On Saturday, June 16th, I completed my first half-ironman (70.3) triathlon. I don’t have a lot of pictures, but this is my race report. For those who don’t know, the 70.3 refers to the total mileage covered in the race: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run.
In October 2017, I registered for the race, essentially 8 months before the event. This is a well-known local event with a limited field of racers. I love this kind of event because you never feel lost in the crowd. I highly recommend this race for anyone considering a 70.3.
Last year, I adopted the “Primal” approach to training as I got ready for my first marathon. The diet and training practices served me well, so I continued the low carb-high fat diet approach. I didn’t follow a training plan. I just rode my bike, did some running, and occasionally swam.
Friday afternoon, I drove to East Freetown, MA where the race was held, picked up my race packet, and checked my bike into transition.
Friday night, I stayed a few miles away at a Holiday Inn so I only had a 15 min drive to the race instead of over an hour and a half. I went out to dinner with a friend and a Mystic based training group he knew. My pre-race meal consisted of Thai chili calamari, filet mignon, baked potatoes, honey glazed carrots, bread, and 2 pints of Yuengling. It was perfect. I was in bed around 10 with the alarm set for 4:35.
I didn’t sleep well. I never sleep well the night before a race. It’s not that I’m nervous about the race itself, but rather I am convinced I will over sleep and miss the race. I think I checked my watch 5 times between midnight and when my alarm went off.
Before leave the hotel, I had 2 cups of coffee and 1 blueberry muffin. We arrived at the race and set up for transition. My setup is very basic, which makes it faster for me. Next time, I will definitely leave skin lube and sunscreen out of my bag and ready to be used during transition.
One thing that is nice about Patriot, is the swim start is not a mass start. Swimmers enter the water in pairs every 5 seconds. It significantly reduces the chaos of the standard swim start. I completed the 1.2 mile swim in 41:13, which was right on what I expected. I completed the swim to bike transition in 2:34. The temperatures were climbing fast it was in the upper 60s when the bike started and over 70F for most of the ride.
The 2 loop bike course is a relatively flat (compared to our area) and I was able to ride it in 2:54:47, for a 19.2 mph average. That was significant for me, because I expected to maintain something closer to 17.5 mph average. I maintained my heart rate in the mid 150s during the bike portion (I train with an average heart rate below 140).
On the bike, I drank about 1.5 bottles of “Rocket Fuel” and half a bottle of water. Rocket Fuel is a mixture from Base Performance consisting of Hydro (carbs and electrolytes), Amino, and salt. I also ate 1.5 packets of Stinger chews.
The bike to run transition took 4:19. I did get out my skin lube for some mild chafing, but made a critical error. I didn’t apply extra sunscreen prior to the run. As a result, my shoulders got SCORCHED.
I had a great first 1.5 miles running with my friend Natalie. Alas, she is much faster than I am so I backed off as she continued on without me. She ended up finishing 28 minutes ahead of me.
The 13.1 mile run course has 12 aid stations along the way with water, Gatorade, and some other items. This was good, because the temperature had climbed above 80F within the first part of my run. I took at least 1 cup of water at every aid station and used my Base salt probably 7 times. I also drank 5 cups of Gatorade and sucked on 2 orange slices. I didn’t eat any calories on the run. I ran according to my heart rate: I was averaging around 165bpm and whenever I hit 170bpm, I walked to drop my heart rate back down. I completed the run in 2:09:51, for an average pace of 9:55/mile.
My total race time was 5:52:42. I was very pleased with a total time under 6 hours for my first 70.3.
Over the entire race, I burned well above 4000 calories, but I consumed less than 800. This is a significant advantage of the Primal/fat adapted approach. You are not reliant on consuming fuel throughout a race.
For any of my friends who have specific training questions, I am happy to share what I have learned. I don’t see a full ironman in my future, but I would consider another half…
All the details of my results can be viewed here: