Saturday, November 13, 2010

Race report: Karapiro Half Ironman

A very prompt race report tonight- Phil is watching the Phoenix, so I'm sitting on the couch, with a newspaper between the hot laptop and my sunburned legs. I've been promised tea and toffee pops at half time.

Watch time: 39:53
Official time (includes run up the path to T1): 41:29

The swim course is a point to point- along the world rowing champs course. A straight 2k swim sounds like it should be fairly easy to navigate, but choosing a line is actually surprisingly difficult. The water was not too cold, but a bit choppy in the middle 1000 (which was actually a problem during the World Champs too). The start was a bit chaotic- even though there's not a big field there was a bit of a crush at the first buoy 100m or so away. Starting with Phil was really cool- I stuck to him like glue, then once we had some clear water, I took the lead so he could draft off me. I didn't know until later, but it turns out he stayed with me for about a k. I felt OK, not strong, but not totally pathetic either, and was relieved to come out in 39:53. Last year, I swam the same course (as part of a team) in 38:50ish- when I was trying to blat, and had been training hard and swimming really well... Guess that training never really paid off!

Watch time: 3:37:30
Official time (includes T1): 3:39:43
Nutrition: 1.5 1.75 bottles of Red-8 lemon lime, nearly 2 about 1 servings of Power Bar Energy Blasts (the raspberry ones are YUCK)

I knew the bike would be long and hard, and it was. It really was. There was some debate afterwards as to whether the course is really harder than Rotorua, but team Cornfield is united on this one- HELL YES! Rotorua is a big blat with a couple of horrible climbs, and reliable headwinds. Karapiro is 90k of pain- none of the climbs quite rival Hells Gate or Tarawera, but there are SO many, and there are ks and ks of false flats. The road varies between average and SHITE- at one point I was climbing a not-particularly steep hill, but the combo of big fat chip, massive holes and bumps and a pressing headwind made it feel like I was going nowhere. There are some fun bits- nothing quite like that fantastic descent down Tarawera Rd, but it's wrong of me to talk up the hard bits without acknowledging the 5 or 6 k of decent downhill (spread over 3 good wee blats)... Then again, some of those weren't so much fun INTO the wind.

I started off OK, but lost it a bit- unsurprising, since I was out there for nearly 3:40 (ridiculous!). I was quite grumpy and ratty- I think I actually said "fuck" out loud (in various combinations) 5 or more times!

My three big issues with the bike were:

- my ITB. I think it's partly a bike fit issue, as it's been fine recently, but it seized up the minute I went aero and never got better. At a couple of points, I felt like crying.. though that could just have been my supreme frustration, and a bit of a temper tantrum!
- comfort. My back and shoulders were sore pretty early on, and my Pearl Izumi chamois might not be the best for long distance. The constant vibration really didn't help matters- my arms were ruined!
- blisters. My feet are a mess- I should have worn socks with my zillion year old cycle shoes! Seriously- I was stupidly planning some sandal shopping tomorrow, but I think that'll be on hold.

Watch time: 2:04:44
Official time (includes T2): 2:06:53
Nutrition: 3 wee cups of water (plus lots over my head) 2 wee cokes

MAN, my run started off awesomely (hence the tweeting...) My first k was about 5:17, and I made it to the turnaround in 28ish minutes (if I'd kept it up, that would have led to a well sub-2 half). Even the hilly ks were around 5:45. I felt good- my HR was about what I thought it should be (mid 160s) and my legs were so happy to be off the bike that they were moving nicely! Unfortunately, it was hot and a bit humid, and it was lonely, and I was tired, and my pace started slowing. The hills are decent sized for a triathlon, and I remember one passing in 6:48. Blimey! My "normal pace" slowed to closer to 6:20, with the occasional 6:00 thrown in. It's not surprising that I slowed down, but usually in Rotorua, I'm a bit more consistent (always slow offroad, but not bad on) The first lap was fun, as there were people to see and wave to, but the second was pretty boring, as there was no-one out there (... I came something like seventh to last overall...) The highlight was being sprayed with a hose outside the fire station. Oh- and Phil coming to meet me at the warehouse to run the final 200m together. I guess that beats the hose!

I'm stoked with my final run time- the course might have been shortish by my Garmin (hard to tell as I had a couple of mozzers with it), but the Rotorua course is too, so even if it wasn't a great run, it was still a 2 minute Half IM run PB!

I am broken. Sunburnt, blistered and sore all over. A little downcast- even though I know this was a hard race and a training race, I feel like I could be and SHOULD be better at this triathlon lark than I am. WHY am I still letting 50 year olds pass me in the final ks of the ride? Why could I not keep it up for the rest of the half marathon?

But when I stop feeling like that, I'm pleased with my sore, solo ride around Maungatautari. I'm pleased that I can still go sub-40. We've both learned lots of lessons about our race clothing, nutrition (etc). And we can't wait to redeem ourselves in Tauranga! Please someone tell me it won't be THIS hard??


Rachel Harris said...

Wow you're a hard task master - about time you did an 'easy' half; that sounded exhausting!! Well done for hanging in there and not doing too much of the toy tossing. Roll on Tauranga!!

Westy said...

Sounds like a killer course Kate! I think Kiwis forget how hard Half IM actually are... in Europe the amount of the tri population doing halves is a lot less... especially the females...
Rotorua is actually quite a fast bike... yes you have the big climbs but then the descents are fast and the rest long straight flats... not much braking needed... plus more people on the course = more drafting benefit.
Anyway you did good, races are always a very good way to train, practice riding in your Aero bars more in training.
The slow down in the last part of the run was just a result of the extra hard bike... you have the ability to run fast off the bike... more training and an easier bike = faster run.
Tauranga will be cool.
PS nice swim tactics between you and Phil.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate, great write up, I enjoyed reading it. I share some of your disappointment, but i think it was a tough course. And wow, you must have been so parched, you hardly drank a thing! Anyway, enjoy your well earned toffee pops! - Pete

Britt said...

You are fabulous. PB half marathon! Woohoo!! I'm so proud from afar! :)

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Oh my goodness - what a wonderful race - despite the heat - and the HILLS!!! Any chance you could send me some of your speedy swimming vibes :) I would LOVE it if I could swim that fast!!!!