There are simply too many words to describe the past couple of months, but the final result is I finished my first “Half” (70.3 mile) triathlon. Mental toughness is required, as the numerous temptations to quit continuously ‘punch you in the face’: between drinking five gallons of water during the swim, the soreness of your legs and your “saddle” area while cycling 56 miles, or on the run where everyone simply looks beat down… trying to muster enough strength to finish their half marathon. Knowing that I was able to overcome all of those and cross the finish line was great (plus there was free pizza and a finishers medal).

Swim

  • Today was the FIRST day of the year that I was able to wear my wetsuit. Bad sign #1. I’m slightly over exaggerating in that statement, but it would have definitely helped if I had one Sprint race under my belt this year to make sure I remember how it felt to swim while wearing a wetsuit. Having to sight in front to find which direction you should swim is tiring on your neck, even though you are more buoyant and don’t need to work as hart to stay afloat (and not drown). The first 100m I wanted to quit. I hated every minute of it. I really don’t like people swimming around me, and I knew that I had become a better swimmer over the winter and I wasn’t showing it. It took me forever to get into a groove where I could relax and effortlessly propel myself through the lake. When I finally reached the first yellow turning marker I ingested a couple of gallons of water and had to call for aid. Fortunately, I force myself to cough it all out quickly so I could return to the race (I think I only lost about 30-40 seconds). I was doing fine and feeling great up to the 1500m mark… when I caught up to a swimmer that had no idea where they were going and I had to adjust my swim stroke. Then DAMN IT, I did it again… more water down my throat. So that is TWICE that I had to get assistance on the swim which killed my time. Here is to a better swim next month.
  • Training Peaks Swim Data

Transition 1

  • I thought I would be smart in shoving my race food and gloves (it was cold) in my team cycling jersey and I would simply whip it on before the bike started. Rule #1 of racing, don’t try anything new (and bad sign #2). It was a slow transition but I knew that may happen as I had to remove a wetsuit, but I could have cut 30 seconds and just gave up on the jersey idea, especially since once I got the jersey over my head all the items that I had prep then fell out so I had to pick them up anyways.

Bike

  • I love the bike! Coach Josh’s of Speed Sherpa recommendation to keep my power output at a low and constant setting really paid off in the end as I was able to finish with an average of 20mph over 56 miles. The one thing that was mildly frustrating was during one climb where I was getting ready to pass some other racers but two pickup trucks and a box truck slipped in between. What all of us realized was the three racers in front of me could not climb. I ended up passing all three vehicles and the racers on the left because they were slowing me down. Passing people on the bike is fun, passing cars…. BONUS!
  • Training Peaks Bike Data

Transition 2

  • After what I though was a good bike split (and realizing I finally remember to use the transition button through the entire race for the first time) I was in good spirits. T2 went well in terms of trying to find my spot and quickly put on my running shoes, removing the stupid jersey, and grabbing a couple of gels for the rest of the miles.

Run

  • I was going well till about mile eight when pure fatigue starting creeping in along with my IT band issues. Oh yea… I’ve been dealing with IT Band issues for the past 10 days going to Physical Therapy five times before the race. After mile eight I had to start walking downhills as the pain of my right knee and hip were simply too unbearable. I was able to regain some ground on people as they were struggling to go uphill while I was rested, but it simply wasn’t enough as I watched three people in my age group pass me from mile 8 to the finish line.
  • Training Peaks Run Data

Post Race

Overall, I’m glad it’s over… but really happy that I finished. It was also amazing to see the onslaught of Facebook props my team provided once I returned to my truck and grabbed my phone. It would have been great to have a fellow team member race, but now I get to sit back and relax and watch some of them travel to TN while they race their Half IRONMAN in Chattanooga.

Race Results

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 118th out of 476 (top 25% against some amazing athletes1).
  • Gender: Placed 99th out of 282 (top 35%, but still the above applies).
  • Male 40-44: Paced 9th out of 36.

Among the Male 40-44 category, I was able to be competitive, but that swim killed my rankings:

  • Swim: Ranked 17th (the difference between 6th fastest swimmer and myself was 3 minutes and 25 seconds)
  • Bike: Ranked 11th (the difference between 6th fastest cyclist and myself was 5 minutes and 12 seconds)
  • Run: Ranked 11th (the difference between 6th fastest runner and myself was 3 minutes and 4 seconds)

Oh, and pro tip… you should really really really wear sunscreen

Updated 2016-05-19 (Race Photos)

Tables

Kinetic 1.2 Mile Swim T1 56 Mile Bike T2 13.1 Mile Run Total
Goal Times2 38:00 3:00 3:17:00 3:00 1:58:00 5:59:00
Actual Times3 38:43 4:03 2:47:50 1:49 1:58:01 5:30:24

Footnotes

  1. First place finished in 4:16:20, and is the same age as me! 

  2. I really had no idea what to expect. Times based on slower times compared to Smithfiled: 2:00/100m swim, 17mph ride, 9:00 minutes/mi run because of current injuries. 

  3. Official Race Results available at VTS/MTS Kinetic Half Results page

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