Monday, 16 October 2017 00:45

2017 Ironman Maryland Race Report

In 2015, I traveled to Cambridge, Maryland to race Ironman Maryland. Along the drive to the race venue I discovered that the race was cancelled due to Hurrican Joaquin. Instead of deferring my entry to the same race a few weeks later I decided to race Ironman Florida. That year I ran my first sub-4 hour Ironman marathon. In 2016 I raced Ironman Louisville  and again broke the 4 hour Ironman marathon barrier.

As I trained for Ironman Maryland my focus was to run a 3:50 marathon. I had gone from 3:59 to 3:56 and felt that I could drop another 6 minutes. I would have to run 8:50 miles on average and I knew that I could do just that. Not only that but I also focused on breaking the 20mph barrier for 112 miles at the Ironman distance. I had been close at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014 and Ironman Florida in 2015 so breaking it and being able to run 3:50 was my focus for 17 weeks.

Every week that passed, my confidence continued to grow. I was also doing a lot of training in the open water that I was confident that I could race between 1:20 and 1:25 without feeling over exteneded in the water. The training and the data was lining up for the attempt at a sub-11 hour Ironman.

As we landed at the house in Maryland I started to do the math on how I would get to sub-11 and I kept landing at 10:56. I went over the numbers repeatedly and kept landing in that spot. I felt prepared to race to that time. This would be a 26 minute improvement on IMLOU but I felt my training and the course put me in a position to succeed.

As we walked to transition I visualized a 1:17 swim, 5:35 bike and 3:52 run. I gave myself 12 minutes for transitions and thought that was more than enough.

Bike loaded with nutrition and a bit of foreshadowing happened. I knew I had a bottle that may leak and put that into the right rear bottle cage so that it wouldn't leak and it would be the third bottle I grabbed. I did this because if it did leak I would have time to pick up Gatorade on the course.

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Waiting in line I overheard a woman saying to an athlete that the swim would workout fine and giving her confidence. I took it upon myself to let her know the swim was going to be ok and if the stress hit just turn over and backstroke until she composed herself. I also told her that there were areas of the swim course that you could just stand and that helped to calm her down.

I gave Erik a hug and a high-five and told him he had this. Michelle and I walked through the area together chatting and laughing. I gave her a hug and told her that she had this. We waived at Karen and Erin and it was now go time. As I entered the water I took three steps and then said screw it and dove in so I could start swimming. Others were walking to the first buoy but I wanted to get going.

The double loop swim with 1,000 athletes should be contact free but I wound up touching more people at this race then at IMLOU, IMFL and IMChoo combined. 

The water was rough at moments but nothing impossible. I dealt with leaky goggles for the first half of the swim and mostly because I could not get a good suction. I had put aquaphore on my cheeks to help the sea nettles slide off but that just caused the goggles to slide. Eventually I just smashed them onto my face and that did the trick.

With the two loops there were always feet to draft off of. After I made the last left turn I found a set of bubbles and the pace felt comfortable and fast. I would tap the women in front of me every 3rd or 4th stroke. When I did the bubbled multiplied 10x but that just helped pull me along even faster. I did not intend to tap her feet but that happened and before I knew it we were making the left turn toward the finish of the swim.

As I exited the swim I looked at my watch and saw 1:24. I was ok with that time but knew I had to make up 7 minutes. I figured that if I raced to a 5:30 bike split I would pick up 5 minutes there and still had the transition buffer.

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The bike course is fun. It is also two loops with the stick of the 'lollipop' component being through some neighborhood streets but you could still ride hard. I took the opportunity in that area to stand up coming out of turns because I knew I would be down in aero all ride. Once out into the loop area we faced a headwind/crosswind but I was managing 15:10-15:30 splits for 5 miles Intervals. Once we turned north we got a tailwind and my splits dropped to low 14's and even into the 13 minute area.

The miles were ticking by fast and I saw the signs for a no pass zone and knew that we were coming up on the finish of the first loop. My NP was at 147w which was a good spot considering my IM watts is 151w and with this being flat I was riding right were I wanted to be and at a speed that was going to get me to the 20 mph goal.

As I was finishing loop one I tried to drink from the leaky bottle and I would end up wearing more than I drank. I finally gave up at the aid station around mile 50 and took Gatorade Endurance on-board. As I was grabbing the bottle another cyclist almost turned into me and I had a flashback to Ironman Arizona in 2012 when I had a bike accident at the aid station because another cyclist cut me off without looking.

Once out of the aid station and back into the lollipop looop I went to drinkin 2 bottles per hour while playing leap frog with two other athletes. We were moving really strong until I hit Mile 60. It was at this point where the headwind/crosswind picked up. I told myself to go for it and ride like my buddy Goat. Backstory: I have chased Goat throughout all of North Texas for 6 years. He is a super strong cyclist and it has always been my mission to ride like him. Unfortunately, Goat has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was not at this race. The first time in 4 Ironman events that I have not raced with him. I decied then that whatever happened on the run I was going to ride my bike like Goat.

The three of us played leapfrog and I was going hard. At one point one guy dropped back and could not keep up. The second guy and I went back and forth and then I heard the motorbike. Since I was in front I knew that I was not going to get a penalty but the lump in my throat still showed up. I was riding strong and did not want a penalty to throw me off. As the motorbike got louder the other athlete passed me and then got right in front of me. The referree took out the sheet of paper and was writing things down as he was passing me. He then told the athlete in front of me that he was getting a penalty. At that moment I let out a sigh of relief. The motorcycle went forward and I wound up passing the other athlete not much after that. That was the last time I would see him on the bike course.

Around mile 80 the other athlete caught me and said to me, as he passed, that we were almost done. I told him we survived the headwind portion and should be good to go. I would not see him the rest of the bike race. I kept pushing the pedals and kept seeing my splits in the low 14s. I was riding around 22-23 mph and my legs were not overly fatigued. Even with going faster than normal I kept making sure that I was consuming liquids.

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Normally I drink 4 bottles of EFS with a cadence of two in hour one, water in hour two, EFS in hour three and water in hour four. GE would not be consumed until the final hour and only one or 1.5 bottles.

This race I wound up consuming 4 bottles. I had noticed I had salt stains and had not urinated after three hours. My solution was to keep drinking Gatorade figuring I was dehydrated but I never urinated during the 5:30 bike ride.

At mile 109 I figured that I had a chance to get onto the run by 2pm. By doing this I would put myself into position to run 3:52-3:53 and break 11 hours by 4 minutes. Even a 3:56 repeat would have me breaking 11 hours.

After finishing the second loop and noticing that my power was slightly below IM watts I figured I was setup for a good day on the run course and would eventually urinate while running.

At the mount line I looked around for the bike catcher but there are none at this race and ran to what I thought was my bike rack area, racked my bike and ran to the T2 bag area.

Grabbed my bag and put my shoes and hat on outside the tent while a volunteer told me I had to go inside the tent. I told him no a few times and finally said: I am not going in there because it is too hot and nothing I am doing warrants me being inside the tent (plus a few other choice words that made him laugh.) He finally stopped insisting and we chatted while I was gettin ready because I told him the only way I go into the tent is to go out of the tent. I dropped my bag off and started running.

The first mile I felt good and had a pace of 8:27. I felt I was in a good position and then mile 2 was 8:57 and I knew I was in trouble. By mile three I had to stop to use the bathroom. Then again at mile 6 and the walking began and was longer each time. I used the porto again around mile 10 and figured today was not going to be my run day with splits in the 10s.

I realized that I had not peed yet on the run and figured a trip to the med tent would await me at the finish but my legs were still functioning and I did not have chills or a headache. I was not nauseous and thus kept marching on.

I made a pact that I would run until I was not able to and then would take a one minute walk break. This turned into running aid station to aid station and taking the one minute walk break after the aid station.

Around mile 13 I saw my wife and broke down because the side stitches were too much to handle. I was upset that the day I had the ability to execute had slipped away and she told me to keep moving no matter what. She told me that I was half-way done and that gave me a pep in my step.

I saw Erik and Michelle on the course and seeing them gave me confidence to run. It was a great feeling to see familiar faces out there. I even saw Christy Kennedy on the course a couple of times. The first time we walked and chatted/comiserated for a minute. The second time she gave me a huge high five and smile and that also gave me confidence that I could finish this race strong.

When I saw Karen again she said that I only had a mile to go and was proud of me. It was just after that when I saw our friend, Erin, and she gave me a hug and told me how proud of me she was. I told her I was going to destroy a bathroom when I was done and off I went.

I ran with purpose and when I rounded the turn-around at RAR Brewing I smiled. I smiled so big it hurt. I smiled because despite the issues I was going to be finishing around 11:30 which was still a very good effort.

