Monday, June 13, 2011

Kansas 70.3 - Redemption!

Background Info
Previous Best HIM Times:
Racine 70.3 2010 (very flat) - 5:05:35
Pigman HIM 2010 (somewhat hilly) – 5:11:41
Goals and Results for Kansas 70.3
  • Not walk any of the run – The closest I had come previously was walking 2 aid stations in Racine. I was able to run the entire run at KS 70.3!
  • Sub 5 hours – I thought this was really going to be a stretch due to the bike course, and thought I would be 5:05 or 5:10. I succeeded in my goal by going 4:56:48!
  • Top 5 in age group – I had looked up last year’s results and saw I needed to be sub 5 hours. I did end up 5th in my age group (missed 4th by 8 seconds)!
  • 70.3 World’s Slot – There were 4 slots given to my age group, and I missed it by 8 seconds. I did not stick around to see if it would roll down to me since I wasn’t going to accept it anyway because of IMWI.
Time Data:
I took a look at my previous race results and last year’s KS 70.3 results, and came up with some time goals to get under 5 hours.

Bike Data
TSS: 160.9
IF: 0.779
Norm Power: 168 watts
VI: 1.03
Power: 164 watts
Cadence: 93 rpm
Speed: 20.8 mph
We camped in an RV with several other people from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. Great time! I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked, but it wouldn’t have been any better in a hotel room. It was very nice logistically for the weekend.
Sunday morning we were up at 4:30am, had the standard egg sandwich, strawberries, and coffee breakfast, and then headed out to T2 and T1. Race information packed said T1 closed at 6:45, but we were being yelled at that transition was closing as we were walking down the hill around 6:30am. This did not leave much time at all to set up T1. The woman with the number next to mine, but on the other side of the rack had her gear on my side right where I wanted to place mine. I scooted her stuff over a bit, but nicely kept it on my side of the rack. Her bike was also racked incorrectly, which I had fixed the night before, but she ‘fixed’ it back.
As I unpacked my gear, I pulled out my running hat. I thought about carrying it on the bike with me, but decided to leave it behind. I quickly got the rest of T1 set up with only one additional mistake…I turned on my garmin, but didn’t load up the program.
I wore a full wetsuit. The water did not feel too warm, and was nice and calm at the swim start. I started on the far end of the buoys since there seemed to be a lot less congestion that far out. I have a swim background, so treading water didn’t bother me, especially in the wetsuit. The first few hundred yards of the swim was great, and then the waves started. I wasn’t sure if it was a boat or what was going on. I was able to get into a good rhythm without too much difficulty. I never really chocked on water, but did have to spit water out a few times. At the first buoy turn, the waves were head on. The worst part was around the second buoy. The swim seemed to take forever, but I had no idea how long I was in the water.
Unlike pretty much everyone around me, I ran to my bike instead of walking. The swim took a bit of energy out of me, but I was still good. My helmet did not go on well, and I had to take it off to adjust the straps and then put it back on. This happened at last weekend’s race, too. I need to practice more.
I had place my garmin strap on my arm, but had the garmin attached to the bike. While setting up T1 I turned on my watch, but had forgotten to pull up the workout to use. I got it started while running out of T1.
I tried to hold my watts down on the way out of the park, but got a little excited and pushed more then I should of. As soon as we were outside, I settled in for the rest of the first 30min. For the rest of the first section, I kept my watts in goal around 173. But, after the first turnaround, they started to drop. While racing last year, I held 163, so anything above that I was fine with. I also wanted to save my legs for the hills towards the end of the route.
I grabbed water at every aid station to top off my aero bottle. I’m not sure exactly how much water I went through, but each of the 3 times I filled it, I used almost the entire bottle of water. I also had a small bike bottle that contained 3 scoops each of Sustained and HEED mixed with water. My watch was set to go off every 20min to take in a few sips from my feed bottle. I consumed pretty much all of the 600 calories.
On one of the long hills, I dropped my chain. According to my Joule, it took 12 seconds to get going again.
As I was nearing T2, I took my garmin off of my bike and attached it to the watch strap on my wrist.
As I dismounted, my right shoes came off the pedal. I quickly picked it up and carried it into transition. My bike was almost at the end of the rack that had the birdhouse in its row. My stuff was very easy to find. I quickly got in and out.
I quickly found a pace that I thought was MP + 30”. I took a look at my watch to verify, and it was showing me MPH. I tried to switch it to tell me min/mile, but gave up. I ran the entire run by feel. The first time up the hill went well. The second time I was a bit more difficult. I knew as soon as I got to the top, the rest would be much easier. Miles 9-11 seemed to go on forever. At the last turnaround, I thought there was a good distance behind me to the next woman, so I waited until the last mile to kick it up a bit. When nearing the finish line, I pushed with what I had left in me. My garmin took run splits every mile. For the first 9 miles, my pace was pretty consistent from 7:35-7:45 pace. Miles 10, 11, and 13 dropped to 7:50 pace, with mile 12 being 7:36.
I carried a flask around my waist that contained 4 packets of banana hammer gel mixed with water. I had tried straight gel on a training run, and it was hard to swallow. The first half of the run felt good nutrition-wise. The last third of the race I felt I was slipping. The thought of drinking more of the mixture was very unappealing and I thought might be accompanied by throwing up. I did take in a few small sips, but that was it. I need to get this figured out before IMWI. I ended up having about 200 calories for the entire run.
Final Thoughts
I’m happy that I was able to handle the waves as well as I did. Being a swimmer was definitely an advantage on the course that day.
I ran out of gears on a few hills. My bike still has the stock cassette on it, and I know I need to get a new one. I also need to practice changing from the big ring to the small ring to not drop my chain.
I really believe holding back on the last half of the bike really helped my run. The time I lost was more than gained back on the run. Also, the support on the course by EN and all the spectators helped as well. I had run an open HM in April at 1:36, and my previous best open HM prior to that was 1:42. I’m still in shock that I was able to do 1:40. I do wonder that if my watched did tell me my pace, would I have ended faster, slower, or about the same.
I was able to obtain the confidence and motivation I need to begin training for my first Ironman. I don’t think I will ever feel I have fully mastered the HIM distance, but I took a huge step forward last weekend!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pigman Sprint - A decent start to the season

