Monday, December 5, 2011

Water Under the Bridge

Total time: 5:14:41 - 537 out of 1505

It's been 84 days since the Marines Ironman World Championship 70.3 which means enough time has passed for me to move on - water under the bridge. We say "water under the bridge" to refer to past experiences and conflicts which we have decided to forget. I know, I should be happy with finishing. I left a lot out on the course that day and no matter how many times I play Monday Morning Quarterback, the outcome stays the same.

In reading Dave Jewel's blog, he posted a pic that gives me hope.

"Failure Leads to Success if you let it. If you let failure get you down you will stay down. But if you learn from your failure you will grow. I can tell you that I hope to fail often in the future."

Dave is right. I learned a lot from the race and the prep before it that will help me in the future, not to mention the next time I qualify/race the World Championship.

Now for the race report.

My training over the last 4 weeks prior to the race were hit and miss. I traveled pretty much every week up to race week and therefore, my bike and swim training really suffered. Was able to recon the bike and run course 2 weeks prior which did help and gave me a taste of what the temperature could be on race day. 2 weeks out, the temperature at 10:00AM was around 105F and 115F at 11:00AM when we finished the run. Living in SC, I'm used to the heat and humidity so I was hoping for a hot race day as this would be a field separator.

We landed on Thursday and headed over to packet pick-up and the race expo. Pretty uneventful but did hook up with the Profile Design rep who hooked me up with some warranty replacement aero carbon bars. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites about 2 miles from the finish which worked out well but if I ever go back, I will get a room at the Green Valley Ranch. Very close to the race finish and the District for shopping, eating, etc. The race host hotel was great for the pre-race meetings/dinner/awards ceremony but not for much else. Over priced and isolated from civilization.

Slept pretty well the night before the race which isn't usually the case. Should've realized this was a sign that I was too relaxed and didn't have my game face on so to speak. A cold front moved in Saturday afternoon/evening which did bring a little rain on the way to the start but did clear out until Monday evening.

With the race being on September 11, the organizers did a great job with scheduling in a moment of silence at the exact time the first plane hit the WTC. I was very impressed that everyone was silent during this time and just shows you what an impact that act of terror had on the world and not just the US.


Ok, here is where my frustration starts. I'm at best, a MOP swimmer so going into this race I knew I would come out of the water with a deficit. Didn't realize just how big it would be. The race officials said the water temp was too warm to be wet suit legal so you had the option of the new fabric swim skin or just your race kit. I ended up wearing the new swim skin from Blue Seventy which was OK, as it was too tight around the neck. The luck of being between a S and a M. The 40-44 wave was 4th from the end so I knew I would have a lot of people out on the course ahead of me and very few behind me. A through L's were off first and as soon as the canon went off, they were telling us to get into the water. Man that water was cold. The Europeans were complaining at the water temp and said there was no way it was not wet suit legal. I agreed with them but not much I could do. Over 50% of my wave ended up climbing up on rocks under bridge to get out of the cold water as we had 10' of treading water before they shot the canon.

Mistake #1. Allowing your draft to get away. I decided I would let everyone take off and then start my swim. Wanted clean water or at least that's how I justified my poor decision. Note to self. Never do this again. The large group could've helped drag me along the course with less effort.

1.2 miles - 43:36

Yes, you read that correctly. Should've been 35' or less. Nothing like a leisurely Sunday swim.

T1: 4:14 - About 2' slower than I expected. There was about a 400 yd run around the back of the lake to get into T1 and an uphill bike exit with switchbacks that added some time. I also had difficulty buckling my Garmin, had to remove my swim skin, and had to stop and put on sunscreen.


The first 2 miles leaving the resort area are uphill. Nothing like burning a match or two a few minutes into the bike ride. Legs felt dead for the first 40 miles. Once out on the main road to Lake Meade Park, the speed and wind started picking up. I hit 46 mph heading into the entrance of the park and this gave me an opportunity to catch my breath. The plan was to keep the wattage at around 208W for the 56 miles. On the first hill, people were blowing past me like I was standing still. I was tempted to follow suit but knew I would pay for it on the run.

Started the bike with (2) 24oz bottles of my home brew. Drank 1.5 bottles by the turn around at which point I ditched my second bottle and grabbed a cold Perform and a bottle of water.

