Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 Ironman Kansas 70.3 Race Report - 6/12/11

WHAT : 2011 Ironman Kansas 70.3

WHERE : Clinton Lake State Park, Lawrence, Kansas

DISTANCE : Triathlon :  1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run - 70.3 miles

  • First Raced the IMKS in 2009.  Bonked on the run.  Sucked on the swim. Respectable on the bike.
  • Attempted in 2010 but got sidetracked by flat tires.
  • Past Results

The weather forecast was not looking pleasant.  The entire week was showing thunderstorms with 80% chances and possible severe weather.  Rain, cold, heat I can work with, but you can't do much with severe weather.  As soon as lightening is in the area, the race would be cancelled.  Storms were to roll in around midnight Saturday and last until 1pm Sunday.  So it was pretty much going to be a telling sign if everyone was woken up by thunderstorms in the middle of the night.

I was especially bumbed after my 2010 disappointment at this race... not to mention paying the entry fees, training, putting my family through the process and getting mentally excited to do the race!

Luckily the Best Western we stayed at in Lawrence was a distraction.  Our Priceline reservation was for a non-smoking room.  We showed up to get the back building, smoking room, next to rooms where they had 5 to 6 people per room. Price was right, I guess. People were walking the balconies at all hours.  My wife and I didn't really sleep well.

BUT on the bright side NO RAIN!  Woke up for the 3:45am wakeup call to find dry pavement, no lightening and no thunder!  RACE WAS ON!

  • Check out the pre-race-day meal plan... hello Chipotle!
  • No rain!  There was some lightening to the south but it never made it's way to the area.  We dodged a bullet!
  • Since I had number tats there was no need to stop in for body marking.  I departed early enough to get a parking spot in lot A, which was close enough to walk and not wait for a shuttle bus.
  • It's a two transition race so I needed to be proactive enough to pack a separate bag for T1 and leave all other gear and bags at T2.  I did that the day before because who's thinking straight to do that at 3:45am?
  • Here's the explosion of race supplies, and the final pack up.  They even gave us a bigger back to cram T1 stuff in so they would transport it to T2 for us.  Nice job, Ironman!

T1 before the big show.


T1 with TMAT Pro Setup

SWIM : 1.2 miles - 40:28 - ranked 401 - 2:07 min / 100 yards

The wife and I before show time.  As you can see, she got cut out because lets face it, it was all about me... right?  KIDDING!

Stretching out before jumping in the washing machine.
  • It wasn't the free-for-all triathlon start that beat me up, it was the 2 to 3 foot cresting waves being blown into the marina we were swimming in.  I've never been abused that much by the water.  I was drowned, drop kicked and body slammed more times that I could count.
  • Oddly enough, I ranked a lot better than 2009 even though I had the same swim time.  A true testament to my swim training.  That water was unreal!
BIKE : 56 miles - 3:09:48 - ranked 691 - 17.7 mph
  • The wheels fell off.  Not literally but that was not my best day on the bike.
  • As you can see from my Garmin report, I was holding a strong average 15 miles into it but then we hit the first turnaround and BAM... in to the wind.
  • I'm not sure what the deal was, but my back started killing me at mile 20.  Maybe it was extra effort on the swim.  Maybe it was fighting the hill and wind.  I'm not sure, but I plan on implementing more core work to strengthen and improve my posture and some hill work on the bike.  That MUST improve!
  • Another thing that threw me off was I added my time up wrong to figure what I needed to do on the run to get under 6 hours.  For some reason I came to the conclusion I needed an 1:20 minute half marathon to get under 6.  My best is 1:41.  I was rolling into T2 pissed thinking I ruined my sub 6 half on the bike.  Turns out I just added wrong and I had 2 hours to get it done.  No problem.  ;)

