Short Version :
Swim – 42:19
T1 – 4:07
Bike – 2:56:37
T2 – 2:58
Longer Version :
Goals for the race :
2-Beat Shariq aka the running god
2017 has been pretty uneventful when it came to racing. I usually do about 3 races in a year , but this year it was just one. I signed up for Tempe 70.3 with 3 of my other friends – Shariq , Sangram and Mary. Sangram broke his arm a couple of months before the race which put him out of action.
My preparation for the race wasn’t where I would have liked to be . I had to relocate from Michigan to California for work in June, I had an ear infection later on and then later on it was my back and then I just had trashy month of training where my performance went downhill. I was just glad to make it to the starting line.
Pre Race :
Sangram , Mary , Jahnavi and I drove from San Diego to Tempe. On our way we hit a border patrol checkpoint in Arizona and we were asked to present our visa copies etc to show that we are here legally. We just had our licenses on us, we were not carrying our passports and our visa copies. After making us wait the border patrol officer lectured us as to how we should carry our visa documents at any given point in time and the license with us isn’t good enough proof to show that we are here legally. This highway was just a few miles from the Mexican border , hence the scruitny. He obviously ran our licenses and figured out we were here legally and then let us go. Once we reached Tempe, Shariq and I got race wheels set up on our bikes and headed to the expo with the rest of our support crew to drop our bikes off and pick up our packets.
Arizona was hot and dry. The moment we reached Arizona I just could not get enough water. Even in my room with the AC on , I was thirsty , my lips felt chapped and my throat was dry . I just could not seem to get enough water.
This year for some reason we were overly relaxed when it came to pre race prep , we were LATE on race morning, we did not bother looking up road closures etc. I think we made it to the transition area at 6:25 and Shariq’s wave started at 6:30. I was still in the transition at 6 35 trying to tape gels to Shariq’s and my bike while he left for his wave. To make matters worse I had clipped my nails before the race , I just could not open the fuckin tape. I think it was Jahnavi who helped me open the tape then ( She was standing near the transition ). I also forgot to fill in water in my front bottle and then realized that Shariq’s bike was missing his water bottles. I stepped out of transition to get his stuff but wasn’t allowed back in. A volunteer at the transition area agreed to go and put the bottles on Shariq’s bike. At the end of it considering how late we were , it worked out pretty well. Once the bikes were set up Mary and I had ample time , almost an hour and half till our waves got going. So we just took pictures !
Goal Time : 38:00
Actual Time : 42:19
My swim prep this year was minimal. I probably swam twice a week, not more than 2000 yards and I did not start swimming till it was mid July. Talk about overconfidence. My swim sessions were around 45 min . Last year I was spending about 90 minutes in the water .
My swim did not start till 8:05 , which gave me plenty of time to relax but by 7:50 Am or so , the sun was out and I was starting to sweat in my wetsuit and I had realized the night before that starting the swim at 8:05 mean I would be start running a half marathon at NOON and it would be around 96 degrees. This was my first open water swim of the year , there were buoys every 100m and sighting wasn’t that bad considering the sun was already out. The race was wetsuit legal and the water felt comfortable . Not too cold not too warm. I felt alright during the swim , passed a few people from the wave before me. When I came out of the water and saw my garmin , it was 42 min , I was a little disappointed but from what I had read earlier, people usually have slower swim times in Arizona. At grand rapids last year I swam the same distance in 37 minutes, but then comparing open water race time’s isn’t the same as comparing your times in a pool. I came out of the water , I saw Sangram and Jahnavi which bought a smile to my face. and words of encouragement always make you run a bit faster . Before I started my swim , Shariq was already done with his and already on the bike and I knew he had completed the swim in 41 min or so , so I knew my chances of beating him were slipping away as there was no way I was going match his run time .
Goal Normalized Power : 180 Watts
Actual Normalized Power : 175 Watts
Actual Goal Time : Low 2:50’s
Actual Time: 2:56
My bike prep this year was full of ups and down’s . I had done a few 70 mile outdoor rides to Oceanside. I had my FTP go up from 200 to 220 in the first 6 week of prep, but then I struggled to maintain it and eventually my FTP plummeted to around 210 I think.
