Continuing from Part I!
Race Day – Sunday, August 27 2017
- 4:20am – Woke up. Couldn’t get any poop out. Had breakfast (where José joined me with his oatmeal), which was water, Chinese big bun, and a banana.
- 4:55am – Tried to poop again. Nothing. (But not feeling constipated; just thought it’d be good measure to poop.)
- 5:05am – José & I started walking to transition (77 Milliken Street).
- 5:30am – Done setting up transition except my swim stuff. Walked over to portapotty to see if I can get that pre-race poop out. Stopped to talk to Erich Manser and his guide, Alex, along the way to the potty. Portapotty had super long line & I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t get to use the potty before transition closed (at 6am). I was able to get in & get a pre-race poop out.
- 5:55am (transition closed at 6am) – José & I left transition to walk to swim start at Old Orchard Beach Pier (~7 min walk from transition).
- Some time before 6:20am – Arrived at swim start and self seeded ourselves. José & I split up because I wanted to start up a bit more ahead than he did. It was just a long line along the shore line south of the Old Orchard Beach Pier. It was a time trial start where two people ran into the water at once. Heard water temp was 60 degrees F (definitely wetsuit legal).
- While waiting to start the swim, I really had to pee.
Swim 1.2 miles (actually 1.3 miles; 43:29; 48/95 AG; 2:02/100 yard for 1.2 miles or 1:53/100 yard for 1.3 miles)
Gear: ROKA F1 goggle dark vermilion mirror; Castelli Core tri top & short; Garmin Forerunner 920XT
- 6:40am – Started my swim. Official race start time was 6:20am, but I got my turn to run into the water at 6:40am.
- Goggles got water inside so I had to stop and adjust. Good thing it was toward the beginning where I could still stand up & touch the bottom.
- Tried to pee toward beginning of swim, but couldn’t.
- With 2500+ competitors, I was expecting a super crowded swim, but it was no more crowded than the local races I’ve done. Very manageable.
- Swim was counterclockwise with 2 left turns:
- After the first left turn, the buoys were yellow, which then made me think the orange buoy in the distance would indicate the second left turn. However, when I reached that orange buoy it was not the second left turn and I had to keep swimming. All in all, my mental game was pretty good during the swim and I never once had negative thoughts during the swim.
- Started the swim kicking quite gently. Unfortunately, any time I tried to kick harder, I’d get a bad foot & leg cramps. (This is a common problem for me in OWS; any suggestions?)
- After second turn buoy, managed to pee! Yay, saved portapotty time in T1!
Comments on performance: As shown in my Strava screen capture, I’m pretty darn sure the swim course was laid out at 1.3 miles (not 1.2 miles) and it wasn’t due to me swimming off course. I also bothered to check a few other competitors’ swim tracks and they were all about 1.3 miles. Given the actual swim distance, I’m ok with my swim speed and was able to improve 0:02/100 yard compared to my best half iron swim split time.
T1 (09:39, not able to easily see AG ranking)
Yelled “Wetsuit strippers!!” as I ran out of the water. This was my first race with wetsuit strippers and I was so excited to use one. It ended up being a 0.4 mile run (on sand and then pavement) to get to T1. The wetsuit strippers were closer to the swim exit; I thought it would have been more useful for them to be in transition. Anyways, when I finally reached the wetsuit stripper, I was asked “Would you like to be peeled?” by a group of kids who looked no more than 10-12 years old. I am super grateful for these kids who volunteered to help “peel” (not strip) me on race day, but I gotta give them the feedback that it wasn’t the smoothest “peel” job.
After the “peel” (not strip) job, I continued my jog to T1, which was on pavement & barefoot. When I got to my transition spot, I sat down to put my shoes on and ate 1 Chia bar.
After I was done “suiting up” for the bike, I popped 2 Clif bloks (w/ caffeine) into my mouth.
As I approached the bike mount line, I noticed a lot of discarded cleat covers on the ground. I use cleat covers and a fear of mine is forgetting to take them off before a race, but so far hasn’t happened yet (knock on wood).
