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Big Kahuna 1/2 Ironman Race Report (Triathlon)
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roughster


Sep 8, 2003, 3:23 PM
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Big Kahuna 1/2 Ironman Race Report (Triathlon)
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Three Events, Three Concerns

One of the greatest appeals triathlons have to me is the “multi-event” aspect. Everyone seems to naturally take to one event or another, hell maybe even two, but it is rare to find the person who considers all three events a “strength”. What this means to me is that I can use events I feel I am decent at as a mental pacifier for the events I am not so good.

For me, I have always felt that my biking (although not a strength in terms of “everyone” just in terms of me) is my “thank God event”. Once on the bike, I know I could just spin away pretty much all day in relative “peace”. And that was especially good going into the Big Kahuna since my knees were in question.

I sometimes wonder if ITB is truly what it is since the pain seems to be lower on the knee that what most people say is usual. I blame the sports doc if it is misdiagnosed, but either way it has sent me on a crash course with trying to get my ITB better. My prescription was: RICE, reduction in mileage, orthodics, 4 weeks PT, and new pedals (Speedplay specifically recommended due to largest float).

So I have been going to physical therapy for about 3 weeks to work on my ITB. Ironically enough, before that I had taken a few weeks of reduced mileage after Pacific Crest and focused on a lot of stretching and easy running. Right before I start PT, I had worked my mileage back up to the 8-10 mile range w/o pain. Now the result of the last 3 weeks of PT are I can barely run 3 miles w/o pain. I am not sure if the aggressive deep tissue or stretching is slightly aggravating it or not, but I am beginning to question whether or not I should keep going. Further complicating the situation, my orthodics came in Friday morning and my trip down to the Podiatrists to pick them up came with this warning:

“DO NOT wear them for any run longer than 2-3 miles for a week or two!”

“Umm I was thinking about doing a ½ Ironman, which is a 13 mile run..”

“I would seriously advise against that!”

So now the dilemma of do I wear the inserts or do I not… I did a 3 mile run Friday night as soon as I got home and I didn’t seem to notice and unusual pain. I decided to wear them after all :) Despite the warnings. Anyways, all of this had made me a bit cautious about the 13.1 mile run. Concern #1

Too make matters worse, as I well advertised in some of my recent postings, for some strange reason (I blame it on Shark Week on the Discovery Channel) I started sweating the swim. The “mileage” (1.2 miles) was not the issue, but rather the fact that Santa Cruz is in the lower portion of the “Red Triangle” was a bit perturbing. Even worse-er (yes I know that’s not a word ;) ) was the fatal attack in SLO 2 weeks ago. Now that in itself was bad (suspected 18 foot Great White), but while reading up on the situation on line, I stumbled across stuff like this:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030829/ap_on_re_us/shark_summer_2

Now I lived and surfed once or twice a week in SoCal while going to school, and sharks never really entered my mind. For some reason since moving up north, they have taken a front and prominent role in my mind as it is related to local beaches. While this race would offer up great opportunity to face and over come those fears, it was…Concern #2.

But alas, we get to my saving grace the bike. Surely no concerns here right? Wrong. Race day morning at 4:30 AM, I find myself assembling my bike (took it apart to fit it in the back of the minivan) only to notice a strange “smudge” on my rear tire. Upon closer inspection, I was greeted with the knowledge that it was not a smudge as initially thought, but rather a patch about ¼” wide by ½” long of no rubber. Somehow I had accidentally locked up my brakes at some point in the last few days, or it got “shaved” crossing a railroad track etc… Either way, my options were limited. Nothing would be open before the race, I didn’t have a spare tire with me, so I did the best I could.

Rummage, rummage, rummage through the bag’o goodies and woohoo there it is! If you read my last Xterra report you probably realize that it taught me a great lesson. ALWAYS carry duct tape with you to the race! Well that’s what I had found, and that’s what I was going to use. I cut a strip of tape just slightly larger than the rubberless section and then put it on and rubbed vigorously. It appeared to be a pretty good adhesion, but needless to say, Concern #3 had just arrived. Would the duct tape hold up? Only time would tell! As a precautionary measure, I threw in an extra tube in my saddle bag (I normally only race with one), but I figured it could be a long day on the bike.

