Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ironman Augusta Race Report Part II

The Bike
So when we left off, I was heading out on my bike after a decent swim. From here on out, things would go downhill.

As soon as I got on the bike, my lower back hurt. I thought back to South Carolina last year and Callaway this year and finally realized that my back pain in these races had all come from the swim?? This is something I am going to have to address ASAP. The first half of the ride felt great. It was mostly flat or downhill and was pretty fast. It took my about 20-30 minutes to get my HR down under 170 and from there on out, I tried to keep it in the low 160s. I was really feeling good about finishing close to 3 hrs. Unfortunately, the next 10 miles or so were tough. It seemed like the hardest hills were packed into these 10 miles. It was at this point I knew that 3 hrs wasnt  achievable, but I was OK with this. I should still be able to put in a reasonable time. At mile 40 I had to make a stop to tighten the water bottle cage because it was rattling and I didnt want to lose my bottle with the perpeteum. The last 10 miles were pretty good, but my legs were getting tired from the hills plus I think I had a headwind at that poin. My back hurt through most of the ride, but I dont think it hampered me too much. My legs definitely felt looser thanks to the Chiro.

My bike time was just under 3:30 where at South Carolina, I was able to finish the ride in right about 3 hours. I felt OK with it because I kept my effort level where it would need to be for B2B One thing I will be addressing in the off season, in addition to my weight, is climbing. There is an awesome 30 mile group ride right in my back yard that runs from spring to fall that has a whole lotta climbing. I will be riding that as much as possible. I may even ride it on my own throughout the winter.

The Run aka the 4 hour death march
Then things just fell apart. I started out on the run and immediately felt nauseous. I was fine if I walked, but when I ran I could not stop burping. All I wanted to do at this point was to vomit. I thought if I vomited, at least I would feel better. No such luck. i think at most I ran a half mile continuously . My legs felt great, but my stomach wouldnt quit. The run course was pancake flat. It went up and down the streets of Downtown Augusta. Much of the course was quiet with no spectators, but the main section that did have spectators was great encouragement even though I felt like crap. You always know when you are coming up to the tri club - North Atlanta Multisport's tent because they are loud and the cowbells are a rockin. By the second half  of the run, my stomach was a little better, but unfortunately at this point I had nothing left in me. My feet were painful because my shoes were too tight and the balls of my feet were blistered. It took everything I had to walk all the way to the finish

By the time I was out on the run, it was super hot and maybe 25% of the course was shaded. I drank mostly water and was eating shot blocks. Because I was afraid that I might not get enough sodium and I forgot to grab my endurolytes on the run, I started taking both Gatorade and water on the run. One thing that really upset me was that the aid stations were 1.5 miles apart. On a hot day like this, they really should have been every mile. By the time I was finished with the "run" I was really dehydrated. I was going to try and see if I could get an IV, but the line was long and you would have to also wait to see the Dr before you could get an IV. I wasnt feeling well, but everything ended up ok. What really concerned me was that I hadnt urinated at all the four hours I was on the run course and at some point, I dont think I was sweating anymore, though I couldnt tell if that was because I was no longer exerting myself that highly. When I finished, I headed to the food tent to find out that all they had left were bananas and cookies, they were completely out of pizza. They only had water and no gatorade. I grabbed some cookies and Cathy got the car. I got my bike and stuff out of transition and went back to the hotel and showered.

Post Race
Other then my blisters, I am not in any pain. I have a few tight muscles I need to work out. I took today off of work so I could rest and relax. I plan on resuming my training tomorrow in the pool. I may not be able to run for a few more days until the blisters go away

Lessons learned and unanswered questions
I learned alot from this race. Some of the changes I need to make are obvious, but others are not so obvious


  • Why is my back hurting coming out of the swim. Thinking back to Callaway, it hurt even after that short swim. My back never hurts after a swim in the pool. I am going to try to get to the lake as much as possible in the next six weeks to see what I can figure out.
  • The wetsuit may not be an issue since I am considering renting a full suit
  • I need to spend more time in the pool

  • I need to do much more hill training. Obviously losing weight will help as well, but I need to get out and grind the hills.