The bike course consists of three 18 mile loops , which is relatively flat but a shit load of turns. I think maybe a total of 90 turns in 3 loops ? I felt pretty comfortable on the bike, on the flat and relatively longer sections of the road I saw my average speed above 22 MPH which is good news in my head. The course had quite a few turn arounds and 90 degree turns and then multiply that by 3. It breaks your rhythym, as the day progressed it was getting hotter. Unlike my previous races, I did not have an urge to pee on the bike, because it was pretty warm. The second half felt like a drag because the bike course was getting deserted( My age group was the last wave to start ) to start and it was hot and I usually push my self harder by trying to keep up with bikes ahead of me, but when the bike course is empty , it’s sort of dull and it’s hard to push yourself. During the bike course I saw Jahnavi and Sangram once , it’s always good to see your friends and family on the course. It made me happy. I took the last lap a bit easy knowing there was a run ahead of me. Looking at my data , I had a normalized power of 176 Watts with an IF of 81 which I think is spot on pacing for a Half Ironman , I was expecting a 2:50ish bike split, but it was 2:56 :(. Also I sort of knew at this point that I wasn’t going to beat Shariq because I needed to open up a gap on him on the bike , but with a 2:56 bike split, I knew that wasn’t going to work. ( After the race I realized his bike split was a 2:55), so he not only improved his bike time from his previous races but also beat mine. Looking at his run time , I think he went out too hard on the bike.
Goal time not accounting for the heat – 1: 50s
Goal time once I realized I was going to be running at noon : Sub 2 hours
Actual time : 2:04
The moment I started my run I knew it was going to be a tough one. It was HOT AF. The first mile I looked at my watch and my pace was around 7:50 – 8 min a mile , I knew this was unsustainable considering the heat and how thirsty I was . Then I could feel both my quads cramping , but I kept pushing through. ( I later on checked my data and my average moving pace for the first mile was 7:40 a mile, but a pee break and stopping at the aid stations led to a slower average pace ) , clearly I was capable of running after the bike, but the thirst and aid station stops ruined the run for me. I did make it to the first aid station and I just couldn’t get enough water. I think I had 3-4 of those small cups, poured some over my head , then I took some ice and stuffed it in my tri suit and started running again but my thirst was still not quenched , and then not even 400 meters in I was thirsty again and my mouth was dry. This is where I was annoyed because I was not that tired and I knew I could run the distance probably with minimal walk breaks but I was so damn thirsty the entire time . The run was pretty uneventful, just scorching heat burning my soul and making me regret my decisions and just whining in my head about the fact that mine was the last wave to go (1.5 hours from the first wave) , which makes it unfair. My legs felt fine but I was just thirsty and couldn’t quench my thirst. I saw this lady go by me , all I remember was seeing her name on the bib and it said Monica. I tried to keep up with her , and it took me about 20 seconds and I let her go. She was probably running sub 7 min a mile which is out of my league. Later on during the awards , I heard her name being announced as she got a qualifying slot for the 70.3 word championships. Come to think about it, i stopped for at least 30 + seconds at every aid station trying to drink water , Gatorade , drench my self with a few cups and then trying to get some Ice in my tri suit to cool me down. To put things in perspective even if my average moving pace was 8:30 a mile and every aid station stop cost me 30 seconds ( conservative estimate) , 12 to 13 stops ends up costing you about 6 min of your race time. In my head I was thinking if my wave started at 6 30 I would have been done by now and would not have to suffer in this heat. I did have some company on the run which kept me going. At the end of it I was glad I finished. Like every other race , made a jump at the finish line.
My run split was around 2:04 and I was disappointed but then I also knew it’s unrealstic to expect a decent run when its 96 degrees and you start you run at NOON. Shariq ran a 1:49 and he had run a 1:34 at Muncie 70.3 , he also had issues on the run as his tracking anklet came off , so he had to run with it in his hand and bend down at every sensor to make sure his anklet beeped every time he crossed it. I would have loved to race him head to head in the same conditions , but his age group/wave was different ( 30 – 34 ) @6:30 AM and I was in the( 25-29) @ 8:05 AM . I never even saw him on the course. Well there is always next year 🙂
We waited for Mary to finish. She did pretty well considering she took a giant leap from a 5k to a Half Ironman , took a few pics, had dinner and drove down to Page , AZ so we can check out the Horseshoe bend and the Antelope canyon the next day.
Sun’s out , Guns out !
This race left me pondering , should I hire a coach ? I always seem to peak way too early before the race and then struggle to maintain my FTP and it’s been almost 1.5 years I’ve not broke past 220 Watts in my FTP test. That seems to be the ceiling I can’t get past. I had the same issue with Ironman Louisville , where my FTP was highest on the bike in the month of February (220 ish) and then I never improved beyond that and struggled to maintain that FTP till October (214 Wattts). I do feel like I can go faster and have a lot more potential , but I am never in the best shape on race day when it comes to the bike.
I haven’t decided what race I am doing next year , but I really want to break 5:30 in the 70.3 distance and get my FTP to 250 watts and break past the 220 Watt barrier.
Also I realized that this sport is pretty expensive and is burning a hole in my pocket. This led me to look for ways to look for additional sources of income – I.e. Bitcoin Mining with a cloud mining company called genesis mining. You all can do your own research but it’s been working out fine for me. If you all could use my code on genesis mining , I can return the favor 🙂