So that lays the ground work. Plan was to head down Friday night, but the wife nixed that when we found out that she was unable to switch her night class to a day class. Then the plan was early Saturday morning, but that got nixed when we realized my daughters Soccer photos were at 10 AM, then to make it even worse, my daughters best friend’s birthday was Sunday, and her parents had told her that she could invite one friend to go to the beach with them… Needless to say, she chose Megan so Megan was torn on what to do. In the end, she decided to go to the beach with her friend, which set a cascade of last moment events in place which actually allowed Bren (my wife = Brenda), Max (my two year old son), and I to leave on time early Sat morning.

We get to Santa Cruz in great time, and we wander over to the Expo to sign up. Between late fees (I should have registered online but I didn’t due to the “concerns”), parking, USAT (I really should just join), etc… I ended up dropping over $200. OUCH! For a ½ IM that’s pretty stiff! We walked the Boardwalk and hiked out to the end of the pier to give my son a chance to see the Sea Lions. I also wanted to get a perspective on exactly just how far I was going to have to swim. From the end of the pier looking back towards shore seemed a pretty good distance, if I only knew then that we would be swimming WELL beyond the pier then I am not sure if I would have been very happy heheh.

By the time we got back to the car, it was closing in on 1 PM so we decided to head to the bike course to see what I was up against. Pretty much always on a slight grade up or down with a few steep hills mixed in. Nothing killer though like at Pacific Crest though thank goodness :) One thing of note though was the wind. It was blowing like mad! That combined with a few of the steep hills could make things fun! Seeing it blowing like that provided some incentive to finish the bike before it could start howling like that!

Back in Santa Cruz at 3PM, so we headed down to the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant where a few other triathletes I know were meeting. We arrived earlier than expected, and decided to eat a full meal since the plan was just to snack up while talking with the others. Eventually other people started to arrive that I had a suspicion might be Oliver and gang, and eventually it was pretty obvious when I caught the phrase “Big Kahuna” being tossed around. Bren and I packed up Max and walked over and introduced ourselves. We had about 30 mins left on the 2 hour meter and that also worked out well time-wise because we still hadn’t found our “hosts” house, which was one of Brenda’s good high school friends who lived in Santa Cruz and had offered up their guest bedroom to us.

It was great to be sitting there with a bunch of other people enthusiastic about this weird sport called triathlons that everyone else who I mention it to just looks at you with the strange, “Are you stupid or something?” look. On top of that, all of them, Amy, Alex (once again I hope that is right!), Martin, and Oliver (and their associated families) were great! Max and Oliver’s daughter hit it off right away and were soon screaming their heads off and running in fast paced orbit circling our table (I’m sure much to the dismay of the Bar Patrons ;) ). The ½ hour was up fast though and we had to go find the house and meet Bren’s friends. I wished everyone good luck at the race tomorrow and we headed out.

In reality this part turned out great as her friends lived about 3 blocks from the Boardwalk which made race day a breeze! We went out for dinner, again, so I just ordered some nachos and snacked. Before I knew it 8PM had rolled around and we were still talking at the restaurant. I begged out and told Brenda I would just jog back to the house to get some sleep, but they all decided it was time to go back anyways.

I hit the sack at 9 PM but actually didn’t get to sleep around 11PM due to the conversation still going on in the front room, but I did eventually drift off. 4 AM rolled around quick enough and I tried to be as quiet as possible. The initial plan was for me to make breakfast for myself in the morning, but I knew I was being loud and banging around, so I left the house as soon as I could w/o breakfast. I figured I could grab something on the way down…. OOPS! Forgot to stop on the ride down, probably due to the fact that when I noticed the big “shaved” part of my tire all I could think about was OHHH CRAP! I rode my bike down to the transition with my transition-bag slung over my shoulder. When I got down I set up my stuff and chewed down a Cliff Bar. It would have to serve!

I saw Martin and Oliver nearby and walked over to talk shop and burn the 1 hour+ before the race was to begin. A curious side effect of not eating a big breakfast was that I didn’t have to hit the porta-potties one million times ;) , but I wonder if it robbed me of some energy later in the day? Oh well!

