This was my second crack at the HIM distance and almost a year to the day after doing my first ever tri (a small sprint). The short version for those with ADD:
Nice race, well run, good atmosphere/town support, great weather.
28:40 swim (1:22/100 pace)
2:40:30 Bike (20.9mph avg w/ about 3,000 feet climbing)
2:03 run (Cramped after BIG hill)
5:17 total time with transitions thrown in.
The long(er) version:
Checked in Saturday, you had to leave your bike overnight in the bottom of a secure parking garage. Got up, ate some toast/peanut butter and a banana about 5:am and headed down to the race site. Set up transition (thankfully no one moved my bike from the end spot on the rack).
Swim: One big rectangle in the Monongohella (I think it's indian for 'smells like rotten fish') river. Our wave was the third or fourth after the pros and other age groupers. Seeded myself in the front row (deepwater start) because I didn't want to get boxed in like I did at an olympic a few weeks ago where I had an awful swim. Got off to a clean start ahead of the rest of our wave with one other guy. Drafted off him for a while until we hit traffic from previous waves then just fought through swimmers. Came to the finish where you had to pop yourself up onto a dock, or they would grab you by the pits and lift you out, and got up and was happy to see 28 minutes and change on the watch. Overall pretty uneventful and a nice smooth swim. Water temp was 74 and by the end though I did feel like I was overheating a little.
T-1: Normally wouldn't mention anything about transitions but on this race your T1 time started right after you got over the mat on the end of the dock. You then had to run up an aluminum dock and several hundred yards down a bike trail to the parking garage. Time for T-1 was a whopping 3:45, but about 2 minutes of that was running to the garage.
Bike: Two loop course that went over a bridge then along a flat but very rough road along the river. You went out a ways, then back then made a turn up a false flat that from miles 6 to about 10 or 11 were a steady uphill that gradually got steeper. You could stay in the big ring for all but the last mile or more at the top. Then you went down a mile or so, more flats and rollers, then a shorter (3 or so miles) slight uphill with a nice steep finish. Then it was 2 miles of nice down hill and then back on the crappy road then back into town to repeat. Didn't push the bike, just kept up a nice tempo on the flats and spun up the hills. Was really comfy on the bike and never felt like I was pushing things. Took infinit and drank it steadily during the ride along with salt and gel's about every 50 minutes or so. It was not a crowded bike course but at one point early on in the flats I got passed by a nice 3 man (all in my AG of course) group where the last two guys were glued to each others wheels. I mean like 12 inches of seperation, and the guy in the back was coasting half the time. They rode like this for a while until I lost sight of them.
The only beef I would have with the race at all was the rough road leading in and out of town. Especially coming into town. There was one spot where I saw about a dozen water bottles, a few spares/tubes and several CO2 cartidges. They all must have been launched from behind the seat systems.
Had a solid bike and my spits for each lap were within a few seconds of each other so I was happy with my pacing and time for the effort I put forth on a somewhat hilly/rough course. Total time was 2:40:35 for almost 21mph avg. Polar S725 showed just under 3,000 feet of climbing.
Run: Course was on a bike path out and back past transition for about 4-5 miles. Then, after running past transition, you made a right hand turn up a steep a$$ hill for a couple hundred feet. Steep as in many people were walking it and there was a guy dressed as the devil shouting at you at the middle of it to get moving. Then you turned and went up another smaller hill and through the WVU campus with a couple of up and down rollers before cruising the last mile down to the finish or start of the next loop.
I have no background in running and only started running for Tri's last year. I have been learing how to run with a HR montior and pace myself. My long runs have shown improvement and I have been keeping 7:40 or so pace on runs up to 13 miles and for my short (2-4 mile) transition runs after long rides was holding about the same pace. All of that fell apart after going up that hill the first time! In my short (1-year) tri carreer I have learned two things that I do not do well, and that is run after walking and run after drinking too much water/gatorade etc... So for the first 5-6 miles I was chugging along at about 7:40/mile pace only taking splashes of water and or infinit and only walked the one big hill. At the top of the second smaller hill there was an aid station and I took too much water and a coke. I was able to keep running downhill into the start of my second loop and continued on until about mile 9, although I was slowing down and stomach was sloshing. Then I walked the next couple aid stations however if they were handing it out, I was drinking it. That, along with the walking of the aid stations, made each run between aid stations that much more difficult.
Total run time was 2:03, about 15 minutes short of my goal. I was on pace to hit that goal until about mile 7 or 8 I think.
Just really need to work on my run nutrition and keep reminding myself to not intake so many fluids at one time during the run.
Overall I was OK with my time on a tough course. It was a nice day, nice event and there were some pro's there also racing which is pretty cool to watch as this was the first race I did that had any pro's at all. I would highly recommend this event to anyone interested.