Monthly Archives: July 2011

The cake is a lie… or rather, the icing on the cake is.

The Bike

The bike course is a 2 lap route with 3 different out and backs. The first and third out and backs are relatively flat and fast, the second is more of a lollipop with relentless hills. I honestly haven’t ever felt this happy on a long distance bike course. Cruised through the first loop in 2:45 or so, and was riding around a group of three or four people (none of us drafting, but not riding fast enough to ride away from anyone else). For the most part, things were pretty well handled, except for one older dude in pink compression socks who would pass and then cut right in front of the lead rider and slowed down. He almost took out one of the female riders and I think she yelled at him. Also, through the first lap I had no real back pain to speak of and was able to stay aero on the flats and downhills, so the fit from was definitely worth it. Continue reading

Well I ain’t really drowning cause I see the beach from here

It’s pretty much impossible to get a good night’s sleep the night before an Ironman. It’s even harder, when just as you are dozing off, the fire alarm in your hotel starts going off. We ended up standing outside for 45 minutes waiting for the CDA fire department to show up (we knew, and the hotel knew, that there was no fire, so the slow response didn’t worry me so much as the fact that I was awake and cold did). Turns out a couple of racers decided that they needed to smoke some weed the night before a race (they didn’t end up racing; instead they spent the day in jail or so I was told).

To start there skips the week leading into the race. It goes something like this: Saturday after an easy five-mile run, I get really light-headed (head rush style; Mom don’t worry I think it’s just cause I hadn’t eaten/drank anything and I have low BP (92 over 56)). Not a big deal but slightly worrisome. I’d already been battling a cold/congestion and figured that was part of it. Packed my bags, flew to Spokane and picked up the rental car, which was a baby blue Lincoln Town Car. Just. Absurd. But it would turn out to be very nice for me on the ride out to Glacier National Park. Still coughing, still a bit congested, popping Advil Cold & Sinus like it was candy. Pre-drove the bike course Friday morning (it went flat-hilly-flat x2), picked up my bike and then picked up my parents at the airport. Dinner at a local bar then the “mandatory” pre-race meeting.  As I was getting my bike ready for drop off on Saturday morning, I noticed that my rear tire’s sidewall was bubbling out. Fortunately I had brought a spare tire so I swapped that in. Swam for a bit and found out exactly how fucking cold 12.5C water feels: impossible to catch your breath and your hands and feet go a bit numb. Ate at a fantastic Italian place in CDA (Angelo’s or something?): pasta and a glass of organic wine. Went home, and that’s where we catch up to where we were.

I probably ended up getting 4 hours of sleep race night. Once I got to sleep, the sleep was pretty solid. Woke up, did my business, grabbed my morning gear bags, and had my ritual breakfast (granola bars, gatorade and wheat thins). Got to the race site, checked everything and got ready to swim.


As we were standing there for the swim, I was strangely calm. In my head I knew the training I had put in would be enough to provide a PR, but I had already made excuses in my head about how the sick was going to slow me down. The gun went off and it was easily the most chaotic/worst IM/mass start I’ve been in. Swimming over people. Being swum over. I got kicked in the jaw. I swallowed 12.5C water. About 500m into the swim… I couldn’t breath and I had a panic attack. This was the first panic attack I have ever had in a swim. I’d try to catch my breath, look back at how far I HADN’T gone, and try to swim a bit more… and it just wouldn’t work. So I bobbed up and down in the water trying to get out of the way of the oncoming masses. I loosened the neoprene cap I was wearing and finally was able to get going again. Every turn buoy was a mass of humanity acting as a singular mass of idiot. You’d get to the buoy and no matter how far away from the buoy you were, you’d run into someone. On the swim in for lap one, I started getting the first hints of cramps in my calves. I’d relax my feet and the cramps would go away.

Got out of the water on lap one and people were just walking under the timing arch. Ran around the outside and dolphin dived into the water. Legs twinged again, but relaxed quickly. And then about 500m in, both calves locked up severely as though someone had grabbed both ends of my calves and pulled them tight. As the pain hammered my brain, I thought back to all the cramps in the pool and how even if swimming with a cramp was a lot slower than without, I was still moving forward. I’d get my calves to relax and my quads would cramp. Eventually I either lost feeling in my legs or the cramps just stopped. Got out of the water in my slowest IM swim time (by 6 minutes) and ran up to transition.

As I lay down for the wetsuit stripper (who struggled a bit with my wetsuit, so I’m not alone in that problem), my hamstrings twinged. But at least I was out of the water and I could stretch them on the bike! Ran into the tent, grabbed my gear out of my gear bag and got my bike stuff on as fast as I could (which didn’t feel all that fast).

Next up… the bike.