Bike 56 miles (03:11:11, 17.57mph, 42/95 AG)
Gear: Javelin Amarone road bike; Giro Synthe MIPS helmet; Specialized Ember (2012); Castelli Core tri top & short; Garmin Forerunner 920XT
Nutrition: 1st bottle = 12 oz buckler & rest water; 2nd bottle = 4 oz Buckler & rest water; 2 chia bars; 6 Clif shot bloks; 1 Gu (caffeinated)
For me, bike was very congested for pretty much all of it. There were maybe two 1-2 mile stretches where I felt racers were a little more spread out, but otherwise it was hard to obey the no drafting rule due to the congestion.
I felt good the first 36 miles and was averaging 18mph for the first two hours. I was excited that maybe I could get a bike split PR for the half iron distance.
Starting around mile 38, I started to be in a lot of pain & discomfort from the waist down. Hips, legs, and feet were all very uncomfortable. I’m not sure if this was due to not having done enough long rides in my training or the bike fit. Started to get a bit concerned that if my lower extremities weren’t feeling well, would I be able to finish the run? Kept talking myself through mile by mile and was a little sad that I’d lose my 18mph average speed.
For nutrition, I consumed what was noted above, trying to intake ~100 calories every 25-45 minutes. For non-liquids, I tried to ingest from most solid to least solid since least solid is what I’d be using for run nutrition. I also like different textures to keep things interesting.
Comments on performance: The 17.57mph split is actually a bike split personal record for me in the half iron distance! Though, only a PR by 0.07mph. Either way, I feel I’m allowed to be proud of the fight I put in after my lower extremities started to feel a ton of discomfort during the bike.
T2 (03:42, not able to easily see AG ranking)
Racked bike, switched into run sneakers, put on racebelt, and grabbed 2 Gu’s for the run. Really had to pee and went to the portapotty. A dude ripped the door open while I was peeing. IM needs to get portapotties whose lock sign is more obvious (noticed the locked position wasn’t super obvious when I used the portapotty in the morning). There were only 2-3 portapotties in transition for 2500+ athletes. The human waste in the portapotty I was in was only a few inches from the toilet rim. IM either needs to put more portapotties in transition or hire someone to clean up the waste throughout the race.
Run 13.1 miles (02:05:05, 9:32/mile, 38/95 AG)
Gear: Newton Gravity V; Castelli Core tri top & short; Garmin Forerunner 920XT
Nutrition: Had to rely on race nutrition. Gatorade; 2 Clif energy gels (caffeinated, mocha flavour)
I felt great mentally and physically when I started the run! All the discomfort I had in my hips, butt, legs, feet, & more were all gone! At the start of the run, I reached for my back packet to double check that my 2 Gu’s were still there. They were not there. Where did they go? Did they fall in the portapotty during T2? There was a short second of panic, but I reminded myself that this race has aid stations full of CLIF products and Gatorade. While I don’t usually use CLIF products during the run in tris, I stayed positive that my body would react fine to them. I ended up sipping on Gatorade at most aid stations and ate one CLIF gel ~4 miles and another CLIF gel ~8 miles.
Since I didn’t want to feel awful during or after the race, my race strategy was to go at an easy pace and stop at every aid station. Aid stations were super plentiful being either 0.5 or 1 mile apart. I mentally broke the race down mile by mile and this made the distance seem to fly by. Around mile 11, my ankles had a funny feeling like they were going to give out on me and they cramped a little. I wanted to quicken the pace but was worried about my ankles giving out. I saw Roger around mile 12 and that boosted my spirits!
When the finish line was in sight and the carpet-trail began, I started an all-out sprint, which is how I finished the race!
Finish (06:13:06, 42/95 AG)
Given how my training turned out this past summer, I’m happy with these results. I know I’m not considered fast and there are lots of areas where I can improve, but we need to recognise what we have done well! I achieved (small) swim and bike PRs for this triathlon distance; I was strong/positive mentally throughout the race; and most importantly I had fun. As noted in my Part I blog post that I only averaged 8-9 training hours/week, I’ve also learned that, to an extent, training is about quality and not quantity, and making sure you are healthy mentally.
Post Race – York, Maine
My friend, Stacy, came to Old Orchard Beach after the race with The Holy Donut, my most favourite donuts to date! José, Mirko, Roger, Stacy, and I ate the donuts, and then headed to the York Cliff Walk. I would highly recommend the York Cliff Walk as something to do when in southern Maine.
As always, huge thank you to Roger for everything he does! He also carefully tracked me and was at swim start, swim out, bike out, bike in, run out, and run finish.