PacCrestRecap3

Race Report: Pacific Crest Half Ironman 2011- Keyon Maljai

by Keyon Maljai in Train With Grain, Triathlons
All I can say is wow. Pacific Crest 2011 rocked!  When you’re looking at the daunting task of going from complete beginner to completing a Half Ironman in less than six months, some would say that I’m a little crazy.  But, I think that if you’re gonna do something, you might as well go all out and give it your best shot.  And that’s what Pac Crest 2011 felt like for me.Setting the scene for Pacific Crest 2011: 75-degree day, light winds, snow lined biking course – perfect!  One of my biggest fears on race day was the weather.  Not only would I have to fight the elevation at 2500 feet, but last year the weather was in the 90’s.  Needless to say, I was stressing about that additional factor for race day.  Fortunately, for the rest of the racers and me, the day was picture perfect.

The swim, wow, long.  1.2 miles through the Wickiup reservoir can be taxing.  Fortunately, with all the hard work that we put in to preparing for the open water swim, it didn’t feel too bad.  Although, I was definitely ready to get out of the water, I never got to a point where I didn’t think that I would finish.  The most important thing to remember and to practice when you’re preparing for an open water swim is to practice your sighting.  You can quickly add distance to the 1.2 miles that you’re already swimming.  Practice your sighting in the pool early on and then take what you’ve learned to your open water swims.  Mastering this skill will pay dividends when you’re out in open water.

The bike, amazing!  I never thought that I could go that fast on a bicycle!  When the speedometer hit 43 mph, I said to myself, “omg, I hope I don’t blow a tire!”  It takes total focus to keep the bike pointed straight down the hill and to not swerve very much especially considering the amount of cross wind that hits you from time to time.  I did learn that I could have pushed myself harder earlier in the bike portion of the race.  Being my first Half-Ironman, I was unsure how hard to push and when.  I also learned that I didn’t need nearly as much water/electrolyte prior to the first water station as I thought.  This minor miscalculation did add some unnecessary weight but it gave me something to perfect for next time.The funniest thing that I saw was a fellow athlete eating a full homemade sandwich out of a plastic baggy about 2 miles in to the race.  It seemed a little silly and it gave me some early comic relief – to each their own I guess.  But overall, the bike portion of the race was breathtakingly beautiful, with snow lined roads, mountain and lake views, this ride is definitely a must regardless of whether you’re seeing it on race day or if you’re just out for a pleasure cruise.

The run, slow.  The running portion of Pacific Crest 2011, taught me something… I’m a mediocre runner.  Normally, running 13 miles is not that daunting.  However, running 13 miles after swimming 1.2 miles and riding my bike for 58 miles presented a whole new challenge.  The mental and physical exhaustion started to add up but the determination to finish and finish strong helped keep me going.  It’s amazing how hard you can push your body, mind and spirit on race day.  I guess that’s what Triathlon racing is all about – when you think you can’t go any further, you somehow find the strength to keep going.

Pacific Crest 2011 definitely lived up to the hype.  The run is where you make your money and if I were to do it all over again, I would have focused more of my training efforts on the run by doing more major brick workouts.  While brick workouts were a regular staple on my training calendar, I don’t think my body was quite ready for the strain and stress that the run portion presented.

Overall, Pacific Crest 2011 was a wonderful racing experience.  If you’re a beginner like me, definitely put this race on your list of ones to do.  It’s absolutely beautiful, the course is wonderful, the fan support is amazing and it’s something that you will talk about with your racing buddies for years to come.

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Keyon Maljai Google: Keyon Maljai
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