First Half Ironman Race Report (long)

First Half Ironman Race Report (long)

Post by John Moor » Wed, 05 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Summer Sizzler 1/2 Ironman Triathlon  - Farlington, KS

Boy was I ready for the heat!  This is August, right?  This is Kansas,
right?  I had frozen water bottles, a frozen Camelback, and I was hydrated
out the wazoo.  The heat kicked my ***at Springfield, but it wasn't going
to get the best of me this time.  For my first Half IM I had the following

1.      Finish
2.      Finish in under 6 hours
3.      Run the entire run course (except the aid stations)
4.      Smile at least once in each stage of the race.  (always a goal of mine)

Woke up at 4:30 on race morning after a great night's sleep (not) at the
Suburban Motel (Chevy that is).  Grabbed some breakfast, smeared on some
sunscreen and headed to the transition area.  The sky up above was
cloudless, but the horizon held one nice downpour for us.  The race start
was about an hour late.  I warmed up for the swim.  Then the Race Director
tells us we need to all get out of the water and check in.  There we stand,
70 or so shivering swimmers.  As I look around to size up the competition,
I realize Mr. Heat isn't here.  A no show, Yippee!

The Swim 1.2 miles
As soon as I realize it will be cloudy and cool, I'm all smiles, so goal #4
is no problem on the swim.  I like the size of the field because everyone
starts together and later, when someone passes me (common) or I pass
someone (rare), I don't have to wonder if they started before or after me.
The swim is out and back and is uneventful except for sharing the last leg
of the course with the short course swimmers.  I guess that's the price to
pay for being slow.  I get out of the water in 38:30.  I wanted to go under
40:00 so I'm happy.  

Because of the rain, I left everything in my bag, not nicely arranged on my
towel, so I worry a little about forgetting something.  It's still raining
a little.  Mr. Heat is still a no show.  Shoes, helmet, glasses, stock up
on food, and I begin making circles with my feet.  T1: 4:00

Bike 56 miles
The bike course starts out on some rough asphalt roads, but after about 5
miles the roads are very smooth (I smile).  My plan on the bike is to stay
very aerobic.  I have my heart rate monitor on and I try to keep it between
140 and 150.   It's still raining, but I don't mind except for two things:
1) I don't have a dry pair of socks for the run, I'm not sure how well my
feet will like being soaked for 5 hours, and 2) my pretzels are getting
soggy.  My high speed and low effort on the first two legs should have been
a warning to me, but I failed to notice.  Near the halfway point, I slowed
down, rounded the turnaround point, grabbed a water bottle, and my onetime
friend became my adversary.   A little headwind, no problem, just be
patient, keep the cadence up and spin through it.  By this time, there was
very little changing of positions in the pack.  Of course, there was the
normal pass and be passed going on, but it was mostly within a group of 4
or 5 of us.  Now, with about 20 miles or so to go, I begin to think about
the run.  I have finished off all my solid food (1 PB&J sandwich, 2
powerbars and a bag of pretzels) and am down to my energy drink.  Nutrition
going according to plan.  But I really have to pee.  Should I get off my
bike? Should I try to pee while riding?  Neither, I just grin and keep
pedaling.  I roll into the transition area with a bike split of 2:59 (18.8
mph average).  No Tour de France for me, but for this race, so far, so

Park the bike, doff the helmet and gloves, don the shoes (squish, squish)
and go.  The announcer sees me running the wrong way and begins to correct
me over the PA system.  Then he realizes I'm headed for the porta-john.
Duck in quickly and ahhhhhh. (I smile).  As I come out the door and on to
the run course (the right way this time) I see Mr. Heat still is not here.
T2 2:33 (Even with a potty break)

Run 13.1 miles
The run is two laps around the lake and fairly flat except for some short
steep up and down hills where the road crosses some low water bridges.  So
far, everything has gone according to plan.  The plan for the run is to
keep the heart rate aerobic for the first lap, then gradually open it up
with whatever is left.  Hopefully I can run the second half faster than the
first.  Nutritionally, I plan to have a GU at every other aid station.  As
the run begins, I get passed by 4 or 5 people, but that's OK.  I'm running
my pace for this one.  The aid station volunteers are great, as they hand
out water, Powerade, cold towels, fruit and smiles!  My time for one lap is
1:04:xx (9:45/mile).  6.5 miles to go.  The sun peeks out of the over cast
a few times, but mostly stays away.  I still feel pretty good.  Let's pick
up the pace a little now.  I come upon one poor guy who is cramping badly.
We run together for a while, then he stops and I continue.  I have a
certain compassion for those runners that I pass as I know they fall into
one of two groups:

1.      They are hurting badly.
2.      They are slower than I am.

I can empathize with either.

I feel lucky, Mr. Heat has failed to show, he won't take his toll on me
this time.   The pace is mine to pick.  (I smile)  With 3 miles to go, I
pick a faster one.  I see another runner ahead.  Let's see if I can pick
him off.  With one mile to go, I am running beside him.  I pick up the pace
a little more and he stays with me.  There is an aid station about 1/2 mile
from the finish.  He gets a drink and I decide "No way, I'm goin' home!"
The last 1/4 mile is inspiring.  The run goes across a dam with flags all
along the right hand side of the road.  The finish line is not far now.  I
hear footsteps so I crank it up some more.  With 100 yards to go I sprint
(well, it seems like a sprint to me!) and cross the line at 5:50.  My last
lap was 1:02 (9:28/mile).
Half Marathon time: 2:06

A check of goals reveals Mission Accomplished!

Lessons learned:
Probably could have gone harder on the bike.
Dry socks are one step from heaven
Soggy pretzels taste OK and you don't have to waste the energy to chew

Until next time


First Half Ironman Race Report (long)

Post by hank goddar » Sun, 09 Aug 1998 04:00:00

Congratulations!  I like your style and mind-set!  I just did the Half
Vineman and I had the same goals as you.  I made all except the total time.
The course was a little more challenging than I had anticipated so I was
very happy with my time.  I have posted my race experience so check it out.
Congrats again and are you planning another half?
Keep smiling,
Mara :)