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Race Report - Dan Rose
Finishing this race was my greatest athletic accomplishment. I am pretty excited to do another IM race but it will have to wait until 2008 to be realistic with my personal and professional responsibilities. The accomplishment WAS worth the cost so there are no regrets which in the end are what I will remember and tell others who inquire about doing an event like this. Hell Yes!
I did not spend a lot of time thinking about the "whole" race while I was doing it. I maintained my focus on each section of the event (or course) I was on at the time figuring it would just come as the day went along so why worry about it. I had some times figured out for each leg of the race and surprisingly I was very close to the target times. I did not rush or slowdown to hit the times I just went with what I needed to do and it worked out. Nutrition was always on my mind and I was able to execute my race plan pretty well. I had to substitute one of my isotonic drinks for the race provided one because I lost one during a rough section of road (along with my Enduralytes). The use of my E-Gels & E-Fuels along with Coke & Pretzels on the run was sufficient to get me through. Physically I was pretty much ok with the expected amount of "pain" associated with going so long on your feet. The only discomfort was in my right hip (tight IT band) that gave me some trouble towards the end of the bike and part of the run. I felt a weird tightness in my gluts that I had never felt before. Not real pain just a weird feeling.
This was good first time IM event because of the "low key" atmosphere of the expo and competitors. It was run with other events like "Barb's Race" a women's only Half-Iron event and an Aqua-Bike event. The course was hillier than people let on (~5K feet of total climbing according to my computer) and the roads were rough which made my P2K (aluminum) feel like the wrong choice at times. The run had three hills that you did on each successive out-n-back (three of them so 6 times!) while not long the downhills did start to get to you after such a long day. The rough roads played havoc on the second loop of the bike as fatigue started to set in with my back and legs. The aid station support teams were great! I did not required much, water and bananas, but they were very helpful and positioned well to give me what I needed just fine. The transition areas were less than I expected to be honest. While they were sufficient for typical triathlon events, I had higher expectations of the support during IM transitions, based upon the feedback from WTC events and the tremendous support they provide (e.g. Assistance during such as with wetsuits, gear and sun lotion). I missed the T2 transition timing mat because it was not well marked and no one was there to assist me through the area. When I finished I would have had to pay $20 for a massage which I thought you got as part of the event. Additionally, I vomited at the end and needed to ASK where the medical area was since no one was around, it was good Deanne was right there to help me around otherwise it would have been VERY miserable. The food afterwards was pretty limited as well which is odd considering I finished reasonably early for the event, which makes me wonder what the people finishing in 13-17 hours would get. The rule of thumb is "You get what you pay for" so I can not complain. Maybe my expectations were too high for the cost ($325) I am not sure. My next IM will be a WTC event do doubt. The day is hard enough without having to worry about certain details so the $$$ is worth it after 6+ months of training and a long day out on the course.
I was able to execute my pre-race and race day nutrition pretty well. I will say that I did not make it to all four gels on the Run because I just did not want Gels anymore by the time I got there. Enough is enough of that stuff! I lost one of my isotonic drinks right at the start of the bike because of a pothole but I used a Gatorade Endurance to replace it and it worked fine. My Enduralyte Tabs were lost because of some rough road conditions as well so I maintained the focus on keeping my intake of fluids like E-Fuel and Gatorade Endurance up to maintain the right levels. I switched to using Coke-Pretzels and Water-Pretzels on the run at about mile 8. This worked for me without stomach distress. I kept focusing on the feeling in my stomach during the run and using water (if I only felt thirsty) and Coke-Pretzels if I felt bloated. I believe that was right, I simply wanted to make sure I was processing my food effectively and adding salt to help absorb it all. I switched to Coke for the last 2 miles of the run as I wanted to simply kick it in and finish empty.
Woke up around 4 AM and had two Ensure+ drinks (~700 cals). Woke up again at 5:15am and had 1 original size “Jamba Juice” Smoothie (Strawberry Whirl) and one small coffee. Not sure on the calories with the smoothie but damn it was good and I have been having them all week! Finally on the ride over to the race and during setup I had 200 calories from my isotonic drink of choice (E-Fuel). Total pre-race was ~1500 cals all via liquids.
