Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kansas 70.3 Race Report Part 2: Race Day

In case you are pressed for time:

Overall time: 5:43:43
Swim: 47:02, T1: 2:45, Bike: 2:54:42, T2: 1:36, Run: 1:57:37
Preliminary full results:

And the day begins...another one of those 3:40am alarms to be able to leave the hotel by 4:15am. Rich (PPTC member) drove and we got to park way out in the boonies and take a school bus to T2. This was pretty efficient. I think for those who arrived later had a little more trouble with traffic backing up.

I took my stuff to my T2 spot, ate my banana and PB sandwich and then trudged down to T1 to get my bike set up. Heard on the loud speaker that the water temp was 77.5 degrees. Wetsuit legal. Great - I left the wetsuit in the car so it wouldn’t get to the race site until Tim got here. And then he had to know to bring it down to the swim and find me. I sent him a text in the hopes that he would get it.

Last year I took my time getting down to T1 and had to hustle, so today I was going to get there in plenty of time. And I did. Bottles on the bike, food in the bento box, check of the brakes. A Specialized Bike guy was walking around with a pump and aired up my tires. Bike looked good. I then called Tim (it’s 5:15 and I supposedly set the alarm for 5:00 for him). Good thing I called since the alarm didn’t go off. Signal was choppy but I mentioned the wetsuit and then followed up with a text message. With any luck they could make it down.

Trip to the port-o-pottie. Helped a girl from the University of Florida (!) air up her tires. (Go ‘Noles!) chatted with some of the Team In Training folks and then headed to the top of transition to wait for Tim. At about 6:45 he showed up. Perfect! My wave was supposed to start at 7:10, but due to delay getting the medics to the water (can’t start a race without medics) we went a little later than that. I had been sipping water and HEED all morning, so at this point I had to pee so the sooner I got in the water the better! But I'm still all smiles in my new XTERRA Vector Pro X2 Wetsuit!

Swim: 47:02
Wave 11, W35-39, M18-24. Red caps. Race announcer picked up on the gender/age combination and made some fun remarks. We’re right behind W30-34, Jessica’s wave. It was a deep water start so we got a 50yd warm-up. Always nice to check if the goggles leak before the long swim. The swim went well (I thought, but I was 2 minutes slower than last year.) I wasn’t sure how to place myself since we’re all kind of treading water, but the congestion cleared relatively quickly. I got to the buoy line and stayed fairly close. Seemed like it was a longer trip to the turn around and of course I got passed and bumped a little by the men who were in the wave behind us. Breathing was good, arms felt good, so I just tried to swim a solid swim. Water was a little choppier after the turnaround heading back to the shore. And the water got a little more clustered with people. I also felt my lower back was a little sore. I think because my wetsuit is on the small side, I might not have pulled it up over my torso properly. A little annoying, but not much else. I also noticed on the way back that my underarms were getting a little chafed from the wetsuit. I didn’t have issues in the sprint race so I didn’t put any body glide under my arms, just along the sholder/chest area. Next time! I was certainly glad to be time I'll push a little harder. Guess I got a nice 47min swim in before a good long bike ride. Got to get more of my entry fee, right?

T1: 2:45
No problems finding my bike. One of the perks of being a slow swimmer, most bikes around me were gone so I had a little more room. Wetsuit still a little tough to get off around the ankles - need to practice this! This race required a race number on your back so I used my race belt. Shoes on, sunglasses and helmet, then went the 20yds to the bike out. I had to navigate around the guy with the aero helmet and nice bike who tipped over right in the middle of the chute. Glad I put my shoes on in transition because the start of the bike is pretty much uphill and there are a lot of bikes around that I wouldn’t want to accidentally swerve into.

