Ironman Vs the IronDistance

Its not about the ‘DOT’, its about the distance !!

Those in the sport of triathlon, very well know that Ironman is just a brand name. And those who do not might get an idea after reading this post.

I will share with you what I have learnt during my journey, about Ironman branding and the triathlon sport distances. Continue reading

Race Report – Big Kahuna 70.3 HalfIronMan distance Triathlon

Big Kahuna Triathlon - Half Ironman distance

Big Kahuna Triathlon – Half Ironman distance

Having done two 70.3 HalfIron distance triathlons before, and the second one just 3 weeks back, I came into Big Kahuna with anxiety, because –

1) This is an ocean swim Triathlon – my first Ocean Triathlon race.

2) Havent had much mental rest, and any planned training, since the last tri.

Goal –

To have an overall finish time of 6 hrs, no expectations basically. My first triathlon finish was in 6hr:18mins, second one in 5hr:59mins, and now I would have been happy with a just under 6hr finish.

Goals for each segment of the sport-

1) For the swim I was targeting a 45 mins, compared to my last swim time of 42 mins, because I was not able to get much swim practice since my last event.

2) On the bike, a sub 3hr finish would be great.

3) On the run, a sub 2 hr finish would be awesome, running off the bike is still not easy.

4) In Transitions, reduce the time as much as I can. But this Big Kahuna course, has a long T1, because there is a quarter mile run from the beach to the Transition area.

Anyways, I woke up at 3:30 am, not from a sound sleep :). Well, that is normal !!

Packed my stuff in the car, my bike, my transition bags, air pump, bottles, and some breakfast to eat on my way. Drive to Santa Cruz was 40 mins. Again, courtesy my friend, who texted me the address of parking lot, just by the transition setup. This was supercool, except for the fact that the Parking Pay station was not working.

Athletes entering the T1 setup

Athletes entering the T1 setup

This is from the early morning, transition   setup.








The transition area closed at 6:45 am, for everyone to gather at the beach, for pre-race instructions, and a small prayer the Hawaiian style.

Athletes gathering for the swim start

Athletes gathering for the swim start 

They do it the Hawaiian style

They do it the Hawaiian style












The website said the water temperature was around 60 F, not bad. The swim was around the wharf.  Water was not bad, but the barking of the sea-lions was a little scary (am being honest !!). And here is the swim map, courtesy my friend’s Garmin (mine only measures bike and run)

Swim Part of Big Kahuna Triathlon

Best swim timing so far of 36 mins – Mission 1 accomplished 🙂 !!

Now there was this crazy run to the T1, barefoot, with the wetsuit on, and heart-rate pumping high :(.

Here is the Garmin capture from the beach to the T1 (courtesy my friends Garmin – Saurabh)

Run upto the T1 – a quarter mile

The bike course was pretty scenic. The bike course starts with a little hill, and then you are on CA-1 in just 3 miles. I did not munch on the bike for the first 7-8 miles, except for taking in some GU drink. Generally, people tend to eat as soon as they are on the bike, and this tends to over-eating, which later on during the run part causes stomach upset.

Remember, your digestive system does not work well, because the blood flow is mostly to your muscles. So take the food, slowly, and in little quantities. I kept myself to eating gels, Roctane GU, chews, and some home made energy bars (diced into squares) as real food.

The beginning of the bike course was not well for me, as my muscles were tight, and wasn’t feeling well. I guess once I saw the 10 mile mark, made me realize that I am competing in a triathlon :). lolz!!

Strava Bike segment-

Time : 2:53:09  – damn happy with the bike finish !! overjoyed 🙂 Mission 2 accomplished.

Big Kahuna Triathlon Bike Course

Big Kahuna Triathlon Bike Course

About the bike course, it is pretty scenic. As you ride on Hwy-1 for the entire course, except for first 3 and last 3 miles. Great views of the ocean, and cliffs, and beaches.

Off the bike, into the Transition, put on the running shoes, and my run start was pretty good. I did pop-in a salt capsule. However, the dreaded side stitch happened yet again, after the 1 mile mark. And I had to take a walking break till mile 3.  I tried deep breathings, slowed down, jumping on the left side, and anything to reduce the pain. I finally started running by the third mile. Once I was on the run, I did not stop, just kept the momentum. I knew I wasn’t running fast, but I was actually passing most of the guys, who passed me during the first 3 miles. Key ingredient is to keep a steady pace, so as not to hurt yourself.

View during the run course

    View during the run course                  

Part of the run course was on the trail, which I loved. This    was a loop run, and here is a view from the cliff drive, of the run course-.

Big Kahuna Triathlon - Run

Big Kahuna Triathlon – Run









The finish for the run was over a quarter mile run on the  beach. This seriously was the most difficult part :(. Key again is to run on the wet sand to get more solid surface under your foot. And also dodge as many kids and their sand houses as you can :). Basically to make your finish strong !!

The finish line

The finish line

Run time – 2:00:52. Just in 2 hrs !! mission 3 accomplished !!

Strava segment – 

Overall stats: 05:44:00

Overall Finish time

Overall Finish time

A   A big thanks to the Volunteers !!

I ate the best bagel ever !!

I ate the best bagel ever !!

Nothing possible without them !!

Nothing possible without them !!