Tuesday, 06 September 2011 15:42

Avia Austin Triathlon Race Report

Before we get into the race report I wanted to put up the links to this weekend's posts.  Since it was Labor Day you may have missed these posts, but read the Race Report first then scroll back up here. I Will Be In Recovery Mode Soon..... Overweight?  Poor Eyesight?  Coincidence? Do I Get Paid?

Now onto the race report. This Labor Day weekend I was racing the Avia Austin Triathlon in Austin, Texas.  Austin, Texas is the sight of the CapTexTri that I raced on Memorial Day weekend, so what better way to start and end the summer than with a triathlon the Nation's (those of you on Twitter get the joke) Capital? I went into this race with the mindset that I wanted to beat my time at CapTexTri and be close to my PR at Disco Triathlon.  I knew that the bike course would slow me down some because it was not an open course but instead more of a CRIT style course with a lot of turns and 3 loops. Since life has been hectic Karen and I decided to head down a day early and try to relax as best as possible.  Well, since it was Labor Day, a triathlon being held and UT was playing Rice in it's home opener finding a hotel for the night was not that easy.  We wound up in a not so nice part of town in a not so great hotel but luckily for us it was for only one night. Now, let me say that I was at race weight before we headed to Austin and let me say that I was not at race weight when the race started.  Why?  Well, you see I ate in Austin as if I were going to prison the next day.  I could not stop eating for some reason.  Saturday night we had Mexican with my sponsors Carla and Eddie Webber at the Hula Hut, then the next morning had breakfast at Magnolia Cafe and dinner at Churra's.  It was amazing food and I would only change my portions as opposed to where we chose to eat. The night before the race I slept very well and I had my goal time of between 2:35 and 2:40 in my head.  As any triathlete will tell you they start saying things along the lines of:  If I do xx:xx on the swim and xx:xx on the bike then all I need to do is xx:xx on the run to get to my goal time.  Then you will create derivatives of this number and keep going around and around until you are so tired of the numbers that you just say this is my goal time and how I get there is how I get there.  Around 9:30p that night I had told myself to get between 2:35 and 2:40 and I would be happy. 2:45am and the alarm goes off.  Up and ready to roll.  I drink my smoothie and have two cups of coffee.  From all the food the past two days I am nervous about having to go to the bathroom and sure enough the valve opened up.  I wound up going to the bathroom 3 times between that 2:45a wake-up and 4:45a out the door to transition time. Karen and I hit the transition area around 5:00a and run into Coach C who is assembling a tent for after the race.  I help her with that as much as possible but at a whopping 5'6" tall I can't get the tent over the top of the bars.  Over walk Gigantor (at least 7'8") and just pulls it up and over (thank you Gigantor.)  Once the tent is set I head into transition to get every quadruple checked (remember this part.)  All seems set so I put on my shoes and go for a mile warm-up run.  The legs feel great I tell myself and start to wonder if I can lay down some good times in the run.  The announcement that no warm-up swim is allowed is disheartening but I am ready to go.  I leave transition and head to the swim start. At swim start I run into Jeff from Apex Endurance and we chat and he gives me a compliment without knowing it.  I ask him what wave he is in and he says he is in the same wave as me.  I say to him that he looks young for 35-39 and he says: That's the wave your in?  Yup, I look younger than I am....thank you diet and exercise. Jeff is in the 25-29 age group and he gets in the water and that is when I run into Greg.  We chat and watch the open wave go and the Jeff's wave and now he is in line.  Greg is in the 30-34 A-L group, then the M-Z group and finally us older folks are up.  This swim is not wetsuit legal but I'm ready.  I jump in the water and swim a few strokes and all feels good.  Maybe I can go faster than 2:35 as

 Swim The announcer tells us that we have 2 minutes before the gun goes off and here we are treading water for 2 minutes, then all of a sudden the countdown starts.  The watch is ready I hit start and the gun goes off and HERE WE GO! I quickly find a rhythm and am not being plowed over and whack a few guys out of my way.  We are swimming upstream for 1/2 the race, but it is at the start so you are going to be going downstream on the back half of the race.  I am in my stroke and every 6 strokes with my right arm I sight.  I am going well except that my right lens is foggy.  Because of no swim warm-up I never got my goggles situated but you deal with it.  Swim straight and no worries. It is at this point that I see a  guy doing the breast stroke and I think ALREADY!  Well let's just say that this guy can swim because I would pass him and think he was buried and all of a sudden there he appears doing freestyle.  He alternated between the two strokes but his freestyle was fast as he would pass me there.  WE played leap frog all the way to the first turn buoy and the second turn buoy.  At this point I was frustrated that I could not shake him and noticed another guy in front of me and set my sights on him. At this point I changed my stroke from quick turnover going upstream to elongated and much more rythmic going downstream.  I easily blew past breast stroke boy and caught up to white jersey guy.  I eventually passed white jersey guy only to notice a huge concrete pillar in front of me.  Because I was swimming in such a straight line I did not realize that you had to actually turn somewhat left to get around this pillar and then keep swimming straight.  Course adjustment and then I started to push the pace. The last turn buoy came out of nowhere and I was headed home.  I was pushing as fast as I could and I saw white caps and red caps as I passed them to the finish of the swim.  The swim felt like it took forever and I was spent as I put all I could into it.  As I neared the exit the volunteer reached out and I pulled him as hard as he pulled me and I almost wound up tossing him in the water but he got me up and out. The run to T1 is long but along the way I saw Eddie who was cheering loudly for me and that gave me a boost. Goal Time:     00:30:00 Actual Time:  00:34:48 (2:19/100m) PR for 1500m:  00:31:40 (2:06/100m) Transition 1: This is a long run from the swim exit to the transition area while having to climb rock walls.  The run down the bike rack lane felt like forever as well.  Once near my bike I popped a Fig Netwon into my mouth, then shoes on, sunglasses, race bib, helmet and off I go.  Just like CapTexTri you have to run up a hill in your cycling shoes before you get to the mount line.  Transition times are long because of the amount of running involved before you actually hit the rack and then the mount line.  Time in T1: 2:53 (27th out of 146 M35-39 with Average of 4:00)   [caption Bike Once you are on the bike you head down a hill into a no passing lane to head up a hill and then the bike race truly starts.  This is a 3 loop course with some climbing and in return some downhills.  Overall this is a fairly fast course. You start out by climbing Congress Avenue which at this point I thought to myself well that good feeling is gone and my quads were aching.  I just told myself that we were going to keep pedaling no matter what.  I hit the turn around point and had a very good turn and it is all screaming downhill now and with limited pushing on the pedals I thought this is awesome and my quads were back.  You then climb up the second half of Congress and I had no issues and turn on Cesar Chavez and white knuckle city.  A huge gust of wind blew me and my bike to the left about 2-3 feet and I just held on while screaming SH*T!  After that though it was fast and I rode well to the turn in the park and up a short steep hill and then it was back to a fast section. Around this point I thought my foot popped out of the pedal but as I kept going I noticed my foot still stuck to the pedal.  My foot then started shifting back and forth, back and forth and I am getting no power from my right leg.  This is an odd feeling but since my foot was still attached I kept going and pedaling as best I could.  I get to Congress to head back up the long climb and my foot is just shifting all over the place and it dawns on me that the screws holding in the cleat have come loose and thus why my foot is sliding back and forth.  I try to just pin my foot forward but that only lasts so long.  I am now about to do two-thirds of this race in what is essentially a one-legged push. I had noticed on my watch that I did the first loop in approximately 24 minutes and as I neared the end of the second loop I noticed that I was around 26 minutes.  Doing the calculations in my head I think that I would need to do that last loop in 18 minutes to match my time from the Disco Triathlon.  With one leg doing about 65% of the work I know that is just not possible and I tell myself to get it done in that range of 25 minutes and I'll be happy considering the circumstances.

t is at this point that some guy says something to me and I don't quite understand it so I ask him to repeat it.  He says well we are finally on the last leg.  For whatever reason this sends me into fierce combat mode and I fly by him and take Congress Avenue as if I were on Team Cervelo in the Tour De France.  I just attacked this hill and with one leg or not I am not going to let this guy beat me.  We had been going back and forth on the first two laps already and it was like a gnat that I couldn't get rid of. I make the turn and it is time to get in the bars and fly down Congress Ave.  As I hit the bridge I feel something hit my chain and look down and it is my spare tube.  I hope to the high heavens that  it just falls completely off my bike but two pedal cranks later and my bike comes to a complete stop.  The tube got caught in the chain and I was fortunate enough to not fall off but I pull over to my left and out of everybody's way.  Lower the bike and start pulling on this tube to get it out of the chain.  I am cursing under my breathe big time because this was going to be the fastest lap yet.  I pulled and pulled and finally the tube gave way and slipped out of the chain.  I roll it up into a ball and in the back of my jersey.  I am not on the uphill portion of the bridge having to get started with a shoe that is sliding everywhere.....GOOD TIMES!  Get going and I see that the gnat passed me but I was not done with him.  I catch up to him and pass him and while still cursing inside my head I feel great that I caught up to him on the second half of Congress and passed him as if he didn't exist. The rest of the course I just forgot about my foot sliding everywhere even though I feel it as I'm ready to run and I have time to make up. Goal Time: 1:10:00 Actual Time:  1:15:53 (19.6) PR for 40k:  1:08:29.3 (21.8 mph) Transition 2: My bike rack was about 1/3 of the way in from the bike finish so I got there fairly quickly.  Off with the helmet and running shoes on, hat on, grab bottle of liquified EFS Liquid Shot and start to take off.  Feel this bouncing in my back and realize the tube is there.  I stop and turn around and toss it in the vicinity of my bike.  Time to make up ground and just start running. Time in T2 1:39 (17th out of 146 M35-39 with Average of 2:53)

Run This is a two loop run course where you run through a couple of parks.  This means that you are running on uneven surfaces plus some loose sand.  In the beginning of loop 1 I was nervous about falling down and took it somewhat slowly but I also know that I had time to make up after the bike fiasco. Surprisingly my legs felt great and I just kept pushing the paces faster and faster.  I get 2/3 of the way done with Loop 1 and there is Carla, Eddie and Karen all cheering me on.  What a great sight.  Then as I'm pushing I feel this person next to me and I think NO WAY I'M DEALING WITH A RUN GNAT TOO! and start to pick up the pace and look to my left and it's coach taking pictures.  I couldn't stop laughing and she finally dropped off.  I made my way up the bridge by pumping my legs and just looking for the next person to catch.  After the turn around you head back down the bridge and paces pick up.  Then I get to see the cheering crew again.  Once I was past them I knew I only had 3.1 miles to go and I might as well make them count. I started running with Maria (names are on bibs) and tried to hang on for as long as I could but she was fast.  After the water station I knew it was one run through the park, cheering section, bridge and done.  After the park I heard a guy yell only 1 more mile and it was time to have the fastest mile of the day.  I got near the cheering crew and tossed Karen my handheld and took off like I was shot out of a cannon.  My legs felt great and I knew I was having a great run. Up the bridge turn around and down the bridge and my stride lengthened.  I wanted to finish really strong.  About 100 meter from the finish line and Greg is yelling to go faster and I do (where did this gear come from.)  The finish line is in site and the best part is they have a tape across and I'm the only one in the shoot.  that was a great feeling and immediately I saw Karen.  Gave her a kiss and then went nuts that the tube got caught in the tire and cost me so much time. Goal Time: 45 minutes Actual Time: 46:08(7:26/mile) Previous PR TIme: 48:26 (7:48/mile) Since my watch never worked at all I did this race on feel.  I saw 2:57 when I crossed the mat and I could not remember if I started 16 or 20 minutes after the gun and thought to myself I am either at 2:37 (PR) or 2:41.  When I later checked the results I had finished in 2:41:23.  While this was not a PR I was only 3 minutes off of my PR and still 4 minutes faster than CapTexTri which is a similar course.  Not a bad day's work considering all the headaches with the bike. This race was first class all the way.  I will definitely be back every year from here on out.  Tremendous venue, tremendous volunteers, organized very well and the sponsors were great and too many to name (except for Boundless Nutrition and HoneyMilk....cookies and milk that provide protein and carbs....YES PLEASE!) I want to thank all  of you for your well wishes on Facebook, Twitter and the blog.  It was awesome to see the support before and after the race.  Truly amazing. I also want to thank Carla and Eddie for there unwavering support of my dreams of triathlon from the day we met. Huge thanks to Coach for putting me in a position to succeed and each and every race.  Truly amazing your schedules and workouts are but they fail in comparison to your well wishes and confidence in my ability. Lastly, a thank you to my wife Karen.  Without you none of this is possible.  Form Day one you have supported my dreams and allowed me to pursue them with reckless abandon.  I don't think I can thank you enough and just want to tell you that I love you. [caption id="attachment_3876" align="aligncenter" width="223" caption="Heading past the crowd on Loop 1"]

