>Amica Ironman 70.3 Providence
By Colin Kipping-Ruane, Boston University Triathlete
Overall: 5:40:37 – 24th M18-24
This was my first Half-Ironman which I came to compete at after spending 48 days prior to on a submarine. Initially I had wanted to beat a 5:15 based on the time that Max had gotten in the previous year. I crossed the line in a time of 5:40, a time that I was happy with based on the training that I had leading up to the race which consisted of treadmill running and the occasional long spin.
Unlike most races, the Ironman 70.3 Providence consisted of two transitions which meant we had to leave Saturday morning for Rhode Island where we would register. Knowing we wanted to load up on carbohydrates on Friday night, we (Josh and Max) went out to eat at Charley’s Saloon on Newbury Street where we ate spaghetti followed by a brownie dessert which the two of them shared (I passed on that idea). During this meal, we hammered out the final details for the following day where we would leave Boston for Providence. We decided that we would go to Max’s house at 9am for breakfast, after which we would pack the mini cooper with our bikes and gear.
On Saturday, the three of us cooked and ate a delicious egg and ham breakfast in preparation for our short drive to Providence. After breakfast we packed the car and headed south for the packet pick-up and registration. We arrived in Providence less than an hour later to see multiple athletes roaming around. After getting our packets, we headed down to T1 in Narragansett. We stopped for lunch at Legal Seafood on the way. When we got to the transition site later that afternoon, we were given 25-minutes to get our bikes all set up. It’s a weird feeling to leave your bike somewhere the night before a race and hope that it is there the following morning still operational. Once the three of us had set up our bikes on our racks, we headed back to T2 in Providence where once we arrived, we put on our running clothes and did a quick 15-minute run to get the legs loose. During the run, Max showed Josh and me the hill on the run from last year which at the time was not bad, but I knew that after biking for 56 miles, the hill would feel worse. After finishing the run, we grabbed our shoes and anything else we would need for the run, placed it in a bag and headed to T2 for drop off.
Once we have dropped off our run bag, it was time to head to the hotel to relax and get ready for our 70.3 mile adventure. We stayed only about a half mile from the finish at the Hampton Inn and Suites where we met up with our fourth roommate; teammate Sarah. After getting organized for tomorrow, we headed out for a nice spaghetti and meatball (yes, we all ordered the exact same meal) dinner at Down City, located next door. At this time, I was starting to feel the stress from the race for the first time, not because I was nervous about the race but because having multiple bags with my stuff in it threw me off completely. I was afraid that I would forget something vital! Luckily for us, Max had done the race the previous year and knew what to put in each bag. After dinner, we went to 7-ELEVEN, Max needed a Milky Way bar for the bike portion of the race, and did a last minute check of our race day bags at the hotel. Now I was relaxed for the race to come and was ready to get to bed for our 3am wake up.
Unfortunately, I woke up at 2am not because I couldn’t sleep, but because I was used to only getting a few hours of sleep while I was on the submarine. I remained in bed for the last hour before all the alarms went off so I didn’t wake the rest of them up. When the first alarm went off, I jumped out of bed and started my race morning preparations which consisted of making my two bottles of Accelerade/Carbo Pro mixture in addition to getting changed into my skin suit. I ate my race morning breakfast of a wheat bagel with honey followed by a cup of coffee and water. We loaded our bags in the car and headed to T2 where the bus would be waiting to shuttle the athletes to T1 for the start of the race. After getting on the shuttle, I began to get tired and closed my eyes for some time and woke up when we were stuck in traffic less than a mile from T1. I ate the next part of my pre-race meal, a CLIF Mojo Bar. After 20-minutes, we had moved only about 200-yards and a gentleman in front of me asked if the bus could let us off. The bus opened the door and we walked the last bit to transition. Arriving at transition was a site to see! There were over 1600-athletes competing and hundreds were already milling about with their gear. After getting body marked, I made my way to my bike (yes it is still there!) where I got it ready for the race by putting my bento box, saddle bag, computer, and water bottles on the bike. Then I followed by normal routine; helmet and glasses on the bike with shoes already attached. After making my final preparations, I put on my wetsuit and dropped my morning clothes bag just in time to see the first wave. Pro Males hit the water. Over the next 30-minutes, I continued to watch athletes enter the water and at this point some Pros had already finished as well. At 6:30am I entered the water to begin my warm-up and I knew that I would need a longer one then normal to get my arms nice and loose after not swimming for so long. I did just that. I felt great and was ready for the swim.
