Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pigman Triathlon - Long Course 70.3

I first heard about this race back in February while bowling with Karie.  She mentioned her boss's wife was doing this race, as well as Beach2Battleship.  Frankly, the timing was pretty perfect for a "dress rehearsal" for Beach2Battleship 140.6.

The only issue was it was 5+ hours away in Cedar Rapids, IA.  I guess that further helped the dress rehearsal of packing.  That being said, I didn't start parking until 2 hours before we left for Cedar Rapids.

Side note: About 6 weeks ago I decided to start searching for people in KC doing Beach2Battleship.  The main reason being that I was driving down there and had two open spots on my bike rack.  If I could save someone a few hundred dollars shipping their bike, then awesome!  I found a couple people and searched for one of them online.  I found one on Facebook and noticed we had two mutual friends, Karie and Dane!  I then realized it was Karie's boss's wife, Vicki.  The next day I get a Facebook message Vicki explaining she was looking for other area Beach2Battleship people!  Totally random!

So after talking with Vicki and some convincing from her, I finally signed up 10 days before the race!

As it turns out, Jason (from my Tour de Lakes report) was also doing Pigman and had being urging me as well.  Jason is Dane's (Kari's husband) training buddy.  So if you aren't able to keep track, I was headed north to Cedar Rapid to race with Jason (Dane's training buddy) and Vicki (Kari's boss's wife).  The only thing missing is our match maker couple, Dane and Kari!

Race Goals
I never posted race goals but this is what I was targeting:

Swim: 40 minutes
Bike: 3 hours
Run: 1 hours, 45 minutes
Transitions: 5 minutes
Total: 5 hours, 30 minutes

To be honest, I never believed that.  I just assumed my total math was off but my individual time looked doable!

Pre-Race: Saturday
TKB and I left for Cedar Rapids around 9:30am and arrived around 1 - 2 pm.  We got checked into the hotel and walked to the "expo" for packet pickup.  The expo was a Gear West (a bike shop who sponsored the race) booth and the packet pickup.  We finally met Vicki in real life and then waited for Jason to arrive.

When Jason and his brother, Ryan, arrived we loaded into his truck and took off for the race site.  It's always good to know where to go before you have to do it half asleep in the dark.

For dinner all 5 of us went to the recommended Italian restaurant.  It was good and they had some awesome garlic bread.

We went back to the hotel and participated in one of Vicki's pre-race tradition: beer!  A nice Boulevard Wheat to ease the nerves.

Finally in bed around 9pm.

Speaking of nerves, I really didn't have any.  It's funny how once you do an event/distance, it's not as big of a deal.  My first half-ironman was HUGE.  This one, not so much.  I was already doing 2 mile swims and 70+ mile bike rides.  Interesting enough, my longest run over the previous 5 months was 13.1 miles at Hospital Hill.  In fact, that was my ONLY double digit run in the last 5 months.

Race Day
Up at 4:45am.  I ate a couple bananas and started some water intake.  We stopped at Starbucks on the way to the race site, which opened at 6am.

Body marked and leg chipped, I racked up my bike.  We were grouped by wave, which I was second to last, so I was close to the bike/run out.

The first wave was at 7:30am with the Olympic distance.  Jason's brother Ryan was doing the Olympic so he was in the water first.  Finally about 8:10am I was swimming.  The start was a time trial start (one swimmer starts every 3 seconds), which seems to be what most races are going to these days.

Swim Start
I used a swim alert on my Garmin.  It would beep every 200 yards and so I tried to keep track of them if I wanted to know where I was.  Even though I swam into the sun for the first part of the swim, I was able to sight ok.  In fact, I swam right next to the buoys almost the entire way.  Perfect!

First turn (right) and after swimming for about 100 yards I got startled by seeing swimmers in my wave going THE OTHER DIRECTION.  The course was mostly a rectangle but with the Olympic distance starting before, I think some people turned at the wrong buoy and got turned back.  Oops.

Overall the swim went great.  I felt strong the whole time and sighted pretty well.  I got a little off after the 1st turn but not by much.

It took me a good 50 yards just to find my zipper pull.

Time: 36:27  (ahead of my goal by 3.5 minutes!)

There was a relatively long run up to the bike.  I was definitely worn out from the swim so walked a bit in transition.  I needed to settle the heart rate.

Time: 3:35

Longer than it should be but there was probably a minute burned getting out of the water to the bike.  I also spent a little extra time sending my GPS tracking so TKB could watch me.

I spent a lot of timing making sure my race wheel decals were aligned.

There is about a two mile bike out of the park before finally hitting the two lane highway.  Jason passed me on this two mile stretch (he started in the last wave and caught up to me).  We rode in tandem (but not illegal) until we hit the flat of the highway and he was GONE.

The bike course wasn't super hilly but had 2,000 feet of elevation gain throughout.  The hills were enough to keep it interesting but not too challenging.  Fortunately the weather wasn't too bad.  It started in the low 70 but hit 80 by the time I was done.  Humidity wasn't bad at all.  Wind was low but at times there was a headwind just enough to be noticeable.