Published in Race Reports
I came into contact with Jenn when she reached out through my contact page to ask the following:
I am new to this whole endurance athlete sport thing. I am an accidental athlete who got sucked into a duathlon as a bet by a trainer last year. That same year, I ran my first half marathon, full marathon, and competed a sprint triathlon. So, when it cam time to set new year goals I chose an Ironman 70.3... to start. I love all your articles, but with one week left to my event, I still feel unprepared. Do you have any advice for me? any tips? I am storingas much info as I can!! Thanks, Jenn
I felt so honored to have a reader ask me this question that I think my response was both incoherent and long, but Jenn did respond and we wound up sharing a few emails.  After she raced 70.3 Rhode Island she sent me her race report before I could even ask for it. I have read this race report a number of times and I think it is one of my most favorite because of how she ends it and her ending is the true definition of what triathlon is all about. Thank you Jenn for writing this race report for my blog. ===================== Jenn Gambardella’s Ironman 70.3 Race Report Amica Ironman 70.3 Providence, Rhode Island   I am an accidental athlete.  I began running January 1, 2010 only because my gym closed early and I was determined to get my New Year’s Resolution started.   That day, I realized I could do more than I thought and so I registered for my first half marathon. Up until this point, I had only ever competed in one event; the yearly Thanksgiving morning 5k as a way to rationalize my poor eating habits for the day.  To make a long story short, my love of the endorphin rush of racing brought me to register for a duathalon, multiple half marathons, a sprint triathlon, more 5ks, and a full marathon all in 2010.  When 2011 came, I decided I needed to set my goals higher and achieve more, so I decided to challenge myself to do an Ironman 70.3. With that said, I love to work out, I love to train, I love to be challenged, and I love to eat.   My training for this event was going to be tough.  I began by perfecting my running.  I signed up and ran a half marathon every month beginning in February.  In March, I began my cycling training at a higher level by kicking up my spinning routine in the gym and getting on the road as much as the weather would allow.  My swimming was going to be my most difficult training; I had no idea where to start.  I met a friend at the gym who would later help me both with getting out on the road for longer cycling training and into the open water for swim training. Without this friend/coach Jim I could not have been ready for this event. SO… that brings me to race weekend.  We drove up to Rhode Island early Saturday morning to get to the Ironman expo.  The expo was at the convention center and was very well organized.  There were no lines for checking in and the volunteers were pleasant and knowledgeable.  I got all my race info and numbers and headed to the athlete briefing.  We found out that the lake temperature was too high to wear a wet suit which was something I had not anticipated.  I was a bit more nervous about the swim now.   The odd thing about this event was there would be two transition spots, something I had never had to do before.  They gave us three bags all coded with a different color and we had to have all of our gear and transition stuff set up in each bag (bike, run, and morning/ swim attire).   We dropped off my bike first.  This was quite easy, the volunteers were very helpful and all the bike racks were numbered.  Then, we drove to the second transition spot to drop off the run gear.  We set off for lunch and then to the hotel to plan the night and attempt to relax. I set my alarm for 3:00, knowing I would hit the snooze at least once and be out the door by 3:45 to get on the shuttle to the lake for 4:30 am. I made my oatmeal with protein powder and grabbed a black coffee as we walked out of the hotel.  I ate my oatmeal in the car as I begged my husband not to talk to me.  Mentally I was all over the place, my nerves were getting to me and I was doing everything to try and stay positive. There was a shuttle bus going to take all participants to the lake and then return all family back to the second transition after all the swimmers were out of the water. (The only downfall was this that they charged everyone $8 to ride the shuttle, you could have driven on  your own, but I thought it would be less stressful sitting on a bus with everyone feeling the way I did)  The drive to the lake was quick.  I set all my stuff up on my bike.  This was a clean transition and we could not leave anything on the ground.  This was hard; I was not a pro at hanging things off my bike, so I left most of it in my bag.  I knew this would slow down my transition, but would keep me calmer knowing that all my stuff was in one place.   I headed over to the port o potties for my first pre race bathroom break.  I have a bad habit of having to go multiple times before any type of race.  The lines were slow, and mostly men.. which sadly I wished would just go find a bush but… I waited.  I handed over my morning gear bag to the volunteers and headed over to the lake.  I nervously ate my banana and half a piece of bread with almond butter on my walk.  It was still just about an hour before my start time and my stomach was in knots.  I found a “real” bathroom at the lake and stood in line with about 20 other women who did not appear to be feeling the way I was. They all chatted about what they were going to eat after the race and about the hill at mile 30? Huh hill? I thought Rhode Island was flat! [caption id="attachment_3209" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Happy to start the swim of a 70.3 race are we?"]ironman_Rhode_Island_Swim[/caption] Ok, now I am on the edge of the lake in my group of ladies all with the same white Ironman swim cap on.  The ladies 30-35 would go off in the 8th group, leaving only 4 groups behinds us.  The lake was well organized; all the volunteers held signs and it was easy to see where you should line up.  I took my place on the edge of the water when it was my time. I knew we had about 5 minutes to wait after the guys before us went.  So, I chatted it up with some ladies and got some more details about the swim. This was my attempt to relax.  There was music playing, we sang and even danced our nerves out.  The announcer gave us the 30 second count down and we were off. Swimming was my weakest area and I knew it was going to suck.  I stayed positive and kept a good pace to the first buoy.    The lake was filled with some kind of underwater sea growth like seaweed, and I kept getting my arm caught in it.  The swim was a counter clockwise rectangle shape.  Mentally I broke it down into three parts, the first straight away, then across the back, and then the straight away back to the beach.  I made it the first two parts without too many issues.  I couldn’t get my breathing down but was surviving and not feeling tired at all.  There were about 8 or 10 buoys on the straightaway to the beach.  This last part was the toughest.  It was probably about a half mile and I was letting the negative thoughts into my head.  I stopped three times to compose myself and treaded water.  I thought about calling one of the canoes over to help me out, and even thought about hopping on the canoe and ending my day.  Deep down I remember my coach and my trainer telling me the things that I can do, and then I remembered something that Jason told me about the book he read from  Chris McCormack, “embrace the suck.”  So that I did, I refocused and told myself to suck it up and finish.  I dragged my body to finish and ran up the sand of the beach. I did it, I finished the swim.  I had nothing left in me, I walked most of the way to my bike. During the walk to my bike, I heard everyone cheering and my husband telling me I looked great.  I couldn’t focus on anything but the plan in my head, shoes on, granola bar in, water in, helmet on, gloves on, sunglasses on, shirt on and GO!  I took too long in transition, but I needed that time to prep myself and pump [caption id="attachment_3210" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cruising on the bike!!!!!"]Ironman_Rhose_Island_Bike_703[/caption] myself up for the bike.  I got on my bike and headed out. I felt good once I started.  I started off slow up the first hill out of the park.  This was the first time I did not drive the route I was racing, I didn’t want to know. I had heard about some hills at the end and there was a bad road section where no passing was allowed.  But that was it, that was all I wanted to know. I was going to get through it and do it no matter what the route was.   However, looking back I wish I drove it.  The course was very hilly. Lots of rolling hills and long climbs followed by long declines. It was do-able but I did see some people getting off their bikes and walking them up a few of the hills.  I was determined to get up each and every hill and I did. There were three aid stations on the course. I stopped at all three and took water.  I ate shot blocks for electrolytes and shot rocks for protein along the way.  At the last stop I used the bathroom hoping that I wouldn’t need to go on the run.  The bike ride seemed slow, the hills just kept coming.  The beauty of this was, I enjoyed every minute. The scenery was beautiful and all the competitors were pleasant and helpful. The only downside of the ride was the last 10 miles.  There was a no pass zone and the street was terrible. It was obviously under construction and the pot holes and rugged pavement made it impossible to go fast. The whole road was filled with water bottles and bike pieces which must have fallen off of the people in front of me who didn’t really care about slowing down. I heard later on that this area also caused lots of flat tires for some racers.  In this final stretch was also some winding streets which made it seem like forever. It was somewhat of an inner city area with police officers on most corners, but still could be scary for  a cute blonde chick out for a bike ride.  Anyway, I finished and rode in to the transition to see LOTS of bikes already there. I felt pressured now to run, I had no idea how long the bike portion took me, but I could tell that I was at the end of the pack.  I grabbed a sip of water, a Lara bar and my “secret weapon” Swedish fish candy to begin my run.  I was off, a quick transition and my legs  were just getting some blood back to them.  I began with a slow jog out and picked up my pace with the amazing noise of the crowd.  However, that was soon halted when I saw lots of people walking up the huge hill in front of me.  I was less than a mile in and already faced with another challenge.  I counted 100 steps walking and then 100 steps running to control my breathing and my legs.  Mentally this was so hard.  I knew everything that I was doing I would have to do again because the run was a 2 loop run, meaning we would run the first loop (7 miles) and then do the same loop again!  The run was tough with more up hills and down hills, not too much of a flat stretch until [caption id="attachment_3211" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Starting the run of 70.3 Rhode Island"]Ironman_Rhode_Island_2011_Run_Race_Report[/caption] mile 5 and 6.  Again, I played mental games with myself telling myself I could do it, only to see the mile markers for the second loop daunting me.  The volunteers on the run were AMAZING! There was Perform energy drink, water, and cola almost every mile.  There was fruit, pretzels and Powerbars at every station too. The volunteers handed out cold sponges, which thanks to Jason I knew to put near my heart to slow it down and cool me off. I was feeling good after the hill work and my Swedish fish got me through the first loop.  I really don’t remember how I ran the second loop. I know I ate Powerbar along the way and talked to a man with an Ironman tattoo.  I had come this far and nothing was going to stop me. I noticed some men walking, some throwing up, and some just sitting on the corner. I stayed calm and put one foot in front of the other and imagine what I would do when I crossed the finish line.  I do remember the last .1 miles of the 13.  That was the line of the crowd cheering everyone on. I loved hearing people, and didn’t let the sight of people heading back with their bikes bother me, this was my race, for me, nothing else mattered!  Of course the final stretch was, yup you guessed it… UP HILL ! Really , did they have to do that?  When the announcer called my name as I crossed the line, I could not believe that this journey was over.   My husband ran up to me, tears filled his eyes and at that moment I realized the powerful effect of the event.  I felt amazing, accomplished, powerful, strong, and proud!  It takes a true warrior to accomplish an endurance event and to be able to navigate your way physically and mentally through it. You need to be tough and you need to rely on your training and your body to take over.  Believing is the first step, and when you do, anything is possible!! Walking out of this Ironman 70.3 I said I would never attempt a full Ironman because it would be too much, and too hard.  TODAY, ask me the same question and I know I have a different answer for you! Thanks to everyone who helped me on this adventure! I encourage everyone to believe that they can do more and be more.  Set your goals high and don’t ever stop living.  Life without passion is meaningless!   Jenn AKA: The Pink Hornet    
Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 14:00

Disco Triathlon Race Report

One housekeeping item before we dive into the race report.  I want to say Thank You to all of the people that follow this blog, my Twitter account or Facebook account for the support  prior to the race and the high-fives (while virtual) for after the race.  It is awesome to be surrounded by supportive people who encourage, motivate, inspire, drive and teach.  It takes a village to raise a triathlete and I live in a great village. A little background on this race.  Last year I raced the sprint distance and this race was my first open water swim.  It was a beach start so you have to run into the water and at some point decide when you were taking the plunge instead of continuing to run.  As I dove in the water and got hit by every racer in the event I freaked out.  I flipped on my back and backstroked approximately 85-90% of the swim.  My swim time for the 500m was 14:04 or 2:49/100m.  I set my sights on this race from the moment it ended and knew I was going to get my revenge on this race no matter what it took. On Saturday night I drove Karen to Fort Worth as she was going to be racing a 25K in El Scorcho that started at midnight.  Fort Worth is about an hour away from my house and when I left her at 9pm I knew I wouldn't be home until 10pm and still had to get my secret weapon eaten.  The night before every race I have a nut butter and jelly sandwich and this was going to be no different.  I walked in the house at around 9:45p and made myself my sandwich and went to bed.  Luckily I had planned ahead and packed everything. When the alarm went off at 3:00am I was ready to rock and roll.  This race is about an hour away in the other direction of Fort Worth and with transition opening at 5:30am I had to be at my buddy's house at 4:30am.  After picking him up and getting to the race site in plenty of time I was ready to get warmed up but first had to deal with some stomach issues.  Took care of business and off to rack bike and get body marked.  I laid out all my gear so I knew what I was doing in transition and even went through each step.  I'm sure I looked funny as I practiced putting on race belt, sunglasses, helmet.  Then removing cycling shoes and putting on hat while turning race bib around while not actually touching anything.  Transition is all set so time to warm up. I went out and ran about 3/4 of a mile and worked up a good lather.  This was going to be a hot race and I was happy to have my liquid calories from Prolong in my Speedfil plus a bottle in my cage filled with water.  I also had 1.5 HoneyStingers in my bento box.  My nutrition should be all set and with that I headed down to the water to get a few hundred meters of warm up and warm being the operative word.  As soon as I put my feet in the water I just thought I would not even take a bath in this it is so hot.  Water temperature was around 84* at race time. After warming up I walked back to the transition area and found Shannon.  I knew she was racing the Olympic distance so we hung out until race start just chatting and watching a complete cluster of a start that was an open wave.  The open wave went off and from shore Shannon and I could barely find the turn buoys as we were staring into the sun and there was a group of buoys missing.  There were to be three buoys yet we only found two.  After talking to a race official we found out that the distance for the X-50 (a combination of Olympic and HIM of 1 mile swim, 40 mile bike and 9 mile run) was going to be the same as the Olympic which meant we were going longer than an Olympic distance swim.  As we stood talking about this we noticed that the group had to run across a sand bar and then we see them swimming toward the second turn buoy instead of straight toward the first buoy.  Marked that as a lesson to swim straight and really to know your course.  Now the race official called our wave which consisted of both men and women 39 and younger, so this was a rather large wave. SWIM -  [caption id="attachment_3196" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Shannon and I prior to swim start"]Aquaphor_Herbalife_Disco_Triathlon_2011[/caption] Shannon and I walked into the water and watched as people started diving into about 1 foot of water to only stand up and dive again.  I just kept running until I thought it was deep enough to start swimming.  Shannon yelled out find a hole and go....that is what she said.  So I did and jumped in and like all other open water swims there was hitting and kicking.  I slapped more feet and legs and got slapped by more feet and legs than all other open water swims combined but I kept my composure because my swim has been getting stronger. I was in a good rhythm and then bam my arm hit the sand bar and I knew I had to walk/run across this but I also realized that my timing chip was coming loose.  I stopped moving to adjust this strap and it took me about 15-20 seconds to do this as I did not want to lose the chip in the water.  As I was playing around with this I hear Shannon yell 'Let's go Herbalife' and with that I finally got my chip on tight enough and just started swimming. I got into a very good rhythm but did not bother trying to sight for the turn buoy because the sun was right into your eyes.  I just kept looking for other swim caps and feet and kept going strong.  As I finally got to one point to spot the buoy I turned it on as I wanted to get to this turn as quickly as possible and stop having to stare into the sun.  As I made the turn I noticed a guy on my right.  I started to use him to draft off of but kept slapping him.  I would spot the 2nd turn buoy and just knew I was swimming straight but for some reason I kept hitting this guy.  I finally stopped for a moment and watched as this guy went swimming across my face, across the face of the next two swimmers and completely away from the course.  I started up again and turned on the after burners because this swim was starting to feel like it was  a 5000m swim and I wanted it over with. I made the second turn and knew it was over and started to push it.  At this time I saw a few red caps from the previous open wave.  I also noticed people doing the breast stroke and others stopping and for some reason this excited me.  I got fired up that I was having such a strong swim and started pushing and pushing and eventually when I got to a point that I could stand I did and started running out of the water and when I hit the timing mat I hit my watch and noticed a 00:3x:xx.  I wanted to swim the 1500m in 30 minutes or less and I knew that I missed that goal, but I also forgot to calculate that the distance was longer than 1500m. Goal Time:     00:30:00 Actual Time:  00:34:25 (2:18/100m based on 1500m but the swim was approximately 1667m which is 2:03/100m) PR for 1500m:  00:31:40 (2:06/100m so I set a PR based on pace per 100m) Transition 1: This is a long run from the beach to the transition area on an uneven cement trail.  You have to be careful not to stub a toe as your run.  I navigated this well and got into T1 and got all my gear on when I hear off your bike, off your bike.  I look over and there is a racer literally ready to pedal out of the transition area and he was in my row.  I took this moment to eat one half of a HoneyStinger as my stomach felt starved.  Time in T1: 2:18 (5th fastest time of M35-39) BIKE - Once I hit the mount line and got on my bike I knew I was going to hammer this home.  I looked at my watch and saw a time of approximately 00:3x:00 so I knew that if I came back into T2 at 1:45 I would have managed a 20 mph bike speed as it takes 1 hour 15 minutes to ride 24.8 miles. [caption id="attachment_3194" align="alignright" width="300" caption="El Diablo Looking Ready To Go Fast"]Specialize_Transition_Comp_Triathlon_Cycle[/caption] The driveway into and out of the park is perfectly paved and so you had the ability to build up bike speed but the moment you turned right out of the park you hit chip seal.  Every pedal stroke was met with vibration in the handle bars.  My plan on the bike was to just go hard and attack the hills.  For nutrition and hydration I planned on drinking the Prolong every 15 minutes and to eat one half of the HoneyStinger every 30 minutes.  I would get all my calories and be hydrated by the time the bike finished. As I started pedaling I noticed that my legs felt very strong and I knew I could really start to push harder.  I was riding without a heart rate monitor and my cateye was not producing a speed or cadence.  I noticed at the end of the race that the transmitter had broken off so this was a ride based on feel.  While on the road I noticed that there was always a spot just to the inside of the right lane line that was smooth and was about 6 inches wide.  Keep your wheel in this line and you could avoid the vibration of the chip seal. The bike course has some climbs to them (Texas climbs) and I was not going to let up.  At one point you make a right turn for the Olympic distance and I had a cyclist come up on my left and pass me, but I said I am going to hang with him as long as possible.  I pushed and pushed and then all the sudden two other cyclists came up on me and passed me.  We got to the turn around point and I made my decision to stay with them and we pushed the limits of my speed potential. As we faced some climbs I would feel strong and pass them but on the downhills they would pass me.  We got to the last turn around and I thought to myself....WOW we are already headed back home.  I looked at my watch and did some calculation and felt that if I maintained my pace I would be able to get to the T2 area in 1 hour and 15 minutes or a 20mph bike speed.  My plan to hang up with these guys was working perfectly and then they pulled away but I was not defeated.  I put my head down and just kept pedaling.  As we got back to the park entrance I kept the hammer on and kept pushing.  I was not going to let up and wound up passing one of the guys that I was hanging onto along with about 4 others. At this point I saw one rider getting yelled at by his family and I just told him that it was awesome to see.  He told me his 5 year old was asking when he could race and I told him about my step son lifting weights and we just laughed.  I finally pulled away a bit and got my feet out of my shoes and got ready to hit the mount line and start running. Goal Time: 1:15:00 Actual Time:  1:08:29.3 (21.8 mph) PR for 1500m:  1:18:16 (19.1 mph) Transition 2: My bike rack was the fourth rack in so I was close and got my bike racked and put my hat on and sneakers on as quick as I could.  Took a quick swig of water from my bottle and off I went.  T2 Time: 54.5 (Fastest time of M35-39) RUN -  The run is a two loop course that is run in a park that is well shaded but by now the temperatures in the 100s and it is brutally hot.  On the recommendation of Jeff over at Dangle the Carrot I brought an EFS liquid shot.  This product has 400 calories, 1500mg of electrolytes and 1000mg of amino acids plus 100g of simple and complex carbohydrates.  I felt this would be perfect for me on the run.  What I did not realize is that this somewhat thick like a GU and I would have been better off liquifying it in water since I don't do too well with the thickness of the mixture.  My plan was to take a sip of the liquid shot every mile. As I started running I could feel the heat but felt very strong and this is when the start of my mistakes hit.  I ran through each aid station feeling I could take care of my needs with EFS, but with suck a thick liquid these calories would not get into my blood stream as fast as I would need them.  I kept pushing but felt myself slowing down with each mile and at around that turn around point to head back out for loop #2 I could feel my legs get extremely heavy and that is when I could feel myself dehydrating and starting to puke.  I choked it all down and kept right on going but it seemed that with every step a burp came and the feeling of losing my insides came with it.  I made it to an aid station and water and ice never felt so good.  I poured water over my head from one cup, sipped from another and then with the wet towel I squeezed ice water onto my head and then sucked on the towel as I kept running. It was at this point that I junked the bottle of EFS and went straight for water only.  At one turn around point I grabbed a handful of ice in a cup and channeling my inner Macca put it right on my heart to cool off my system.  It seemed to work as I then began to pick up the pace.  It was at this point that I saw a runner in front of my struggling but he was wearing a jersey that said 'Fueled by Beef' and the first thing I thought was PASS HIM!  As I was passing him I thought about looking his way like Macca did to Raelert and saying 'That's Cool....I'm fueled by plants' and take off but I was a good sport and just passed him easily. At this point on the course I knew how much I had left to run and so I turned it on and started passing other competitors left and right and I could hear some of them say out loud 'where is that energy coming from' and it made me smile and that is how I finished....smiling.  I could hear my boy Juan and Curtis at the finish line yelling Go Baha! and I kept chugging along until I crossed the timing mat and hit my watch. Goal Time: 45 minutes Actual Time: 52:33 (8:29/mile) PR TIme: 48:26 (7:48/mile) I looked at my watch and internally fist pumped as it read 2:38 and I knew I had just set a PR by 7 minutes on a difficult course in horrible temperatures.  I grabbed two bottles of water and water and walked toward Juan and Curtis and dumped one over me and the other I drank but I was feeling dehydrated and sick.  I told them I was going into the lake and I took another bottle of water and walked into the lake and sat down in the water for about 5 minutes trying to bring my core temperature down. [caption id="attachment_3193" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Perfect Recovery Drink with great taste and carb:protein ration"]Herbalife24_HoneyMilk_Rebuild_Endurance[/caption] After feeling better I grabbed another bottle of water and walked up to my bike gear to grab my recovery drink and after swallowing that down I felt human again.  I kept drinking water and eventually I felt great and could actually talk to people and be coherent. It took a while but they finally posted the results and my watch was spot on.  My official time was 2:38:40 and a PR by 7 minutes from last months CapTexTri time of 2:45:25. My goal time when I told Coach C about this race was 2:35 - 2:40 and I hit that dead on but I could have been faster if not for my mistake on the run course.  Had I actually drank water along with the EFS in the first 3 miles I would have been fueled for the long haul.  This was a rookie mistake and it cost me at least 3 minutes on the run.  How do I know this?  Here are my mile splits:  8:13; 8:22; 8:47; 9:31; 9:39; 7:59.  Imagine if I had taken in water to help those calories and electrolytes get into my system faster.  That pace of 8:22 would have held steady and thus my time lost because of this was 2:51.  Big mistake and one not to be repeated ever again. As another example of how hot it was and how dehydrated I was:  Start race at 143 lbs.  Weigh in at the end of the night after drinking water and eating all day long and my weight was 142 lbs.  I probably finished the race at a weight of 130-133lbs as I am a sweater. Tough race, great results and can't wait to get back there for next year and attempt to podium.  I finished 5th in my Age Group after the winner was DQ'd for only running 1 loop of the 2 loop course. [caption id="attachment_3192" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="After hydrating I felt very good."]Herbalife24_Prolong_Finishers_Photo[/caption]
Published in Race Reports
I can't tell you when I started following Beth's blog but I can tell you I have witnessed her transformation from runner to triathlete and it has been amazing. She has embraced all the traits of a triathlete and will soon be racing Half-Ironman races as well as Ironman races. She may disagree but she has the drive and determination to do it. Her blog is keeps it real and is always inspiring and motivating let alone the conversation regarding hilarious. Go to her site by clicking here and be prepared to laugh. Enough of my verbiage you are here to read her race report so here it is:

