A year after my first duathlon, I returned to Peterborough. This time though, instead of racing in the sprint duathlon, I would be doing the Half-Ironman, my first time at a true long distance triathlon.

This race was my focal point for the 2006 season. I began preparing for it back in March, first working on getting comfortable running again (Waterloo Half-Marathon), then getting in all the triathlon racing I could during the month of June. I had worked up to 90km bike rides, and had done the 2km swim in the Muskoka Triathlon. I felt pretty good about the training I had done, though I had treated many of the races leading up to Peterborough as “glorified training days”, using them as my long brick workouts. If there was anything I was worried about, especially after my Muskoka experience, it was the half-marathon run after the long bike ride.

Despite being the focal point of my season, I tried not to set too much of a time goal – I just hoped to survive!! I didn’t really know what to expect trying to put it all together, so I figured I could be anywhere from 5 hour 15 minutes up to 5 hours and 45 minutes. Quite a big window, I know!!

As we did last year, Blair and I headed up to Peterborough on Saturday afternoon. The race site conveniently has a campsite attached to it, reserved for triathletes for the weekend. Being surrounded by fellow competitors creates a great atmosphere for the weekend, and we sat around the campfire with our tent neighbours on Saturday evening and shared our triathlon stories. Blair was only doing the sprint race (I couldn’t convince him to brave the half-Ironman), but as he said, at least I would have someone to drive me to the hospital afterwards!!

SWIM: 2km – 37:56 (1:54/100m)
25/34 M25-29, 244/501 Overall

After a decent swim at Guelph, I was actually feeling pretty good about hitting the water heading into this race. Despite the weeds, the water was calm and warm, and conditions were good. I took advantage of another mass start, and made a conscious effort to always be drafting someone. Swim cap colours were chosen based on expected swim time, and I choose one that put me with a group that would go a couple minutes faster than I expected, just so I would push it that much more. It worked well, and when I glanced at the clock after the first lap (it was a two loop swim with a short run across the beach in between), I was surprised to see that I had finished lap 1 in about 17 minutes – much better than my 2:00/km goal!! I slowed a little on the second lap, and came out of the water at about 36 minutes. With the long run up to T1, I finished the swim just under 38 minutes, two minutes better than my expected time.

BIKE: 90km – 2:42:51 (33.2 km/h)
18/34 M25-29, 111/501 Overall

After my relatively good swim, I took my time through T1, and made sure to take in water to help battle the heat. I hit the bike hard, and was flying through the first half of the course. Around the 25km mark, with my average speed up around 38km/h, I started to notice that I was going down a lot more hills than I was going up, and also figured that I had a pretty good tailwind! I knew the way back might be a challenge!!

I hit the turnaround after 1:15 on the bike. My first thought was that I would have an awesome bike time if I could keep that up! However, my excitement quickly turned to dread when I felt the wind in my face, and hit the first couple hills on the way back. I struggled to keep the speed up, but gradually, the average fell off. By the 65km mark, my legs were starting to burn climbing the hills, and I was hating every second of riding into the wind. I breathed a sigh of relief when I made the turn back out of the wind for the final 10km. I rolled into T2 just ahead of my goal for a 2:45 ride. However, the effort I put out battling the wind had taken its tool, and I could feel the cramps setting into my quads. I knew I would be in for a treat on the run.

RUN: 21.1km – 2:03:48 (5:53/km)
22/34 M25-29, 265/501 Overall

I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel worse on a run than I did in Muskoka. Well, I was wrong. VERY, VERY wrong. I headed out onto the run after racing for 3 hours and 25 minutes. I remember thinking to myself that with a good run, I could be down around 5 hours!! Those thoughts quickly went out the window as the burning in my quads got worse and worse. I stopped for Gatorade at the first aid station, and my quads immediately siezed up. I could hardly even walk. I staggered to the side of the road, and actually lied down in the grass. I stretched for nearly five minutes, and for a brief moment, debated turning around and calling it a day – I still had 20km to go!!

The thought of having to tell everyone I know that I didn’t finish was enough to force me to get up and get moving again. I started walking, then turned that into a shuffle, and finally a slow jog. The rest of the run, I alternated between walking and shuffling along. I drank all the Gatorade I could, and switched to Coke around the 14km mark. With 3km to go, I finally found a little bit of energy to run, and looking at my watch, realized I had 18 minutes to break the 5:30 mark. I had been running with a couple people who were thinking the exact same thing, and we managed to cross the finish line with a little over a minute to spare!!

Total: 5:28:40, 18/34 M25-29, 182/501 Overall (Full Results )

What a learning experience this was. My first taste of real long-distance racing resulted in disaster on the run. I did some research on cramping, and while I think I was well-hydrated, I’m sure I neglected the electrolytes, and finally realized why people take salt pills during these events. I am going to experiment with my nutrition on some long training rides and see if I can sort it out. It would have been smart to do a couple long brick workouts before the event to figure this stuff out, but I’ll treat it as a learning experience. Despite the difficulties I had, I am already looking forward to my next long-distance race!!!


2 comments untill now

  1. […] Dan’s Triathlon Journal Swim, bike run… Read about my triathlon adventures! « Peterborough Half-Ironman – Ruined on the Run […]

  2. […] I got goal number one out of the way early in the Waterloo Half-Marathon . In July, I managed to will myself through the half-Ironman run and cross the finish line (Peterborough Half-Ironman Report). Yesterday, my final day of reckoning for 2006 came as I took to the starting line in the Toronto Marathon. […]