On Nov 7 2014 I jumped in my loaded vehicle and made the 5.5 hour drive from Tucson to Lake Havasu. Upon arrival I hit the race venue and picked up my race packet, made a grocery stop to pick up dinner and breakfast supplies and then seeked refuge from the heat in my hotel room. I put the finishing touches on my equipment, watched a little television to unwind and then got an early start on sleep. I think I woke up about every hour and a half throughout the night but felt rested when my alarm went off at 4:30am. I consumed a banana, 2 berry bagels and a yogurt for breakfast, got dressed and loaded my race equipment and made the 10 minute drive to the venue. Transition spaces were assigned, each spot held your bikes front wheel and had a stool plus plenty of space to place your gear (one of the nicest transition setups I have seen). Large lights lit up the entire area to make early morning (pre-sun) set up easy. I made a quick trip to the porta-potties before the crowds arrived and then relaxed a bit. Before I knew it, it was time to get into my wetsuit and head down to the water. Water temp was in the mid 70s. I got in and warmed up for about 200 yards before they called all athletes out of the water for a pre-race meeting and the playing of the national anthem.
The start was a shore line start followed by two 1.2 mile laps . The start horn sounded and we were off. Sighting was near impossible with the sun low in the sky and in our eyes. The lack of buoys in between the turn buoys and the small size of the buoys only added to the difficulty. Fortunately I was not at the front and had the lead group to follow. At the end pf the first loop the half athletes headed off to T1 while those of us doing the full headed out for lap 2. I was suddenly on my own. luckily I could see the lead groups splashes and was able to follow until the buoys were in sight. I swam consistently through the entire swim. As I exited the water I was told I was in the top 10 (was 7th out of the water). Swim time…58:21.
A short uphill run from the water to T1…wetsuit, swim cap and goggles off…helmet on. Mounted my bike at the line, got up to speed and slipped into my bike shoes. T1 time…1:35.
I entered the bike course blind…I had not previewed the course but knew it was hilly from previously talking to friends. The course was 4 loops…112 miles. The plan was to take the first 2 laps relatively easy to save for the last 2 laps. I was quickly passing people trying to keep track of which race they were in (3300 numbers were the full). The first half of each lap was slightly rolling uphill. The far end of the course at the turn around area was where the fun begins…3 hills, each about 1/4 mile in length and 20+% grade followed by 30% grade downhills on the opposite sides. As I rode up the first time there were people from the half walking their bikes up! I powered up them. Only 3 more times to go! At about the 20 mile mark I was passed by another full distance athlete. I let him go and stuck to my pace. At mile 25 I had caught him again and made the pass. As I passed him I asked him if he knew how far ahead the leaders were. His response…you’re it! That motivated me a bit, but I still wasn’t 100% sure that there was no one else ahead. So I got back to business. Lap 2 was uneventful…those hills on the far end hurt just a little more. By now the heat had began to climb. What had started out in the morning as 60 degrees had now climbed into the upper 70s/low 80s and still climbing. Laps 3 and 4 dished out more of the same but now the wind decided to join the game. The far end of the course was blowing about 25-30 mph. By the 4th lap I was starting to feel some minor cramps in my legs. I had been getting in all my calories (a concentrated bottle of CarboPro and 3 root beer Gu’s) and fluids switching between the on course drink (HEED) and water but, the effort and heat were starting to get the best of me. So for the second half of the last lap I eased off the effort a bit, stretched my legs a little and massaged the cramping muscles. As I neared T2 I slipped my feet out of my shoes. I dismounted at the line and ran into transition. Bike time…5:38:46, the fastest of the day by 10 minutes.
As I entered T2 it was confirmed that I was the leader. I racked my bike, removed my helmet and put my running shoes on. I took a little extra time to stretch and massage my legs a little. T2…2:18.