  • Why was I nauseous on the run? I have used perpeteum on the bike almost all year without any issues. However, I have not used it in a race. One possible though it it has to do with using it at certain intensities. I was reading Chris's Blog as he prepares to do South Carolina Half again this year. He had a GI issue with his nutrition and he was saying that what he had used in his lower intensity training gave him trouble at the higher intensities of racing. This had me thinking that that could be my problem. Dinner the night before had been intentionally bland: pasta with olive oil, garlic, chicken, and tomatoes so I doubt it was that. My breakfast wasnt anything too different from what I have used other times, other then the bagel. The only different thing I used was that I did have some gatorade that morning, but I doubt it was that. The only other thing I can think of is that I had been having some GI trouble all week, but that did not involve nausea. That, and my nausea was only when I ran. My stomach bothered me all yesterday and in through this morning. i am finally feeling fine now.

  • I need new, wider running shoes. My shoes have been working for all my training runs, but they were too tight when I got to the run because my feet were so swollen. Most shoes I wear a 13-EEEE, these were only EE. The pain I got on the inside of my left foot were definitely from the tight shoes.

  • How did I end up with blisters on the balls of my feet? There are too many variables to truly figure out what caused this.


Thoughts going into B2B
Overall, I am positive about B2B full which is in less then 6 weeks from now. If I can address the issues that came about from Augusta, especially the back pain and the nausea, I think I will be well off. The swim is with the current. If I spend more time in the pool the next 4 weeks, I will be better off. From what I understand, the bike course is really flat, though there can be a strong wind. I just have to keep my effort level steady. The run will be the biggest crap shoot. It all just depends how everything else goes. New shoes will definitely help and not being nauseous is key. But the run is definitely the big thing I cannot plan for.

I am contemplating reworking my nutrition strategy. I may go back to a carbs only solution and skip the protein in the perpeteum. The problem is that there isnt alot of time to test it. I am so afraid of repeating the nausea at B2B. I didnt have any problems with my nutrition at SC Half last year, so I could pull out my notes and go back to that. I just liked the ease of perpeteum

14 comments:

Chris said...

great review Kevin... Good job finishing the race as opposed to DNF. All of the major issues that you listed, I think, can be worked out before B2B, even a significant inroad on the weight loss.

Good luck my friend....

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Good luck with the learnings. Best wishes for B2B

Wes said...

The first question that pops into my mind is how much fluid did you take on the bike? This is my greatest challenge and probably the entire reason why my run sucks so bad.

If you do not take in enough fluid on the bike, your body will divert fluids from your stomach to your skin to keep it cool. When you put food and liquid into your stomach, it just kind of sloshes around in there with no where to go.

I also totally failed in the salt category. The body needs to retain fluids, which means creating a negative balance as far as salinity goes.

Yea, that headwind really sucked on the bike. Maybe the wet suit is forcing your body into a position that it isn't used to?!? Are you doing anything to strengthen your core?

Decide now what your goals are for B2B, and plan accordingly. Finishing it in the fastest time possible may not be a good option for you. Finishing with a smile on your face could be the most sensible choice. What ever you decide, you have my full support :-)

Rock on!!!

Sherry said...

OK, let's see...

Yes, it sounds like your stomach 'quit' digesting for you; hence, all of those burps. Once the burping starts, you can almost be certain that nothing is going 'through' anymore. The high HR is probably what got ya; add to that the protein in the perpet. During your next interval session, I would try nixing the protein entirely and see what happens.

Salt- like Wes, I also really underestimated my salt intake at this race. Normally here in FL, I take over 900mg per hour during long training days. For Augusta, I took in only around 500mg per hour. Even though I wasn't sweating in Augusta as much as I do in FL, I was completely salt caked when I finished the race. So, I still lost A LOT of salt... and should have kept that sodium up even though I 'felt' cooler. It wasn't 'Florida hot' on Sunday, but it was warm. Just food for thought for ya since B2B will probably be cooler... I would still keep up with the salt anyway (plus, the extra sodium will stimulate your thirst).

Swim- It almost sounds like you were swimming with your back a bit concave... sort of sagging in the middle. Did you feel like that at all? You were in a wetsuit, right? The increased buoyancy in the legs may have caused some extra center sag. Sometimes these suit companies make leg panels thicker to keep hips up. Just a thought. You may have good body position in the pool and then the wetsuit throws everything off. This would be even more important to focus on before B2B since you will have the added buoyancy of saltwater mix to deal with.