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I smiled because I knew I was racing for and in my heart with my buddy Goat. I smiled because I knew that my friends, Michelle and Erik, would be finishing their first Ironman. I coached them and trained with them all summer to lead to this moment.

I smiled because I knew then that I have the ability to break 11 hours at an Ironman and that day would soon arrive.

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Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 20:42

Wild Hare 50 Ultra Trail Run Race Report

Wild Hare 50, the ultra trail run that was to take place a month after Ironman Maryland and be the kick start to my ultra trail running season......SUPPOSED TO BE.

Wild Hare 50, the ultra trail run that took place two weeks after Ironman Florida and be the kick start to my ultra trail running season with a BOOM......ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

The fact that I am writing an ultra trail run race report so soon after an Ironman race report seems extremely odd but gives me a lot of satisfaction about what I can do and what I can expect when I race Coldwater Rumble 100 in January.

On Friday, November 13th I drove from Dallas to Round Top and it was an uneventful ride. I got to the rental house around the same time as my friends Jeff and Elizabeth who were also going to be racing the 50 miler. This was going to be Elizabeth's first attempt at this distance but coming off her win at Little Rocky 50k I was not worried about her covering the course.

When we walked through the doors of the house I was mezmerized. This house seemed like something off the screen of the HGTV channel. It was perfect in every way. I was very excited that another endurance race weekend was going to be spent with friends and in a terrific house.

As we moved around the house we decided to start packing our gear for Saturday. As we were chatting the conversation turned to what time we needed to wake up because of the drive to the start. When Jeff said we needed to wake up at 3am I nearly broke down in tears. I had a tantrum because it was only two weeks prior that I woke up at 3am to try and stuff calories and coffee down my face and could not process having to do it again. After a few minutes I got over it because the rest of the crew showed up and we were now into preparing for dinner.

When the alarm went off at 3:02am I climbed out of bed and got dressed and into the kitchen to try and swallow rice cakes, peanut butter, banana and coffee. At 3:45am we jumped into the car and drove to the race sight. The feeling at an ultra is completely different than the feeling at an Ironman. With Ironman comes a load of nerves and energy from 2,500 people that an ultra does not have. Wild Hare 50 had about 80 people registered. There were others there for the 50k and 25k but since their races did not start until 6am and 7am, respectively, the amount of people was not at full capacity.

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About 5 minutes before the start we made it to the barn to prepare to race. The idea was to run together since this was Elizabeth and Greg's first 50 miler while Jeff and I were there to collect Texas Trail series points and racing was not at the top of the list. Countdown gets to zero and the first steps are taken. The course is designed to be six (6) 7.8 miles loops with a 3.2 mile loop to end the race.

The weather had been really nice so we expected a runnable trail but that ended quickly as we found ourselves running through mud and at one point through a puddle that was knee to hip deep. After we finished a portion of the trail we were directed left and seemed to be running the same trail again. As a matter of fact we were running the same trail and confusion set in. Anger then set in after we ran through the puddle a second time. With that loop finished we hit an aid station and realized we did the smaller loop first and now were on our way to the remaining 7.8 mile loops.

The first two loops presented challenges in the form of darkness as well as loose footing but since three of us (Greg broke away toward the end of loop 1) were together and having a good time it made the running go by fast. The course presents a handful of variables that can be challenging. There is a lot of single-track running, open field running, very deep descents, short vertical ascents and a lot of switchbacks.

When we were done with the first two loops I thought to myself that I need to treat this like a 5k in the mental sense. In a 5k we are extremely euphoric about the first mile and go out too hard, then hate the second mile and when the third mile comes we just want to be done and find a kick. This was going to be my mental state for the 6 loops where 2 loops would be a 'mile' in the 5k sense. During loop 3 I found myself getting ahead of Jeff and Elizabeth and both told me to go ahead. I hung with them but by the end of loop 4 I was still feeling very strong and pulled away. Now I was running loops 5 and 6 on my own. This is where the mental challenge picks up.

To combat this scenario I treated the last two loops as if they were 4x4 mile runs. Only focus on the 4 miles and get aid station to aid station. I grabbed two Oreos, Gatorade and Coke and off I went. About halfway through the first 4 mile loop I saw a friend of mine (Chris Oles) running on a switchback above me and noted the time. When I ran past that same spot I realized I was 6 minutes behind him and on this course that meant approximately 0.5 to 0.75 mi behind. I took it as a challenge to catch him and I ran harder. I also kept in mind that I wanted to break 10 hours on this course on this day.

As I finished loop 5 I noticed the time on the clock read 8:10:51 and I knew I had 1 hour and 50 minutes to cover the nearly 8 mile loop. If my math was right I had 110 minutes for 8 miles which was approximetly 14:00/mi. I could do this I thought. As I was going to grab Oreos, Gatorade,  and Coke I saw Greg. I told him that we could break 10 hours and he responded.......I just want this over with. I headed out hoping he would latch himself to my hip.

When I went around the pond and headed to an uphill into the wind section I saw Greg behind and thought that he was going to stay with me. After a few miles into the woods I no longer heard Greg's footsteps and knew I was truly on my own. About a mile after that I saw Chris and took note of the time. I ran to that same point and was now 3 minutes behind him. If I could push I could catch him I thought and so I started running a bit harder. Simultaneously I noticed Greg on a few switchbacks and thought he was about 4-6 minutes behind me which meant he was not letting off the gas as much as he had earlier and I was really happy that he was going to finish strong.

As I got closer to pine needles I knew I was only about 0.5 miles shy of the finish line and that this race was over. What I did not know was how long I was on the course because my watch died around the 45 mile mark and I also had no clue where Chris was. This last section of pine needles has some twists and turns through the woods but then drops you off by a camping section where participants and spectators are and they were cheering for me as I finished.

Loop 5 Of Wild Hare 50 To Start

I looked up from the ground and through the barn to see the time of 9:44 and a smiling Chris. I did not have the juice to catch him but I did break 10 hours. Chris ran a masterful race and considering he just ran the Cactus Rose 100 three weeks prior I told him how unbelievable his run was and gave him all the kudos in the world. His response: I was not going to let an Ironman catch me on the trails. This told me he knew exactly where I was just like I knew exactly where he was.

After walking around to our drop bags and gathering my clothes I picked up my phone. I had a message from Karen and she was yelling into the phone that I finshed 10th overall and 3rd in my age group. I could not have been happier with the results considering that I raced an Ironman two weeks prior. Knowing that I could break 10 hours on a trail with 3,000 feet of elevation without proper trianing, recovery and taper gave me confidence that a sub 24 hour race in the desert at Coldwater Rumble was certainly possible.

Finish Results - Wild Hare 50

Congrats to Chris on a masterful trail season. Congrats to Greg and Elizabeth on their first 50 mile finishes. Congrats to my buddy Jeff who makes these long and pain enducing races fun. Our group also included Annie and Caroline who ran the 25k and Jim who did his best to support us and keep us updated on the Notre Dame-Boston College game as most of us were fading into unconsciousness.

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Wild Hare 50 Group Next Day Before Eating At Royer's

Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 16:41

Ironman Florida 2015 Race Report

Ironman Florida (IMFL) was not the race I was supposed to finish but it was the race that I did finish. I had registered for Ironman Maryland and traveled up to the race site in early October only to have the race cancelled thanks to Hurricane Juaquin. This cancellation caused an additional 6 weeks of training and anxiety.

WTC informed us that they would send out an email after the rescheduled date of October 17th with an opportunity to choose a race to attend. Ironman Florida was going to be my choice because of all the FW Tri Club teammates that would be racing. My application was accepted and in the email was told I would be receiving a final registration email.

Weeks went by without the email and finally on Thursday October 29th I told Karen that if I did not have an email by 8am I was not going to race and would instead run the Little Rocky 50k Trail Race I had already registered for. At 9am on Thursday I received the email and immediately replied and was in. That night we made travel arrangements and before I knew it we were flying to Panama City Beach.

PRE-RACE

On the Thursday before the race our crew went for a practice swim in our wetsuits and the water felt great. After that we hit the road for a one hour ride and then a 2 mile run. It was on the run that I could feel the heat and humidity and knew that staying hydrated was going to be the key to the race.

The next day, Friday, we went to the practice swim and I jumped in the Gulf or Mexico without a wetsuit and had my ass handed to me by the current and breakers. Immediately my anxiety level went up and if the reports of wetsuit optional were correct then I was going to wear a wetsuit. Having raced Ironman Texas in 2011 and 2012 without a wetsuit I had no need to prove to anybody that I could do it. Couple that with the fact that I am not close to claiming a podium and/or Kona slot then I really had no reason to not wear a wetsuit.

