Smith and Smith win U.S. half triathlon championships in Smithville

I came across an article in Inside Triathlon about the US Half triathlon championship that was held at the same time on the same course as the Ultramax. I’ve copied the entire article, if you would like to see it in it’s original format and location go to Inside Triathlon. Kind of a quirky coincidence that the male and female winners were both “Smith” and that the race took place at Timothy Carlson
Senior correspondent
This report filed September 25, 2004

SMITHVILLE, Missouri — When all the competitive wars were fought and penalties were assessed September 25 at the U.S. half triathlon championship in a little Missouri town called Smithville, the men’s and women’s overall winners were both named Smith.

Stephen Smith, a 34-year-old computer programmer from Reston, Virginia who says the only sports he did back in college at Virginia Tech were “smoking and drinking,” revved up his legs to catch swim-bike leader Brad Gale at the 11-mile mark to win the overall men’s title by 1:19 in a total time of 4:19:57. Smith’s 1:28:50 run was only eighth-best of the day, but he put 6:10 on South Africa native Gale during the run to erase Gale’s four-minute lead off the bike.

Smith came into this race after a mildly disappointing sixth place at the USAT nationals last week in Shreveport. “I crossed he line one minute out of sixth place in my age group, but a deserved penalty — my bike fell off the rack at T2 — put me out of the medals. I felt like I had a lot of energy left over, so I decided to use it all up here.”

While 23-year-old Mariel Ettinger of Eugene, Oregon showed flashes of her Stanford University NCAA track-and-field-bred 16:20 5K speed to come from six minutes back after the bike and was the first woman to cross the line, two drafting calls left her a heartbroken fourth overall. While Ettinger, a former Footlocker high-school All-American runner, was assessed four minutes for her first drafting call and eight minutes for her second, that left a surprised 26-year-old education grad student from Zanesville Ohio as the overall women’s winner in 4:46:42.

Her name: Carrie Smith.

“The 47-year-old just killed the bike and that girl in the yellow and black [Ettinger] really blew my doors off on the run,” said Smith afterward before she knew she had won. “But second place here in only my third half-Ironman makes me really really happy.”

When the penalties were assessed against a visibly upset Ettinger, Smith’s margin of victory turned out to be 2:05 over runner-up Leslie Curley, 35, of Topeka, Kansas, the overall age-group winner of the 2003 USA Triathlon long-course duathlon nationals at Powerman Tennessee.

Perhaps the most impressive race of the day was put in by women’s 45-49 winner Lydia Delis-Schlosser of Davis, California, who took the lead quickly into a race-best 2:31:53 bike and held it until younger legs swept past her four miles into the run. Delis-Schlosser, who posted an awesome 5:17 bike split in 2003 at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii, held tough with a 1:46:05 run to finish third overall woman.

In the Ironman-distance UltraMax event run concurrently on the Smithville course, Michael Larsen of Longmont, Colorado, brother of mountain bike and Ironman champion Steve Larsen, won the overall title in 10:06:26. Larsen, 37, ran his race much in his brother’s style, riding to a big lead with a 4:46 bike split — 28 minutes faster than the next-best competitor. Then he hung on for dear life with a 4:07 marathon, ultimately crossing the line three minutes to the good over runner-up Dwayne Miller, 43, of Columbia Missouri.

A total of approximately 550 triathletes competed in the twin events, which benefited the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. Roughly 200 raced in the UltraMax, and 350 in the U.S. Half Iron Championship.

posted at 12:21:32 on 09/28/04 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

