Iron Star Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Conroe, Texas
United States
Out Loud Productions
70sF / 0C
Total Time = 5h 54m 16s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 4/13
Pre-race routine:

Went to bed at 9:15 and woke up 15 minutes before the alarm @ 0445. If there's a PR in the sleep category, this was it. Best ever.

That said, we got away from the house a little late and I was rushed the whole time getting to the site and getting transition set up. Managed to get everything done, but not one minute to spare. Didn't have a chance to chill out or walk all the ins & outs.

Took note of my rack and started the longish walk to the water.
Event warmup:

Virtually none.

The beach area was small and crowded with racers and spectators. Not much time or chance to swim any. Got wet and stroked a little before they were calling us out of the water to start the first wave.

My main goal was to be sub-6 hours, though I had set some stretch goals that would yield a 5:35. If I was anywhere around that, I'd be ecstatic.
  • 44m 6s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 05s / 100 yards

This swim was so messed up in so many ways. On a good day, I am average at best (anybody who knows me, knows this) and today was even worse.

I never got into any kind of steady rhythym. First 300 yards; the stomach and bowels were rebelling, thought I was going to poop my suit. It finally subsided, but now I was having a hard time navigating.

The intermediate buoys were small (~18") in diameter, spaced far apart, and red. The swim caps in our wave were red, so every time I looked up all I saw were red caps bobbing in the water and I had no idea where the next buoy was. Seems like I was pulling up every 10 strokes, looking for the next buoy. Volunteers in the boats kept pointing us in the right direction, so that helped.

The fast guys had pulled away long ago and there were a few of us stragglers and it seems like everyone of them kept running into me. A whole big-O lake and they gotta swim on top of me. Just another disruption to deal with. Never got tired or winded and just kept plugging away at it.

About 300 yards to go and my left hamstring starts wanting to cramp. Oh crap, this can't be happening. Kept the leg straight and kicked very little. About 50 yards from the shore, it's shallow enough to stand up and walk, so I do. But the mud is so thick and deep this is making it worse, so I start swimming again. I repeat this 2 or 3 more times before standing up for good 20 feet from the first volunteer in the water.

I'd started peeling the top half of my suit but then fell into a deep spot and have to breast-stroke a little to get to the boat ramp. What a mess!

Stagger up the ramp to the strippers. They attack my suit with a vengeance and I'm ready to run in seconds.
What would you do differently?:

No excuses, it should been better, but it wasn't. Missed my goal by 4 minutes. I just need to keep my head down and swim.

As mentioned, not fast on a good day; when things go wrong, it's worse.
Transition 1
  • 03m 30s

Long run from the ramp to T1, just followed the trail of water on the road. Ran at a moderate pace and allowed the cramp to work itself out.

Because of the cold morning, I would wear socks and lightweight full-fingered gloves. I had laid out arm warmers but decided at the last minute to go without them. I knew I'd suffer some to begin with on the bike, but it would pay off later. Everything's a trade off.

3rd in AG.
What would you do differently?:


Pulling on socks and gloves on wet skin is always a hassle.
  • 3h 06m 17s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.04 mile/hr

This was my third race on this course so I knew what to expect; one rolling hill after another, but none of them are steep, though. My goal was to push steady and average 19mph for a 2:55 split.

It was a bit chilly being wet and in the shade so it was borderline cold, and my toes were numb for 40 miles, but it was great weather to work hard. I pushed the pace every place I could and felt like I was doing well. The cycle computer was acting up and not reading consistently, so I never really knew how fast I was going. I race by RPE anyway and was passing riders, so the mph didn't matter that much.

Had 24ozs of Perpetuem in a throw-away bottle, 3 gels taped to the top tube, and 20ozs of G-ade in the aero-bottle. I would get more G-ade at the hand-ups and throw away what was left of the Perp at the last aid station. The 3rd gel was a back-up in case I dropped the Perp or needed an extra boost. Finished everything and never felt hungry or thirsty.

The roads were really smooth until we hit the county line and they got pretty rough; not super-bad, just annoying. Was really enjoying the ride. Once we got into the open areas, the winds started picking up. Not gale force, but enough when combined with an uphill, that 13-14mph was about all I could muster. I knew it was killing the average, but I pushed as hard as I could. Stood up and mashed several times to the top of the hill. Got back to the county line and the smooth roads.

About mile 40, a Clyde comes up beside me on the left and asked what IM I had done. I said AZ this year and it turns out he had done it too. I glanced down and saw his tattoo also. Chatted a little about the nice weather we had today versus then. By now, my toes had feelings again and I wasn't sweating, so it was an awesome time to be on the bike.