RACE DAY

When the alarm went off at 3am I woke up full of excitement knowing that race day had finally arrived. It had been a long training journey, both physically and mentally, and I was ready. After a quick breakfast of coffee, toast, peanut butter and bananas we jumped in the car to make the 10 minute drive to the shuttle that would take us to the race start.

As I walked into transition I saw the President of our club and he told us that our race results would be posted in the overall but not age group and that the points we accumulated would count toward the TriClub Program. Once I heard that the idea to wear a wetsuit was cemented as I had a thought that if the water looked calm I would race wihtout it.

After putting water bottles on my bike and additional nutrition in my transition bags I went and chatted with team members. Hanging out with them took a lot of the nerves that comes with a race start away. We took the obligatory pre-race photos and made our way down to the beach. Clad in my wetsuit and looking at the water I knew that wearing one, for me, was the absolute correct decision.

SWIMIronman Florida Swim

Ironman Florida is a rolling start and we got loaded into the corral and nobody tried to find the right spot to start in. It was a mass start without the wading. As I walked toward the water and jumped in my body said to me: it's go time. I tried to swim but consistently hit somebody or was hit by somebody. My anxiety kept creeping up and up and up. I started to breaststroke until I could calm down but that never really happened during the first portion of the swim.

At one point I found a floating mattress and swam towards it and hung on. I took my goggles off and cleaned them but this was nothing more than a delay tactic. Once I felt my heart rate slow down I started swimming again. My goal was to swim buoy to buoy and at each buoy I would breaststroke to try and regain my composure. This worked great and I got to the first turn buoy where my competitive side kicked in, anxiety lowered and it was game on. From that first turn buoy to the finish of the first loop there were no issues. I got out of the water and saw 44:xx on my watch and thought I would be in line for a 1:30 swim which is right where I normally am.

As I went through the arch I saw that the beach was non-existent but thought I should run down and jump in the water where the start was but noticed everybody getting in the water right away and volunteers pointing to the water. HOLY SH*T what a bad idea that was. At 5'7" and 145 pounds I got smashed by every wave coming ashore and it took what seemed like forever to finally make it to the buoy line. Had I been a kid on a summer vacation that would have been awesome but as an athlete just trying to get the swim overwith that was a tough scenario to face.

At the buoys I swam with no issues at all. Barely touched a few feet and was barely touched the rest of the way. Once I reached the breakers it was like body surfing until the last wave just smashed me from behind and knocked my goggles up and over my head. I was able to have one strap stay on my head and flip them back into position to finish the swim. I checked my watch and saw 1:35 and could not figure out how the second loop took 51 minutes when I swam the entire time with no issues then realized that the diagnol took all that extra time to fight through.

 

BIKE

IMFL Bike Start

In and out of transition in about 8 minutes I was running out and handed my bike. Time to pedal for 112 miles while staying composed to not push too hard. As I exited the bike out arch I saw Karen and my buddy Dog Bait yelling and off I went.

My goal for the bike portion was to ride at the high end of my IM watt range which is 135w-155w. If I stayed composed and did not chase anybody I would set myself up for a really good run. I passed my teammate Julie (Jell-O) at Mile 10 and felt very comfortable with where I was. The wind was blowing in our faces but it was light and I never felt like I was exerting too much energy.

All throughout the ride my 5 mile splits were anywhere from 14:30 to 16:00 and I knew I was staying steady but after 60 miles I realized I had not urinated once. I tried multiple times after that but I had nothing. I changed my hydration strategy from every 5 miles to every 2.5 miles and I still did not have an urge to pee. This was starting to cause some concern about how I would perform on the run but all I could do was keep drinking.

Around Mile 70 I hooked up with another athlete and we played the game of passing and being passed all the way through to the end. Along the way I passed another teammate at Mile 90 and he looked good. Still worried about my hydration I looked at my shorts and did not see any salt stains so I just kept on trucking.

As we were about to enter the main street back to T2 we were stopped by the police because an ambulance was screaming down the highway. There were 4 of us just stopped waiting. While the wait was short it was odd and now the four of us were all bunched up and all at the same level so it looked like we were drafting off of each other the entire time.

A referee pulled up on us and not wanting to get a penalty I hauled ass and pulled away from the other athletes. As I rounded the bend in the road I slipped my feet out of my shoes and dismounted. Handed my bike and my helmet to the volunteer and into the changing tent I went.

RUN

Ironman Florida Run

A hat, a race belt and some nutrition and off I was onto the run course. In my hand was my bike computer because while on the bike my watch beeped low battery. Not wanting to be without technology I quickly took my computer off my bike and hit the reset button and then start button as I left transition.

For 5 years the one major goal I had for Ironman was to break 4 hours at the marathon. I have been close with 4:09, 4:06, 4:06 and 4:02 but wasn't sure that IMFL was going to be the day because of the 6 week break between peak traning for Ironman Maryland and the start of this race. Just run became the mantra but my legs felt trashed right from the start.

I saw Karen around the 1.5 mile mark and had already laid down 8:15/mi paces. When I saw her she yelled to me: SUB-4......You Got This. I went past her and a few moments later thought: F*CK NO I do not. It was humid beyond belief and the run was hard already. My next split showed 8:5x and I told myself that Endurance Nation says to give 6 miles to the course at :30/mi slower than goal pace and thought: OK you are right where you need to be.

This is when the pity party for myself started. My legs hurt, I was drinking a lot but still did not have the urge to pee and dehydration worry set in. I kept running but the walk breaks at the aid stations felt as if they took forever. When I reached the turn around point in St Anthony's park my watch beeped agin with low battery. F*CK ME. Now what? Pity party kept going and walk breaks took longer and mile splits were in the 10:xx range. I was in a total funk and practically threw in the towel on the idea of breaking four hours.

As I was entering the aid station return in St Anthony's I looked at my watch and it was a black screen. I did not want to take my bike computer out because I was afraid what I might see. I decided it was time for a new strategy:

  • Run 2 miles or to the aid station after 2 miles
  • Pick up water, gatorade and coke then start running again
  • Repeat to yourself: How bad do you want this? Are you willing to suffer for your goals? Are you capable of reaching your goals?

If the answer to that last question was affirmative then keep moving but if it was not then the immediate response would be Susan Manville's words to me at every Ironman race I have done: Man The Fuck Up. Those four words would get me going again.

Around Mile 9 I saw Marni Sumbal and she asked me how I was feeling. Told I had not pee'd, was not sweating and had the chills. I could not tell what my heart rate and I was not happy. She told me to take walk breaks when needed and drink coke/gatorade and tell myself that this was not how I was going to finish the race but only a part of the race.

That little pep talk helped and I was off and running again but this time with sheer determination that I was not going to give up. I got to the end of loop 1 and people were yelling at me that I looked good and had a good pace. I reminded myself that I only had 13 miles to go and to keep moving.

I felt my pace pick up and my strides were purposeful. My aid station stops were very brief and I was passing people left and right. I kept repeating my questions and the Man The Fuck Up mantra. Before I knew it caught up to the President of the club and passed him then another teammate at mile 23 who I did not think I would catch.

My legs were in total pain but I blocked it out because I wanted to break 4 hours but I also had zero clue as to what my time was. As I ran past the last row of spectators and heard positive reinforcement words my pace picked up even more. I turned the corner and another athlete was there and he said to me: Great job. I told him the same, fist bumped him but I was well beyond running past him by the time I yelled out the words. I reached the finisher's chute and lights glared and the spectators hung over the barricades with hands outstretched. I smiled as big as I ever had knowing I just ran the IM marathon of my life.

I crossed the finish line and saw Karen and she yelled you did it. I had no idea what she was talking about because I needed to go to the med tent because I was worried about dehydration.

While sitting in the med tent area I asked her about my run split and the volunteer next to her pulled up my time and told me 3:58 and I yelled, fist pumped and was elated to have finally joined the sub-4 club.

Ironman Florida Finish

CONCLUSION

My overall time at Ironman Florida was 11:27 which puts it as the second fastest IM I have raced. The sub-4 marathon and fastest bike split rank it right at the very top of overall experiences and overall happiness in regards to performance.

Ironman Florida, while considered a terrific race for a first timer, is HARD. It is flat and can be fast but the swim with the current and breakers is tough. Beyond that is the fact that you are going to spend 95% of your time in the aero position and using only one group of muscles because there is no climbing trashes your legs. There is no reprieve on the run either. There is zero shade and with no elevation change you are again only using one group of muscles to power yourself over the 26.2 miles.

VIP and FinisherVIP (Karen), Goat (Jeff) and Myself

Thank you for reading, for your support and encouraging words. This race does not end the way it does without you. Thank you.