The temps were now hitting 90. The run was 2 horseshoe shaped out and backs, 13.1 miles each (26.2 miles) of slight rolling terrain with a couple of short climbs. I knew this was going to be a tough run. I ran down through the park to the water front, under the London Bridge and then decided it would be a good idea to walk up the ramp that took us from the bottom of the bridge to the street level. By the time I hit the first aid station my legs were cramping. I started my fueling…coke and water. And more water over the head to try and cool down. I shuffled through the lakefront campground and up the uphill back to the main road. The cramps began to get more intense. By mile 3 I was shuffling and walking but continued to lead. When walking I told myself if I was going to walk, I was going to walk as fast as I could. Just past mile 6 at the turn around I was caught and passed. still in second I was determined to keep moving forward as fast as I could. By the end of the first lap I was still hanging on to 4th place. The 2nd lap started off with more walking than running. My legs would cramp up every time I began to run. At about mile 14 I caught up with another athlete who was on his 1st lap. He was having the same issues I was. We started working together. We would pick a spot up ahead and run to it…by then my cramps were usually in ouch mode, we would walk to another point and then repeat. We did this until about mile 18. I started cramping really bad then and he pull ahead of me up the road. By mile 19 the sun was setting and it had started to cool down. I then devised a plan. I started out small…run 30 steps, walk 20 steps. I was feeling okay doing this so I decided to up it…run 40 steps, walk 20. By mile 21 I had caught up to my old partner but he had been reduced to walking only. I was feeling okay so I decided that I was going to run until I couldn’t run any longer.To my surprise, with the cooler temps I was feeling pretty good. I maintained a steady run pace the last 4 miles all the way to the finish line…where I immediately cramped up. one of my worst ironman runs ever…5:28:01.
The day done, I was able to hold on for 10th place overall, 8th male and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup. 12:09:03.
One of the hardest ironman distance race I have done. Tough course and tough conditions…heat, hills, and wind!
2014 season done!
Thank you to my sponsors…
Accelerate3 for making me fast
TriSports.com for having all the equipment to help me go fast
And a big thanks to my wife who tolerates this madness!
I have been neglecting my blog lately so here is an update of what has been going on…
During my time away I have been training and did one race.
I kept putting off my race report for the Toughman Arizona (formerly Deuceman) in Show Low, Az. while I thought about what I wanted to write. My race execution was average. I finished 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup and managed a 14th place overall. I had a good swim which was shortened due to the lakes extreme low level. My bike went very good. Then I wilted away in the heat on the run but soldiered on finishing in 5:08:02.
Now the race directors perfornance…not so good. I sent a lenghthly note to the RD explaining my displeasure with a list of problems that needed to be fixed. Lack of porta potties, running out of water, running out of cups, lack of mile markers, the worst awards ever, and many other problems. Some of these have already been addressed by the RD (They sent out new and improved awards). I am hoping the others will be corrected for next year to bring this once great race back up to the high standards that were set by TriSports Racing.
Since the race, I have taken a few weeks of recovery time and have now started my build up for my Ironman. Last month (July) saw me log 30.3 miles in the pool, 830.01 miles on the bike and 152.36 miles of running. The fun continues!
Friday May 31 I packed my race and camping gear into the truck and made the drive to Show Low, Arizona along with my support crew (wife and dog). From 2600ft to 6400ft elevation. After arriving, I set up camp at Fool Hollow lake under the pines.
After a little relaxing I rode my bike down to the race venue (about 3/4 mile from camp) and picked up my race packet. After riding back to camp I enjoyed a pasta dinner with a view.
Final prep on my gear and then a little more relaxing as the sun set over the lake.
Early to sleep, early to rise. Alarm woke me at 5. A quick breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel. I then grabbed my TriSports.com TYR gear bag and rode down to the transition area.
