Race Report: Russell Parker, IM 70.3 New Orleans


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IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans was the most brutal 70.3 I've done because of the wind, and because of a few things I did incorrectly pre-race. 


I executed the swim pretty well considering the conditions. The race was delayed 15-20 minutes to relocate the buoys, which had blown all around. I never felt my HR was too high and my RPE was more than 3-5. Breathing and sighting was a challenge, because of the whitecaps. There was a 50/50 chance of getting a mouthful of water as opposed to air. Sighting was almost impossible because of the choppiness of the water. The swim course needs more buoys on the slant part of the swim. I never saw a buoy in between the peak of the first outbound leg and the slant connecting to the last outbound leg. I just followed others. Getting out of the water, my left hamstring cramped and my stomach felt unsettled. 

I stopped and peed and continued to my bike.  My bike was at the furthermost point from swim exit. It was a long run. 



I decided to leave my bike shoes attached to the pedals, which worked well. I was a little clumsy but it was better than jogging in bike shoes and struggling to get them engaged with the pedals (like at Traditions). I started taking nutrition in the first 10 minutes, which is a mixture of EFS and Carbo Pro. I use the formula of two calories per pound per hour.  It has worked well in the past for me and I'm comfortable with it. However, I left my EFS scoop at home and had to guess on the volume. I could taste the difference and think my EFS concentration might have been too low. 

My stomach was unsettled from the beginning of the bike. That's not uncommon for me when coming from a long swim, however, this never settled. At Mile 15, I had to stop for a bathroom break. It took a long while and I returned to my bike to find a nutrition bottle on the ground.  I guess my bike blew over and someone propped it up. The chain was off and lodged between the small ring and frame and it took me 10 or so minutes to fix.  A lot of curse words flowed seamlessly and I was mad. Here's my grave mistake: while I didn't red line, I pushed more than planned because of all these frustrating occurrences. My stomach never completely settled but no more bathroom breaks. I consumed my nutrition as planned along with water.

Coming in to T2, I was feeling ok. I left my bike shoes on the bike, jogged in to my rack, wiped some of the grease off, changed and started the run.



I was feeling fairly well at the start of the run.  My legs were obviously tired but I was maintaining my target pace and about a 5 RPE. My legs felt like they were on the verge of cramping almost immediately on the run. I started taking Base Salt and it seemed to improve that situation. I took a Gu at the first aid station and water, while walking through. I continued to the mile 2 aid station, walked through and drank Gatorade and water, which I continued doing at each aid station until the turn. I attempted to take a Gu with water about every 30 minutes. My stomach never felt right on the run, which has always plagued me. This one problem costs me so much in every long race.

After I made the turn at the halfway point, it became painfully obvious that the wind was going to make this extremely difficult. Because of the stomach issues, I couldn't continue taking gels so I started taking some Coke, which offered some relief.  By this time my legs were seizing up and running was reduced to a shuffle. I found myself having to walk up the bridges and at the most intense parts of the wind. 



I gutted it out and had a respectable time considering all my issues and the wind.  My conditioning was there and my race plan was solid, except for run nutrition. Had my stomach issues on the bike not happened, it still would have been a sub-6 hour 70.3. 

Moving forward, I need to get a better nutrition system for the run. I will also be sure to have my pre-race dinner by 6-6:30.

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