This is the race report I wrote up for my own reference after completing my first half Ironman. I’m posting it to the Blog to give anyone considering this race or preparing for their 1st 70.3 insight to my experience.
Swim – My swim wave started at 8:45 for me this left a little too much time to sit around waiting for the race to start. I kept myself busy and loose by walking around and stretching while I looked for Aimee and my middle son Ashton. The swim itself went well. I lined up on the outside start buoy near the front. I did this to avoid the wash of people crowded on the inside buoy. I spotted often for the first 300-400 meters because the water visibility made it difficult to see anything and at one point I spotted the wrong buoy for a short time and turned into the triangle loop. Luckily I caught this quickly and made the correction. On the way back in I had difficulty getting a line and kept drifting out to where the kayaks were. Because of this I know I swam a little extra distance but also had little interference and was able to really move. I was going to post the course map from Ironman but it looks like they changed it to clockwise rather than counter-clockwise.
T1 – Wet suit strippers rock. I originally thought I would skip them and just deal with it up in transition but as soon as I got my arms out the next thing I know I dove to the ground and it was off. I took my time here because I was winded from the swim and run up the hill. I got the wetsuit and goggles in the gear bag and tied it nice and tight so nothing could get lost. Then I got my shoes, helmet and glasses on. This is when I realized I never hit the button on my watch. Hit it about 2 mins into T1. Started the bike computer (old GPS watch strapped to the handlebars) and carried my bike out to the road. Thank you everyone for the warning about the spurs popping tires. I’ve never seen so many flats at one time.
Bike – I felt really good on the bike and started off with the TCCR social pace (22MPH). At mile 5 I took my first salt tab and was well into my shot blocks. This worked great until the 25th mile when the hills started getting steep. At this time I pulled it back a little and did the climbs nice and steady making sure to push through the top. I recall reading a mountain bike racing article on how many races are lost because people coast over the top. On the downhills I’d gear it down and do a slow peddle to keep my legs moving and to give a little extra speed for the next uphill. I would then change gears for the uphill early so that I could spin into them to keep my momentum. At the end I had consumed about 500 cals of the 600 I had in my bag and drained 5 water bottles and 3 salt tabs.
T2- I was winded here and took my time to get my shoes, number hat etc… For the run I carried a 5oz. soft flask with 5 gels in it and an 8 oz soft flask to put water in.
Run – Remind me to run the parking garages more often. Hills suck. The run was fairly good. I started out with a plan to walk the water stations and run between them. This worked great until the first uphill. When I could feel my heartbeat in my ears I decided to watch my heart rate. So, on the uphills I would take longer strides and slow my overall movement to bring my HR down. I would also fast walk on occasion. This worked well. At the water stations I would fill my soft flask on the move. Grab an orange or banana and fill the pockets on my jersey with ice if they had it. I was very dehydrated and drank until I felt I couldn’t hold much more and keep running. The sun was brutal with only about 20ft of the run track in the shade at the bottom of a hill. I took one salt per lap and a hit on my gel flask. This all worked great until I stopped to get some rocks out of my shoe at the start of the last 2 miles. As soon as I bent down both legs started to cramp bad. I was able to work them out of the main muscle groups but was now moving with care as the ones on the sides of my knees were not relaxing. This cave me a somewhat restricted range of motion. I walked up most of the last hill to the final water stop. Took one more cup of water and toughed it out for the finish.
It was a great race with a total time of 5:55:45