Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Half Ironman 70.3 (I am an Idiot) Diamondman Challenge September 2013

All Pictures at the bottom of post.

Now I am the idiot, no I did not do an Ironman, I did a Half Ironman. A few weeks ago I went to Lake Placid Ironman. I realized anybody that does an Ironman is an Idiot (Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles), 140.6 miles.
Lake Placid to watch a few friends do

I did a Half Ironman (Swim 1.2 miles, Bike 56 miles, Run 13.1 miles), 70.3 miles, back in 2010. Doing a Half Ironman is not idiotic, but what I did this time was.

I am not sure how, but a bunch of friends decided to do The Diamondman Challenge this year. The Diamonman Challange is a Half Ironman distance triathlon.

It was race weekend, on Saturday Crazy Christine and I went to "The First Timer" meeting and swim clinic. Crazy Christine got her nick name honestly. When we call her Crazy we mean it in a very positive way. You will understand as you continue reading. What she can do when it comes to endurance sports is "CRAZY"

Though I have done this race before, I felt it important that Crazy Christine go to "The First Timer" meeting, not only has Christine not done this race before, she has never done a triathlon before, like I said, "CRAZY".

Why the swim clinic? For me this was my year of the swim. Last time I did this race I was second to last out of the water for my age group, with a time of 58 minutes. This is where I had room to improve. For Crazy Christine, she had never done an open water swim, she had never swam in a wetsuit. Like I said, "CRAZY". Swimming in a lake is a lot different than swimming in a pool. In a pool you can see the bottom of a pool, in a lake you hope you can see a few feet through the water, but more likely you
might see your hands. In a pool you have lane markers to keep you swimming straight, in open water swim you have 100 plus people all swimming toward the same buoy.

We both got at lot out of "The First Timer" meeting and the swim clinic.

Saturday was a long day, one that I did not drink enough or eat enough, I will pay for this during the race.

Sunday, race day, I drove to the race with Crazy Christine. At the race we meet up with Lorenzo, Klark Kent, and Laine. You may remember Laine from the adventure race I did a few years ago, she is also "CRAZY". Of course you all know Lorenzo as he is the idiot that just did the Lake Placid Trenton Half Marathon with us last year.
Ironman. Klark Kent ran the

For Klark Kent, and Laine this is their first Half Ironman, but both have done several shorter triathlons. Clearly that are not as "CRAZY" as Crazy Christine, as they have done triathlons before.

The women would be starting 5 minutes before the men. Training for a Half Ironman is less than 50% of the training for a Full Ironman, but it still requires a fairly rigorous training program. Because of my nomadic life style since leaving Botswana I have not trained the way I would of liked
to, or should of. The only area I had focused on was the swim.

It was 7:20 AM and the women were off, the swim course started with about 100 women all swimming at a 45 degree angle north toward the first yellow buoy. All we could see were orange swim caps splashing in the water.

As the men's start, got close I realized I should be about the same speed as Klark Kent. The gun went off, we headed toward the first yellow buoy. Both Klark Kent and I realized the lake was shallow enough to touch bottom so we ran as far as we could until we were forced to swim. Marking the course were orange sighting buoys and
yellow turning buoys. The women had orange swim caps and the men had yellow swim caps. It made for a very interesting swim.

Once we reached the first yellow buoy we made a right turn and headed to the second yellow buoy. Klark Kent was significantly faster (I think his arm span was about 9 feet) than me when he swam, which was about 75 meters, he would then back stroke for about 25 meters. During Klark Kent's back stroke I would catch up, sometimes even pass him. We hit the second buoy and made a left turn, we had completed about 200 meters.

Beside bumping into Klark Kent every so often, I felt great, was comfortable, going straight, and relaxed. We hit the third buoy 350 meters done, another left turn, Klark Kent and I were still giving each other love taps, plus two other swimmers bumped me
once in a while. We were now doing a 1,200 meter straightaway. I felt very comfortable, going straight, toes were cramping a little, but that has happened to me on a long swim before. All of a sudden Klark Kent is swimming toward the shore, rather than toward the fourth buoy. I yelled and he got back on course. We hit the fourth buoy, 1,550 meters done, another left turn 150 meters to the fifth buoy.

As we made our last left turn and headed for the last yellow buoy, Klark Kent stopped doing his back stroke which allowed him to get a nice lead on me. I hit the last buoy, made a right turn, the beach was 100 meters away. I could see Klark Kent he was out of the water. As I finished I was feeling good and knew I crushed my time from the my last Half Ironman. 1.2 miles done, time 48:16 last time 57:39, I improved by 9 minutes and 23 seconds, life was good or so I thought.

I went to stand up, every muscle from my waist down cramped / knotted up, quad, hamstring, calf, feet, and toes, in both legs. I am glad I was in 2 feet of water or I might have drowned. I could not walk but I was happy with my time. I beat 2 people in my division which is one more than last time, and I beat 18 men in other divisions. I could not have been happier with my swim.

