Half-Ironman Retrospective

This is a version of my writeup that I’ve attempted to remove doxxing info from. Anyone who can dox me in a significant way based on this can request a post on anything they’d like.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I ran my half-Ironman on Sunday. The official event was cancelled so I did my own.

Total time was 6:21:14. I started my stopwatch at 8:01 am and finished at 2:23 pm.

Here are the splits:

  • 2 mile swim: 48:44.
  • Transition from swim to bike: 8:58.
  • 56 mile bike: 3:04:35.
  • Transition from bike to run: 2:55.
  • 1 mile run: 2:16:01.

Overall, the plan went off almost perfectly. The weather was perfect and I was able to listen to Starship Troopers (which is probably better than racing with other people or cheering fans). Normally you don’t get to wear earbuds because safety. So I’d call this 95% ideal conditions. In an absolutely perfect world I would have done 6:10:00.

My pre-Covid goal was 5:47:14 total, but back in mid-May I changed it to 6:30:00 to reflect the fact that there was nowhere to swim and my training plan had been thrown off. I was on track to hit the original goal at the beginning of May but I changed my focus to simply maintaining my existing fitness as best as possible. Lost some ground on the swim and run but actually improved a touch on the bike. I hit the bike split I would have needed for the original goal, but even if everything had gone perfectly on Sunday there was no way I would have broken 6 hours at my current fitness level.

Only two things really cost me time. I was a bit unlucky in terms of car crossings and pedestrians, which probably cost me 3-5 minutes in stops and slowdowns. This happens sometimes. Every cyclist knows to watch out for kamikaze children breaking free from their mothers’ clutches to dive in front of your front tire. You may think this is an exaggeration.

I experienced the worst case of this I’ve ever seen on Sunday. A family of three, completely oblivious, was walking the bike path and looking at stuff. All well and good, but at one point the dad points at something interesting across the path. They fan out, completely blocking the path, as giant groups of fast cyclists are coming at top speeds from both directions. I came to a dead stop and could have reached out and touched him, as he was facing 90 degrees to my left, and he still didn’t notice my existence until I’d waited for the other group to pass through, then rode around in front of his face. You typically expect a dad with a small child in tow to have more of a survival instinct.

But this sort of thing isn’t unusual. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is an R-selected kamikaze strategy to pop children out of their wombs into the wheel spokes of k-selected ubermenschen in tights. It’s like they know by instinct that people who would wear spandex in public must have German admixture…and they’re absolutely correct.

The other thing that slowed me down was somebody found my nutrition bottles where I’d hidden them at the bike path turnaround, and threw them out. I’d thought the hiding place was very clever and it was only the night before, but SWPL conscientiousness struck again. Even if you do hydration and nutrition correctly during these things, you’re still losing ground. So losing a couple hours’ worth of water and nutrition probably cost me 5-10 minutes in performance. I could have cut maybe five minutes off that first transition by not going to the bathroom, re-applying sunscreen, or putting on my UV sleeves for the bike ride, but I didn’t get into this to get skin cancer.

Prep the day before that really helped

-Having a well-planned course with Google maps images so my brain couldn’t play tricks on me as easily.

-Walking the course beforehand to cement the proper turns in my head.

-Having nutrition bottles calculated out, points to pick up new ones planned out, squeeze-top 30 oz. Ice Mountain water bottles bought and filled with the mix beforehand.

-Ate a pizza, made sure to take a melatonin and go to bed early (still slept fitfully from nerves, but not the worst).

-Downloaded audiobook, made sure clothes were washed and phone/watch were charged.

-Should have set up bike rack and loaded car the night before but ran out of time and elected to go to bed instead.

Morning of

Woke up at 5 to allow time for breakfast, entertainment, coffee, and hydration without feeling rushed, still got 7 hours of okay sleep. Also gave time for a first application of sunscreen. Wanted to play video games but ended up reading blogs and stuff instead, which is my normal morning routine. Still, video games would have been better.

Race day setup

This was for post-race survival until I could get to Little Caesar’s. Lemon water in the middle one.


Did my transition setup in the backseat so I could keep it locked away.


Bike stuff on the right seat, running stuff on the left. Dumping bin behind the passenger seat. Didn’t end up needing to change socks between bike and run, but I should still pack them next time in case it’s wet or sweaty.

Here’s what I wore on me (I carried the wetsuit down to the beach and stashed the goggles and swim cap in the pocket of my hoodie).

[Pic deleted for doxx.]

Didn’t use the heart rate monitor but I feel naked without it these days.


[Pic deleted for doxx.]

Coffee, bagels, lots of water. Hydrated heavily the night before too, but could have done better. For race nutrition I prepped four 33-oz bottles of [nutrition drink] with two scoops each and water, plus some baking soda (personal quirk). And two 23-oz bottles for the run, same ratio of water to nutrition (and a bit more baking soda).

Race day setup on location

I appear to have lost my picture of the bike rack setup, but it’s basically just a trunk bike mount with a bike lock to prevent it from being stolen, plus two tube socks tied through the tires to minimize swaying in transit. I remembered to throw the socks in the dump bin and fill up the drink system and bottle carrier before starting, which was nice. Queued up the audiobook for quick transition. The bike lock was set to be quick to remove and put back on. Another application of sunscreen, then one last pee break before I got started.


The first and last buoys at [Place] are approximately in line with the ends of the beach.

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

Using the 100-ft legend in the bottom right and a ruler, I estimated that the distance was 634 feet. I also measured this in person with a 50-foot rope with one end tied around a screwdriver. I put the screwdriver in the sand and then paced to the end of the rope and pulled it to me to measure 50 feet. It came out to what I was expecting.

1.2 miles = 1.2 * 5,280 = 6,336.

6,336 / 634 = 10.