I racked my bike and set up my gear in my assigned spot. Body marked #345. After a little socializing it was time to squeeze into the wetsuit and head down to the boat ramp for the race start. On the way down I slurped down a gel. I had been told the day before that water tempature was a brisk 57 degrees. As I entered the water to warm up I was expecting the cold shock on my face. It never came. water felt like it was at least mid 60’s…perfect for a wetsuit swim. I did a short warmup and then found my spot on the start line. At 7am the start horn sounded and we were off for a 1.2 mile 2 lap triangle shaped swim. I quickly got into my pace and felt good during the swim. I swam straight along the buey line. The 2 loop swim made the swim seem to go by quicker. I had clean water for nearly the entire swim. You definately have to pace yourself at 6400 feet elevation. I hit land in 32:35. A solid time for me. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they yanked my wetsuit off in one swift yank. Then it was a run up the boat ramp into the transition. The run up the ramp is an anarobic venture! In and out of transition in 0:44…goggles,wetwuit and cap on the ground, helmet on, go. I ran to the mount line and threw my leg over the bike. The mount area is uphill! It took 2 attempts to get going with enough momentom to get my other foot on the shoe. Once under way I slipped my feet into my shoes and then got up to speed. The course is a single lap of 56 miles (my garmin shows it a bit over 57). The first 40 miles are big rollers and gusting side winds. I was feeling good and picking off some of the speedy swimmers. At mile 40 you turn into the town of Taylor and begin a 10 mile climb back to Show Low. The wind became tail wind and the sun began to heat up. The tail wind created a vacuum affect and made the heat feel even hotter. I was still feeling good and picked off a few more people. After getting back into town there are a few more rollers and then a nice downhill the final couple miles. As I approached the transition I slipped out of my bike shoes. I hit the ground running at the dismount line after a 2:35:10 split. During the bike I consumed a large bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water and my consentrated mix of Carbo-Pro. I racked my bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and was out of transition in 1:15. I finished getting “dressed” on the go. The 13.1 mile 2 loop run is slightly rolling with a combination of groomed trail, cement road and dirt road. The first 1.5 miles of trail running I felt fairly good. As I exited the trail onto the cement in the campground a nasty little hill brought out the cramping in my legs. I backed off the pace to try and get the cramps under control. At the top of the hill I stopped and took a few seconds to try to strech out the legs. This relieved the craamps for a short period but then they returned. I took in water and gatorade at the aid stations and downed salt tablets. As I hit the out and back section, lovingly refered to as the “death road” due to its lack of shade, my pace was slow but I was still moving forward. After the death road you return along the lake, climb one more hill and then do it all over again. As I started out on the second loop my energy levels were low. In my focus on getting rid of my cramps I had neglected to take in any fuel other than the gatorade. As I hit the first hill aafter the trail I was slowed to a near walk. I took in a gel at the next aid station and continued to get liquids in me. The next aid station I took in another gel. Just as my energy levels started to return the fluids in my stomach began to slosh around…not a good feeling. I struggled through the second trip through the death road. The sun was much more intense this time. As I returned to the campground/lake area I just wanted to get to the finish line.
I had lost quiet a few places as i was being passed during my meltdown. Full on damage control. 1:58:23 and my “run” was over. I crossed the line in 5:08:44. I had held on for 14th overall and 3rd in my agegroup. It wasn’t my best day out there but I hung on to finish. A nice dip in the lake afterwards was refreshing although a bit chilling without a wetsuit.
On Sunday I backed up my race with volunteering at the Xterra race. On sore legs I spent the morning body marking and then kept everyone on the correct path on the run.
Sunday October 21 2012 Tempe Arizona 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike 13.1 mile run…the SOMA triathlon.
Soma was to be my season finale and was one of my “A” races. Training leading into the race had went well. I was feeling good.
With all my gear packed I drove up to Tempe on Saturday afternoon. On the way up I swung by to pick my host for the weekend John, who along with his wife were kind enough to allow me to stay with them, and then headed to Tempe Town Lake for packet pick-up, the expo and the official grand opening of TriSports.com’s Tempe store. After finding a parking spot I, packet pick-up was a quick affair. No lines…in and out. I then checked my bike in and placed it in my assigned spot on the racks. I scoped out the entrances and exits for the transition area to familiarize myself with the flow of traffic for race morning. John and I then browsed the row of vendors at the expo. Timing chip pick-up was a short walk across the street at TriSports Tempe. I got my chip, said hello to TriSports CEO’s Seton and Debbie and got my first in-person look at the new shop. Was honored to see a rather large image of me gracing the shop window! For the grand opening TriSports had brought in some of their vendors to show off some of the new goods we will be seeing soon in the shop. Zipp was there with their new Super 9 clincher disc…the first public viewing outside of the trade shows (eurobike, interbike). Very nice wheel. Bucks the new standard…is completely flat from hub to tire mounting surface. No bumps, or bulges but it retains the dimples. Also on display was the new BH Aero TT/Tri bike. Very clean lines reminiscent of the newest super bikes. The big difference is the amount of adjustability (at the expense of a slightly “dirtier” front end…cable routing). A reversible stem, use of aftermarket stems and a seat post that is adjustable from 74-80 degree seat tube angle give lots of options.
