So I’ve already posted an update from IMAZ before the race, so I’ll skip that and get right to race night/race day. My sister, whom I was sharing a hotel room with, was flying in the night before the race, and I was trying to fall asleep before she got in. I may have dozed off, but woke up as she entered at like 11:20PM. Slept fitfully for the next few hours until I woke up at 4 to get ready for the race.
My dad drove me over to the course at 5 AM. He went back to the hotel at my request (I get really cranky when I’m trying to get ready and feeling a bit stressed, but looking back, next time I’d have the whole family there, if for nothing else than to take pictures ).
Got in the water pretty much right after they started letting us in. Swam a few strokes, and then basically just treaded waiting for the start. The swim was the part of the race I was most nervous about: I’ve done a total of 2 open water swims (prior to race weekend) and the swims pre-raceday were less than enjoyable due to tons of oncoming traffic. I was looking for as much space at the start was possible, and ended up kind of in the front middle of the starting pack (front middle makes sense, right?). Anyhow, the gun went off, and I got started, along with 2000 other age groupers. Sighting was damn near impossible, what with the sun coming up right in or faces, so instead I tried to sight myself off the wall to the lake (that’s right, THE WALL TO THE MANMADE RESERVOIR THAT WE WERE SWIMMING IN). eventually, without any concept of time, I made it into relatively open water (this was after I ran into wall after wall of human feet – if you could trace my path on the swim, my guess is it would be a lot of zigzagginess from bad sighting and running into slow people strung out across the course). Made the turn and started swimming back. Only two notable things from the swim back: one, I felt like I almost kept on swimming into a volunteer on a surfboard, two, there was a serious smell of manure during a significant portion of the time between rural ave and mill ave bridges.
Swim time: 1:06 and change. I was thinking 1:15 to 1:30, so I was very very very happy with this time (though I didn’t know what it was until after the race. I didn’t push it on the swim, at all, so I was surprised too).
T1: Pretty quick and clean, except that volunteer dropped my goggles without putting them in the bag. But, seriously, goggles aren’t really expensive, so not a huge loss. 4 minutes and change.
Rich says there is no such thing as a good bike ride followed by a bad run, so I decided I’d do the opposite. Have a horrible bike ride, followed by a good run. Not really a decision, more of a circumstance. My right hip started hurting near the beginning of the ride, preventing me from getting comfortable in the aerobars. Remembering Rich’s advice, I decided to just try and sit back and ride my own race while everyone else tried to race each other. Unfortunately, this meant that for a lot of the race, I was sitting up out of the bars trying to get comfortable (this is something that I’ll get checked out soon so , but it hadn’t happened on a training ride). The pain eventually went away after the second loop, but by that time my right foot started hurting at that point. This was even more concerning than anything else, as a hurt foot might mean that I couldn’t run. But by jamming my foot all the way forward in the shoe, I was able to decrease the pain somewhat. In any case, I wasn’t thrilled with the ride, but I just kept on turning the pedals in Z2, and started passing people on the third lap (they just looked beaten up by the rode, the wind, and the heat). Also, the first aid station (the station that was first on the course, not the med tent) was turning into a meeting ground for the broken.
Time: 6:09 and some. 10 minutes off of my target pace, but given the way I felt on the ride, and the way I felt on the run, I’m much more than happy on this. There’s a ton of room to improve here, and the first step is a power meter, and the second step is training with power on EN.
T2: Got of my shoes with the still clipped in (this was the first time I had done it this well on Goldilocks… the key? Having enough speed and getting ready to get the shoes off in advance). Grabbed my run gear, including long sleeve tech, changed, and had the volunteers shmear (like a bagel) the sunscreen on my neck and legs.
Run: Typically when I bike or run, I’m singing one song to myself the whole time. During the whole Ironman, I may have sung a song, but I don’t remember. What is there to say about my run? I started running a bit too fast, perhaps, but I was trying to rectify this… I kept trying to get my HR down, and I think I was pretty successful at doing this. Maybe this meant I could run faster, but I’m thinking I did it right, especially given the heat. In any case, I passed a ton of people on the run. I only walked two portions of the run: the hill climb up Washington Ave on lap 2, and the climb up to the Rural Ave bridge on lap 2. Other than that, I walked maybe 50% of the aid stations (probably less) and the ramp up to the Rural Ave bridge on the northern side of Tempe Town Lake on laps 2 and 3 (maybe 50-100 ft, maybe). Of the run, the second loop was the hardest. By the 22nd mile, I was calculating how much time I had to beat my 12 hour goal… but hey, if I can calculate that I figured I was sane and good to continue running. So, I finished up pretty strong (sub 10min miles) with a smile on my face!
Run time: 4:13
Total time: 11:38.38
Also… pictures! (click to enbiggenate).
After the race, while I was getting my massage, I started shivering uncontrollably. The masseuse, a nice guy by the name of Cliff, suggested my dry clothes bag while he wrapped me in thermal blankets. It helped for a while, but even after I changed, I was still shivering, so I headed over to the med tent, where they gave me lots of chicken broth, bananas, and gatorade. Oh, and if every IM has hot med staff like this one did… To note, there were a lot of people in the med tent who were in a lot worse shape, but the med staff was doing a hell of a job, as were all of the volunteers. The best aid stations were #2 on the bike, the second one (pit stop) with sno cones on the run, the phoenix tri club Toga aid station… hell, they were all great.
Anyhow… to finish this up… I have to think all of EN, especially Matt, Olwen, Rich (who was so helpful on the 19th mile, sorry I couldn’t count how many people I passed after that, but thanks for telling me I looked like I was doing well when I was feeling like shit) and patrick (who was the first one I talked to when signing up, and made the decision incredibly easy), my friends, but most importantly my family. But I have to thank myself first and foremost – I’ve never been so alive, or so happy. I’ve never known such happiness. Now that I’ve shattered the 12h goal, the next goal is sub 11. With power, and with experience, I think that’ll be cake. With lots of icing.