Vineman Ironman 70.3 - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
90F / 32C
Total Time = 6h 09m 44s
Overall Rank = 1104/1823
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 97/146
Pre-race routine:

We left for Sonoma county about 7:30 AM on Saturday, arrived at Windsor around 11:00 AM. Sign in was a breeze, as the race was very well organized. Waited for the 1:00 racers meeting, and suffered through way more details about drafting and red cards/yellow cards than any of us wanted to hear.

From there, I set up my run transistion (the swim is 15 miles away), and then we set off to drive the course. I think my wife has a much better understanding of just how big an accomplishment this crazy 1/2 iron distance is - we were both exhausted by the time we finished driving the route.

We stayed in Guerneville, at a little place called "Dawns Ranch Lodge". Booked it sight unseen, and we were just a little bit apprehensive, based on some of the comments about Guerneville. We were pleasantly suprised, the place was clean, rustic but cute, and literally filled with triathletes. In fact, we had a great conversation with Chris Lieto and his buddy at dinner - Chris went on to finish 4th in the pro division.

Anyway, had a great dinner, walked down to the beach to see how the transistion area shaped up, and they were still putting it together at 8:30 PM - so I figured I'd just have to figure it out in the morning.

Back to the room, and did my final loading of my fuel, water, checking off all the things I would need in the morning. Finally went to bed around 10:00PM, and tossed and turned until 3:30 AM - and decided to get up and get ready. What was especially funny was the fact that I brought not one, but two alarm clocks to make sure that I woke up on time - and did not even need an alarm....
With my 6:30 swim wave, I knew I would have to get up early - but I was hoping for just a little bit of real sleep.

Checked out the transistion area around 4:30 AM, looked high and low for a cup of coffee but there was none to be found in the Town of Guerneville at that hour of the morning. I had figured this would be the case, and had a "cold" starbucks coffee in reserve - but a hot cup would really have been nice.

Anyway, got all my gear together, had a bagel with peanut butter, bananna, and a shot of water and a gel - and headed to the beach. The beach was walking distance from our hotel, which really made it nice - no parking hassles, and my wife was able to sleep in a little bit. Set up the transistion, and went down to the beach for the final word on wetsuits - water temperature was 77.2 degrees - so wetsuits were allowed!!!!

Put on my suit, a last hug and photo with my wife, and into the "holding corral" I went.
Event warmup:

Really not much of a warmup - other than walking around, and setting up the transistion area. Paddled around a little bit waiting for my wave to get sent off.
  • 43m 13s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 03s / 100 yards

This was the first race I had really experianced the "washing machine". I started out with people slamming into me, and it continued almost the whole race - it is a narrow river, and my pace seemed to be the exact same pace that everyone else in my wave was going. My swim pace felt pretty good through the whole swim, I just focused on not getting kicked and knocked out, and tried to swim as efficiently as possible.

My goal this race was to draft a little - I have never really been successful with that in the past. I did find a few sets of feet to follow for a while, but invariably one of us would go off course, and then they would be kicking me, rather than me following them. I did seem to provide a good lead vehicle for someone, however, as they were drafting off of me (and tapping my feet and ankles) most of the swim.

As usual, right near the end of the swim I felt a cramp coming on in my right foot - I just quit kicking all together and was able to make it go away - and just powered in to shore just using my arms.

Overall I am very happy with this swim time - I held the same pace that I have done in much shorter races, across this much longer 1.2 mile course.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe try to start out with the front of the pack - cause starting in the back did not work very well.
Transition 1
  • 03m 31s

Long transition run - as well as having to pick up all my swim equipment, stuff into my bag and hand off to my wife (next transistion was 15 miles away). That all went good, but I'm sure I lost some time there.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - flawless execution
  • 3h 09m 36s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.72 mile/hr

Started out real easy - knowing that this was going to be a long day. Settled into an 18-20 mph pace, taking in gatorade and nutrition. My plan for this event was mostly solid types of food on the bike (granola bars, fig newtons, peanut butter crackers, etc.), and then switch to more readily available sugar types (Shot Blok's, GU's, etc) on the run. I alternated between water and gatorade on the bike, and the aero bottle set up worked excellent.

I pre-froze the aero unit, then used dry ice to keep it frozen (since our hotel did not have a freezer). That actually worked perfectly, as it thawed out about mile 10, and I was able to have ice cold water for much of the ride. When it finally went dry, I just grabbed a new bottle at the aid station, dumped it in and never really even slowed down.