We leap-frogged each other for the rest of the course... His size would get me on the downhill; I'd pass him on the uphill. A couple miles from the end, I let him go; it wasn't necessary to try to beat him into T2. I'd finished the bike feeling good.

A half mile from TA, I pulled off the gloves and got out of my shoes. Came to the line and dismounted cleanly, but landed very hard on my right heel. Almost went down, but recovered smoothly and ran into T2.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.

You always wonder if you could have pushed harder, but the wind and the hills slowed me down and I missed my goal by 11 minutes. I rode steady and made no mistakes, so it was my best effort; simple as that.
Transition 2
  • 00m 54s

Transition was pretty small and I was in a good spot. Racked bike, off with the helmet, dump the gloves, on with the shoes, grab hat and number belt. I was done so quickly I thought I was forgetting something. Stood there a few seconds looking at my stuff, but deemed it good to go and started running.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, except not waste a few seconds.

1st in AG.
  • 1h 59m 29s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 07s  min/mile

Really felt good coming off the bike and hit the road with a plan to start very easy and build up to going faster. The legs took a couple of miles to settle in and get past the crampiness. I'd also decided to fast-walk the aid stations and drink a cup of water at each one.

The course had enough turns and turn-arounds to keep it interesting and I never felt bored. It seemed like each mile just clicked past and I never had that "dread" of 12 more, 11 more, 10 more, etc. Ran steady and before I knew it; I was at mile 6. Wow, this is going well. Not blazing speed, but very consistent. My heel was hurting but it wasn't affecting my performance, it was just very uncomfortable.

Plugging along and a guy pulls along side me. "Tell me about your IronMan", he askes. We run together and chat for almost 2 miles. I can talk easily, so that confirms my easy (Z2) pace. He's about my age, but he's running a relay, so he's not a target. Slowly, he pulls away and I keep my pace. Twice in one race the M-Dot tattoo sparks a conversation. Pretty cool.

Was living off the course and downed a couple of gels from the aid stations. Banana Hammer gel was all they had; not a favorite, but it would have to do. Still feeling like I have plenty of energy and passed at least one guy in my AG, not sure if I passed any others.

Starting to get warm and lots of sweat, but it's still very comfortable. Get out of the subdivisions and on a long, quiet stretch headed to the small town finish. Really started thinking about this being my last race and reflecting back on all the runs I've done this year. Thought about that cold, early morning, magical 17 mile run to work under a full moon back in January. IMAZ. The endless training miles. The succesful sprint races. And thought about how blessed I've been this year with all the changes that have occured.

Before I knew it, it was mile 10, time to step it up and spend everything I had left. The race is a 5K now and I had 30 minutes to do it in. No problem; I can do 8 minute miles and be sub-6 hour with plenty of margin. Picked up the pace and was exerting a solid Z3 effort.

A couple more turns and there was the finish line. I'd done the 5K in 24 minutes. Great!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, but missed my goal by 4 minutes.

Pretty much executed my 3-phase run plan; start easy, coast the middle, finish strong.
Post race
Warm down:

The usual; walked around, found my wife, ate some pizza, drank a coke. Picked up my "3-Time Finisher" coffee cup.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of super-serious training hours. Pretty much been taking it easy the last couple of months with my job change and other things that have been going on. Relied upon a decent base and my basic ability.

Finished sub-6 and placed 4th in AG, just missing 3rd by a couple of minutes. All-in-all, I'm very pleased with the results even though I missed my stretch goals.

Event comments:

This is a good race with plenty of support, organization, and a nice bike course. Nothing special, but the price is right and it's only 35 miles from home. I probably enjoyed this HIM more than any other one I've done. Just a really nice day and good effort.

I've seen the number of racers slowly decline in the last 4 years (I volunteered in '05). Not sure why, but maybe the local folks are getting "bored" with it and it's not a "destination race" for the out-of-towners.

I may or may not be back next year; not really sure if I need a 4th coffee cup.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-06-19 12:00 AM
00:44:06 | 2112 yards | 02m 05s / 100yards
Age Group: 11/13
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Out to a big buoy, very sharp right turn, parallel to the shore, another right turn and back to shore.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:06:17 | 56 miles | 18.04 mile/hr
Age Group: 6/13
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Big out and back loop on country roads with LOTS of rolling hills. 90% of the road was excellent quality, the balance was old chip seal, but not too bad.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:54
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:59:29 | 13.1 miles | 09m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/13
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Roads going in and out of subdivisions and finishing in the center of a small town a couple miles away from the race site. No "scenery" but a pleasant course. Flat with a couple of minor inclines.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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