Sunday, September 23, 2012

Delaware Diamondman Triathlon Race Report

I completed my first half-iron distance triathlon on Sep 9. My target time range was 5:30 to 6:30 hours, and I came in right in the middle of my target time. There were many things that I did well, and a bunch of things I could have done better.

Delaware Diamondman Triathlon

First, some background about this race. It's a small regional event organized by Piranha Sports. I had previously signed up for 2 other Piranha events but did not show up. This time, it was my focus race this triathlon season. Without going into details, there was a medical crisis that brought me to the visiting area of an emergency room for 5 hours 2 days before the race. Everyone's ok. Everything's ok, but the event did a some impact on my race. I stayed at a hotel across the street from the University of Delaware campus in Newark, Delaware. It's a 15 minute drive to the transition area. Parking was easy, next to the transition area. Things I forgot to bring to transition area: the rubber bands that came with my Profile Aero Drink bottle, flashlight. Race setup: Every athlete got an assigned spot on the bike rack. It was a tight space that I had to stack my shoes on top of my transition. Portable bathrooms were about 1/4 mile from the transition area.

Swim - 1.2 miles

It was an in water start. Water temperature was about 76F so it was wetsuit legal. Lake bottom was muddy and slimy. Water condition seemed dirty and gross. The swim was one big loop, and the course was well marked with orange or yellow buoys.

I was in the first wave, toward the front, on the outside of the lake. The start was a little crazy as I expected. I got kicked a few times. I bumped into a few bodies. I did a a few breaststrokes when I needed to find an open lane. I swam most straight. I stayed calm and paced myself well. I was happy to see 40:xx on my watch coming out of the lake.


It was a long swim to bike transition. First, I put on my T1 shoes staged near the swim exit. Jogged 1/3 mile to the transition area. Took of my T1 shoes, got myself out of my wetsuit, put on my bike shoes, and off I went.

Bike - 56 miles

The bike course consisted of 2 loops. It was mostly flat, and the course was mostly closed to traffic. I was prepared for the bike portion! I had a nutrition plan. I had a fluid plan. I knew my target pace. I was ready!

I was comfortable in the aero position hamming my way through the course. I only got out of the aero position to pee and to navigate through some turns and potholes. After the first loop, I realized that I was slightly ahead of my target pace, so I went slightly easier on the second loop. At this point, there were about 5 of us riding around the same pace, keeping away from the draft zone of each other. We exchanged leads but for the most part, we never got too far from each other. We started having some conversation. I saw these guys during the run, and also after the race. It was a friendly race!


I had nice dismount off the bike, and quickly ran my bike into the transition area. A quick glance around the bike racks gave me a sense that I was somewhere in the middle, as bike racks were more than half empty. Took off my bike shorts that I wore on top of my jammer. Put on my shoes and run bib, and off I went!

Run - 13.1 miles

I felt good off the bike, so I decided to run hard! Big mistake! I was able to maintain 8-9 minute pace for the first 5 miles. I slowly ran out of energy. At the start of the second run loop, I started to shuffle! Run / Walk. Run / Walk. It was a new experience for me in a triathlon to see people running by me. I was struggling to keep it together to move forward. I didn't have cramps. I just felt exhausted. I started to pick up the pace after the turnaround point with less than 2 miles left. I started passing some people who had passed me. I was so happy to see the finish line as the clock was just under 6 hours.

Official Results:

Swim 1.2 Mile 0:44:47 113

T1 0:04:10 162

Bike 56 Mile 2:48:06 101

T2 0:02:37 131

Run 13.1 Mile 2:19:38 96

Finish Time: 5:59:20

Overall Placement: 106 / 173 overall

Division: 13th out of 22 in M35-39

I have mixed feelings about my performance. My swim was calm and straight and could be a little faster. My transition times were a little slow. My bike portion was surprisingly strong, but I need to ride steady to save some for the run. My run was awful! I need to manage my expectation better and not starting too fast on the run.

I am happy that I finished under 6 hours. A better race plan will bring my time under 5:30.

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