I told myself very early on to take it easy on the bike - and to enjoy the ride. It was absolutly a stunning ride, as the fog was rolling through the lower portions of the valley, rolling through the vineyards and oak woodlands.

What would you do differently?:

I probably could have cut 5-10 minutes off my time, had I "raced" this, rather that "rode" the course. Since this was my first time at this distance, I wanted to make sure I did not blow up early, then have trouble with the run. Also, since I had not been across the course on a bike, I was a little unsure of myself, as there were plenty of hazards just waiting to jump out and grab the unsuspecting cyclist.
Transition 2
  • 02m 12s

Transition was long (probably at least 75 yards of running with your bike). Unfortunately, I got behind a gal that really was not in a big hurry to find her spot - and there wasn't really enough room to pass without being a real jerk. So, I calmed down, again focused on enjoying the experiance.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - even with the long run in and out, my time was OK - the water bottle I had left frozen in the ice chest the previous day was still about 1/2 ice - which meant that I had 28 ounces of beautiful, ice cold water to drink and to dump on my head, as the temperatures really were starting to heat up.
  • 2h 11m 12s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 01s  min/mile

Run started pretty well (Oh, I guess most of them do). My first mile was just a bit over 8 minutes, and I quickly realized that I was going way to fast - slowed down to about a 9 minute mile for the next few miles. As I followed a runner (female) out of the transistion, I was kidding her because her mom was there, giving her a bad time for not wearing a hat (just like mom's do). Anyway, I've fallen in behind her, and I notice that she is really sweating profusely on her legs - I can see the sweat beading up and literally running down her legs - and then I realize, this is not sweat...... That was enough of an "ewwwwe" factor to motivate me to pass her.

This course has lots of hills - and I made a calculated decision to walk the crest of each one, to help keep my heartrate under control. I was alternating between water and gatorade at the rest stops, supplemented with my own water I carried. After the half way point, I was then getting one gatorade, and two waters, dumping the second water over my head. I could feel my core temperature rising, and knew that I was also getting dehydrated. I ate three gels, and two shot blocks during the first 8 miles or so, and really wanted to take in more, but was not sure my stomach could handle it.

About mile 10, I briefly considering "kicking" it out, and trying to bring my time innder 6 hours - it's only a 5K, I thought to myself. Luckily, I quickly threw that idea out as being no good, and stuck with the nice, slow pace back to the finish. By mile 12, I was really glad I didn't try to speed up, cause my right calf was trying it's damndest to cramp up on me, and by favoring it, now my left quad was also talking to me. I sucked it up and just keep moving, headed towards the finish chute. Once in the chute, it was very emotional, my wife was crying, and I was pretty close to it. They ladies at the finish line did a great job of catching us at the finish, wiping us down with ice sponges, and handing us our medals and water bottle. They had a photographer at the end, and they really took care of us through the whole race.
What would you do differently?:

I struggled getting in my long runs before this race - and I needed to get in more long, hot runs (overdistance). I probably should have used my two bottle fuel belt, cause I lost a lot of time stopping and walking thru every aid station.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, drank two bottle of water, and my chocolate milk (that my wife had brought with her, in a bag of ice). She took the extra ice and put it in my jersey, and dumped the water over my head - what a great way to cool down in a hurry.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

90 plus degree weather, and first time racing this distance

Event comments:

This is the biggest race I have participated in - 1800 plus racers. The organizers did an AWESOME job - they had over 800 volunteers out helping us, it was on time, everything was where it needed to be - and the course was spectacular. I really enjoyed this race, and I will certainly be back
next year.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-12-30 12:00 AM
00:43:13 | 2112 yards | 02m 03s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/146
Overall: 0/1823
Performance: Good
Suit: Promotion Full
Course: From Johnson's Beach Dam, upriver about 7/10's of a mile, the turn around and come back (in the Russian River).
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:31
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:09:36 | 56 miles | 17.72 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/146
Overall: 0/1823
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Great course - circling the Sonoma County wine growing region. From swim start, northeast to Geyserville, the south back to Windsor.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:12
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:11:12 | 13.1 miles | 10m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/146
Overall: 0/1823
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back course, from Windsor high school out to LaCrema Winery.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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] 5