Published in Race Reports

By now you have heard that Ironman Maryland was cancelled. My social media feed was filled with sympathy and encouraging words about the training that went into this race along with the disappointment of not being able to leverage the fitness that was accumulated in the days, weeks and months prior.

Having seen events like the NYC marathon and IM Lake Tahoe cancelled I wondered how I would feel if it happened to me. Unfortunately I am now able to know the answer to that and my feelings may surprise you.

Since 2011 I have raced 4 Ironman events and my fifth was going to be my best yet. I created my training program to put me in peak physical and mental condition for October 3rd. I had put times into my notes section of my iPhone but did not share them with anybody as I was about to unleash a fury that I have never had when racing Ironman. This time around I was going to push my envelope closer to the edge.

After I landed at BWI airport I noticed that the weather was not pretty and I wondered if the race would be held as I know this area can flood very easily since it is right on the Chesapeake Bay. About an hour into the drive I received a text message from the President of the FWTti Club I am a member of.

The text simply said: I assume you have heard about the race by now.  It was somewhat ominous but being that I was driving I could not respond or check my phone for other news. When Karen asked to stop so she could get a sandwich I found out about the cancellation.

Published in Race Reports

 Ironman Chattanooga 2014 is a race that will never be forgotten. The day was ideal, but better than that was the ability to spend the days leading up to the race and then on the course with friends I have been training with for years. I also got to see a lot of cyber friends out on the course and that made the day more magical. Later this week I will post about the course at Ironman Chattanooga but this post will be about how the day unfolded for me in terms of swim, bike and run

. Ironman Chattanooga – Swim

As everybody is aware by now the swim at Ironman Chattanooga is FAST. I am talking about ridiculously fast. The few days leading up to race day there was wonder about water temp. Would it be wetsuit legal or optional? As of Saturday evening the water temp was 77* but I had pretty much made up my mind but was hoping that I would not have to make a decision. When Sunday morning rolled around and I checked Facebook at 4:30am it said the water temp was still 77*. Time to make the final decision! As I sat at the kitchen table of our house I thought about my ranking in the M40-44 Age group and realized that I was not going to finish in a place where Kona was a choice so I went with the wetsuit. When asked why I was wearing one I responded with: I already proved my manhood by not wearing one at Ironman Texas in 2012 and 2013 and this time I am wearing one. At the race site we were bused to the swim start. Standing in line there were a lot of nervous faces but I did not feel nervous. As a matter of fact, my nerves sort of disappeared on Saturday afternoon after checking in my bike and the gear bags. It was as if a weight were lifted off my shoulders that day. Now, at the swim start I felt loose. I put on my wetsuit and walked with my training partners and once we hit the green carpet I started to dance. This was it, this was going to be the day I had trained for. As we got on the manmade 'dock' and I watched athletes prepare to jump in the water and seeming to not know what to do I just jumped in with both feet, literally. I popped up out of the water and started swimming. I could feel the current pushing me downstream and the buoys seemed to be coming up rather quickly. I picked my spot right on the buoys as there seemed to be no traffic there while left and right there were plenty of athletes. I was cruising and counting the numbers on the buoys. From the practice swim I remembered the number 9 so I figured that there were 9 total. As I quickly found out there are 9 yellow buoys (1.2 miles) and 9 orange buoys (1.2 miles) and then the turn to the finish. All along I think I was touched or did touch a total of 5 people. There was next to no contact and I had a very clean line the entire way. When I reached the turn buoy I had no clue what my time was but felt it was around the 1:20 mark which would have been a 10 minute swim PR. As I climbed the stairs to exit the river and looked down at my watch and saw 00:58:XX I could not believe my eyes. This put a spring in my step and I found the closest volunteer to strip my wetsuit off of me. What I did not realize is that the person taking my wetsuit off was not a wetsuit stripper. They were much further down the dock. I ran right past all the people laying down and up the steepest of ramps and into T1.

Transition From Swim To Bike – T1

After grabbing my bike bag I headed toward the changing tent where I stopped without ever going in. All I needed to do was put on my helmet, sunglasses and socks so there was no reason to enter the tent. As I was pulling my socks on a volunteer was walking by and asked if I were done with my swim gear. I told him yes and started to put it into the bag when he told me to not worry about it anymore and with that I took off with my cycling shoes in my hand. The run from the changing tent to my bike was long and I did not want to wear my cycling shoes because of the opportunity to fall down. It was the right move as I ran past a lot of people who were walking gingerly in their shoes. I grabbed my bike and ran toward the downhill slope where the mount line was and finally put on my shoes. A few short steps later and I was on the bike for the 116 mile journey. 

 

Ironman Chattanooga - Bike The Ironman Chattanooga bike course was all the discussion for months. First it was the elevation and then it turned into the extra 4 miles. None of these things we could control so I never put much into them. My worry was more about having a solid bike ride to set me up to break 4 hours at the Ironman marathon. Whatever the elevation or mileage I had to stay within myself. I approached the ride in the same manner as ultra trail running. I would go easy up the hills, recover on the downhills and then stay within myself on the flats. As we left town it felt as if I had a tailwind but I was not sure. What I was sure about was the road conditions. They were like glass except for a few areas. These roads were pristine and I could just feel the wheels rolling with little to no extra effort. I was stunned when I hit the mile 10, 20, 30,40 and so on markers and was faster than 20 mph. Could this be happening? What was my heart rate? What was my effort level? All these things were in check and so I just went with what felt right. On loop 1 what I did notice was a lot of athletes on the side of the road fixing flats. I could not figure out why there were so many, but later found out that there was some sabotage in terms of tacks and oil spills. It is unfortunate that these things happened because the bike course was challenging but fair and did not need to have this throw a monkey wrench into what was a perfect day. On the course I had the fortune of meeting a handful of people who I had met through social media. Having this type of support proved to be invaluable especially when I rode up on two people whom I admire greatly. First I caught up with Drum whom I have been training with for a while now and had the pleasure of racing Ironman Arizona with in 2012. Second, was catching up to KC and was able to seeing her smiling face and hearing that she was feeling awesome. Finishing loop 2 I knew I wanted to back it down a bit to save my legs for the run. I was told that the run was an 8 mile 'easy' loop and a 5 mile 'extremely hilly' loop and if I was going to run sub-4 I needed to back it down and get my legs under me which I did. There is no better feeling than seeing the Bike In sign and knowing that with just a short marathon you are going to cross the finish line. With my feet out of my shoes I handed my bike and helmet to a volunteer and took off for the run gear bag.

Transition From Bike To Swim – T2

Once again, I chose not to go into the tent to change. All I had to do was put on my running shoes (Hoka One One Rapa Nui) and a hat. I grabbed my race belt and as I was heading through the tent asked a volunteer if I could give him my bag and when he said yes I took off. Into T2 and out in just over 2 minutes. Time to FLY as the Hoka shoe says.

Ironman Chattanooga - Run

Nobody talked about the run leading up to race day but when I ran down the soaked mat that was the swim out hill I realized that this was going to be an up and down kind of run. You come down that steep hill and run along the river to a section that just seems to keep going up and up and up. Finally you are in the park where the swim starts and that is flat. This was a blessing but when the miles were ticking off at under 8:30/mi I knew I had to pull back. My goal was to run as far as I could until I needed to walk an aid station. At the same time I was fighting myself in regards to having the strength when miles 21 and 22 came up. It was a battle of the mind and body. Once you come through the park you make a right turn and run alongside a highway. This was a desolate area and it seemed like the aid stations grew further away from each other. This was not a part of the race course that I will recall fondly. It just seemed lonely and it was you, your legs, your mind and nothing else. Just keep moving was my mantra. After that stretch you cross over a bridge and into a community that is brutal. It is a pure beat down with no flat sections and only climbing or descending. At this point I decided I was going to walk the uphills so that I could save my legs for the downhills. At this same time I started to calculate finish times. Could I possibly finish in 11 hours? I had no idea what the marathon time was and I could not be bothered with playing with my watch. It was not worth it to spend energy calculating these things. I took an average of 10:00/mi, considering the hills, and calculated from that particular mile marker to the finish. I started out with 11:01, then 11:02 and then 11:04. It seemed as if the 11 hour Ironman was slipping away and then I met Steven with about 1.2 miles to go. Steven and I ran together the entire last portion of the race. We were in step with each other and chatting the entire time. He motivated me to keep moving. At one point he said to me: I am not going to sprint to the finish. My response: Dude, I AM sprinting right now. As we came down the final hill and into the finisher's chute I could not stop smiling and could not believe that the race was over. The 13 weeks of hard-core periodization training was culminating in a finish line that was as spectacular as any I have crossed. I fist bumped Steven and then crossed. I waited to look at my watch as I wanted the video and pictures to show my face and my smile. Finally, I looked down and pressed the Lap button on my Garmin and saw 11:00:XX. I nearly broke down into tears. I could not believe my eyes and had moments where I surely must have mis-hit my watch buttons and I was not seeing the full-time. I walked with the volunteer and picked up my hat and shirt when I asked her about getting my medal. She responded with: You are wearing it. Right then and there I knew that I left everything I had out on the course.

