When I signed up for this race, my goal was to finish the race under 5 hours. Prior to doing this race, my only other 2 triathlons were of the sprint distance so I was a little concerned with the 1.2 mile swim. As I learned, swimming in a pool is quite different than swimming in the open water. The Savannah River was 68F on race morning and I would shortly learn that it was full of reed grass and river plants that added just another element of "surprise" during the swim.
I was in the first wave of the 40-44 men and made the mistake of starting first instead of waiting for everyone else to take off in my wave and then follow in behind. In less than 5', I was anaerobic. My breakfast started tickling the back of my throat and the wetsuit of which I only swam 5' in a pool 7 days prior, felt as though it was getting tighter and made it that more difficult to breathe. At this point I flipped over on my back and did the backstroke until my heart rate came down and then flipped back over and tried freestyle again. I did this over and over and finally got into a groove about 2/3 of the way into the swim. I know I swam more than the 1.2 miles as I was zig zagging all over the place, especially when I was on my back. Ironically, it takes me about 400yds to get into a groove in the pool so I shouldn't have been surprised that it took quite a bit longer. Exiting the water my head was throbbing and the headache would not go away until I hit the run.
Time: 30:31 1:36/100m
If I would've swam the average time, I would have made up over 6'. Oh well, time to hit the pool.
Uneventful. My wetsuit came off with no problem and I probably took my time a little too much as I wanted to make sure I had everything before heading out. Also, I have to ride with socks on so it took a little extra time getting these on wet feet.
Sitting in my hotel room Saturday night listening to the rain pour down, I knew I would have issues with my Powertap in the morning. Even though I had everything covered up, the change in temp and the moisture/humidity seems to cause problems. I hit the button on my Powertap computer and all I saw was dashes. Then a few seconds later after I hit a bump I would see numbers. This went on for the entire length of the bike ride and made it extremely difficult to pace correctly. I've trained exclusively on this bike since May and not one time did I experience a drop out so I can only attribute it to the rain.
Being the 3rd to the last group to head out, I had plenty of people on the bike course to contend with. People were riding in the middle of the road, would start to pass someone and then slow down and talk to the person they were passing, dropping tubes, bottles, inflators, etc and made for a difficult ride. With my Powertap dropping out and stopping for a bathroom break at mile 36, I ended up riding slower than I planned and left some time out on the course.
Again, uneventful. Changed socks as I like to run in thin socks and I prelubed the insides with Body Glide so it took me a little extra time to get these on.
Plan was to start out at 8:10 for the first 3 miles and then drop it down to 7:40 for the next 7 and then 7:30 or faster for the remaining 3.1. I started fine and was running 8:07 until I hit the first aid station. I would slow down to a walk as soon as I grabbed a cup and would continue walking until I finished drinking. I would hit the lap button when I started running again so my pace would be right but for some reason (come to find out when I downloaded the info) my pace was actually slower than what was coming up on my watch. Maybe the buildings, trees, overpasses, etc that caused my Garmin to act strange but I didn't pace the run like I had planned.
Run Split 1: 7 mi 8:26/mi Run Split 2: 6.1 mi 7:41/mi Total Run: 13.1 mi 1:45:59 8:05/mi
I was able to negative split the run but would have anyway if I executed according to my plan.
Total time: 4:56:06 Rank 302 Div. POS 49
I met my goal of going under 5 hours. I had a second, unspoken goal of hitting 4:48 and would have if I executed the swim with an average time, didn't have the issues with the Powertap going in and out, and truer pacing #'s from the Garmin.
With this being only my 3rd triathlon and my first HIM, I couldn't be happier. You can always second guess yourself and replay the race over and over and figure out where you could've made up time but that would be a waste of time. I did short myself calories on the bike and only managed to get in about 43oz of carbohydrate drink and 22oz of water. I really should've consumed around 54oz of CHO drink but thankfully, everything went OK. No issues with cramps as I was taking a Succeed S-Cap every 30' on the bike and run and never had any GI issues.
I've got a few take aways that I'll file away for my next long course race but now, time to put the tri bike away and get back on the road bike.
Tried out my De Soto First Wave wetsuit this morning and all I can say is WOW!! Pushing off the wall and gliding in the water was quite an experience. I have nothing to compare it to as this is my first time wearing a wetsuit but i was quite impressed. I chose this suit because of the 2-piece design so I could dial in the fit, better shoulder movement, and easy removal. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make my legs sink and the body roll was amazing. I didn't time it but I banged out a 300 with very little effort.
Race is in 12 days and this week is the start of my taper. Volume has been slowly coming down - an hour here an hour there with a slight drop in intensity this week. Plan calls for 10:35 this week - Swim: 3:00, Bike: 4:00, and Run: 3:35. Next week drops to 7:20 with the race on Sunday!!
Getting the race wheels ready with new Michelin latex tubes today and should take delivery of my new tires tomorrow - Bontrager 19mm X Lite TT AW for the front Zipp 808 clincher and a Bontrager X Lite Pro 23mm rear on my Mavic OP rim with PowerTap and wheel cover. One of the lowest, rolling resistance combos for a clincher available. Should amount to 7 to 10W of savings per the smart guys over at ST.
Plan called for 2100yds continuous at race pace. Ended up with a time of 35:52 or a T-Pace of 1:42/y. I'm pretty pleased with this result as I did this workout wearing my ultra hydrodynamic (right) suit from LL Bean, a pull buoy and no flip turns. I'll be wearing a full wet suit for the race and from what I've been reading, the river has a current so my time should be significantly better.
40' run later today and then a full race rehearsal on the bike and run tomorrow. 56 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run with the first 3 miles @ 8:10 and the second 3 at 7:40. My MP pace is actually 7:32 but I'm being a little conservative with this being my first HIM. Pacing for the race will be 3/7/3 with the first 3 at 8:10/mile, next 7 miles @ 7:40, and the final 3.1 miles @ whatever I have left - shooting for 7:14 or lower.
3 weeks out and my legs are feeling pretty good. Yesterday called for 3 x 15' @ FTP with 4' rest in between. With little effort, I managed:
266W 260W 261W
I followed this up with a 30' brick run with 10' @ 8:48, 10' @ 7:14, and 10' @ 7:32.
Today called for a 1:45 run consisting of:
40' @ 8:48 - 8:20, 15' @ 7:32, 5' @ 7:14, 10' @ 7:55, 15' @ 7:32, 5' @ 7:14, and 15' @ 7:53. Finished with 13.1 miles in 1:44. Legs felt great for the entire run and overall, I liked running at the 7:32 versus the 7:55.
2100yds tomorrow and then 3.5 hours on the bike Saturday, 2 hours on Sunday with a 20' brick run.