During the expo the temperatures were very warm…it was going to be a hot race day!
After the expo it was back to Johns house where he whipped up a great dinner. A little T.V. and then it was time to get some sleep for my early morning wake up.
After a solid night of sleep I awoke at 3:50…10 minutes before my alarm. Breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel was washed down with a bottle of water. I then loaded up and drove to Tempe Town Lake. I arrived there at about 5:30…plenty of time to set up my gear, relax and prepare for the upcoming chaos. With all gear set up, and a last visit to the porta potties it was relax time. I found a spot near the water entrance were I sat and met Alan, a 65 year old competitor. We chatted until it was time to line up. I put my wetsuit on and found a spot near the front of my wave group. I was in wave 5 which included all male competitors from 45-55 years of age. The waves started in 4 minute intervals. Reported water temp was 73.4…wetsuit legal. After watching the first waves go, it was finally time for my wave to hit the water. I jumped in amongst the first few people to allow for a short warm-up. I was able to get in a little over 5 minutes of warm-up and then found my way to the middle of the front row for the start. The waves were fairly small…in the 200 people range. I felt good and was relaxed.
The horn sounded and we were off. I quickly found clean water and found my stroke rhythm. The swim is a rectangle shaped course. About 500 meters into the swim I was at the front of the second pack. I then started catching people from the 4th wave. At the turn buoys I made my way through the traffic with little contact. I then started catching people from the 3rd wave on the return trip. I was feeling good. I made my way back under the Mill Ave. bridge and had the swim finish in site. I made the final turn and found my way through the congestion to the exit steps. As soon as I stood up on the steps my left calve cramped immediately…ouch! Not a good sign. I removed my wetsuit with the help of the “strippers” and ran in to transition.
A quick glance at my watch showed a 33:xx minute swim.
T1…helmet on, grab bike and run out to the mount line.
Flying mount and the bike had begun. I slipped into my bike shoes and quickly got up to speed. The course is mostly flat, 3 loops with 20+ turns on each loop. I was quickly moving through the field. Mid way through the first loop I started getting cramps in my vastus medialis just above my knee began to cramp. If I got out of the saddle…cramps, if I tried to apply more power…cramps! The remaining 2 1/2 laps I just tried to maintain an even effort in hopes the cramps would subside. Fluid intake was good, I took in all my carbs and plenty of electrolytes…the cramps continued. The air temp was still fairly cool and the heat didn’t start to build until late in the bike. I continued to make my way through traffic while only getting passed by a few on the bike. As I approached T2 I slipped out of my shoes and made my way to the dismount line. I threw my leg over the bike and jumped off running. I could feel the cramps in my legs and knew it was going to take a major effort to get through the run. I racked my bike, helmet off, run shoes on. I took a few moments to Stretch and massage my legs a little to help alleviate the cramps. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and put them on as I ran out of T2.
Bike time according to my bike computer was 2:38.
Within the first 1/2 mile my legs were already hating me. Run, cramp, walk…repeat. The temps now were nearing 90. At the aid stations I was taking in fluids in the form of water, Perform and coke. In addition I was taking in 2 salt tablets at each station in hopes that my cramping would go away. I continued this trudge through mile 5. That is when the wheels began to completely fall off. The cramping got even worse. A short time later I began to get nausea, then dizziness started to set in. As I approached the 6 mile mark I began to walk…staggering like a drunk person. A volunteer soon asked if I was alright…I was not. The volunteer called for medical and assisted me through the barriers to a tent. I sat down and my legs cramped severely and my breathing became labored. The volunteers gave me water, Perform and a coke. The EMT’s arrived quickly. Blood sugar was normal, paulse o2 was good but my blood pressure was very low. The EMT’s continued to monitor me for about an hour. My bp slowly began to rebound. They asked me to stand…insant severe leg cramps and my bp dropped again. I was then given a ride to the medical tent for observation. While there I consumed chicken broth (salt), Perform and water. After another hour I finally felt good enough to make my way out of the tent on my own. I found the after race food and got a plate. I saw Alan, from the morning sitting by himself and joined him. he had a great race finishing 2nd in his agegroup. Afterwards I packed up my gear in transition and made my way to my car, loaded up and made the drive back home.