Ironman Chattanooga Racing- Conclusion

I will blog about my periodization training in a future blog post along with my review of the Ironman Chattanooga race course.  This blog post is about my experience on the course and the weekend and I would be wrong if I did not mention the following: * Thank you to my wife Karen for all that she has done for me.  She believed over a year ago that I could be an 11 hour Ironman and that belief came true on Sunday September 28th. * Thank you to the LTF Crew of The Sherriff, Goat, Dog Bait, Diaper Boy, Drum / PB, Wade, Stick, and Teri.  We trained together all summer long and had more laughs than miles and for that I am truly grateful. * Thank you to my buddies Jeff and Kevin for having followed a training plan that was sport specific two years ago that I could adapt to triathlon training. * Thank you to the friends I have made through social media, especially KC, who I got to meet before the race, on the course and then celebrate with after crossing the finish line. * Thank you to Ironman and the city of Chattanooga for hosting us.

ironman chattanooga - triathlon - race - endurance sports 

Published in Race Reports

Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail run has been 11 weeks in the making and over the course of the run nothing, and I mean nothing, fell short of expectations.  I am going to go over the events of the race in this report but over the course of the next few days I will layout the stories that took place on the course as our interactions with other athletes and volunteers unfolded.  In addition to that report, I am going to provide some insight into what Jeff and I have to look forward to when we race the Lake Martin 100 at the end of March.  Lastly, there will be a nutrition blog post coming up on No Meat Athlete in regards to what I ate before, during and after the race. Friday, February 8th With nothing to do on Friday but to pick up our packets and get a 4 mile run in Jeff and I woke up late and went and had a rather large breakfast, as is my normal routine.  After breakfast we went back to Jeff's house and got ready to run 4 miles.  As we headed out we ran into my wife (Karen) who was out there running 15 miles as she prepares for the Cowtown Marathon in a couple of weeks. After the run we met up with Jeff's wife (Annie) for lunch and then headed to the course for packet pick-up and athlete meeting.  At this meeting we ran into Lee and John who were participating along with Byron who is the sherpa-friend extraordinaire.  It was during the athlete briefing  that I believe I fell in love with Ultra Trail runs.  Liza (helping the RD's) gave us the rules and regulations of the race.  Typical stuff of do not litter and stay on course, but the best part:

DO NOT POOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL

Right then and there I knew I would love the race and the ultra trail run community. Once the meeting was over we headed back to Jeff's for pizza and bed time.  Bed time was right around 8:30p as we had to wake up at 2:30a to get packed and head to the race.

Saturday, January 8th. Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra Trail Race Day.

2:30am comes early.  Too Early.  Luckily we had prepared the majority of our needs the night before and it was just a matter of getting our gear into the car and then making breakfast to take with us and coffee to go.  There was not much talk about the race on the way up but lots of jokes and laughter going on, which would be a foreshadow of the day to come. We got to the park around 4:15am figuring we would see a line of cars entering but there were none.  We drove right up to the booth and asked the woman allowing us access if there were a ton of cars earlier and she said "No.  Maybe 6 0r 7."  Immediately we thought we could have gotten another hour's worth of sleep but we were here and were able to get a great parking spot right near the bathroom.  After eating our breakfast it was time for me to take a nap.  I set my alarm for 5:30am and closed my eyes.  5:30am comes faster than 2:30am but I was ready. We grabbed our drop bags and walked to the start line.  Found our bag spots and then went into the tent to try to get warm.  It was mid-30s and it felt colder.  I had on 4 layers of tops, a pair of compression shorts, compression socks, Hoka Stinson, two pairs of gloves and a wool hat.  When Liza told us to get headed toward the start line that is what we did.  Our strategy was:  run steady.  We knew we would have to walk eventually but staying as steady as possible was our goal. Loop #1: The clock struck 6:00am and we were off.  Headlamps and flashlights everywhere.  Foot steps abound and the start of my first 50 miler was upon me. Jeff and I were running in single file with all the others and we were telling jokes and laughing and getting people into the spirt.  This was going to be a long day so may as well make the best of it.  When you are running in the dark you cannot tell if you are going uphill, downhill or flat.  You are just running.  About an hour into the run the light starts to break through the trees and you can now tell where you are at and begin to put your strategy in place. Our strategy was rather simple:

  • Walk the uphills, run the flat, cascade downhill and watch your footing.
  • Stop at every aid station to get whatever looked good.  Drink water at the very least.
  • Drink from our hydration packs at every mile.
  • Laugh, tell jokes and engage other runners in conversation as much as possible.

We hooked up with Marc around daylight and he instantly joined in the joking.  We were laughing so hard and just making fun of life while clicking off the miles.  Marc, in hindsight was smart, would walk more than us then run and catch up.  He held a steady pace with us and allowed us to forget where we were in terms of miles as we kept moving and joking and laughing.  After a bit more we latched onto Fabrizio who is South American (from Brazil and living in Houston) who was also doing his first 50 miler. This group of 4 was great to run with as we all had different backgrounds and stories.   After a while Fabrizio dropped off and we picked up Gayle who was the true definition of steady.  We 'allowed' Gayle to pull our little train for quite a bit until we entered the aid station and after that I took over pulling.  After 2:40 we were done with Loop #1.  Quick change of baseball hat on and wool cap off then  go.  Time for Loop #2 Loop #2: When you start the second loop you realize the areas where you should have slowed down or walked a bit more.  You also realize how many roots are on the trail.  I was amazed that we got through this section without falling down on our faces.  Jeff and I talked and decided that once the uphills caused strain on either of us we would walk and then reach the flat and go.  During loop #2 you pass the marathon distance and we decided to GoPro us going past this 'magical' distance marker.  I looked at my watch and saw 4:17…..not bad for a road marathon let alone a trail marathon.  Maybe a bit too hard. Gayle was with us and trudging along and when we hit Mile 28 Jeff and Gayle congratulated me for passing my longest distance run.  A PR set in the middle of a race doesn't happen often but it did at RR50.  A few more miles later and we passed the 6 hour mark and I thought to myself:  This is way harder than an Ironman but I kept it to myself as I did not want any bad mojo being released into the air. It was toward the end of this loop that we came across an aid station and they had KING CAKE.  Are you kidding me?  I did a double take and stared hard but chose to keep to my one oreo and two cups of water routing going at this point as I did not want to add anything to my stomach that I wasn't sure I could handle.  I was doing body checks and made note that my feet were feeling good, legs were tired and beat up but not impossible to keep moving and my HR was staying in the high Z1 or low Z2 range.  If my HR crept up too much going uphill I would tell Jeff and we would start to walk. Coming back into loop 2 finish was a tremendous feeling.  We did loop #1 in 2:40 and loop #2 in 2:52 with more walking.  We were feeling good about our progress but it was time to lock down and move.  In the drop bag area we added our liquid nutrition to our vests and grabbed a few bites to eat then it was back out for the next and final loop. Loop #3 Immediately I knew this was going to be hard as my feet entered shuffle mode.  I am not sure if you could have slid paper under my feet at this point but I was happy that they kept moving forward.  We stuck to our strategy and while we kept moving you could tell that our paces had slowed going up the hills and going down the hills was a much more gingerly activity. Marc caught up with us again and it was awesome to have him with us laughing.  Approximately 1/2 way through Marc took off and told us we would see him again further up but the next time we saw him he was waiting for us at the finish line.  Such a great and classy move.  Once Marc took off we came up on the one area that we knew had a huge puddle and there was not an easy way around it.  The first two loops I stepped easy so as not to get my socks and feet wet.  This time around with legs not responding as quickly as they were earlier I stomped, like a person killing a roach in a dark apartment, into the mud and got my feet wet and mud up my socks.  I did not care and just wanted to get out of this. Further through the trail, which was in terrific shape, considering hundreds of athletes did 4 loops on the course the week before for the Rocky Raccoon 100 and a few more hundred were going through the course again for the 50,  Jeff and I knew that the mud hill would slow us down and potentially keep us from going under 9 hours.  What we did not expect was me smashing my foot onto one of the rocks and sending a jolt up my IT Band that never loosened up.  Now, it was Jeff's turn to pull and at this point a couple of things happened that I will never forget:

  • Jeff telling me that we had come this far together and that I had done so much to get him to this point that he wasn't leaving my side.
  • Jeff saying that going through this shit was what made friends for life.

