Texas Race Report: Tim Cronk (Headed to Kona!)

Coach P

EN.Web2_.0_FullLogo_shadow-e1322948447422Short Version

Kona Qualified with a 10:22:09 , 2nd in the M 50-54 AG , 84th OA. 11min PR total and 19min bike PR.

Swim 1:13:53 , 26thAG http://connect.garmin.com/activity/314625800

T1 3:07 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/314625802

Bike 5:01:51 fastest AG bike split http://connect.garmin.com/activity/314755337

T2 3:17 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/314625811

Run 4:00:01 2nd fastest AG run split http://connect.garmin.com/activity/314625815

Video Version (Jump to 4:30 in the video!)

Long Version

Training and Preparation—- After my DNF at IMCZ last Nov. I had 25 weeks before IMTX. 2 weeks mostly swim and easy recovery before starting slowly into a 5 week OS and then an 18 week Texas build. In the 24 weeks leading up to Texas training consisted of , Swim 202,550 yds or 115miles , Bike 142 hrs or roughly 3000 miles , Run 683 miles… Total TSS points 20,266 or 844 average per week. Training was very structured and consistent . Almost all training sessions were done inside. Long bikes were capped at 5hrs and long runs capped at 2hrs. My final prep for Texas was to arrive 2.5 weeks early to train on the course and acclimate. I was greeted with record low temps and low humidity for the entire time. It was still beneficial to train on the course and experience small pockets of Texas heat, humidity, and winds. Raceweek numbers FTP 235 , Vdot 51-52 , weighed in twice at the YMCA at 117 and 118.5 giving me a solid w/kg ratio of 4.4. These are the best numbers I’ve ever hit and the leanest I have ever raced. Believe it paid off in Texas. Don’t worry I’m back over 120lbs again !

The Venue—- I chose Texas specifically for the heat and humidity. Careful what you wish for. We stayed a couple miles away and this was ok but I would prefer to stay on site for convenience sake. Its surprisingly well laid out and run but plenty of room for improvement. Robin mentioned most of these in his RR. The swim is unique , point to point , zero visibility water, still pretty cool swimming next to all the Texas McMansions built along the lake and then finishing up the canal with people close enough to touch you. The bike is one big loop, with small rolling hills and very fast. The run is along the waterways , thru paved wooded trails , more McMansion neighborhoods, but also has more than its fair share of out and back, parking lot , chopped up admin miles. If you want a hot race this is it!

The Swim— Goal sub 1:10 Actual 1:13:53 Missed by 4 mins …. Recent race rehearsals of 4200yds 1:06 , 2100yds 32:00 , 1000yds 15min all pointed to a faster potential swim time. Bob McCallum said it was not a fast swim and he was right. Water temp ended up 77+ degrees . Entered the water at 6:45 for a 7am start. Warmed up a bit. Planned on starting in the front and far right. In the water changed my mind and went left front along the buoy line. Found a kayak to hang onto until the start. Was just starting to get cold by the time 7am rolled around. Pretty easy start but it got more difficult as time went on as the people on the right side of the start were merging. At the turn around I got kicked really hard in the chest by a guy doing breaststroke around the turnaround buoy. Never saw him due to the zero vis water. Actually heard the air come out of me and chest is still sore. The return was constant contact the entire way but not so bad in the canal except very choppy waves. Felt like I was swimming with race like intensity , caught some good drafts, so I was pretty disappointed when I came out of the water and saw my split. Doesn’t matter Its done, stay in your box , and move forward. The garmin file shows an on course swim maybe a little long so I dont know why I was so slow.

T1—- Goal sub 4min Actual 3:07 , pretty good considering total distance covered in T1 via the garmin file is .27 miles. Grab T1 bag , run to change tent , sit, shoes on, helmet and glasses in hand , go , put helmet and glasses on while running to bike. Only mistake I made here was taking the long way around inside the tent. Very happy!