Shoes- OH.MY.GOODNESS! I totally, TOTALLY felt your pain on this (as you'll see when I get my RR up). My feet hurt from mile 1 through mile 13.1 b/c my shoes were waaaay too tight! Ugh!

I still think you are going to be just fine for B2B. The weather should be A LOT cooler and overall, it just looks like a way more 'chill' race... ya know? You've got pleanty of time to get the kinks worked out with your nutrition too... so don't panic.

Rest up well! I'm finally going for a massage tomorrow. Can't wait!

teacherwoman said...

Wow. I know nothing about training for such an event, but I do wonder if the overall intensity and excitement of putting all three of those disciplines together, possibly caused some of the neaseaousnes? Hmm. Interesting.

I still think you did an awesome job! What a learning experience in preparating for B2B. Right behind ya, dude! :)

D10 said...

Way to battle through the run. You are going to be just fine for B2B. I agree with the other posters about salt and fluid intake. You still have time to test some things out, don't worry.

Have you done any swim/bike workouts? Maybe doing a mock swim/bike will help you figure out the back issues.

D10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly said...

Great job getting through it despite the sufferfest.

Did you try any Coke on the run? I find that often settles my stomach down when it's temperamental after all the bike nutrition I took in. I also find that the more water I drink on the bike, the less "off" my stomach is on the run.

Calyx Meredith said...

I am so impressed with how you stuck it out and with what a great attitude you have about it now.

I've also been thinking about nutrition a lot. Did you see Marni's recent post about Hammer products? She had some great nutrition tips specifically for racing too. One of them that surprised me was about slowing down and NOT taking in more nutrition if certain factors were present. Also - I know you said that the only thing that was different was the gatorade early on and that shouldn't have been a big deal. But I've been reading that sometimes the different sugars (?) in that and the perpeteum can cause gi disturbances. Had you mixed those two ever before?? Just some thoughts to throw out there. Best of luck in this shake down phase!! See you in Wilmington!

ShirleyPerly said...

First of all, congrats on finishing a tough race!!

Sorry to hear about the pain and nausea, though. I wonder if maybe sighting when open water swimming could be causing you to arch your back and get back pain?

And I have been using Perpeteum too but only late on my bike rides. Still, I've found that I CANNOT mix it with Gatorade (which I like early in my rides mixed with CarboPro). Only water with Perpeteum or else I get bad gas problems (both ends). However, I've not had any nausea problems. That sounds to me like perhaps you were not absorbing the calories you had in your stomach, which could have been due to dehydration (helped by lack of salt) as well as a higher intensity effort. My coach makes me train at race pace and in the heat often so I can figure out hydration and nutrition issues (no other way, he says). B2B should be cooler, but dehydration is always an issue when racing long, I think.

Best of luck these next few week!

Nick said...

Hi Kevin, I've experienced similar lower back after after swimming. It's only after long wetsuit swims. I've attributed it to a slightly higher foot position in the water because of the buoyancy the suit provides the legs. I swim very level without the suit but I guess that little bit extra is enough to put pressure on the low back. The solution ... more time in the suit. The week before a wetsuit race I swill swim 4 to 5x in the suit to get my lower back and shoulders ready.

lindsay said...

i don't have any tri experience but sure sounds like a rough time! back pain, nausea, stomach troubles, blisters. i'm glad quitting was not an option and you made it through safely. sure hope you can figure out the aches, pains, and nutritional needs asap before b2b!

Steph Bachman said...

Good for you for gutting out the run, Kevin.

I had similar GI/tummy issues at SC HIM last year, and blame it partially on too many calories/protein in my Accelerade on the bike and too high a HR on the bike.

I don't know what your bike zones are, but I know that anything above 135-140 for me will make my tummy icky for the run. I can't even imagine 165.

Same with the wetsuit - the buoyancy in the legs makes your back "U," which could easily make it sore for the bike. I don't know a solution, though, because you will likely want the suit in NC.

Stef said...

I can't help but think this race is a great one to have in the "bank" although things could have been much more "fun" for you out there.

So awesome to see you asking these questions and facing this head on. I too would be nervous about being nauseous on the run . . . it is a real concern, one that I believe you will have a handle on come November 7.

Great job out there these races are NOT easy even on the days that we PR!!!!