Hearing those two statements was a real pick me up and allowed me to block out the pain I was feeling in my leg.  We were calculating times to reach the finish line in 9 hours and we would both say that we did not care because of the lessons we were learning for LM100 but inside I wanted under 9 hours and I know Jeff did too.  My original thought was that we would finish between 8:30 and 8:45 and I wanted to be as close to that as possible.  With about 1.5 miles to go Jeff said that if we run up that hill and bust ass all the way in we would get in under 9 hours and with that we took off.  I did not give it a second thought.  I did not care how much pain I was in.  I wanted under 9 hours.  .25 miles into this all out run we saw Byron who took our pictures and gave us the push we needed and our paces picked up to the point of 7:00/mi.  We were hauling ass. Coming down the final stretch and hearing our wives, the spectators and volunteers cheering and there wasn't a single sore muscle other than my face from smiling so much.  I looked at Jeff and said:  We did this shit man.  It was the best feeling ever.  Greater than crossing the finish line of my first Ironman because it was that much harder.  As we crossed I saw 8:53:xx and then thought: THAT LIAR!  Either way crossing when we did was a testament to our plan for clothing, nutrition, run/walk, hydration and the hours and miles of work we put in leading up to that point.

Rocky Raccoon 50 Ultra Trail Run Conclusion

There is no way around the fact that you have to do work, both in the months leading up to the race and during the race.  While the runs prior will help build the physical aspect it is the mental part that is tough to mimic.  Most people will not have gone past a 50k (31 miles) during training and it is at that point where it becomes the great unknown.  How will my body react?  How about my mind?  How much should I continue to eat and drink?  How do I feel?  There are so many questions that you may not be prepared for if you did not put together a strategy leading into the race or execute during the race. Doing a 50 mile ultra trail run is so challenging but the accomplishment is even greater.  The Rocky Raccoon 50 is a great way to get into this sport.  I found everybody to be extremely helpful.  I witnessed a tremendous amount of support for myself and Jeff but for other athletes out on the course as well.  It was tremendous to see people lift each other up and help when needed. Thank you to the race directors, volunteers and spectators for allowing me to share this spacial day with you.  This was my first but will not be my last ultra trail run. [flagallery gid=26]

Published in Race Reports

2013 Ironman Texas was raced on the surface of the sun or at least it seemed like it was.  Everywhere in America there has been a mild Spring and even here in Texas that can be said.  I checked the forecast every now and again and it showed a high of 89* and I was happy with that because last years Ironman Texas was raced in 93* heat.  A 4 degree cooler day was something to look forward to, but that never happened. I did not realize how hot it was going to get or had gotten until the race was over while Karen and I were talking to a couple near the morning clothes bag pickup.  Karen told me it was 96* and the couple we were talking to mentioned it got over 100* heat index with the humidity.  I then put it all together as to why I had some of the reactions I did during the race.  Here is how the 2013 Ironman Texas race broke down for me.

2013 Ironman Texas: Cramps, Cranks And Crying Feet The Story

2013 Ironman Texas Swim

I know what to expect at the Ironman Texas swim start having done it last year but even that did not prepare me for what was about to unfold.  The swim in Lake Woodlands is tight and when you have 2000+ athletes with anxious nerves waiting for the cannon to go off you have the makings of what is going to be a lot of contact.  Last year I was hit and was hitting for the first few minutes and then after that was always touching somebody but nothing compared to the 2013 Ironman Texas version. This year I was in constant contact with somebody until the 4th marked buoy.  It wasn't until then that I finally had some room to swim but I also know that I spent a lot of energy with a heart level that went anaerobic.  I wanted to get out of the scrum and the nerves and heart rate just kept climbing until I was able to settle into the swim.  At that point it was a matter of counting strokes to keep my head in the game and sighting on a normal routine.  The problem was that sighting was just as difficult as the water was choppier than last year.  It could have been that I was in the middle of the box or that the winds were whipping but either way I was swallowing water by the mouthful on what seemed like every breath.  This added to the anxiety as my mind wandered to whether or not the bacteria in that water was going to do a number on my GI later in the race. When I got to the first turn buoy I smiled knowing that 1/3 of the swim was over.  The 2nd turn buoy shows up quickly and I was in the middle of the 2nd third of the swim race and seemed to be able to settle a bit more.  It was then that the cramps in my calf muscles and toes decided to show up.  I have spoken with Maria a couple of times already to try to figure out what is going on since this also happened at Ironman Arizona.  I thought the problem at IMAZ was the very cold weather but the water temp in Lake Woodlands was 78* so there is no common denominator there. I brushed off the cramping as much as I possibly could but I could also feel that I was not holding the proper form in the water.  I decided to swim harder without much help from my legs to see if I could help shake off the cramps and by the time I hit the 3rd turn buoy my legs were no longer cramping.  The canal is a mind-f*ck as you think you are done but in reality still have the last 1/3rd of the swim to go and it just seemed like forever.  As I neared the end I was thrilled to know that I was finishing the swim and started getting the idea of transitioning into my head as well as the race strategy.  When I got out and saw 1:53 on the clock I was dis-heartened as I was way off my goal and saw nearly every bike gear bag gone.  I did not go into the changing tent as I did not want to sit down and reflect on the swim. I  changed outside of the tent, went inside and dropped off my bag and took some water and out to the bike rack I went.

2013 Ironman Texas Bike

I got on my bike as quickly as I could and started to focus on the race strategy as well as the nutrition plan.  Maria and John had given me a target HR of 140-144 with a cap of 150 and not to touch Zone 4.  My nutrition plan was to take in calories in the first 1.5 hours then water for the next 1.5 hours and switch back and forth.    When I started the bike I knew I was going to be in the back of the pack in terms of athletes and while controlling my heart rate removed the idea that I should also allow others to pass me on the bike.  In the first few minutes that mindset had to change and focus purely on my goals. I began passing a number of people and felt great on the bike.  My legs were not experiencing any effect from the cramping on the swim.  When my watch went off after 20 minutes I started taking in my calories.  I could start to feel the warmth and chose to take water at every aid station and drink as much as possible and pour even more over my head and down my back while inside the aid station area. When I reached the first aid station I also gave myself and internal fist pump.  At 2012 Ironman Texas I had to stop and use the porto-john and at 2012 Ironman Arizona I had a bike wreck.  Getting through that first aid station was a mental victory.  Time to settle into this race and see what the day brought me.  Then I heard what the day was going to bring me.  Something was grinding and rattling.  I could not tell where it was coming from but it reminded me of the noise I experienced at Rev3 Maine when the spoke on my wheel broke.  I made the decision right then that I was going to ride this until the wheels fell off, literally. The ride at Ironman Texas is fairly flat with only ~1600ft of climbing over the 112 miles but as I got toward the 2nd half of the ride I could feel my legs getting a bit more fatigued than I remember the previous year. I  was also drinking a lot more water at the aid stations then I could remember.  I didn't think anything of the temps until around the 100 mile marker when I ran out of my preferred nutrition.  It was at this point that I took 2 water bottles and a bottle of Perform.  I poured one bottle of water over my head, down my back and onto my legs. Approximately 5 miles past that last aid station I came to the realization that the temperatures had to be hotter than last year for me to take Perform off the course.  It is not something that I train with but I was willing to take the risk of GI distress as I knew I needed the electrolytes.  At this point of the race I had already consumed 750 calories of Herbalife24 Prolong and Perform, 400 calories of Huma Gel and 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot and still needed the Perform. As I got toward the end of the ride I started to focus on the transition and the marathon.  What was I going to do in terms of putting on my shoes, my visor.  Where was my bike going?  What about my helmet?  What was my target heart rate for the run?  All of these thoughts were going through my head as I prepared to dismount.  When I saw the clock read 8:03 I knew I had just ridden the fastest 112 miles of my Ironman career and my energy shot up.  I had 26.2 miles between me and a 3rd IM finish. Having slipped my feet out of the cycling shoes on the bike and handed it off I started to run toward the Run Gear bags and I immediately knew something was wrong.  My feet were killing me.  The outside edges were in so much pain and every step sent a jolt up to my neck.  The confidence of the run seemed to be slipping away but I was not going to let this stop me.  If I had to walk the marathon then so be it. At the changing tent I decided not to go in again.  Having my feet out of my cycling shoes it was a matter of putting my running shoes and visor on while dropping my helmet and garbage from the ride into the bag and off to get these 26.2 miles done.

