The weather for the race was near perfect yesterday for the Chisago Half. Water was warm, overcast and cool for the bike, and sunny, but not too hot on the run. My goal was to go under the 5 hour mark, but on paper I thought I could hit these numbers:
Swim: 38 min (1.2 miles)
T1: 3 min
Bike: 2 hr, 30 min (56 miles)
T2: 2 min
Run: 1 hr, 40 min (13.1 miles)
TOTAL TIME GOAL: 4 hrs 53 min
2010 actual = 5 hrs 00 min 58 sec
9th of 66 in AG 35-39, 62nd of apprx 350 men
Here's how it turned out in 2011:
SWIM of 1.2 miles
Goal time: 38 min
Seriously, the same exact time. However, the swim course was so poorly laid out that I am pretty sure I could have went under 38 minutes and everyone else would have had a faster time as well. The swim was a simple out n back so it shouldn't have been too tough to follow, but it was really foggy and you couldn't see from one marker to the next and they didn't have any noodles between them. Also, when standing on the beach you could see that the markers were not in a very a very straight line. The life guards/boats should have been in the middle, between the markers--not randomly on the outsides. Easy for me to judge as a participant, right. Anyway, I think many of us swam quite a bit extra swerving off, then back on, course.
T1 (transition from swim to bike)
Goal time: 3 min
2010= 2 min 10 sec
2011= 2 min 31 sec
I wanted to take my time and not rush it so I could start the bike section calmly and with everything I need. I lightly jogged up the beach, grabbed a cup of water from a volunteer, stopped, drank it down and went to my bike.
BIKE of 56 miles
Goal time: 2 hrs 30 min
2010= 2 hrs 32 min 16 sec
2011= 2 hrs 30 min 38 sec
I missed my goal by a little bit, but I'm happy with the ride I put in. The route is mostly flat with a couple rollers and some false flats. Low wind, but within a route that covers 56 miles and several turns, you inevitably had headwinds, tailwinds, and crosswinds which pretty much balanced out. I stuck to my nutrition plan for the most part and took in about 1000-1100 calories while on the bike. Here's what I took down: full Aerobottle of water, 1 regular size bottle of water, 2 packs of Clif Bloks (400 total cals), ABJ sandwich (400 cals?), 1 bottle of HEED sports drink (100 cals). I wasn't sure that would be enough so within the last 5 miles on the bike, I forced down 5 Clif Bloks (166 cals) of a pack of 6. A gamble, but this race was a great time to experiment. The main error I made last year at this race was not enough calories resulting no energy for the run. One note--last year I drank so much on the bike that I had to stop for a nature break just 9 miles in. This year the urge came on about 15 miles in, but I waited till I finished the ride. Did that cost me on the bike having that "I gotta go" feeling? Maybe.
T2 (transition from bike to run)
Goal time: 2 min
2010= 1 min 49 sec
2011= 1 min 55 sec
Again, I didn't want to run and forget anything.
RUN of 13.1 miles
Goal Time: 1 hr 40 min
2010= 1 hr 45 min 51 sec
2011= 1 hr 33 min 57 sec
Right when I left transition and crossed the timing mat to run, I hit the porta-potty. I watched the time tick on my watch and it cost me about 45 seconds. Well worth it though. The first 6 miles went great. I ran all sub 7 minute miles--except for the first one--it was 7:05, but that had the pee break in it so I ran it in about 6:25. I passed probably 20 people in the run and was feeling good, not pushing it to the point of labored breathing. It was steady. I was drinking the whole way thru, but once I got to the turn around at the half way point I started to feel it. I took down a Hammer Gel (90 cals) and hoped that would kick in. The false flats and the hill to the turn around really zapped me. The first person to pass me on the way back was Ruth Brennan Morrey--at about mile 8. I had a feeling she'd catch me as she is a much faster long distance runner than me. In just her third career triathlon (2 this year, one about 9 years ago) and her first half-iron, she ran herself to finish in the money as the 3rd overall women at Chisago in a time of 4:43:19--nice work Ruth! So, after she passed me, no one else caught me for a mile or two, then I really started to suffer. 5-10 guys passed me. I lost count and didn't care at that point. It was survival. That last 1/4 mile on the grass to the park and up the winding paths to the finish line hurt!
All was good in the end though. I managed to improve my bike and run with the swim being a 'push' as I had the same time. Lost a few seconds in the trans, but I think that was for the better as I was more relaxed. The biggest improvement was on the run with just seconds short of a 12 minute drop.
TOTAL TIME 2011:
4 hrs 47 min 57 seconds
5th Age Group 40-44, 40th overall of 468 men (395 finished)