Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ironman Texas 70.3 aka Lonestar HIM Race Report

For those of you who don’t want the nitty gritty details, here are the highlights:

Swim: felt better than my time reflects, not sure what happened there. Sighting was decent and swam freestlye the entire way.

Bike: a touch of hip pain slowed me down around mile 20, but I found a comfortable position and hammered it on the way back. Cross/head wind on the way out and cross/tail wind on the way back.

Run: I executed my plan and had even splits for the first 3 loops and opened it up the last loop.

Overall: I wanted to break 5:45:00 and I did it! That is an 8 minute PR for me on a similar course under similar conditions, I’ll take it!

Swim: 47:19 (43 of 76 in AG; 820 of 1337 Overall)
T1: 2:46
Bike: 3:00:17 – 18.6 mph (22 of 76 in AG; 630 of 1337 Overall)
T2: 1:59
Run: 1:51:57 – 8:33 pace (17 of 76 in AG; 328 of 1337 Overall)
Total Time: 5:44:18 (19 of 76 in AG; 452 of 1337 Overall)

Detailed Race Report

Packet pick-up and bike drop off were the night before the race, so we drove down to Galveston after a full day. I picked up my packet, dropped off my bike and got a short swim in on the course.

I have been using Trislide for anti-chafing with great success, but I was anxious to try it out with my wetsuit. I sprayed it on my ankles, wrists and neck to see how effective it would be come race day at aiding in wetsuit removal and I will never use anything else again! After my swim (which was spooky since I don't do a lot of open water swims solo), I was able to pull my wetsuit off without a struggle thanks to the Trislide. That was a first for me - normally I look like one of those "how many triathletes does it take to change a light bulb" jokes!

I also found out they cancelled the swim for the Sprint and Olympic distance races earlier in the day and was relieved that the forecast for the half looked much better.

Since we stayed in a smoky, dumpy motel, we only went back to the room to sleep. We ate our pre-race pizza on the seawall before calling it a night.

Race morning
I-Hop oatmeal for breakfast and then straight to transition for body-marking and getting situated. Then it was time for the waiting game. My wave went off 1:05 after the pros …

Waiting, waiting, waiting …

Still waiting …

My parents arrived and a quick hug and kiss later, it was time to go join the other blue caps on the dock. I had to take in some calories right before the swim since it had been hours since breakfast! When it was finally our turn, we jumped in and treaded water for a few minutes before the gun went off for our race.

Me with Parents
My wave getting ready

note: it is slightly disconcerting to see a swimmer coming in on a jet ski right before your wave starts!

The swim felt great. Yes, I was pummeled a time or two, but overall, I felt like my sighting was good and I was swimming strong. I was pretty disappointed in my swim time because I felt faster than that, but the good news was that my best two sports were yet to come!

I RAN toward the wetsuit strippers and saw Doug as I was headed into transition, which always gives me a sense of peace and calm as I get ready for the loneliest, most self-reflective part of the race.

I am pretty happy with my transition time, although they can always get faster! I was 14 of 76 in my AG for this transition and within 30 seconds of the winner of my AG.

I saw Doug again right as I was mounting my bike (he should totally win the spectator award for running around to see me as many times as possible) and then I saw my mom as I was turning the corner to head out of Moody Gardens.

Bike Out
The course was a generally flat (minus bridges) out and back along the coastline and while there was wind, I would not call it a windy day. I guess all those rides this Spring into horrible winds paid off because I felt strong. I developed some hip/leg pain around 20 miles into the bike that affected my power, but shifting positions helped and it finally went away shortly after the turnaround.

There was definitely a bit of wind help on the way back in and I felt like I was flying. It felt great to be passing people left and right. My only pet peeve was that many riders were not staying to the right so to pass I had to go into the traffic lane. When I saw that I was within striking distance of my 3:00 bike split goal, I put the hammer down.

I drank First Endurance EFS on the bike and felt fantastic when I hit the dismount line, ready to run and knowing I had taken in plenty of electrolytes to keep me going. It was a warm day, so taking in plenty of sodium was key!

Again, pretty happy with my transition time. 20 of 76 in my AG and again within 30 seconds or less of the leaders.

Running the Bike Into T2
Running Out of T2
This is the one portion of the HIM that I felt like I had the most room for improvement. My first HIM was all about finishing. I ran the entire course, but it was hilly and I was conservative for the majority of the run because I didn’t want to compromise the finish. Run pace was 10:19 on a hilly course.

