HITS Ocala Half Ironman Race Report

Not my greatest race, but certainly a solid result and a confidence booster heading into this season!  This Sunday I raced the HITS Half Ironman in Ocala, about 2 hours from my house in Tampa.  While the race wasn’t huge, it still had a solid turnout and was very well run.  They actually had every distance possible—sprint and Olympic Saturday and a half and full Ironman on Sunday.

Leading up to the race, I was a little bit anxious—I’ve been training well, but no huge bike-run bricks to this point.  This was a great way to open the season, see how my body reacted, test my fitness and skills, and race my first triathlon as a member of the Wattie Ink Elite Team and an XPMultisport coached Athlete.

Rock the Wattie Ink W

The week prior to the race, volume was still the same until 3-days before, where I began the “Felipe no-taper taper” which isn’t really that “taper-ific” ha.  Saturday I did the AM workout, then ate, and headed up to Ocala where I got my packet, checked out the scene then headed to the hotel when I kicked it and tried to relax.  The damn people in the room next door were so loud—I have no idea what they were doing, but it was alternating between loud TV and loud music… or yelling at the kids.  Luckily, they went to bed early I guess.  It also rained pretty hard Saturday night, thus I was very glad I opted not to rack my bike the day before.

Sunday morning came fast and early.  I packed up everything and headed out the site which was about 30 minutes away and ate in the car.  I’ve been trying new pre-race meals, since a bagel is now out as carb source being that it’s not paleo by any means.  What I’ve been doing and really liking is white rice mixed with full fat coconut milk and some protein powder.  I guess that’s basically rice pudding, but seems to sit well in my stomach thus far.  Once at the race, I racked my bike and met up with 3 other Wattie Ink Athletes who were racing as well.  These guys are beasts—I think they finished overall 1st, 4th, and 7th.  Not to mention Felipe, my coach, was racing too.  Honestly a pretty stacked field!

The swim venue

The water was wetsuit legal and gorgeous.  It was a straight out and back swim.  I’m pretty sure looking through the finishing times that it was longer than 1900m (1.2 miles).  It’s all relative though, and to not go into too much detail, let’s just say my swim sucked.  Lots of work to still do here.  When I finally exited the water, I grabbed all my stuff and headed out on the bike.

Out of T1... with a lot of ground to make up

The bike  was a big loop, mostly, so it was different the entire time.  If you remember, this is where I got lost about a month ago, so it was nice to see where I should have been riding lol.  I passed a fair number of people and finished the bike in 2:43:00, which came out to a little better than 20.5 miles per hour.  The course was mildly hilly and had some wind here and there so I was pretty happy with that split.  I also focused on eating more that I previously had in my races and focused more on the timing of the nutrition. Or one split I used some Chomps, which I like to break up the monotony of gels, but this cost me a little time trying to open those little packs and squeeze each one out.  The little Larabar that I had was crucial though—definitely a good call.  I also had UR in the water bottles which was a good calorie source and has some protein in it as well, which is really important as you get into longer distance races.

Felipe, not me, coming in on the bike

I rode back into transition, threw on my shoes and headed out of the run.  Felipe had given me very specific instructions- first 6 miles at 7:00 min/mile pace and then I was allowed to race.  I pretty much nailed this, but it felt so weird!  It was so hard to hold back in the beginning.  The first 3.1 miles were on trails, in the woods, basically running on sand which was not easy and not fast.  The rest of the run was on hot roads in the Florida sun and was basically rolling hills the entire time with heavy winds.

At mile 6 I was able to let go and began to average around 6:40s for the rest.  The fatigue of the sand and heat had me hurting but I kept repeating my mantras to myself and basically said “don’t be a bitch, run harder”.  I was able to pass a lot of people on the run…which is no surprise considering where I came out of the water haha.  I cranked out the last .8 miles at around 5:40 pace and flew across the finish line- pain looked as always.  Surprisingly, I finished a lot better than I was expecting relatively.  I didn’t realize how many people I had passed.  My final run time was a 1:28:00 flat—not bad for being forced to run 7:00’s for the first 6 miles.  Only about 1:20 slower than my half marathon 3 weeks ago.  Solid, solid.

Finish line hurt

I ended up finishing 16th overall and first in my age group.  But my stress wasn’t over.  Not only was I to eat more during this race, Felipe made it very clear that when I crossed the finish line, I would have a Coke.  No questions asked.  Intuitively, this makes sense.  Your body is so F-ing trashed after an intense race like this, that those incredibly concentrated sugar sources are actually a GOOD thing to have.  Tell that to someone who hasn’t had a real soda in like 3 years.  Luckily, he gave me a couple days heads up to prepare mentally, and ya know what?  We sat in chairs at the finish line, smashed, and enjoyed a cold, glass bottle, of Coke (well, it was like Feipe’s 8th.)  It was good—although I feel good in saying it didn’t make me at all want to sit and drink an entire 2-liter.  One was fine and then I moved on to real food.

