13 July 2009

rhode island 70.3 - race report.

or: the perfect race
or: the most zipp wheels I've ever seen in one place.


3:30: picked up my bike from Race Pace. when I called wednesday afternoon, they said they were booked. overwhelmed. swamped. But I NEED you to tune up and pack my bike. I leave friday morning ! they said: bring beer. I said: how much and what kind?
9:30: perhaps I should pack. bike already in box. could only check one other bag, which I knew would have to be my tri bag [well, I thought it would qualify to bring on the plane - J said no effing way].
laid everything out and had J read me my 'to pack' list as I put everything away:


alarm goes off at 5:30. mother effer. got out of the house with bike in bike box, tri bag, and carry on suitcase/ backpack at 6:05. J drove me to BWI. lots of strange looks - 5'0 girl lugging around a giant grey box. no problems checking in or going through security. flight left on time and arrived on time. I dozed off before take off.

deb picked me up at the airport and we were off to the expo. we relied on "samantha" - her tomtom - to get us around Providence. beautiful city ! after driving around in circle for a while - no, samantha, we ARE NOT at our destination! we finally found the expo/ packet pick up.

first: wait in line to show USAT card.
second: sign waiver [if you die it's not our fault]
here's deb signing her life away:

third: get in line to have someone explain everything to you and get your athlete wristband clipped on. it's useful to know why other people are eating dinner at 4:00 pm, but more on that later. also got shuttle tickets for race morning.

fourth: check out the expo!
what I learned: if it holds still, Ironman will put an M-DOT on it. M-DOT socks, wetsuits, glasses, mugs, keychains, frames, towels, and dog treats.

yes, dog treats.

something fun you can do at the expo: get your photo taken in one of these:

we are so cool.

after the expo we checked into our hotel [walking distance from the finish line!] and I took Bella to the LBS in Providence to be reassembled. and then: we went shopping. I bought some shirts from AT and Deb bought two pairs of shoes. oh, and I got new
rainbows. she is a bad influence.

then, back to the hotel where we did an easy 2 mi on the hotel mills to warm up/ stretch/ get the blood moving.

here is Bella with her race number affixed relaxing at the hotel:

then we ate at someplace [Joe's?] that had really really good nachos ... mmm. nachos.
watched some bad tv and then went to sleep.


this race is different from most in that the bike is a point-to-point.

that means: swim in the ocean at Roger Wheeler Park, bike north to Providence, then run through downtown Providence.
that also means: you need to get all of your shit in the right place on Saturday.
and: you have a lot of bags for said shit:

three bags --
green: morning clothes [the stuff you wore TO the start, to be delivered to the finish]
black: wetsuit/ bike gear [bike gear, and also to stuff your wetsuit/ goggles in, to be delivered to the finish]
red: running gear [to be put in t2 on saturday]
we had a 9:00- noon parking pass for the beach in Narragansett, so after an all-you-can-eat(-and-steal-for-race-morning) breakfast, we headed to the beach to rack our bikes.

here's deb and her badass cervelo p2c

and here's me kissing bella bye and telling her I'd see her in the morning.

here is the beach on saturday late morning. it did NOT look like this on race morning:

we then drove the bike course. got off course at around mile 40. I was navigating. total coincidence. total.
we headed back to the hotel to get our run stuff together . then: to the race briefing [drafting is bad, mmmkay?] and put our run gear bags in T2:

and then we ate dinner. at 4:30. it was pretty funny - lots of people wearing green Ironman 70.3 wristbands sucking down pasta while other people were eating lunch.
so: bike was racked, run stuff in t2, bike gear packed, race day clothes and wetsuit and goggles and cap laid out. it's go time !
... except: it's 7:30. the sun is still shining. people are still out. but: the shuttle from downtown providence leaves at 4:00 am and we need our sleep.

8:30: deb and I go to sleep.
1:30 am: deb and I are awakened by a parade. YES, A PARADE. mother effer. no matter, says deb, we have to be up in a couple hours anyhow.

