2004 Duke Liver Center Half-Ironman

I still got it

Iím finding it tough to write a report for this race because I donít want to sound like a smarmy bastard. ďI had a good race, I won, yack yack yack.Ē ;-) But if you want the details, here they are.

Woke up at 4:10 AM for a breakfast of 2 eggs (minus 1 yolk) with cheese, a bagel, and a 200 calorie frozen froofroo coffee drink (my buddy didnít have a coffee maker). I prefer a substantial breakfast and the froofroo coffee drink turned out to be pretty good and some easy calories. Arrived at the race site around 5:20 AM for the 7 AM start. Plenty of time to get everything organized. Had pumped the tires and affixed the bike number the night before. Pretty much all set. Met a few new people and felt pretty relaxed. Bri also seemed pretty relaxed considering it would be her first 1/2.IM. Drank some diluted Gatorade. Did a short spin on the bike and then headed to the swim start.

Swim went well. One fellow (Rob Jones) took off pretty quickly and I didnít feel like killing myself to stay on his feet (not that I could have, anyway). Have been swimming about 9k a week and felt solid but nothing special. Slightly long course saw me finish in 30:30. Big crowd at swim finish made coming out of the water neat. Effort in high Z2 the whole way.

Good transition, onto the bike, and caught Rob just before we left the park. Felt OK but my legs werenít turning over like I had hoped. Stayed relaxed, didnít worry too much about it, and rode on effort. Mid Z2 for first ten miles. Legs tightened up slightly on some of the climbs, but by mile 20 they were loose, I was cranking at a respectable cadence (~80-90), and it was time to start working.

Went through the 25 mile split in roughly 1:09. This portion of the bike was pretty hilly and tougher than the second half. Effort started in mid-Z2 and by mile 25 I was in low Z3, where I stayed for the most of the remainder (with some excursions into mid-Z3 when deemed appropriate Ė flats or moderate hills).

Next 25 miles were in 1:02. Obviously was feeling better and moving along. Backed off slightly on the last 7 miles (57 mile bike course due to road diversion) and finished in 2:27.

Hydration/nutrion was: 2 x 24 bottles Gatorade with 4 or 5 scoops of Carbopro. Drank the 4 scoop bottle by mile 20 and picked up a water bottle. Finished the second bottle of Gatorade/Carbopro and most of the water by bike end. Temp average around 75 degrees, low humidity, great for me. About 1100 calories total.

Good transition and off to the run. Felt pretty relaxed and was able to go ~7:00 on the first mile, which included the longest uphill section of the course. The run is on shaded dirt/grass trails that were, for the most part, easy on the legs but included some fairly sharp downhill and uphill running. 2 loops. Drank water and had a few shots of my Hammergel Espresso along the way. Had a couple cups of Ultima to keep the electrolytes flowing, but it wasnít hot enough (for me) to have to worry greatly about this aspect of LD racing.

Never felt bad and only slowed slightly on the second loop uphills. Jammed right through the finish, thinking I was going to break 1:30. So close, but no cigar. Ah, well. Run time 1:30.09.

Total time was 4:29.42. Won my first long course triathlon. Really happy about finishing strong as well as the overall victory. Brianne also did very well in her first half, breaking 3hrs on the bike and finishing in 5:33 total time despite being a bit undertrained for the distance (sheís been pretty busy).

Went out and had a great time afterwards with family and friends. What more could you ask for?

Oh yeah, and I got offered a million dollar sponsorship deal from Guiness.

Just kidding.

Marty Gaal