Age division winner

Overall it was a good race.  I finished in 5:04:00 overall—I wanted to go sub 5 , but with that swim, that was going to be impossible.  Plus this race was a “feeler-outer” to see where I stood to start the season.  Congrats to the Wattie guys and Felipe who all freaking beasted this race.  I’m pretty happy with 16th and can’t wait for Ironman 70.3 Florida in a couple months!

But I need to get through the Boston Marathon next month first…

ALSO- The newest Episode of Fearless Nutrition Radio is out!  Listen to it here on Itunes.  This week we had a listener Q&A and an interview with pro triathlete James Cotter!  Please check it out and let us know what you think and leave your questions for the show! http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fearless-nutrition-episode-3/id497895841?i=112194060

Thanks for reading guys!  Let me know if you have any questions about the race!

  1. What’s your next race?
  2. Ever enjoyed a coke after a race? Or what is your immediate psot-race go-to choice?
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14 thoughts on “HITS Ocala Half Ironman Race Report

  1. Congrats on a great race! You’re such a beast! (beast is my swim team nickname, lol)
    Those races sound like so much fun. And painful . My friends are actually doing their first half ironman this weekend and I’m kinda jealous!

    I never really heard of having a coke after a race. I think it would upset my stomach!

  2. Congrats bro. Great job. Don’t brood over your swim time and just get to wotk at it like I know you will.

    Had a Coke, the next day after the Las Vegas marathon, and like you probably the first I had in three years and haven’t had one since.

    I immediately have an Herbalife Endurance smoothie (packed in my cooler in transition) and made with CorePower. I also have a PB and banana sandwich. Works every time for me.

    Keep working……FLA will be here before you know it.

  3. Great job Chuck-I agree with Jason, you can only go up from here with the swim. I’m really proud of you for having that coke. I normally have chocolate milk (because that is all races offer afterwords nowadays) because food won’t sit well with me for like an hour or so. On a side note-it’s 7:00am and I’m craving a coke. Go figure haha…

  4. Congrats, Chuck! You did great!. I’m proud of you for drinking the coke and just in general :). Sounds like you listened to your coach in regards to nutrition and everything else and it went in your favor. The W tat is rocking by the way :). You’ll be ready for the next race, no doubt!

    Katie

  5. Woohoo!! What a great day! That picture of y’all is so cute 🙂

    I’m also glad my finger made a cameo in so many pictures from the weekend…

    Congrats on your fantastic race!

  6. Wow, sounds like you had an amazing race with a ton of new training pieces. Congrats on following the rules & love that you were able to drink the coke! Plus, even if it’s not your best race, 1st age group ain’t too shabby 🙂

  7. CHUCK you did awesome! your swim will come along…you just gotta get out of your head, you are thinking WAY too much! After racing for 5+ hours your body can barely tell the difference between Coke and water…it NEEDS anything and everything you can swallow! you got to ask yourself do I want to be an athlete or do I want to be a weak skinny guy barely able to pedal my bike…athletes eat A LOT! I’m hoping you would rather be an athlete than a weak because you put so much time and effort into your training you NEED fuel if you want to be good! 🙂
    SUGAR post-race like pancakes once my appetite returns! I usually grab a banana and sports drink immediately after then have a big meal an hour-ish later!
    You know I’m cheering for you at BOSTON…sub-3 BIG TIME…I expect a 2:55 out of you, and I wish I was racing next to you!
    Have a great wednesday!
    xoxo!

  8. DUDE, AWESOME JOB!!!!
    you are a baller fa sho!
    Good job drinking the coke…I mean you raced and did an awesome job, so you needed to replenish your blood sugars, so nooo big deal 🙂
    Again, FANTASTIC job!

  9. Heya Buddy,

    Reading this made me smile, you’re really coming on, physically, mentally and spiritually. ded proud. Hopefully this will help you see the only way is up dude. I think you might need to start boosting that upper body to really up your swim times buddy. Also I really liked the podcast cheers for answering my questions, I also suffer from bad cases of the midnight munchies after big events ;). I thought the interview was great this time, James seems like a great guy and almost had me wanting to get into triathlons haha.

    Also congrats on the coke, that took me a while to dude but you know what, it’s just not that big a del ey. I’ll be honest a coke is never my go to, I’m not big into caffeine since my sleep patterns are screwed enough. I always grab for some soy milk *Japan has some awesome flavours) or a lilt or some good ol fashioned jamaican ginger beer.

    Keep doing what your doing bud I’m rooting for ya.

    • Hey man,

      Great to hear from you and thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate the feedback on the podcast, I just wish I could figure out how to get more listeners. I need to learn to imbed the player onto my blog.

      So do they have some wild coke flavors in Japan? We got a Mr. Pibb too and split some of that! And careful with the soy milk bro… lol. Do they have the wild kit flavors over there?

      Thank you so much for the support. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blog but I’ve been reading! Sounds like you’ve been busy!

      Take care Marcus,

      Chuck

  10. You are a ROCKSTAR! Awesome job Chuck 🙂 ANd I am SO proud of you for enjoying that coke 🙂 I know how hard that can be!

    I started an episode of your blog in the car the other day, and it’s really good! My stereo sucks though so I have to listen to it at home…

    Can’t wait to read about your next race!

    Scott

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