T2 : I don't usually review transitions, but I had to for this race.
  • T2 and the race almost ended.
  • I understand that Ironman events usually involve your support system. Your spouse/significant other, your parents, friends and your kids. I even get that you like seeing them on the course for support. What I don't get is why you would leave your West bound run lane, cross in front of the East bound runners, and then cross the West bound bike-in to T2 lane and hug your daughter and not look as you try and run back to your run lane. All the while crossing 2 lanes of cones obviously put there to STOP YOU FROM DOING THAT! Why am I so avid about this? Because I was the fortunate rider coming in to T2 when this guy pulled this stunt. Lucky for him I saw him run across the lanes (not looking) to hug his daughter and as a somewhat seasoned bike rider, I always plan for the worst. This guy did not disappoint as I came by to pass him he didn't look and ran right out in front of me.
  • Had I not started breaking and slowed enough to come to a screeching halt (since he stood there with a deer in the headlights look when I yelled at him), I would have creamed him. Race over dude. Me on a bike going 10 to 12 mph versus you standing there looking stupid = you probably with broken bones.
  • And to correct a lady next to me wife (of which my wife saw the whole thing) it was not my duty to watch out for him and anticipate his lack of self awareness. It's his duty to STAY IN HIS RUNNING LANE! It's a race, there are cones for a reason. Bikes, runners, and cars are all good reasons to play it safe and wait for the huge after you cross the line.
    See the below depiction of events.
  • How things are SUPPOSE to go.
  • How they went. WRONG. FAIL. See how it gets confusing when you add in extra arrows and directions?  Get off the course before you hurt someone.
RUN : 13.1 miles  - 1:53:43 - ranked 570 - 8:40 min/mile
  • I needed a 2 hour half to make it under 6 hours for sure, so 1:53 worked.  It was a MUCH more enjoyable run with the adjustments for nutrition and avoiding the bonk after mile 7 like in 2009.
  • It was fun passing all of the studs that hammered the bike course only to have nothing left for the run.  It's endurance, not a sprint.
  • There were a few cramp moments at mile 11, a few light headed moments, but I played it cool, kept my pace, took in drink at aid stations when I felt the need and kept up with my GU concoction every 3 miles.  The only walk moments were at every 3 miles to get to my hydration for a minute.
  • I love it when a plan comes together.

OVERALL : 05:49:55 - 570 / 1476 overall - 97 age group
  • While I'm happy with improving from 2009 by 12 minutes, I was disappointed with the fact I added 15 minutes to the bike.  I was sure I could hold the speed from 2009 and improve the run putting me closer to a 5:30 HIM.  Oh well.  At least there's IM Boulder!
  • Swim - It was what it was
  • Bike - Needs improvement
  • Run - Spot on
  • Registration
    • Online and easy, check.
  • Communication
  • Packet Pickup
    • HERE's my take on that.
    • The IM "village" was interesting but it wasn't exactly an experience I couldn't live without.
  • Goodie Bag
    • Not much in the way of hand outs - mini wheaties box and a sample detergent.
    • BIGGER bag for T1 packing, check!  NICE!
    • T-shirt, check
    • Race supplies and numbers, check
    • Nylon race bag, check.
    • Coupons, just one for IM Branson, which if you read my blog you'll know I'm not a big fan.  I'd do the race but they would need to do some serious reconsideration of their no refund or transfer policy due to the fact I missed the race when my son was born and in intensive care for 2 weeks last year.  They stood behind their policy and didn't offer anything in return even though the hotel gave me a full refund.  Oh well.
  • Arrival / Parking
    • Get there early and you get lot A which is only 1/2 mile walk.  Doable.  Get there later and you are in lot B or C and you have to wait for a shuttle.
    • They had it set up pretty good and well organized.
  • Port-a-potties
    • They sported 10 to 15 johns at T1.  Sufficient. 
  • Course
    • Two aid stations on the bike with water bottle exchange, check.
    • Aid stations - at every 1.5 mile on run or less, check.
    • Sports drinks and water options at each station, check.
    • Gels at stations, check.
    • Quality streets, some day they need to repave the first out and back - chip seal.
    • Closed to traffic, nope.
    • Accuracy of markers, sort of.  I was around 0.50 miles off with my Garmin on the bike.
    • Ample volunteers, check.
    • Good course markings, check.
  • Finish Line
    • Water, check.
    • Finisher medal, check.
    • Someone to take your timing chip off, check.
    • Ample space, check.
    • Chrissie Wellington handing out medals, check!
  • Post Race Accommodations
    • Food options more than bananas and bagels?  They had pretzels, chips, pulled pork, pop, and water, check.
    • Sports drinks, check.
    • Tents, check.
    • Post race massage area, yes but didn't partake.  Laying down led to MAJOR cramps in 2009.  Need to keep walking to stay loose.
    • DJ, check.
    • Someplace you could hang out with friends and family and relive the race, check
  • Would I Come Back
    • Yes
  • Would I Recommend to a Friend
    • Yes
Fill out a survey if you ran any of the races!  I'm trying to get a good database going.

It's a well organized event.  This is the 4th year and although I usually sign up with the mindset that it's in my back yard, so why not, I see it as an A race.  I'm not a HUGE Ironman fan when it comes to the corporate aspect but I have to admit aside from the T2 traffic issue, it was well organized, supported and ran.  Good work, Ryan Robinson.

Thanks to Planet-x for the help on getting the sweet wheels and the tri kit!
Thanks also to SockGuy socks, FLUID Recovery, Xterra wetsuits and TMAT.  I am the hookup in the KC area so drop me a line if you are interested in a TMAT PRO.
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