On the bike you are either going up or going down. Probably needed an 11-27
versus the 11-25, especially with standard size cranks. Saw very little drafting - maybe a pack of 4. The last few miles just before the park exit wore on me as I was ready to get back on the main road towards T2.

The last 10 to 12 miles appear to be flat but in reality, you are going up a 2% grade all the way to T2. There were a lot of tired people at this point and many who were drafting and sitting up on their base bars. My legs actually started coming around at this point and I managed to pass quite number of people during this time.

56 miles - 2:42:33 - 20.7 mph (Pavg 212W)

Rolled into T2 and handed my bike off to a volunteer. Grabbed my run bag and headed to the tent.

T2 - 2:05


When I started the bike, I needed to make a bathroom stop. Unfortunately, this didn't happen and rode the next 56 miles with a full bladder. My only thought starting the run was to hit a bathroom. First aid station and porta potty was at mile 1. Ran the first mile in 7:03 and then took over a minute in the bathroom. Run was pretty uneventful and made the on the spot decision to walk the aid stations to make sure I got the fluids down. Wasn't part of the plan and probably cost me around 4'. The course is 3 laps - 2 miles up and 2 miles down. On the down hills I ran the same pace as the up which didn't register to me as being a mistake until the last 2 miles of the race at which point I ran a pace of 5:53/mile.

13.1 miles - 1:42:14 - 7:48 pace

Total time: 5:14:41 - 537/1505

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 Tri! Ballantyne Triathlon

Headed up to Charlotte with the family on Friday so the girls could take part in the 2nd Annual Tri! Kids Ballantyne Triathlon on Friday evening. Kids had a great time and the event was well run and we will be back next year.

It rained on and off Friday night and was raining Saturday AM when we headed over to the race start. I dropped the air in my tires to compensate for the rain but as my luck would have it, the rain moved out and the race course was basically dry. I left my pump in the hotel room which had the crack pipe for the rear disk so I was unable to inflate my tires to the right pressure which probably cost me some time. I say this as I was 25" slower this year versus last.


Horrible. That pretty much sums it up. The off season this year will be filled with pool time and lessons as I cannot continue to give away time to the other competitors.

300M - 5:36 with run to T1 (2010 - 5:29)

T1 - 0:53 - too long. Almost my entire rack came out within 45" of one another and caused a traffic jam. (2010 - 0:56)


Uneventful. Already bummed about under-inflated tires and then I ran up on the SAG vehicle right before a right hand turn. I had to sit up and wait for the vehicle to turn thinking it would either speed up or move to the side. It did neither. I waved my arms and finally yelled for the drive to MOVE IT at which time he/she floored the vehicle and finally got out of my way. This is where I lost the race as this delay easily cost me the 28" I needed to take 1st overall.

12.7 miles - 31:50 @ 24mph (2010 - 31:25 @ 24.25mph)

T2 - 0:29 - Much better. Decided to not wear socks for the bike/run and this helped my time in T1. I also put on my race belt in T1 which may have cost me a few seconds but probably a wash with what I made up in T2. (2010 - 0:39)


Goal was to break 20:00 for the 5K and I came up short by 1". I felt great during the entire run and was in the zone for the last mile. Didn't wear my Garmin so ran on feel.

5K - 20:00 @ 6:26/mile (2010 - 20:20 @ 6:32/mile)


58:47 - 2nd Place Overall (out of 425+) (2010 Result - 58:47 - 4th place overall)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Tri the Midlands Race Report

Woke up Saturday morning feeling tired due to lack of sleep - thanks to the University of South Carolina in the CWS and from a long run on Thursday. Expectations were low as I'm starting my build for the Ironman® World Championship 70.3 in September and have been focusing on distance/time in the saddle or on the road versus short course speed. The transition area was moved this year as was the swim start. Swim exit was the same but due to the change in transition location, you had a longer run – 300yds from what they said from swim finish to T1.


Haven’t been feeling very strong on the swim and that is concerning as I’m a MOP swimmer. Decided to let everyone go ahead of me when the horn sounded and just swim easy. First buoy was at 175m and after this turn, the field was separated and made for a nice swim to the finish.

