Reston Area Triathletes RATS.net Logo

Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: Vineman Full
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2003
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 11:09:59
Overall Place: 18 / 229
Age Group Place: 6
Comment: 1:07:27/2:48/6:36:59/2:32/3:20:13 - 18th overall, 6th age group, 299 starters, 223 finishers

Race Report:

Lessons learned:

Say you get a bit of a tear in an achilles tendon in May, and you are forbidden by your doctor from biking or running until early August. As long as you can get in one really solid weekend of training, it's possible to complete an ironman-distance race in late August.

Sixty hours --- from Friday morning to Sunday night --- is plenty of time to fly from the east coast to the west coast, rent a car, battle traffic for a few hours, go through race registration, set up a transition area, check into a hotel, unpack and assemble a bike, get some sleep, do a race, gather and pack gear, disassemble and pack a bike, get some more sleep, get back to the airport and return to the east coast.

If you're about to go to bed the night before a race, and Men In Black II starts on HBO, and you think to yourself, "Oh, I'll just watch five minutes, then turn it off," DON'T. You'll end up watching the whole movie, and getting to sleep later than you should.

When race morning rolls around, always ALWAYS assume you have less time than you believe you have.

There's something special about the start of an Ironman. You listen to the final countdown and wait for the cannon to fire. With a BANG, you start a long day in which few things are certain, and almost anything could happen. However, one thing is certain: no matter how much time you've spent in the pool during the summer, if, when the race starts, you're in T1, frantically pumping up your tires, not yet body marked, not yet in your wetsuit, you're probably not going meet your time goals for the swim.

Foggy goggles are okay in a swimming pool, when the water is clear and you have a black line to follow. However, when your visibility is virtually nil in the open water, you're going to end up zig-zagging all over the place trying to follow the course.

It's nice to get to T1 and find the racks fairly well packed with bikes.

If you're a weak cyclist, and you don't really do much training on the bike, you're going to be slow, and everyone in the world is going to pass you like you're standing still. It can be somewhat discouraging.

It is possible to ride 95 miles of a race, and pass exactly ZERO people in that time.

The Vineman bike course is very, very pretty. Even if things aren't going right, at least you can look around you, and enjoy the scenery.

It's not so nice to get to T2 and find the racks fairly well packed with bikes.

There is not necessarily any relationship between cycling ability (or lack thereof) and running ability. (And the corollary to that lesson: The further back you are, there more people there are to pass.)

If you have enough base, a long run of 12 miles is enough training to get through a marathon.

If you're a pasty white boy, and you're going to be spending several hours in direct exposure to the sun with not a bit of shade to be found, DO NOT neglect to wear sunscreen. Your shoulders will become very, very well done.

Even if you're late for the start, set a Personal Worst on the bike, and go into the race without the appropriate training, it's still possible to PR... But only by about a minute.

An advantage of being way under-trained is that you're not going to be able to race hard enough to make yourself sore, which is very convenient if you have to navigate through a few airports with a bike, some wheels and a bag full of gear the next day.

However it ends up happening, it's always an adventure.