Ironman 70.3 Wilmington, North Carolina 2017
Alright! Here is my race report on my very first half Ironman 70.3 in Wilmington, NC! I’ll try to keep it short, but detailed! This is literally my first year in triathlons and ultimately learning how to swim, so crossing this finish line was a big deal! Here’s what I learned going into it, and a few takeaways from a newbie perspective. I won’t go in depth on my nutrition, but will keep this specifically about the race itself.
The setup:
If you can get there at least two days ahead to make the early check in option, do it! We had two days of checking in prior to race day. Thursday self checking, Friday self and gear check in. There were three bags we had to pack: bike gear, run gear, and morning clothes bag.
  1. Bike gear: This bag was everything for your bike which you’ll replace with swim gear. This was also the ONLY bag we would get to race morning. Friday I checked in my bike (first one of course…newbie jitters!), clip shoes, helmet, shades, gloves etc…Bike check in was Friday only. No bikes were allowed morning of. Early Saturday morning I went to get numbered and make final placements of bike essentials (my fluids and nutrition). You could have brought it all on Saturday, but I didn’t want a hand full of things on race day.
  2. Run bag: This bag would be switched out for bike gear. We could NOT get to this bag race day. So if you wear socks don’t forget them. Don’t forget your bib and shades! This was the only bag I pre-staged my fluids/ nutrition.
  3. Morning clothes bag: Literally just that. It was nice to to keep on warm clothes and ditch them as our respective waves were called. They had collection bags for us to place them in, and shuttle back to the start.
  4. Everything you exchanged has to go in the bag for transport. Label everything you deem important. This way if it falls out the item would still make its way back. Bike gear and morning clothes bags were collected and brought to the finish line. The bike and bike bag was collected by ourselves (or trusted designated person).
Coming in early, I was able to really think things out Thursday night, but it also gave me an extra day to shop in case I left something. The expo was also very calm on Thursday with some one-on-one time asking questions. 🗣ATTEND THE ATHLETE MEETING! They answered everything! From the routes to what you could get penalties on. Go and listen. It doesn’t hurt to get free advice. The presenter was extremely patient with the amount of first timers that were in the room.
The Swim:
Estimated time: 52-55min
Actual time: 36min 47sec 😱
Okay…this swim is fast!! Not only was it wetsuit legal, but we were swimming with the current and can definitely feel it. Keep buoys to you left and go. (Works well for left side dominant breathers) . It still felt like forever, but as soon as I said “geesh how much longer?!” it was over! I felt my sighting was better this time. I didn’t swim 100yds in the wrong direction or have a kayak person ask me if I’m okay. Main goal was to not get scooped out. We ultimately lucked up and had a gorgeous race day weather. No storm or hurricanes to make the water choppy. The current was so smooth. No creature. No jellyfish. No big fish. A few people touched my toes, but that helped me get it together. I did like that the route was wide and not a lot of people were swimming all over the place. The water? 71 degrees and Very SALTY water! Whatever your method is to deal with saltwater utilize it. They had a sprinkler we ran under, but it didn’t make a big difference.

T1: 6min 27sec
I lost some time here. We ran from the pier, across the street, down a shoot that took us half way around all the bikes and in. My bike was somewhere deep in the middle, so make moves! I wouldn’t take transitions for granted. A lot of time can be lost. When you swim in there are plenty of ladders to get out, and people were pulling us up. I also used the wetsuit strippers and they were fast! At first I wasn’t going to, but I’m glad I did. Make sure your garmin is on the inside of your suit!!

