Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa - Race Report


Last year I experimented with training for half ironman distance without disrupting my day-to-day life including vacations and other time pass stuff. The year went well with two strong 70.3 finishes and an Olympic with PRs.

This year, the goal was to improve the PRs a bit and tried to train better compared to the previous year. Lot of hyper-enthu newbies training hard gave me enough motivation to train. I tried to improve my swim and took some early lessons in the season. Got pretty good insights and worked on it but didn't see much improvement in my times. Closer to the race, I was talking to Chaitanya and got a good tip about improving my stroke rate and reducing dead spots in my stroke. I
tried to consciously and gradually increase the stroke rate from avg of 27 spm to 30-32 spm. Overall it felt great as I felt more balanced in pool and the times got better (with potentially more inefficiencies but sustainable). Bike and run training went as usual and I was reasonably happy with that.


The goal wish was to do a 5:45 finish. However, given the training, I hoped for 5:50-55 in the best case (assuming I could perform similar to previous year's race). I was sincerely hoping for close to a 40 min swim given my training times in pool and open water. I was confident that I could do sub 1:55/100yd for that distance. 


We did not get a chance to warm up and get wet before the race start. This meant not knowing if googles would fog up, will leak or not and warmed up upper body. Also, in all the waiting and regrouping, I forgot to eat an e-gel which I typically do. Not a big deal though.

The race started and I figured that the visibility is not that good. It made me hard to sight properly. I imagined that there was fog on the water surface causing this and kept swimming. Swim felt a tad bit harder than usual for whatever reason (warm water?).  I kept delaying clearing up my goggles in the fear that water may start leaking in if I adjusted. However, after 17 mins or so, I decided to clear them up and yes it was the fog inside the goggles and no water leak happened. 

I did feel like I was not able to swim very straight as still was not able to sight very well. Swimmers around me didn't make my life better by any means. Around 35 min mark I realized I was way off from a 40min finish, so continue chugging along and finished in around 43:40 -- much below par :(
Hopes of a 5:50 finish were wiped off. 


It was a hard run/walk up a steep ramp coming out of water. I ran/walk the steep section, got to the wetsuit stripping area, got out pretty quick and jogged to the bike. Quickly got geared up and left T1 in about 8 min or so which was not too shabby.


I thought I trained better compared to the previous year but some pre-race rides didn't live upto the mark especially with the last one with race wheels being below 17mph avg. I was reading a bit into it and thinking that won't be able to do a sub-3hr bike ride this time.

The bike course starts with a 3 mile downhill section that sets up a good pace to begin with. I was able to bike without a lot of perceived effort and still avg over 19mph! Looking at the power meter it did feel that I was putting more power than needed. Kept an eye out and the avg power did drop a bit without affecting the speed too much. Being on aerobars was definitely helping and got reminded multiple times when people crossed ;)

After mile 35, I could feel that I am starting to feel tired and may not be able to hold up until the end the same way I was going. Eased up very slightly and especially on the uphills. Took a bottle of pickle juice which I think worked out well! Miles 30-40 were slower due to some hills on the way. Took an extra salt tab or so. Tried to capitalize on the flats and downhill sections and was able to somehow avg just under 19 to make it to the end in less than 3 hrs. Was very happy with the ride and was hoping that it doesn't cost me the run.


As I finished my ride, saw Asha folks cheering at the bike finish. Saw Neha who ran up to me in T2 and asked how I felt. She didn't use the C-word (cramps) since I have a history of that. I gave a thumbs up and continued. After dropping the bike and almost when I reached my bag, realized that I forgot my watch on the bike. Had to run back to the bike and get it. Then as I was putting the bib, I realized that the bib was upside down. Instead of ignoring it, I decided to sit back, relax and redo the bib on the race belt. At that point, I had no hope or wish for a PR and just wanted to do a good run. Filled up water in both the bottles (out of which I threw water from one right after since it was heavy) and started my run.


The run felt great! Unlike only a couple of times in training when I felt like "brick" legs, this time it was fine as I typically feel and was able to do sub-9 miles for 3-4 miles keeping a tab on my HR.

Until mile 6, I was feeling reasonably ok after which it started to get really hot and legs feeling overall fatigued. No pains/aches or cramps but just fatigued. I started having coke/gatorade water and gels at a higher frequency and started pouring some water on the head and trisuit very well knowing it would cause some chafing down below.

The pace from miles 6-10 was around 9:15-30 which was pretty good given the conditions at the time. I had to walk a min or so couple of times and was fighting in my head whether to stop and lie down and just take it easy. Continued to push along as much as I could. I took a bottle of pickle juice just to make sure that I avoid cramps in whatever way I could. Time wise I was doing fine and calculated that if I was able to maintain my pace, I would be able to do a sub-2 run finish and hence sub-6 overall finish and quite possibly a PR (beating 5:58 from last year). That gave me some mental strength and motive to finish strong.

Miles 10+ were all a mental battle. The calved and quads were screaming but I was able to hold my pace fine. Lots of water on the head, body and inside and gatorade/coke helped keep me going. I was literally counting every half a mile (thinking it would be a mile :P) and carefully paced myself until the home stretch near the Courthouse Square. 

I saw Coach Char cheering which gave me adrenaline and I started to sprint when I immediately felt a cramp in my calves. Started limping a bit and slowed back down to my regular pace to make sure I can finish without cramps. Made it to the finish line with a run PR and an overall 70.3 PR!

What didn't work

  1. Swim did not go as expected. Sighting was off (extra ~100 yards) for sure but other than that pace was also slower by at least 5 sec/100 yd. Adding them up, a loss of 3+ mins which lines up with my prior estimate.
  2. T2 was slow which cost me another 2-3 extra mins. I had no motivation of making it fast after I had to turn back to get my watch. Should try to carry bib etc in the hand and put in on the way to save some time.

What worked

  1. Good balanced training in all three disciplines without overreaching in either.
  2. Pickle juice! Possibly prevented cramps and also change of taste was welcome.
  3. Carrying my fuel belt in the run. Initially I thought of ditching it but in the hot weather, the water bottles came in handy.
  4. Nutrition was bang on!
The best part of the race was to see all the other 9 folks (8 first timers!) cross the finish line. Lucky to have such an enthu bunch train hard and finish the race with grit in that hot hot weather. Couldn't be more proud of the team!

Overall an exciting and a hard race. The bike course is annoying but fast. Hope to carry the momentum on to Santa Cruz 70.3 next!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The DMP captures this duality by conceptualizing ardour as consisting of two related but conceptually distinct parts; “harmonious” and “obsessive” ardour . The casino games all operate completely and you will love the responsiveness of 1xbet korea the location properly as|in addition to} truth that|the truth that} the show is crisp and of high decision. The Red Dog Casino cell casino website is very well designed with a top-notch format and interface. We examined their website on each Android and iOS devices of varying screen sizes and we have been impressed with the flexibility of each variations. Additionally, gamers can anticipate a comparatively normal 35x wagering requirement on all welcome bonuses.