2013 Ironman Texas Run

The goal heading into this years version of Ironman Texas was to run a sub-4 hour marathon.  Having seen the clock at 8:03 and an ~3 minute transition I figured I had until 12:06 to get that 4 hour marathon under my belt.  Math is not a strong suit when it is 114.4 miles into a race and the temperatures are touching 95* but that was the last time I would think about that 4 hour marathon until toward the end but a lot transpired between those two points. When I started running I knew I wasn't going to stop at aid stations unless it was unbearable.  What I found out right away was that the pain in my feet was nearly unbearable but I was not going to start walking this early.  I had a goal and my feet would be able to rest when I was done.  That was my focus and I wasn't going to think differently.  Of course as soon as I think that the cramps in my ribs started and were exactly the ones I experienced at 70.3 Puerto Rico in March. As quickly as I could I pulled my rib out and the cramping went away.  Every step was causing an issue and I finally stopped to walk at the 5th aid station.  Once done there I started running again and did not stop until I hit the 8th aid station. At this point I had a routine going.  Each aid station I would grab two cups of ice. One cup would go into my top and the other into my shorts. I would also dump two cups of water over my head.  Every other aid station I would drink perform or water.  I also had EFS Liquid Shot in my top and would take sips of that every 20 minutes.  The routine was working for me and I was able to run. I kept checking my heart rate and it was barely getting into the 135 range when the goal was to be between 150 and 160.  The pain in my feet played a part in this as each step was more painful than the last.  Seeing the carnage out on the course I was inspired but also had to stay focused on myself.  If I spent one moment looking around I would have realized how badly I felt as well and I could not risk that.  I knew I had a cheering section around mile 6, 15 and 24 of the marathon with Michelle, Michelle, Erin and other Team Figjam members as well as Karen, Jeff and Annie and the Kingwood Tri club.  I was not able to show my emotion for having this cheering section as I focused on myself but I literally experienced chills on a 100* Heat Index day each time I passed them and picked up their energy. As I was passing the Kingwood Tri club Jeff ran with me for a few steps and I told him that my feet were in so much pain and his words back to me were the words I needed to hear:  This is your last lap.  You are doing something others don't even think about. Soak it all in.  Between those words and the words of Maria and John ringing in my head I started to run harder and the pain in my feet left.  I was all the sudden on cloud 9. Last lap to Ironman #3 in 12 months.  I WAS doing something others don't dream about. Ice, water, Perform, mantra.  Over and over.  When I reached Mile 23 and I heard the music playing I started to dance.  I knew that I was only 3 miles away.  I got passed the cheering section and was running harder than I had all night. I had 19 minutes to reach a sub-4 hour marathon as well as a possible sub-12 hour race.  I was going and when I made the turn to the finish line all the joy in the world rained down on me.  I was finished and I soaked up the finish line as I noticed 12:03 on the clock.  I raced to a sub-4 hour marathon as well as a sub-6 hour bike.  For a day that started out like sh*t it was ending on a super high note. I crossed and a volunteer grabbed me.  Then a stranger came out of nowhere to say I will take care of him.  It was Jon from Twitter who told me he was going to catch me and then the sight of all sites.  Susan Lacke ran up and gave me the biggest hug. I cannot tell you how much it meant to have her there at the finish line with a huge smile on her face. My words to her after I hugged her were:  That was the fucking hardest race I have ever run.  Her words right back: After seeing you run I will never tell you to man the fuck up again.  And with that all was right with the world.  Jon and Susan walked me toward the shirts and I saw Karen.  I grabbed her and hugged her as hard as I ever had.  Instead of crying like last year I was smiling and laughing having thought I broke 4 hours on the run.  I was thrilled. We left Susan and Jon and went to the food tent then sat down with Jeff, Annie, Lesley and the rest of the crowd. Reviewing my splits I realized that I ran a 4:06 and not a sub-4 hour marathon.  My math went wrong when I didn't factor in the 10 minutes for the pros and that killed some of the high but I checked the splits of M40-44 and realized that I ran the 15th fastest marathon of my Age Group.  Something to build on for the next one.

2013 Ironman Texas Thank You

Thank you for being as hard as you were.  Thank you for pushing my limits.  Thank you for making me question what I had inside.  Thank you for allowing me to look back and see that finishing your course is an accomplishment that can never be taken away. Thank you to all of you who supported me whether it was on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just a silent prayer.  I truly appreciate it and can only hope to give back a fraction if what you have given me.

 

Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 11:44

Rev3 Maine Race Report

Rev3 OOB Maine was this past weekend and I can say it was a very wonderful experience outside of one item, which I will touch on at the end.  Going into this race I felt very strong.  I had dialed in my nutrition and hydration and training was going well.  The one item that did not happen was a proper taper but that is because the goal race of the second half of the season is Ironman Arizona and not this race.  That being said I was feeling good. I flew into Maine on Thursday evening and was picked up by Jen Small of Miles, Muscles and Mommyhood and her friend Mark.  We headed to her parent's house and got all settled in.  The next day we went for a morning swim to get used to the wetsuit, and for me, the water temperatures.  I was afraid that I would be freezing and that lent a large hand to some anxiety heading into the race. Saturday morning we went to a breakfast place and a surprise was given to me.  I was able to meet Jen Roe of From Fat To Finish Line.  This was a great surprise as I have been reading Jen's blog for quite some time.  After that surprise we headed to the expo to check in all our gear and then take a tour of the bike course.  Seeing all the turns and routes was going to be helpful for the race, or so I thought. When race morning came I was ready to go, but still had some anxiety over the swim.  This was my first time swimming in the ocean and so the start plus the ocean gave me some pause.  My wave was the first of the day and the horn was going off at an early time of 6:20am.  We got to transition and after checking out all my gear, including spinning through the gears on my bike (foreshadowing), we all headed to the swim start.  I jumped in the water and swam about 200 meters to get accustomed to the water and wetsuit.  All felt good and before I knew it the time to stand in the starter's chute was there. Standing in the starter's chute I felt the butterflies show up.  When the horn went off I hit my watch and ran into the ocean with the other M30-34 and M35-39 athletes.  I dove under a wave and started swimming.  I felt really good right from the get go.  I was sighting every 5 strokes and was able to spot the buoys, until the waves came and I splashed down into the ocean.  It was an odd feeling to start this way but got very comfortable right away.  Before I knew it I found the first buoy and the second buoy, which is the turn buoy and I knew I would be going with the current so I got settled in.  As I was going I quickly found one buoy after the other but by the time I hit the 4th buoy to turn I felt like I was swimming forever.  After making the turn I found the next buoy and was quickly getting pushed by the current to the right.  I swam toward the left as much as possible and felt like I was always getting pushed toward the pier.  When I finally hit sand with my arm I stood up and was given the advice to take my wetsuit off in the water.  I tried as much as possible and fought with the arms and then the legs were a battle.  After a while I finally got it off and started the 1500 foot run to the transition area. In the transition area I quickly got my bike gear on and headed out to the mount line.  The beginning of the bike course is up a hill and this should have been a hint that this course was not flat as I had been told.  I was told that there was ONLY 900 foot of climbing on the bike route and so I felt that the race was going to be fast.  It was around Mile 5 that I finally felt my legs responding or so I thought.  I kept thinking that this was odd that my quads were so sore but thought it was due to swimming in a wetsuit and in the ocean and that they would finally loosen up.  At that point my pace picked up and I felt like a strong ride was coming along until it wasn't.  The ride felt slow like molasses and then I had the be-jeezus scared out of me at MattyO passed me yelling.  After my HR got back to normal I picked up my pace and felt as if Matt's screaming was a shot in the legs.  Then the failure happened.  I stood up at the base of the first big climb as my legs were just not responding and I heard a loud metal ping followed by a few metal pings.  I quickly pulled over got off the bike and spun my front tire to no noise.  I then started to spin the back tire and that is when I noticed the broken spoke.  I tried bending the spoke to wrap it around the other spoke to no avail. I then picked up the bike over my head and walked up the hill.  I needed time to cool off and get my mind straight and walking up the hill I figured would do both.  When I got to the top of the hill I started messing with the spoke again.  I tried flexing it to get it to snap but it never did.  As I was trying to bend the spoke it would slide a bit.  I finally slid it to the point that I was able to remove it from the wheel and able to start pedaling again.  I immediately heard the noise of an aero tire not having all its spokes.  Instead of the sound of a swarm of bees I heard a wind howling through the tire.  I was caught off guard and pulled back the reins of the ride until I started getting passed by more and more athletes.  I was even passed by a guy on a bike with toe cages and newtons.  That's right this guy did not even have clips and I got pissed at the situation and started riding harder and yelling at myself. What was I yelling?  I was yelling to myself:  You are a f'n runner.  You will run hard.  You will run strong.  You will run with anger and pass all the m'fers that just passed you.  Just get to the mount line and start the hunt.  Before I knew it I was heading down toward the dismount line.  I removed my feet from my shoes, dismounted and ran into transition.  Being so fired up I ran right past my transition area and had to back track.  I put my bike in its spot tossed on my running shoes and visor and took off.  I ran with purpose from the beginning. My pace felt fast and strong and sure enough at Mile 1 the watch beeped and I looked down to see 7:47.  My first thought was to pull back, followed by the second and most powerful thought of keep running and if you blow up then you blow up.  I kept my plan to grab water at each aid station and take a swig of EFS from my flask every 2 miles.  My goal for the race changed to running a 1:48 which would get me to the finish line in 5:40.  I started hammering out the miles and fortunately I did not wear my HR monitor so I had no clue what zone I was in and didn't care.  I was running ANGRY. I was hoping to see Matt further out on the course as I wanted to try to make up as much time on him as I could.  I knew he had a huge lead on me and if I could close that gap at all I knew I would have a strong run since Matt is a strong runner.  I never looked at my watch unless I heard the mile beep.  I calculated in my head that I could not have a mile that was slower than 8:20.  As the miles ticked off and the paces showed up I knew I was having a very strong run. I finally saw Matt around Mile 6 for me and Mile 7 for him.  I yelled that if I caught him that he had to become a vegetarian for a month.  I wanted to help try and push him but he quickly responded with:  You have to eat a bacon cheeseburger if I beat you.  Well his words powered me and I started running harder.  I finally passed Jen at the 6.5 mile mark and gave her some encouragement and then started the hunt.  I was passing people and they were all encouraging me and telling me that I looked strong.  At Mile 10 I felt the rub of my pinkie toe against my shoe.  I decided to run sans socks and when that rub happened I knew I was facing a huge blister.  Ignoring the pain in my quads, Achilles and toes I kept on pushing the pace and turned the corner toward the finish line.  Knowing I only had so far to run I pushed even harder and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:36. All in all I had a great race even with the issues of the rear wheel.  After the race as I was walking my bike back to the car I noticed that the back tire was rubbing against the brake pad and I figured that this started from the beginning and caused the issues of my legs feeling so heavy from the outset.  I finished the bike in 3:04 and while not too bad it was about 20 minutes slower than my past two 70.3 bike results.  This course also had 1500 feet of climbing and not 900 feet like I was led to believe. The biggest disappointment of this race was the finish.  Not the finish line but the after race eats.  NOTHING for a vegetarian.  There were sandwiches of Ham & Cheese or Turkey & Cheese.  Your other choice was a lobster plate that you had previously paid for.  Again not for a vegetarian.  When I asked for water I was told that it was only at the finish line or I could pay for more.  I could pay for more?  Really?  I just paid $275 or whatever for this and there are no bananas, no oranges, no pretzels and I could PAY for water?  Yeah, not so much. The venue was terrific.  The crowd support at the beach was excellent.  The bike course was terrific and the run course was phenomenal.  This had a lot of positives for an inaugural race and one I would recommend doing if you are looking for a terrific place to race. In terms of my goals they stacked up pretty well: Swim Goal: 37:00 - 39:00 Actual: 39:43 (my watch measured 1.4 miles on the swim and I swam on the buoys very closely) Bike Goal: 2:50-3:00 Actual: 3:04:52 (I think that I lost about 20 minutes with the rear tire issues including the time spent to remove the broken spoke) Run Goal: 1:50 - 1:53 Actual: 1:45:22 (run Angry my friends, run Angry) Finish Goal: 5:23 - 5:38.  Actual: 5:36:18 Thank you for reading!

