IRONMAN Maryland

Before I even really get into the race report I need to say thanks to everyone that helped make this possible. I know that the massive amount of training put lots of pressure on everyone in the family to help out in ways that they are not normally asked, so THANK YOU. I am have also been a little bit of a pain in the ass at times during my training, and then again during my taper.

I also had a lot of friends that stepped up and helped out during the year. Including a few that may have wished that I would quit messaging them with constant questions. 

It has been a fun journey, so again THANK YOU to everyone who played a part in it.

Target Time: 1:30
Race Time: 0:56:49
Nothing went the way I wanted before the swim even started, and I ended up having the best swim ever in a race. The race was scheduled to start at 7am, but there was a small craft advisory so they couldn’t get the safety boats launched. So everyone stood around in 42 degree weather wearing just their wetsuits freezing. We couldn’t even get in the water to warm up because of the advisory. Then it was announced that the race would start at 7:30 and the swim was going to be shortened to 1.2 miles. That didn’t make anyone happy, and everyone was letting them know it. 20 minutes later it was announced that the course was going to be changed to allow us to do 2 laps for a total of 3000 meters, so it would be a little short, but still an official IRONMAN. YEAH!!!! A couple minutes into the swim I started to have what I thought was a panic attack, but something felt different this time. It took a couple minutes to figure out that I was cooking in the wetsuit. I grabbed the collar and let some cold water in and then felt better instantly. Other than that the swim was really uneventful, which was a nice change for this year. A+

T1 0:14:17
Transition was really slow because of the weather. It had warmed all the way up 45 degrees at this point. There was no way that I was going to go out on the bike with wet anything on, so this was a full change with damp skin. The changing tent was packed, so there was also some standing around waiting to even get in. Painfully slow, but completely out of my control.

Target Time: 5:30:00
Race Time: 5:46:57
I do not think I could have scripted the day much better other than the wind. I drank 3+ bottles of water and 2 race bottles. I also had 2 packs of GU Chews and a piece of beef jerky on the bike. The bike worked perfect. I was targeting 190 watt average on the bike and finished with a 185 average.  Without the steady 25-30 mph winds I’m pretty sure I would have been well under my target time. There were a couple time early on the bike that riders would go by me like I wasn’t moving and I really wanted to go with them, but the mantra of the day was “Make this the most boring ride of your life.” And I passed quite a few of these riders again by the end of the day. A+

T2 0:08:19
Again I did a complete change. The temperature was already starting to drop, so I didn’t want any of the damp cycling cloths on at the start of the run. We also didn’t have bike catchers, so we had to rack our own bikes. This is a little different than at a standard IRONMAN event.

Target Time: 4:30:00
Race Time: 4:46:12
I was comfortable that I had done everything I could on the bike to setup the run, so I was willing to let things start a little faster than I had originally planned. Through the first 5 miles I was holding around a 9:20 pace. I would have loved to try and stay there, but this was going to be the longest run ever for me and I decided to be a little conservative. I slowed to a 9:40 pace for miles 6-10, and then a 10:30 pace until mile 21. At mile 21 I had my first and only issue all day. My legs said enough is enough, we’re done. I walked for about 4 minutes while trying to find something to get me moving again. I had a bet with a good friend that I could do the run in under 5:15 with the loser buying the beer. I generally don’t even drink beer, but for the rest of the run I was just repeating “I am not buying the beer.” After that little hiccup, I managed to hold a 10:40 pace to the end. My overall pace was a 10:09, which is pretty good. My best pace prior to this was an 11:11 in a half IRONMAN. For nutrition on the run I was doing BASE Electrolyte Salt with water at every aid station. I also used 3 packages of GU Chews and a piece of beef jerky. I had two race bottles with me, but really did not feel the need for the extra calories. Added bonus was that when you cross the finish they have catchers, and to my surprise my wife was there in case I needed someone. I never expected that, so pretty cool. A+

Target Time: 11:30:00
Race Time: 11:32:34

What an incredible day. Everything seemed to be working against this even, but the people that were putting it on did and incredible job of rallying the troops and putting on a first class event. Everything went pretty much to plan which never happens, so now I’m worried that I may have just had the best race at this distance that I will ever have. Guess I’ll have to put that to the test next year. Maybe try and go sub 11 hours. And for anyone that was wondering, yes I did get the tattoo.

IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman

Target Time: 0:35:00
Race Time: 0:43:02

I guess the best way to describe the swim was a complete shit show. The swim started good, and I was quickly off the front with the top couple of guys. I caught a wave over my head that caused me to drink a little water and all of a sudden I was having a full blown panic attack. I managed to get to a kayak to hold onto and try to get my head back in the game, but it was over. I pretty much swam from kayak to kayak for the first third of the race just trying to get the swim over with. I managed to swim the last two thirds of the swim by myself way to the outside of the course, but every time someone got near me I freaked out. At some point I swore that I would never do another triathlon again. F-

T1: 0:04:28
I took a little extra time here to try and get my head back into the race. 

Target Time: 2:35:00
Race Time: 2:44:06

I was targeting 90% of my FTP for the bike. I did a really good job of controlling myself on the out bound part of the course and hit the turnaround averaging 22.5 mph. At some point on the return trip I forgot about my nutrition completely. D- because of the nutrition

T2: 0:01:48
Really happy about my T2 times as of late.

Target Time: 1:50:00
Race Time: 2:26:35

The run started out really good, but after about a mile and a half I started cramping. This was about when I started thinking about it and realized that I hadn’t had anything to eat in a while. The day before I had bought some BASE Electrolyte Salt and had brought some with me. It really did help out a lot with the cramps, but once the tank is empty it is pretty hard to recover. I managed to mostly jog from aid station to aid station for the rest of the run, but it was not really what I wanted to do. It also ended up a little hotter than I was expecting.  C+

Overall: 5:59:59

The good. I was pretty happy to get under the 6 hour mark for a IRONMAN 70.3 for the first time. I was also really happy with how I felt on the bike. I held a good pace and was still feeling pretty good coming off the bike. I was also happy with how the BASE Electrolyte Salt worked on the run. Even though my nutrition let me down, it wasn’t because it wasn’t working, it was because I forgot about it in the heat of the moment. I’m pretty sure that I do have it figured out.

The bad. It doesn’t matter how much training you do, if you forget something simple like eating, your day is over. My swim is killingly me during races.

Nutrition Plan: Plan A, Execution C-
Race Morning: I had an Ensure and part of a bagel with cream cheese. Unfortunately my pre-race nerves kept me from eating more than a couple of bites. I also drank a couple bottles of water and my have been over hydrated at the start.

Bike: 1 Race bottle containing 3 scoops of Strawberry HEED, 6 scoops of CarboPro and 8 Endurolytes capsules split open and added to the bottle. Two bottles of plain water and 3 packs of GU Energy Chews. I ended up drinking half the race bottle and took a couple of sips from one of the water bottles. That is never going to cut it in a race.

Run: 1 Race bottle containing 2 scoops of Heed and 4 scoops of CarboPro. I was also carrying 2 packs of GU Energy Chews and a container of the BASE Salt. I pretty much finished the race bottle and was doing a lick of the salt every mile with a glass of water at the aid stations. I never fully recovered from my mistake on the bike, but I held together better than I would have expected considering the heat.

Blackstone Valley Olympic Tri

Target Time: 0:30:00
Race Time: 0:33:40

Going into this race I had been swimming really well and was hoping to put together a really good swim. Unfortunately this was not to be. During check-in we were informed that the swim would not be wetsuit legal. I do almost all my open water swimming by myself, so I never get to try swimming these distances without a wetsuit on. I decided to race with my wetsuit, which makes you ineligible for awards. The swim started good, but once I started to get mixed in with the slower swimmers that I was catching I started to have panic issues. I still haven’t figured out why this happed during races, but it needs to get figured out. I ended up swimming the long way around to stay away from the other swimmers. F

T1: 0:03:34
There is a big hill you have to run up coming out of the water, so I just wanted to get to the bike.

Target Time: 1:12:00
Race Time: 1:12:01

Everything went pretty much like I was hoping for. I was targeting an average of 210 watts on the bike and averaged 213 watts. With the exception of one climb on the course, I was faster at every stage of the course. The first half of the course was pretty flat, so it was a case of maintain a good pace and save something for the hills in the second half. A+

T2: 0:01:07
Finally starting to understand how to get through T2 a little quicker. Grab and go, don’t stand there making sure that everything is perfect.