500M with 300yd run to T1 – 11:10 (10 out of 28 in age group)


51” – Obviously wasn’t in a hurry here.


Finally, a race where the participants followed the rules and stayed right unless they were passing. Not much to say here except there was a nice head wind once you turned right on Kelly Mill Rd and again when you re-entered Lake Carolina on Lake Carolina Dr. Used my new Louis Garneau Vorttice helmet and really enjoyed the visor and not having to crane my neck to see over my glasses. Will look into getting an amber visor to wear in longer races where the sun will be a factor. The helmet was very quiet and air flow was much better than my Giro Advantage 2. The helmet really made you conscience of keeping your head up as looking down and sticking the tail of the helmet in the wind made a loud noise, disturbing the airflow. With transition moving closer to the lake, this gave you a little more time to open things up on the flat to downhill stretch of Long Pointe Lane. Hit 38mph passing by the finishing chute and carried a good bit of speed down to the dismount line.

14.6 miles (14 miles advertised) – 37:25 – 23.4mph (fastest in age group and 11th overall)


1:00 – Decided to run without socks this race and it cost me 20” in T2. My toe kept getting caught on one of the tongue bands when I tried putting on my shoes. After 3 attempts, I finally got one shoe on.


Legs still felt dead after Thursday’s long run. Just didn’t have the quick turnover. Got passed by the 10th OA competitor just before the hill, and then passed again 0.25 miles from the finish by the 15th OA guy who ran a 17:17 5K.

5K – 21:10 (2nd in age group and 26th OA)

1:11.34 was good enough for 1st place in the 40-44 age group and 17th overall.

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 Turtle Crawl Sprint Triathlon at Jekyll Island

Spent the week touring the Golden Isles with the family and capped off a great time with winning the 2011 Turtle Crawl Sprint Triathlon at Jekyll Island on Saturday.


Weather was perfect and the swim conditions were ideal – no chop in the ocean and almost like a lake. Water temp was 76ºF so it was a wetsuit legal race but due to the short distance, I opted for my BlueSeventy speed suit. The 40+ males started 3’ behind the 39- males so I knew there would be some congestion to contend with on the bike course as I’m at best, a MOP swimmer. At any given time, you could stand up during the swim and were only chest deep which is great for new swimmers or people with a fear of water. No excuse during the swim other than only being in the pool 1X during the past 14 days and 7X since Ironman® New Orleans on 4/17.

400M Swim with long run to T1: 8:49

T1: 1:30 – had some difficulty getting my socks on.


Bike was originally supposed to be 12 to 13 miles but due to construction on the island, they had to change the course and cut it back to 9.3 miles. Bike was uneventful and had to pass quite a bit of people due to my lousy swimming. No matter how many times you tell people to stay right except to pass they always migrate to the center of the lane and make it difficult for the faster riders passing 2 and 3 wide without crossing over the center line. Also found it amusing to see people on high end bikes and deep dish carbon wheels in long course bike mode – slow and steady with a low cadence. Come on people, this is a Sprint not an Ironman®. Ride like you are in a hurry!

9.3 miles – 22:42 @ 24.6mph and PAvg of 258W – fastest bike split

T2: 0:55


When I got into transition, I only saw 2 bikes racked and 1 in the process of being racked. It didn’t register that I was in the top 3 or 4 to start the run. I and another racer left T2 at the same time. I quickly passed him and passed another racer at about 0.75 miles. At the turnaround, I estimated I was 250’ behind the leader with 1.6 miles to go. I ended up passing him at mile 2 and surged to keep him from hanging on my heels. Come to find out, he started in the earlier wave so I had at least a 3' lead on him once I passed him. I think I caught everyone by surprise as they were a little frazzled when I came down the finish line as I had to dodge a woman with a baby stroller and a man with a dog in the last 500’. Once I came through, they cleared the path so the other finishers would not have to contend with the obstacles.

5K: 20:37 or 6:38/mile - fastest run split

Total: 54:35 - Overall Individual Male – 1st Place.

