Monday, July 10, 2006

Peterborough 1/2 Ironman Report

Pre-Race

The week leading up to the race I have such a craving for junk food. On Fri, I went for a 45 min relaxing bike ride. In the last 10 min, there was a mountain biker right behind me. I slowed down and let him go. But he didn't pass me. So he wanted to draft off me huh? So I let my legs ripped. Tapering was working really well. Legs were feeling fresh.

I drove up to Peterborough (2 hrs away) and did the usual. Get race kit, check out transition area etc. My friend, Len, joined me afterwards. I spent the evening chatting with the person renting next to us. He was doing the same race as well and it turned out he is part of a tri club that train just north of me. I got his info and wish him luck. OLN was showing Tour De France and we both headed back to our room :).

Race Day

Got up at 4:15 am. Had 1.5 bottles of Boost. Eyes were tired. Went back to bed. Woke up at 5:50 am. Shower, change and packed my gears. It was all natural now. I didn't think too much. I can't say I am calm but I ain't freaking out. The training I have gone through are further and more difficult than the race. That helped my confidence.

I got there, rack my bikes. Try to chat with other triathletes. A few were discussing how hilly it was and how hot it was last year. I could smell the anxiety in the air. I don't need any of that. So I stay away. Len showed up a bit later. I bumped into Darren. We wish each other luck and parted our ways.

With a few minutes before starting, I did some warm up swim. I went off to the side and pray. I couldn't believed this is it. The past 7 months of training all come down to this. Now just have to keep it all together.

Swim 43:22

It was a mass start. I checked the current the day before and noticed the water flowed from left to the right. So I started on the left side.

We were off. This was the first time I swim with so many people. I got kick. I kicked someone. I got elbow. I elbowed someone. All part of the game. I wasn't too worry. Just get the swim done. My goal was to draft off someone's feet the whole time. Knowing that most ppl are swimming about my speed, I wasn't worry about getting plow over.

The course was two 1 km loop. First loop, I followed someone's feet the whole time. I had to alternate between breastroke and freestyle b/c there were a lot of traffic. I finish the first loop in 20 min. Woah. That was fast.

Second loop I started moving from feet to feet. The swim was very relaxing. It was warm like 72 degrees. Came out of the water and glad to see the clock at 42 min. I walked to my transition. Saw my HR at 175.

T1 (2:27)

I walked to the my bike rack. Took off my wetsuit and walked the bike out. No need to rush.

Bike (3:02:59)

The bike leg felt more like a long bike ride than a race. First 20 min, I drank water and let my stomach settle. By 40 min, I took my first gel. From then on, I took a gel every 30 min (on the clock 40 min/10 min). I also had a electrolyte drink with me. I kept the pace nice and easy. My race ain't starting until the run. Right now, kept those legs fresh and relax.

I focused on my cadence and my HR. Going up those hills, a few times I did switch to granny gears. But overall, I stayed in my middle and big rings. That usually do the trick.

I smiled the whole time. I love uphills. My light body frame and steady spin passed a lot of people while others grinded.

Before the half way point, someone came by me and asked if I was ckct. It turned out, it was Inigo_Montoya from Running Room Forum. What are the odds of that. We exchanged a few words. He passed me. I passed him. I couldn't believe I am so popular (j/k).

Len was at half way point. He took a few pics of me. Now here is where the race really begin. Strong head wind. Lower back ache (stretched quite a bit). The pace felt slow.

The course wasn't completely closed off. There was a car with a granny on the passenger side eating an ice cream. The car was slowing down b/c of the bikers in the way. So I rode harder, went beside her and asked if I could have a bite of her ice cream. For a split second, she almost want to give it to me.

On the way back was good. It ain't a leisure ride. Strong headwind and more rollers and I love it. Last 5-6 km, I focused on relaxing my legs. Spin them and get ready for the last stage.

T2 (3:14)

My plan was to bring 3 gels packets with me on the run. B/c of the race belt, I had a hell of a problem stuffing them in my back pockets. Too much time fidget with those. I went to the porta potty. Then was about to run and realized I left my cap in my transition. So ran back and got it. This explained the 3 min T2 time.

Run (2:00:19)

My legs were fresh. I saw my next door neighbour in my motel starting the run. He couldn't run b/c he had a hip flexor injury. So he was walking along. I said hi to him and I was off.

I walked at 2 km. Had a gel and started to jog. No knee problems. No heavy legs. My HR was at 160s. I did my best to slow the pace down but couldn't. I figured sooner or later my HR would settle. After a while, I passed by a guy (Matthew) and he made a comment of how great I look. I slowed down to his pace (I wasn't going that fast). Running with him, my HR dropped to 150s. We chatted it up. My strategy was to take it easy in the first half of the run.

As triathletes, we talk about....training :). We walked at each aid station. By the half way mark, I took a gel and and drank too much water. I waited until my stomach settled. With 8 km to go, I departed and wished him a good race. Now the race really begin.

