Iron Star Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Conroe, Texas
United States
Out Loud Productions
55F / 13C
Total Time = 6h 11m 32s
Overall Rank = 289/617
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 25/47
Pre-race routine:

My cousin (KSH on BT) came down from Dallas/Fort Worth to visit for the weekend and along with my wife, cheered me on. Had my alarm set for 4:30 a.m, but my wife's alarm went off at 4:00 (as they were waking up later) because she had forgotten to set her clock back 1 hour due to the time change. So I lost some sleep, but it was no biggie.

Had my usual bowl of oatmeal, Clif bar, and coffee while driving the 45 minutes from our house to the race site.

Got there plenty early, snagged a good spot on the end of the rack. Set up transition, got chipped, got the portacan business taken care of, and waited around for the 7:00 start.
Event warmup:

Not much. Got my wetsuit on and swam about 10 minutes. Water was very cool but warmer than the early morning air temperature. Took a gel and waited for my 7:15 wave.

This would be my first HIM, but I felt confident about racing the distance. My goal was a 6 hour time, approximately:
Swim = 45 min
Bike = 3:15
Run = <2 hrs
T1/2 = 5 min
  • 44m 45s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 07s / 100 yards

My swim started poorly due the left goggle leaking, took several attempts at adjusting the cap and the google to get everything just right. Once that was done, got into a good rhythm.

Received a heel-kick square on the bridge of the nose, it didn't affect my goggles, but you always come up when you take a shot like that. If it would've been to the tip of the nose, to the mouth or either cheek, it might have been a whole different story.

Efficient sighting and navigation continues to be a weakness. Got a little too far into the main lake away from the buoys as the course arced along the shore and it cost me a minute or two. Got my bearings adjusted and with the sun at our backs going into the finish, I was able sight on the last turn buoy and a big white steamboat docked by the exit and stroked it on in.

The second half of my swim was certainly better than the first. My time goal was 45 minutes or less so I'm rating my swim "Good" (for me), but it still needs improvement.
What would you do differently?:

Learn to sight better and stay in a consistent rhythm.

(Longest and best swim of all my races this year.)
Transition 1
  • 03m 8s

There were strippers at the swim exit, so getting the wetsuit off was quick and easy. Apparently, I got a good stripper because my wife said some of the gals were just inept and didn't perform very well.

The long time in T1 was due to putting on socks and a bike jersey. I knew it cost me some time with that, but it was worth it for this long of a race. I was 20th out of 47 in my AG, so my T1 was average for sure.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much. I go shirtless and sockless in sprints, but this was a long race with no cloud cover. Wearing a tri top under the wetsuit would save 45 seconds or so.
  • 3h 13m 53s
  • 59 miles
  • 18.26 mile/hr

The weather was absolutely great. Cool, dry with light winds, and the ride started off well. My feet were chilled, but I knew they would warm up soon enough.

My plan was to hammer when I could, but to take it easy and spin up the hills. The roads weren't too crowded and the traffic control was great. Everything was going fine, but there was a little problem and my evolution as a triathlete would become complete.

I had to pee badly and it was affecting my performance as I didn't feel like eating or drinking. I couldn't wait until the first aid station and I didn't want to stop anyway. Time to learn to pee while riding.

Sparing the details and not to be gross about the whole deal, but it was just a matter of expediency. After two partially successful attempts, I was able to get the job done although it did take about 20 miles to complete it 100%. Other than the wet socks, it didn't bother me at all and effect was immediate. I was now eating Shot Bloks and cut up Clif bar chucks, and drinking like crazy.

Previously, I had been riding OK, but now I was feeling very comfortable and stronger. Nothing was hurting and the legs were feeling great.

The roads went from very smooth, to kind of rough, to one section that was torn up with potholes, cracks and broken pavement. Good thing it was relatively short, but you sure had to be careful. Saw several riders with flats and bike problems during this race. No doubt, some of them were pinch flats due to the rough roads.

In this area, as well as several others, there were dozens and dozens and dozens of water bottles that got launched or dropped because of the rough roads and clumsy handling. I have never seen so many items all over the roads. And, of course, you had avoid all this stuff laying around.

As always, there were the yellow puff balls from the cheap-a*s designed Profile Design aero-drink bottles that fly out at the slightest bump.

Got some head wind towards the end of the ride, but I was finishing strong. I knew I hadn't scorched the course, but I felt good about my effort.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Pretty much made my time goal and definitely rode better during the second half of the ride.