If I could only walk! I hobbled to the transition area about 200 meters from the lake. Klark Kent was just finishing up his transition, he beat me out of the water by just under a minute, with a time of 47:22. Here are the Swim stats. Laine - 33:09 first women out of the water. Crazy Christine 38:32 first time she ever did an open water swim, like I said "CRAZY". Lorenzo 42:21 he just did an Ironman a few weeks before.

Once I got to the transition area, I sat down to take off my wetsuit, from my ribs down my abs cramped/knotted. I knew what the issue was, nutrition, somehow my electrolytes were off. When training for an endurance event nutrition is as I important, if not more important than the training.
Between me not eating correctly during training, (gaining a few lbs) and not eating and drinking properly the day before the race, my body chemistry must be all screwed up, or at least that is what I thought.

I fell of my stool, and laid on my back, every muscle from my ribs down were cramped/ knotted, I was like an upside down turtle with his legs tied together by a wetsuit. Luckily for me another competitor noticed my predicament and helped by removing my wetsuit.

With a little (lot of) pain I got my bike shoes on and headed out of the transition area for the bike. My only hope was the bike would loosen up my legs and the hydration / nutrition I would take in on the bike would square away my body chemistry. I could not lift my leg over my bike to mount, so I had
to lay my bike down and step over the bike and lift it back up.

My first mile was 14 MPH, though very slowly, my legs were working so I was happy. I figured Klark Kent was a good 5 minutes ahead of me. I knew my body well enough that my issue was chemistry, I had to get electrolytes in me. I knew Klark Kent trained with Lorenzo, and Lorenzo was a stickler for carrying electrolyte tablets, so if I could catch Klark Kent he might share some tablets with me. I started praying Klark Kent was a slow biker, or either Lorenzo or Klark Kent would flat so I could catch one of them.

I accelerated my pace staying between 18.5 and 20 MPH, as the course left the park we made a right hand turn, went straight until we hit a T intersection where we made another right. The course was two separate loops with us doing one of them twice.

I was about 15 miles in and had just completed the first loop, I had not seen Klark Kent coming back as I was going out so we must of been on the loop together. I was hoping I was close. Mile 15 to 20 I tried to stay above 20 MPH usually around 21 MPH. I was desperate for electrolyte tablets, I was
fairly sure my legs were not going 56 miles in this condition. As I headed onto the long stretch which I call the second loop (really an out and back) I saw Laine, she looked strong and was moving fast, heads down focused. I gave a quick yell, saw a smile as she passed.

I was now praying I did not see Klark Kent, or Lorenzo. The sooner I saw them, the further back I was from them. I still had several miles until the turn around. I had been downing gui packs, but they did not have the quaintly of electrolytes I needed. For fluids I was drinking a mixture of Green Tea and Gatorade.

I was feeling better than I should have with my legs in the shape they were in. Mile 21 was 23 MPH.
I saw Lorenzo and then Klark Kent, I now knew the electrolyte tablets were out of reach, they were a good 2 miles ahead of me if not more. A few minutes later I saw Crazy Christine. I made the turn to head back and I caught Crazy Christine. I slowed to chat with her, she was doing great, enjoying herself. Crazy Christine was on a borrowed bike, wearing borrowed clothes, biking a distance she had never completed before. Like I said, "CRAZY".

I said my goodbyes and accelerated. I was having a difficult time getting above 17 MPH, all of a sudden it hit me, WIND! There was a strong head wind. Not only did this force me to slow down, I realized my ride out had a tail wind, I was not riding as well as I thought.

At mile 29 the angle of the road changed which helped with the wind, but I got more bad news, I saw
riders coming at me and they were good riders. What this meant was, we do this section twice. I knew we did the first loop twice, but now I would hit that wind again in another 15 miles or so. Mile 29 to 47 I was able to keep my pace above 18 MPH. I saw Laine again, she looked great.

I had 11 miles to go mostly into the wind, I had a ton of energy, my legs were holding up, I would get cramps if I pushed, but could stretch them out if I slowed. My lower back was cramping and that gave me some concern.

The day was getting hotter. I had brought a water bottle just to dump on my head to cool me, that was working great. I had a camelback with 72 oz of
Gatorade / Green Tea mix. I was sucking those liquids down knowing I needed the fluids.

With 10 miles to go I remembered Lorenzo kept his electrolyte tablets on his bike. I thought I could grab some in the transition area when I finish the bike and before the run.

My last 10 miles were my slowest with one of them being barely over 14 MPH.

I made the left into the park, rode the last mile stretching my legs as I rode. My fear now was would my legs hold me when I got off the bike.

I got off the bike laid it down so I could stepped over it, never lifting my leg more than 8 inches. I hobbled with my bike to the transition area and racked my bike. My time 3:06:47, I was happy with that considering my legs. The last time I did this race my bike was 2:55:07 I was a full 11 minutes 40 seconds slower. Not a good sign. My watch said my average speed was 18 MPH, I will take that.