A DNF is not what I had envisioned for my end of season. Only the 2nd DNF in my 20+ years of racing. I will live to race another day. Now it is time to recover from the season and then plan out the next race season…it is now officially the off-season!
Another season is getting close to the end. I have 2 races coming up soon to finish things off. First up will be the final race in the Tucson Triathlon Series on Oct14. I am currently sitting in 2nd overall for the series about 1min 30sec out of 1st and am leading my age group by over 20 minutes. With a good race I am hoping to take the overall series. It will be tough but I will give it my best effort.
This will be followed a week later by the SOMA half ironman in Tempe, Az. It has been a while since I have done SOMA and will be nice to return to this race. The legs have the mileage so we shall see if everything comes together on race day…will be nice to finish the year with a new PR on the course!
Ironman Arizona was the big race on my schedule this year. Everything I did throughout the year was part of the big picture…prep for IMAZ. My training has gone as planned all year. Stay healthy and injury free as I completety some of the biggest training days, weeks and months ever. Coach Brian (Accelerate3.com) put together a great plan for the year and I got out there and got the job done. I was fit and ready to go leading into the big day.
I arrived in Tempe on Friday afternoon. Headed dirrectly to Tempe Town Lake Park home of the Ironman village and went through the registration process. The line was short and I was in and out in a short time. I took a quick look around the expo. I then headed over to the Slowtwitch.com gathering/pre race festivities. Had a good time eating free food, meeting internet friends and catching up with friends. From there I was off to the pre race pasta dinner. Got plenty to eat and watched the festivities. I then headed over to my good friends Victor and Stephanies house who were once again kind enough to host me for my race stay…thanks again for opening your house to me!
After an unusually restless night I got up Saturday morning and got my gear sorted out. I then headed to Tempe Town Lake. I racked my bike and dropped off my gear bags. I then got into my wetsuit and got in a quick 20 minute swim during the “practice swim”. The water was a cold 61 degrees…a shock when first entering the water but near perfect once you got warmed up. Got in an easy 10 minute run just to test the legs out. Took in some more carbs for lunch and then threw the feet up for the rest of the day. With my mom dog sitting (thanks mom), my wife drove up to watch my race.
Another restless night of sleep was followed by my alarm going off at 4am. I ate a breakfast of yogurt, a bagel and a banana, then loaded up my gear and headed off to the race venue. I arrived at the site at 5am. I like to have lots of time to prepare and relax before the race. I got my tires pumped up and double checked everything. A rouge body marker strayed our way and I was able to get body marked while waiting in the air line…killed two birds with one stone! I then made my first trip to the porta potty while the lines were short. After a little time to relax it was time to get into “race mode”. I made one final trip to the porta potties. I then bagged my morning clothes and got into my wetsuit. I dropped off my morning clothes bag and then worked my way to the front of the “waiting to get hearded into the water” group. Soon after they started letting us into the water I jumped off the boat dock and started my swim to the start line. As I was swimming I heard the cannon go off signaling the start of the pro race and meaning we had 10 minutes until our start. I found my spot near the front on the far right side along the buoy line and bobbed around in the water waiting to go. The water started getting crowded and the national anthem was sung. It was getting close to time to go.
With AC/DC ringing out through the PA system the cannon blasted. 2500+ flailing bodies were put into motion. The swim is a one loop 2.4 mile journey. I had a good start with minimal body contact. On the outbound portion of the swim things went pretty smooth. The occasional contact or person grabbing my ankles. I swam the buoy line…a bit longer but much less crowded. I hit the turn around and found the water was a bit choppier for the return trip. I had open water for much of the return running into the occasional crowded spot but nothing to eventfull. I hit the final buoy and turned towards the exit stairs…man, that first step is a big one. With a helpfull hand from a volunteer I found the step and was on my feet.
Swim time 1:06:47
I was in 26th place in my agegroup and 368th overall.
