My first Triathlon
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Vineman - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Santa Rosa, California
98F / 37C
= 13h 45m 45s
Age Group Rank
I’ve been doing short course triathlon races and HIM’s since 2006, it became my dream to do an IM, so I bought Don Fink’s book “IronFit”, because it got good reviews, and read it cover to cover. Then I tried to sign up for IM Lake Placid, because I could have driven there from Boston. It was sold out already a year in advance, so I looked for other unofficial races and eventually signed up for the Full Vineman, which Don Fink recommended in his book. This race was also at the right time of the year for me
(I’m getting married in October
). Anyway, I used Don Fink’s Competitive Training Program in his book, didn’t go snowboarding at all, because I was afraid to get injured and tried to follow the program as close as possible. In hindsight, I should have done more strength training. Something was often hurting, which made me cut back in the Z4 training zones. I also lost a couple of weekends due to colds and/or allergies, but otherwise I kept up with the training program and it finally let me to finishing this race without getting injured at all.
Anyway, the night before the race I ate pasta with shrimp and then had chocolate ice cream
(possibly too much
). On race day I got up at 4 AM, ate two power bars and made myself drink two bike bottles of accelerade. At around 5 AM my fiancée drove me to T1
(I wanted to bike there to warm up, but she insisted on driving me
It was still dark when I arrived and racked in my bike. I talked to some people and it turned out that one of them was German too and the Englishman next to me had lived in Germany for a year or so. Went to the porter potties twice
(the second time the lines there were really long
). At around 6:15 I got my wetsuit on and headed to the beach. There was this beautiful fog over the Russian river. I went into the water, which felt great. The temperature must have been in the mid 70’s. Swam for 10 minutes and then got out, because the first wave was about to start at 6:45
(I was in the second wave
1h 10m 33s
02m 56s / 100 meters
The swim was great. I made myself swim easy, because I wanted to use the swim as an overall warm up routine. What does it matter if I loose 15 minutes out of about 12+ hours? I thought it was an out and back swim course, but it turned out to be two laps. I saw people standing up after the return buoy. The water at that point was only waist deep. Got up too, cleaned my goggles and continued swimming. I tried to pay some attention to the surroundings. I saw people standing on the bridges we swam under looking down at us and I saw some of the redwood trees. I told myself how great I is to do an IM and that all that matters is that I get through this long day ahead of me.
What would you do differently?:
My left shoulder hurt some due to the wetsuit, next time I would wear a sleeveless wetsuit. The water temperature didn’t really require a wetsuit anyway.
The volunteers pulled off my wetsuit quickly. I ran/walked to my bike and changed into my bike outfit. I wasted some time to get the dirt off my feet, but thought it might have been good this way since it gave me time to calm down and focus.
6h 55m 2s
I got out of T1 without problems. People started passing me immediately, but I looked at my HR monitor and kept it below 144
(my max Z4 for the bike
). I knew the bike ride would be long and hilly, so I tried to stay between 17 and 20 MPH. The hills slowed me down of course and brought my HR up above Z2. I learned somewhere that it’s best to go up the hills hard and as fast as possible and then recover downhill. That’s what I did. Also, I got off my seat most of the time when going uphill, so my bottom would be able to recover and the numbness in my crutch would go away. On the long hills I alternated between seated and not-seated position, which worked great. Ate GU every 25 min with accelerade and water. I tried to pay attention to the scenic landscape with its rolling hills, vineyards and ranches, but then it got really hot and I could only focus on biking. About two times during the second loop I ran out of water. I had three bottles on my bike, all filled with accelerade, and a camelbag on my back with about 2 liters of water. This had worked on my long training rides, but it seemed I needed a lot more fluids in the heat. The aid stations seemed really far apart from each other, so I was quite thirsty for some time. When I finally reached the aid station I filled my camelbag with two bottles of water, threw one of the empty accelerade bottles away and replaced it with a gatorade bottle. When I ran out of water the second time I did the same, but got a third water bottle on my bike. Maybe this made me drink too much water as I cramped up on the run course later on. Anyway, at around mile 105 I lost focus and got off the course. All of the sudden there was no other cyclist around me for some time, so I turned around and soon I ran into a volunteer on a bike who got me back on the course. Think I lost about 10 minutes, which is really nothing considering that it took me almost 7 hours for the bike course.