The Bike:
Estimated time: 3hr 45min
Actual time: 3hr 24min 7sec
Yay me! Shaved 23min off my time! Route is super flat, but sometimes flat isn’t always good. This means you’re actually pedaling the ENTIRE time. Nothing to coast or glide. On the bridges there were a few grates to cross, which meant to slow down. Please adhere to the volunteers and their warnings. Some did not slow down and crashed. I saw saw a few competitors with bruised faces, they crashed, and faced having to stop racing altogether. The grates started within the first good 5miles or so. You can bet a lot of people started to sloooow dooown after seeing that! Take your time, but race your race. The time is easy to make up. Overall good bike route. Was a bit annoyed they put a nice little hill right at the very end as you’re trying to shake out your legs instead. It didn’t help (for me) to recover, but I finished strong as possible.

T2: 5:01
The bike dismount was at the base of a hill which was a deal to work with. Again we ran all the way around the bikes and in. The rest was my fault. I spent a lot of time just getting stuff out of the bags. Not having a tri mat makes it a little harder to grab-N-go. So I’ll say really have what you need in there. Don’t guess around about it. I am going to incorporate taking things out of bags for my brick training. I can say I was not expecting not having my tri mat.

Run:
Estimated time: 2hrs
Actual time: 2hrs 7min 47sec
You guessed it! A little irritated by my time, but I’m not a big biker and my legs were still getting over that last hill. I can say I wasn’t prepared for a push prior to the run. Biking is now my weakest event. I took a minute to stretch, some nutrition, and eased back into it. Thankfully my legs worked themselves out!! I purposely took it slow the first 4, but after that turned it up heading to 6, the turnaround, and back. The water stations were appropriately placed and stocked with good fruits, salty food, and other carbs. It wasn’t too hot or hilly just slightly inclined.

Finish line:
AMAZING!! What a rush to hit the Ironman red carpet, all the banners, and official Ironman arch. Coming in I heard my parents, and a fellow teammate cheering so I ran harder! The announcer called my name as a first timer and I was done. Standing there I just looked at everyone realizing what we just did!! It’s done! Just like that! Can’t truly put in words the atmosphere and feeling of this moment, but take a minute and let it soak in. I grabbed my hat and medal, made way to take my finisher photo, and greeted the fam. They always make it to my “first” time in going something. It is also a thing that no one puts on my medal, but my dad if he’s there. So awesome seeing him, Mom, and teammate at the end. That really makes a difference.
Conclusion/ Overall/ Take always:
So if you skipped down for the “so what” of things, here’s the down and dirty. Overall amazing race! This was so organized, people were friendly answering questions, and the volunteers made it happen! If you can get there on a Thursday for a Saturday race do it! Take your time packing and be thorough in labeling. I liked that the swim was a straight line, the bike was a down and around, and the run was a down and back. The routes didn’t have you on some crazy hamster loop passing something 3-4 times. This will most likely be your fastest swim. The bike, although flat, was a push and adhere to the warnings! Run and enjoy! The run was pretty smooth, self explanatory, well marked on when to turn.
Most of all have FUN!! Roughly 2800 competitors were out there! I got to meet some incredible athletes and connected with some familiar faces. I had so much fun just enjoying the atmosphere! Truly trust your training. Stay calm and know that you’re ready.  As a first time swimmer I really wanted to do well, and I did which I’m very proud of! Now I have to bring up my biking! Bottom line I would definitely recommend this race for anyone especially first-timers wanting to break into the Ironman Half world!
 
Injuries: None
Lost items: Goggles
Forgotten items: Forgot to put on bike gloves
Training switch: practice taking items out of bags for transitions

Hey what’s up! My name is Carl Alleyne and this is my first season doing triathlons. The New Jersey State Tri is my third one so I wouldn’t consider myself a beginner but I’m definitely not a seasoned tri veteran either like some of my District Tri teammates.

A District Tri teammate of mine highly suggested the New Jersey State Triathlon so I chose it among the 4 that I registered for in the beginning of the year. He dubbed it as a flat course that was very ideal for fast times. Why the heck not! When I registered, I neglected to pay attention to the “pick race packet up on race day” option. It cost $15 but would’ve saved me some gas. I camped out in Philly at a family member’s house so it would’ve been nice not to have to drive to Trenton the day before the race. I don’t think I’ll be staying at a family member’s house the day before a race again haha. Nothing bad happened but they just don’t understand that I had an endurance race the next day. They “forced” me to eat bbq food which I’m sure wasn’t optimal for a triathlon haha. Furthermore, I had to pry myself away during late night catch up talk to get some sleep.

