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KANSAS 70.3 RACE REPORT

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KANSAS 70.3 RACE REPORT Empty KANSAS 70.3 RACE REPORT

Post  Randy E on Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:42 am

IRONMAN KANSAS 70.3 REPORT
I was off to see the Wizard last weekend to participate in the Kansas 70.3 half Ironman event. It's hard to believe how fast the winter months passed moving swiftly into spring and before you know it it's summertime-event time-race season.

All those hours in the pool, the sweat fest basement bike trainer sessions and running would all soon be tested. The big question, "was I ready?"

I felt like I had prepared well. Swimming, my weakest part, should be so so. The bike, with all the Vision Quest training and trainer sessions would be interesting. How much better am I? And, the run: well I know how to run, that's for sure. But, how will I run off the bike?? These are the things that go through the mind.

THE RACE:

SWIM:

After organizing my transition spot ( T1 ) I put on the wetsuit and walked over to the swim start staging area. On the way there I ran into Chrissie Wellington and said hello and wished her good luck. Not that she really needs it. Just before the swim you will notice many other swimmers wearing various colored swim caps representing their particular age groups. I always think we look like a bunch of penguins standing around for our jump into the water.

I am in the mens 50-54 age group and in wave four. We are just behind the female pros with a start time was around 6:35 am. The nerves build as you stand there wondering what the swim will bring you. Would you swim well? Would there be lots of contact? Blah, blah, blah. Of all the triathlon disciplines, I think the swim has the most variables to contend with. The storms predicted to hammer the area somehow decided to melt before our eyes and bypass us. But, looking out over Lake Clinton you notice choppy waters.

Choppy waters, ha. I swim in Lake Michigan at Ohio Street Beach in sometimes rougher conditions. So, I should be fine, I think. Finally we are called into the water and become a bobbing mass of pink swim caps. This will be my first deep water start. We had to tread water for approximately 3 minutes before the gun went off. I was ready to start the Garmin and positioned in the front of the pack. I wanted to swim hard and separate myself from the pack.

BANG!

We are off. I swam as hard as I could. There were lots of other triathletes around me as we jostled for position. The contact was minimal but still there. People would hit your feet and body but I just kept at it. I am not sure how far I got before my chest and lungs were on fire. Where was the oxygen? I kept at it and thought this feeling would go away. The best way to describe this is hold your breath for as long as you can. You know that feeling in your chest just before you can't hold your breath anymore? That's how I felt.

The feeling was not going away. Thoughts of doubt entered my mind. Would I even be able to finish the swim? Should I swim over to one of the support boats and rest for a bit? I thought, "you can't come all this way to Kansas and not finish." So, I stopped for a bit and then did the breast stroke. Then I floated on my back for 30 seconds. Then I tried again and started swimming very slow just to catch my breath.

After a while I had my breathing down and was able to swim. I decided to just focus on technique and get this done. The slight side stitch kept me in check. Swim, swim, swim. I worked on exhaling underwater and taking air with the head turn. The swim seemed like it took forever. The choppy water was challenging but not so bad. I could see the swim finish and worked my way there. Once there I tried to stand but there were some big round slippery rocks to contend with. Once I had myself balanced I walked towards the swim exit and looked at my Garmin, 47 minutes. WHAT!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT IS CRAP.

Exhausted, I begin running towards my transition area and slowly take off my wetsuit. 47 minutes?? I can't believe it. I did not hurry this transition because I wanted to get my bearings. Once I had my biking stuff on I took off towards the bike exit.

THE BIKE

Time to forget the swim and see what all my bike training brings me. I started moderately and would let the legs determine the pace. It felt good to pedal and let the air dry me. People were lining the road and cheering support. In a few minutes I felt good and was ready to RACE.

Once out of the park we headed onto the rural roads of Kansas. This is a challenging bike course with all the ups and downs. Of course, the downs are not challenging but reaching the downs is the tough part. I was cruising. The legs felt great and strong. I passed a lot of people. There were a few riders in my age group that would challenge each other along the way. One of them is a new Facebook friend now.

What can I say about the bike leg? You pedal and do the best you can. On the uphills you shift to an easy gear and get up and then speed down the other side. Along the way you must take in nutrition to provide energy to finish the ride and also fuel you for the run. This is very important. I was hitting high speeds on the flat areas. Speeds of 22-26 mph were normal. My legs had evolved over the winter into powerful pistons. How cool. I just kept pushing and pushing and never had the kind of leg pain experienced at a Vision Quest class.

THANK YOU VISION QUEST AND DAVE NODA!!!! ( BIKE PR 2:44:35 )

During the 56 mile race I really was not passed by many people at all. I did pass many. Before I knew the big hill was in front of me. I'm only about 4 miles to the finish. Up and over and onward. The legs were somewhat tired from the hard effort. The big question: "What would happen once off the bike?" Soon the dismount line was before me and I stopped and hopped off the bike. I stood there for a few seconds and slowly started running to my T2 spot. Hey, I can actually run. After a few minutes I was ready to run.

Bike time: 2:44:35 ( A NEW BIKE PR )

THE RUN

Gingerly, with thick feeling legs, I started the 13.1 miles. Doing the quick step with fast cadence will loosen the pedaling legs. It did not take long at all for the running legs to return. Before the end of mile one I was at a decent pace. A pace in the 8's is good I thought. After the first mile the legs were moving fast and felt great. It did not take long at all to be running sub eight minute miles. This would continue. I think racing brings out the best in me. I push myself but don't really feel it like I would in a training run.