Was hoping for under 1:05 but was still happy going 2 minutes faster than my last IMAZ.
Stripped my wetsuit, quickly ran and grabbed my gear bag and found some space in the change tent. Threw on my bike shoes and helmet. A volunteer bagged my swim gear for me. Off I went to my bike. A kind volunteer attempted to get my bike for me but I outan him and got it on my own. I ran to the mount line and made a smooth “flying” mount and was on my way.
T1 time 3:57
The 112 mile bike is three out and backs through Tempe and out on the Beeline Highway. I quickly got comfortable on my aero bars and settled into my pace. The first loop I felt great, was comfortable, weather was near perfect and wind was light. At the turn around I was a little under my target pace (goal was to break 5 hours). It hit the end of the first loop feeling good and on target for a 4:45 if the conditions stuck around. Heading out on the second loop the course was getting a bit more crowded with the slower competitors now on course. I was focused and sticking with my pace and nutrition. Things were going good. Out on the Beeline for the second time I was feeling good. I saw pro triathlete Ian Mikelson loudly cheering me on! Thanks Ian. Passing traffic I had a clear patch of road. I looked ahead and saw the closest cyclist ahead was a good 75 meters ahead. I dropped my head to stretch my neck a little…a little to long! As I looked up I was going into the back end of the cyclist ahead. I went down at 24mph. Luckly the other rider continued on unscathered…I would have felt really bad had he gone down too. A little road rash to the knee, hip and elbow…ouch. I quickly got up, got out of everyones way and attempted to get on my way. No such luck…my chain had come off and was tangled. Several riders offered assistance, I waved them off and thanked them. I again heard a nother voice offer assistance and was about to wave him off when I realized it was the support guy. With the extra set of hands we quickly got the chain sorted out, I thanked him and was again on my way. To those that offered assistance I thank you again! Once back up to speed I settled back into my pace. My hip was bothering me a little and i was bleeding all over my bike. Having an open wound on your elbow/forearm makes aero bars much less comfortable. The winds were still pretty mild. I finished the second loop and was still on track for a sub 5 hour ride. On the third loop the wind decided it was time to play. Going out the beeline it was a slight side wind. Once I hit the turnaround though it was pretty much a head wind the whole way back into town. A few close calls later, people swerving out in front of me to make a pass without looking first put me into “safety” mode. I began to pass as far left as possible to prevent any further misshaps. As I closed in on the finish of the final lap I began to prepare for the next leg. For the third time entering the hot corner/turn around area the crowds were huge. Lots of cheering, loud! I absorbed it for the final time as it helped recharge my batteries. I slipped my feet out of my shoes and made my running dismount. I handed my bike off to a volunteer and ran for my gear bag.
Bike time 5:06:47
Missed my goal time but considering all that happened was happy with my ride. 3 minutes slower than my fastest Ironman bike split.
Was now in 8th place in my agegroup and 147th overall!
After grabbing my gear bag I removed my helmet and ran into the change tent. Once again the volunteers were great. Sat down to change my shoes…volunteer took care of me, water and assisted with bagging my gear. Bike shoes off, run shoes on…hat, glasses…run!
Entering the run course the crowds were huge and loud. I told myself to go out easy. The 26.2 mile run course is made up of three “figure eight” shaped loops around Tempe Town Lake and Papago park. I made a quick stop at the first porta potty. I then began my run nutrition…coke and water. My legs were feeling the efforts from the bike but felt reasonably good. The first loop of the run my right forefoot was bothering me. Possibly a side affect of my left hip striking the ground when I crashed. I pushed through it and by the second loop the pain had gone. Each lap the TriSports. com aid station would get me fired up…they made me feel like a rock star every time I passed through. Their disco themed costumes brought a smile to my face. That was followed by the Phoenix Tri Club aid station with it’s cops and robbers theme. Nothing like girls in “sexy” cop outfits to lift your spirit. The star/end of each loop took you behind the transition area and the crowds gave me a shot of energy. The second loop was up and down…feel good for a while, then not so good, repeat. By the third loop my stomach decided it wanted to have its say. A couple porta potty stops kept it at bay. With 5k to go on the run I decided to give it everything I had left to the finish line. Recharged passing through the TriSports and PTC aid stations for the final time I pushed the pace with all the energy I could muster. Through the crowd one last time I made the turn towards the finish line. The final stretch the crowds were insane! High fives to all that offered…the celebration was on. Mike Riley called out my name on the pa as I crossed the finish line and collapsed into the waiting arms of a “catcher”. My legs were done! I was done! Ironman #15 was in the books.