Moss Park Olympic Tri Race Report by Beth Shaw

The above photo is me and Cay-See before the start of the race. She and I were the only two folks I knew doing this "Olympic" distance triathlon in Moss Park in Orlando, FL. We had headed over Saturday in the late afternoon and had dinner at one of my most favorite restaurants, Dexter's. Look it up if you are in Orlando. (The brunch is to die for!)Since this race was so small we couldn't quite tell if there was a packet pick up the day before so we opted for the morning of pick up. We picked up our packets and I immediately noticed that I didn't get a shirt. I guess the first two hundred did, but this included the sprint and du race as well. Guess I was late. Oh well. We also noticed that we didn't have running numbers. We found out that our marked up arms and legs were good enough. Sweet! One less thing to worry about at transition. We all lined up in the water and the men folk were off and going by 7 AMish and the ladies followed shortly after. The Swim 1.5 K (maybe?) This was the first swim start that I've done that began waist deep in the water. We waded in and since it was such a small group all of the women started together. Without much ado, we were off. The course was a double loop. Again, new for me. But I figured, two loops in a lake? I can do that. My start in the water wasn't as good as I'd hoped because I got a big splash when I took my first breath and my goggles were foggy. I stopped and adjusted and then kept on moving. I made my way in front of folks and was successfully around twice before I even realized it. Pretty run of the mill swim here. It seemed easy and I felt good. Lake swims rule and ocean swims drool! That's all I'm saying. Upon checking my time yesterday I am guessing it was short. I definitely know I am strong on the swim, but holy crap! I don't think I am this fast. I will say I was first out of the water in my age group! Hooray for swimming! Full disclosure: my age group only had 4 people in it, but whatevs.  Swim Time: 23:26  T1: They did something odd with this transition that I don't really understand, if any of you do, leave me a note in the comments. It was split up into two times. It says "Run1TM 2:07" AND "T1TM1:39." There was a bit of a run to get to transition so I can only assume they counted that separately. Once I got to the bike I tried to move as quickly as I could but I admit that I drank some water and ate some of my chomps. I need to do that stuff on the bike. The Bike 40K (definitely not) I figure you are noticing that my distances have some parentheses behind them. It's because this event had shorter distances than what was posted, but I've been told this happens in the "international" or "Olympic" race. They just get them as close as they can but aren't exact for logistics. Of course I wouldn't be "discom-bob-ulated" if I had everything go right with this race. Thus, I couldn't get my foot clipped in at the bike mounting area. I think I wasn't putting enough weight on my clip and a heavily accented Hispanic man who was working the event was yelling at me, "What are you doing? Hurry! Get your foot in! Push!" It was funny. I got clipped in and was off. The bike course was also two loops. Actually the theme of the whole race was two loops. I REALLY enjoyed this ride. It was the weirdest thing. For once, I was enjoying the bike and passing a few people! I saw a lady with a 31 (my age) on her calf go by me and I thought, I gotta keep her in my sights. And I did. I just kept pedalling and only allowed myself a break on turns. Eventually, I caught this lady and kept her far enough behind me so if she did catch me I could try to make up for it on the run. I also played chicken with two squirrels (you little rat-cousin bastards!) and I saw a spotted, little deer looking very scared. Thank the lord he was behind me and not in front of me! Cay-See had told me on the way out to the race that they are dumbs as rocks and have been known to cause accidents on bikes. It made me think of My Cousin Vinny though. Heh. Bike Time: 1:18 (I believe it was about 23 miles and some change, versus 24 and some change, however, I am still very happy with this time!) T2: I actually sat my butt down here to change shoes and wonder why I never did this before. I usually try to stand and change shoes but I'm just so awkward doing so. I guess I really need to improve on transitions cause looking at everyone else's...damn I'm slow. My time was 1:48. The Run 5.6 miles (the race website actually shows this as the distance, so no guessing here) As I mentioned before this race was all about loops. Thus, there were two loops on the run too. The first loop wasn't too bad. The website for the race noted lots of shade and while there was that it was still hot. No breeze to speak of and I felt dead by mile three. The course wound around the park and ran by some RVs as well as through some trail and some dirt. There were plenty of water stops and the volunteers were very nice and encouraging. I passed a few people on the run, one in my age group right off the bike. I definitely felt myself slowing down near the end and remembered much to my surprise how great I felt on the bike. Of course, I was still able to cheese for photos. Run Time: 45:34 Final Time: 2:33:33 2nd Place in AG! (Out of 4! LOL!) 58 out of 95 total athletes Final Thoughts: FINALLY! I am very happy with this race. I felt like I needed this one to go smoothly cause I was seriously starting to question myself in this distance. I needed a confidence booster. I needed a race where I didn't finish feeling like I was going to cry or pass out or puke. I also needed a race where Dolly and I felt good and didn't battle each other. The only downside to this race was no medal and no shirt. Had I not placed in my AG I would have left with zilch. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal because I enjoyed this race so much. Starting before 7:30AM was a blessing and it really helped keep the temps down during the ride and run. I'd recommend Moss Park to anyone looking for a small, well-organized race. It would be perfect for a first timer venturing into an Oly. In fact, the woman who won the Gasparilla 1/2 Mary was out there for her first Oly. Of course she came in 3rd over all and is really pretty and nice. How annoying. I kid, I kid. Cay-See kicked major butt as per usual and took 4th in her age group. She is an amazing cyclist and has taught me a lot. Plus she totally points out all the hotties on Le Tour. I am super happy she did this tri with me or I would have been all by my lonesome out there. As always, thanks for reading. I'm off to blog-stalk you all now so I can catch up with your lives. Toodles.
Published in Race Reports

Kevin Neumann is a member of the League of Extraordinary Tri-Geeks.  He has a great sense of humor and is always helpful with training and racing.  When you think all-around Kevin's name should come to mind.  If he isn't going out on 4 hour bike rides, or helping folks with conversions from Blogger to WordPress he is working hard at his part-time job (I say that because triathlon is full-time) and helping his wife Jennifer around the house.  So when I think of defining somebody as all-around this is what I think of. Kevin recently raced the inaugural Grand Rapids Half-Ironman and he did amazing.  His race was spot on and well I will just let him tell you..... ====================

If I had to describe this race in one word. Epic. First off, what do all these pictures havI’m SMILING! Yes, I know that last one of is of my backside (pretty good looking though am I right?), but trust me, there is an absolutely HUGE SMILE on my face. Why? Because I had the race of a lifetime. If you just want the quick review, here it is.  4:58:14 for a whopping 31:07 PR and my first time breaking the 5 hour barrier!  I had a swim PR (31:11), a bike PR (2:32:53) although 1:42 of that was stopped waiting for a train, and a run PR (1:48:48).  The run PR wasn’t my fastest ever half marathon, but the fastest I have logged in a half IM.  I ended up 4 out of 24 in my age group 24 out of 261 overall and could not be more pleased.  It was an absolutely perfect day for a race and I executed my plan perfectly.  My bike was about 10 minutes faster than I planned and my run was about 10 minutes slower, but given the opportunity to do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, if you are still reading, that must mean you want to hear the detailed version.  That, or you want to at least see all the pictures.  It’s going to be a long one because this was the first year for this race and I want to capture as much information about the race in general for the future.  Sit back, grab a cold one, and enjoy.

Pre-Race

The packet pickup and expo was on Saturday with no race day pickup.  Side note: I sort of wonder how the guy who parked next to us on race morning fared as he asked his buddy where he could get his race number.  The same guy was trying to find scissors so he could remove his brand new helmet from the box. Must not have been a boy scout. Any ways, the expo was at a car dealership of all places – one of the sponsors.  Sadly, they were not giving away cars in the swag bags.  It was a pretty small expo with only 3 or 4 vendors, but it was very well organized and totally streamlined.  Like an assembly line, I checked in, got body marked (not a good idea, more later), got my timing chip, got my swag bag, and then got my t-shirt.  Quick and easy.  The volunteers were super friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.  There wasn’t much to see so we left after getting my stuff. Backing up a bit.  As we got out of the car at the expo, I was no more than 20 feet from the car when a guy yells, “Hey, I love your blog!”  I ended up talking to the guy for a bit.  He has apparently been following my blog for a while and recognized me.  If you are out there Randy, it was nice meeting you and I hope you had a great race.  It is so freaking cool to meet someone simply because of this little old blog. After the expo, we went home to relax it bit.  It was bloody hot/humid on Saturday and it was one of those days where we just wanted to sit and do nothing.  Which, in a sense, is perfect for pre-race day.  However, I was really worried that we would have the same weather on Sunday.  We didn’t.  I also had some, ummm… “digestive issues” on Saturday as well.  Not good, another thing I was worried about carrying over to Sunday.  Again, it didn’t.  Thankfully I got it all out of my system (quite literally). I did go on an easy 3 mile run with Jennie and Bailey to loosen up the legs and see how much the heat affected me before dinner. We had a nice light dinner – chicken, pasta salad, salad, and Jennie’s homemade ciabatta bread.  I’ll have to remember this meal because it was great pre-race food.  Digested easily and provided good fuel. Later, as I was sitting on the porch, reading my Kindle (on the 3rd book in the Hunger Games trilogy), and relaxing, my buddy Rob rolled up on his bike.  Rob is another guy I met because of this blog.  He was out downtown for the Festival of the Arts and stopped by on his way home.  It was great to chat with him.  Hopefully we’ll get to do some training together this summer once his class is out for the summer. We ended up hitting the hay shortly after that so I could get a goods nice rest. When we woke up, I saw this:  Yep, that is my body marking.  All over the pillow case.  And all over the sheets as well.  Pre-race body marking – bad idea.  Lesson learned.

Race Morning

I love a local race! I got to sleep in until 5:15 so I really didn’t have to get up any earlier than I do for my morning swims.  I had loaded up my bike and gear the previous evening so all I had to do was get dressed, grab breakfast, and fill up my bottles.  Breakfast was eggs with peppers, cheese, and salsa with toast and jam on the side.  After recently discovering salsa on eggs and now I don’t think I can ever go back.  Life changing.  I know, sort of spicy for a pre-race meal with salsa and peppers, but I’d tried this before my brick workouts and my long bike rides so I knew it worked and doesn’t give me any issues. We headed out at 6:00 as planned and got to the race site at 6:15.  Parking was my biggest concern because there really isn’t any “on site” parking.  All the parking would be a about a mile away.  They did have a gear drop off spot close to transition and a trolley going around to all the parking lots.  We decided to just find a spot, unload, and hoof it.  After loading up my bike with my nutrition and checking my tires one more time, I jumped on my bike and headed over to transition to get setup.  The transition area was LLLLOOONNNNGGGGG.  It was on a two lane road with the reservoir on one side and a ditch on the other so there was only room for one bike rack (for 8 bikes each) on each side of the road and a very narrow path down the middle.  I found my rack quickly.  I love having pre-assigned racks.  Makes race morning so much less stressful.  I was actually the 2nd to last person on my rack and there was still plenty of room.  One weird thing about the racks was that they were very tall.  They were the ones where you hang your bike by the saddle.  Well, they were so tall, that no one’s front time reached the ground when hanging by the saddle so the bikes just kept swaying back and forth. I ended up being racked on the rack over from Becky (friend from high school doing her 2nd Half IM). She ended up with an awesome PR as well.  Congrats Becky!  I think we must have been numbered alphabetically again which always puts us close to each other in races.  I need to start meeting more athletes with M, N, O, and P last names as I will probably keep seeing them over and over.  Better to know ahead of time than to find out after the fact. I got my area setup in record time. I swear it gets easier each time.  Even though it was the first race of the season, it has become automatic as to what I have to do and what goes where.  After I was setup, I got my wetsuit on.  Thankfully the tear in it didn’t get any worse and I think it will survive.  In case you missed it, here is what happened to my wetsuit before last weeks OWS.  The tear is on the right calf.  I bought some Seal Cement to try and repair it but I didn’t want to attempt the repair the day before a race.  My only fear is that because the tear is so large it will get worse and travel up the seam.  I’m hoping that I don’t have to replace it though as it is only one season old.  The lesson learned was to always soak the wetsuit in the tub overnight after having it sit all offseason drying out.  I think it was just super dried out and brittle.  Whoops!  While getting my stuff setup, Jennie and I were getting eaten alive by all the mosquitos.  Note to self: always pack bug spray.  Thankfully, as we headed out of transition to the swim start they had a bunch of sunscreen for anyone to use.  Most of the damage was already done though by that time.

