Tag Archives: ironman

Eagleman 2011

This was my third, and what will be my last time at Eagleman. This was my most disappointing race and first Did Not Finish (DNF) of any race I’ve done. I think I’ve decided that I don’t race well in the extreme heat/humid so why keep doing it when I have plenty of other races in cooler weather to choose from?

Swim (40:00)

The swim was a non-event. It was a non wetsuit swim so I wasn’t expecting a low 30s swim but thought I might have been a few minutes faster, but all in all not to bad. I was 3 minutes faster then last years also non wetsuit swim, but it’s hard to compare times since it’s a river swim with varying current and chop. But I moved up a few places overall and in the AG compared to last year so the swim is getting better.

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The start had some contact and pushing but settled down quickly and I took a good line around to the first turn buoy. The water was very calm this year without much chop and I didn’t have any trouble sighting. After the first turn I started catching up to stranglers from the earlier waves and had to do some weaving but it wasn’t to bad.

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One thing about this year was the water was very shallow. In fact if you really wanted to you could have walked in the last leg of course. I choose to swim in most of the way and only start walking about 20 yards from the finish.

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T1 

Was quick without having to worry about getting a wetsuit off and I was on my way.

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Bike (2:29)

The bike was what I expected. I had three section according to my race plan. The first section was 10 mile to get the HR back down after the swim and settle into a good rhythm. This section went well and I was right on plan and average 22 mph.

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The next and longest section was a bump up in HR for the next 30 miles. I was trucking along for this section still feeling great and average 23.4 mph for the this section.

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The last part was another bump in HR for the last 16 miles. This section didn’t go as well as I couldn’t sustain the higher HR but was only a couple of BPMs below where I should be so I wasn’t to concerned. The speed dropped a bit down to 22.2 mph but that was more a result of riding into a headwind during a long stretch and being on some bumpier roads.

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What I’m more interested in is the drop of 30 watts average power during this section. I have noticed a lot of drift in the power #s during my longer training rides and I think something might be wrong with my powertap or could be an actual drop-off in power, but I find it hard to believe I averaged over 22mph on only 206 watts.

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T2

In and out quickly with no issues

Run

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This is where it all fell apart. On the bike I followed my nutrition plan just like I have been doing on my long rides and I’ve never had issues in the past. But I was a little worried how the run was going to turn out because around mile 50 I got a little cramp in my foot while biking but it managed to work itself out.

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The run started with heavy legs as expected but I started moving along at just under an 8 minute pace which was where I wanted to be at this point. I got through the first two miles fine and was starting to feel better until getting near the mile 2 aid station when my legs started to feel really tight in my hamstrings and both sides of my knees (IT band?).

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I slowed down to pick up some water and my legs locked up and cramped really badly on me. Remembering my med tent adventure from last year this had me really worried. I grabbed a banana and some Gatorade and kept walking for 2-3 minutes and my legs finally loosened up so I could start “running” again but now my stomach was mess. I made it two more miles before my stomach was on the verge of revolting and starting to cramp. My legs didn’t feel too bad and my HR wasn’t out of control but my stomach just wouldn’t let me run. I was reduced to running until my stomach wouldn’t let me and then walking until I could start running again. I did this until about 8 when my stomach just wouldn’t let me run anymore. I walked for the next 2 miles but I started to feel some cramps in my calves coming on so I made the decision to drop out of the race and end my day.

Post Race

Obviously I’m very disappointed in my race. I’ve done a number of 4 hour rides with race intensity for the last hour this spring and hopped off the bike to run sub 7 min per paces without feeling wiped out so I know I was in great shape for this race. It’s just tough that my body decided to quit on me today. This was especially disappointing because my run has been the most improved and consistent part of my races so far this year; I got off the bike in 15th place in my age group and really thought I was capable of running my way into the top 10. 

But after my med tent trip last year and disappointing race this year I think I have finally learned my lesson that I don’t race well in the heat and humidity and will not be back at Eagleman next year. I’m leaning towards doing Mooseman or maybe another race. I’m also going to stay away from heat and go to the other weather extreme and do what is sure to be a cold race at Ironman Poconos this October.

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2010 Austin 70.3 Race Report

Overall (5:04:52, 30th AG, 275 Overall)

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I felt fantastic heading into this race with hops of setting a big PR and finishing somewhere in the 4:50 range but that was not to be. I was able to set a 15 minute personal best and PR every part of the race but I still left a lot of time out on the course due to technical and race execution issues.

Pre Race

This race had two separate transition areas so it involved some prerace logistics but wasn’t to much a hassle. The transitions areas needed to “clean” which means everything had to be in bags.

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You could leave everything out the day before or do it the morning off. I didn’t want to leave my gels out in the heat the day before so I just took care of everything the morning of without any issues. The run transition was by the arena and finish line so I dropped my run bag at my rack and took one of the school buses the mile ½ to the swim area and T1 where I got my bike all set up.

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The start was cool with someone parachuting in flying a big American flag while the national anthem was sung; and then things got started with the pro wave. I had an hour until the start of my wave so I had some time to kill just sitting around.

Swim (35:18)

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What a tough way to start the day.

I lined up near front row off to the right and was able to get a good start. I was swimming towards the front of the group and had some good feet to draft off of when the zipper on the back of my wetsuit popped completely open.

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I tried to grab the leash and pull it back up but was unsuccessful so I swam the rest of the way with it open. I took fairly good lines all the way around the course but could really feel the extra drag from wetsuit, it seemed like I was pulling a parachute. Towards the second half of the swim I could even start to feel the top of the wetsuit starting to slip off my shoulders.

