Thursday, June 30, 2011

70.3 Race Report

This blog entry is going to be a good ol' fashioned race report.  Nothing fancy.

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.

After paying my camping fee and setting up my tent, I headed to the expo.  It was fairly understated and smaller than I though an M-Dot event would be.  Back to the campsite to get my gear ready for the next day.  After some bar exam studying, I decided to go to bed around 10PM.  Little did I know there'd be a few loud and late parties out on the lake.  It was hard to get to sleep, and before I knew it, it was time to get up.  A quick meal of oatmeal (during which I had to fend off four raccoons) and some tea got me ready for the morning.  I loaded my gear up, and rode my bike off to the start.

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 beginning of the ride involves two pretty sharp hills getting out of the lake onto the county roads.  After exiting the park, you head north for a mile or so, and then east.  We had a wind from the Southeast, so you could really haul if you wanted to.  Plenty did.  I did not.  We turned south and hit a sizable hill. Again, I just spun up the incline.  I was surprised at the people I was going by, but knew they'd catch me on the flats.  Around mile 30 or so, my back started to ache a bit, but that was really all the discomfort I had.  I stayed aero for nearly all of the ride.

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.
I cooled down with two cans of Coke and a dip in the lake.  Many people got an IV, which struck me as peculiar.  Did that many people actually need and IV, or is that just what triathletes do when they finish a long hot race?  Not this guy -  unless a medical professional tells me to do so.

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.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Let's see - you camped and slept poorly the night before the race, fought off ravenous raccoons, fiesty fireants, and braved record heat and some winde - and still managed to get a PR. Pretty awesome in my book! I'm proud of you.