The run is a strength for me and I pass many many others on the course. Kind of like dominos, picking off people one by one. As I would pass I would try to see their age which is inked on their calf. I wanted to pass as many men in my age group as possible. As I went along through the camp ground there would be campers yelling words of encouragement. Kind of fun.

I kept pushing and pushing. As I passed people it made me realize that I am an ok runner. You see, most of these athletes are in phenomenal condition and look the part. As you pass one after another it kind of builds up your ego.

No problems so far. How nice. i do not feel any cramping potential at all. Maybe my nutrition was spot on. The miles just clicked by. It was not long before i saw the 12 mile mark and knew I only had one mile to the finish. I kept watching the legs of other runners to make sure I could pass another person in my age group. Ah, there's one. See ya.

I could hear the announcer calling off the names of the finishers. Finally I was in the finishing shoot and just kept the pace all the way. The last right turn unveiled THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. As I ran across the yellow brick road and through the finish I stopped right in front of Chrissie Wellington and she put the finishers medal around my neck. How cool is that.

RUN TIME: 1:42:25 ....(A TRIATHLON 13.1 PR)

OVERALL FINISH TIME: 5:21:35

PLACED 11TH IN MY AGE GROUP

WHAT I LEARNED:

1.)
I learned that I need work with my swimming. I need to figure out what happened with my breathing. Perhaps I forgot to breathe during the swim start. I will work on this and make it better. Forty seven minutes is 10 minutes longer than a crappy swim should be.

2.)
I learned that my bike has improved tremendously and I will continue to make this even better. I had a two minute PR on a much harder course than my previous PR at Steelhead.

3.)
Looking back, I probably could have pushed even harder on the bike and run.

My next race is Ironman Racine 70.3 on July 17. I look forward to the challenge.
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Post  Jeff F on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:08 am

Wow, nice job! Even with a tough swim that is still a great accomplishment.
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Post  Pete B on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:12 am

Great race Randy - can't argue with two PRs in one race!

I know you will put it all together in the next one! Congratulations.
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Post  Mrs. Schuey on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:17 am

Great job, Randy! I am impressed with your ability to remain calm when surrounded by all of those swimmers and having the feeling of oxygen being cut off. Seriously, props to you! I don't know what I would've done in that situation...probably panic and then freak out and then the next thing I'd know, I'd be gulping in water, leading to more panic. Oy. I don't even want to think of it! You handled it well! Also, treading water for 3 minutes before the start? Whoo! I just got flashbacks to high school when we had swimming in gym class and we had to tread water for 1 minute. My legs burned then! You did it for three minutes, then swam, then biked and then ran. Way to go! Sounds like you had a nice finish as well. Way to kick butt, Randy!
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:28 am

What a great report, Randy! I admire how you were able to compartmentalize each phase of the tri, immediately putting a disappointing swim leg behind you and turning your attention entirely on getting the most out of the cycling, and then the running, legs. Congrats on your PRs!

As you explore what happened in the swim leg, I have a feeling you'll conclude that maybe you went out too aggressively and went into oxygen debt. I never imagined that you could rabbit while swimming... but you may have done just that. You may have been closer to the edge at the start, too, thanks to the deepwater start. You'll get it figured out for next time.
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Post  Schuey on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:51 am

Randy awesome job and congrats! Great report and you really are starting to get the hang of the Tri thing! Keep it up Randy cheers
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Post  Julie on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:56 am

Congratulations and Congrats on the bike PR! Best wishes on your next race in a month! I hope the heat isn't too bad for you.
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Post  Randy E on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:00 pm

Jeff, Pete, Mrs. Schuey, Mark and Schuey, thanks for the comments. I guess if we share our weaknesses others can possibly learn. Now, guess what, I'm off to a swim lesson. I hope I learn something. I have a good grasp on the fundamentals from all the reading and practice. I want this guy to give me some guidance and perspective on what I can expect to achieve. I need a swim coach. Maybe he will be the one.
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Post  Tim M on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:11 pm

As always Randy, great job. You continue to be an inspiration.
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Post  Liz R on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:21 pm

Everybody gets one bad swim. You recovered beautifully.
I look forward to hearing about the swim lesson.

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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:11 pm

Absolutely, incredibly awesome. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that you ran a 1:42 half after swimming and biking. Period.

Congrats, Randy - excellent job - I can;t wait to follow along on the next one.
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Post  Jerry on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:59 pm

47 minutes swim? I would have drown. No idea how biking works. But after 3 hours outside, I don't think I can clock in a 1:42 half.

Great job, Randy! You are the man!

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Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:17 pm

Good stuff Randy. Thanks for sharing. I may not have an appreciate for a triathlon, but I can tell how hard you're working to meet your lofty expectations.
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Post  gvey on Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:56 am

I'm late chiming in my congrats Randy. What a great race, okay, maybe not the swim - in your mind. I'm impressed by your bike and run splits. And coolest of all...getting your medal from Chrissie! What's next?
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:55 am

I'm late with this too. Great job. Way to bust out after the swim. Congrats.
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Post  Jim Lentz on Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:56 am

How did I miss this? Great job on the race, Randy! How many people were there in your age group?
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Post  fostever on Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:52 pm

Dang me too, thought I already commented! I guess i was just jealous that I've not done any tri's when I read it. Anyhoo, sounds like a solid performance even though I have no real solid measuring stick except the run, but even then, after all the other stuff not sure. Looks like a great accomplishment, way to nail it, Randy! cheers
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Post  Randy E on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:53 am

Hi everyone and thanks for the additional comments. I have my next half Ironman or 70.3 this coming Sunday. It is the Racine 70.3. Hopefully I will be able to put in a much better swim along with a faster bike and run.
Sorry for not responding soon as I have been very busy with training and vacationing.
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