Swim

I was in the first swim wave of the day at 7:15.  The half IM swims started out first with the Olympic and sprint racers after that.  I got in the water and swam about a 100 yards or so just to get used to it.  The water was a perfect 68* – much better than the 60* last weekend.  It was a pretty good sized swim wave – maybe 100 athletes or so.  There was basically two options for starting – either up near the shoreline where you could stand or floating by the dock (it really dropped off about 15yds from the shore so standing wasn’t an option there). I chose to float before the start as that is what I’ll be doingin 96 days. All of a sudden, I heard a guy start counting down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! Wow! That was quick.  I think he caught a lot of people off guard.  Because I chose to start floating, there was almost no contact at the start because only about 25 of us were floating and the rest were behind us standing.  Unfortunately, this was as close as Jennie could get to the start.  Only athletes were allowed along the shore because there wasn’t a lot of room.  I’m out there somewhere though. I had a bit of contact about 200 yards out.  For some reason some guy kept hitting my feet.  Dude, seriously, go around.  I’m not moving over for you.  He didn’t seem to be getting the message so I gave a couple extra kicks to shake him off and that did the trick.  Didn’t want to kick you, but seriously, if you bump into someone, chances are you are going to keep bumping into them until you change your course.

 Absolutely gorgeous venue for a swim.

Overall, the swim went great.  My sighting was dead on.  I was even able to keep my head down for about 5-7 strokes before popping up to sight because each time I looked I was right where I needed to be.  The swim felt long (I don’t think it was) and my arms were burning the entire second half.  I had already decided that I was going to race today and not train so I told myself to suck it up.  After this, my arms get a break so work hard now. Official time: 31:11 (1:28/100yd) (PR) Grade: A+. My “Best” goal was 33:00 and I crushed that.  To be honest, when I did my goals, I originally had my “Best” goal at 32:00 and felt that was too ambitious.  I was wrong.  Absolutely nothing I would change here.

T1

 My transitions were a bit rough today.  Mainly for 2 reasons.  Number one was because it was the first race of the season and number two was that I was pushing so hard the entire time, my head was getting fuzzy.  I made the mistake (again) of putting something in my jersey pocket before getting on the bike.  As I ran out of transition, out popped my Newtons – had to stop and go back to pick them up. Official time: 2:54 Grade: C. Comparatively, my transition time was pretty midrange, but I just felt like it wasn’t very fluid.

Bike

This is where I shined today.  While my swim and run were both great, the bike is where the magic was.  Right out of the gate, I knew it was going to be a good day.  Absolutely NO WIND PERIOD.  Perfect. Time to fly.  I tried to restrain myself at first to avoid going to hard.  I played leapfrog with one guy a couple times.  As I passed him the third time, he said something to the effect of, “Looks like it is going to be a long day of back and forth.”  That is what he thought, but I had other plans.  BOOM I dropped the hammer and dropped him.  I ended up with a moving average of 22.5 mph – almost a full 2mph faster than at Steelhead last year (20.7mph).  On the way out, I kept mentally fighting myself on whether to go or hold back.  I didn’t want to blow up on the bike, but I felt so damn good.  I ended up changing up my nutrition a bit though.  Instead of Gu Chomps every 40 minutes, I switched to every 30 minutes.  Not always a good idea to change things up on race day, but I was listening to my body and my body wanted more because I was working harder than normal.  I supplemented with Gatorade every 15 minutes.  I had my Aerodrink and 2 extra bottles.  I didn’t like having to carry so much but I hate HEED and that (and water) is all they had on the course. Two quick nutrition tips.  #1 If you have an Aerodrink bottle, tape the top closed – I used electrical tape.  I finally have a way to keep Gatorade from splashing all over the place now.  The downside is that you can’t refill it on the go easily.  I may try this guy’s method next time instead to see if it works as well. #2 If you don’t already have a stem bag for your bike, get one.  I bought a Louis Garneau Gel Box sort of on a whim.  I think I needed $5 more to get free shipping and this was only $10.  Best. Purchase. Ever.  It makes carrying/consuming nutrition so easy. Back to the ride.  I ended up hitting the turn around at 1:16:24 and was feeling great.  Because it was a out and back, I could see the return riders.  I didn’t see the first place rider until about mile 27.5 which meant the leaders only had a mile lead on me.  There was about 15 other riders ahead of me as well.  The turn around was a little slow as it was just a U turn on a two lane road but because it wasn’t at all congested it went smoothly. However, shortly after the turn around, I was cranking away when to my left hear the blaring horn of a train.  I look over my shoulder, see the train, look ahead, see the rail road tracks crossing the road. $@%#! You have to be kidding me. I kicked it up a gear, but quickly realized I wasn’t going to make it.  The guy in front of me jumped the rail even though the lights were flashing (no gates, just lights).  No way I would have cut it as close as he did.  Good thing there wasn’t a USAT marshal around.  I wonder if you would get DQ-ed for that; a penalty for sure. I was the first one to the train and 3 others quickly caught up to me.  I lost the most time at 1:42 according to my Garmin but the worst part was completely losing sight of the leaders and having to start back up after stopping.  My legs took a solid 2 miles before they were back to being pre-stop feeling. While we were stopped, one guy jokingly (or so I thought) said that we should just pace-line until we catch the group.  Yeah, turned out he wasn’t joking.  He immediately latched onto a guy’s wheel and continued latching onto wheels for most of the rest of the race.  No one else was up for it and kept our 5 bike lengths between us.  Train or no train, play by the rules.  #909, you are a cheater.  Plain and simple.  He ended up winning my age group which just pisses me off even more. Other than that, the return trip was pretty uneventful.  We caught up to the Olympic bike riders at their turn around so I knew we only had 12 miles to go.  At 2 hours, I was scheduled for 4 more Gu Chomps.  My stomach wanted nothing of it though.  I was full.  That is a first.  Never felt full during a race before.  So, I decided to hold off.  Instead, I waited until about 2:15 and had 2 Chomps and then had the remaining 2 at about 2:25.  It turned out to be a great decision. With 2 miles left on the bike, I eased up on the gearing and soft pedaled in to prep my legs for the run.  This one thing I have been working on during my brick workouts and it seems to really help transition over to the run.  Unfortunately, my cadence sensor got bumped at some point so I was without that the entire ride.  I just had to go by feel.  Despite easing up on the last couple of times, I ended up negative splitting the bike (based on my Garmin data).  1:16:XX on the out and 1:14:XX on the back.  This makes sense because the big hills were on the out.  Even so, with my fear of going out to fast, I am glad I could maintain the pace from start to finish. Official: 2:32:53 (22mph) Garmin: 2:30:43 (Damn train) (22.5mph) – Course measured .6 miles long Grade: A+.  Again, I couldn’t be happier with how this went.  I can’t believe how well my nutrition worked out and that I was able to maintain the pace that I did.  My only regret is not pushing the cheater into the ditch.

T2

 Again, T2 was a bit slower than I would have liked.  First, I switched watches from my Timex stopwatch that I use for swimming to my Garmin 405 for running.  In the picture above, I have one watch in my mouth while I fiddle with the other one.  I ended up tossing the stopwatch to Jennie as I passed by her.  Second, I took some extra time to reapply sunscreen to my neck and shoulders.  Totally worth it.  Others could learn from this – haha. And finally, I had brought a handheld bottle with Gatorade and after deciding I didn’t want it, changed my mind and ran back to grab it.  Glad I took the time to grab it, it was a smart move. Official Time: 2:27 Grade: C.  Another average grade here.  I’m happy with the fact that I did everything I should (sunscreen and water bottle), but wish I could have executed a bit more smoothly.

Run

To say the run was hard would be a gross understatement.  I fought through every mile of the run both physically and mentally.  I actually had a pretty strong start, but as the miles dragged on, I started to suffer. Out of the gate, my first mile clocked in at 7:17.  Yikes. Can’t do that all day, gotta slow down a bit.  I forced myself to slow down and got into the 7:45-8:15 range for the next 5 miles. The course was a double out and back which made it mentally tough to keep going.  Running the same 3-ish miles, 4 times can be very difficult to push through. On a positive note, because of the course layout, there was always people to run with.  On my first loop, I was passing lots of Olympic distance runners so that kept me motivated to keep moving.  Then, on my second loop, there were lots of half IM runners either on their first or second loop. I managed to run the entire first loop of the course which is further than I have run in any previous half IM run leg.  In the past, I have started bonking at 3 or 4 miles.  So, I knew I was in pretty good shape.  I was taking Gatorade ever 1.5-2 miles or so, but after the first loop, I just couldn’t take Gatorade anymore and switched to water from the aid stations.  I started to walk through each of the aid stations while I had my water and then picked up the pace after that. As the miles wore on, the hotter it got.  There was quite a bit of shade on the course, but every time I got to a sunny spot, I just felt zapped.  Temperatures peaked around 82* (yes, Texas, I know that is a “mild” day for you).  The hills didn’t help either.  Man were they brutal.  The one at mile 3.5 and then again at mile 10 was especially brutal because the half IM distance was the only distance that had to run it.  You literally turned a corner, went up the hill, got to the top, turned around a cone, and ran back down.  I am happy to report that I was able to run all he hills expect for the final one at mile 11.  By mile 11, my pace had slowed down to 9:15-ish and I felt like I was moving faster walking up the hill than running. The finish line appeared before quicker than I anticipated.  All of a sudden, we rounded a bend in the road and there it was.  Elation.  I stopped to give Jennie a hug about 50 yards from the finish before making my final sprint.  In true MattyO fashion, I did my best to get the crowd cheering.  Come on people, don’t just stand there, MAKE SOME NOISE! I crossed the finish line pumping my arms with a smile on my face.  So happy. Official Time: 1:48:48 (8:18) Garmin Time: 1:48:39 (8:22) – Course measured .1 mile short. Grade: B.  I was in between my “Better” (1:50) and “Best” (1:40) goals, so I am pleased with the result.  This is also the most I have run during the final leg of a half IM so that is a plus as well.  I still fell apart a bit in the second half losing almost 1min/mile on my pace.  So, as always, room for improvement.

Post Race

 Post race was pretty laid back.  I got my finisher medal and a finisher hat (nice touch) before grabbing some refreshments.  I primarily stuck to fluids and had lots of water and a Mountain Dew – the sugar/caffeine rush was so delightful.  They had subs out and I tried to eat one but it was too dry and I felt like a dog eating peanut butter. My mom, brother, and Nancy all came out to cheer me on again so I got a picture with them before they took off.  And as always, a huge thanks goes out to my lovely wife who not only was my support crew, cheerleader, and photographer, but was also my coordinator of social media at the race and provided updates via Twitter and Facebook throughout the day.  Love you babe! Couldn’t do this without you.  After that, I headed back to cheer for my co-worker David who was running his first half IM.  I saw him a couple times on the run course and he was looking really strong out there.  His goal was 5:45 and he shattered that with a 5:27! Congrats David! Awesome debut!

 Note: If you want to be spotted easily by your fans, wear what David is wearing. I could pick him out of the crowd from a mile away.

After David finished, they started to put up the preliminary results.  I checked them out and was shocked to see this:  Could it be??! 3rd in a my age group!?!? Nope.  It was too good to be true.  For some reason, one guy was left off of the preliminary results and I ended up placing 4th.  I’ll admit that it was much more of a disappointment to get bumped to 4th than to have not podiumed in the first place.  Oh well.  I’ll take 4th any day especially when it comes with a huge PR. After we got home, it was time to relax and rest.  Instead of an ice bath, I filled up a kiddie pool and sat in that for a while.  It was just about as cold as an actual ice bath with water from the hose.  Now, does this scream high class or what?  Overall, it was a great day and a great race.  For a first year, the Grand Rapids Triathlon did an amazing job.  The only “hiccup” I had was the train which was beyond their control.  I talked to one of the race directors afterwards and thanked him for a great race.  He said that they had been checking the train schedules and they really thought they were going to be clear during the race.  Based on theirFacebook page, there were a few other issues that affected other athletes, but for the most part, the reviews are mainly positive.  If you need a great race next, I suggest adding this one to your list.  You won’t be disappointed.  June 10th, 2012.  Be there. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a follow up post (probably tomorrow) with Bailey’s first adventures into swimming :)

Official Results

Total Time: 4:58:14
Overall Place: 24/226
Gender Place: 21/161
Age Group Place: 4/28
Swim Rank: 8
Swim Time: 31:11
T1 Time: 2:54
Bike Rank: 5
Bike Time: 2:32:53 (2:30:43 moving)
Bike Pace: 22mph (22.5mph moving)
T2 Time: 2:27
Run Rank: 11
Run Time: 1:48:48
Run Pace: 8:18

 

Published in Race Reports
Saturday, 11 June 2011 17:00

Ironman Texas Race Report by Jeff Irvin

Many of you know who Jeff is, but if you don't he is the author of Dangle the Carrot, a blog about the life of a triathlete.  It was early on in my blogging life that I met Jeff and I was drawn to his honesty in his abilities and his honesty about life.  He was willing to share the trials and tribulations that he endured while training for Ironman Texas.  I asked questions, I read his posts and picked up little pieces here and there.  He provided great insight and more. The more is that he let a stranger into his house during Ironman Texas, and that stranger was me.  I got to volunteer at the race thanks to Jeff and he also provided room in return for me to watch his and Annie's two Pugs, Bailey and Ernie.  The dogs were great and provided no troubles at all and allowed me to be reminded of my pug Ginga from back at home. One of the best parts of this race was getting to see Jeff come in off the bike with a smile as wide as Texas (#winning.)  He looked to be in great shape after the swim and the bike and heading out on the run, but I'll let him tell the rest of the story: ===========================