What would you do differently?:
Pay more attention to the course. Should have taken salt tabs on the second loop. Due to the heat I drank a lot more water, so when I got to the marathon I was depleted of minerals.
Super hot. It was about 2:30 when I arrived. Asphalt was too hot to walk on with bare feet. Forced a GU down, but was kind of sick of it.
5h 21m 33s
12m 16s min/mile
Felt pretty good during the first 2 miles, but then, due to the heat
(about 98F by now
) and exhaustion, I couldn’t really run anymore. I told myself to run until my HR monitor would exceed 153
) and then walk until it would be back to 135
). I did that for a while, but even at HR 135 I felt really bad. I couldn’t really eat anything and I hated Gatorade. I put a little bit of ice under my hat and switched to cola. I avoided getting totally wet when volunteers sprayed me with water, so my shoes wouldn’t get soaked like they did at the Mooseman. Then both of my quads/hamstrings cramped up. Took salt tabs, which I had never taken before. Continued to run/walk, but felt like a loser, because I couldn’t really run anymore. My fiancée gave me a pep-talk at the beginning of lap three. She said everybody had to walk and that I was doing great. Then a woman ran by and asked me if this was my first IM, so I tried to keep up with her and started talking about IM racing, the hot weather, etc. By then the temperature came down and I somehow got a second wind. Continued to drink cola and took some more salt tabs. I was able to run for the last 8 miles continuously besides stopping briefly at the aid stations and walking one steep hill. The chatting helped me to keep myself distracted and having a running buddy on your side makes you pull through a lot easier. I should have started that earlier on the run. When I got close to the finish line I was even able to sprint really hard without cramping up. I finished the race! I’m an IM now, but I have to say it was really hard even with all the training I did.
What would you do differently?:
I should have done more research on doing IM races in hot weather. I should have taken salt tabs already on the bike to prepare for the run and brought accelerade and more GU with me. Switching to Gatorade and clif shot gel, which tasted disgusting, didn’t really work for me.
Felt exhausted after the race, but not too bad initially. I didn’t know what to eat though. Then I heard that they offered chicken soup at the emergency tent. I went there with my fiancée and started to get cramps. I ate some soup, but the cramps would get worse. The emergency guy told that this was normal. He gave me some more salt tabs and got me laying on the floor. It took about 1-2 hours to recover eating chicken soup, veggie burger, bananas and water melon. Without my fiancée who brought me all this food and spoon-fed me I would have been in so much more pain. It was a tough race and it pushed my body to a limit I have never experienced before, but it transformed into an IM and I can’t wait to do more races, maybe even another IM.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
It was definitely the heat and inappropriate nutrition intake.
I think the race was well organized and the race course very pretty. I really loved the vineyards, which we visited the next day. I didn’t like that T1 and T2 were separated by 15 miles. Also, there was a shuttle from T1 to T2 I heard, but it wouldn’t transport bikes. So if people didn’t have friends or family driving them
(like a buddy of mine who we gave a ride back to the hotel
) they would have to take the shuttle back to T1 then hop into there cars, drive back to T2, load their bikes and then drive to a hotel. Otherwise, the volunteers were great; they had plenty of aid stations on the run course offering the things you needed and people would cheer you on a lot, especially when you started running again.
Last updated: 2008-04-23 12:00 AM
01:10:33 | 2400 meters | 02m 56s / 100meters
73F / 23C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:55:02 | 112 miles | 16.19 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:21:33 | 26.2 miles | 12m 16s min/mile
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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