Before we knew it, they were marking bodies and doing last minute checks. Oliver and I had pretty close in the T-area so we wetsuited up and headed down. A quick dip revealed the water temp really wasn’t that bad (Pier Life Guard board said 59-60 degrees). Good news is I had my seal mask now for a second race and no leaks to report :) 6:45 they gave us the usual pre-race speal and before you knew it 7AM and the Elites/Males 29-under were in the water heading out to sea! I saw Brenda on the pier and had just enough time to run over and give her and Max a kiss before our wave lined up. 3-2-1-Boom!

http://www.trinewbies.com/...oto.asp?photoid=1149
Male 30-34 Age Group hits the water

Off we went! A short run out as the water got deep quick, and the endless cycle began. Our group was pretty large, but there wasn’t much contact. I bounced off a few people, but all in all, I would say that this was the mildest swim I have participated in. I found some feet and followed them pretty much to the end of the pier, but then noticed they were still going straight! I popped up to see if there was a buoy to our left but there wasn’t, but sure enough there was one straight ahead, albeit a good way further out.

I grabbed the next set of feet that passed and followed that to the next buoy only to look up and see that there was ANOTHER buoy even further straight out. I was wondering what the heck was going on! After hitting this buoy we made a left…straight into the sun and sighting was a bitch. I followed some feet and hoped that somehow they knew where they were going! They did and soon enough we made another left and started heading back into shore.

Now through all this the “shark” issue never really crossed my mind, until the return leg in. The good thing I rationalized to myself was I was dead smack in the middle of a large pack of swimmers. Chances of being singled out??? Very low! I was pretty psyched to also see that most of my fellow swimmers were Silver Caps (30-34 Males) which means I was hanging with the main group and didn’t get dropped. That was cool as I have slacked on my swimming training quite a bit, but it seems I have been able to hold my somewhat adequate form after all. I hit the beach and popped up…right next to Oliver! Heheh that was cool, and we ran up the beach together and into T1. I checked my HR monitor only to see it got reset somehow during the swim :( Probably from getting slapped by another swimmer. Oh well!

http://www.trinewbies.com/...oto.asp?photoid=1150
Coming out of the water

Swim Times: 00:44:47 Swim/Bike Transition:00:06:38 Swim Rank: 281

Yeah I could definitely do myself a favor here time wise, but I wanted to triple check the duct tape, which seemed to be holding up, and I also had to hit the pisser. Loaded up and was soon on the bike course.

http://www.trinewbies.com/...oto.asp?photoid=1151
That’s me on the right in the blue.

Anyways, the bike course started with a short steep hill, then headed out some bumpy residential streets, eventually linking up to PCH Highway 1. As mentioned earlier, I knew that it was pretty much gradual hills either up or down the whole way and that’s exactly what I got. Pretty a nonstop conga line ahead and behind me, so I really paid attention to my positioning. I saw a Official Motorcycle pass me and stalk some guys in front of me that did seem to be sustaining a pretty small distance. I saw the pad come out, so someone got dinged.

I just dug in and did what I could. I tried to take advantage of “free speed” anytime I could be not coasting all the down hills and I hit over 45 several times. Everything was going great as I approached the turn around only to skip my chain off coming out of the granny ring (heheh). Sure enough had to pull over and flick it back on costing me a few seconds as well as some greased up hands. I am not complaining though as I had expected to most likely had at least one flat by now, but Mr. Duct Tape seemed to be holding up still at the 28 Mile mark! Back on the bike and hit the turn around and then it was fun fun as the tail wind was pretty decent at some times and that really helped keep the speed up. I noticed A LOT of people on the sides fixing flats and wasn’t sure how I was avoiding joining them, but miraculously enough the tire held up all the way back in. Coming down the final descent I saw Bren and Max and waived at them as I headed into the transition…and guess who was right in front of me….Oliver.

Bike Time:02:39:13 Bike/Run Transition:00:02:00 Bike Rank: 163

I beat him out of the transition to the run, but I never saw him from that point on. He must have passed me somewhere on the run course, but I never saw him. Too bad though as it would have been nice to pace with him as he obvious paced faster than I did heheh :)

The run started across the beach and then up to the same steep hill the bike started and finished on. Struggled up that then hit West Cliff Path which is pretty much flat and windy paralleling the shoreline. I took it easy for the 1st three miles as I really wanted to get a feel for how my knees were going to react and I didn’t want to aggravate them by switching from the bike to hard core run mode right off the bat.