Bike— Goal 5:10-5:20, Actual 5:01 , Goal NP176watts , IF .75 , TSS 290 or less , Actual NP172watts , IF .73 , TSS 266 . All five of my 5 hour training rides were between NP175-181 , IF .74-77 , TSS 273-293. Ran bike to start line, mounted , started easy spinning, started computer, immediately started to drink and eat my first 1/4 cliffbar. Managed to hold back the reins and get thru the first 5 mile interval at 5 watts below target. This must be a first. OK time to go to work. Forecast was for overcast morning and a sunny afternoon with south winds. This means a cooler fast first half downwind and a slower hotter second half with a headwind. Made a small tactical decision to go slightly above target watts while it was still cool and having a tailwind. As the day went on and got warmer pulled back towards target watts and held those until the last hour. During the last hour dropped the watts below target. This looks like a fade but it really wasnt , the heat was building , I really felt like I could have held target watts but was a little concerned at what price. Spent some time standing , stretching , finishing up my last bottle of perform , cooling down dumping water over my body. I felt pretty good but I knew what was about to come… My race rehearsals at about 5 watts higher pointed to a 5:10 split , so under race conditions not having to slowdown for intersections , pee breaks , refueling stops , and having slingshot passed 354 people on the bike, a 5:02 bike split….. Extremely happy with this!… Again , I knew what was about to come.

T2—- Goal 3min Actual 3:17, again pretty good considering garmin file logged .23 miles distance. Dismount bike, run into transition, hand off bike , stopped to remove shoes to run to bags and tent, volunteer behind me yells gimme those I’ll put them with your bike, I stopped turned around and handed them to him. This was the only mistake I made here, gotta learn to remove feet before dismount , and leave with bike. Cement was hot on the feet thru T2. Helmet and glasses removed while running to grab bag, enter tent, sit, socks on, shoes on , visor in one hand , baggie with desoto cool wings, gel flask , saltstick and sunscreen in the other. Go. While moving , unzipped trisuit , put flask down front, saltsticks in right hip pocket, sunscreen in left hip pocket, and once established on run course put the desoto cool wings on.

Run— Goal 3:45 Actual 4:00:01….. Feeling pretty good to start the run but struggling with the cool wings slowed me down and kept my perceived effort a bit high. This was a key move in keeping the sun off my skin and highly recommend them. In fact if you run hot , get them or arm coolers on while on the bike too. First couple miles EP 8:30ish good. Felt a couple pebbles in left shoe. At 3rd aid station I stopped , removed shoe, shook it out , put it back on. Bummer its still there. At 4th aid station , stopped, remove shoe and sock , shake , wipe , put back on. Bummer still there. Uh oh. Logged a couple 9min miles because of that. Time to suck it up and just deal with it , not gonna be pretty late in the marathon. Turns out lots of reports of people who actually burned the bottoms of their feet in T2. I never did find a pebble so maybe this is actually what happened. Back to 8:30ish miles until mile 10. I was walking every aid station , taking in perform for 2 , then water and sip of get every 3rd, water over head , arm coolers, ice down front and back , and leave carrying ice in hands at every aid station. After first loop 8-9miles I stopped 1sec to kiss Heather, she said you look good , how do you feel ,I said great. I still knew what was coming.

After mile 10 the heat was building , had some minor side stitches , slowed down to about 9ish min miles , spending more time managing the heat thru the aid stations. At the end of lap 2 and mile 16ish , the heat was just building more, the wheels started to come off , need to slow down a little more , , the suck was here in full force. The crowd was awesome. A girl yells at me , you make this look so sexy. Another girl pats me on the butt. I get to Heather and stop 1sec for another kiss , she never once told me what position I was in or my pacing relative to my competition , but I could see something in her eyes , I told her I’m in survival mode , she gave me just a tiny nod of acknowledgement , and then she said just run your race and another pat on the butt! Wonder if they knew I peed myself? Someone on the course was holding up a sign that said I know you peed yourself!

