Half Ironman CA 2002

Half Ironman CA 2002

Coming into this one I was hoping to not embarrass myself. That was the number one goal. I feel as though I’m fit, relatively, but not like I could or should be. Injuries, moving, and a new house, all led to a very limited training schedule this year. At this point in the year I needed something to wake me up and kick me in the ass, no two ways about it. My best ½ IM is 4:57 in Buffalo Springs about 3 years ago. I was hoping to break 5:00 this time around. My runs after the Boston marathon have been short runs, but quality runs. My biking has consisted of three long rides over 50 miles. Not exactly how you want to race an IM qualifier race. The day before the race I decided to get out of my head and into my physical self. Why couldn’t I swim 30:00, or bike 2:35 or run 1:35? I couldn’t answer myself so I decided to make it happen.

The morning of the race was cold and rainy – pretty slick conditions. There was no warm up as we were herded from the boat ramp to the water and had to swim out to the starting bouy. The gun went off and there I was at the start of a long training day. I swam pretty easy for a few hundred yards, using this as my warm up. Then I started to pick up the pace and move up a few slots at a time. Soon I was full steam ahead just staying on that edge of LT – I never crossed it however. When I saw the last turn bouy I thought I swam okay but when I stood up and saw 30:44, I was very happy. When I saw a few familiar training partners around me I was even happier. I knew that my swimming wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. I swam a 1,000 yd TT (time trial) on Thursday in 14:33 – so I figured 32:00 would be right on – by the time I crossed the timing mat I was at 31:02 – as I unzipped my wetsuit, it got caught. Luckily the athlete behind me helped me unzip it. I was off to transition – it went pretty smoothly and I was out of transition in almost 4:00 – it was a long run from swim to bike and then we had to out our wetsuits in the bag provided so they could truck them to the race finish which was a mile away or so. I started out the bike very easily and I pretty much never pushed the pace. I did a 10 mile TT on Thursday and I barely averaged 20 mph, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I didn’t know what I would feel like if I pushed too hard so I stayed where I was a little more then aerobic but never quite LT – anaerobic. The drafting was very obvious in the race – cheaters galore! Too bad for the sport, as it just devalues the intent of triathlon, which is three individual time trials: the emphasis is on ‘individual’. Moving on – the bike was uneventful except for the drafters – I kept the effort the same and was picking up the pace as I went along – first few miles I averaged 19mph – once I hit the 20 mile marker, I picked it up a little more and then once I hit the 40 mile mark, I picked it up a little more. For the most part my effort was steady but I picked it up when I began to fall off the pace. The only two eventful things that happened was that I had to pee two times – so that was probably worth a few minutes. My final ride time was 2:38 or an average of 21 mph. Coming into transition, my legs felt loose. My transition went well and I was out in 1:39 – I opted to not take my flask full of Hammergel (mistake) – the weather was still cool and I felt pretty full after the bike ride. I hammered out of transition and went through mile 1 in 6:33. I eased way off after that and settled into 7:00 pace for the next seven miles – I was taking Gatorade at every aid station (one mile apart) but it wasn’t enough. At mile eight I felt the dreaded bonk coming on. I pushed through it and when I got to mile nine I started to drink coke. Ah – what a life saver. About two miles later I was fine and I finished strong. I think I ran the last two miles in sub 14:00 or so – I couldn’t find the mile markers but I was going as hard as I was in the first few miles. Run split was 1:36. I think with a few more biking hours under my belt and better nutrition I could have hit 1:32 or so. We’ll find out in three weeks when I do it all over again in Ft Morgan.

Final time for this race was 4:50.44.

The day before I wrote down my goals as follows:
Swim: 32:00
Bike: 2:35
Run 1:35
Total w/ transitions: 4:50
My actual race times were:
Swim: 31:02
Bike: 2:38
Run 1:36.17
Total w/ transitions: 4:50.44

Thanks for reading,
Mike

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