I saw Alex not too far in and he looked to be struggling with some leg cramps. I offered up some salt tablets but he said he was good, so I kept on. The miles started churning by and I could tell from my HR that I was making good time at around 7.5 min/miles, which slowly dropped to high 7s and low 8s. But by the time I hit the turn around at the Tiki, 6.5 miles, my knees weren’t hurting and I was still feeling pretty good. I knew if I kept up my pace I could crack 5:30:00 total time so I stayed on top of it. Until……

Mile 9. I could tell by the twingy feeling in my left knee that it was going to hit soon. Right about then I saw Amy on the run course as well. I tried to give her some encouragement as I passed (think I yelled something like, “You got it!”) and then kept going. Right before I saw the 10 mile sign it kicked in. The pain is very general and it is hard to pinpoint, but I can tell you it hurts like hell. I started to slow down a bit as I just was really get used to the pain. I knew that if I could get “used” to it, I could probably pick my pace back up for the last few miles. And that’s what I did. By 10.5 I was in just as much pain, but at least then I had grown accustomed to the rhythmic lancing pain and just realized every other step was going to hurt. I picked my pace back up and found another guy who was running pretty close to the same pace as me.

We kind of played tag exchanging leads for a while till I hit mile 12 and I just decided to give it a go. I took off knowing that I could suffer out the last mile, and everything was fine until the loose sand section gaining access to the actual water line. OUCH! Was the closest I came to walking the whole time. I barely had enough juice to power through and then it just became a head down till the end affair.

http://www.trinewbies.com/...oto.asp?photoid=1152
I really had to keep looking down as any misstep was excruciating especially on the left leg

I saw Bren about 0.1 miles from the end (that’s where that shot was taken) and I smiled and ground it out till the end.

Run Time:01:52:10 Run Rank:199

OVERALL: 05:24:48 Rank:187 out of 692 Group Rank:35 out 112 Sex Rank:164 out 489

Before long Oliver and Martin found me, man did those guys haul some serious ass. Martin almost went sub 5, and Oliver did 05:12!

http://www.trinewbies.com/...oto.asp?photoid=1153
Alex, Me, Martin, Oliver post race.

Brenda came up with Max and the friends that were we staying with. Since she (Brenda’s friend) was pregnant they wanted to get out of the sun ASAP, so I couldn’t hang out for too long at the finish line, but I won’t complain about getting back and taking a nice shower so quickly after the race :) About an hour later, I really started feeling hungry, so we went out to a local Brew/Pub (can’t remember the name) but the food was great. After that ran back down to the finish line to check and see if official times were posted, and they were. I was pretty psyched to see 05:24:48 as that is over an hour faster than my Pacific Crest time of 06:25:35. Considering the long swim, right now it looks like the swim was re-clocked at 1.6 miles, I’ll take that and be real happy about that!

This was the first race where I felt like I knew someone else there instead of the usual just feeling like one in a huge crowd!

Also, thanks for reading, as I know this was a long one!!!!


caughtinside


Sep 8, 2003, 4:06 PM
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Re: Big Kahuna 1/2 Ironman Race Report (Triathlon) [In reply to]
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Nice TR!
I think there's a couple pictures on here now of you gritting your teeth and shuffling across a finish line, heh heh.

I heard there was sizable surf this weekend, you see any?


roughster


Sep 8, 2003, 10:15 PM
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I saw some guys surfing a wall reform that was pretty sweet but barely more than an ankle biter. PCH was loaded with cars though so i think some of the northern breaks were probably going off!


dalai


Sep 8, 2003, 11:00 PM
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Nice trip report. Bad news about the knee, but the Californiaman is still some time off fortunately for you to get it sorted.
I noticed in this and your earlier 1/2 tri TR you stopped to pee both times just after getting out of the water. Just go in your wet suit shortly before reaching the shore, saves a few seconds, as does just going on the bike.


roughster


Sep 9, 2003, 2:24 AM
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In reply to:
Nice trip report. Bad news about the knee, but the Californiaman is still some time off fortunately for you to get it sorted.
I noticed in this and your earlier 1/2 tri TR you stopped to pee both times just after getting out of the water. Just go in your wet suit shortly before reaching the shore, saves a few seconds, as does just going on the bike.

