This was my most disappointing triathlon race so far, I had a solid four months of training this spring. I was 15 lbs lighter then last years race and to have this dud of a race is very disappointing.
Unlink most races the pre race activities were actually very busy for me. It was a very early morning with the alarm going off at 4am. I stayed in Salisbury so I had a half hour drive to the race site but because my Dad was volunteering at the race we got to park inside the Great Marsh Park and I could sit in the car and see my bike in the transition area.
The problem was when I went put the rest of my racing stuff with my bike I was surprised to see that my back tire had blown out and gone flat. That’s not too big of a deal as it is usually just a quick inner tube change. But this was different, the wheel cover that I use to turn my power meter training wheel into an aerodynamic disc had cracked. I think the tire just blew out and the force cracked the plastic cover.
This left me with a difficult choice, I have an older deep section race wheel from before I got my power meter. So I could either take the cover off and use a standard wheel with the powertap or I could use my old race wheel and not have power to pace myself. I have ridden the course multiple times and had a good idea of what my goal watts should feel like so I decided to go with the aero wheel without power meter since it would give me the fastest setup.
The other interesting prerace news was that the water was 79 degrees which means no wetsuits. That’s not a big deal for me, I’m a decent enough swimmer. It just means that I would swimming a few minutes slower.
This year’s swim course was a bit different then last year. Everyone swam out to the end of the boat ramp and we had a deep water swim start.
The swim start was actually very calm for a big Ironman and I only got kicked once or twice in the first couple hundred yards and then it was clear sailing until I would catch up to the stranglers in an early wave.
I was feeling really good during the swim and took what I thought was a good line. So I was very disappointed when I got out of the water and saw 42 minutes, I was really expecting to see 35-36 minutes.
I think what happened is I took the long way back to shore after the last turnaround. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture below. The red buoy is the swim finish and you can just make out the orange turn buoy if you look into the background. Instead of going right to the red buoy (which you are allowed to do) I tried to stay closer to the yellow sighting buoys which you can see obviously added some distance to my swim.
I didn’t have a wetsuit to take off so this was quick.
The race plan was to take it easy for the first half hour at around 210 watts for the first half hour and then go up to 220 watts for the rest of the ride. But because I didn’t have my powermeter I had to improvise and go by heart rate and perceived effort. I biked the course 3 times this spring and this was the calmest I have seen the wind.
Being in one of the last waves the course can get really crowded and this year was no exception but most people were good about staying to the right and letting the faster people pass. I spent most of ride passing people and for the middle twenty miles found someone going about the same pace as me so I kept him about ten yards in front of me and let him make sure people were moving over to the right to pass.
I was expecting a big headwind like usually for the last 10-15 miles but it wasn’t there which was nice. Mentally it seemed like the bike just flew by and I was back to the park and done before I knew it.
Because of the lack of wind I managed to average just under 22 mph for the ride which is a couple minutes faster then last year, but since I didn’t have the power data I don’t really know if this ride was truly better then last year or not.
Looking at my hear rate chart I did a good job of following the plan I improvised and I don’t think this was what lead to my run performance.
Another quick transition but the fact that my back is covered in dry salt from my sweat is a sign of the bad things that are on the way.
Run Death March 2:30:22
This was a complete and utter disaster.
The plan was to run ~ 8 min miles for the first 3 miles to get my legs under me and then drop the pace down to 7:30. I didn’t feel to bad coming out of the transition and got through my first three miles at an 8:15 pace.
I tried to pick up the pace up after three miles and my legs were having none of that so I settled back in at an 8 min per mile pace for next mile and then I just blew up.
This was the worst I have ever felt during a race, my legs would not let me run. The heat and humidity just wore me out and I was done. I was only able to run for a quarter mile at a time and then I would need to walk again. It was so frustrating because I knew from all my training I was capable of these paces and I wanted to keep running but it just wasn’t happening. It was a run/walk suffer fest for the next nine miles.
My heart rate would start to shoot through the roof when I would try to run at an easy pace and I would start see one or two spots out of the corner of my eye until I started to walk again. Once I got to mile 11 it turned into mostly walking for the next mile.
I walked until I got to the finish tunnel and then jogged down the finish line to a disappointing finish time .
And this is where all the fun starts. But that will have to wait until part 2.