Ironman Texas Race Report

Jeff Irvin
Ironman Texas: May 21, 2011
Overall Time:  12:19:51
Overall Place:  584/2165
The Woodlands, TX - 91*F/Freaking Hot
On the first Tuesday of December 2010 I woke up at 4am and went to swim.  This was the first day of training for Ironman Texas.  That day was pretty uneventful as far as workouts go but it was the first step (or stroke) of what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my entire life.  It seem like it was so long ago.
My goal in this post is to share the outcome of this journey with all of you.  However, I must warn it will be long.  Grab a comfy chair, a sandwich, and a cold beer because this sucker is going to make War & Peace look like a short story!
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It has been less than two days since I crossed the finish line and heard Mike Reilly announce, Jeff Irvin You Are An Ironman, and it is still a completely surreal experience.  I have been trying to write this race report since last night and really still have no idea where to even begin?  I guess we will just jump right in from the beginning!
Friday - Practice Swim & Bike Check
The practice swim was scheduled for 8am on Friday morning at Lake Woodlands.  The water temperature was 76 degrees and the talk of the morning was whether the swim would be wetsuit legal or not.  If the temperature was above 76.1 then it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  However, the twist was that you could still wear a wetsuit except you would not be eligible for Age Group awards or a Kona slot  AND you would have to walk over a different timing mat as you entered the swim start.  It was supposed to rain that night so we would not know the temperature until the morning.
The swim practice was awesome because Annie and I got to hang out with my Trakkers Teammates Rachelle and Anne.  And also blogger buddies IronBob,Shannon, and Ryan (White Hot).  A bunch of friends from my Tri Club, BeginnnerTriathlete, and Houston Racing where there and everyone was in a great mood - just a fun time!
"Hey Shannon, do these funky tan lines make my butt look big?"
My good buddy Patrick and I jumped in and did about 800m just to get a feel for the water.  It was a little chilly at first but after 100m or so I was warm and pretty much decided I was going to swim sans wetsuit and use my TYR Torque Swimskin.
League of Extraordinary Tri-Geeks Uniforms?
We then headed to breakfast and then to check our bikes and gear bags in at transition.  This was an extremely smooth and easy process.  From there it was a quick lunch and then time to relax in the hotel room and stay out of the sun and off of the feet.  Bob even texted me to make sure this was occurring - he is always looking out for me!!  Thanks Buddy!
Bike Racked in First Full Row - Rockstar Parking!
A little later Jason arrived and stopped by the hotel.  He was going to be staying at our house which is about 20 minutes from the Woodlands and taking care of our pugs, Ernie and Bailey.  He showed up when I was getting all of my nutrition together so we talked some shop for awhile.  Hell of a good dude!  A big thanks to Jason for making the 4hr drive from Dallas to support and volunteer.  If any of you are considering volunteering at an Ironman please read Jason's post (here) about his experience!
We then headed off to dinner with my buddy Mike and his family and Rob from First Endurance.  You all know how much I love First Endurance nutrition and after meeting Rob I like FE even more.  Really cool guy who loves Endurance sports.  Contact me (or read any of my myriad of posts) about First Endurance if you want to learn about my IM nutrition.
After dinner it was early to bed ...
Saturday - Race Day
.... and early to rise, 3am.  I had a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a bottle of Ultragen.  I then laid back down for a 45m nap and got up again at 4am.  I did some stretching, had some EFS Drink, took some salt tabs and then Annie and I headed down to transition.
We meet up with my buddies Patrick and Bobby:
And then something really bad happened as I was topping of my tires - the stem broke off the tube on my front wheel.  I was a little freaked but Patrick stepped up and grabbed a spare tube from my hands and changed it for me.
Personal Bike Mechanic Patrick!
He got the tube changed at NASCAR pit crew pace and I slapped on the adapter and BOOM!!!  This one exploded so loud that people were ducking for cover - Pinch Flat! The first thought that came to my head was, Oh Shit!  The second thought was that I only had one tube left on my bike and would have to ride with out a spare.  Then I remembered I had two spare tubes in my special needs bag which had yet to be turned in - whew!  Disaster averted!  Take away - bring extra tubes!!!  Second tube went on without incident and Bobby keep the mood light by showing us his new haircut:
We then all made the mile walk over to the swim start and met up with our tri club and just tried to stay loose and have some fun:
Chris, Me, Patrick, Bobby, Mike, Demi & Jama
Chris was having a lot more fun then the rest of us:
Then it was time for body marking:
We all hung out for about a half hour and discussed our swim start plans.  It was then announced that the water temperature was 79 degrees and it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  Patrick and I had talked about this scenario and we decided to not wear the wetsuits.  My guess is about 400-500 people elected to wear wetsuits.  In hindsight our decision was probably not the correct one.
The Swim
I positioned myself about half way out and right in the middle.  I originally wanted to stay to the right with Bob but I got in the water early and all the other people coming in carried me to the middle.  I looked over at my friend Jama, who was right next to me, and we talked about how this was going to hurt.
Picture 2400 people in an area that can hold about 400 and you are envisioning the swim start.  With a couple minutes to go you hear Ozzy Osborne screaming I -AM -IRONMAN over the ridiculously loud PA system and I am grinning ear-to-ear thinking, This is F**cking Incredible!
7:00 AM - BOOM!!!
UTTER CHAOS!
As you can see from the pictures above the swim start was absolutely insane.  It was pretty much like this for the first 1000m or so.  People were climbing over you, you were climbing over people - I never had a chance in 2.4mi to every really find a rhythm.  The only way I can describe what occurred in the water is to flash back to the days of WWF Steal Cage Matches - it was like this except with 2400 swimmers all just trying to survive.  The first and second turn buoys were like large traffic stops except no one wanted to stop!
After the second turn buoy we began to head back north towards the canals and the contact wasn't as bad but still not good.  It was like this until we hit the narrow canal and then it got much worse:
The Woodlands Canal - Saturday, May 21st!
The canal was nothing short of violent (but it was cool because spectators were cheering all over the place).  My swim time put me squarely in the middle of the pack and the bruises on my body prove just how congested this part was of the swim.  It was one of the worst and most awesome experiences all at the same time.  The good news was that I got out of the water feeling great and ready to ride.  My time was about 5 minutes longer than what I expected but I never expected this much contact so I was overall pleased with the performance.
I wanted to kiss the ground!
Wouldn't have been smiling like this if I knew about the swim cap crease across my head!
Swim Recap - If I had to do this over again I would have worn my wetsuit.  The temp was still cool enough (79 degrees) that I would not have overheated and the time savings a wetsuit provides would have allowed me to get ahead of the middle instead of being caught up in it.   I also would have started at the front and to the right in my wetsuit and sprinted for about 500m.  This would have allowed me to get out in front and find a rhythm that I was unable to utilize.  Another reason we did not use a wetsuit is because we were told that the people who used one would not be in the AG rankings and thus be listed in a separate ranking.  This was not the case as wetsuit swimmers were ranked right along with everyone else.  Those who choose the wetsuits made the right decision.  The lesson from this is that if you can use a wetsuit do it!  Also, it would have given me some extra padding to absorb some of the beating (-:
Swim Total:  1:25:57
Transition #1
This was extremely well organized and the volunteers were great.  We got out of the water and had a long snaking walk towards the changing tents where we grabbed our bike gear bags.  I found my bag and proceeded to sit down in front of the tent since I was not changing clothes.  The TYR Torque came off easy and I dried my feet and head.  I went to put on my GPS tracking device which was attached to a race belt with my number and it was loose.  For some reason I decided this would be a good time to adjust the belt and it came undone.  I fiddled with it for a little bit and eventually said screw it and just tied a knot around my waist.  Wasted so much time.
I then decided to use the porto to take a pee.  There was a line so this cost me a few minutes.  I did not care because I really had to go.  After the quality pee I grabbed my bike and navigated to the bike out location.  This was hard work as my bike was in the first rack at the back.  It was easy to find but I had the longest distance to the mount line out of any other racer.
T1 Time: 10:06
The Bike
Awesome Pic!
I stayed in the small ring and spun at about 100rpm's for the first 5 mi.  My legs were feeling great and I was extremely optimistic that I would be able to hit my bike goal of 6h 03m and a 18.5 mph/avg.  That is what I trained for and knew by holding back at this speed that my legs would not be cooked and I could get through the upcoming marathon in great shape.
The plan was to hold a 20mph avg for the first 56 miles and then take it easy as the headwind would be strong for the last 56 miles and would require some suffering.  This plan was going well until Mile 11 at the 1488 intersection when a police officer decided to halt bike traffic and make us all stop so that cars could pass.  I looked at my watch and by the time he let us go 4.5 minutes had passed.  My average speed went from 20.2 to 18.2 mph when I looked at my garmin again a couple of miles later.  Needless to say people were ticked off! Personally I did not really care, stuff happens and I can only control my attitude at this point so no big deal.
The first 55 miles were pretty uneventful.  We went through the hills of the national forest and across a couple of bumpy chip sealed areas but I had ridden the course many times so it felt like another Sunday long ride to me - just a bit slower.  At mile 56 I was at my goal pace of 20mph and stopped to grab some more EFS Drink at special needs.
It was around mile 60 that my stomach began to really hurt.  I was afraid that I had screwed up my nutrition  but going back over everything I was spot on?  By mile 65 I could no longer stay in aero because of the stomach pain.  It was here I decided I was going to stop at the mile 70 bottle hand up and use the porto.
Well, this was probably the best decision I made all day.  I hit the porto and just unloaded - it was awesome.  According to my watch it cost me 5 minutes (had some TP difficulties) by the time I mounted the bike again but it probably saved my race.  It was not a nutrition problem it was just a I had to really GO problem!
At about mile 75 or so I got held up by police again for 2 minutes at the 105 intersection.  This time I was more frustrated because it took a little longer to get the legs going again after the stop.  These stops should not happen on an Ironman.  Since this is a first year race and bugs are to be expected I will not make a big deal out of it but traffic stops cost me over 7 minutes on the bike - hopefully they work this out for next year.
About mile 80 we hit some headwind but it was nothing compared to some of the days we had training on the course.  I was able to find a nice pace and spin my way into the bike finish.  The crowds cheering us on heading back to the Woodlands were spectacular.
Annie and our friends were waiting at Bike-In and I was happy to see them!
Bike Recap - I hit my time goal right on the nose. I could have easily done this ride 20-25 min faster but it would have resulted in an extra hour plus on the run - my mantra was to not cook myself on the bike - mission accomplished!  Aside from the police stops and the bathroom interruption the bike was perfect.  This is just an excellent course and I feel so blessed to have the option of riding here on my weekends.  It was an honor to share my roads with all the out-of-towners and to hear how much they all loved it.   The weather was hot and humid but was mostly overcast with a couple of sprinkles during most of the ride.
Bike Time:  6:01:17
Transition #2
I walked the length of transition with my friend Scott recapping the joys of my ride.  It was great to see him, Jason, Steve, and Dave volunteering at T2.  It is amazing how a pat on the back from some good friends can lift your spirits!
I had to hit the porto for another pee before entering the changing tent.  When I was in there I realized how damn hot it was. It had sprinkled some on the bike and the humidity had come on strong and the sun was out now.  I was sweating profusely and decided I was going to change pants and socks in the tent.  Others all had the same thought as the male nudity level was at an uncomfortable level.
Once again the volunteer in the tent was spectacular.  Opened my bag and handed me everything and made sure I was alright - just a wonderful experience.
I filled up my handheld water bottle and decided to go take another pee - would rather have a longer T2 time than add the pee break to my marathon time.
T2 Time:  11:19
The Run
You will all undoubtedly read other race reports that describe the run at Ironman Texas using words like Carnage, Brutal or even Hell-like.  Well, these words would all be pretty accurate descriptions of what occurred on this hot and humid Saturday afternoon.
My goal for the marathon was to finish between 4-5 hrs based upon how hot it was going to be on the course.  When I took my first step out of transition and began to slowly jog I knew right away that some pain and suffering were in store for me in the near future.  I immediately cleared these negative thoughts from my head and started to smile.  As the pictures will show I kept this smile for the next 26.2 miles.  I cannot control the weather but I can control my attitude.
Luckily for me the incredible spectator and volunteer support made keeping the corners of my lips turned upwards very easy.  The marathon course is three 8.5ish mi loops.  It takes you along the plush neighborhoods and up and down the canals that are lined with restaurants and bars.  It has a rural section and an urban section seemingly steps apart.  You really could not ask for a better venue to do a 26.2 mile death march under the unrelenting Texas sun.
Loop #1 started and I was feeling very good.  The plan was to take it easy on this loop and to utilize walk breaks through the water stations.  Around .75mi in I began to feel both of my quads begin to tighten up.  I have learned through previous race experiences that when this happens to me I need to stop running and walk the quad cramps out for a few hundred yards.  This worked to perfection and that was the last of any type of cramps for the rest of the day.
About 5mi in I was feeling awesome and was holding a decent pace running along the canal.  I knew Annie and all my friends were going to be waiting within the next mile and I could not wait to see them.  Here I am at about mile 6:
Still feeling strong!
It was shortly after this picture that I ran under the bridge and I saw Annie and the Kingwood Tri Club cheering like a bunch of crazy people.  It was so Awesome!  I actually got a little emotional when I saw all of them and am thankful I was wearing sunglasses so my man-card is still intact.
Here are some shots of all my awesome crew of supporters:
Ruth Ann, Elizabeth, and Jim taking in some hydration.
Chris, Patrick, and Annie showing how darn hard spectating can be!
Ruth Ann and Patrick helping Chris decide which hand is optimal for consuming beer!
The guys at the KTC tent swapping digits
Big Smiles from the Ladies!
The gals taking a cheering break!
Around mile 15 the suffering really began to set in.  This was the first time in the entire race when I experienced negative thoughts and really wanted the run to be over.  Other runners were in really bad shape.  People were vomiting and cramping all over the place. I quit talking to other runners because they were all in bad shape and I didn't want to catch the negative vibes.  I felt like I was the only person still running at this point.   However, these thoughts were very short lived because around mile 16 at the water station I experience the greatest thing ever - chicken broth!  Wow, is all I can say!  I told Annie this stuff was the elixir of life at some point during the race.  I got a second wind and from there I negative split the rest of the race.
By the time I was around mile 20 I was in a zone and just kept on moving.  I hit the canal again and got a final boost from seeing everyone:
Suck it up ButterCup!
Ruth Ann's sign says, "Jeff Irvin:  From Fatass to Badass" -  love this shot!
The last 4 or so miles were pretty darn painful.  My feet were on fire and I ran into Trakkers Teammate Anne Moore and we ran together for a little while.  We pushed each other to keep on moving and I will be forever thankful to Anne for keeping me focused.
Around mile 24 I decided it was time to finish this damn thing off in style and pushed a sub -8min pace only slowing down to toss some ice water on my head at the last two water stops.  I finished off those last two miles with a combined 8:30/mi split and am probably more proud of this than any other thing I did that day.  It hurt and it hurt bad but I just keep thinking of all the hours of training and all the people who were pulling for me and I dug deep and tuned out the considerable pain.
Here are the finisher chute pics:
Almost There
A couple more steps ...
Jeff Irvin, You are an IRONMAN!
Once I passed  under the finish two extremely nice volunteers walked me around and got me some water and made sure I was okay.  I saw quite a few folks being pushed away in wheelchairs and began to feel very fortunate that I was still upright and feeling rather well.  I made it to the end of the shoot and immediately saw Annie and she had tears streaming down her face.  Seeing her at this point was an even better feeling then crossing that line.
My friends were right behind Annie and they all set me down on a big fountain:
At this point all I wanted to do was take my damn shoes and socks off!  My feet were pretty much ripped to hell but I once the shoes came off everything felt good.  Then I was given my favorite things in the world - COOKIES:
Thanks Katy these were AWESOME!!!
COOKIES!
My IronCrew!
Run Recap - The last 10mi of this run was probably one the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My legs were trained but the heat was draining.  Most people would probably think a 3-loop course would mentally be tough to handle, not me.  I loved this run course and I loved the support from the crowd.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of and I will volunteer for IMTX every single year from here on out - that is if I am not racing (-:
Run Time: 4:31:14
Summary of Ironman Texas - This race was held in my backyard.  I live literally 18mi from the start of the course. When I originally heard that the race would be held in The Woodlands I was excited because this is such a great place and has a huge endurance community.  I was skeptical as to how the non-Endurance residence of The Woodlands would support this race since it would significantly screw up traffic and parking in their town.
Well, my skepticism was completely off base because they stepped up and completely blew away all expectations.  I spoke with many an Ironman vet after the race and they were all just blown away by the spectators and volunteers.  Every single one said it was the best experience they have ever had in terms of crowd involvement.  The Woodlands receives a huge "A+" for the effort!
The swim was tight, the bike was beautiful, and the run was electric.  The heat made this one of the toughest Ironman courses on record (Click here for proof) but in hindsight I am glad it was hard because I trained hard and it made the experience that much more rewarding.
If you are thinking about doing an Ironman in the future and are not afraid of a little heat then I would highly recommend you consider Ironman Texas.
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I hope you enjoyed my race report.  I might be more exhausted from writing this than actually doing the race (not really).
I want to thank my friends who haven't seen much of me in the last six months.  Thank you for being there:  Ruth Ann and Patrick, Elizabeth and Jim, Annie and Chris, Dave and Jen, Yvette, Steve, and Trey.  I also want to thank my training partners: Dave, Patrick, Mike, Katy, Bobby, Chris, Steve, Bob and Frank. My cousin Bonnie and Rick for driving in from Austin to cheer and all the members of KTC that came out to support, especially Tina and Scott for setting everything up.  Also a big thanks to all the members of the LifeTime Fitness Run Club.
Also a huge thank you to all of my blogger and twitter friends.  When I was out there on the course I thought about many of you time and time again.  When I finished the race and saw the hundreds of comments on Twitter I was absolutely blown away by you guys. Almost lost my man card again! Very touching, thank you all so much!
It is a very good feeling knowing you have such great people in your life,  Thank you all!
I want to save the most import thank you for last - my wife Annie. She was my biggest supporter from day one and even kicked my butt every now and again when I didn't want to train.  She was 100% on-board  with this crazy dream and it never could have been done without her.  We discussed the time commitment that was going to be involved with my training and she never complained, not once. When I was waking up early and going to bed even earlier she was there to encourage me and never made me feel guilty about leaving her with house work and chores as I went on 7hr bike rides.  She was my rock and she deserves all the credit for getting me to the starting line.  I love you Annie, you are the best!
Best Shot of the Day!
 
Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 13:58

CapTexTri Race Report

Before I break down the segments of the race I want to first say Thank You to all of you for your well wishes leading up to race day, then during race day and all the congratulations after the race.  It means so much and truly helps to know that you are all there to support me. My biggest thanks goes to my wife, Karen, for her never ending support and selflessness to allow me to lead this lifestyle that finds me awake at 3am and training and then away for a few days to race.  She is always encouraging me and even suggests destinations for train-cations.  Her support is incredible and I can only hope to give her back one half of what she gives me.   Thank you for reading my race report. ============================ The CapTexTri took place on Memorial Day which was a Monday.  This alone caused me to be anxious.  I had a rest day on Saturday and I was so jealous of everybody on Twitter saying they were going to go out for a training ride/run or racing.  I finally decided to take a nap to just try and kill the time of the day. When Sunday rolled around I was out the door to do a 30 minute ride and a a 15 minute run to get the legs warmed up then it was in the car for 4 hours down to Austin. I made great time down there and was at the Expo around 1pm.  This expo was so much better than the expo at 70.3 Ironman California.  There were local bicycle shops and the usual suspect as well.  It was great and I was fortunate to run into Coach while there. We started chatting about everything regarding the race.  Temperatures of the water for the swim as well as the temperatures during the ride and run.  We discussed not using the aero helmet because of the temps and that it would not help me much because it was a loop course.  The temperatures were going to be in the mid-90s so we discussed salt tabs and electrolytes and how to get them in me.  The last thing we talked about were the scabs that I had on my shoulders from the new tri-suit.  Solution was Tri-Slide. As I walked around the Expo I found some salt capsules as well as Tri-Slide and so there was no need to go to the local bike shop for these items.  Before I left the expo I met with Tri-Clips.  Neil and Amanda are amazing people who just raced IMTX and did great.  I said goodbye and went to Hooters.  Yes, I did and I had more water than the waitress wanted to pour.  I also ordered fried pickles figuring the pickles would have enough sodium to help me retain the water I was consuming. I drove to my friend Robert's place which is about 15 minutes away.  I met up with his girlfriend and chatted for a bit then she and her mother were off.  I sat on the couch for almost two hours before realizing I needed to eat.  I also needed to find some coffee.  Robert's girlfriend had told me about Target around the corner and so I decided a nut butter and jelly sandwich would do while I would also get coffee, snack bags (more on this later), and bottled water. As I turned into the parking lot I saw Freebirds.  Freebirds is similar to Chipotle in that you go down the line and order your fillings for the burrito.  I ordered a veggie burrito that wound up being HUGE.  Took my belongings and headed back to the apartment.  I ate my burrito, took two salt capsules and drank what amounted to almost 2 liters of water. RACE DAY [caption id="attachment_2373" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Greatest Idea for Body Marking. Temporary Tattoos"][/caption] Up at 3:30am and ready to rock and roll.  I ate a bowl of granola with a banana and peanut M&Ms in it.  Had a cup of Via coffee and 320z of water.  I packed two slices of bread and an extra GU to put into water before the race. On the way to the transition area all of downtown Austin seemed closed and I had no clue how to get to the bike area.  I was freaking out and going around in circles when I finally stopped by the workers who were putting up the cones.  They gave me some directions and off I was.  I got to transition just as it opened and got myself body marked and then took my bike to be looked at.  The right brake needed some tightening and then it was time to set up the transition area. Bike was still there and that made me happy.  Loaded up speedfil and routed my tube.  Cycling shoes out.  Running shoes out. Visor, sunglasses, helmet, wetsuit all out.  Started the SpeedFil sucking and it took forever to get the liquid into the tube but it finally got there.  Now what do I do for the next 1.5 hours.  Time to start freaking out about this.  Two trips to the bathroom, eat the bread, drink the liquified GU. I met with my buddy Eric on the dock and watched all the swimmer get going. We were in two of the last groups.  Finally I put my wetsuit on and jumped in the water.  I had to go to the bathroom otherwise I would have kept the wetsuit off until just the moment we were being corralled. Finally our wave was called and it was showtime. SWIM After watching wave after wave after wave I decided my plan would be to start on the left and slowly make my way to the right.  This swim course was clockwise and so all the turns were to the right.  This is not good for me as I breathe to my left and thus need to be pinpoint accurate with my sighting.  While treading water I noticed the satellite blinking and this got me worried and I hit the start button about 30 seconds too soon.  This freaked me out and I can't figure out why.  The gun went off and so did I. My plan worked out very well as there was nobody near me but I could feel my heart rate accelerate right away.  It was a result of the start more than my nerves.  I started swimming and holding a strong line.  I did not get swam over but had no clue if I was passing anybody either since they were all to my right and I look left.  After about 100-150 meters I looked up and caught sight of the first buoy.  Perfect sighting.  I then just tucked my chin and about every 10 strokes looked up and my line was perfect. Make the right turn at that buoy and the heart rate had finally settled down and I could feel myself get into a rhythm.  At this point I started thinking about writing this race report.  Now the second right turn and you are headed down the longest straight swim I think I have ever been involved in.  I used the building along the shore as my sight lines since there were not intermediate buoys big enough to find.  All the sudden I was passing pink caps, blue caps and a white cap as well.  I was feeling strong and holding a strong line and pace. Right about the time I spotted the 3rd yellow buoy the green caps from the wave behind me caught me.  I would normally have been upset but I thought to myself that these guys were going to swim 26-27 minutes and if I held with them I would finish in 30-31 minutes since they started 4 minutes behind me.  We made the 3rd right turn and the 4th buoy comes up quick.  Made that turn and it was the home stretch. I miscalculated the distance for the finish and started my final kick a little too soon.  I revved it up and felt like I was gliding in the water.  Chin tucked in close to my chest and had my body as if I were swimming over a barrel.  I felt like my form was perfect and my line was great.  At this point I am catching a lot of previous waves and make the only left turn on the course.  The swim finish is right there and there are volunteers pulling you out of the water.  Love those volunteers.
  • Goal Time: 30 minutes
  • Actual Time:  31 minutes 40 seconds
  • Previous Olympic Best:  37 minutes 33 seconds
I give myself an A on the swim, especially with the 6 minute improvement from October.  I do think I could have gone harder down the current but held back a tad so that I would have something for the bike and the run. Transition 1 [caption id="attachment_2370" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Yellow Transition Mat that comes in handy in T2"][/caption] I stumbled coming out of the water even with the aid of a volunteer as the ramp was slippery.  Once on dry land you run through grass and what is now 'mud' due to the fact that we were one of the last waves.  Out of the blue there is a wall of volunteers yelling 'wetsuit stripping' and I had no clue what to do as I never had a wetsuit stripper.  I saw the girl throw herself on the floor and lift her legs like giving birth and I followed.  My wetsuit stripper was awesome as with one tug it was not only off me but not folded at all.  I started running and he threw it to me.  I caught it like a wide receiver and turned to go up a step to climb a wall and into transition.  Found my bike, got my gear on including my shoes. The night before I had a Twitter conversation with @LCCotter about barefoot or not.  The issues is that the transition was a sandy area with rocks and I was concerned about stepping on a rock.  I tossed my cycling shoes on and ran with my bike through this sand and mud.  As I got toward the end I thought the mount line would be there and I was gearing to ride.  The mount line was not there and you had to make a right turn and run up a hill before you got anywhere near the mount line.  I would say in all my run from bike rack to mount line was about 0.25 miles through sand and up a hill. This lead to a much longer transition time than I thought I would have.  I would say that my transition time was average based on the Top 50 finishers in the M25-39 age group.  Some went as low as 2:30 but some as high as 5:00.  I was out of T1 in 3:12. Bike The bike is a CRIT or criterium and is a bike race held on a short course (usually less than 5 km), often run on closed-off city center streets.  The bike to my knowledge was 3 laps but then coach mentioned it was 4.  I blame myself for not knowing this because I chose to not read the athletes guide carefully.  I was lucky enough that after lap 1 a young lady answered my question of how many laps we were doing. This course is 6 turns and 3 hairpins.  So in total you are doing 24 turns and 12 hairpins.  Here is a description of the course.  Long gradual uphill then turn right to a steeper climb, but much shorter.  This leads to a left turn and a downhill that finishes with a hairpin.  After the hairpin you climb back up that hill to then turn right.  You get a quick downhill that leads to a left turn.  You get the opportunity to go downhill but with the winds howling between the buildings it was hard to hold a line and took a lot of strength to stay upright with the gusts.  This leads to a quick right hand turn and a longer straightaway that ends with an uphill climb and a hairpin over a wooden ramp covered with a mat (real safe!)  You go back down hill then turn right and get a little break before doing a hairpin and starting all over again another 3 times. I felt strong on the bike the entire ride with my legs not getting fatigued, not even on the short climbs.  I didn't push incredibly hard because I wanted to save my legs for the run where I wanted to drop sub-8s.  The key to this ride was going to be getting electrolytes and staying hydrated.  During the first lap I spent the entire time with my mouth on the tube of my SpeedFil trying to get liquid to no avail.  I started panicking about getting hydration in.  I was not concerned with nutrition as I could chew the fig bar and the PowerBar I had in my bento box.  The issue was getting those salt capsules down.  After almost 20 minutes the first bit of liquid came through and I thought I was going to be find as once it is in the tube it stays. Getting through the second lap and time to drink and no liquid.  I messed with it for a bit but finally gave up.  I fortunately had a water bottle in my seat cage and drank from that as well as squirted water on my head to try and stay cool.  Throughout the ride I was passed as often as I passed but again I felt strong in my legs and not overly fatigued. [caption id="attachment_2369" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Buildings I used to Sight During The Swim"][/caption] On one section of the third lap as I was passing a young lady the wind gust came and blew both of us to the right a good 3 feet.  As if we were in a synchronized acting show we both yelled 'oh sh*t' but quickly recovered to stay upright.  Well this wind literally scared the piss out of me.  It was no more than 3 minutes later that the Golden Warrior showed up.  I looked behind me left and right and nobody was there so I let the stream go and it felt great.  My stomach was so bloated from trying to get liquids in me the night before, before the start and during the ride that I probably lost 10 lbs from this pee on the bike. During the last long stretch on loop 4 I started going a little harder as I was tired of going in circles and was passing people left and right when this streak blew past me.  Talk about a large helping of humble pie as I was starting to feel great.  I look up and it is no other than Coach zooming past me.  For a fleeting moment I thought to myself to try and keep up with her but then thought better of it.  She is not only an Ironman and Kona qualifier but her legs were fresh as she was the bike leg of a relay team and I wanted to kill the run. After getting toward the dismount line I unstrapped my shoes and got my feet out ready for a good dismount and strong run through the sand in T2.
  • Goal Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Actual Time:  1 hour 19 minutes 58 seconds
  • Previous Olympic Best:  1 hour 18 minutes 16 seconds
I give myself a B on the bike because while held to my game plan and hit my goal I think I could have gone harder and saved some time especially after seeing my run time. Transition 2 After dismounting I started running toward what seemed like the Olympic distance transition area when the volunteers were not so clear.  It was like they were whispering secrets in class and I could not tell so I had to come to a complete stop to ask.  They said which way to go and off I was to run toward my rack. Flustered by the entrance to the transition area I lost count of the bike racks and went past mine by one and then felt lost when it wasn't there.  I have a bright yellow mat and it took me about 20 seconds to find my bearings and where I was.  Spotted my mat and had to run around the rack to mount the bike.  Running shoes and visor on.  Flask with two GUs out of the cooler and onto the run.  It was at this point that I saw Coach and she just yelled for me to GO GO GO and high fived me. This transition was faster than T1 since my rack was out by the run out and saved me some time in that there was no running to a mount line to worry about. Run The first 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile was used to get my feet under me and to figure out if my plan to not hammer the bike would work.  The run is a two loop course so I also wanted to get to know my bearings and where the hills would be, where I could push, where I had to conserve and where the water aid stations were.  I had no plans to grab water to drink but needed it to pour over my head. The first mile has a hairpin turn with not a lot of room so you had to be careful and not trip over the cone or other racers.  Once I passed that cone I started to feel my legs and start running.  You get to a point where you climb up a bridge and I thought to myself 'they said this was a totally flat run.'  I will say the climb up the bridge was not a big deal but you need to pump your arms to not lose your pace. Once over the bridge the spectators pick up and are yelling and screaming and it truly helps.  It was at this point  that I knew I could negative split the run as my legs were feeling great and I was taking one to two cups of water at every other aid station and pouring it over my head.  I also planned on taking in my liquified GU every 1.5 miles. Coming down the stretch of the first loop I heard my friends cheering for me and it was a huge boost and it was time to drop the hammer and go hard.  I knew I only had three miles to run and knew that I could run a 24 minute 5k at this point to put me in position to hit my goal time.  I started picking off 35-39 year old racers, whether they were doing the Olympic, Sprint or Relay.  I did not care as I use the age as bait for me to catch.  I become like a bull seeing red when I see those ages in my group. [caption id="attachment_2366" align="alignright" width="300" caption="How I Fueled On The Bike"][/caption] At one point there was a woman walking and as I neared her she started running.  I told her way to go 1307 keep it up only two loops to go.  She yelled back if I was running like you it would not be a problem.  This is where you do the hairpin turn on the run and I saw her again.  I again encouraged her and said 'Hey 1307....you are closer to the finish than you were 3 minutes ago.'  I heard her laugh and I knew she was smiling. I began to run even harder and told myself to not look at my watch as I didn't want to know pace.  Had I known pace I would either have been disappointed that I wasn't running faster than I thought I was or would have let up because I was going faster than I wanted.  I chose to ignore my watch and then focus on my bladder which was asking to be relieved again.  As I started the climb over the bridge I began to do multiplication tables in my head and the flow just opened up and again I felt such relief and what seemed like weight loss that my pace picked up again. Coming down the home stretch I heard Robert yelling and telling me to keep pushing that I was right on goal time.  I had no let up and when I crossed the finish line I just about collapsed and the only thing keeping me from falling down were my hands on my knees.  I was panting and breathing heavy.
  • Goal Time: 50 minutes
  • Actual Time:  48 minutes 26 seconds
  • Previous Olympic Best:  53 minutes 23 seconds
I give myself an A on the run.  I really stuck to my plan of negative splitting and while I pushed at the end I do think that there are faster times ahead of me in the Olympic Distance 10k run.  I will not rule out a 45 minute 10K at the end of an Olympic Distance Triathlon. Overall I had the tale of two feelings on this race.  I hit a 2:45:25 time which is an 8 minute PR compared to October, but the number that hit me the hardest at the time was 38th out of 45.  How in the world could I work so hard and yet finish 38th in my age group.  I can say I was very close to tears about this.  I held back until I saw my coach and told her that while the 2:45 was great the fact that all that hard worked paid off in being very close to last place in my age group was greatly disappointing. [caption id="attachment_2367" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="How I Refueled After The Race"][/caption] She looked me dead in the eye and told me to not worry about other racers.  I had an 8 minute PR and that I had a tremendous improvement in the water which was how I became to know her as Coach since that was my worst discipline and one I have really worked hard at.  She also told me that if I held my time from October in Rockwall that my bike fitness was surely improved because this was a harder course with a ton of turns in comparison.  She made me feel great and solidified my reason for having her as my coach. I called Karen and she too talked me off the ledge as I was so disappointed in my age group result.  I went through a tough drive home as it was so touchy in terms of traffic that I had hours and hours to dissect my race and figure out where to improve.  It was during this time that I got to speak with my buddy Juan and he told me that my finish was 48th out of was seems to be 193 racers who started the race.  This would put me directly in the Top 25% of my age group.  I felt so much better after that and can now focus on my lessons learned, which will be a post for Friday as I have all week to digest this race and figure out where I believe I can improve.
  • Goal Time: 2 hours 43 minutes
  • Actual Time:  2 hours 45 minutes 25 seconds
  • Previous Olympic Best:  2 hours 53  minutes 10 second
 
        Goal:     Actual     US Open  
Swim (1500 Meters):       0:30:00 2:00/100 meters   0:31:40 2:06/100meters   0:37:33 2:30/100meters
T1:       0:02:00     0:03:12     0:02:39  
Bike (40K):       1:20:00 18.6 mph   1:19:58 18.6 mph   1:18:16 19.0 mph
T2:       0:01:30     0:02:11     0:01:20  
Run (10K):       0:50:00 8:02/mile   0:48:26 7:48/mile   0:53:23 8:35/mile
Total:       2:43:30     2:45:25     2:53:10  
I give myself an A- overall.  Swim and Run were great, but the bike can improve as can my knowledge of the hydration necessary for racing in a CRIT.  Also learning to race in 95* temperatures will help. ============================ Thank you for taking the time to read my race report.  It is truly appreciated and all your well wishes were happily received.        
Published in Race Reports
I am reposting this race recap because tomorrow I will be racing the olympic distance again.  This time the race is in Austin and on a Monday.  It has been an odd weekend because the race is on Monday.  I had Saturday off as a rest day, instead of Friday, and to say I was not a happy camper is an under-statement.  I even took a nap to try to kill time.  I was on Twitter and seeing all these posts about racing and training and there I was a big bump on a log. This morning I got to go for a 30 minute ride and a 15 minute run.  Both had pick-ups in them and they made me feel human again.  After that quick workout it was breakfast time and I ate my heart out.  From there it was a 4 hour drive to Austin where I went over everything from the US Open Triathlon and how it was going to be different at the CapTexTri. I have goals and then I have stretch goals.  My goals I will share with you since it is 5:45pm and the race is in just over 13 hours away so I won't have the time nor the patience to think and re-think about them. Here are my goals and the comparison to the US Open Championships back in October 2010:  
        Goal:         US Open
Swim (1500 Meters):       0:30:00         0:37:33
T1:       0:02:00         0:02:39
Bike (40K):       1:20:00         1:18:16
T2:       0:01:30         0:01:20
Run (10K):       0:50:00         0:53:23
Total:       2:43:30         2:53:10
==============================
WARM-UP Phone alarm goes off at 3:25 and I’m expecting the wake up call at 3:30a…..nothing.  Nothing at 4, 4:30 and I was out the door by 5am…..thank goodness for my blackberry with alarm clock. Headed down to the transition area to get marked and prepare my transition area.  Had a clean setup and went through the process in my head and practiced the routine.  I was ready to roll from that perspective. Robert showed up and we did the same run I had done on Saturday.  20 minute warm-up run.  After applying tri-slide, I headed down to the dock to get a swim warm-up in.  In the water for about 5 minutes then waiting around and getting cold.  The wind picked up and the temps dropped.  Finally it was our time to shine.

