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HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman


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La Quinta, California
United States
HITS Triathlon Series
60F / 16C
Sunny
Total Time = 5h 31m 10s
Overall Rank = 40/218
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

HITS Palm Springs Half Ironman
December 1, 2012

1st place age - 5:31:10
Swim - 32:41
T1 - 3:08
Bike - 2:39:02
T2 - 1:50
Run - 2:14:26

Palm Springs, CA is very pretty. Desert. Temperature at the start of the race was in the 60’s. High temperature was in the mid 80’s and sunny.
Race morning I ate my bagel with PB and honey, orange juice, and banana. The transition area at this race was very impressive. Plenty of room, nice “box” for the bike, and even a stool to sit on. Arrived early had had plenty of time to organize gear and rest.

The swim was a 2 loop course in a lake with a short run on the beach between loops. They kept the “rectangle” we were to swim tight due to lack of rescue boats in the water. The water was chilly (about 60-62 degrees). I wore full wetsuit, booties, and a neoprene cap. The half and full iron distances started together from the beach. There was a small area we all had to run through while on the beach and then into the water between a pair of cones that were fairly close together. This was a rough start. I tried to stay in the pack, but I hate being beaten around. We were to keep the buoys on or left. I swam on the outside of the crowd until things thinned out. Although I did get in the water to adjust to the temperature a bit before the start, I was still cold and it took a few minutes for my lungs to adjust. The first loop was slow and my stroke was choppy. I had a tough time finding a good rhythm. I started the second loop feeling better. I had trouble sighting the buoys due to sun glare and ended up swimming too far on the outside after the crowd had thinned. I finished the swim feeling okay. I knew it wasn’t one of my better swims, but I felt okay. I was comfortable with the extra gear (booties and neoprene cap).

The run from the beach to transition was okay. I liked having the stool to sit on in transition. It made remove of the wetsuit and general transition faster. It was warming up, so I didn’t need arm warmers. I had on a one piece tri kit that I wore under my wetsuit.

The bike course is flat and windy, but fast. The course was and out and back twice. Only a few turns. There were no refs or race personnel on the course. With this type of course, this lead to lots and lots of drafting. I made sure to keep my distance, but not many other people followed these rules. The female that ended up winning 1st place overall female drafted off of me the entire first loop. She was even chatting with me while she was on my wheel telling me that HITS usually doesn’t have anyone checking for drafting and that since we are going about the same pace, we could help each other out. I said, “No thanks.” She stayed on my wheel until the turn back at the park. I then slowed down to 16mph until she passed and went ahead and caught up with a pack of guys. There were guys in groups of 10 or more drafting. It was hot and dry. I finished my two bottles of fluid midway through the second loop and started drinking the Heed drink they had on the course. I finished the bike feeling great. The only “hill” on this course is going into the park.

Transition two went fine. Again, I liked the stool and “box” for the bike.

As I started the run course I was told that I was the 3rd overall female. I was feeling very strong the first four miles of the run. Flying. Around mile 5, my stomach started cramping and I started to feel nauseous. The turnaround was not until mile 7. About this time I was walking some and really feeling sick. I kept drinking Heed thinking I needed something. Around mile 8 I walked over to the side of the path and puked. Gross. I felt a little better and started running again. I puked a little more about a mile later. There were not enough aid stations on this course. There were no port-a-potties. Not good. I continued to run, jog, and walk the rest of the run course. Several females ran past me and I knew I lost my position, but I didn’t care. I was able to run through the finish line and then race to the bathroom. My tummy was not happy! During the swim and the bike I had been thinking that I wished I was racing the full iron instead of the half; however, during the run, I was thinking how happy I was that I was only doing the half and not the full. LOL. The run was 14.24 miles instead of 13.1. Race official later told people that they measured the course by the road and not by the actual run path. Not good!

The race did have a nice after party with food. They also had the awards ceremony for the half. I was very surprised I won 1st place in my age group. I beat the other girls in my age group by half an hour.

HITS Race review. The company has a lot of work to do. I had a fun weekend and I like the race weekend idea. They changed both the swim and the bike course and announced these changes at the pre-race meeting on Friday. They needed to spread out the swim course to keep it less crowded. Two tight loops for a half is silly. Transition area was great! The bike course could have used another aid station and have more than Heed and water provided. They also could have marked the post holes and rough patches better. They also could have had port-a-potties at the aid stations. The run course did not have enough aid stations. They were 1.5 to 2 miles apart. It was hot and dry weather. There were NO port-a-potties on the entire run course. The run course was over a mile too long due to the officials making a mistake in marking the course. The finish line and after party were nice. The location was nice. The finish medals were a generic HITS medal. It does not say what race, distance, or date. Overall, there were some nice things about a HITS race, but there are lots of things they need to work on.

