Friday, April 23, 2010

Race Report - RUN - 70.3 New Orleans - 2010

T2: 1:54

The run – TIME: 1:46:08 SPEED: 8:07 RANK: 218

I stopped just short of the dismount line. I unclipped from the pedals and put weight on my legs for the first time in two and a half hours. The legs were strong. There were no wobbles at all. This gave me confidence for the start of the run.

I ran with the bike through the transition area. I passed several people that were walking. One person was walking with their bike in my transition row and I politely said on your left. He moved over and I sprinted to my bike. I quickly racked the bike and took my helmet off. I also sat down to put socks on for the run. I did not want my feet to be the limiting factor on this run. I removed the gps watch from by bike and carried it in my hand. I would put it on my wrist while on the move. Socks on, shoes on, visor on and a gel stuffed in the back pocket of my unitard. I was off.

I looked at my watch and did some quick calculations. My stop watch indicated that I was 3:22 into this race. In my fantasy world I wanted to run close to my marathon pace – that is about 7:10 – which would be just less than a 1:35 half marathon time. I had a couple of minutes to spare.

As I had planned all along, the run is where I was going to “WIN” this race.

I thought to myself, “You have put yourself in position. Now just execute!”

And execute I did. I ran out of transition at a solid pace. Everyone seemed to be running well. In many races, at this distance, there are people walking and cramping right out of T2. This did not seem to be the case this time. Everyone was running well. Everyone was running right around my pace. I could feel the heat. Looking back I did not notice the temperature on bike at all. The bike was not like some of the middle of summer rides were you are dripping sweat on the top tube. I did not even wear a head band or anything on the bike. But at the start of the run I could definitely feel the heat.
Feeling strong

I started to slowly gain on some of the runners but it was slow going. I looked at my gps watch and I was a little faster than I wanted to be – I was running at a 7:05 minute per mile pace. I also needed to pee. I saw a single port-a-loo at the 1 mile water stop. I ran up to it and it was occupied. I knocked on the door and someone said just a second. Thankfully they were quick. I jumped in and unzipped my unitard. Let me tell you – using the facilities in a unitard is not the easiest of endeavors – but I managed. I have never needed to use the bathroom in a race except for the ironman. I guess I had drunk enough water during the bike (and probably some during the swim). It felt like I was in there forever. Actually it was only a minute. Yes – I timed the break. From stop to start it took almost a minute and half for this pit stop. I ran out of the port-a-loo and grabbed a cup of water at the water stop.

From that point on I never saw low 7 minute miles. I knew that I still had a shot at sub-5 but it was going to be difficult. I tried to draw from my training and dial back the run, but only a small amount. I was not going to give up much. Mile two clicked off at around a 7:30 minute per mile pace. If I could maintain it would still be close – real close.

The heat was now really starting to be a factor. I was not sure why I was not able to maintain my paces. After all, I had run a low 7 minutes per mile pace for an entire marathon only a couple of months ago. That is when it hit me. I had run that race when the temperature was in the 50’s. Not only that but I had finished that race by about 10AM. This half ironman run did not start until noon.

I was drinking ice water at each water station to cool off. I saw a lot of people dumping water over their heads. I was already starting to hear squishy shoes as I passed people. I never douse myself with water. I cannot stand water logged feet on a long run. To me that am just asking for trouble.

At this point, I guess from all of the water my stomach started to ache. Once again, I have never had these kinds of issues during a race. I was still very hot by I tried to limit the amount of water I was taking on. I was still drinking but not as much. I did discover a solution. At first I was holding the ice in my hands as I ran. From experiences training during the summer I know that my hands act as radiators for my body. It really has a cooling effect. However, the ice in my hand was not lasting long. It was melting fast and dripping all over the place.

Sprinting it out

The solution that I settled on was to run with the cup of ice and hold it in a claw like fashion. I put my fingers inside the cup and clamped the outside of the cup with my thumb. The ice lasted longer and I still got the cooling effect. It is kind of gross but, if necessary, I was also able to drink while running.

The ice was still melting fast as it pulled heat from my body but it would almost last until the next water station. Now, I was only drinking when I was taking gels. The stomach was still hurting but I knew that I had to continue to fuel my body. Last year I was doing walk breaks later in the run. I was stronger this year. I kept up my revised pace and I would not allow for myself to let 8 minute miles slip away. In the end it did but …
Over and out.

Running down Esplanade I only had a few miles left and I thought to myself, “There will be no walking during the last 3 miles of any race!” When crossing the mile twelve marker I made the decision. I picked up the pace. This was the fastest mile since mile 6. I knew I had a little bit in the tank and I wanted to tap it before it was too late. I was not able to run as fast as I wanted to but I did see improvements in my physical and mental abilities.

TOTAL TIME: 5:08:32 RANK: 235/1655


Jennifer said...

Great race report James and what a terrific race. You always surprise me! Cheers!

lindsay said...

incredible race! i am always impressed (/jealous) of you triathletes who can run a half or full at my speed after all that swimming and biking. congrats!

Ryan said...

Nice work!

Mike said...

Nice job and great report. You look strong in all the pics!

Luke said...

I have been discussign running this race as my first 70.3. I am trying to learn more about it so I googled Race Reports and thought it was great that yours came up at the top. Thanks for the read.