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Mountain Man Triathlon - Half Iron Distance - Triathlon


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Flagstaff, Arizona
United States
Mountain Man Events
70F / 21C
Overcast
Total Time = 4h 58m 30s
Overall Rank = 6/110
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 1/17
Pre-race routine:

I always begin a race report with something training related, b/c there is a cause and effect from it.

In April, I participated in Ironman St. George 70.3 to vie for a Las Vegas slot. I came up short, not for a lack of trying. I learned a couple of things from it... and one of the most important is listen to your coach and the training plan

I started with Mike Ricci of D3 in January (b/c of this site, had him and one of his former coaches as a gold level coach), but it was after the race, during our follow up conversation... I said that I faithfully executed his plan about 80% (there was some off plan stuff that I made up, b/c I thought it was needed), there was some residual hangover of me being stubborn and sticking to what felt comfortable - he scolded me and threatened to drop me if I didn't trust him. That made me think hard about myself... I've fallen into a stubborn traps before in my career and other sports, wouldn't listen. I decided to listen for once and follow, instead of being mr. know it all.

So, after I recovered I stuck to his plan 100%... and the plan got tougher and tougher, but I saw results in the training, so I trusted the coach and plan even more.

About 1 to 2 weeks out, I (probably like others) started feeling anxious and nervous about the race, have I done enough, am I good enough, can I get the job done as expected. On top of the nervousness, the build portion was hell for the previous 3 weeks and I was still very tired and sore in places, but amazingly I was hitting the intervals as expected despite the overwhelming weight of tiredness, anxiety and soreness. Even as late as Tuesday this week, there was still lingering lethargy and sorenss that I was afraid that I wasn't going to shake off or get in to feeling fresh. But then it happened... Thursday came... feeling a bit better, then Friday... feeling better still... Saturday,... feeling blah (mainly probably nerves)... but still I followed the plan. Sunday morning came, feeling nervous, but relaxed, rested and ready (not eager to mind you... LOL), but I guess... ready to tackle the task ahead.

Going in I had a goal of sub-5, and maybe as low as 4:50 - 4:55 (if I hit everything perfectly).
Event warmup:

Coach told me to limber up before and I followed his approach instead of my approach. I went to bed 1 hour earlier than I before... and got to the race area about 5am for a 6:10am start... I felt calm and that I had plenty of time... I have learned to keep my t-area simple and clean, since I know what nutrition and equipment I need. I've learned where and how to tape my cliff bar and gel (back up calories) to my aero bar and then I take them off the bar and put them in the trisuit back pockets after I climb aboard.

I warmed up with some cadence jogging in place and some swim cord EVF stretches and arm pulls, to get blood up to the upper body and heart pumping a bit, then calmly walk over to the lake and get wet for the start, do some small strides in the water and then deep breaths and focus on staying calm off the start gun and not rush the start... I've also learned that I prefer to build my pace and not be the rabbit and burn myself out in 200 meters. I don't practice hard starts in training, no use in "trying" it out in a race, and seeing if it works. I expected as low as 30 as high as 32 for the swim.

Mike and I went over the bike wattage and to about 80 to 82% FTP. He also gave me a white paper from Joe Friel on his newest pacing strategy for power users... basically, it states that it's not smart to try to maintain even power on downhills to get that extra 1 to 2 mph for the short period and basically wasting energy that can be used for running. Basically, it's ok to let your watts fall off, not to zero, but reduced by 25 to 40%. Furthermore, (since I'm a massive number cruncher), I found a spreadsheet on the web, where you can put in all of the related data, map the course down to hill grades, wind directions, temperature conditions... well it's very detailed. I confirmed that our planned wattage would forecast a time of 2:28 to 2:30. (remember: the data is pertinent to how perfect "my inputs" will be to actual conditions during the race.)

For the run: range of run time that put me between 1:44 to 1:46.

The gun goes off.....
Swim
  • 33m 23s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards
Comments:

The start was a little rough and tumble, arms and legs everywhere, getting bopped in the head, swatted on the legs, etc... last year I went left of the buoy,.. way left... this year I planned on sighting early... I tried to avoid the scrum and found some clean water by the time I hit the first buoy... I built up my pace and stroke per minute... then after the turn we could all find space and stretch out... I lived up my stroke rate and really tried to focus on form, long reaches, no gliding, high elbows, using the back not the shoulders... straight legs from the core... BUT I was always drifting to the left and found myself off course a bit and had to do corrections all the time.... then, the sun peaked over the mountain tops and I got a blind spot for a while... I paced with another red cap and drafted a bit, but he was a bit stronger than me so let him go... I was all alone and kept going left, turned the buoy really well and headed home, picked up the pace in intervals... concentrating on form.. as I approached the boat ramp... I was hitting the ground with my arms, but I was still about 100 meters away, so I tried to find deeper water... but eventually I would just grab and forced myself forward with the ground.... LOL.