Now it is time to start talking about upgrading to some aero wheels before next season to start improving the bike times.
Transition 2
  • 01m 27s

5th out of 47 in my AG so I had a pretty quick T2.
What would you do differently?:

Not much really, but you always wonder if there's an extra second or two that can be found somewhere.
  • 2h 08m 21s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 48s  min/mile

Legs felt fine, and came out of T2 still needing to pee once more. Elected to stop at the mile #1 aid station with portacans. Had to wait a little bit, but altogether, the 2 minutes I spent here were well worth it.

I started the run OK, but miles 3 through 6 were slow; I was plodding along without much energy and I knew it. I'd grabbed a cup of Gatorade, but it didn't sit very well in the stomach. Decided to eat a gel I was carrying right before the next aid station, drank some water, and crunched some ice cubes.

It made a big difference as I started to run with a renewed vigor and purpose. About 1/2 mile down the road, I picked up an opened package of Sport Beans that someone had dropped. There were 3 beans inside and they had been stepped on, but being opportunistic, I ate them anyway. Some sort of cherry flavor. Man, those suckers were good! Another boost...

At the next aid station, I grabbed an apple Hammer gel, downed it with a cup of water. I dumped a cup of ice cubes in my race hat, put it back on, and it helped a lot as it was starting to get pretty warm by now. There was a decent breeze blowing and with the low humidity, it wasn't too bad, but the sun was pretty tough.

I asked myself how bad did I want the 6 hour time goal. I wanted it pretty bad, so I was really starting to step it up a couple of notches now.

Thinking I had a good thing going, I grabbed another Hammer gel at the next station, tropical flavor this time. Note to self: Don't ever buy tropical flavor; not so good.

Kept a strong pace going with about 3-4 miles to go. Came up on a guy in my AG with a watch on and asked him what was our race time: 5hrs:45mins.

Dang! No way I can run that fast, not now, not today, not ever. Even though I wasn't going to make 6 hours, still gotta finish strong, so I kept it going. Felt great going back into the resort, and thought I was close to the end. I had forgotten about the loop going through the streets, so I had to bear down to maintain the pace because it was bit of mental blow to think you were almost done, but still had a mile to go.

Finally the crowd and the finish gate. It was done. First HIM.
What would you do differently?:

Coming off the bike, I had an idea that I hadn't eaten enough, so I started the run with an energy deficit. Better nutrition earlier in the run segment would've made a difference. I never walked any of the hills and only walked through some of the aid stations doing the ice cube in the hat and gel thing.

Here again, the second half of my race segment was better than the first as I made adjustments on the fly.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, grabbed some pizza and a coke. Found my wife and cousin, took some pics. Got my finisher's coffee cup, some more pizza and another coke.

Saw Joe from BT and chatted a couple of minutes. Saw "The Bear" from a distance as he was walking away, but wasn't able to meet up.

Packed my stuff and left.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'd had decent success during the past season and trained well going into this event. On Oct 14 I took a road trip with my son who is in the US Marine Corps and being posted to Hawaii before deploying to Iraq.

We went to the Grand Canyon and hiked 21 miles across in 11 hours. My legs were trashed for the next 2 days. Didn't get home until the 21st and
I immediately started training again to recover.

Taking the trip and hiking the Canyon affected me to some degree. How much? I'll never know. It didn't matter. There will be other HIM's, but there may not be another Canyon hike like that one.

Event comments:

Today was good race for me overall. Even though I didn't make my time goal, the potential to have done it was basically there. In all three elements I did better in the second half than I did in the first half and was able to finish each one strong. The key to success next time, will be doing equally well during the first parts of each element.

This race and venue has a good reputation and you feel like you've really accomplished something significant.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-08-15 12:00 AM
00:44:45 | 2112 yards | 02m 07s / 100yards
Age Group: 36/47
Overall: 0/617
Performance: Good
Suit: 2XU full wetsuit & Desoto tri shorts
Course: Down a channel, around a peninsula, out into the open lake parallel to the shore and back to shore for the exit. Big yellow buoys for the turns, smaller orange buoys in between.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:08
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
03:13:53 | 59 miles | 18.26 mile/hr
Age Group: 26/47
Overall: 0/617
Performance: Good
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: A single big looping course on mostly two-lane country roads. Plenty of rolling hills, but nothing big. Can't pick just one road surface description, because there were all three; smooth, rough, and potholes. Fortunately, the potholed section was only 3-4 miles long, but it was horrible.
Road:  Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:27
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:08:21 | 13.1 miles | 09m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 21/47
Overall: 0/617
Performance: Good
Course: An out and back on roads near the lake resort with 2 laps in the middle-miles and a looping segment through the subdivision to finish it off. Some small hills and inclines here and there.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %9
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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] 5