My second HIM I wanted to break the 6:00 hour mark and when I got off the bike, I knew what I had to run to break 6:00 so that it what I did. Again, a conservative move. Run pace was 9:37 on a course and in temperatures similar to Galveston.

For Lonestar, I wanted to throw conservatism out the window and see what I could do. My plan was to run the first 3 loops of the 4 loop course below 8:45 min/miles. I ended up clocking 8:35, 8:38 and 8:37 averages for those laps. For the last lap, I decided to not look at my Garmin, but to run however fast I could, simply using perceived exertion. With exactly 3 miles to go I looked at my overall time for the day to calculate what approximate pace I needed to finish under 5:45.

I am never great at math in my head, but definitely not at the end of a 70.3 while running towards the finish. My rough estimate was that I needed something close to an 8:00 min mile average for the last 3 miles to break 5:45 and I thought it was a long shot, but I decided it didn’t matter, I was running as hard as I could maintain for 3 miles. All I could think about at the time was how fast and light I felt in my Saucony Fastwitch 4s. Each mile got faster and I ended up with an 8:18 average for the last 3.275 miles.

I was running ...
I for one, really enjoyed the loop course. I loved the fan support and getting to see my family over and over again. It can be mentally challenging to pass the finish line repeatedly, but that is far outweighed by the excellent fan support, especially from my #1 fan (my amazing hubby) and my parents, who cheered louder than anyone on the course that day!

As I ran into the finisher’s chute I passed several people, well squeezed by them, and while I felt bad about it at the time, I have decided that in the end, this is a race and if that means passing people in the last 20 yards on the far side of the chute (to get around them), then so be it. This was further re-affirmed when reading Ryan aka White Hot’s account of his 2nd place AG finish at IM St. George – second by .05 seconds. It can be a sprint to the finish. All said and done they were actually faster than me overall because they were in an AG that started after me, but that doesn't change my approach to the finisher's chute.

Finisher's Chute
It was also great to hear the announcer call my name and see my family cheering for me as I crossed the finish line. When I finally stopped running (momentum is not your friend here), I pressed stop on my watch and saw that it was still 5:44 … holy cow, I did it! Douglas and I were equally excited about my finishing time and I got the best post-race hug immediately after crossing the finish line! This is huge for him because he is not a big fan of sweat, and let me tell you, I was sweaty!

It was a great first race of the season. The benchmark has been set for the season and I am excited to see where I can go from here!

My #1 Fan an Ironmate!
My Support Crew



Great job.... hey, it looks like Pops is about my age... Let's get him going on this....

Ironman By Thirty said...

Awesome job!!!! I agree about the finish, kick it in all the way.

It looks like you had a great support crew.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

COngrats, way to finish strong!!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Woohoo for an awesome race and an awesome time! You did great! :)

Bill said...

Wow! Great race and great report. Your result gives me some hope that perhaps I can break that 6 hour mark in the HIM. Like you, my run has been my limiter in the past. I'm hoping that this is the season that I can break that mark. Also, love the "Ironmate" shirt. Very cool.

Kristin (Triathlon Dreams) said...

Great job!! Awesome time!! Loved hearing your report

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Joel said...

Anne - congratulations on a great race! Really enjoyed your race report. Seeing family frequently is a HUGE plus. In IMFL last year, I saw my family at least 7 times! Very uplifting each time.

Again - wonderful first race of the year. If that's setting the bar, you've put it pretty high!!!

Mark said...

Anne, great job—especially that bike split! I love that the person you are coming in front of has a souped up GURU with deep dish wheels. It's not the bike people, it's the engine!

Seeing family is awesome. I am hoping to have five little ones out there rooting me in Sandusky!

Congratulations on a great race!

Jennifer said...

Wow what a great PR! Congrats to you and a super race report with nice photo's, rest up you deserve it! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

enjoy your artical, thank you ........................................

Jamie said...

Awesome race! I'm very jealous of your run performance. I always fall apart somewhere after T2, but am hoping this year will be different.

Congrats on the PR. It sounds like everything went even better than you could have planned.

Ryan Oilar said...

Way to go teammate!!! That's fantastic-PR's are hard to come by.

Kelly said...

Awesome race...I heard it was a tough day out there, but you made it look like cake!!