I got out of the water expecting to see something close to 40 min so I was happy to see 35 considering what had happened, and I still managed to eek out a PR by a few seconds. I was expecting a 32 min swim, and after talking with my coach based on the time I managed to put up I could have been close to a 30 minute swim if I didn’t have the wetsuit issues.

*   I did some research and it turns out my wetsuit problem was user error which I’m surprised hadn’t happened earlier considering I’ve had this suit for almost 3 years. The zipper has a “quick release” where if you pull up hard on it after it’s zipped the zipper will disengage, the idea being it helps for a quick transition. Well before the swim start I thought I hadn’t zipped things up all the way so I gave it an extra pull and heard a click that I thought nothing of. Turns out that was the quick release engaging.

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With my wetsuit already falling off I didn’t have to waste anytime unzipping it and used one of the wetsuit strippers to get it the rest of the way off. I ran up the hill and put my wetsuit and goggles in the bag and was off on the bike.

Bike (2:30:36)

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I also had some bad thoughts in the back of mind at the start of the bike ride. During my prerace workout on Saturday my cassette (the gears) in the back came loose. I took it in to tech support and the culprit was the freehub body being worn down, the ridges that lock the cassette in place had worn down and were no longer working.

Unfortunately all the race wheels had been rented out so with the help of the tech support and some tape the cassette was back in place again and he seemed to think it would hold up for the race. I rode for a couple minutes and it held up but I would have that bad thought in the back of my head all day that if came loose again that was the end of my race.

 

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I thought the course was ok, it had some rolling hills at the start and end with mostly flats in the middle. But the road conditions really weren’t that great in several spots. I also did not like the fact that for the last 5-10 miles the course was coned off so two-way traffic could get by. I completely understand why they had to do this and how hard it is to get road permits but it made passing and staying in a good rhythm tough.

As for my ride, I was able to set another PR, this one by about 5 minutes. The plan was to settle the heart rate down in the first few miles and then ride the first half of the bike at moderately hard rate which gave me a 22 mph average at 218 watts through the first half and I was feeling great.

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Then it was time to bump up the effort for the next 17 miles keeping the heart rate between 169 and 174 bpm and I was doing an ok job of that. I spent a lot time on the lower end of that range but still managed to average 23 mph at 236 watts during this section.

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What I’m disappointed in is the last 10 mile section. Next I was to bump the heart rate up again to between 175 and 178 and it just wasn’t happening. Part of the problem was the coned off section I mentioned earlier. This made it hard to stay at a solid rhythm which makes it tough to keep the heart rate that high. The other part is I was starting to feel the desire to just be done with the bike section. Either way this section should have been much faster then the 21 mph average on 210 watts that I had. There was an awful lot of time left on the course here.

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But this was still a 5 minute bike PR for me with my old best being on a pancake flat Eagleman course.

T2 1:54

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The dismount area was crowded so I decided against the “flying dismount” and just stopped and unclipped the bikes shoes. Nothing to exciting, I put on my shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and I was out on the run course.

Run (1:54:06 8:42 pace), First loop (53:09 8:09 pace), Second Loop (1:00:57 9:18 pace)

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The run course changed from last year. In the past it was a 3 loop course all on pavement and this year it changed to a two loop course with about half of it “off road” on grass and dirt paths. I’ve seen mixed opinions on the course but personally, I liked it. It was probably a slower course because of the added hills and fact that half the run was on trails and grass but I liked the variety and thought it helped break things up.

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Coming out of transition I felt awesome and was moving along at a good sub 8 pace till the first off road section. The plan was to get settled and run the first 4 miles at a conservative heart rate which I was able to do and felt good, going through the first 4 miles in an 8:13 pace including the off road climb on the first loop which brought the average pace down a bit.

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Next I was to bump the heart rate up for the next six miles but I was never able to get the heart rate consistently where it needed to be. I was staying below or on the low end of the zone. I think part of the problem was mentally not trusting that I could hold that effort. Thoughts of blowing up and needed to walk the end of the run like all my other half IMs held me back here. But I keep moving along and averaged 8:44 for this section.

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The last 3 miles called for another bump up in heart rate but this turned into an exercise of blocking out the discomfort and continuing to move forward. I shuffled my way up the big off-road hill again and kept moving along not wanting to start walking. I was able to make it through this section with a horribly slow 9:44 pace but I wasn’t walking. And I still managed to PR the run by 5 minutes.

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After the race I looked at my flask fuel of gel and I had only gone through about 1/3 of what I should have used which I think played a factor in the lack of energy for the second half of run. Usually I refrigerate the EFS gel before I use it but couldn’t because the hotel didn’t have one. So either the change in consistency or excitement from racing caused me to not take in as many calories as I was needing.

The finish was inside the arena which was neat to come down the finish shoot and see a few hundred people sitting in the stands cheering.

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Post Race

After I finished I kept walking around for a few minutes. I felt a million times better then at Eagleman but I could still feel my calves starting to cramp a little bit. I tried to get some salt tablets from the med tent but they didn’t have any and suggested potato chips. I got a couple of small bags and those hit the spot. I felt better after walking around for a while and didn’t need a med tent visit this time.

I got back to the hotel and passed out for a couple hours before going out to watch the Redskins Sunday night game against the Colts.

I would have really liked to break 5 hours which was very attainable given my current fitness if things hadn’t gone wrong on the swim but I know all my hard work has paid off. And I can’t complain to much with a 15 minute overall PR and PRs at all three sections to wrap up the 2010 triathlon season.