Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Race report: Subaru Vancouver Half-Iron

Date/Time: July 4, 2010, 6:30 am
Weather: 10ish cool and cloud cover
Distance: Half IM
Gun time: 4:57:40 <--sub 5 milestone pb
Swim: 41:03 (2:10 per 100m pace)
T1: 2:51
Bike: 2:43:23 (33.4km/hr)
T2: 1:21
Run: 1:29:04 (4:28 per km pace)
Age Group: 4/9
Overall: 50/241

Not very often do you get to pass more than half (137/241) of the entire field after the swim leg. Here’s a perspective of what unfolded.

Heading into this race, I was on schedule to crack that prestigious sub 5 hours mark for the first time in the half-ironman distance.

In short, this was a pretty big deal. Racing on home turf and finally debuting on my new bike and then spreading the word to virtually everyone I knew, I wanted to PB and put on a show for the home crowd. Using the home turf to my advantage, that tactic seems to work to my favour. Here’s a breakdown of the results for the Vancouver Half-iron course and the time gained from 2009.

Yes, the casual observer would say my swimming still hit the crapshoot, but overall I was quite pleased with the result. Notice that the percentage improvement from 2009 is greater for the swim than bike and run, (or at least that's what I like to think). ;)

Being a smaller athlete, I always struggled with the open water swimming component. I knew that it wasn’t going to be pretty based on last year’s less-than-stellar result. I was hoping for a time between 39 to 41 minutes to stay on pace for sub 5 hours. My strokes felt smooth and I did a lot of zigzagging every time somebody came into contact with me. I think had I gone more aggressively into the linear moving bodies’ draft and get wacked silly a few times, probably would had save about 2 minutes based on my 1:55 per 100m pace I was holding in Kits pool earlier in the week. NTS: this is something to work on in the future. I placed 187th after the swim leg, EKKK. Mayday, mayday, I had no BUBBLES action. I got the feeling I finished last, so the chase begins.

T1 was great; I finally mastered the art of mounting with the shoes clipped in. I spent an hour practicing on the previous Tuesday. This was probably more show, then anything else. And besides, I felt cool doing it – the confidence booster was huge. In effect, it probably didn’t save me much time in T1, but it did make me feel more confident on the bike leg. I was ranked 154th heading into the bike leg, winstormying 33 more positions.

Biking was an extraordinary feeling. The new time trial bike fit wasn’t giving me as much discomfort as originally anticipated. I was flying. I had practiced the course and got about 38 minutes per lap in training. These are the splits of what my Garmin Forerunner 305 had read.

I took the last lap at an easier effort while spinning at a higher cadence to prepare for the run as usual. In perspective with last year’s splits, this year’s fourth lap split nearly beat last year’s fastest first lap of 39:37.

This was a lot of fun course because so many UBC Tri-club members were doing the half-iron distance. Chasing people on the bike was a lot like being Mantracker, however, instead of being located in the wilderness, this was in an urban triathlon. I can get time splits of the escapees as they loop back. Sometimes the preys saw me, sometimes I saw them. Also a female relay team from the club humbly made it no secret that they would beat all the boys. This definitely motivated me to bring my A-plus game as they brought theirs too.

With exceptions to relay teams and people doing the sprint distance, nobody could sustain a bike pass on me heading into T2. I was ranked 73rd, and passing another whopping 81 positions! A pretty staggering result, I wasn’t that far off from my predicted bike time of 2:42:00.

All superheroes have super action shots!

The dismount at T2 with shoes remaining on pedals, similar to the mount in T1, was 96% for show and 4% in actual time gained. I haven’t really practiced running barefoot or running barefooted with a bike. I winstormied 6 more positions in T2.

Finally I reached the run component. Surprisingly with the help of unseasonably cooler weather this year, I found my running rhythm pretty quick after a washroom break and was running 4:20s per km pace. I was feeling great and even skipped some aid stations.

At about 7km into the run, the female leader Magali Tisseyre was nearly going to lap me on the two laps run course, so I had to step up the pace slightly to about 4:15s per km pace to not get chick lapped. The cheers grew louder for the female champion finishing sprint as I ran further to do another lap. You could feel a turbo boost with the energy from the crowd.

During the second lap, a nagging injury became apparent on my right foot which I had had earlier in the week. I ran through it (and knew the pain wouldn’t go away) because finishing was worth the PB. I winstormied 17 more positions on the run, finishing in the top 50! Again, despite a few challenges, I bridged all the gaps and nobody could sustain a pass on my run to the finish line. I was more stoked that my time had read 4:57:40 and felt like a champ. My predicted run time was 1:28:00 and was also only a little over a minute off from that pace.

Overall this race was a milestone achievement. I’ll admit most of the credit goes out to the bike. In the end, I was beat by the female team, but there’s absolutely no shame when you are beat by the best while giving your best effort.

I have to thank my dad for these awesome action shots. A special congrats to all the participants from the club in both the half and sprint distances for achieving pbs and new distances. Also a special thanks goes to all the volunteers, there were many from the club.

 My sister and I have yearly tanning competition for being the darker one. I usually lose late into the summer when the midsummer sun blasts out. But this year it looks promising.

1 comment:

  1. Nice results Winstorm!
    I'm a little surprised that in every picture, you managed to smile for the camera :) but then again, I'd be smiling too if i winstormed someone every 2minutes.

    Top 50. Wow. Congrats!

    Looks like the real competition is just starting though! (The last paragraph)