Last weekend was the Half-Ironman in Lubbock, TX. I picked this race as my tune-up for Ironman Louisville because it was relatively close, it hit the calendar at about the right time, the conditions are similar to IM Louisville, and I am familiar with the lake. I raced the course in 2009 as part of the University of New Mexico Triathlon team at College Nationals.
The race was on a Sunday, so I headed down Saturday morning. I planned on camping to save some money and hassle in the morning. Paula stayed in OKC and enjoyed her weekend to herself. The drive was uneventful, and I ate some really bad for you road food on the way.
Setting up transition was uneventful, except for some fire ants that disrupted some racers a few rows over. I hit the bathroom, sipped my gatorade and downed a gel 20 or so minutes out. I threw the wetsuit on and headed down to the beach.
Here's where things get a little confusing. I was given a green swim cap for the 25-29 age group. My time was registered in the 30-34 age group. If you look at the results, my swim time is off by a few minutes. Turns out the 30-34 age group left a few minutes before the wave I was in. So, that accounts for the discrepancy. Not a huge deal, but the posted time is off a little.
As for the swim itself, it got off to a weird start. The gun went off before I was ready, so I started near the back. I threw my goggles on and tried to start swimming. It was a little rough out there. Unfortunately, my googles were totally fogged up and I couldn't site at all. A few times, I stopped to tread water and wipe away the fog. It was temporary. So, instead of sighting, I just swam where everyone else was going. I also took a good shot to the face at one point. To top it all off, I dropped my goggles in the water just before hitting T1. Not a good swim at all. Poor sighting and tentative swimming with all the bumping out there resulted in a time of 35:30.
T1: I thought I went real slow, and I did. Jogged up the carpet, grabbed my gear, and walked my bike out.
Bike: The plan was to go real steady with low to moderate effort. I ended up going too hard at Redman and suffering for it on the run. So, I tried to keep my heart rate about 140 and just relax. I also had a new aero bottle that helped out. The plan was to take a hit off my GU flask every 30 minutes, electrolyte pills every hour, and Gatorade/Poweraid throughout. I stuck to that and felt good.
The highlight of the ride (apart from hitting nearly 50mph on a downhill) was seeing the pros absolutely flying on the course. Those guys (and girls) can ride hard.
The very end of the ride involves the earlier hills in reverse, including a final quad burner just before you get back to transition. I came in feeling pretty good.
Time: 3:00:52 - Slower than Redman for sure, but wind, hills, and patience accounted for the slower time.
T2: Don't really remember much about it. I didn't have to change socks. Grabbed my nutrition. As I was heading out, I still had my GU flask. I put it down near a fence, hoping to remember where I put it on the way back.
Run: The plan was to run as long as I could and improve on my Redman time. I started with a few fairly quick miles which slowed accordingly. There were two long hills in the early going. I kept moving up them. Once out of the park, we ran on a long, straight road to the turn around. It was agonizing. I kept thinking I'd soon see the turn around, but it took forever. Once I turned, I thought about pushing the pace, but today was a training day. I kept my HR right where I wanted it, around 160/165. Back into the park, I started thinking about walking. Mistake. I started to walk. Whoops. Eventually, I got back into it with the encouragement of another racer. We pushed ourselves to the finish.
One quick note: the aid stations were awesome. Ice, ice water, coke, ice towels, and more. Also, along the way, houses turned their sprinklers on for us. It was so nice.
Time: 2:05:13 (not great, but an improvement).
Total race time: 5:48 and change.
Afterwards, I mulled around for a bit. I couldn't find my gel flask. I gathered my stuff, and rode over to my campsite. I had already packed up, so I threw on some clean clothes hopped on the road back to OKC. A couple tanks of gas and a Braum's trip later, I had returned to OKC.
Reflections on the race:
Overall, I thought the race went well. I wasn't trying to go hard. The purpose was to see what IM Louisville might feel like. I think I got my pacing and nutrition down. I gained some confidence for the race. I also had a modest PR of 5 minutes over my Redman time on a tougher, hotter, windier course.
Maybe I'll try to put in a proper showing next year.