SWIM (34:57): At 7:05am, the cannon sounded and our wave was off. I sprinted to the water and dove under the first wave that hit us perfectly and started to swim. I felt great off the start and kept going until I had passed the second buoy where my body was now exhausted and ready to stop swimming. At this point, my pace slowed quickly and I just kept swimming. At first, I thought it was just me tiring quickly. I soon realized that the current coming to the shore from the waves is what tired me quicker then I had thought. After rounding the buoys and heading back, I thought now I can pick the pace up for I have the waves at my back. I was wrong. The waves were now coming from all directions, mixed with seaweed at the surface and the glare of the sun made sighting, breathing, and swimming fast difficult for me. I finally got into a groove to bring me to the shore. I was just glad the swim was over but now it was time for the bike.
TRANSITION #1 (2:28): While I was running from the water to transition, I took a look at my bike and the bikes nearby only to see Max there! My first thought was “Yea Max” followed quickly by “What do I owe him now?!?!” Max and I had a bet going for a race where his swim was faster than mine or my run was faster than his. As I entered the end of our rack, he was leaving and I said I will try and catch him. I got my wetsuit off quickly and continued with transition perfectly leaving my wetsuit in a bag for later and was off to mount my bike.
BIKE (3:03:09): I quickly mount my bike, but I did not swing my leg high enough over the saddle and knocked my two water bottles off. I had practiced this but I did not take into effect my legs being tired from the swim. I re-placed them back, but one bottle came out a second time! Finally on my third attempt, I was able to get on my bike and I was off. However, only a few miles later did my bottles come out from hitting a small bump in the road! I quickly stopped and grabbed. As soon as I rounded the first corner I started my timer; a repetitive timer to go off every 15-minutes as a reminder to take some form of nutrition other then my liquids – 5 AccelGels in a gel flask, ¼ of a CLIF Bar, and a pack of CLIF shot blocks. The first part of the ride
was flat. I was cruising and spinning my legs instead of pounding out the gears to save them for the run. The miles went by. I was passing a lot of people and thought “still no sign of Max. That’s OK. He is probably going faster than me right now anyway.” I continued to feel good until the hills arrive. They slowly took the strength out of me. I didn’t quit for athlete #1232 and I played tag for awhile. He would pass me on a hill. I would change gears and maintain cadence and would quickly pass him on the descents and flats. This continued until about approximately mile 30+. I took off after a steep downhill followed by a long flat section. I hit a max speed of 40-mph and passed many athletes who had very nice time trial bikes, wheels and helmets, giving me a lot of satisfaction. At this point, the heat began to affect me. I picked up water from the aid station and took a few sips before dumping it on my body to cool me off. The nutrition timer I had set helped a lot for telling me when to take gels and food. However, I did not take into account how hot it would get and would soon realize I was lacking calories going into the run. Finally, I was within the last mile and last climb on the bike. I began to cramp as I neared the top and did what I could to stretch it out as I coasted to the dismount line. Unlike my races in the past, I did not do a flying dismount. I was afraid my legs may fail on me causing me to crash. I stopped, dismounted and ran into transition two.
TRANSITION #2 (1:33): I entered transition. Racked my bike. Replaced my bike shoes for running shoes. Grabbed my hat, gel flask and I was off without any problems.
RUN (1:58:33): I felt great. I started the run at a slow speed for the first 100-yards to get my legs under me. I was around 7-minutes/mile with no problems. As I approached mile marker one, I cramped up as I started the first hill. I stopped to stretch and decided that I would walk over the hill. The cramp went away quicker then I had anticipated and I was off on the run again. I continued onward through the first loop, sighting Max after the second water stop. To make sure I was not going to overheat, I walked through most of the water stops to take some gel from my flask, get plenty of fluids and douse myself in cups of water. I continued this trend until the second lap where I thought “home stretch!” I felt the start of another cramp on the hill again and to my surprise, Max was coming up the other side as he passed mile marker 11. The cramps and heat were getting to me. My pace was slowing down causing me to walk more often. Athlete #1232 passes me and says a few encouraging words which got me running again. I ran the next few miles before nearly collapsing due to both legs cramping. I walked them out and was off with only a few miles left. On my next decent, I let gravity carry me down. I passed another athlete and she picked up her pace to match mine. We ran the next 1.5-miles together until the hill caused me to cramp. She was gone. As I got closer to the finish, I became much happier for the finish line was in sight! I could see the Metcalfe’s and other supporters of our team cheering for me as I finished. As I neared the finish line, the announcer announced my name (and actually pronounced it right) and said “What’s Up” causing me to have an even bigger smile as I crossed the finish line with my arms raised! After getting my hat and finisher’s medal, I was congratulated by none other than athlete #1232 who had waited for me to finish, which is one thing about this sport that I love.
After the race, even though my times were not my best, I was happy with them considering I had spent a long time on a submarine leading this race. Considering the amount of training I had going into the race, finishing in a time of 5:40 for my first Half-Ironman was great. Although doing a race just after getting back may not have been the best decision, I know what I need to do to be ready for race season this fall and make a run at defending my crown as NECTC Conference Champion.