I always set my Garmin in multisport, no probs there, but I evidently didn't hit the start button hard enough, so I had no time upon the finish of the leg... as I wobbled up the boat ramp and I yelled out if anyone had the time... Someone called out 6:44, and my first thought was "F&CK!!!", 33 to 34 minutes!!! WTF!!! That's what I swam last year. I know that I'm faster... "WFT!!! I'm behind already!!!"

Little did I know that everyone's swim times were longer than last year's.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, swim more straight as I know that cost me about a minute of time getting back on course.
Transition 1
  • 02m 42s
Comments:

When I got to the T area... I had a little difficulty getting my suit unstuck off my legs... finally, instead babying it, I step on it and ripped it off.
What would you do differently?:

Well, I was one of the slowest "fast" guys through transition, get better at taking off my own wetsuit... damn you wetsuit strippers!!! LOL.
Bike
  • 2h 32m 42s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.03 mile/hr
Comments:

4th fastest bike split... maintained excellent pacing and wattage, good self control.

Getting out of T1, got up to pace and settled in... HR and RPE was up, but that is always expected out of the swim... I knew that I had to complete the first 9 miles at about an avg. pace of 20 mph... I got up to the top of the climb right at 19.9... on target... each segment I knew my marks... pretty much hit them...

during the first 9 mile segment I passed a couple of cyclists, yet there was 2 more ahead that were pacing pretty well... I passed one, then caught up with another... we chit-chatted a bit... then I looked down at my wattage and thought, well conversation over... gotta stay on plan... got up to another... he paced me for a while... I saw my wattage dropping... and said... thanks for the convo... gotta go. That was for the race, staying on plan and staying within myself. I soon found no one ahead... I figured that I was in contention then...
What would you do differently?:

actual moving time 2:31:15.. it took that extra 30 seconds for mount and dismount... note to self... work on improving this.
Transition 2
  • 02m 18s
Comments:

This was another below average transition... I had a little bit of trouble straightening up after the ride... and then I made sure my feet were clean of debris, put on my socks, shoes, hat and glasses then off to the races again..
What would you do differently?:

Just speed it up a bit... between the 2 transitions, I could shave off about 1 minute of time.
Run
  • 1h 47m 25s
  • 13.2 miles
  • 08m 10s  min/mile
Comments:

I knew that I was capable of at best a 1:44, but most likely a 1:45 at an altitude of 7,200. I started out of transition with baby steps as my muscles were getting used to the sensation of running, got up on the road and slowly, very slowly... my running was coming around... I scooted through the first mile at 8:35 and bad thoughts were creaping in about my pacing... but I kept on going, know there was a lot of running ahead.

I knew that the tough hill layed ahead and to NOT get over-your-head exicited about pacing as that hill will humble and bring all to their knees... as I got closer my pace livened up and was running at 7:45... good...

At the bottom of the hill, I stopped at the aid station, grabbed the water, splashed, guzzled the HEED and walked a few steps, then I started my cadence exercise (90 foot strikes) and baby steps up the moutain... to keep my RPE in check... I clocked in a pace of 9:30... and planned to do intervals up the hill... intervals at around 9:00 with a few seconds of walking to get HR down (don't want to overcook when there's still 8.5 miles left after the mountain). So that it was... pacing/speed walking for about 10 seconds... until the top... then I motored down to make up time... up 10:00' pace / down 6:30 ish... avg. 7:30 to 7:45, right on target. I again walked the aid station at the bottom of the hill to regroup for the long road ahead.

I livened up the pace and fell into some good rythms at about a 7 to 7:30 pace... I saw the 7 miles to go marker... and started to think ahead to the finish (very bad, not in the moment)... my pace was good but my RPE and breathig were telling me that I can't maintain that effort for another 7 miles, so I walked every aid station and splashed and guzzled HEED, then did cadenced drills to get back on pace...