3:30 am: we're awake.
3:32 am: why the eff am I doing this.
3:45 am: we're on our way to shuttle pick up. it's dark. very much so.

here are deb and I on the shuttle:

taking a picture of deb's cell. it says: 3:53, I think. that's early.

the shuttle was freaking FREEZING, mr. bigglesworth ! and so was the air! ... so brilliant of me not to pack long sleeves and sweats. it was in the low 60s and very windy and I was wearing a tri top, tri shorts, and a tshirt. like I said- brilliant.
I put my bike gear bag on bella and wiped her down.
time > 37:34
pace > 1:57/ 200
age group place > 43/ 59
overall place > 866/ 1308

there was a nasty storm saturday night -- and the waves knocked all the buoys all. over. the. place. the race start was delayed 15 min... and then another 10 min while the kayakers pulled the buoys back into something that resembled that ^^ . the water didn't LOOK too bad... some big-ish waves breaking at shore, but once I got past those, I thought I'd be okay.
my wave - women 18-29 - was toward the end, so I stood in the water and watched all the waves before me start. and then: PURPLE CAPS ON DECK ! ahhhh I hate this part of races. well, maybe hate is the wrong word, but the waiting is the hardest part. after what felt like forever, the gun went off and so did we.
I ran into the ocean, high stepping as best as I could until I could start swimming. holy eff this was a tough swim. sighting was pretty good for the first 300m or so, and then ... not so much. I tried to see the next buoy but the waves blocked my view. plus, we were swimming against the current. finally I got to the red buoy and turned around to swim back to shore. and then: I got lost. seriously, who gets lost in an out and back swim ? the buoys had shifted and at one point I wasn't sure where shore was... I asked a kayaker WHICH WAY and she pointed to an orange buoy. and then: SHORE ! wheeeee ! I slogged out of the water, ripping off my cap and goggles and unzipping my wetsuit, and ran up the beach.
and then: wetsuit strippers ! awesome ! I laid down on the (M-DOT, of course) carpet and two girls ripped my wetsuit off. so efficient. then to t1 where I traded my swim gear for bike shoes and a helmet and it was time to riiiiide.

time > 3:22:06
pace > 16.63 mph
age group place > 40/ 59
overall place > 1158/ 1308
biking is - undoubtedly - my weakest leg so I was a little nervous about this 56 miler. my time goal for this was 4 hr. the start of the course is pancake flat and I was averaging 18.8 mph ... knew this wouldn't last but enjoyed it while it did ! I stayed in aero for most of the time and followed my nutrition/ hydration plan: one sip of concentrated Infinit followed by one sip of water every 15 min.
men 20-24, 25-29, and 30-34 all started behind me, and most [all?] of them zipped by me on the course... but I didn't care. I was racing my own race.
oh, and speaking of zipping -- 60% of the field had zipp wheels. it was insanity - I've never seen so many pricey bikes + wheels in one place.
there were some climbs in the middle of the ride... nothing too bad, though. at one point a woman passed me on the right - on a hill - and it looked like I was trying to pass her. pissed me off.
at mile 30ish I heard "any women have spare 650 tubes???" I did I pulled over to give her one. poor woman ended up with 2 flats ... turns out her wheel was shredded [Deb talked to her on the run] and she had to wait for the SAG van.
then: into the town of Providence- yay! - and through the hood - boo ! seriously, the last 5 miles went through the slums - complete with potholes and railroad tracks. it really was shitty. but then I heard: you're almost there - just to the top of the hill ! and I finished strong.
hopped off my bike at the dismount area - almost getting run over by some dbag - and headed into t2 to drop off my bike + bike gear and pull on my shoes and hat for the half marathon.

time > 2:09:11
pace > 9:51 min/ mile
age group place > 43/ 59
overall place > 844/ 1308
you can't think - at the start of the last leg of a half ironman - I have 13.1 mi to run. it's too much, too overwhelming. gotta take it mile by mile.
the run course was an out and back - twice - which I liked. there was an aid station each mile - with power bars, power bar gels, water, gatorade, pretzels, and sponges soaked in ice cold water. there were tons of spectators, too, which is always very nice.
as you can see from ^^ , there was a HUGE hill that we had to go up - and down - twice. apparently it's the hill that was used for the street luge at the x games. it. was. steep.
I didn't wear my Garmin but figured I was keeping about a 10 min pace for the first loop.... maybe a smidge bit under. the nice thing about the out and back is that I could say to myself - on the first loop - next time you're here you will be so close to done. I finished the first loop and it was mentally tough to make the u turn instead of heading to the Capital to the finish !... but I knew that I was halfway done, and that was a big mental boost - just one more lap, just 6.1 more miles. there were inspirational signs set up by friends and family - very sweet to read, especially the ones done by kids.
I chugged along, taking some walk breaks when I needed to -- I also walked through all of the aid stations. I passed A LOT of people on the second loop which was a big boost to my morale.
and then I was near the finish. the crowd grew larger, louder, and the most beautiful sight - the finish line - grew closer.

