Vancouver Half Iron: 6:17:33

So there it is, another race in the books. The last Half Iron distance race (1.2 mile swim, 56 miles bike, 13.1 mile run) that I did was almost 5 years ago, prior to my first Ironman….too funny when I looked it up… 6:17:21 at the South Carolina Half in 2007.

Overall I had an excellent race, and nailed my race plan…not totally perfect…never is…but really, really good…my race plan summary posted a day before the race is here:

I’ll do a followup post with the more detailed numbers analysis, so for today, the race summary…the quick numbers:
Swim:    53:28
T1:          7:38
Bike:      3:05:37
T2:          5:36
Run:       2:05:16
Total:     6:17:33

At 4am looking out the hotel window, the roads were wet with overnight rain…rats…although not raining by the time I got into the car…so good…and as it turns out, never did rain all day, so excellent.

I was at the race venue by 5:15am, my daughter already there…how fun is that to be racing with your daughter 🙂 …and went through the pre-race setup and getting ready.

By 6:15 we were at waters edge for the 6:30 start, water temperature unknown…this is a small, pretty relaxed race…when I asked one of the officials on the beach about the water temperature, his response with a smile was ‘cold’…so I decided to go with my thermal cap under the race cap, a decision that I was immediately happy with when my face hit the water…cold!

The swim is 2 loops, and my race plan was to stay relaxed and easy for the first loop, which I did…barely kicking, next to no pressure on my arms, trying to keep my head in the correct position, and breath.  You can see on the race map, where there’s a little squiggly line for the direction of the ‘current’…turns out, that ‘current’ was very significant, and on the return to the beach on the first loop, it carried me ‘way’ off course to the right…like when I passed the last orange marker buoy coming in my first thought that I was looking at the outgoing bouy…only to realize that it was the inbound one that I was at least 50 yard away from…I didn’t change my stroke though, stayed relaxed, and kept changing direction to offset for the current, and finally landed back at the beach in just over 26 minutes.

Not bad I thought, considering how far off course I was, headed out for lap 2…made a mental note to account for the current…was better, but still got blown off course, and ended up putting more ‘effort’ into my stroke coming in on the last leg to battle back to the course line…out of the water in just over 53:28 minutes I was happy 🙂

The bike course is all hills all the time, 4 loops, featuring a stiff 2 mile uphill.  Maintaining around 210 Watts, on the flat’ish sections, 240’ish on the stiffer uphill, and off the power on the steep downhill once the speed exceeded my gearing at over 35MPH…that steep twisting downhill was a blast 🙂 …and then repeat 4 times.  There was one, small aid station at the beginning of the steep uphill, so I ended up stopping each time to reload water and Gatorade rather than trying to juggle 2 bottles…maybe cost a minute each time for maybe 4 minutes total time.

Legs were strong for the entire ride, nutrition and hydration dialed in, and primarily working to keeping power down to the race plan power on the uphills…I kept leaking up to 270-300 Watts if I didn’t really watch it…so lots of power to spare for the 3:05:37 bike ride…about as close as I could have gotten to my race plan power with my gearing setup…so ‘excellent’.

The run course is 2 loops…mainly a soft surface path through the woods and compacted gravel out towards the Half turnaround.  I felt well hydrated coming off the bike, although for the first few miles, my quads were feeling quite stiff from the ride…I guess a bit too much ‘push’ up some of those hills with my less than ideal gearing…so I stayed to the race plan of an easy first 3 miles to the 5K marker

…my legs were starting to ease up a bit, although by 10K I was starting to feel a bit dehydrated, so stopped at the next aid station to make sure that I got enough to drink, although by 12K, my right hamstring was threatening to cramp, so at the next aid station, took a salt tablet, lots of water, and that eased it up, as I stopped at the next few aid stations to combine the cups of water or Gatorade to make sure that I was getting enough

…by 15K I felt back in balance, made sure that I was drinking enough going in, and rolled along comfortably to the finish with a 2:05:16 run…cool!

On the run a few additional stops to say hello to a couple of my daughters friends that had come out to cheer us on, and then with my daughter who had decided to pack it in early on the run…but lives to race another day.

And the best part of the day…after getting up at 4am, and burning over 5,000 exercise calories over 6 hours, a wonderful dinner at a local steakhouse, with my beautiful daughter…it just doesn’t get any better than that 🙂

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