Bike: 2:54:42
GPS data
The bike is where I have the most fun. And I’ve busted my rear the last 4-5 months with power-based training (and gained some additional glute muscles, not to mention quads). Last year I had a great bike split and was confident I could top that. Skies were partially cloudy, which helped keep us cool, though the air temperature was a bit warmer. I made it a point to drink plenty of water and stick to my fueling plan - a 3hr bottle of Perpetuem with the equivalent of 3 endurolytes per hour added. I also had some peanut butter crunch clif bar pieces for some solid food if I needed that. I always have a few bites within the first 20min on the bike so I don’t get a growly stomach. Stuck to that plan. And I rode - I hit 7 miles in 21 minutes so that was close to my goal pace, and since I had small chain-ringed it for the first few miles, I was pretty happy with that. Just keep cranking away. I passed a lot of people. I think the only female to pass me on the bike (that I didn’t pass back shortly thereafter) was on the relay team. Then again, I think I was in the last wave of women, so being one of the slowest swimmers out there, there weren’t too many behind me to start. I did pass a lot of people out there. Played a little leap frog with some heavier guys on the more rolling sections, but not like I did last year.

There were too many cars on the course that wouldn’t pass the cyclists so we were left with a few options. Hang behind the car until it finally passes, pass the car on the right or pass the car on the left. All options weren’t ideal. But this might have slowed us down a little too.

I came up on Jessica around mile 33 - right at aid station #2 and told her to rock it! Technically I passed her twice, once right before the aid station, and once right after since I slowed to take a water hand-up.:-) Thank goodness the bottles they have made it really easy to refill my aero drink.

Soon after this we came up to the oil slick. Rumor has it that BP was in the area earlier in the morning. There was some sand and hay to help absorb it off the road, but volunteers were there to slow us down and we all had to dismount, walk around the spill, and then remount. We didn’t know the bike course would be part cyclocross!  I’m sure that slowed us up some, but I wouldn’t think more than a minute. Heading back towards the park has some rollers but is more downhill than up so I felt like I was cruising. Roads were getting congested again. One guy got a penalty for blocking, and he was passing me when the referee told him, so I was a little more cautious with my distancing knowing the motorcycle was nearby. And then we all got stuck behind another slow moving car. What was up with that? Climbing the big hill back into the park I ended up right behind him after he served his time in the penalty tent, but we were climbing at the same rate - he was out of the saddle, I was spinning. But I wasn’t going fast enough to pass him and didn’t want to burn up my legs, so I slowed up a tad so I wouldn’t be right on his wheel. Turned into the park and did my best to spin up the hills to the T2. Heading into T2 the runners are on one side of the road, cyclists on the other. And spectators lining the road decide to cross at inopportune times. Last year there were a couple wrecks because of this. This year I didn’t hear of any wrecks, but I was about 1-2 seconds from clobbering a guy running across with a kid on his shoulders. Race organizers need to do a much better job with crowd control at these congestion points. I pulled my feet out of my shoes right before T2 and hopped off my bike.

T2: 1:36
Pretty efficient here, once I threw my bike on the rack by the handlebar. T2 racking doesn’t need to be pretty. Got my socks and shoes on, grabbed my hat, which had a big brown spider on it! Quickly brushed him off, snagged my fuel belt and went to run. And really felt the chafing under my arms from the swim! Ouch!

Run: 1:57:37
GPS data
I’ve gained a lot of run fitness this past year, running a half marathon in 1:48:29, so I was pretty sure I could maintain a 8:30 pace for this. My first mile split, with a brief walk through an aid station was 8:18. Mile 2 was 7:57 (slightly downhill). I could back off a little and be comfortable, or so I thought. My breathing was more labored than I would expect and at mile 3 my legs just didn’t quite feel right. It was pretty hot so I took sponges to cool off, ice in the hat at aid stations (though it fell out the back), splashed cold water on me. My calves got tight so I took 2 endurolytes every couple aid stations and also sipped at my HEED. I felt like my form/posture was good, I just wasn’t able to move as fast as I wanted to. Starting the second loop my legs were feeling it. I probably walked a little longer through the aid stations. I took gels at mile 1, mile 4, and mile 7.  My IT band and hip tightened a bit on the second loop. I took a second to stretch it between miles 8-9. Now the goal was to keep going. My legs were sore, wanted to keep my calves from cramping (the endurolytes do help!). At the end my left hammy was feeling it, but I was less than a mile from the finish line…as long as I didn’t cramp up before then!  Walked through the last aid station and then said run! So I ran it into the finish line, complete with KU cheerleaders, Glenda the Good Witch, Dorothy, Tim Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion. And the yellow brick road! Finished! Clock time said 6:23:43, but I didn’t know the offset for my wave and my brain wasn’t in any condition to do the math.