Swim
  • 32m 41s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards
Transition 1
  • 03m 8s
Bike
  • 2h 39m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.13 mile/hr
Transition 2
  • 01m 50s
Run
  • 2h 14m 26s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 16s  min/mile
Post race



Last updated: 2012-09-20 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:32:41 | 2112 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/218
Performance:
Suit: full, bottie, neoprene cap
Course: 2 loops, beach run in between loops
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 61F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
T1
Time: 03:08
Performance:
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
02:39:02 | 56 miles | 21.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/218
Performance:
Wind: Strong
Course: Out and back twice. flat with wind. fast course
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 01:50
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
02:14:26 | 13.1 miles | 10m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/218
Performance:
Course: out and back. long course. 14.24 miles. hot and dry. not enough air stations. no port-a-potties.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2012-12-02 11:14 PM

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Extreme Veteran
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San Diego, CA
Subject: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course


2012-12-03 5:55 AM
in reply to: #4518872

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Master
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Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
Nice work!
2012-12-03 4:32 PM
in reply to: #4518872

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Expert
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Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course

Yuck to puking on the run.  I can't imagine not having a porta pot on the run!!!  Did the full distance athletes have to do 4 loops with no potty and 2 extra miles??? Yikes!

I'm glad you had fun during most of the race, and thanks for the HITS review!

And congrats on winning your AG by a full half hour! Awesome as usual Amy!!!

2012-12-03 7:04 PM
in reply to: #4520077

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Extreme Veteran
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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
TrishM - 2012-12-03 5:32 PM

Yuck to puking on the run.  I can't imagine not having a porta pot on the run!!!  Did the full distance athletes have to do 4 loops with no potty and 2 extra miles??? Yikes!

I'm glad you had fun during most of the race, and thanks for the HITS review!

And congrats on winning your AG by a full half hour! Awesome as usual Amy!!!

Thank you!  :-)

The full had to swim 4 loops of the swim and run on the beach between each loop.  They had an extended out and back bike course that they had to do 3 times, and a the out and back run course 2 times - yes 28 miles!  :-(  I was so happy I did the half!!!  :-)

2012-12-03 9:46 PM
in reply to: #4518872

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Expert
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Palm Springs & Central Coast, CA
Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course

Great job! You're tougher than I am, and I especially envy your swim.

That run course problem was significant. There's an ironic story about the following day when *everyone* knew that the sidewalk was so much longer than the street: a well known triathlete won his age group by  a few seconds by running on the street instead.

Loved your report. You set a high example!

2012-12-04 12:33 AM
in reply to: #4518872

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Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
Congrats on a great race, despite feeling like crap. I did the full and echo most of what you said. I think the mistake of the long run was fixed before the full athletes got there. Apparently a staff member placed the half turnaround too far out. My garmin wasn't working so not sure if it was fixed or not by the full.


2012-12-04 1:40 PM
in reply to: #4518872

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Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course

Amy - Props to you for refusing to cheat with that other woman.  You are an example to others.

Yours is not the only post of drafting on the long course at HITS.  I saw rampant cheating by course cutting on the run in the Oly, including at least one AG podium finisher.  Not a single marhsall on the course anywhere.  Once I've gathered my thoughts on it, I will be posting about it on ST and here.  I've been discussing it offline with someone I respect at ST and his view is that even if the officials aren't watching you, we are watching you, and we will make it public.  As John mentioned above, apparently there was cheating at the sprint distance too (that might blow up a bit, as the STer is not happy about that).  If HITS wants to be taken seriously, they need to fix this.  not sure why they get such love, while a race like Clearwater was soundly criticized as a draft fest.

Drafting and course cutting their way to the podium.  Shameful

And congrats on the AG win racing clean!

2012-12-06 7:21 AM
in reply to: #4518872

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Master
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Granvile, Ohio
Bronze member
Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
What an amazing performance for you!  21+ on the bike and powering through the run to take your AG.  I love so much how you fight for what you want.  Great job Amy!!!
2012-12-06 5:01 PM
in reply to: #4518872

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Expert
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Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course
Awesome job & congrats on the AG win.  I was eye-ing up that race this year bc I have family out there but I was a bit concerned about HITS and how crowded & organized things would be.  I've raced the Desert Tri out there and love the park, lake, & bike course.  Definitely a beautiful area to have a triathlon.  Thanks for the good, honest race report!
2012-12-10 2:53 PM
in reply to: #4518872

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Master
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Canton, Michigan
Subject: RE: HITS National Championship: Palm Springs - Half Iron Course

Nice work.  To bad on the drafting, I do a race every year where there's no officials on the course and everyone knows it so the drafting is rampant with some pretty impressive pace lines form.  

Sounds like HITS still has some things to figure out which is a bit shocking since they've been in the game for nearly a year now.  No porta potties on the course is ridiculous.  

Does this mean you'll actually take a little time to recover? 

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