I slept fairly well last night. We didn’t end up crawling into bed until around 9:30pm. I set my alarm for 4am.

I got up right away in the morning. We packed the car prior to eating breakfast. I wanted to eat a little closer to the race time. We ate at about 4:45am which was good. I had an egg sandwich with fake cheese, and coffee with soy milk. We left around 5:15am and Wes drove. We drove the jeep, so went a little slower. I had hoped to leave at 5:00. Oh, well.

We got to transition at about 6am. There was no line for transition, which surprised me. I quickly got out my bike and transition bag and headed to transition. The first rack on each side was for elite. The right side had 4 bikes, but only one of the left side. I set up next to it.

As I was setting up my gear I saw several people I knew and did some socializing. I went for a short bike ride and short run for a little warmup. I did a few passes at the bike entrance/exit to make sure I was geared right and knew when to take my feet out of my shoes. We had ridden on the course a few weeks ago, so I felt pretty comfortable.

I made sure everything in transition was set up how I wanted it. It was about 6:45 and I needed to still get in a decent swim prior to the start. I got my wetsuit on, ate a Hammer gel, and headed to the beach. I swam around just outside of the roped off area until they put out the buoys, then I swam almost to the buoy and back. I did a few practices of entrances and exits. When I got on shore, they were finishing up the pre-race meeting. Perfect timing!

There were only 5 elite females and we took off 8 minutes ahead of the men. I lined up near the rope. The pack seemed to thin out quickly. There was someone pushing me in to the rope, but after a few hundred yards she dropped back. I thought she had latched on to my feet, but she was 20 second back. 

I tore down my wetsuit on the way up the beach, then took off my cap and goggles. When I got to transition I couldn’t even see Tami. I’m pretty sure at the swim turnaround I could see her pretty far ahead of us. I put on my helmet, but the strap was having issues. I took my helmet back off, then put it on again. Still messed up. I fiddled with it to get it good enough. I then put on my sunglasses, grabbed my bike, and took off.

As I was taking off, another girl came into transition. The entire way into Palo I assumed she was right behind me. I pushed, and my watts looked good. I thought I was gaining on Tami, but couldn’t tell for sure. She was very far ahead! At the turnaround I couldn’t see anyone behind me. Cool! It was a while before I saw Joanna. At that point I pretty much knew I was going to get second place. The next woman was a good amount behind her, and it was quite a while before the next girl. I had filled my aero bottle with a scoop of HEED, but had hardly any of it. I’m still glad I had it with me.

A little before the bike out I started taking my feet out of my shoes. It’s all downhill, so I didn’t need to pedal. I had plenty of time. I don’t remember seeing Tami running. I assume she was running out of transition as I was coming in. There was no way I’d catch her.

I got my helmet off easily, put on my shoes, grabbed my race belt, and took off. I didn’t see anyone else in transition. I got out of T2 quickly and efficiently. As I was running out, I didn’t see any women biking in until I was around the corner headed to the lake. It was Joanna and I knew I could stay ahead of her in the run. After the first mile, the men started to pass me. At the turnaround I didn’t see Joanna for a bit, but she seemed closer than I expected. I kept a comfortable pace pretty much the entire run. As I got closer to the finish line I did pick it up a bit in fear that maybe there was someone else closing in or that an age grouper would move up.

When I crossed the finish I had a ton of energy left. I could have ran for a lot longer. I had some water and a piece of watermelon. I didn’t do any stretching or get a massage.

I wasn’t getting all that hungry, so I went to the car, took a shower. I didn’t bring recoverite, but probably should have because the food line was SO long. Instead I got some yogurt, watermelon, and some animal crackers. Yummy! I wasn’t able to eat it until during the awards ceremony.

We stayed around for prizes. I got $400 for 2nd overall and $100 for 20th fastest swim. There was no way I would have beat Tami and the 3rd place person was a few minutes behind me. I felt that I got a good race in for my training. I did better in the swim and run, but was slower at everything else. Wes defended his Clydesdale title by about 2min, so won free entry in to next year's race! Our triathlon club, Iowa HEAT, won first for the club division. I was very proud of knocking off MidWest Xtreme in our first year as a club.

Iowa Hawkeye Endurance Team
1st place club!