Washington Half Iron 2011 Race Report

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Preface: In the old days, I spent alot of time editing my blog posts to correct grammer and spelling and make the story flow nicely.  I don’t have time for that these days with my demanding job.  So, please forgive the poor writing.  What you see below is ‘in the raw’.

Here is my race report from the 2011 Washington Half Ironman race in Little Washington, NC.   This race is put on by FS Series…who always does a fantastic job of organizing a great race experience.   I enjoyed this race very much.  Except for the wind and the suffering, but that is what racing is all about!

Official Results:

Swim 1.2 Miles:  38:08.1, 1:49 min/100m (I think the swim was measured short, cuz I don’t think I can really swim that fast)
T1:   3:46
Bike 56 miles: 3:07:04.7, 18mph
T2:  3:25
Run: 13.1 miles: 2:24:58.0, 11:04  m/m pace

Overall Time:  6:17:21.0

5th Overall Female out of 18
2nd Age Group (out of 4.  First place got an overall award, so I got 1st age group award.)

Check In:

I was able to get off work a little early on Friday and made it just in time to packet pickup Friday evening.   Washingon Park is a quaint little riverside park and community and makes a fantastic site for a race. I really love this spot!

Back at my hotel, I unloaded my race packet to inspect the goodies!   Look at the Schwagg you get doing this race!!    The grey hoodie is my favorite!  I also got arm warmers, socks, and a key chain.   I gave my brown hoodie from last year’s race to my daughter, Laura. She was thrilled!       I got everything read that night in my hotel room to save time in the morning (put stickers on bike and helment, bib on race belt, etc, etc)


Race Morning:.

Here I am in my hotel room at 6am getting ready for the race.  I bought a brand new pink Zoot tri top on sale for this race.   Just because I wanted to be pretty in pink. Also, pink is a shade of red, and red is the color that fast athletes wear.   So, it’s perfect! 🙂    I did have to mix up my Perpetuem in the morning.   That is my favorite nutrition for long bike races, as it’s not too sweet. I bought cafe latte flavor this time, and it tasted just like a latte.  Yum.

I got to the race site in plenty of time  to set up my gear. I chatted with some BT peeps:  Scottie , Alan, Doug, Mark, Dick and his son William.   Also, saw a local riding buddy named Gerson and his friend John.    It was nice seeing familiar faces at the race.   One of my friends asked me why I had a disk wheel on my bike.  I looked around and only saw one other bike with a disk on it.   Ooops, I guess the forecast called for a very windy day, and disk wheels are not good in the wind.   Nothing to do but put that out of my box.

I spent so much time chatting with people, that I had to rush to put my wetsuit on.  And I forgot the BodyGlide on my neck.   My wetsuit always causes terrible chaffing there!

The Swim

Everybody was talking about the choppy water.  It didn’t look calm and serene, but didn’t look like big breakers either, so I wasn’t too worried.   I was more worried about the cold temperature of the water.   Last year’s race I was so cold during the swim, that the cold water on my face took my breath away, and seeped into my ears and froze my brain!   That made me swam too hard simply because I wanted it to be over!  That took a lot out of me, i had a mediocre bike and swim.      This time around, I got a neoprene cap to wear.   I hoped that helped.

This was a small race, so they had just one mass start wave (less than 100 participants).    Before they blew the horn, I swam a few strokes to get a feel for the temperature.  It felt really cold on my face, but the neoprene cap was great, and helped alot.
I stayed at the back not wanting to get in the middle of males, who tend to be rougher, I think.  That was a good move,  I think.     The horn blew off and we started swimming.  The chop felt worse than it looked.  I had a hard time getting into a rythm with the waves.    When I got to the first buoy, and made a turn, it got alot harder. I guess we were swimming against a current.    Again, very h ard to find a rhythim.  That is unusal for me… I tent to enjoy playing with the waves like a fish, and modifying my stroke to go with the waves.  But, that wasn’t working, as the choppiness of the waves was very random, and kept changing.    But at least I wasn’t cold!   I did have to stop and do breast stroke to get my bearings alot more than usual.   I got to the middle buoy, and I looked around and realized I still had a very long way to go.   I found a better rhthym here and I felt strong for the rest of the swim.    At the end of the swim, I took a minute to pee in the water.

