My first Triathlon
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Ford Ironman 70.3 California - Triathlon1/2 Ironman
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Ironman North America
65F / 18C
= 6h 11m 27s
Age Group Rank
This being my first HIM and only my second tri
(the other was a sprint
) I had trouble sleeping the night before. My main problem was knowing that the sooner I went to sleep the sooner the race would arrive. The wake-up call came at 4:15 and then again at 4:30 I didn't want to take any chances. Loaded the truck up with all the gear and while Loni drove us to the race parking I ate my half bagel with peanut butter.
Once at the parking lot the reality of the situation began to sink in and I would have plenty of time to ponder my situation while making the 1.5 mile trek to the start. Loni encouraged me to go ahead I didn't really want to go by myself I wanted to have someone familiar near me as long as possible. We decided to meet up after I had gotten everything set up at the transition area so off I went.
It was a dark and quiet ride to the start, everyone just riding in silence. The transition/start area was lit up so you could see it quite a distance away, the nerves began to build at that point. I just kept moving forward with the crowd so it looked like I knew what I was doing and where I was going but I was pretty much lost. The bike racks all had bib number ranges on them so you knew were you were supposed to set up. I found my rack and started to set up when I over heard someone say that each spot was designated with your bib number. Sure enough there was a sticker on the bar in front of me with a number that was not mine. Eventually I found my spot and fortunately I had not begun to unpack at the wrong spot.
Got my body markings done and then headed off to find Loni. Luckily we baught a balloon the night before thinking I would need it to find my transition spot but it was better used to find Loni in the crowds. She helped calm me down just seeing her.
Checked out the swim entry and course for the first time with Loni. Took a couple of pictures that mostly didn't turn out because of the lack of light. Hit the porta potty and then did a quick run to the dirt part of the run course and back.
02m 34s / 100 yards
This was the part of the race that I dreaded more than anything else. Up until about 6 months ago a swim for me meant an inflatable raft and a cold beverage. Lately it has meant endless laps in a heated or semi heated pool. With 3 maybe 4 open water swims under my belt, all but one occuring last summer and none in the ocean, I was nervous to say the least about an open water swim in the ocean. The wave start format didn't help any either since it felt like a slow march to the inevitable with each sound of the starters gun and the short shuffle forward.
The moment finally arrived when I was standing on the boat launch ramp staring at the water with spectators lining the docks on either side of me. Too late for me to escape now, too many witnesses. And then it happened somebody said get in the water and I was off swimming for my life just to get to the starting line. At the starting line we treaded water for what seemed like just a few moments before a guy on a surf board near me said 5 seconds. What? I'm not ready, 5 seconds, lets talk about this for a little while! What's the rush? Then the gun went off and I started swimming and for a while I was doing alright. I was concentrating on my stroke and breathing but then the boats on my right seemed to be getting closer. did I mention that I was on the far right so I didn't get in anybody's way? I took a quick look ahead and verified that I wasn't going to punch a hole in anybody's boat. Sometime after that it happened, the panic began to sink in. My breathing was too fast it felt like I couldn't get enough air and my stroke was dissolving into something that resembled the dog paddle. So I began swimming with my head out of the water:
My biggest concern was that I would come in last so I took a quick look around and saw a few other swimmers with the same cap color near me. That was something, as long as I kept them close by I wouldn't come in last. So that's what I did, swam with my head out of the water and when I got tired I flipped over to my back for a while. Many people passed me, I didn't get any of their names or where they were from but they all seemed pretty nice. The course seemed overly long and once we got out near the turn around buoys the ocean waves were more significant at least in an up and down sea sick kind of way.
I was able to stay out of everyones way until I neared the finish and the swim lane narrowed. Then things became crowded and I didn't dare flip over on my back. It's one thing to have someone crawl over your back but it's entirely different when they crawl over you and your face to face. Land couldn't come fast enough for me. The finish had lots of people to help get you upright and unzip your wetsuit for you. I was a little disappointed about that since I didn't get to use my wetsuits fancy quick release zipper but the fact that I was on solid ground made up for it.
I chose to walk for a while to get my barings and slowly worked into a jog towards the transition area. The volunteers were awesome cheering us along all the way.
What would you do differently?:
More open water swims!!! I need to get over my fear of the open water. I know how to swim and I have decent enough form to get me through the water faster than I did but I throw it all away when I'm in the open water.
Next year I'll be back and kick butt in the swim!
I don't know what took me so long maybe I spent too much time putting my makeup on:
) The bike racks were pretty empty except for the racks for the waves that started well after mine so it was pretty easy to find my bike.
What would you do differently?:
I don't know maybe run as soon as I get out of the water.
3h 10m 8s
This is where the race really started for me. I was really just counting on surviving the swim and making it to my bike. I liked passing all those people that beat me in the water:
At the first significant hill I had a guy on a fancy tri bike in the process of passing me before the hill but couldn't finish the pass. So I'm on his right with a slower rider in front of me and now I'm moving faster than the fancy bike guy. Believe it or not he says to me I'm not supposed to pass on the right! So I tell him I'm not trying to pass I'm just faster than you on the hill. He repeats himself. I'm thinking what the hell are you doing blocking me in if that super fancy tri bike can't get you over a hill. Oh well eventually we hit the down hill side and he was able to get going. I noticed that a lot along the course the tri bikes were great on the flat or down hill since they had the bigger gears but on a hill most were no match for a road bike:
About ten miles in I realized I needed to pee, I hate stopping but I told myself the next aid station I'll stop. The next aid station I kept going:
) I do that a lot to myself, make deals just to keep going. At a tunnel my right aero bar arm pad blew off, now it is amazing how many things can go through your mind in a short amount of time. My first thought was leave it you can make it without it, then I thought they don't make these bars anymore so I won't be able to replace the pads then I'll be stuck forever with only one pad. This back and forth took place for nearly the entire length of the tunnel. Of course the pad blew off at the entrance and the safest place to stop was outside the exit. So I hopped of the bike and ran through the tunnel picked up the pad and ran back to the bike. I decided I probably couldn't convince Loni to let me buy new bars just because of a missing pad:
Once I got back up to speed I thought it would be a good time to eat something. The night before I spent some time breaking up my cliff bars into bit size pieces and putting them back into the package so they would be easier to eat. Good plan except for the fact that they just pretty much stuck together in a bigger clump. This meant that I had too big a piece in my mouth and my throat was too dry to get anything down so now I'm choking on cliff bar! What happens when you choke? You guessed it the air comes out your nose which meant I blew snot all over the place trying to get that damn piece of bar down. Luckily there weren't any cameras around that I'm aware of and nobody witnessed the snotty mess. A little water and a lot of force and I got it down and vowed not to that again.