2004 Ultramax Triathlon Race Report (My 1st Ironman!!)

Standing waist deep in Smithville Lake preparing to swim 2.4 miles I kept telling myself, “This is the easiest event of the day, relax and enjoy the swim”. Prior to the morning of September 25th, the longest continuous distance I had swam in my life was 1.2 miles, yet here I was waiting for the start of a triathlon that would require me to swim 2.4 miles as an “easy” warm up to what the day had in store.On Friday I arrived at the race site to pick up my race packet and check in my bike. As is customary at most larger triathlons, there were multiple vendors set up hawking their supplies. Of particular interest to me was the “Aquaman” booth which had a sleeveless wetsuit on sale for $168. I came really close to buying one as I was concerned with the 2.4 mile swim in my full wetsuit due to the added constriction the sleeves place on my arms and the possible resulting fatigue. However, I ran into Dwayne Miller who happened to have a sleeveless wetsuit in Columbia that he was interested in getting rid of. So Dwayne left a message with his wife to bring the wetsuit with her when she left Columbia that evening. Nothing else of interest happened Friday evening and I left the race site having decided if Dwayne’s suit made it here by morning I would use it, otherwise I would use my full suit.

Once back at the campsite, I proceeded to prepare my race bags for the following day. Unlike a typical triathlon where an athlete prepares a “transition area” with all their racing gear next to their bike, in an Ironman event, and athlete must decide what exactly they need for each event and place the items in a bag which has their race number on it. Then, as the athlete finishes a discipline, volunteers hand the competitors the appropriate bag and the competitor hopes they remembered to place all the necessary items in the bag. I remember reading about one competitor who forgot his biking shoes and was forced to ride the whole race in his running shoes, a mistake I did not plan on making… After a brief and welcome distraction to greet some friends who would be sharing the campsite for the night, I returned to my tent and was just about wrapping things up when I stepped on something and heard a “pop”. I looked down to discover I had stepped on a packet of “hammer gel” and now I had a sticky mess on the floor of my tent and all over my special needs bags. Not something you want to deal with when you are trying to get to bed early, but I eventually got the mess cleaned up. I finally got to bed around 10pm and with the newly acquired heater from Target I was able to get a warm and comfortable 7 hours of sleep.

Five in the morning and my radio alarm wakes me up. First things first, I start chowing down. I had read I should get anywhere from 600 to 1000 calories for breakfast, so I ate a breakfast bar (120 calories), a packet of pop tarts (400 calories), a banana (@100), and a small cliff bar (90 calories) for a total of 710 calories, around 1/12th the amount of calories I would burn by the end of the day. After a brief stop by my parent’s suburban to say hi and pick up a slice of pecan pie for my run “special needs bag”, I arrive at the race site around 6am. The next hour and thirty minutes were spent checking and double checking everything. Something could be said for being a little more confident in your pre-race preparations and just showing up 30 minutes before a race and getting that extra hour of sleep.

Initially the swim didn’t look good; a fog had blown in making it almost impossible to see the marker buoys. However, once 7:30 rolled around, most of the fog had cleared. I must say, it was a strange feeling to be standing in that water with several hundred other athletes knowing what lay ahead of us. I couldn’t decide if I wanted it to start, or if I was happy for the 10 minute delay we ended up experiencing. I’m not exactly sure what time the race started as I had decided to swim without a watch, but eventually after the slight delay we were off!

Swimming for the first time in a sleeveless wetsuit, things felt pretty good. Surprisingly, despite a relatively small field, the start seemed rather hectic and I got hit and kicked several times more than normal. Sighting the buoys remained difficult even without the fog as the distances between them were fairly far, several times I would be sighting in on one buoy, only to realize it was the wrong buoy and I was swimming off course. Eventually I made it around one lap. While I should have kept swimming, I removed my goggles and ran in chest deep water for about 100 yards until I remembered I was going to get to do 26.2 miles on my feet later, right now I needed “relax and enjoy my swim” so I resumed my swimming. 1.2 miles later I was done. Total swim time 1:18:12, though I’m not sure where the chip timer mat was, I think it was up a slight hill that I casually walked up, I wasn’t in any hurry at this point.