From here survival mode consisted of more of the same just between mid 9min miles to high 9min miles. Rinse repeat and keep moving. Aid stations became a necessary energy suck , to get what you needed to continue , you had to maneuver thru the death marchers clogging the aid stations. I mentally moved the 18mile race line to start at mile 20. At mile 20 I switched to coke at every aid station and too saltstick miles 20,22,24 . I figured at this point the only way I was gonna pass someone is if they stopped moving and I kept moving, and same for anybody passing me. Just kept moving and it all ended at 5:22:09 , 140.6 miles in 10:22:09.

Finishline—Volunteers grabbed me..Walk with me please…I need to walk.. They were great… while I’m getting my picture taken Heather is holding up 2 fingers and mouthing I think your 2nd! In my weakened state , I felt like such a badass and then just about broke down as the tears started to come… Quickly regained my composure but wow talk about emotional…. Told them I need to cool off, lie down, and get my feet up , maybe a quick visit to the medtent.

Medtent—Check in . Whats wrong. I’m dizzy, slightly nauseous, low BP , kept everything down , peed 3 times on the bike and 3 on the run, I need to lie down and get my feet up. They still wanted to put an IV in me , I said OK. Couldnt get my feet up due to the type of bed. The doc is asking me questions and said what color was your pee? I said I dont know. He said how do you pee on the bike? I said on the go. You pee yourself? Yep. What about the run? Same. LOL …. Only when your racing. You’d think they would know. They stuck me a couple times , got the IV in and left , it started to really burn, my arm went numb , fingers and hand tingling, I had to ask them to remove it 5 times. They shut the drip off. I said take that out of my arm it hurts. OK but you have to drink. LOL no kidding ok. I drank chicken soup and water. Initial BP was 85/65 and they released my on the 3rd check at 110/75.

Nutrition and Gear— Carbo load the day before was mostly rice, sweet potato , banana’s, hemp seed, peanut butter, tahini , maple syrup , coconut water , salt, Heathers cookies oats, coconut, pecans, chocolate, and salted dark chocolate ….. Breakfast- rice, pb, hempseed, maple syrup, salted dark chocolate, starbucks coffee… Pre-Swim 20oz perform and 1 gel for 250 cals , Bike 114oz perform , 1 cliff bar, 1 gel , 8 blocks ,maybe another 10-20oz water for 1475 cals or 295cals per hour, the run was estimated at 4oz per aid station 20 either perform or coke and 6 of water, 3 gels total, 3 saltstick, for a total of 1030 cals or 257cals per hour. Gear— Swim blueseventy trisuit , Bike- Felt Da2 with Di2 , compact gearing, 11-28 rear , Reynolds carbon clinchers 46 front 66 with wheel cover rear, rolling continental attack/force tires w/latex tubes, Quarq PM. Run — Newtons, visor so the water hits my head, and the desoto cool wings .

What I learned and what I would change—-Next time I will swim faster , I dont know how but I will . I will learn to leave shoes on the bike to save seconds , I will not take the longway around the changing tents , I will make sure my feet, shoes, and socks are clean to save time later. Just a couple of the thoughts I had while out there. Coach P saying if you wanna go to KONA you have to be top ten on the bike. Coach R talking about negative split the run based on RPE. Dave Tallo when I took a run corner too wide. Al T. on just about everything. Rob Tagher finishing that insane ultra. Just a small sampling of what came to mind right now but there was many others.

Weather , statistics , and some discussions of the conditions of the day. Mostly for the none EN people I will forward this too.



Special thanks to my Heather for being there for me always. I can’t wait to catch her at the Mont Tremblant finishline in Aug when she complete’s IM #2 for Cystic Fibrosis.

And special thanks to the Texas group, was great training , meeting and racing with you guys , and the entire EN team!


Coach P

All stories by: Coach P
  • Mike Wasserman

    Loved your race report. As a 53 year old and 3 time ironman (all three years at St. George) with dreams of Kona, it was great to read a report from someone who qualified! Don’t know if I ever will, but I will definitely keep trying! Good luck in Kona!

  • Mike Wasserman

    Loved your race report. As a 53 year old and 3 time ironman (all three years at St. George) with dreams of Kona, it was great to read a report from someone who qualified! Don’t know if I ever will, but I will definitely keep trying! Good luck in Kona!

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