A Little Hail And A Lot Of Hell

My official time for the 2010 Utah Half was 5:32:53. As you can see in the chart I landed between probable and worst case scenarios for my prediction. I shaded the boxes where my official time landed which means that the swim and run were both in the worst case column, but in retrospect the swim should have been probable and the run should be in a “even worser” case column.

I was actually pretty calm coming into this race (see Overconfident). I didn’t consider it one of my “A” races so I wasn’t training incredibly hard for it. I have a marathon in five weeks so I have been half focused on that and half focused on this race.

I had to drive to Provo on Friday night for the packet pick-up. I was initially annoyed because I am guessing that more than half the participants live in the Salt Lake valley and Ogden areas and would greatly appreciate a packet pick-up in the Salt Lake area on maybe Thursday night at a local running store. That way we wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic in Utah County on the night before the race and we’ll have time to eat pizza, spaghetti or whatever pre-race meal we want. That being said the traffic heading down there wasn’t too bad but I left work at 3:00 to be there right when it opened at 4:00. While I was standing in line, I thought that it probably is better to just have the Provo packet pick-up, that way the vendors and sponsors can get their money’s worth in one big shot. As I got my packet they notified us that the shirts weren’t there yet but would be in about 5 minutes. I sat around for 45 minutes and finally the shirts came. I understand things happen so I can’t fault race Tri too much for that.
I slept pretty well until about 3:00 in the morning and then finally got up at 4:00. I ate my peanut buttered bread, protein shake and jumped in the car. When I got to the lake I met up with Bret, set up my transition area and then headed to the start. I slid into the lake a few minutes early to warm up a little and then headed to where the start was last year. Then a bunch of us realized that the start was actually behind us by about 75 yards…so I warmed up some more.


The swim wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either. I started pretty good and then my goggles immediately started to fog up which concerned me a little because I had to rely on other people more than I would have liked as far as “are we going in the right direction.” All the swimmers had bright orange swim caps on and we were headed to bright orange bouys. In my fogged goggles I couldn’t tell the difference between bouys and swimmers. The first bouy was fairly close and then there was a long stretch to the second bouy. It felt like it took forever to get there (especially when you thought you were close and then realized bouys don’t kick you in the face, athletes with orange swim caps do.) The second to third bouy was a short swim and then you had to head to the fourth, which you couldn’t see because there was a peninsula in the way. The swim is shorter the closer you swim to the peninsula, but that also means you are closer to moss and whatever other nasty lake weeds are around. I found myself swimming through what at first seemed like nets…it freaked me out which is bizzare because I can swim through seaweed in the ocean without a problem, but lake paraphanelia gives me the creeps. I made it through and then to the fourth bouy…and then had to do the whole thing again.
On the second lap I started lapping the slower swimmers. there were a bunch who were swimming perpendicular to my line. I am positive I can swim a pretty straight line, but others are awful at it. They probably add on an extra hundred yards.
As I headed to the boat ramp for the exit I felt like I swam pretty good. I figured it was about 35 minutes. I wasn’t too tired but I didn’t feel strong. I arrived at the boat ramp for the fantastic exit up the ramp of scum. This year they had multiple volunteers at the water’s edge who were assisting us up so that we wouldn’t slide back into the lake. Disgusting.


I mentioned in a previous post that different events have their timing mats in different places. The Utah Half placed their T-1 mat right at the entrance to the bike racks with was about 200 yards from the waters edge…so my swim time also includes that jog. I also decided that I would take off my wetsuit during that run because there was a big grassy area. It is a lot easier to get the wesuit off there rather than in the cramped transition area. I was able to get my socks and shoes on fairly quickly but decided not to wear my Garmin watch because it would take longer to get it on and I have a bike computer that would give me my pace (this mistake will be discussed in the bike). I took off knowing that I was in the top 20 people to get out on the road.

I took off like crazy on the bike and was immediately riding 23-25 miles per hour, which is fairly fast for me on a flat road. The weather was mostly cooperating but I could see some clouds in the near distance. after about 5 miles I wondered what my heartrate was…oops, my Garmin 405 which keeps my mph also keeps my heartrate and it was sitting in transition. Oh well, I’m flying and feeling good. About 10 miles into the course I hit a head wind but it wasn’t too bad until it started hailing and raining. Thankfully it only lasted for about a minute or so and then it stayed clear for the rest the race. I did pretty good with nutrition. I would eat a shot block every 20 minutes or so but I also knew I was pushing it way too hard. I’m guessing my heartrate was in the 150-165 region the entire time…which is far too high when you still have a half marathon to run. 22 miles into the bike you arrive at West Mountain and the winds had picked up. I had to deal with some strong head winds after the turn-around which dropped my speed into the low teens. I was tired for the rest of the ride but kept puching because i wanted to end with an average of 21 mph for the entire course. I made that goal and achivved my best bike time…but I would pay for it on the run.

This transition went smooth as well but I could tell I was tired. I changed shoes, grabbed my watch and took off.

In the others events I have run I have never thought about walking until aroung mile 7. For this event it was almost immediate. I kept going but knew that I had pushed to hard on the bike and the walking was going to come sooner than later. I was sick of the shot blocks by this point so I didn’t want anymore of those so I just relied on water, coke and watermelon at the aid stations. At about 3 miles into the run I decided I was going to walk through the transistion areas. I was able to gain some strength while doing this and made it through the first lap pretty well, but still off the pace I wanted. I figured I would quit looking at my watch and just focus on finishing this thing because I was worn out. At about mile 8.5 I started walking outside of the aid station areas and I was more shuffling than running when I wasn’t walking. I then started thinking about how i could make the course shorter by cutting through a marsh, but knew that would take more effort. I struggled through the rest of the course and conserved enough energy to run whenever there was a camera person and at the finish.

Emily and the kids were able to see me at the finish which is always great. Their support means the world. I was able to see Roger and Bret finish which was cool.
In the end I was somewhat pleased with my time. It has taken some convincing because this course is a lot easier than the California 70.3 course…but I didn’t train as hard and I was almost 10 pounds heavier. My bike was awesome but that also killed the run.
Again, right after the race I thought that there is no way I can do a full Ironman…but now, days later, I definately have to do it. So I need to save my money, pick a date and train like crazy.


About kromeril

I'll come up with something
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One Response to A Little Hail And A Lot Of Hell

  1. Pingback: The Evolution of a Cyclist…and Moobs | Mental Scar Tissue – Kris Romeril

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