On flip side, picking up my race day packet on Friday made Saturday race a lot more smooth. I parked my car, placed my chip around my ankle, set up my bike/bike helmet stickers and was ready to head to the transition area. As soon as you walked into the marine park, they had volunteers ready to bib # body mark you on the way to transition. Very efficient! The transition area space for each racer was pretty standard although there was over 1370 sprint racers so the transition area itself was huge!! I did notice the lower number bibs were closer to the bike out exit which was preferable for me.

Onto the race conditions…They weren’t too bad considering it was an east coast race in July. The temperature was around 90 degrees but wasn’t too humid. The water was a non-legal wetsuit temperature of 88 degrees. The designated swim warm up area gave me a feel of just how warm doing a sprint in bath tub warm water would be.

The race day vibe was pretty incredible compared to the other two triathlons I did this year. They had a jumbotron with candid video of triathletes preparing for the race. Well-positioned loud speakers kept the music blasting before and during the race. The announcer was very upbeat and funny as well. The expo sold standard tri/endurance race items but was nothing to brag about.

For the actual race, the crowd and announcer got even more excitable than pre-race. As each race wave was called to the lake, volunteers blew out that Miami Hurricane football pre-game smoke to usher you into the water. Pretty cool! The course was very well marked with orange floats every 30 meters to pave the way. My wave had 60 racers in it so I already knew to get to the side as I’m not the fastest swimmer but also not the slowest. It didn’t actually matter because as soon as the horn blew for us to begin we all clumped up together. It was definitely my toughest open water swim. No exaggeration, I either hit someone or someone hit me every two strokes. There were few times that I remember being able to get into a smooth swimming groove. I had to catch myself and pause about 3 times. Not because I got tired but because my stroke was thrown off that much from physical contact with the other swimmers. It made for a difficult swim but I had still had fun. After the 500 meter swim, you exited onto a man-made sand strip leading to the transition area. That was great because that’s better than running barefoot on wet grass in my opinion. The swim-in transition distance wasn’t far at all. However, the transition area-to-bike out distance was pretty lengthy. I guessed the race organizers sacrificed the short swim-to-transition distance for the transition-to-bike mount distance. The bike course was short (11.5 miles) and relatively flat (it contained some false flats but nothing that I would remotely even call a hill even for a beginner biker). It was mostly flat which did make for several lengths of getting into good unabated sprints. Being my third triathlon and the fact I’ve been putting in some significant “saddle” time, I could see a false flat coming up and adjust my gears accordingly. Unlike other rides I’ve been on. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much the water temp and the 90 degree heat had on water loss and didn’t drink nearly as much as I should’ve during the bike portion. All in all, I felt good with a half mile to go on the bike and thought I could pull a good run time. The bike-to-transition distance was again, quite lengthy but not overwhelming. The only non-positive thing I noticed during the whole course was the amount of turns one had to make in order to get out of the transition area and onto the actual main running course. One of the volunteers even got turned around and directed me the wrong way which I wasn’t too happy about. However, they and my cheering teammate quickly got me on the right track. The running trail went through the park and also contained a couple false flats. Being the newbie I am, I went out a little too hard on the first mile and that made even the slightest rise in elevation very noticeable. I’d say about 60-70% of the sprint run course was shaded. Awesome because I didn’t feel like I was going to overheat.  The enthusiastic water station volunteers were set up all along the course. They even had a sprinkler set up half way through which was optional to run through. The finish was great as it was very well attended by volunteers and spectators cheering on everybody. The loud speaker music and confetti from the volunteers gave me that extra push to finish hard the last .35 miles. In fact, I ran at such a fast pace during that last segment, it made me wonder if I wasn’t running as hard as I could’ve been during the rest of the course. I’ll chalk it up to the race finish adrenaline haha.