The Bike

So, the bike is a mostly flat course .  It’s supposed to be fast, right?     I was feeling really good the first half of the ride.  There was a bit of a tailwind helping me along and I was averaging 20-21 mph without working too hard.   Then I turned south and felt a cross wind.  It got very hard to maintain over 20 mph on that stretch for about 10 miles.   And I could feel the wind picking up, too.  Crap.   There was one gust of wind that I felt blow me sideways a bit.  I don’t think the disc wheel hurt me too much, unless it took more energy to fight the crosswinds.  I dunno.

Then the course made a turn back East.  Holy crap.  My speed ground to a mere 14mph and I was working hard.    Then I looked up and saw a sign that said “Washington 22 miles”.   Holy crap for crap.  22 Miles of this headwind.  Not going to be fun. And that’s going to kill my average speed.   Nothing to do but hunker down into a small shape and maintain a consistent effort.    I thought about my friends doing the Beach2Battleship full iron race just a few miles south of me, and wondered if they had the same winds to fight (they did).   I was very glad to be only doing a half ironman race, not a full iron race!

So, I ground out the rest of the race course the best I could hunkered down into that headwind.    I saw my avg speed drop from 20+ to 18mph.   When it got to 18mph, stubbornness made me work harder and not let it go below that.

I did make one potty stop on the ride.    I ducked into a little farm shed to pee. The dirt was loose and got into my new speedplay cleats.   That made it really hard to clip back in – I had to stop  and bang my foot against the ground, and do alot of shaking about to get the dirt out. I love the speedplays, except that they are higher maintenance than the shimano’s I had before.

The Run

Well, I was hoping for a pace of 10 m/m on the run.    My running is not where it should be and neither is my weight.   So, that was the best  I felt I could do.   I started out the first 6 miles on target with that pace, doing sub 10 and wasting a little time at aid stations to equal about 10 m/m.    The next 6 miles slowed a little, but I was still on target for a decent run.   The 2nd lap the wheels fell off and my back started to ache, and my feet hurt, and I was not able to hold a 10m/m pace.  Still, I didn’t let myself give  up and complete degrade to a slog.   I just kept running with fast feed and solid core (fast feed, solid core was my mantra).     That seemed to work pretty good.   I took a few really short walk breaks only to take Gu or drink water.    When I was done with that, I said “Breaks over”.

During the run, I tried to be really cheerful and send positive vibes to everyone I saw.    I figured I wasn’t going to have a stellar race, so I would at least have fun.    I’d pass other racers and give them a big smile and thumbs up.    I’d pass Doug and tell him to keep up the good work.  He had been struggling with back pain from that tough bike ride for the whole run.  He was doing great with a nice run/walk routine, and I told him to keep it up.     I saw Gerson a few times too, and I tell him how he was really smoking the course (which he was!).  I smiled and waved at Roxanne, another BTr, who I met after the race.     So, all in all it was a good run.    And I was super glad when it was done!

Post Race

After the race, I hung out for a bit chatting with friends.    I ended up getting an age group award of a coffee mug.    Yay coffee!

On the way driving home, I noticed my neck felt uncomfortable.  I rubbed it, and OUCHIE, that hurt alot.  Turns out, I got the worst chaffing ever during that swim!   Lesson Learned: don’t forget the body glide.    And, at least I have a huge tub of Aquaphor from my friend, Ginger, to help heal it up!

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Posted in Race Reports
3 comments on “Washington Half Iron 2011 Race Report
  1. Bill B. says:

    Very cool to read up on this prior to my foray down there in May. By the way…need to hook up with you for the wetsuit 🙂

  2. Ginger says:

    Way to stay in the game! I really wanted to do this race this year as a relay. 🙁 Love the swag! I want a hoodie like that one!

  3. BDD says:

    Congrats on the poduim finish

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