My first transition was a slow 7:04; I completely changed clothes, drank some fluids, and ate a little. I also put on my heart rate monitor which I was counting on to gauge my cycling effort by. Once off on the bike, I tried to settle into a rhythm. It took a while, but finally I seemed to get my biking legs going. As it turned out, the toughest part of the bike leg would be trying to keep from going to fast. With both the full and half racers competing at the same time on the same course, there were multiple triathletes competing in the half who were ahead of me on the bike and I was passing them one after another. Of course, every time I passed someone it would put me in “race/competitive” mode and then I would have to remind myself I was supposed to be following the heart rate monitor, not racing. My goal for the day was to keep my heart rate around 150; I knew I could go all day at that rate.

I hadn’t really decided what my plans were for hydration/nutrition; I had just packed my cycling jersey with plenty of gue and a couple of power bars. Once out on the bike course, I decided I would do a gue every 10 miles and just try to drink “often”. I had started the race with Gatorade in my aero drink system as well as in my water bottle. Throughout the rest of the ride, i would alternate between Gatorade and water, resulting in there usually being a 50/50 mix in my aero bottle.

The majority of the ride went well (other than covering both my sleeves with snot from my runny nose). I continuously passed people and moved up through the field until after the first turnaround I was in around 30th place and by mile 84 I was around 25th or so. However, at about mile 80 my feet had started hurting really badly, I believe my shoes are too small, so I ended up taking my feet out and biking for about 5 miles on top of my shoes. When I reached the aid station at mile 85, I stopped and took some ibuprofen for a developing headache, got some Gatorade and then put my shoes back on. This would work until around mile 102 when once again my feet started hurting really badly so once again I took my feet out and started biking with my feet on my shoes. I can do this without stopping, however, the Velcro straps on the shoes were flapping and rubbing against my cranks, so I eventually had to stop and fix this. I would end up biking the final 10 miles like this. Proper fitting cycling shoes are definitely my next triathlon investment. My final bike average was 19.9. After the first half I had been at 21.2 so I had slowed down a little in the second half.

Hammering on the Bike

Coming into transition area, my legs felt remarkably wobbly as I got off the bike. Who would figure that after biking 112 miles I couldn’t just hop off the bike and run into the changing tent? But I made it in there regardless, and after another slow transition (5:24), I was off on the marathon. Of course, first I asked my dad how far back Mark Carey had finished in the Half and he said that he had been about 10 minutes back, so I knew all I had to do was finish in order to win the Ultramax series. The first mile felt great and I ran it in around 7:30 or so. Then I remembered my heart rate monitor and I looked down and it was up to about 168, too high! I also remembered that all I had to do was finish, so at the 1 mile marker, even though I could physically keep running, I began walking.

I’ll never know if I could have run the whole marathon, I won’t even know if I could have run half of it, because I didn’t. Mentally I had no desire to run, occasionally I would run for a little, to catch someone, run with someone, or just because I wanted to get to the finish a little sooner. For the most part though, I just walked and told myself over and over that I wasn’t going to do this again…

Anyways, after a lot of walking, I finished the marathon in 5:07:02 for a total time of 12:15:11.

Looking back, especially on Sunday morning when I missed 4th place in my age group and a trisports gift certificate by 1’23” and 3rd place by under 7 minutes, I’m a little upset at myself for not running a little more. Or, for that matter going a little faster in the transitions. However, I have to remind myself that I did finish my first Ironman distance race, I did win the Ultramax series, and I did all this after a season with Achilles tendonitis, Patello-Femoral syndrome, and a cold the week leading up to the Ultramax (and during the race). This year placing in the Ultramax didn’t matter. And yes, contrary to what I told myself over and over again on the Ultramax run, I am going to do this again next year, after all, it is going to be free!