SWIM

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="206" caption="The Swim Finish and ain’t she a beauty!!!!!"][/caption]   Dropped in the water and no issues with the goggles.  Let’s get swimming.  My goal was 35 minutes. I was swimming and every now and again I would hit a foot or get hit, but nothing horrible.  I was actually passing people as well but then…..a leak in my goggle.  I tried to swim through it at first and but eventually the water became a bother and I fixed it.  Get on going and swam buoy to buoy.  Feeling great and the buoys were going by quickly. Left turn and the chop hit.  The cross-current swim was choppy and I swallowed some of the scan0003water but kept going.  Buoy to buoy.  Did they forget to put some buoys in the water?  My spotting was right on and I felt really good.  Got to to the last buoy and turned left again…..it was on now. I spotted the finish line and just kept on swimming.  Passing other athletes and not getting passed. Go to the finish and ran out of the water and passed two more people on that part…..hey it all counts. I looked at my watch and I forgot to start it so I have no clue how fast/slow I was….oh well.  Run about .25 miles to the transition area….yes a 1/4 mile run UPHILL barefoot and wet.  Got in transition and away we go.

BIKE

First portion of the bike ride is straight up hill but turns left and flat to a downhill then back uphill…..do you get the picture of this course? Up and down, up and down. I felt great and was really going.  One thing I never want to be is below 13mph on the uphill so I do whatever it takes to get me to that point if not faster then that. Of course at one hill the number was below 10 and while I don’t know what the speed was I do know it was below 10 because it was the only number on the cadence……a STEEP hill.scan0002 Once I got past that I was ready to roll.  I just kept looking for riders with a number of 35-39 on their calf.  Those are the guys in my age group and if I pass them here they won’t pass me on the run so I’m picking people off left and right and feeling strong. A couple of people passed me with numbers above 39….good or bad I’m not sure but as long as those guys had disc wheels I didn’t count them.  It is all psychological you know. Then I got passed by one woman who had a 50 on her calf but again she blew by me and so I said…..well she is elite and doesn’t count (remember psychological!) Right around mile 20 the bladder was full….what do I do?  Do I just pee here right now?  Wait until I get to the rack and pee before the run.  Take my mind off it?  I went with the latter and just kept on peddling and pushing. I would forget about it and then it would re-appear again.  Figuring at mile 20 I only had 5 more miles to go and I would be good. The return is all flat and downhill so I took the opportunity to slip my feet out of my shoes which I had never done before.  Out of my shoes and coasting down the driveway of the hotel and got to the dismount line. Got off and just ran to the rack.  No having to take shoes off or anything.  Great way to get through transition quickly.  Rack the bike, put on visor and grab the race belt to affix as I head out.

RUN

Got through transition really fast and thought about going to port-o-potty to pee but thought just run-it will go away.  Sure enough it did for that moment. Heading up you go….you remember…..’Stairway to Heaven,’ and I felt like I was going backwards. I passed one athlete and he pushed to pass me back. He had a 30 on his calf…not my direct competition but still competition.  He passed me and then all of a sudden he had to stop and I had him. Getting passed on a hill is a killer.  I got to mile 1 in 9:01….good time considering the hill but Iscan0004wanted to be at an average of 8:00/mile. From there the course flattens out a bit and you can open up.  Mile 2 done.  At this point I saw Eric and I had told him…’if I see you at Mile 3, I will catch you so you better swim fast and ride fast.’  he was at 3.25 miles and I was at 2.85 miles or so. I caught him at 3.5 miles and knew he was done.  I found another guy I know not to much further up and passed him.  Again, I knew he wouldn’t catch me.  I just kept finding people with 35-39 on their calved and made them my prey. Catch and move on.  It makes it easier for me to run this way because you’re not focused on miles, just focused on the next catch.  At mile 5 I knew it was all downhill and I just opened up my stride and let it roll. I was so thrilled to know that I was finishing my first Olympic and finishing it strong. Passing people on the way to the finish line and yelling and screaming I smiling from ear to ear.  I looked at the time and it said 3:20…..I was about 30 minutes into the water at the start so I figured that I was in at 2:50 or so.  Under 3 for my first Olympic…..great results. scan0001 Well, here are my results: Swim – 37:33 for an average of 2:18/100m…..thrilled since 35 was my goal and I know I can shave those 2 minutes T1 – 2:39 Bike – 1:18:16 for an average of 19.0 mph…..happy but my last sprint was 19.7 and was hoping to be closer to 20. T2 – 1:20….thrilled.  Getting my shoes off on the ride was key Run – 53:23 for an average of 8:37/mile…..happy but looking at 8:00/mile since my Hottest Half result was that. Overall – 2:53:10……very very happy with my results.  Cannot complain about a sub-3 for my first Olympic. I do believe there are 8 minutes I can cut to get down to 2:45.  Those 8 minutes move me up 80 slots but thinking back on the race I am thrilled with my results.

POST RACE

Saw Jon Gilchrest at the finish and he is such a great guy.  We chatted for a bit as I was working my way through and apple, a banana, a bagel and water. Still haven’t pee’d at this point either…..must not have been a big deal. Finally saw my cheering crew……best part of racing is seeing my wife and step-son and hearing ‘great job and we are so proud of you.’ Got home and for recovery…..3 Michelob Ultras, a NY Football Giants win, and lots of sitting around.  I will get in the shower soon and then pizza with my family after Karen gets back from her 3 mile run. Decided to use the spray biofreeze that I purchased last night.  Karen sprayed it on me last night and no issues.  I did it myself today and let’s just say that it is called a spray for a reason. It went everywhere and even places it shouldn’t…..please don’t make me explain but it is tingly and I hope goes away soon. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="237" caption="Getting a kiss for recovery and not commenting on my stink!"][/caption]  

THANK YOU

a BIG Thank You to Coach C for her training, her belief in me, her positive attitude about everything in life and the inspiration and motivation to know that I will be in the gym tomorrow working out again. To the CH Locos…..great races by and kudos to Juan, Robert, and Eric. Great race to Jon Gilchrist and to Brent Wade of 24 Hour Fitness and Margaret English. I will definitely be buying the professional photos of this race and will post them as soon as they are available. Thank you for reading and if you have tips on peeing on the bike post a comment.  If you don’t have tips on how to pee on the bike post a comment anyway as all comments are appreciated and will get a reply.
 
     
Published in Race Reports
If you don't know Colleen then I'm not sure you have spent more than 5 minutes on Twitter or the Blog World looking for awesomely cool triathlon athletes. She is always there with a joke and great laughs and she is an incredible triathlete.  I mean incredible.  She is part of the Trash Talk Thursday (Tuesday, Wednesday as well but we seem to take vacation on Friday to Monday) Crew on Twitter.  She is the one we call Elektra and she recently raced Rev3 Knoxville and this is her race report. By the way she also is a member of Team Trakkers and a member of Team Golden Warriors.  I'm not sure which is more prestigious. Take a look at her race report then visit her site and follow it.  She can be found at Irondiva

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It's all about perspective.  I learned that this weekend.  If you live in a hilly area, this course is awesome.  If you live in central Ohio, this course is brutal (but still awesome).  If you train all winter in a warm place where you can swim and bike and run outside, it's not too early for a half Ironman.  If you live in Central Ohio and Mother Nature hates you,  it's going to be a bit of a struggle.  If you think about how lucky you are to have the ability to move your body 70.3 miles, you'll love every minute of it, no matter how slow, hard, and hilly the day is!

We got to Knoxville on Friday, checked into out hotel (which was located right at the finish line and perfect), checked into the race, walked around the finish line area and finally met up with teammates.  It was so fun to finally put faces with names and I'll always laugh about us twitter and facebook stalking people as they walked by in their lime green visors, trying to figure out who everyone was.  A lot of  "hi, I'm Colleen... aka Irondiva or @CBKingery. :)  We ended up grabbing a great Mexican dinner on Friday night with a bunch of the team and Tom's teammates.  Lots of laughs!
Saturday was super busy.  We met in the morning for the practice swim.  Holy crap - the water was cold.  And yet, I freaked a little.  Again, about perspective.  I've been swimming in a pool which is probably 82 degrees or so.  Tom's two teammates are from California and thought the 62 degree water of the Tennessee River wasn't too bad.  I couldn't feel my feet, hands or face.  But it was fine.  The TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit was AWESOME and I'm not just saying that because they are a sponsor.  The thing freaking rocks... flexible, no chaffing, kept me floating and warm! :)  Two thumbs up.
After the practice swim, I showered, busted out my "I pee on my bike" shirt (thanks Triathlon Rocks!) and grabbed some grub before volunteering at the registration tent for a few hours.  People loved my shirt - some took pictures, some asked if I really do that, others just said "best shirt we've ever seen" (btw, if you want one, you can contact Triathlon Rocks and tell them I sent you - they'll give you a special deal!  Their website should be up shortly, but they are on twitter @TriathlonRocks).
After volunteering, I got my bike to check, realized my brakes were rubbing something fierce that I couldn't fix, totally freaked out and luckily the great people at the mechanic tent took care of Papa Smurf and made it better.  I love my Kestrel to death, but the breaks are a little funky and I changed my wheels out which weren't working real well with the set up.  They got my bike done by 7:15 (bike check in closed at 6) but I was still able to get it in there, all settled and ready. Quick bite to eat with Tom's team and I was ready to crash! I slept well the night before the race, but had been on my feet WAY more than I wanted on Saturday and woke up Sunday a little groggy and sleepy.  And nervous.  Did I mention that?  Holy nerves. Tom, his team, my twin Kristin and I walked to transition and got everything set up.  It was chilly in the morning and all I could think about was how cold the water was going to be.  My stomach was flip flopping.  I found Tom and we walked out of transition and the tears started.  I just felt like I was in over my head with this race.  He assured me that I was fine and to remember that I'm not racing it.  This isn't a course that suited me well - we don't have the terrain around Columbus to get us fully prepared for the climbs, and it's early in the season.  I knew I wanted to treat it as a training day and just get through it. We got our wetsuits on and made our way to the swim start.  It's an in water start and all of the half women started together in pink caps.  Tom was in our wave too because he changed to the aqua bike so I smiled when the man on the mic yelled "the party has started now that the women are in the water".  The women and Tom. :)  He was loving it... Swim - I positioned myself in the back of the pack.  Tom didn't think I needed to be that far back, but felt like I was going to panic.  There were a lot of pink caps in front of me and the water was cold (although it felt warmer than the practice swim).  The horn sounded and I panicked.  Full on "oh my God, I'm going to die" panic.  Called that one.  As the pink caps swam off, I did a quick pep talk.  I can do this.  I swim all the time.  Head in a go.  Maybe a minute later, I was totally calm, swimming in a body free bit of water and passing some pink caps, then some yellow (the wave before).  The turn out seemed to be 5 miles away and there was not the help of the current that I was hoping for.  I felt like I was in the water forever, and that was fine.  I got out in 48 minutes.  Shoot... that was really slow.  I later learned that the course was long and on average, people were 5-6 minutes longer than usual.  Made me feel better, but I'm still slow. T1pokey for some reason and didn't get out real quick.  I think it was like 2:30. HA! Bike - Remember how I said Tom was going to bike with me.  Yeah, that lasted about .05 miles! :)  This course was a dream for him (he was in the top 5% of the bike overall).  I just got comfortable and knew it would be tough.  I didn't however think it would be that tough (Wes, you warned me and I will forever listen to you!).  Again, perspective... when you don't bike any hills, it felt like I was climbing mountains.  The course was beautiful and I really have to tip my hat to REV3.  The volunteers were amazing and I loved having police AND volunteers at ever intersection.  I used my small ring a lot.  I just rode comfortable.  I ate when I needed. Drank myEFS Grape (love that stuff)  Yes, I peed on my bike.  I think I averaged like 17.2mph and I was thrilled with that.   It might have been my slowest half bike at 3:15, but I was happy with it.
T2- I got to transition and Tom was finished with his race and waiting.  Kristin's bike was the only one in my rack at this point (she rocked her race btw getting 2nd in our age group and I am so excited for her).  I guess others struggled with the course too.  I couldn't for the life of me get my belt on right.  And I think I yelled at Tom to not take pictures of me trying to get my shoes on.  Yelled hi to Meredith and Dave and got on my way. Run - Again, I just wanted to take this run comfortably.  I turned my watch off.  I didn't care what pace I was running.  My legs felt a little sluggish, but I was happy.  The first couple of miles were flat and went by quickly, but I knew I was running a very slow comfortable pace.  I got to maybe mile 3.5 and the climbs started.  Short and steep.  Mile 4 had a huge climb.  Miles 5-8 were up and down.  I never thought "I want to be done" but I knew that I was running a very slow pace.  It felt right that day...  I saw some teammates and cheered them on.  I talked to people, thanked the volunteers and police.  Running to the finish line was amazing.
I finished in 6:19:xx. That's slow for me.  But it was a great race - I was comfortable, happy, enjoying it.  I didn't care about being fast, what my pace was, where I was in the pack.  I just moved forward.  A teammate told me to repeat "I eat pain for breakfast" when it hurt and I added "I eat hills for lunch" which kept me smiling. I ended up 5th in my age group out of 20.  Not too shabby for a training day.  Trakkers rocked - I'm so honored to be racing with my teammates who are pure rock stars... a few podiums, a few big PR's! So I'm home now and sick as a dog.  Sunday night I started to feel crappy with a sore throat and itchy eyes.  Yesterday was all out cold.  Last night I slept 11 hours, got up, ate breakfast and went back to bed for another 4.5 hours.  And I could shut my eyes now and probably sleep till morning.  My body is run down.  Oh... and for all of you asking about Tom's Achilles.  We don't know what's wrong.  It started bothering him 2 weeks ago.  No distinctive pop.  Lots of swelling and absolutely no way he could run.  Not a ton of pain, but went to the ART tent on Saturday before the race and they wouldn't touch it.  They said that there was a visible ridge which made them think rupture.  YIKES.  He raced the aqua bike Sunday (and came in 2nd out of 8!) and it felt fine, but he couldn't walk the rest of the evening.  It's probably two times the size it should be and we have an appointment with a sports med doctor on Thursday.  I'll keep you updated! REV3 does things right.  From check in, to the volunteers, the race and the finish line party, everything was top notch. I honestly felt this was one of the most organized races I've ever done.  All of the little nuisances that usually bother me at races weren't there.  This is a top notch race and I'm hoping to be back next year.  But, I'm going to have to find some hills this time around!
 
