Pigman Triathlon Race Report 2011 Half-Ironman 70.3

Summary: Every year the Pigman Triathlon draws a competitive field of professional and elite amateur triathletes thanks to its prize purse.  This year the race attracted additional talent thanks to it being one of only three qualifying races for the 2011 Long-Course World Championship in Henderson, Nevada.  A requirement for the worlds slot is that I had to race out of the age-group field and would not be starting in the elite wave.  I was ok with that but I knew it wouldn't play to my strengths.  Overall I had an ok swim, an ok bike, and poor run.  All total it was a day that netted an age-group win, a Worlds slot, but given the course and conditions the final 4:16:26 was well below my own expectations and my relative performance against my peers reflected this poor performance as well. 

Swim: The swim for the age-groupers was a time trial start versus a mass start for the elites.  I lined up at the back of the Men 30-34 wave and when it was my time I jumped across the mat and into the water.  My pace was slow, but I was leery of the 78 degree water temps and didn't want to generate too much heat.  As always the first turn buoy was orange and was up against a very green backdrop.  Seeing as I am color-blind I can't really see buoys all that well so I focused on staying in the middle of the field as I worked my way from swimmer-to-swimmer.

After the first turn buoy, I found myself surrounded by swimmers that started up a few waves.  This was more poor planning by me as these swimmers had  flouro yellow or green caps and the next buoy was flouro yellow or green.  When this happens I generally try to stay in the middle of the swimmers and hope that the pack is heading towards the next buoy. 

As expected, I was badly overheating in the wetsuit and was flushing the wetsuit every 200 meters or so.   I rounded the 2nd turn buoy and tried to pick up the pace little.  I reached land, stood up, and looked at my watch - I was pleasantly surprised to see 28:00 flat.

T1:  It was decent run up to my bike and I was already huffing and puffing from the swim so I took a more casual approach to T2.  Most likely the huffing and puffing was due to fact that I had not been able to draft anyone in the swim.  Nonetheless, I got to my bike, stripped off my wetsuit, put on my helmet and I was off.

Bike: A couple of days earlier I took my beat up Saris Powertap training wheel and decided to make a poor-man's Powertap disc wheel out of 3M heavy-duty strapping tape.  It probably isn't the most aerodynamic thing but I wasn't too concerned about riding at this race and wanted the power data for my upcoming Rev3 140.6. The course was a rolling out-and-back course with lots of open space for wind to rip thru, but Unfortunately for me the wind was relatively calm.

I started out on the bike with a conservative approach.  I had no idea what to expect on the bike course but I felt confident that I might have a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back.  I had about 6 miles before we turned west so I focused on keeping the wattage around 240 watts or so. Once we turned west I dialed it up to 260.

I would continue on at a fairly steady pace. It was tough to understand which direction the wind was coming  from and whether I was going up or down.  On the way out to the turnaround I was sure that it was an uphill endeavor but when I hit the turnaround I realized that those uphills were really downhills.  This was disheartening to say the least, but was only compounded by the fact that my hamstring became very achy.  This is the second race in a row where mid-way thru the ride my legs just started to ache.  I popped some salt tabs but they didn't provide any relief.  I got a little bit of tailwind to help with but overall I saw my power drop as I struggled back into T2. My power for the ride was 252 watts and it took me 2:15:38 to ride the 56 mile course.

T2: I came in to T2 and I had the same inner groin tightness / pain that I had experienced earlier this year at Ironman St George.  I knew the tightness had subsided pretty quickly at St George so I focused on running with good form thru transition with a steady pace.  As always, I quickly grabbed my shoes, race belt, and gps watch and was off.

Run:  The run is an out and back thru the park and then up a winding highway.  There is absolutely no shade and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.   The course has elevation at the beginning, end, and at the turn-around,  but is otherwise relatively flat.

I took off out of transition and started running with a 6:10 pace.  The pace was very comfortable and I thought I was setting myself up for a good run.    After the first major descent my pace had been reduced to 6:35 on the flats.  I decided I was ok with that since there was a headwind and I figured it was better to be conservative and then pick up the pace on the way back.  But it wasn't meant to be as my day would continue to roll down hill.

The race website said the aid stations would be stocked with water, Heed, and cola.  I was glad there was cola because cola is my miracle worker.  Needless to say I was extremely disappointed when I got to the aid stations and there was no cola to be found.  I tried to drink some Heed but I had no idea how many calories were in it and I can't stomach gels on the run.  My pace kept steady until the descent after the turn-around.  From here my pace would fall further to 7:10-7:40. 

At roughly mile 11 there is a huge hill and this hill really reminded me of Ironman St. George.  I was huffing and puffing all the way to the top and lucky for me I knew there was an aid station waiting for me where I planned to make one final patented refueling / recovery stop.  No dice as the aid station was temporarily out of heed and I was officially cooked.  I really had to focus during those last two miles.  The tank was empty and I soldiered on to the finish and put up my worst half-marathon time in quite a while with a 1:29:22.

Results and Discussion: In the end I would win M3034 and earn a slot to Worlds in November.  Although those were both goals, I would have also liked to have had a better race.

After the race I spent about 30-40 minutes with the massage / ART team working on my various issues.  They kindly me informed me that I have "no ass" and that my "gluetes don't work" and that it may be leading to my hamstrings doing an unnecessary amount of work.  Seems to make sense and I'll have to look into this as a reason for my achy hamstrings.

Overall my swim was ok but probably appropriate given the water temps.  I know I could have conserved a lot of energy by drafting one of the other elites but it was nice to be able to swim my own race for once.  I only biked a couple of minutes slower than David Thompson so I can't be too disappointed with the bike but let's be honest - my run was a complete disaster.  I need to focus on making sure that I take in the proper amount of calories in order to fuel a high-performance run.  Today's run was simply not there.  Hopefully I can fix some things before my big A race of the year in Sandusky @ Rev3 Cedar Point.

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