Target Time: 0:49:30
Race Time: 0:50:02

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not generally a fast runner. I really wanted to go hard right from the start of the run and see what happens. I was targeting an 8:00 pace on the run. I managed to hold my pace for the first 3 miles before cracking a little on the hill in mile 4, but I did recover pretty well at the top and managed to run a 7:53 for the last mile. A++

Overall: 2:40:30

The biggest thing I need to work on is the swim. Currently I am having a really hard time during races, and it is putting me into a really bad head space going into the bike.

The bike and run are coming along nicely and I’m happy where I am at this point of the season. Let’s see if I can carry some of this over to Timberman in a couple of weeks.

IRONMAN Maryland 2015

Tomorrow begins my training for IRONMAN Maryland. Competing in an IRONMAN has always been a bucket list item for me. I’m pretty sure that this goes back to watching some of the early races on the old Wide World of Sports on ABC. A friend of mine did Louisville two years ago and it made me start thinking that maybe it was time to get this off the bucket list. Last year I took my first step toward making this a reality by competing in IRONMAN Timberman 70.3. It was a great learning experience and I had a lot of fun, so I took the plunge and signed up for Maryland this year.

The last four months I have spent working on building a good base to work with for my actual IRONMAN training plan. I feel like I am in better shape right now than I was at any point last year, which is good, but I still have a long way to go. I’ll be testing my winter work next weekend at the Wrentham Duathlon followed by the Willi Whammer Half Marathon two weeks later.

The other thing that I have been working on is figuring out the nutritional part of this training volume. Unfortunately it does not matter how much information you have, if you do not follow it then things go sideways pretty fast.

Well I guess this is all for now. I will be posting updates along the way on my training.

IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman

Exiting the water.
Exiting the water.

SWIM: TrainingPeaks Data
Target Time: 0:45:00
Race Time: 0:42:54

I was so nerves before this swim that I tore my wetsuit twice trying to put it on.  This was going to be my first group start in a triathlon so I really had no idea what to expect.  Once the race started I started to relax and try getting into a rhythm.  Unfortunately that was not going to happen.  Instead I struggled with the swim the entire time I was in the water.  Overall I felt the swim went terrible, but when I saw my time I was pretty happy.  B+

T1: 0:04:55
Just tried to be steady.  Overall very happy with my time.

Finishing the bike
Finishing the bike

BIKE: TrainingPeaks Data
Target Time: 3:00:00
Race Time: 2:48:13

I had pre-rode the first and last 8 miles of the course on Saturday, so I knew the first 6.5 miles were mostly uphill.  It was never a big climb, just a long rolling climb.  The plan was to just keep it nice and steady for this part and then put in a good effort until the big climb that started around mile 12.  After that climb it was 35-38 miles of just getting into a nice steady grove and try to maintain around 220 watts.  This worked out better than I could have ever hoped for.  I had great legs for the two big climbs on the way back in and just buried myself for the last 6.5 downhill miles into the finish.  A+

T2: 0:05:23
It was looking like rain before the start, so I left my T2 stuff in my transition bag to keep it dry.  This cost me a little time, but at least I didn’t have to worry about having wet stuff to start the run.

The start of the run
The start of the run

RUN: TrainingPeaks Data
Target Time: 2:15:00
Race Time: 2:32:28

Before I was even out of transition I knew that I had no legs for the run.  Instead of killing myself and trying to find something that was not there, I just immediately fell into a run/walk routine that I was sure would get me to the finish.  I really liked the course and wish I could have found some way to run a little more but it was not to be.  D-

Overall: 6:13:53

I was using a training plan to get ready for Timberman and was questioning the running volume for the last month before the race.  Unfortunately I decided to trust in the training plan instead of what my body was telling me. I just do not think that I was doing even close to enough miles, so coming off the bike and being a little tired I was doomed.  Going into the half marathon that I ran in April I was doing 25-30 miles a week, but the training plan that I was working with only had me doing 10-15 miles a week.  Oh well, live and learn.

On the bike I wanted to average 220 watts.  When I pulled my data off the Garmin, I found out that I only averaged 190 watts while going under my target time.  I’m not sure if means that I had great legs that day, or that the course really suited me.  I will say that I really liked the course.  I did have on problem on the bike.  I missed my pocked when putting my gel flask away around mile 20 and didn’t find out until the next time I went looking for it.

Based on my result and how I felt after this I have decided that I will go ahead and do a IRONMAN next year.  Not sure if it will be IRONMAN Maryland or Louisville.