Published in Race Reports
I am excited to post this race report because of who wrote it.  I 'met' Matt through Twitter or Blogging or Facebook or Carrier Pigeon, but either way I am thrilled to have met him.  He is such a positive influence to all those that he comes in touch with.  I read his tweets to others and they are chock full of great advice and is always there to provide a slap on the back as well. Matt is out there training for his first full Iron-distance race this year and it's been awesome to follow his journey and see how he takes to the training with his wife Heather.  Great people, doing great things. Thanks Matt for letting me post this. ===========================

Cleveland Marathon Race Report

Not sure where to start.  I have been a tease with every race report so here is the important stuff.  Distance: 26.2 miles (a lot more according to my Garmin). Time: 4:10:31 Place: no clue, they were idiots with their results. So, Friday... well Heather went out and got her run in, I was a crabby patty and came home and slept.  This taper really messed with me at the end of the week.  I was eating everything in site and was exhausted.  I think my body is used to this and knew what was to come haha. After I woke up, Heather had made one of our favorite salads with strawberries, almonds, chicken, spinach, romaine, and blue cheese with a raspberry vinigerette.  Put me back into a happy place.  We didn't pack anything we just relaxed and took it easy. Saturday: Well, I had other plans on my agenda but it was raining all morning.  I couldn't get my landscaping accounts done.  So I worked some more on our chicken coop, I am building a run for them outside of the coop so they can flap around and eat more bugs.  My wonderful wife (reluctantly) came outside to help me lay it out and get all the netting on the run.  It is almost done but we had to get inside and get our stuff together. Heather had pretty much everything ready for us by the time I put all my tools away and cleaned up.  So it was a quick shower and we were off to the expo. The expo was about 20 minutes away from the race... decent location but it was a torrential downpour and the parking lot was pretty much full. Got in and made our way through the expo and it was pretty good.  A lot of vendors.  I will throw a complaint out here (as you know I keep it real, don't piss me off haha).  Second Sole had a booth set up.  I wanted another pair of compression socks for my achilles and calves to keep them "warm" and happy (per my Dr.'s request).  So we went to their booth, they had the best selection and at $50/pair hey, that is like 20% off retail. So I go there and the dude looks at me and says you are a size M-IV (4 for the un Roman literate ;)  ).  I said, well I was sized by Fleet Feet and they have me at a M-III (3) and they fit me very well and are tight enough.  Well Deuschbag proceeds to go off on a tangent about how he knows what size I am and he will measure me and prove it blah blah blah. So I sit down and he measures me and he goes, you really should be in a M-IV but you are on the borderline. Blah blah blah. We went back and forth a bit and I told him I don't care what you say, I have an achilles issue and I want my "compression" socks to COMPRESS.  So as he was getting the stuff together for me I saw a bin of gummy bears.  Mind you this is a running expo, tons of free samples right?  Well I go and grab one and D-Bag grabs my arm and yells at me.  THOSE ARE NOT FOR THE SPECTATORS!  Honestly I thought he was going into a Roid-Rage right on the spot and I turned defensively ready to throw down on the spot... yes, over a flipping gummy bear. I proceeded to drop it back in "his" bin.  He proceeded to "explain" to me why those are his and not for spectators. ... Alright, I have gone to Second Sole for years through high school and college.  GREAT people.  Great store.  This D-Bag realllllllllllllly pissed me off.  Because of HIM, I don't care to shop at second sole again.  I am sorry, your employees are a direct representative of your company.  If you have a D-Bag employee, I assume you are a D-Bag company. Onward.  Heather claimed that I was in the wrong for just grabbing a gummy bear.  They were out in the open and the lid was not on his container... you be the judge haha! We went to the hotel after that and checked in. Relaxed for about an hour or so and then her Mom came up.  BDD had met H's mom at the Portage Lakes Triathlon last fall and we had an awesome time.  BDDwas a bit sad that she wasn't at the Glass City race this spirng to cheer us on... she is an AWESOME cheer leader :) We got her settled in the room and we headed on down to the inspiration dinner for Team in Training. This is our second event with Team in Training.  Nike Women's marathon was our first. We realllllllly enjoy the group of people we train with and the coaches are really cool and fun.  Last fall we trained every week with the Team.  This year, we went to 1 run with them.  We were both injured all year and since we were so late in the plan, I decided to follow our own plan that was more adapt to our lack of base mileage.  Luckily a lot of people we already knew were running the race too so we still knew a lot of the runners. At the inspiration dinner they told a story of a 23 yr old girl with ridiculously awesome credentials and graduating at the top of her class from Duke had passed away in February from Leukemia.  She was an alumni.  It was really sad to hear the story and that everyone knew her.  Her parents were at the dinner and it was honestly tear jerking.  It really solidified why we do this and that there is more to running and racing than JUST the medals (and free shirts). All in all we had 92 participants doing either the 26.2 or the 13.1 in our chapter.  Out of those participants we have raised over $118,000.00 for this event alone!  It was a great success. We chatted afterwards with some friends and we were up to our rooms for bed. Sunday: We were up at 4:30am.  About typical race day wakeup haha.  Actually both got a GREAT sleep.  I have had GI issues since Glass City (and during that race).  So I got desperate, I cut out all coffee and beer last week. I was 99% positive that the coffee was causing too much acid in my stomach which would get me sick. So I was hoping today would be problem free. Saturday before the expo, we stopped at Wendy's for some Bowl Movement gurantee... or some cheeseburgers haha. To my despair, it was not full proof.  No BM Saturday at all and none Sunday morning.  Alright, I was in panic mode haha. I had 1 pop tart for breakfast and started stretching and getting my gear together. My key trick was to take a hot shower and stretch in the shower.  The heat loosened up my achilles really nice and allowed me to get it loosened up perfectly. We got our gear on and headed down to the lobby for a team picture. Heather and I were getting a little panicked that they weren't heading down to the start line.  It was not raining but was a bit chilly, upper 50's so we headed down to the start line without the group. We went to Brown's stadium and found the bathrooms.  This was my last chance for a successful 2-day backed up download. Believe it or not, it was almost perfect.  Got up to the stall, got settled and had a major success. I thought about the whole pre-race deal.  All last year I had pre-race jitters and was so nervous.  This year, I don't care.  I don't get upset or nervous.  That nerve stuff would cause the downloads in the past... so I am kinda screwed now I think haha. Afterwards met up with H and her mom again and we headed to the start line.  Got settled in at the 3:45 pace group (give me time to explain this) and we waited for the start.  5 minutes later, anthem.  5 minutes later, start. So, why did we seed ourselves with the "faster pace group"?  Something I get pissed off about all the time that others do? Because that pace group was not even doing 10min miles for the first few miles.  Walkers were up there.  People were gasping for air up there (before mile 1).  I was furious.  We were dodging people left and right.  We had a plan to stick to and we had to execute. The race starts out going up a hill... I actually really enjoyed that haha. As we were going we heard someone yell out for us, it wasn't until after the race that I found out it was Rachael from MissFit_Island! There were too many people that I couldn't find her in the crowd (sorry ! ) Our Plan.  Run the first 3 miles then walk a minute.  This was to get through the crowd of people and hopefully have things thin out a bit.  This was more for our safety than anything because we did not want to start walking by the beginning and get run over or cause an accident.  After that it was run 1 mile, walk 1 minute.  SIMPLE plan. First few miles were great.  Felt awesome, I was pushing the pace a bit but at the start of every race its all adrenaline.  H called me out a few times though and I had to respect that this was her race more than anything so I would back it off. Mile 4 I had to pee, badly.  I hopped in line for the port a pots and as usual chose the wrong line.  Told H to stick to the plan and stay on the right, I would catch up.  Well after that pee stop, I proceeded to catch her with a 6:30 mile split... that might have cost me the race with my achilles.  NO SPEED WORK MATT! (idiot). I felt good though and had a few miles to get the legs warmed up, from then on it was SMART running. We stuck to the plan, the first half of the course was awesome.  If anything, I would definitely run the Cleveland HALF marathon again ANY DAY.  It was a very fast course, heck, H ran her 13.1 in 2hrs flat almost which was essentially what she ran at Glass City this spring! It was actually through really nice neighborhoods, along the shoreway of Lake Erie, and GREAT crowd support.  I was really impressed with this part of the race. Nothing really eventful except that a Team in Training coach was dressed up as a gorilla and I proceed to stop and dance to the music with him at mile 7.  They were playing the Tanto Jump On It song.  You bet your butt I was doing the ride the pony dance while running.  People were going nuts laughing their butts off hahaha.
That brings me to my next point.  Every 5 or 6 miles they had live music or a DJ.  It was honestly awesome!!! The first half had such energetic crowds and music it was seriously awesome.  Mile 12 had a live band of what looked like 8 year olds playing Guns and Roses Paradise city.  As we were running by they were doing the guitar solo part and it was REALLY good.  I was shocked these kids were that talented yet alone knew that song haha.
Well we told Heather's mom to meet us at mile 13 and then head back to the finish and wait for us haha.  She was having a BLAST! She had her cow bell ane we saw her about a quarter mile out and we started screaming.  She went nuts, I felt so bad for everyone around her ;)
I guess there were some guys that were really fit running without shirts and she was giving them cat calls haha. I am so glad that I fit in with her family ;)
Well at this point it had been misting lightly for the whole race.  The winds were really not horrible and for the most part we had a tail wind for the whole stretch from mile 5 - 16!
The back half... now there were virtually no crowds.  The back half was the road I drove every day to go to college for 5 straight years.  It was honestly weird running on the road that I had driven for years.  If anything it was nice and was essentially a gradual down hill the whole stretch to mile 18!!!
Now, here is where crap started going wrong.  Heather had a bad cramp at mile 12... she was able to fight it off and get control of it.  She got another one at around mile 14 or 15 or so.  She started drinking solely water at this point and no more Powerade or Infinit.  She was taking GUs anyways so she didn't need the additional nutrition.  Well as we were running down Chester Ave. they did not have cops at every intersection.  The East side is pretty much more or less approaching Cleveland's low income Ghetto.  My college was right at the border of the ghetto and we NEVER ran East.
Well these people could give two shits about the marathon.  They were speeding through the intersections with no guards and the people in front of us at one intersection had to stop and jump to the side to avoid getting clipped!  I screamed and cussed out the driver but obviously they didn't care.  This was one of my BIGGEST complaints on the course.  Honestly, I was pretty scared for the other runners.  If they hit me, I would have done more damage than a deer would to a car haha, so trust me, they would have missed us!
We kept up with our plan.  Mile 14 the achilles acted up.  Minor pain but it was there.  I have run on it with a lot more pain in training so I knew I was still alright.
Mile 20.  Well this was along the lake, dead fish skeletons and fish heads every where.  It was so pungent of stanky fish smell that we were trying to hold our breath haha.  This is also where I was starting to panic.  10k left and I couldn't get started after the minute walk breaks.  The achilles was seizing up on me big time and it took a minute of trying to run to loosen it up.  I told H it was time to change the plan... I said I need a 30 second walk from here on out because otherwords this thing might completely seize up on me.  Every mile from this point on was more intense pain.  I was hopping on my left foot at points to try and give my right foot a break.  Mile 25.  Rain started to pick up a bit.  I had a smile from ear to ear.  We were CRUSHING this race for H and we both looked at each other here and said we feel AMAZING! (aside from my flipping achilles).  I was kind of hobbling through the next mile (although you couldn't tell at mile 26 below).
Typical MattyO fashion. Pumping the crowd up.  The lady on the right LOVED
my energy and was going nuts as I was trying to pump the crowd up.  H is
right at my side... well, trying to avoid all the attention at least haha.
We had 0.2 miles left.  The pace just kept picking up and picking up!  I gave my typical yell at the crowd that was just STANDING THERE WITH THEIR THUMBS UP THEIR BUTTS!  "I DIDN'T RUN 26 MILES FOR SILENCE LET'S HEAR IT!!!!!"
I proceeded to go from side to side getting High 5's from the crowd and getting them pumped up too.
We finished at 4:10:31 and it was truly awesome.  H got to the TNT tent and started to shiver horribly (as she does after every marathon) so we got her warm clothes on and put some panchos on her to keep her body heat in.
Some of our friends, H with her popsicle, me with a plate
of food, 2 burgers, hot dog and mac and cheese :)
(Fatty Pig Fatty, hey, I just ran 26.2!)
So, Our Afterthoughts...
Now Heather and I talked a lot about this race afterwards.  This running plan was our plan for the Ironman race in September.  We wanted to try it out and see how our bodies accepted the walking and the starting and stopping.  Granted, the achilles was seizing up on me big time and I was actually really afraid of tearing it from the amount of pain I was in.  I am hoping that 2 weeks of recovery will allow this to be a thing of the past.
Minus the achilles issues, this plan is honestly gold.  We both felt 100% amazing.  Our quads were a little sore at the end but that was obviously, heck, do anything for 4 hrs straight you are gonna feel it.
H was the real gage for this plan though.  I typically run faster than her, so my fitness level was different than hers. And all in all we planned on doing the Ironman together as well.  So we needed something that worked for both of us.  Now, a lot of people thought we were nuts and asked, isn't it hard to start up after you walked? NO.  At San Francisco we had some issues starting up because we were dead, we did not practice a run walk and with this plan this time around we practiced the run/walk technique for any runs that were over 13.1 miles in distance.  Everything less than that we ran the whole length.  This was something we decided together and wanted to stick to.
In my own opinion, I do not think I will ever run a full marathon without walking again.  I used to hurt severely from marathons for like 3-4 days.  I am walking fine today, even the achilles backed off and aside from the enormous knot in my achilles (going to doc next week to get it worked out) my quads don't hurt, IT Bands don't hurt and everything feels AMAZING.
Am I on cloud 9 right now? YES, this is my 5th marathon.  I don't hurt at all.  We both felt really good for the rest of the day yesterday as well, albeit sore quads yesterday.
Did we stick to our plan?  100%.  We had to make a couple adjustments due to issues that came up.  We took an extra walk break for Heather's cramp and we shortened the walk breaks at the end due to my achilles.  Both of us could adapt to the changes, but we STUCK TO THE PLAN.  James, you would have been proud of me for finally getting over my Meat Headedness and listening to you for once ;)
Lessons Learned:
The way you train, should be the way you race.
Running races with friends/groups is awesome. Huge energy surges when you see them.
There is NOTHING WRONG with yelling at the crowd for not cheering.
Run/Walking (RULK) you can kick ass.  We passed people the WHOLE race.  How? I don't really know. The whole last 10k, we passed people LEFT AND RIGHT. That was a great feeling and another solid identifier that we trained properly and our plan was excellent.
Coffee causes GI issues in my stomach while running.
We raised over $560 over the minimum fund raising goal :)
Heather bought a SPI Belt at the expo and it worked EXCELLENT for her during the race.  It was slim and she didn't notice it while running.
Yet again, I was Heather's sherpa for this race... since we practiced that way, I guess it was only fitting LOL! I filled up my bottles with water so she always had water when there weren't water stops during our walk breaks.
When a race has 3-5 port a pots at every water station, I will have NO GI ISSUES at all.  When a race has ONE SET of port a pots halfway through, I will end up shitting in the woods and suffering a fate worse than death for miles.
I don't really care to ever run a stand alone marathon again.
Heather got a PR by over 27 minutes. TWENTY SEVEN folks.  That is huge.  How? By walking during her race.  Explain that to me hahaha!!!
To sum up the day. Excellent.  I love that I am able to experience these things with my wife at my side, she is my best friend and the best training partner I know of.  I wanted to thank all of my Twitter friends for really helping me by sending me positive vibes and being super supportive (even through all your TrashTalk LOL).  I also want to send a HUGE congrats to Beal.  He is the newest member of the 26.2 club.  It is a club that you can NEVER get kicked out of ;) Great job man, wish we were able to see you finish, but H was going into convulsions lol.
Picture Dump:
We woke up with this on our door. Total PMA all day. (Positive Mental Attitude)
At home recovering and icing achilles.
Of course the bling! The guitar spins in the middle of medal!!!
My Canada hat I got during the House of Payne 5k.
Two TNT 26.2 pins now!
Heather ready to go home after the race.

 

Published in Race Reports
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