Will definitely be back next year to defend my title and hopefully, will be in better swim shape.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 Ochsner Ironman® 70.3 New Orleans Race Report

Correction - 2011 Ochsner Ironman® 69.1 New Orleans

Got into New Orleans just after lunch on Friday and hit the athlete packet pick-up and expo before heading out for 30’ run to open up the legs. The wind was incredible and several gusts actually moved you back a step or two. The packet pickup was one of the best I’ve attended and you moved through the line/process fairly quickly. Dropped the bike off late Saturday afternoon at T1, which was just under 7 miles from the hotel / French Quarter. Did check out the lake and noticed the buoys outlining the course were not set-up. Should’ve realized this probably meant the swim would be canceled on race day. Didn’t get much sleep Saturday night due to the street noise in New Orleans. Probably should’ve requested a room on one of the top floors versus the 2nd that we were on.


Walking into T1 we heard the announcement that the swim had been canceled due to 25mph winds on the lake. Not an issue for those swimming but for those in kayaks trying to keep the swimmers safe. This was probably the best news I could’ve received race morning. See, I’m a MOP swimmer and a FOP biker and runner so this type of scenario suited me just fine.


Waves of age groupers lined up 2 x 2 and were set off every 2”. Talk about the possibility of drafting. I was in line for the bathroom when they called my wave. Decided to wait it out as it didn’t make sense starting a 56 mile ride already needing to go.

First 3.6 miles were fast - 28+mph and it was almost impossible not to draft. We made the first turnaround and the wind hit you at a 45º angle. Pace slowed some but didn’t beat you up like a true headwind. Plan was to keep the wattage at around 210W for the race and ended up averaging 218W for the first 28 miles probably due to staying left and passing everyone I could in order to race clean - not draft. There was 1 blatant pace line where the participants actually tried to recruit me as they went by and unfortunately, they didn't get busted for drafting. Their decision beat me by 1'54". I'm OK with this as I know I raced clean. Only saw 2 people in the penalty tent - so much for enforcing the rules.

First 28 miles - 1:16:48 @ 21.8 mph and 218W Pavg

Second 28 miles - 1:06:14 @ 25.2 mph and 207W Pavg

I dropped the wattage for the last 28 miles and focused on holding the 210W. This probably cost me a podium placing but I did set myself up for a great run. Hit 37.4mph in mile 55. Roads were fine for the most part but organizers should’ve marked pot holes or uneven surfaces with paint. Coming over the last bridge to mile 55, you pick up a huge tailwind and must make a sharp right hand turn. Could’ve been better marked but probably a good idea to take this turn sitting up versus aero. Goal for the ride was 2:20.

Time: 2:23:28 - 23.4 mph PAvg – 213W and NP of 219W

T2: 1:55"


Coming off the bike my legs felt like jello and the run in T1 helped to get me going for the next 13.1 miles. The run course was shaded fairly well and there were numerous aid stations that were well stocked with volunteers, drinks, food, gels, and sponges.

Mile splits were as follows:

Mile 1 - 7:05

Mile 2 - 7:12

Mile 3 - 7:08

Mile 4 - 7:12

Mile 5 - 7:11

Mile 6 - 7:13

Mile 7 - 7:12

Mile 8 - 7:12

Mile 9 - 7:09

Mile 10 - 7:09

Mile 11 - 7:10

Mile 12 - 7:23

Mile 13 - 7:18

Blister came up on the ball of my left foot at mile 6. Wasn’t that big of an issue until I got into the French Quarter where the roads were awful and planting was difficult with the blister. Didn’t have much of a kick at the end which was disappointing.

Time: 1:34:29 - 7:12/mile pace

Total time: 3:59:52 – good enough for 7th out of 343 in the 40-44 age group and 112 out of 2300+.

Nutrition was spot on as I consumed (2) 24oz bottles of my home brew (500 calories of glucose, 3,176mg of NA, 160mg of K, and a little Kool-aid for flavor) plus 1 gel on the bike. For the run, I did a gel shot with water every odd mile through 9 and a cup of Perform for all of the even miles. No stomach issues whatsoever.

Was fortunate enough to get the first roll down spot for the Ironman® World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas in September. Should be a course that suits my strengths – bike and run and the temperature should be to my advantage as well.

Will be racing for Team PR or ER® for the rest of the season and will represent them in Vegas at the World Championships.