After I grabbed my water bottle and finishers medal, and let the volunteer take the chip off my ankle and knew I needed to keep walking. Sipped the water and walked 100yds or so to a purple tent in the distance. It was the Team In Training tent for the chapter that was there. I paused to chat with the person sitting there and then headed back to the finish line to find Tim.

Found him and we walked over to the ice bath. Which was really a medium sized inflatable pool. Ahhh…that helped get my core temperature down and made me feel a lot better. Chatting with a few of the people there  - met a guy from Monument who is active with the Pikes Peak Road Runners, since I asked him if he was a tri club member. Turns out this was his first triathlon!  Got out of the water and headed over to the food tent. Had half a banana and a few bites of the pulled pork sandwich and that was all I could do. Drank some more water. Ran into Joe and his family and then looked for Jessica in the armed forces tent, as she shouldn't be too far behind me. Didn't see her but I did find Chrissie Wellington, so I asked for a photo. In true Chrissie style, she agreed with a smile.

Then we went to the bag pick-up and realized they didn’t pack my wetsuit or towel like they did last year. Hard to miss - the wetsuit was on top of the bag which was on top of the towel. Don’t know if they had issues last year, but it was a lot more convenient. As we had to walk all the way back down to T1 to get my wetsuit. And I was still feeling the heat. At the top of the hill I made Tim get me some Gatorade while I hit the port-o-potty again. Then we went to T2 so I could get my bike. Still had some of that clif bar so I nibbled on that. Another ¾+ mile walk to the car. I got my miles in that’s for sure! So nice to get in the air conditioning and then back to the hotel. Showered up and then propped my feet up with some pillows and just chilled.

I was feeling quite a bit better when it was time to go to our post race celebration, so I must have been overheated a bit. But I was starting to stiffen up - knees, quads, legs! Ibuprofin will be my friend for the next few days. Around 6pm we picked up Jessica at her hotel and headed to Freestate brewery in downtown Lawrence. Ahhh…beer! And burger and fries. And they had really good queso! By the time we got back to the hotel, it was pretty much bed time, as we needed to leave first thing in the morning.

Race summary:
I was glad I got to the site early to set up transition - I think a lot of athletes got stuck in traffic. Crowd control needs improvement- a plastic fence, like a snow fence to keep spectators off the course except at designated crossing points (and perhaps they could get some military volunteers to be effective at those points.) Yellow brick road finish line is fun, and I didn’t have to wait in line for food. The gear bag thing was frustrating as well. But the ice bath (or cool water) pool was much bigger this year - last year’s only fit about 3 people in it at a time this one fit more than 10. Normally I say “bring it” for the heat and humidity, but with the cold spring we had, perhaps I was better acclimated to heat last year. And I don’t remember cars getting in the way! I’m disappointed that I didn’t hit my time goals, as I am certainly fitter than I was last year. But I need to review the files and see what I did differently or what was different about the race. I also realized (thanks race photos!) that I’m really carrying about 10lbs too much weight. I really need to trim down. So that’s my next plan…

And sign for this church on the drive home...Dunkard Brethren Church….how do you read that quickly? ;-)


Christi said...

Great race report! I am very impressed with your race and was glad to see you on the course. I hope to make it back next year so I can redeem myself so I hope you can help me get better!

Great job!

Nicole said...

Thanks - The 2nd is always easier than the first 70.3...
Let me know how I can help!