A little interesting story about the run:

About 5 miles into my first lap, in one of my brief periods where I felt like running, I ran past a triathlete that looked fairly bad off. At this point I was talking to just about every person I passed or who passed me so I said “good job, hang in there”. He replied that he thought the second place guy was gaining on him. I just kind of laughed at that and figured he was joking around like I tend to do, pretending like I’m in the lead and joking with the volunteers. After getting about a 100yards ahead of him I started thinking about it and realized, he probably was in the lead, just that he was on his second lap and I was on my first! So I started walking again and let him (Mike) catch back up and then I ran with him and talked for a little while. Eventually I stopped running and he moved on. However for the next 10 or so miles I would catch back up and run with Mike occasionally, run a ways ahead of him, and then falling back behind him. Eventually, when Mike had about 4 miles left to go, I stopped running all together and let him go on. I knew Dwayne would be catching up to me soon, and I wanted to see how he was doing. When Dwayne caught up, I talked with him a little bit, tried to encourage him on, and told him that Mike was hurting and that he could catch him if he kept up his pace. Of course while I know and am friends with Dwayne and I wanted to see Dwayne win, I had also done everything I could to encourage Mike as well. Maybe it would have been different if I had felt more competitive in the run, but for the most part I was just out to encourage everyone I could. However, it was funny the following day at the awards ceremony to hear Mike Larsen talk about the “spy” who ran with him on the run. He referred to me as this “spy” who would run with him for a little bit and then stop and walk. He couldn’t figure out why I didn’t just keep on running, he thought from my form/cadence that I ought to be running a lot more than I was. Then he saw me wave to Dwayne and started thinking that maybe I was a spy and when I eventually dropped back towards the end, he figured I was back reporting everything to Dwayne. The funny thing was, he was partially right, though I hadn’t been intentionally “spying”!

posted at 00:23:09 on 09/28/04 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports


Adam Mutz wrote:

Sweet race report Tony. keith and I rode 75 up to Iowa on sunday ad are planning on k loop today and keith wants to do a hard 20 miler on wednesday if you wanna go. I will have to check to see if 5 works for him. Congratulations again.
09/28/04 07:56:08

Keith Trivitt wrote:

Awesome job with the Ironman Tony! You’re an inspiration to us all. For a bike geek like me just having a novice interest in triathlons, I really enjoyed your great race report here. Keep up the great work. Wow, if only I can do my Century ride this weekend in 5:37…and you did that riding 12 more miles than I’ll have to! Thanks for the inspiration.
09/29/04 11:38:53

thE NEw YorK kiD wrote:

heY Iron MaNboYYou sUck! HA! i raN a haLf marAthon In onlY 1:55 suNday. hA. yOU toOk all day you Wimp! You GoT NothiN! NotTHin!

pS-iT was The tHougT of You Going 10 TIMes farTher ThAn me thAt kept me goinG. It was Your SpiRit runNing beside me tThat Kept me GOin… I’m geTTin all Weepy…craP i gotta gO

09/29/04 13:45:34

Homeslice wrote:

Hey Tony – Congrats on your first ironman! You made some big strides this year and I predict only bigger and better things to come. Keep up all the hard work and enjoy the off-season!
10/01/04 22:45:46

Dawn B wrote:

You rule Tony! I can’t wait for the day when people will be amazed when I tell them that I have trained with THE Tony Rigdon! Thanks for writing about your racing and training adventures! I love reading about what you are doing! Come visit me in AZ!!
Lots of love and hugs!
10/05/04 13:08:26

Preliminary Ultramax race report…

In case anyone is wondering, I made it!Got my first Ironman race under my belt. I’ll have a more detailed race report soon, but the initial report is that I finished! I’m not 100% certain on exact times, but they were something like: 1:17 swim, 5:37 bike, and a 5:07 run/walk for a total time of 12:15:##.

21:00:27 – Tony Rigdon –

Cold night…

Apparently I have lost my camping skills, I’ve neglected backpacking and concentrated on triathlons for too long.I arrived last night around 8:30 and set up camp in the campground, just below Smithville lake damn. Being that is was the first time setting up my new “car camping” tent and I was doing it in the dark, it took me about 30 minutes to get it set up.