I worried I might blow up in the last few km and Matthew would catch me again. I started amping up the intensity. HR pushing up to 170-174s. Focus on good form, cadence the whole time. I started to pass more people from this point on.

There was a group of runners I thought I could pace. A lady in the group was complaining how horrible her bike ride was and blah blah blah. Yuck. I don't need that. Thanks for the motivation and I pushed harder. A girl (26 yr old) made a comment of how strong I look. I joked and said, we gotta head back before it rain (it was getting cloudy).

The last 2 km was a killer. There's no point in walking now. It's all mental. Last 500 m, as the crowd was cheering. That drew me in. Done. I couldn't believed how tired I was right after. Me and Len sat for a while. Thought about...for Ironman I have to double that ;).

Overall (5:52:20)

This was a success in my book. My pace, hydration and nutrition executed very well.

I wanted to swim relax, bike strong and run tough. I've done that.

My lower back did started to ache in the beginning of the bike course. Stretched frequently throughout the ride (hopefully a bike fit will fix this).

The run is still the big focus. The question is how much can I push on the run. There is only one way to find out...(next HIM, Ottawa Half Ironman, Sept 3.... :) ).

I had a great time. I told Len before the race, if I am smiling, that's a good sign. If I ain't, it will be a long long day. More pics and post race thoughts will come. This week, more junk food and more beer. :)

30 comments:

trifrog said...

Congratulations, Cliff. Sounds like all as in order for you that day and you were paid with a great performance.

"Thought about...for Ironman I have to double that"

You don't HAVE to do anything ;)

Sarah Lukas said...

Hey! Congrats on that! I cannot imagine doing a half ironman. It sounds like you paced yourself really good this race. Like you said, everything seemed executed very well. And it's such a confidence booster when people pass you saying how strong you are still looking!!

Chris said...

Great race and an awesome finishing time, Cliff! Sounds like it was a perfect day in all three disciplines!

Habeela said...

Sounds like a great race! Too bad grandma didn't share her ice cream...mmmm...ice cream - that really would be the perfect training food. :)

Inigo said...

Way to go Cliff - you really did look strong and relaxed - like an Ironman in waiting.

Thanks for entertaining me over parts of the bike and run. :) Glad my running pace helped to pace you for a bit before your awesome finishing kick.

TriSaraTops said...

OUTSTANDING job Cliff! Man, that's a blazing bike time in my book for just a "relaxing ride" for you! :) Hope I have as fun and enjoyable a HIM on Sunday!

nancytoby said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!

Fantastically well done! Excellent job!! You make it sound easy.

Rachel said...

That is awesome! I remember when you were struggling with the open water swimming. You can definitely say you conquered that! You rock!!!

Papa Louie said...

Congratulation on a well run race! I'll have to learn from you to have the perfect race!

anners said...

Cliff, I am proud of you.

Wish I could share a pitcher of beer with you, but I guess that will have to wait until after you next 1/2 iron :)

Donald said...

It sounds like you did just about everything right here. That's pretty darn good for your first half-IM. You obviously prepared well for it.

Susan said...

Congrats Cliff. I can't wait for pictures!

Al Carter said...

Congratulations Cliff, this sounds like a text book race - you were aware of what you needed to do and you stuck with it. Well done...you must be so proud...I'm proud of you and I don't even know you - lol!

TriFeist said...

Way to race your plan. Awesome job.

Hilda said...

Loved you phrase: There's no point in walking now. It's all mental.

You are definitely are on the way. you just did great!!

The swiming part was the most uncomfortable with all those arms and legs so close!!

D said...

Great race report Cliff! Congratulations. You executed your plan beautifully. It seems like your key was relaxing!

William said...

Nice report Cliff.

Sounds like a great day and you almost had your own support car handing you food. Ice cream is a great endurance product!

I wish any of my 1/2 IM experiences are as good as this was for you.

Steven said...

Excellent execution, Cliff.
You had a plan going in, you stuck to it, and you got it done.

Nice job.

Lora said...

Excellent job Cliff! And none of it was just plain ol luck....you worked hard and earned this amazing time! I loved the parts where you stayed away from all the negative talk...so much is a mental game and it's up to us to be around people that will inspire and encourage us. Sometimes that's the hardest part of training.

Enjoy the junk food!!!

Ellie said...

Great race! You pulled it off perfectly! Congratulations!

robtherunner said...

Great job Cliff!

qcmier said...

Great job Cliff!!! Nice execution.

To quote an '80s TV show, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Flatman said...

Nice race, Cliff! Speedy!

TriBoomer said...

Bravo, Cliff! Let's see some pics.

Stay tuned...

nickt said...

Strong race Cliff, congrats!

Bolder said...

outstanding job cliff!

all your hard work paid off!!

great race. great report.

well.done.

E-Speed said...

Good job! I agree with your analysis that the bike is going to feel more like a long ride than a race. I def need to keep that in mind at Steelhead.

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