The Russian River is a great swim for a non-swimmer like me. Water was good temp (~76) and the course was shallow enough that I could have stood if I had to (which I did not!). Deanne and I were running late to get to the start and I actually did not enter the water until the gun went off! I was not that worried but I did not get enough time to effectively warm up or get ready. The upside to that was I had no time to worry either! I took my time and kept an easy and consistent pace on the swim. There was not a lot of bumping on the course because of the size of the field and staggered start times. A few elbows and feet but no more than any Half-IM race I have been in. The time is almost exactly on my estimated time so I was pleased to be on schedule.
The transition area was small and right on the beach which made for a quick time. I had to load up my E-Fuels under my bike shorts along my legs to make sure I carried everything I needed. I also had to place all my stuff in a bag prior to leaving because the T1 and T2 were at different spots. I stayed in control and focused on getting things done but not rushing.
The bike course was challenging because the roads were pretty rough in some sections. The hills were there to be sure but aside from two of them Chalk Hill and the unnamed hill before the second aid station; it was fine with about 5000 feet of climbing over the whole course. It took me about 1 hour to get my HR down to the desired range (~140), I believe the race day excitement and the hilly course kept it up around 153 for far too long. I did manage to bring it into the target zone after a while. I hit the first loop at 2:58 which put me on pace and I felt like I was doing fine. There were a few times I had people ride away from me that I wanted to catch but I held off and stayed within myself which was hard but required. I learned, out of necessity, to "go" on the bike during this race. This worked out pretty well because I did not have to stop the bike completely just slowdown while I "willed" myself to that point. I tried to do this before I hit an aid-station to make sure I could pick up an extra water bottle. I started to get some discomfort in my right hip, tight IT band, that made me think "I really really want to get off this F$@$ing bike". The last ten miles went pretty smoothly for me with a good finishing kick. Due to some course changes the total length was around 113.5 miles instead of 112 which is not a big deal since it is a heck of a long day anyway.
- 6 Water Btls (1 every 60 mins)
- 8 E-Gel (1 every 45 mins) 1200
- 4 E-Fuel (1 every 90 mins) 800
- 2 Gatorade Endurance 300
- 2 Banana (mile 50 & 85) 200
- 5 Mini Snickers (whenever) 250
Total = 2750 Cals
This went fairly smooth. I was able to get to my spot and find my bag pretty easily. I changed socks for the run and went pretty quickly through. I guess I missed the timing mat because they never recorded my actual time but I have it on my watch. Deanne handed me a gel flask for the run as I left the T2, which I forgot to get into my bag the night before.
I started out pretty strong on the run and I was on a ~9 min pace at the start. The run course has three hills that you go up and down on the way out and on the way back. The highest is a 100 vertical climb that is pretty steep. These are not huge but if you do it enough it starts to suck. I had to walk the first climb as I came to with the realization that this is a long run in front of me and my HR was spiking. I recovered pretty soon after that and kept it around 145 for most of the run which is where I wanted to be. I stopped at the Port-A-John for my first and only Nbr2 break in the race which made the rest of the run easier to say the least. The line was short so it was well worth ALL time lost :-). The rest of the run was about maintaining forward progress and I only walked the aid stations to pick up either Coke/Water and pretzels. I had finished with the E-Gel after mile 8 because I simply did not want it anymore. Once I got to mile 23 I started to pick it up. I am sure I went from a 10:30 -> 9:45 but I felt like I was flying! The last two miles were pretty quick in relative terms and I finished strong.
I used up 3 E-Gels to account for about 450 cals then just “felt” my way through the rest of the run with how my energy and mental focus were holding up.
I walked for about 10 mins with Deanne. Deanne was Awesome during this whole event! I was going to get a message ($20) but vomited instead because my stomach could not process the food left in there (Pretzels and Coke) after I ran so hard towards the finish. I had to lie down for a while in the Med area to recover but in 20 mins I was up again and fine. The only real pain in the end was a sunburn on my lower back were my jersey road up during the bike. Sunscreen next time back there!
I drank the Endurox I brought and had chicken broth and pasta salad.
Run Course Review