat did effect me quite a lot, slowing me from my goal paces. Looking back at the overall race, it was a very challenging course, and probably the hardest race I've done to date.

Will I do it next year? Well, my goal for next year is getting to Kona. I plan to attempt to qualify at two races: Eagleman (which will be very hot and I'd probably have to finish in the top 3 in my AG) and Tremblant (probably have to be top 6 in my AG).

With two transition spots, there really wasn't an ideal location to stay at for this race. We found a hotel in between the two transition areas in Henderson that worked out well. It was easy to get to both locations, and close enough to Vegas that we were able to get in to a buffet at the Bellagio on Sunday in about twenty minutes.

Overall, my experience was great. It was hotter than any race I've done, but that was expected going in (unlike the Boston Marathon in April). It was also pretty cool to share the course with the top triathletes in the world, watching them fly by on the bike and run.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-06-27 12:00 AM
00:38:23 | 2112 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Age Group: 144/166
Overall: 1223/2096
Performance: Below average
Suit: Zoot SpeedZoot
Course: Pretty much an out and back down Lake Las Vegas. Sighting into the sun on the first half.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 83F / 28C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:53
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:31:16 | 56 miles | 22.21 mile/hr
Age Group: 33/166
Overall: 133/2096
Performance: Below average
Avg HR: 156, Max: 174 AP: 241 watts NP: 252 watts
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: This was a very hilly and hot course. I got a total of nearly 3900 ft of climbing. There was also a bit of a headwind after the turn in Lake Meade Park.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:16
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:36:24 | 13.1 miles | 07m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 40/166
Overall: 156/2096
Performance: Average
Avg HR: 164, Max: 172
Course: The run is a three loop course. First mile down, then two miles up, two miles down, two miles up, two miles down, two miles up, one mile down. Total elevation of 1336 ft.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
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