Klark Kent was the fastest biker with a time of 2:53:10, Lorenzo was right behind him at 2:54:00, Laine was next at 2:56:06 and Crazy Christine finished the bike in 3:32:47.

Somehow I changed from my bike shoes to my running shoes (that was not pretty). Every time I bent down to tie my running shoes I would get cramps. I would of paid a kings ransom for Velcro laces at
that point. I downed the 16 oz bottle of ice water I had in the transition area. I could hardly walk, how was I going to run. I could see Lorenzo's bike. It was like being lost in a desert for days, and seeing water. I went over, grabbed the container Lorenzo kept his tablets in......

Not good news, it was empty he had used them all on the ride.

Do I go or do I stay, I went. My first mile was 9:36 pace, typically I would be running a 8:30 pace. Even at a 9:30 pace, I knew I could NOT it. A good friend, Andy Sandy, who had recently done the Lake Placid Ironman, told me if you know you will need to walk during the run, walk before you need to so you can still run some. I made that decision, walk 1/4 of each mile and run 3/4's of each mile.

One strange thing, every time I would run, my heart rate and respiration would accelerate. This was not normal for me, unless I am sprinting my heart rate stays fairly low. While this did not effect my performance it did give me some concern.

This method of walk / running worked well up to mile 6, I was walk / running at a pace between an 11 and 12 minute miles. I had seen Lorenzo and Laine running together which meant Lorenzo was having a great day. Shortly after seeing them I saw Klark Kent heading back in, he also looked great, I was the only IDIOT.

The run course was out and back, 90% of it was in the sun and boy was it hot. At every water station I drank water and electrolyte fluids, while dumping water on my head. At mile 7 my legs (calf) would cramp each time I started running. I switched to a brisk walk, no more running for me.

Crazy Christine caught me around mile 7, she walked with me for a little bit, she was having fun, she
looked great, and was one of the few runners or should I say walkers that could still run. Like I said, "CRAZY"

I urged her to run on, I would be fine. She was gone in a flash, I am sure she was close to an 8:00 minute pace if not quicker. Like I said, "CRAZY".

I continued my brisk walk, between 14 minute and 15 minute mile pace. The run was suppose to be 13.1 miles, at each mile marker my watch was off by .5 miles. If this held true I would be covering 13.6 miles not 13.1. As I completed mile 12 I saw Crazy Christine she had finished and was coming back to find me. We ran the rest of the race together and my last mile was 10:43 pace, boy was it painful.

I had completed the full course 7 hours 18 seconds, over an hour longer than last time.

For the Run, Crazy Christine was first with a time of 2:10:16, but remember she walked a good bit with me, otherwise she would have been faster. Lorenzo was second at 2:11:05 and he helped Laine. Laine was third at 2:23:59, with Klark Kent right behind her at 2:30:56. DUG brought up the rear at 2:55:01.

The race was over, it was fun, painful, but fun.

For our group Lorenzo came in first with Laine just behind him both in under 6 hours, Klark Kent was next in just over 6 hours, then Crazy Christine around 6 and a half hours. Full results below.

So what happened? Why did I cramp? I tried something new (big mistake). There is the cardinal rule in endurance racing, Never try anything new on race day. I overloaded on Green Tea before and during the race. I was tired going into the race and wanted the caffeine. I AM AN IDIOT ( I need to write this a few hundred times on the chalk board)

Dumb me, I did not think about the diuretic effect caffeine and Green Tea have on the human body. What I did, was pull all the water (hydration) out of my system before starting the swim. This hydration is what keeps your muscles flexible and lubricated. Think of running a car engine without oil, yep the engine seizes. In the case of the human body the muscles seize. When I finished the swim my leg muscles were totally dehydrated.

Another purpose of hydration, is it helps keep your blood thin, when you dehydrate, your blood thickens, the blood is what gets oxygen to your muscles and takes waste away. My blood must of thickened by the run and that is why my heart rate and respiratory rate was so high.

The good news, I finished, the bad news I did not listen to my body, the heart is a muscle and needs that same hydration the leg muscles need. I could of done some real damage, or if my blood got to thick I could have stroked.

That is it for being an IDIOT, I think I learned my lesson. Off to my next adventure.

Race Results
Lorenzo Swim 42:21 T1 3:26 Bike 2:54 T2 1:34 Run 2:11:05 Total 5:52:28 (9th in his age group) Laine Swim 33:09 T1 2:03 Bike 2:56:06 T2 2:08 Run 2:23:59 Total 5:57:27 (3rd in her age group) Klark Kent Swim 47:22 T1 4:01 Bike 2:53:10 T2 2:42 Run 2:30:56 Total 6:18:13 (8th in his age group)
Crazy Christine Swim 38:32 T1 7:43 Bike 3:32:55 T2 7:42 Run 2:10 Total 6:37:09 (4th in her age group Like I said, "CRAZY"
DUG Swim 48:16 T1 5:36 Bike 3:06:47 T2 4:37 Run 2:55:01 Total 7:00:18 (12th in my age group)