Run time 4:06:13
My second best Ironman run 8 minutes off my best.
Overall finish time 10:24:57
My second best Ironman effort, 10 minutes off my PR.
I lost a few spots dropping to 20th in my agegroup and 218th overall (out of 2590 starters).
I missed my goal time, missed my goal of qualifying for Kona but was still happy with the final results considering the events of the day.
Now I’ve got a little down time to cure all the sore muscles, aches and pains…then it will be time to begin next years journey.
Special thanks to everyone cheering on the course, the awesome volunteers, Brian (Accelerate3) for all the coaching wisdom, TriSports.com for keeping me equiped with the greatest gear, Jaclyn for being the best sponsorship coordinater and most of all my wife for putting up with all my insanity and my mom (the best dog sitter!).
See everyne at the races next year!
Ironman Arizona is my big race for the year and the final race of my season. The hard work is done. The big miles are in my legs. A few easy workouts this week to keep the legs from going “stale” but to allow them to rest/recover. Thursday I head to the Phoenix area for the pre-race festivities leading up to the big day on Sunday…2.4 mile swim in Tempe Town Lake, 112 mile bike through Tempe and the Salt River Indian Reservation and 26.2 mile run around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park.
After a mid-season “break” of 3 weeks reduced training, the build for Ironman Arizona has begun. The first week transitioning back to the higher volume/intensity definitely put my body in hurt mode. The heat and Arizona “monsoon” season humidity have added to the hurt factor. Makes keeping on top of hydration a full-time affair. During my break time I got to cut back to 8-9 workouts a week..about 10-12 hours of training. A 17 hour week (15 workouts) to transition followed by 18.5 hours last week. 10 20+ hour weeks will follow and then 3 weeks to taper. Throw in 4 races (a 1/2 Ironman, 2 sprint tri’s and a duathlon) between now and then and that makes for a busy schedule! 13 weeks seems just around the corner.
This weekend was the Deuces Wild Triathlon weekend in Show Low, Arizona. Saturday’s festivities included the olympic distance and half ironman distance triathlons and today was the xterra triathlon. My weekend included the half ironman followed by volunteer duty for the xterra.
I arrived in Show Low on Friday afternoon. Show Low is in the White Mountains of Arizona and sets at just under 6500 ft elevation. In the near distance a large plume of smoke was visible from one of Arizona’s largest wild fires in the state’s history (as of today the 3rd largest and still 0% contained). The winds were blowing hard and were forecast to continue through the race on Saturday…oh joy! After arriving at the race venue, Fools Hollow lake, I picked up my race packet and then proceeded to find my camp site. My camp site was less than 2 miles from the race, nice and convenient! I set up my tent and then relaxed in the shade. I made a quick trip into town to do a bit of race meal shopping. My camp “neighbors” were quite entertaining…think of the old Honeymooners t.v. show. Unfortunately they were also quite loud! But, my ipod cured that. I put the finishing touch’s on all of my gear and double checked that I had everything. I then went and visited with some friends that were camped nearby. Back at camp early, I turned out the lantern, crawled into my sleeping bag and was sleeping by 9.
Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15. I crawled out of my sleeping bag to find that it was pretty cold. I quickly found a blanket and wrapped up in it while I ate breakfast…yoguart, a banana and a wheat bagel. I threw on my TriSports.com/Accelerate3 race kit and topped it with a warm up suit. I topped off the air in my tires. I then threw my gear backpack on my bike and took the chilly ride down to the transition area. This year rack positions were assigned by race number. I found my spot on the 2nd rack and set up my gear. I talked to a few friends who were racing and then relaxed for a bit. About 6 I started to get in to my wetsuit. I walked down to the swim start to get a short warm up in. Water temp was low 60’s. A bit of a shock when entering the water. I was able to get in about 200 yards before they started getting everyone back to the start.
