Victoria Half Ironman

I ended last season with a half iron at 6.16 so my goal for this race was to get in under 6 hours and since this race has a 2 mile shorter bike and .6 shorter run I had 5.45 as my goal. I have trained harder and done much more biking than last year so I felt confident that I would at least get close to my goal. I drove to Victoria on Saturday and met with a few in the Pro Club team for a short swim-bike-run and then later on a dinner together. With a 6.45am start it was important to get to bed early so after getting some breakfast at local grocery store I headed back and managed to get a good nights sleep. The 430 wake up was still cruel. I filled all my bottles with the brown Perpetuem mess and checked out. Getting to the race site and setting up transition was easy and I was ready to start. Fast forward for you if you don’t want to read on .. I crushed my goal and after a 33 min 1.9km swim, 2.58 on the 84 km bike and 1.54 on the 20km run I crossed the finish line at 5.32:21.

What happened to the surfing

Very nice swim course in Elk Lake except that the wind made it a little choppy. The swim out would be against the waves and then I planned on surfing the waves and push it for the finish. Mass start with all approx 200 half ironman athletes at the same time but I didn’t have to fight for space more than a couple of times. I‘m not used to the rough waters so decided early to just breathe every other stroke which worked really well, especially on the way back when I thought I was going to surf the waves but disappointing when the waves came in sideways. Didn’t really push it hard on the swim so really surprising to see the time of 33 minutes.

Windy and friendly ride

Transition to the bike was a mess, I had decided to wear my jacket on the bike so had gear in back pockets. I see Coach Covey slip out of transition just as I start fumbling with getting my gear out of the jacket and into my race suit. Bike was a pretty straight forward 2 loop course with rollers and a few tricky turns. Just like every race I spent the first 30 minutes on the bike being passed by slower swimmers but there was something different this time, I was passing some people too. I was passed by a guy with a big smiley on his calf and a girl on a red Cervelo tri bike and turns out these were to be my race buddies. We rode the 86km overtaking each other throughout the whole time, especially the Cervelo girl and I , she had more speed on the downhills and I passed her on the climbs and flats. In the last 20 miles we laughed and – hey its me again, see you in a few minutes. I was hoping to race her on the run as well but turns out she was just doing the bike leg as part of a relay team .. no wonder she was pushing it. 

The small constant uphill battles and the windy condition drained the legs so about 2/3 in I started to get a little worried about the run which resulted in my second lap being a few minutes slower but still finishing the 84k in 2.58.

Nutrition worked really well with 3 hrs worth of Perpetuem in a 16oz bottle together with some extra Swedish fish and Powerbar Gel blasts and then squeeze bottle with Perpetuem for a sip at each aid station on the run. I had my 24oz water bottle and also picked up about 24oz of extra water on two of the bike aid stations.

Trail run and mostly fun

Messed up in transition again, forgot my race number and had to go back through the whole transition area again. I passed the race clock on the way out and it said 3.35 and I thought… hm maybe I can break 5.30. First 6-7 km felt fine but left knee started to hurt and had to slow down and happy face guy ran past me and then at 8 km my team mate Guy passed me. I hurt the most from 7 to 12 km and I ran slow. The run was tough but I had no cramps what so ever which is fantastic proof of the training I have put in this year. 7- 8km left and if I could just speed up a little I would be able to break 5.30. With 3-4 km left I passed happy face and I think I still had a shot if I could get down to 9 min tempo… but of course the more I tried the my body just told me to go jump in the lake and then it told me to sell my shoes and bike for $50. I finished in 5.32 with a 1.54 over the 20km and I am so happy and proud.

Next half iron planned is the The Return To Black Diamond and as I go through training I will set a goal later on but right now I feel like I want to break 5.30 on that course.

Race Results 


Fantastic end to first triathlon season

In December 2010 I had never ridden a road bike, had never really done any open water swimming and I had recently done a 10km race for the first time. I wasn’t really planning to get up at 7 every Saturday for many months at that time but I really enjoyed the first Pro Sports Club Triathlon team workout with great coaches and even greater team members. I read as much as I could find on the internet about Triathlon and saw that there are sprint and olympic races in addition to the crazy long triathlons. I spent the next few months getting used to bricks where you do two or more sports after each other as part of your training session. I quickly learned that I needed a road bike so research started to find something that wouldn’t break the bank … I really failed in my research and bought a fantastic ride called Argon 18 Krypton. I had never ridden a road bike before so this was really exciting and I love the bike and just wish I had ridden it more.

When it was time for the ProClub tri teams first brick training with a couple of hours on the bike and then run 3k made I just laughed and thought – that’s nuts! Fact is I really enjoyed training during the weeks and then when I started doing races in May I was hooked – triathlons are just a whole lot of fun.

Sure, getting up at 5am to go for a long outdoor swim doesn’t sound that fun but you forget all about that when you see the beautiful sunrise over Lake Sammamish or Pine Lake.

My season was supposed to be a few sprints and a couple of olympic distance races which you can read about in other race reports on this blog but in late June I had a chat with coach Cody Novak about ending my season with a Half Ironman and after talking to team mates Alan Faulkner and John Brewer a few weeks ago we all three decided to go for it.

Fightclub swim

Black Diamond Long Course triathlon in Enumclaw, WA is the last race of the season and I picked up Alan and John at 6am for the drive toward the majestic Mt Rainier and Nolte State park. Transition station is all setup and ready by 745 so time for a quick warm up run and a few trips to the bathroom. The field was just 190 people in total so only 3 waves as we got started on the swim on a very foggy Deep Lake. The starting waves were pretty big and it took me some time to get into a rhythm after being hit, kicked and swam over a few times. Sighting was hard in the fog and as I was quite aggressive going around the buoys I was hit and kicked a few more times before getting out of the water at after 36:23. I am ok with the time for a 1.2 mile swim.

Strong bike

Biking for 56 miles requires a lot of planning to make sure you get the right amount of nutrition to both make it through the bike feeling strong and also fuel up for the half marathon run. This was a great experience for me in that I think I was pretty ok on nutrition, maybe a little low on calories and carbs but plenty of water and electrolyte drink. The bike course didn’t have any big hills but plenty of rollers where you would struggle to keep cadence and speed on a road that looked!!! pretty flat. I felt really strong on the bike and realized after the first 28 miles at 1:25 that I was going too fast and really tried to preserve some energy on the rest of the ride but as strong as I felt I just kept going and finished in 3:03 which is the same pace as I have had in my sprint and IMG_8253olympic races this year.

Big energy boost in transition 2 when I saw Charlotte, Caroline and Sofia cheering me on.


The torture


Wow, cant believe how good I’m feeling but then between mile 2 and 3 my quads just told me they were not going to take this anymore. They must have completely missed the salt tablets and hydration I had taken on the bike… Ok, this is going to get tough but I can do 10 minute miles. Mile 4 and I could barely walk and my average pace was now over 10 minutes per mile so I realize I’m not trying to finish these 13 miles in 2.10 to get under 6 hours. I now focus on surviving and and taking it as slow as necessary to prevent getting injured and to be able to finish the race. Limping around with cramps made my run/walk form really messed and my back started to hurt. When I hit 7 miles I started to dream about getting into the water after finishing the race, mile 9 I walked a little with another cramped up 40 year old and we realized we were so happy to not have 9 miles left when we met a few people in pain on their way out. Miles 12 and 13 took me 35 minutes to complete but I did jog across the finish line and what an amazing feeling to cross the line with my girls and a bunch of Pro Club tri team members cheering me on. I did the half marathon in 2:31 but who cares … 70.3 miles / 113km …




Next season training starts next weekend !