Friday, September 02, 2005

White Lake Half-Ironman Race Report

My White Lake Half-Ironman Race Report

This is my first year at Triathlon and it was my first HIM race. I've done two sprints previously (MAP & Azalea). I was really nervous before the start. I tried to ride for a few minutes just to calm down and loosen up, but it was cold in the morning and I seemed to get even more nervous as race time approached. I probably got in and out of my car 20 times setting up. My wife Lisa was trying to get a little rest and I was probably driving her nuts. Anyhow I eventually got my transition area setup, Lisa and I said a little prayer, and it was off to the cold waters of White Lake.

When I first got in the water. I was shivering, I don't know if it was from nerves or the temps, but I swam for a couple of minutes to warm up and was still shivering. I saw other people shivering so that gave me some comfort that it wasn't just me. Finally we started and I was off and going. I started in the back and basically relied on seeing other swimmers for sighting. I got bumped a couple of times especially near the buoys, but nothing too bad. I did get off course once inside the buoys but a lady on a kayak got me going back in the right direction. I told her thanks and kept stroking. Overall I felt the swim went pretty good. I took it easy and had good energy afterward. The crowds at the swim exit were awesome. Lisa and the people around her were cheering for me and yelling out "Go Robert". That really pumped me up and brought a silly looking grin on my face. My swim time was 47:43 (392/466). Which was a big improvement for me. To put things in prospective, I swam 500 yds in 12:16 at MAP (BTW which was 35/37 in my AG). After MAP, Dave gave me a couple of lessons which helped me a bunch. Last summer when I started swimming, I couldn't complete one lap.

T1 went okay. I brought a 5 gallon paint bucket and sat on it to pull off my wetsuit. That part went fairly smoothly. Getting on my race jersey was another story. I was wet and it kept getting twisted up trying to pull it down over my neck. I think next time I use a wetsuit, I'm going to wear my jersey underneath. I finally got it on grabbed the bike and was off. T1 was 4:24
At the start of the bike, my toes were cold and a little numb, but that was okay, nothing too bad. I took it real easy early on the bike. I had no problems staying steady-state on the bike since we had a tailwind and nice roads for the first half of the course. I watched my HRM frequently and kept my HR around 130. At about mile 20, I started to pick it up and got the HR up to around 133-137. Then as the race progressed we left the tailwind and nice roads and ended up on rough roads w/ headwinds. I really concentrated on my HR then and kept it around 140. I passed a bunch a people during the bike. With being a slower swimmer, I had a lot of folks in front of me. But one good thing about being a slow swimmer is passing people on the bike, I got a nice little energy boost each time I passed someone. For nutrition, I used Sustained Energy and Hammer Gel from a gel flask. I didn't have any stomach issues at all (thanks Bobby for that suggestion). I started w/ 2 full bottles and ended up w/ probably 1/2 of a bottle at the finish. My bike split was 2:43:38 (158). Doing that Good Friday century and the 90 miler a few weeks ago with Adam paid off. I felt I had quite a bit of energy after the bike.

Got into T2 and felt like that went really fast. I found my rack really easily and got my running gear on. Danny gave me advice to learn the T.A. before the race. This helped a lot w/ finding my spot and getting in and out smoothly. As I was leaving T2 I stopped and got a kiss from Lisa and was on my way. T2 was 1:35.

I followed a pacing plan I found on the Internet which says basically to approach the run as 4x5K. The first 5K should be easy, the second and third 5K's should progress in intensity gradually and the final 5K go all out. I took it easy for the first 5K and kept my HR right around 130. I had a few people passing me early on, but I kept my cool and stayed focused on keeping a low HR. For nutrition I kept taking little Hammergel shots from my gel flask and following it up w/ water. I also got some advice about not mixing Cytomax w/ my gel and stuck w/ water only. That was good advice, because I didn't have any stomach duress. For the 2nd and 3rd 5K's I let my HR creep up gradually to 140. I started passing some folks at this point. For the last 5K, I basically went all out and didn't worry much about an elevated HR. I passed some more folks along the way and finished strong w/ a good pace at the end. As the race was getting to the end, it almost felt spiritual/emotional and I threw my fists up as I crossed the finish line. My run split was 1:49:34 (151).

I finished w/ an overall time of 5:26:52 (192). It was great seeing the other folks in the team FF gear. I feed on that for energy, especially during the run. Now I think I got the tri bug. I haven't committed to a full IM yet, but IMAZ would be a pretty cool race, especially since that's Lisa's hometown and she has bunch of family there.

That's all folks,
"Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude"


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