I think this race was a great learning experience for me. I think when I talked about it with my friends, they thought I was not feeling great about it because I may have seemed negative, but on the contrary, I realized some pretty serious things in the time I took to do this race.
I did the best I could to get ready for the day. I ate oatmeal and a snack bar in the hours before hand, I drank water. I took salt stick electrolytes the night before, the morning before, and as I was leaving transition. I think I stood too much the day before at the expo, and the morning of where we got to the site at 4:30, and my swim wave didn't start until 7:30. I should have found a place to sit on both days.
I got to watch the pro start at 6:30, and they were finished with the swim well in advance of my start time.
This race seemed to be all about Lance Armstrong. He was not first out of the water, but 3rd or 4th. Once he ran up the chute, the masses huddling around the swim exit dispersed. Half of the group went up to see if they could catch him on the bike out, and the other half went over to the swim start to start their race. First pro woman came out of the water a few minutes later to about 1/3 of the crowd that was there for Lance.
The swim was interesting. I have not been swimming much in the past few weeks, so i struggled a bit. I am not a great swimmer yet, so my struggling was more struggling than it normally was. I also didn't strategically place myself in the start group, but just walked out there and stood where i was. I just so happened to start in the middle of the middle. Bad Idea.
We swam in a Block U shape, so I got beat up the whole way out. Mostly just people pushing my feet down and punching me in the arms. I was concerned that I was going to lose my chip. At the turn there was a lot of grabbing and pushing, then more grabbing and pushing at the second turn to come back. Then, everyone was funneled into some goal posts and had to do about 50M across the bottom of the U before we were funneled through a goal post and headed out for the last leg. Again, there was pushing and shoving at the turn, and at about this point, the good swimmers from the group behind mine and the relay group started to overtake me.
So, because I swam a really good line, about every minute or so, someone would try to swim over me, or I ran into a slower swimmer.
The lake was muddy, the course had lots of turns and my swim fitness went to shit. Swim time :47:07 Roughly +10 minutes from goal pace of 35-40.
I decided in T1 to change completely, and put on my loose fitting UA long sleeves, and a loose bike jersey. It looked like it would be sunny, and 3rd degree sunburn would make what was then an ok day turn into a nightmare. t1 time was roughly 4 minutes, but that was not bad since I completely changed clothes. I clipped my shoes onto my bike prior to the race, so I barefoot ran my bike with shoes attached along the epic route to bike out. Once there, my plan was to slip my left foot into the shoe, then go, and slip my right foot in in the first part of the downhill coming out of t1. after fumbling a while trying to try to get my foot into the shoe, someone yelled "just take them off the pedals and put them on!". So I did, and that went very well.
The first half of the bike was great. Cool, relaxing, and my time was excellent. Up to about mile 30, my average pace was about 18mph, which was faster than my plan of 'take it easy, 16-17mph is fine'. At mile 30 or so, the shit hit the fan, and my speed slowed. We started into a headwind for the second part of the bike, and that is also where the hills started, and the bad section of road. About 30 seconds before I got there, a lady in a car turned into oncoming bike traffic and hit someone. There was no turn there, and had she continued she would have turned into a ditch and a field. I am not sure where she was going, but she hit him good.
The second half of the bike was slow. I tried to keep it easy, and keep the HR down, but it was tough. Hills are automatic HR increase since it takes serious effort to get my 245 lbs up any hill. This is the second lesson, ( the first being that I can't expect to be a better swimmer if I don't spend more time in the water) I need to lose some weight. I knew this going into the season, but have not put forth the effort to lose more than 5lbs.
The bike was hot, hills, headwind, humid, and fubar'd my HR anyway, but it was on plan at 3:25. The plan was 3:15-3:30.
in t2 I applied more sunscreen. head, neck, ears, hands, and legs. I also peed cause i have a problem peeing on the bike, and even in the water on the swim. call me a prude. Then I was out on the course.
The plan was to walk for between 2-5 minutes so that I can get my legs under me, and get into the non-bike frame of mind. Problem is that the first part was where all the people were, and I have a problem walking where there are crowds. They didn't come to see me walk, they came to see people running. I ran for about 3 minutes to get past the crowds, and then started my refresher walk. at 1.5 minutes into my initial 3 minute jog past the crowds, I realized that this was not going to be a plan run.
I was hoping for 2:15-2:30, since i had saved myself for this leg by coasting by the whole rest of the day. This would put me in a 6:30 total time, which would be a PR for me. Unfortunately, I had been on the course doing moderate work for 4 hours at that point. It was at that point that I realized that I was in that unknown space where I had done 4 hour workouts, and I had done bricks, but what I have not done is a 4 hour workout often enough that I could do another 2.5 hours of moderate work.
Lance had done workouts and could sustain a 4 hour workout, and I could sustain a 4 hour workout, but the difference is that Lance was done at 3:45. I still had 13 miles to run. My first 3 miles were my best 3 miles. I walked up the hills at the beginning of the loop, and I ran down. I ran most of the flats and only took 1 minute walks between 3 minute runs.
Then I hit the wall, and the sufferfest began. I ran when there were crowds, and I walked most of the time. I kept an eye on my HR, but by this time, it rarely got below 140. Walking up hills was at 155. If I ran for 30 seconds to a minute, I would feel that chest thumping feeling, and I would stop, and look at the HR monitor which showed me 160+ bpm. At 160+ I am in danger of not finishing. I felt the fart cramping sensation, but i was nervous, since I didn't want to crap my pants, so i just held it until after, since it wasn't debilitating crampy fart where i had to stop at a portlet.
I started to see those people who red-lined. Throughout the run course, I saw 3 people who were with medical getting help because they didn't listen to their body, and they went through the wall without a care. I had bought a water bottle, and I had a shirt that I would have to throw out and never wear if I didn't make it to the end. I also had about 15 people there who expected me to finish. Little did I know that my wife had the tracker up at home and was wondering "what the HELL" because it didn't register my first loop, and so it looked to her like i fell off the world. That must have been a stressfull 2 HOURS for her.
Anyway, sufferfest is a sufferfest. I walked and walked with 30 second run breaks. I averaged about 15 minute miles overall
The run was hot, hilly, humid, and I was pretty miserable. I missed goal by between 45 and 60 minutes. Run time 3:09:45
Apart from the pre-race mentioned stuff, I took 3-4 salt sticks every 40 minutes or so on the bike, and took 3 in t2, and took 5 on the run. That is a lot of salt. I paid for it some on the run, while walking, because my hands were sausages. It receded pretty quickly after the race.
I started the bike with the aero bottle and another bottle of gatorade. I finished those, and picked up a water and 2 bottles of powerade on the bike. I took 2 hammer gels, and a gel that was handed to me on the bike. I left the bike with the aero bottle pretty full, and the bottle on the bike pretty empty, so i would say i drank half the water i picked up, and 1 of the bottles of powerade i grabbed.
At each station, i used priorities. 1. get electrolyte drink. 2. get cola if they have it. 3. water to drink or pour on my head.
There you have it. Race Report. Total time, a whopping 7:33. a full hour over my plan. For future races, I want to be able to ride 56 miles like it was nothing, so that I can do the rest. I think that is important, since the race is 3 disciplines, and I really have only raced 2 up to this point. I figured it out, if i can lose 2 lbs a week between now and IMFL in November, I will go from 246 to sub 200lbs. I think that doing this would make the distance more manageable, so that is a priority goal. I know how to do it, and do it the right way, I just have to make it happen.