It was an open course with aid stations about every 10 miles.  They gave out Heed in bike bottles, which was great because I had lost one of my bottles over some "rumbles" in the road prior to some train tracks.  I don't train with Heed so it was going to be used as a last resort.

My splits were looking great with all but two 5 mile splits averaging over 20 mph.

When I was about 15 miles out I realized I was going to slaughter my 3 hour estimate on the bike.  For the first time those 5 mile splits were just flying off.  Unfortunately, what also flew off was that Heed bike bottle at one point during the ride.  Oh well.

The last mile was a bit crowded, when it shouldn't have been.  I thought the park was suppose to be closed during good chunks of the race but there was an SUV in front of me going too slow.  There were runners heading out on the left and so I finally just passed the SUV.  "Something" happened behind me but I never looked back.  It sounded like my last bike bottle flew off and hit the vehicle but I didn't care.  They shouldn't have been there.  (For the record, I didn't lose that bike bottle)

I did a flying dismount and was soon to be off on the run!  You can watch the flying dismount above.  I start with my feet already out of my shoes and balancing on one side of the bike.  Just as I cross in front of the guy near the fence I step off the bike and keep moving.  All in one fluid motion!

Time: 2 hours, 39 minutes! (20.7 mph)  21 minutes UNDER my goal!!

Relatively simple T2.  I did not put quick-tie laces on my shoes for the race, so I had to tie them.  That's pretty much the main reason for the long transition (other than the super long transition area).

Time: 1:45

Overall I was over my transition goal time by 20 seconds.  Not bad.

I took in about 60 fluid ounces of water/gatorade on the bike, as well as chomps/cliff bars.  My stomach was a bit uncomfortable but it really didn't seem like GI issues.  It soon subsided.

I mentally focused on breaking the race into 4 5k segments, which would require about another mile of focus.  The first two 5k segments flew by.  I was in a pretty good 8:15 minute mile zone.  Unfortunately, right at the 6 mile point there was about a half mile incline to reach the turn around point.  I made this my 1 mile segment outside of my 4 5k segments.  I started slowing down at this point and "enjoyed" the aid stations a little longer.

The run was on an open two lane highway and it wound around some farmland.  I cut the corners whenever I could, which meant cross the highway.  Just have to watch for cars.

I walked all aid stations to make sure I was getting in plenty of water.  I always took two cups with half of one over my head.  There wasn't much shade on the run and the temps were starting to rise.

At one of the aid stations I ended up with a cup full of ice.  Down the tri suit it went!!  It kept the boys pretty cool until the next aid station.

When we hit mile 10.5, the road had a pretty large incline but I refused to walk..  I hit the park entrance and finally finished the two miles back to the finish line!

Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes (9 minutes over my goal)

I had two gels on the course.


Time: 5 hours, 16 minutes!!  Killed that 5:30 goal plus my previous PR of 5 hours, 54 minutes!!
Age Group: 10/33
Overall: 73/293

Massive PR and a top 10 age group finish!

Whoa.  That shocked me.  I'm still shocked, which makes sense when you consider I doubted my 5 hour, 30 minute goal time.

Jason finished sub-5 hours and he had some GI issues out there on the run but that is simply amazing.  Vicki finished strong in 5:34 and won 3rd in her age group!!  She's a rockstar!

Jason and Ryan took off for home but we waited for the awards and door prize giveaways (they were giving away a bike, speed suit, and a bunch of running stuff).  After scarfing down pizza, pop, pretzels, candy, and other goodies we took off for home.  Fortunately there was at least an outdoor shower to wash off the stank.

I would definitely recommend Pigman Tri.  For one,  I registered 10 days before the race and it only cost me ~$120.  Given that, there wasn't a frilly expo or even a massive medal.  They probably had about 7 or 8 course marshals on motorcycles as well during the bike.  Post-race meal options were large with chocolate milk, candy, cookies, crackers, chips, pizza, spaghetti, pop, water, gatorade, beer, and a bunch of other things.

Dress Rehearsal Analysis
This does NOT mean I'm going to do a 10 hour, 32 minute ironman in October.  If I did that at some Ironman-branded races I would qualify for Kona.  Not. Going. To. Happen.

What I've realized is that I hit the bike hard enough to overcome the deficit it created on my run.  I'm not going for 21 mph splits at Beach2Battleship.  In fact, I will probably do my best to keep my average pace under 20 for the first 56+ miles.

The swim is going to be great but only because of the ocean current and not my abilities.

The run is going to be what it is going to be.  It will be over 4 hours and I will just hope I can run it the entire way with aid station walks.  If I end up walking most of the second half, then cool.  I'm just going to enjoy it.

Vicki with her 3rd Place Award!

Jason on the left getting ready for the swim.

Me in the middle with my hand on my chest.  I apparently got it stuck there after the National Anthem.

I'm pretty much right in the middle... the tall guy; however, you can see a guy in the exact same tri suit not far from me either.  Glad he got the memo.

Jason jumping on the bike.  This looks like it's about to get painful real quick.

Pre-race prep.  The rack was mostly empty the entire day.

Pretty sun.

Suited Up!


Heading out of T1

Jason finishing his sub-5 hour half ironman.

Stick a fork in me, I'm D.O.N.E.

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