Heheh its not from a lack of trying, I just haven't mastered the "relax enough to pee, but still keep on swimming" kind of deal. I have two events I need to master "peeing on the fly" for Swim and Bike.

Is there a book out there for that? :lol:


dalai


Sep 9, 2003, 4:20 PM
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No books that I know of!! :wink: Peeing in your wetsuit the first time is really difficult because it goes against what you know is 'normal'. But it does get easier.

Couple of tricks for peeing on the bike:

Make sure you have water in a bidon to wash off after with -nothing like spraying sticky sports drink down your front.

As you'll probably need to stand up to pee, choose a downhill (the first time I tried this I nearly stopped rolling as it was flat terrain)

Make sure no one is behind you - though if they are that close, they must be drafting and deserve it.

My first Ironman I got off the bike 3 times during that leg to pee as I was concerned about being hydrated and so drank a lot. Peeing on the bike saves many valuable minutes. It also works during the run, though the time savings aren't as great.

As for your knees, hopefully the orthodics will do the trick. I have had knee trouble on and off the last four years. ITB being too tight was one issue.
Another earlier problem was a Patella tracking problem. Where the inner quad (VMO?) was weaker, so on every stride the tight and stronger ITB side of the quad was pulling the kneecap across to the outside. It created inflamation and much pain. Get a physio to check it out, I was shown how to tape my kneecaps with fixomul tape (get a physio to show the technique for this - you will get strange looks running with tape on both knees but it worked) and doing exercises to strengthen the weaker muscles. I haven't had this problem since 2000.
Keep the TR's coming - I've been enjoying reading your lead up to next year.

Ciao Martin


onelung


Sep 9, 2003, 5:24 PM
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Nice story,way to break a sweat!

The quote I'll add to this is
"Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the World together"- Carl Zwanzig

I spend considerable time in the ocean and occasionally think of my shark toothed friends but I have to believe they will remain just that...Friends. And after far more than 100 face to face cordial meetings with galapagos, white tip, black tip, hammerhead, and tiger sharks I still wonder if there is a rogue out there looking for me. But that wont keep me out of the water on almost a daily basis. Swimming being my weak event in tri's! Gotta work on that.

SO any plans on a Kona Trip?

All the best,
bill


roughster


Sep 9, 2003, 8:14 PM
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Thanks Dalai! I like writing the reports almost as much as doing the races :) I'm sure things will get pretty hairball going into Californiaman :lol: Yeah I can and do (from surifng) pee in my suit if the need arises when I get in due to the cold, but I just can't actively swim and release. I can tread water and piss, but not crawl.

As for the bike, lol, I don't even know if I want to learn. Pissing on myself in a non-aqueous solution just doesn't really sound that appealing even though it will surely save some time. Maybe on IM #2....doh, now you have me committed to two of them ;)

Onelung: I agree 100%. Duct ape has got o be one of the single greatest inventions of all time. KUDOS to Mr Duct! :lol: As for sharks, this race helped alot due to the fact that it just made me realize that during a race it is absolutely pointless to worry about sharks in the middle of a huge crowd like that. ow maybe on a long solo open water swim I would start sweating it a bit more, but I think I'll keep my solo open water swims to lakes :D


onelung


Sep 9, 2003, 8:23 PM
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Actually 9 out of 10 of my swims are over a mile offshore and they are all solo. Its hard to put into words but a beautiful thing indeed. Even when currents suck and seas are up and winds at 25 knots, its all good. It does play with the mind, but hell I took more chances biking to work in the morning than swimming alone offshore. And it would take concrete or a shark to get me to drown.

Cal man.....No Kona?

I put in for the 2004 raffle. we'll see?!

bill


roughster


Sep 9, 2003, 8:25 PM
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Yeah I plan on entering for the raffle as well basically from here on out. Eventually I will get to Kona :)


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