Next aid station I kept going much to my bladder's disappointment.
The hills were steep but nothing worse than near our house so I didn't have a problem climbing them except for the second big hill. My chain popped off at the beginning of the climb so I had to hop off again and straighten that out.
The wind was the one thing I could have done without. I'm sure it wasn't as bad as it could be for that area but I hate a head wind. It just feels like you slow to a crawl plus I still had to pee so it was just a little uncomfortable trying to bend over to reduce the drag. Of course once I resigned myself to the fact that I needed to stop to pee there were no more aid stations or porta potties.
What would you do differently?:
Can't think of anything except maybe tape that damn arm pad down.
I decided to not push it into the bike finish. What were a few seconds going to do for me anyway? I stayed behind a woman as we approached the arch. Unfortunately, she seemed to be confused about when to get off the bike and wasn't listening to the volunteers directing her. So we went very slowly down the transition lane at one point nearly coming to a stop. Not sure how much of an affect that had on my transition time.
Once I got into my running shoes I was going to finally use the bathroom. Of course the first group of porta potties were full and I wasn't going to wait so I continued on towards the run course start. Finally found an open potty near the start, not sure what I would have done if they were full. Probably just kept on running.
What would you do differently?:
I don't think there was anything else I could have done. Maybe next time I will pass anybody in front of me before the transition area.
1h 54m 23s
08m 44s min/mile
The run was the event I was most looking forward to since it marks the end of the race and I am pretty comfortable running. The one thing I wasn't sure about was how I would feel after completing the swim and bike. I have never started a half marathon or any race already tired and ready to be done so this was definetly a new experience.
After looking at my watch and seeing my heart rate already in the 160's I decided to not concentrate on running a specific pace but just stay in a comfortable heart rate zone and not stop.
I was really happy to see Loni at the pier on my way back on the first loop. After being alone for so long it was nice to see a familiar face and to talk to someone. She told me I was looking good, which of course I already knew. On the way out on the second loop she almost missed me since I was moving faster than she thought. We talked a little, while she ran along with me, not sure about what at this point my mind was not really retaining information. I do remember seeing her holding a bottle of water and excitedly asking her if it was cold. It was and it was very refreshing. The rest of the loop was pretty uneventful although I saw Hans at one point and told him he was looking good not sure if he believed me or not.
The final stretch to the finish line was sweet. Occasionally I heard someone along the fence yell out my name. As I was getting closer to the finish line I heard a lot of applause coming from behind and it was getting louder and faster. I looked back and a guy in a wheelchair was coming up fast on me. In front of me some people were unrolling a finish line tape which just caused my already tired brain to spin out of control. Were they getting it ready for the wheelchair guy or me? If I kept going we would probably get to the finish line at the same time and would I look like a big ass for breaking the tape. So I slowed down a bit so he would be able to go by. I figured he deserved to finish before me and break the tape. So what does he do? He rolls right under the tape! So I raised my arms high and ran through that tape like I just finished in first place. Now I don't know if they raise that tape for everyone or if it was in fact for the wheelchair dude but it was the first time in all my races that I got to break a tape and it felt great!
I got my medal, shirt, and hat and for the first time it hit me; all those months of training, Loni encouraging me to keep up with my training schedule, that one very cold open water swim at lake Natoma
(50 degrees folks
), the miles on a trainer when it was raining or the times when my feet completely froze on the bike and then had to run while they were still frozen came down to this moment. I finished what I set out to do so many months ago. I AM A HALF IRONMAN!!!!!!
What would you do differently?:
Nothing!! I did exactly what I think I should have done and I have nothing to complain about.
Ate some pizza and drank a lot of water. I was pretty tired and salty so I packed up my stuff and Loni and I headed back to the truck. Once we got back to the hotel it was all over I took an Epsom salt bath
(thanks Tiffiny, Julie, Jeff, Lori and Toni they provided the Epsom salt they didn't give me the bath
) ate some homemade cookies
) and took a nap.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Wear sunscreen I used some but didn't get any on my legs or my shoulders and woke up the next day with a pretty bad burn. Apparently permenant marker is an excellent sun block because my left calf has a nice 36 surrounded by sun burn:
Last updated: 2007-09-28 12:00 AM
00:54:09 | 2112 yards | 02m 34s / 100yards
Out and back in the harbor
59F / 15C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:10:08 | 56 miles | 17.67 mile/hr
Nice course. First half pretty much flat so you can get some good speed going. Second half had the hills and head wind. Neither was terrible but I could have done without the wind.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:54:23 | 13.1 miles | 08m 44s min/mile
Pretty much stayed in the 160's on the flats and 170's when climbing the hills.
The course was a nice loop partly along the beach which kind of sucked when I saw all the people just hanging out on the beach while I was running. The occasional beach BBQ was also tough to run by.
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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