Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Summer update:

Effingham ½ Ironman, June 20thWhen I was looking around for ½ ironman distance races to do this season, I was thinking of Muncie, IN in July or even Iowa’s Pigman in August. Both those races are known to get hot and I’m not training for Kona (yet ), so why not pick a race that’s a bit earlier in the season, close proximity so I can drive down and back the same day, and is relatively inexpensive. I thought all objectives were met since Effingham is just less than a 2hr drive AND I got a comp entry from my good friend Colleen Kline. Only problem was…it was 95 degrees and a heat index of 105! Meltdown….that just about sums it up.

Obviously it was going to be a non-wetsuit swim. I didn’t even bring my wetsuit. No big deal, I have been swimming pretty well thus far and it gives me a good chance to test my long distance fitness without the crutch of a wetsuit. It was a two wave start and I was in the first wave. It would be two laps around the buoys and getting out running through the gate on the beach after one lap. I hit the timing mat around 34 minutes and was pleased with that.

The bike course was basically a straight out and back to Ramsey, IL with a couple zig-zags at a few corners. I planned for 2 bottles of water on the bike and one bottle with 500 calories of Sustained Energy for fuel along with a flask of Hammer Gel. I planned to pick up an extra water bottle at the bike turn around, hoping this would be enough for hydration. It was getting pretty humid and I could tell I was sweating profusely. I don’t think I drank enough water. I also totally blew my selection for a cassette (11-21) thinking this course was pancake flat. Although it was relatively flat overall, there were some short rollers that required a 25 or better gear and I ended up having to get out of the saddle and grind up over a few hills. Therefore, I probably put in a higher effort than what I planned for. I think those were the two factors that made me have issues on the run (more on that later). I ended up coming in off the bike around 4th overall so I wea pretty excited.

T2 was super fast and I ended up getting the fastest split there. Yea!

Immediately upon running I knew I was dehydrated. My quads were very sore from my hard bike effort and felt like they were going to cramp at any moment. I had to walk and stretch before the first aide station and when I got there, I sucked down a couple cups of water along with a few Endurolytes. The run course was a two loop course with pretty much NO shade. It was getting really hot and by mile three I was toast, had to start walking. I basically ran/walked the rest of loop one. I really thought hard about quitting. I didn’t want to go out on another loop and walk the whole thing while baking in the sun. On my way out for the second loop, a lady by the side of the road saw me walking and said “you finished?” I thought for a second and said, “You see me moving forward don’t you?” At that point, I wasn’t quitting no matter what (I’ll show her!). They finally got some ice at the aid stations and I was able to cool my body temp down enough that I felt good enough to run the whole second loop and finished somewhat strong. Not my best half Ironman since I did have some issues with the heat. I finished and was glad I pushed through it physically and mentally.

This race was sponsored by Hammer Nutrition and I was glad to see they had Endurolytes out on the course. I’m sure lots of people needed them. I had my own dispenser with Endurolytes and I believe I tried to take 2 caps every 30min. Other supplements I used were 1 RC, 2 EA, 2 AF every hour. I fueled with Tropical Gel on the run to give me an added caffeine boost. No issues with nutrition (only the heat!!)

Swim 34:08
Bike 2:34
Run 2:11
Overall 5:21
11th overall
2nd in M40-44

Rodney T Miller Lakeland Triathlon, July 10th
I believe this was the fourth year for the RTM tri and it seems to be getting better every year. This was the first year it was not held on July 4th weekend, which I think helped participation numbers. They recently paved the bike course road which made it ultra fast. The finish line area had a nice big tent for shade, scrolling results, video, and the announcer made it feel almost like an Ironman atmosphere. They really did a great job this year.

July started my increase in volume for Ironman training and since I had another race planned for the next weekend, I couldn’t really afford to miss any long bike workouts two weekend in a row, so I went ahead and planned to ride to Decatur the day before and sign up for the race, then get a ride back home from there. I altered the route to get in around 85 miles and it ended up being a tough day with the heat. I wasn’t really planning to go big during the RTM race so any residual fatigue was ok with me.

I opted to start in the elite wave to get out in front and not have to deal with a crowded swim start. Worked out good. No wetsuit swim again, this one is a point to point, almost 1 mile. I was hoping to get into a good rhythm like the Effingham race but never really did. I finished in what I thought was a slow time, 21:17

Bike course as I noted earlier had an ultra smooth surface and was super fast. I felt really good considering my long ride the day before. Temps were beginning to get hot and I made sure to take two bottles of water and hydrate as much as possible so I didn’t have any issues on the run. For fuel, I had a gel flask with some Huckleberry gel. I took one shot on the bike and one shot right before the run.

Run course is a nice out and back along the lake. My first mile was pretty fast and I felt good. I started to pick up the pace around mile two and for some reason I started getting a side-stitch. I tried to slow down and relax but it just started getting worse. I had to stop and start walking. Took a while to get over it and I ended up getting passed by a bunch of people. After I calmed the side stitch down a bit, I was able to start running again and just took it easy for awhile. Last half mile or so I picked it back up and finished strong.

Swim 21:17
Bike 47:45
Run 33:27
Overall 1:48:38.
20th overall, would have gotten 2nd in my AG

Evergreen Triathlon, July 17th
Just like the previous weeks race in Decatur, this race was not a huge priority for me so I turned it into a good training day. My plan was to ride out to the lake (20mi) and then after the race, ride back. Since the bike portion was a 40k, this would give me a good 65 mile bike day along with some swimming and running mixed in :) . I was somewhat nervous about how to approach my nutrition since I’d be riding for about an hour before the race. I typically eat light before an Olympic distance event so I didn’t want to burn up my reserves prior to the race and then try and hang on with gels throughout the race. It was going to be hot and I knew consuming calories was going to be hard. For a pre-race meal I had a banana and a Hammer Bar. I then made sure to consume one 100 calorie bottle of Heed prior to the race as I was getting set up and then used one 100 calorie bottle on the bike along with a couple shots of gel. This seemed to work just fine. I also followed my regular protocol of Race Caps, Anti Fatigues, and Endurance Aminos prior to and during the race. Since it was hot and humid, I made sure to take an extra Endurolyte per hour.

The 1.5k swim was again too warm for wetsuits. I was hoping to do a little better than the previous week. This time the elite wave start was a bit more crowded since the colligate athletes also started in this wave. I started way on the inside to get away from the speedsters and within a few hundred yards I had clear water. I found myself wandering wide quite a bit and thought I was surely loosing time because of it. I came out of the water in a little over 26 min which was indeed a little faster pace than my previous race.

The 40k bike would be another course change from previous years. It was basically a one loop course with an out and back thrown in there. The country roads in Illinois in July get pretty crappy with oil from the heat. That means there is quite a bit of rock chipping being done and you never know where it will show up. Well it looked like the county decided to perform some maintenance on the roads prior to the race and a few of the corners had lots of loose gravel. This course had a lot of turns so that only meant I slowed down a lot but I really wasn’t looking to kill it. Better safe than sorry. Finished strong averaging 23.6mph.

Again, I felt good going into the run. First two miles were fast and then the heat started setting in. I just could not motivate myself to move any faster. I ended up walking through the aid stations and tried to cool off as much as possible. No ice, just “cool” water to pour over my head. Decent race overall considering it was “just a training day”, but I need to focus on how I can get acclimated to the heat or try and use some cooling techniques to better my performance in this heat.

Swim 26:48
Bike 1:06
Run 48:24
Overall 2:23:27
28th overall elite, would have gotten 2nd in my AG

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