It was about mile 7 when our old friend pain was coming on... and thinking, where the heck is the turnaround? When you're in pain... it's a lot farther than you want it to be...

Every so often I'd look behind to see who might be breathing down my neck... in fear, even though I interspersed my running with walking... I was constantly looking the rear view mirror... at about the 4 mile point, Neil 39 yo AGer, had passed me... I made sure to keep in within a certain distance, but still maintained that fear that someone was coming on hard...

So, there it was... trying to maintain target or below target pacing in fear of being passed, maintain or forgettig about pain, willing your legs to keep the cadence and a decent stride length while your muscles are shortening with every new step... and trying to NOT blow up... AND I learned something about this... that I can do it.

The Garmin chimed in at 10 miles... and I thought, only 5k to go... home free... there was a nice flat section and I pushed myself to quicken the pace... and did a 7:14 mile, but it was too much... as I could feel that my legs were stiffening up and my lungs were beginning to scream for more O2. I was forced to speed walk...it may have lasted for only 5 seconds, who knows. I checked my rear view mirror and saw 2 approaching, maybe closing in within 500 meters, and I thought, you've got to run for your life buddy, run Forest run....

But, the grade of the rolling hills, my degrading condition, running on fumes and my feet were killing me... the last 2 miles were the longest miles... I'd check behind me and just kept thinking, run... you SOB... run... but really I was moving so damn slow... run!!!

Then I finally peaked over and saw the finish line, running, screaming at myself... RUN!!! and I came screaming over the hill down the hill, full speed... it was about 10 yards away that I saw the timing clock... and it showed 4:58.... and I crossed... jumping for joy... fist pumping... and thinking... I DID IT... I DID IT.

I did a full body flop on the road at the finish line as my legs completely collapsed underneath trying to slow down... I layed on the ground with the biggest smile... and then the pain awashed over me and my body begins to lock up. I struggle to stand and catch my breath... and then limp around... keep moving, so as to not get rigormortis.

When I crossed... I was confident that I may have got a podium finish in my AG... but astonished that I won Overall Masters Male 40 plus.

The race and accomplishment has got to sink in.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing,.. maybe not walk??
Post race
Warm down:

Limp around, grab some nosh... finally!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not much... just follow the plan

Event comments:

A small, yet fun organized event in the cool, high altitude mountains of AZ at 7,200 ft.

I want to thank the following folks:

1. My family
a) wife for tolerating (albeit failing to understand why I tortue myself) my hobby
b) my 4 yo daughter... who's asked me to play in the middle of a trainer session, or when I limping around - I hope that it makes sense = who knows? but, I still try to play "got'ya" or "swing me" after a long training day,... LOL
c) my parents - they always support me
2. Spiritually supportive friends in Ajo
3. Coach Mike Ricci
4. New triathlon friends - Elliott, Bryan, Dan, Jasen, Patrick, Reid and more






Last updated: 2013-01-13 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:33:23 | 2112 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/17
Overall: 13/110
Performance: Average
N/A
Suit: Xterra Vortex Pro
Course: A leg to the left of the start area then turn to the right down the middle of the lake then back to the boat ramp.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 02:42
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
02:32:42 | 56 miles | 22.03 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/17
Overall: 4/110
Performance: Good
I hit my planned wattage right on the nose...
Wind: Little with gusts
Course: A beautiful jaunt through the northern AZ forests and lakes with short and medium length hills ranging from 4 to 10% grades.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 02:18
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
Running
01:47:25 | 13.2 miles | 08m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/17
Overall: 13/110
Performance: Good
N/A... my Garmin shows 13.2.
Course: A decievingly tough rolling hills run course with a 1.5 mile uphill switchback at 6% grade or better thrown at you at the beginning to "soften" the runners.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %4
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
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

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2013-08-13 12:04 AM

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: Mountain Man Triathlon - Half Iron Distance


2013-08-13 1:01 PM
in reply to: #4827598

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Official BT Coach
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Subject: RE: Mountain Man Triathlon - Half Iron Distance
Nice work! Congrats Tom!
2013-08-13 1:15 PM
in reply to: #4827598

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Subject: RE: Mountain Man Triathlon - Half Iron Distance
Awesome race report and an AMAZING job at one of the toughest HIMs out there...I can only hope to be as fast as you one day!! As always, it was cool seeing you and hopefully we'll run into each when you're in town for SOMA. Hopefully we can get a beer together then or after we're done volunteering at IMAZ spectating for the night!

Take care...
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