I had thought it would be more comfortable and I would sleep better if I brought my down comforter rather than one of my mummy sleeping bags. Unfortunately it got rather cold last night and the comforter wasn’t exactly comfortable… So, this morning found me at Target purchasing a $10 electric heater and a fleece air mattress cover. Hopefully tonight will be a little bit warmer. It will definitley be an earlier morning, I have a 5 am appointment with breakfast!

posted at 11:21:25 on 09/24/04 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

3 Days to go to first Ironman race…

This will probably be my last post prior to Ultramax. I would like to say I’m ready, but all I can really say is I’m as ready as I’m going to be, it’s too late to do anything more!I’m definitely in no condition to set a blazing pace, my previous dream of a sub-10 hour time is out of the question. Despite having achilles tendonitis since April, my season seemed to be on track and up until three or so months ago I fully expected to be ready for Ultramax. Then I came down with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome wich was a result of my Achilles tendonitis and a slightly altered stride. My weekly long run which was up to around 16 miles, became non-existant. As if a lack of training were not enough, I woke up on Friday of last week with a horrible sore throat and have had a rather nasty cold since then. Fortunately, I am starting to feel a little better, but I really need to be fully recovered on Saturday in order to complete the event.

Ultramax poster
I’m the guy on the bike!

A little bit of history: The Ultramax triathlon started 3 years ago down in Lake of the Ozarks. It is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. That first year I registered, but it was my first year doing triathlons and I backed out of the race after doing a half Ironman and having a bad time. The following year I thought once again about competing in the full Ultramax, but then they offered a half distance Ultramax and so I entered it. This year they moved the race from Lake of the Ozarks to Smithville to be closer to an international airport.

They also added an Ultramax Championship Series which is a series of races throughout the season in which you can accumulate points to win free entry into all of next years races ($1000+ value). I quickly saw that if a person were to compete in every race in the series, they would stand a good chance of winning the series, just by attrition. Especially since two of the races, a ¼ Ironman and a ½ Ironman were on the same weekend, I figured most sane people wouldn’t compete in both events. Seeing that my sanity has already been questioned, I decided to enter every race in the series, and to culminate the year by competing in my first Ironman distance event.

On the 25th there are going to be two races. One is the US Half Iron Distance Championship and the other is the Ultramax full Iron Distance race. They will both be competed on the same course, but the full will do each leg twice. Going into this last day of the Ultramax series, I have the lead with a score of 203.284 with the second place competitor, Mark Carey having a score of 199.926. Things get a little complicated with the scoring, but simply put, if Mark Carey wins or finishes within 90 seconds of the winner in the Half Iron Distance event, he will most likely win the series, but by only .628 points. At that point, the only way I could beat him would be to finish within 30 minutes of the winner of the full Ultramax. The full Ultramax will probably be won with a time around 9 hours, and for anyone familiar with Ironman racing, for me to do a sub 10 hour Ironman my first time out will be virtually unheard of.

I’ve read you aren’t supposed to predict your times on your first Ironman, I’m going to do it anyways. Swim: 1:20 Bike: 5:30 Run: 3:50 Total time: 10:40 The most difficult to predict is the run, 3:50 might be a little optimistic, but I always aim high. In the back of my mind, I like to think I’m going to go faster, who knows?? I’d better go to bed so I can be sure I’m healthy enough to even start…

posted at 22:37:13 on 09/22/04 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General


Jose Herrera wrote:

Good luck Tony . . . we’re living vicariously through you.
09/23/04 13:16:24

Roger Festa wrote:

Best of luck, Tony! We’re all proud of you! Travel safely…
09/23/04 13:36:58

Jon Gering wrote:

Tony,Wow. Impressive ambition and dedication. Best of luck!

09/23/04 14:35:11

Cynthia Cooper wrote:

Good Luck! I wish you the best. You look ready enough!
09/24/04 09:24:21

Tony Rigdon wrote:

Thanks everyone!
09/24/04 11:08:51