That meant almost exactly five times from buoy to buy would be the correct distance, so that’s what I did.

No lessons learned while swimming, I was able to stay mostly in a straight line and had good lap times. Usually takes me longer to warm up but I was cruising on my way back on the 2nd lap. However, it would really help if I had a warmup routine for swimming. Warming up as if for a run or bike ahead of time made me realize how weird it is that I don’t have a swimming warmup.

Swim to bike transition

Peed, then toweled off my face and arms with the hand towel and reapplied sunscreen. Geared up and turned on audiobook. Putting on the UV sleeves over damp arms took a couple of minutes, but I don’t regret it.


Other than the pedestrians and hydration issue, no problems. Went well. My mind started playing tricks on me about 45 minutes from the end, which I recognized for what it was, and then I started having real mental focus issues for the last 15 minutes so I allowed myself a break from the aero position to help that clear up. Rule 1 is not to get hit by a car because you aren’t paying attention.

Started out circling [lake] clockwise (3.4 miles):

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

Continued clockwise (most of [lake] loop, which we’ll get back to in a moment). Continued out of the park down a little mountain bike trail and onto the [other places] bike trail.

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

When I came back to [Place] that finished the [lake] bike loop (3.5 miles):

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

Rode out to the trailhead (21.9 miles):

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

Rode back to [a road] intersection, and then back to the trailhead to add 5.4 miles:

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

Used the trailhead bathroom to pee, discovered my water bottles had been thrown out, and rode back (21.9 miles). At some point my audiobook cut out, but I left it alone because I was just then getting into a little competition with a couple of serious cyclists. Gave up when my stomach started warning me about the nutrition and hydration issue, so I took it easier after that.

Total = 21.9 * 2 + 5.4 + 6.9 = 56.1 miles.

Bike to run transition

Dumped the sleeves, hit the post-race lemon water a bit to get some much-needed hydration, restarted the audiobook (it had run on somehow), grabbed a bottle, and got moving. No issues.

Run roundup

This part ended up actually being a struggle, especially toward the end. I did the jogger loop at [lake] twice. Started from parking lot and went clockwise:

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

[Google maps pic deleted for doxx.]

(3.4 miles + 3.2 miles)*2 = 13.2 miles.

At the start of the second loop I grabbed the last water bottle. I switched to music because the audiobook finished and even Heinlein just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. Only metal will do at times like these. Got lucky- the first track on shuffle was exactly the one I wanted: The Seventh Trumpet by August Burns Red. Finished the first loop in 1:05:00 including a quick pee break in the woods, second loop in 1:10:00. The last half hour the struggle bus came by, and I bought tickets for every seat. I ended up walking probably fifteen times for ten steps or more, and it was a struggle to not suck down the entire water bottle all at once. But that’s how you get tummy aches.

The thing I kept telling myself during that last bit is how much of a shame it would be to waste all that preparation and training by being undisciplined at the end, and how stupid I would look to all the people I’d told I was going to do this. It worked.


Made absolutely sure to save and memorize my timers, then leaned against my car for a few minutes. Drank the lemon juice and a water bottle, then wandered over to the concessions stand to buy a large Coke, as planned. This was so planned that I double-checked concessions hours beforehand. Went and sat in the car for fifteen minutes, texted family, then secured my bike and drove to Little Caesar’s for a cheese pizza.

Went home and took an ice bath, then waited an hour, then took a long, hot shower. Spent the rest of the day watching anime and took a 2-hour nap before heading to bed at 11. My right thigh was a little more sore than the other side but no injuries. I’d requested the next day off months ago because I knew I’d need to recover. It wasn’t absolutely necessary but I wouldn’t have wanted to do any walking, and stairs were out of the question. As of today (Wednesday) I’m good to do stairs again, and I’ll probably start hitting light cardio again Saturday.

I’m glad I did this and will do it again 😊.


So, next triathlon goals:

  • Break 5:45:00 at [original event location] next year.
  • Full Ironman in 2022.

In the meantime I want to do a few sprints and really get my Olympic length time down to something competitive. That’ll keep my fitness up and not require as much time management to fit in the long workouts.

Tonight, I’m going to start on my next project of putting on some vanity muscle. I’m under 200 lbs and feeling it, so it’s time to get strong again. Starting with the upper body, obviously. I’m not looking to get above 205, sadly. I want to be a triathlete still more than I want to be big, and it’s harder to lose than to put on. I wasn’t even all that indulgent after the race, just the day of. But 10 pounds of muscle would not be amiss.


Before I was nervous and excited, probably about half of what I would have been at a proper event with bells and whistles. During I was mostly surprised at how it was easier than I expected, and how well prepared I was from “practicing like you perform”, up until the last half hour when I wasn’t feeling much other than gitterdun. After was pretty devoid of emotion because I didn’t have the energy. Felt very rational, and also very sparing of brainwork and focused on doing only what was necessary, and no more. Was like that until the next morning, and energy wasn’t truly back until yesterday.


Got no serious upcummies at the time but have gotten some from sending this report to people a few days later. This may be different from usual because I experienced that “strange sense of loss” back in May when the event was cancelled and my training plan went rogue. Have not experienced any sense of loss at all after the event, but this may be because it wasn’t my primary goal at the time. Worth mentioning that some of the upcummies came from a few of my motivational visualizations coming true, and deliberately focusing on that.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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5 Responses to Half-Ironman Retrospective


    Well, I didn’t see gps info in the image metadata so I think you’re good.


  2. aiaslives says:


    What is an “upcummy”?

    also pls read http://arthurjonesexercise.com/home.html

    I’ve merged the chapters:

    Click to access iJDx.pdf

    Click to access iJD3.pdf

  3. David says:

    Congratulations on your 70.3…great achievement!

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