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At the Races

Ironman 70.3 Princeton – September 21, 2014 by Craig Van Doren

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Ironman 70.3 Princeton  –  September 21, 2014

Craig Van Doren  5:55:41

An Ironman race is a very well organized event. I would compare an Ironman to the precision and organization of Boston, New York and other big races. Ironman is now putting on half and full Ironman’s all over the world. They have nearly everything figured out and orchestrated preciously on schedule. State Police involvement securing the bike course was very impressive and there were hundreds of extremely helpful and encouraging volunteers throughout the weekend.

Overall my race went well and I accomplished my goals of finishing and getting inside of 6 hours. My pre-race hydration (PowerBar Perform 32oz) and nutrition (peanut butter & jelly sandwich, banana & PowerBar Performance Bar) was consumer early and I sipped water the rest of the morning. It was about 66 ° and a little humid when I arrived at body marking and transition at 5:30am Sunday morning. Obviously still dark but there were some poles of spot lights. Note to self… next year bring a running headlight. It was very dark in the Port-a-John when I closed the door. My wave was the third wave to start and we were behind the Pro Men and Pro Ladies. We had to swim about 100 yards to the starting line from the beach. It took me a longtime to get comfortable in the water when the swim started. I just could not get me breathing and stroke going. I knew the swim (1.2 miles) wasn’t going well and fortunately around half way I got things under control and started moving. Note to self… I need to do more open water swimming next year. Was happy to arrive at the beach and get my fee under me. I was 40th out of the water in my age group (45:05) which was 3 – 4 minutes slower than I had hoped. The strippers helped get me out of my wetsuit. Transition went well aside for the fact that I failed to open my cycling shoes during transition setup. Consumed a Power Bar Gel, Salt Stick and a few big gulps of Perform while in transition and I was off.

Got moving well right away on the bike and by the first aid station (13 miles) I had consumed 24oz of Perform so I stopped to refill my aero bottle. Seemed safer to stop than grab additional fluid “on the fly” since I have never done that. I was passing riders in my age group that I had spotted a lead during my poor swim and was being passed by younger riders. The bike course was 57.5 miles rather than 56 since which is just how the course worked out. There were some rough roads and good size bumps where the macadam met concrete bridges which caused water bottles to become ground missiles and early in the race there were more bottles on the ground than one could count. I saw many cyclists off to the side with flats. Because I was wet from the swim, moving at a good pace and it was cloud covered I did not notice the humidity. There was a slight headwind the final 10 miles but T2 was not far away. Mel Fink said to drink up on the bike to prep for the run and drink I did. During the bike I drink about 92 oz. of Perform, and consumed 5 PowerBar Gel’s and three salt sticks.  Finished bike 27th in my age group (3:02:28), almost 19 mph and happy to not have a flat. I plan to train to get my mph to 22 mph by next year. During transition I had a few gulps of Perform, a PowerBar Gel and Salt Stick.

Got my legs going quicker than I thought I would off the bike. There were inclines on the run that we did during the two loop run. My left soleus & Achilles were sore so I decided to walk three water stops, have a gel, Perform, water & Salt Stick and then took off. The few people that would pass me while I was walking I would soon pass and then some others. This strategy seemed to work for me as I finished the 13.1 miles in 1:59:01 for a total time of 5:55:41, 18th in age group. I really felt fine at the finish.

Many thanks to all of my Team NRGY teammates for the group bike rides, sharing their triathlon experiences and their encouragement which was all valuable to me. Jason Santarcangelo & Coach Debi’s frequent webinars and discussions about the hydration & nutrition plan that needed to be followed to have a successful 70.3 triathlon were invaluable. I never felt at any point during the race or after that I was out of gas. And a big thank you to Dr. Peter & Coach Mel Fink for treating my soleus & Achilles issues over the summer and modifying my training plan all while improving my fitness level without running. That was evidenced by improving from 40th out of the water to 18th across the finish line. I had a most enjoyable time training for the 70.3 Ironman and a wonderful experience the whole weekend. Next year in Princeton each stage of my race will be improved.


Craig Ironman Princeton 2

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