After a short swim course talk the start horn sounded…no warning! Caught most of us by surprise but no one got an early start. We were off for the 1.2 mile swim. The first section of the swim curved to the right out of a small cove and went about 500 yards to the first turn buoy. The altitude, cold water and surprise start caused me to have breathing difficulties, a first in my 19 years of multisport racing. My chest felt constricted. I rolled over on my back and attempted to adjust my wetsuit to no avail. I rolled back over and focused on relaxing. After rounding the turn buoy I began to feel good again and focused on my stroke. My sighting was good and I swam straight along the buoy line to the 2nd turn buoy. This was the long leg of the swim and the buoy came quicker than I expected. I made the turn and began to head back to the cove. I rounded the corner and could see the boat ramp. As I exited I took a glance at my watch…the first 500 yards had cost me about 3-4 minutes! I stripped my wetsuit down to my waist as I ran up the ramp, plopped down and the “strippers” smoothly yanked my wetsuit the rest of the way off.
Swim time…35:14, good enough for 4th fastest in the 45-49 agegroup.
Transition 1 was quick and smooth…helmet on, grab bike, go! T1 time…1:40, fastest of my agegroup.
I mounted my bike at the mount line got up to speed and got my feet into my shoes. I was off for the 56 mile bike. The bike course was rolling hills for the first 45ish miles then has an 8 mile grinding climb. It’s not steep but just keeps on going followed by a short rolling downhill. The wind was blowing at 40+ mph. It was a head or side wind the whole day until the final few miles. I felt strong the whole ride. I took in all my carb drink…2 large bottles with 6 scoops of carbo pro in each. At a couple of aid stations I grabbed water wash down the carbs. A few riders who passed me early in the ride made their way back to me before the long climb. About mid way up the climb the olympic distance race bike course ties into the half iron course. I began using them as targets to motivate me, picking them off along the climb. I made the turn back towards the transition and was rewarded with what seemed like the only tail wind during the day. About 100 yards from the dismount line I slid my feet out of my shoes, made the last 2 chicane like turns, and as I hit the dismount line hopped from my bike running. I made my way through the chute and into the transition area. Bike time…2:43:57, fastest in my agegroup.
Once again transition went smoothly. Hung the bike on the rack, helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and off I went on my 13.1 mile, 2 loop tour of the lake and campground areas. As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, hat and belt. The first loop of the run I planned on going easy so that I’d have some fuel in the tanks for the second loop. The first couple of miles along the lake was windless and hot. The late morning sun had warmed to the mid 80’s. I maintained a strong but comfortable pace. As we climbed out of the lake area into the campgrounds the wind came back and helped to cool me along with the shade of the tall pines. I wound my way through the campground and then began the out and back section of the loop. I was able to see the competition and saw no one that looked to be in my agegroup. After the out and back there is a short downhill followed by an uphill that took me back near the finish line. At that point the olympic distance guys turn for the finish and us half iron guys veer off for another short out and back. I asked the volunteers how many had gone through the out and back and was told 10 to 15. Not to bad. We then ran by the transition area and began the 2nd loop (a repeat of the first minus the short out and back section). My legs were feeling good so I picked up my pace a bit. Once again there was no wind and lots of heat around the lake area and wind on the high section. I made my way through the campground, the out and back and then up the final hill…this time to make the turn into the finishing shoot. I crossed the finish line and received the best thing ever….a nice, icy cold popcicle!My legs were jello! My T2/run time…1:49:11, 3rd fastest in my agegroup.
Overall time…5:10:04, 1st place 45-49, 15th place overall male and 17th place overall (yea, I got chicked x2).
Today (Sunday) I was again at the race site early after breaking down my camp and packing everything in my car. Began the day feeling pretty good. I directed transition traffic for the xterra race. As the morning progressed the muscles began to tighten though. However, still had a great time volunteering! Some quick fuel, mexican food compliments of the race and then drove 4 hours back to Tucson.
Next race is the Firecracker Tri at the UofA.
…Deuceman half ironman at the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival in Show Low, Arizona! 6500ft. elevation, hills and if it is like last year….95 degrees! Can’t wait.