time > 6:15:24
age group place > 45/ 59
overall place > 1011/ 1308
I gave it all I had and even passed the guy next to me. crossed the early mat and heard TRICIA CECIL, from BALTIMORE, MARYLAND ! and smiled my biggest cheesiest smile at the finish line photographer.
looked at my watch: I SMASHED my 7 hour time goal by 45 minutes ! elated, I grabed some water, got my water and 'finisher' hat, and posed for a photo. very cool: some guy said "wow, you were passing everyone in the second loop -- what's your secret??" then borrowed someone's cell to call my iron sherpa - james - and waited in line for a massage. ... the line didn't move and I needed to find deb, so I headed out out of the finisher area.
went to the tents where a volunteer easily found my morning clothes bag and my bike/ wetsuit bag, and got a photo with Bella:

the beautiful Capitol and the sight of the finish:

I couldn't find Deb at our meeting place, so I headed back to the hotel, where she was with her parents. don't we look great?

her parents took us to lunch/ dinenr, where I had the most delicious glass of shiraz and an awesome bacon cheeseburger. back to the hotel to take a nap and then we got coldstone ice cream.
I have a nasty chafing bruise/ open wound, but I'll spare you all a photo.

exhuasted and happy, I fell asleep early.

packing up the car was interested. I stuffed all my luggage stuff in the bike box, and after multiple attempts, we finally got the car packed. it was like tetris:

an uneventful 6 hours later - we made great time- I was back in Baltimore. happy to be home.
this was My Perfect Race. I dropped over two hours from my finish at Savageman ! everything just went so damn well --- the flight, the hotel, the race itself. I am thrilled with my times and I am beyond thrilled with my bike. I can't believe I kept under a 2:00/ 100 with that swim. I had a good HM and a spectacular finish.
best part of the race - the volunteers. they were awesome and they were EVERYWHERE.
.... onward and upward to ironman training !


  1. Awesome race, Trishie!! Onward and upward is right, girl. You are going to have the time of your life!

  2. Great job Trish!! I'm so proud of you.

  3. Congrats again, Cant wait to her your IM report later this year.

  4. Looks like you had a good race. I hate that feeling getting up 5 hours before a race and all the nervous energy that is wasted.

  5. Great Race Report! Glad to hear that it went well!!!

  6. Great job! It's awesome that you beat your goal by so much. Congrats. One thought however, riding through that sketchy last few miles of the bike, I was reminded: (a) how fortunate I am to be able to do triathlon and be able to pick up all the bling, including those Zipps; and (b) how reality lives on in the cold hard world while I'm breezing through with a few grand of equipment. Appreciate it all, and appreciate the course for that reminder.

  7. Congratulations again!!! Awesome RR. You totally crushed your goal and rocked that course!!! I hope you are enjoying a little rest and relaxation this week :)

  8. Trish, fantastic race. Way to blow away your goal time. My buddy was up there racing with you and told me how crazy the water was Sunday. Keep up the great work.

  9. What an awesome race report! LMAO @ "drafting is bad, mmmkay?" Mega congrats on a great race and beating your goal time.

    p.s. you should be an M-Dot for Halloween!

  10. WOW!!! Way to rock it!!! One question though... what it is with the middle of the night wake up events? Fire alarm in Richmond, Parade at this race? :)

  11. Congratulations!!!!!

    I felt like I was there!

    so when's the next one? lol

  12. Congrats on a great race! Great race report!

  13. 1) awesome race report
    2) swimming out and back in the sea is harder than it looks
    3) props for helping the lady with the spare tire
    4) coldstone ice cream is a must after a race
    5) congrats on the awesome swim numbers (and the bike AND the run)

  14. How did I miss this post?? Awesome job. Huge PR and way to crush your goal time. College hill is a beast. Great job. I am so going to do RI next year.

  15. Congrats Trish on the awesome half IM PR!!! very well deserved indeed :-) fantastic race report also plus its nice to see that you bring about the same amount of "stuff" to a race as I do :-) hope you been recovering properly this week also ;-)


  16. someone recommended this race to me for next season and sent me here. how's that for serendipppity! It's illegal to pass on the right, so that bitch should have gotten a penalty.