As soon as you finish, they have volunteers ready to take racing chip themselves, hand you your hard earned medal and direct you to the shower/sprinkler tent. Man, the sprinkler shower was God sent!! Best part of the race hahaha. Certainly, a much need cool down and got me in a relaxed state. Everyone was very friendly as several racers I “met” along the course spoke to me afterward. The food was pretty standard, except that caramel cookie. Delicious!! Although I didn’t hit my goals, I improved in terms of time/pace on each portion. I know that was, in part, due to the great race course set up. All in all, The New Jersey State Tri was a great race experience and I would definitely recommend it as a future team race.

February 8, 2017

It’s that time of year again! District Triathlon is kicking off its first full year this month. So much has happened in a short period of time. We’ve grown the team from 2 members to 76 members in a couple months, acquired multiple partners & sponsors, trained, competed, won USA TRIATHLON club grant and had a dope ass time while doing it.

Triathlon is an exciting sport but it can be gear heavy and expensive. Not only are athletes asked to master 3 athletic disciplines but make sure the gear necessary with each is up to par good quality and dependable. I’ve only been in the sport for 2.5 years and coaching for even less. I’ve learned alot and still learning cool tips and tricks to make for faster transitions and being better prepared for competition and race season. Below are gear I currently plan on using through out the season (not all necessarily at the same time). I try to keep my gear as simple as possible. I’ve broken it down into 3 categories:

 

SWIMMING:

Swimsuit: TYR Viper Jammer Suit: This is my daily go to suit. Not too expensive and wont break the bank. USA Triathlon members get a decent discount at TYR.
Goggles: Speedo Vanquisher:  I’ve been using these googles since high school. Get them and you wont be disappointed.
Swim Cap: Random Race Caps
Pool Swim Watch: Garmin Forerunner 920XT– It does everything I want from a GPS watch. Not the prettiest of the bunch. The Garmin Fenix 3 would be my ultimate choice… but the way my bank account is setup….
Drills – Swimmer Snorkel: FINIS Swimmer’s Snorkel – This is useful for balance drills primarily, allowing me to focus on position (looking at hands, etc…) without having to come up for air
Openwater – Wetsuit: Orca Open Water – I don’t have alot of experience with wetsuits and typically compete in water too warm for wetsuit legal events.
Swim bag: Aeropek Dry Bag.

 

 

 

 

BIKING:

Triathlon Bike: Cannondale Carbon Slice 3 w/shimano 105 components. I’m looking to upgrade soon or atleast upgrade my components to dura ace.
Roadbike: Currently nothing. Looking for a good road bike.
Power Meter: Cycle Ops Power Tap G3 & Joule 2.0 powermeter.
Bike Shoes: Planet X 365X Pro Carbon Vernice Road Shoe : These beauties are amazing! Light comfortable, easy to get on and off and didn’t come with a huge price tag.
Race belt: FuelBelt GelReady Race Belt –  For races, to put your number on for the bike and run.  It also holds gels, though, not as well as I’d like.  Better just as a race belt for the number than a storage platform.

 

 

RUNNING:

Running Shoes: Adidas Alphabounce: I’m crazy surprised at how these have treated me over the 6 months I have used them.
Running T-Shirt: Whatever technical t-shirt I grab out of the massive drawer of dozens of them.  If you don’t have any running t-shirts, you’re not doing enough races. 😉
Running Shorts: Adidas supernova running shorts.. These things are solid. I usually stick to tights even in the summer but will grab these or nike dri-fit shorts. Cant go wrong with either.
Running Socks: 2xu compression socks. Never had a blister or painfully sore feet with these.
Running Watch: Garmin Forerunning 920XT:  I’m pretty happy with the tracks/accuracy I get.  When indoors I hook it up to the HR monitor.