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Published in Race Reports
Friday, 25 May 2012 12:43

Ironman Texas Video Review

Ironman Texas is now in the rear view mirror but I am going to bask in the glow of the accomplishment for the next week or so.  And I say that because I realized yesterday thanks to KC and Summer that Ironman Arizona is 25 weeks away.  I'm not sure what Coach has planned for a training cycle but if it is 22-23 weeks like Ironman Texas that means that training will pick up here in a few weeks.  The best part is that about halfway through the training cycle I will be heading to Maine for Rev3OOB to meet Jen,MattyO and Heather, Laura and Mandy.  Exciting times. Winners of the Ironman Texas Giveaway for predicting my times correctly are as follows:
  • Overall:  Kevin --> He predicted 11:29:34 which is the closest without going over.  He wins a case of CorePower of his choice of flavor.
  • Swim: Bob --> He predicted 1:29 and gets a couple of boxes of protein bars from my sponsors Carla and Eddie Weber from Herbalife.
  • Bike: Kevin --> He predicted 5:58:32 and wins a canister of Herbalife Prolong that I use on the bike.
  • Run: Kevin --> He predicted 4:06:17 and wins the book Heart of Iron
I will contact you both for your addresses and to mail out these as soon as possible.  For those of you that entered CTERman Virtual Event I will have an email out to you today for your addresses and what you won. Enjoy the movie and thank you for watching.
Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:44

Ironman Texas - Run Recap

Ironman Texas - Swim Recap can be found here. Ironman Texas - Bike Recap can be found here. ========================================== After telling Scott I felt great it was time to head to the Run Gear bags.  I yelled out my number and the volunteer pointed me to where it was.  I ran down there and was handed my bag and toward the changing tent I went.  I noticed that not everybody was running into the changing tent and I thought to myself why would I go in there.  I can slip on my shoes (I had removed my feet from my cycling shoes on the ride so I had no bike shoes on), turn my race belt around, put on my visor, grab my handheld and go.  So that is what I did.  I got out of T2 in an un-MattyO like 3:55. Now here is where this is screwed up I thought.  I still had to run through the changing tent to get to the run course.  Why?  That was the flow of traffic and it slowed me down.  Probably a good thing though.  As I exited the changing tent I had them slap that goopy mess of sunscreen on me because I did not pack any into my Run Gear Bag (remember this for Ironman Arizona in November.)  They lathered my shoulders, my legs, my neck, nose and cheeks and off I went. I looked down at my watch and it was still running so I was happy to have it with me to check my heart rate.  As I looked down at my watch I saw my goal Heart Rate for the run of 155bpm.  That was going to be the top end for me and so I started out with that in my head.  Within moments you are at an aid station. Following my plan of stopping at each aid station and walking 30-45 steps I began to implement my plan.  I took in some water and squeezed a sponge on my head and then about 5-6 sponges into the top of my race kit and zipped up. You head out onto a grassy section where you do a complete 180* turn and then head up a steep grassy hill.  Now the hill is only about 3 steps long but it could be dangerous because the footing is not solid.  Once over that hump you are into a parking lot and doing a lot of turns and zig-zags.  The best part is that you are under a canopy of trees but this also screws with your satellite connection to your watch.  I saw I was at an 11:00/mi pace but told myself not to move faster because the data was getting screwed with because of the turns and trees and having to locate the satellites.  Keep steady, keep strong and only walk at the aid stations. Each aid station is so loaded you could get through without bringing any nutrition or hydration of your own.  If you train with what is going to be on the course then you would be all set.  Since I love the EFS Liquid Shot Kona-Mocha I trained with it and was using that in my handheld.  I also had two HoneyStinger waffles broken in half in my race kit to be consumed every two hours. As I was running I started to notice a lot of people walking.  The problem is you don't know if they are on Lap 1 or Lap 3 and are walking.  Either way my observation was that there were going to be more and more walkers along the way.  I got passed by a few people here and there but for the majority of the time I was passing people.  I could hear people complaining about the heat and I thought to myself this isn't hot.  I again go back to the fact that I trained with 5-6 layers of clothes on and forced my body to adapt to the heat and humidity that we would face.  This helped immensely at this race. About one-third of the way through Lap 1 I heard footsteps coming up on me.  They were moving fast but there was no heavy breathing.  My initial reaction was that this person must have just started and they are going out too hard.  Sure enough as I got passed and I looked to my right this person was hauling ass.  They were not breathing heavy and their cadence was quick and light.  I looked down at the calf to make sure they weren't in my age group and noticed the P.  I just got passed by Caitlin Snow as if I were a volunteer handing out water.  She looked effortless and within 30 seconds she was out of eyesight.  It was unreal to see that speed at what proved to be her third and final lap. The run course is gorgeous.  There are some easy rolling hills but nothing that saps your energy or takes your breath away.  Having aid stations approximately every mile apart was perfect.  I knew that I would drop off the sponges, grab a cup of water or ice, then more sponges and be on my way.  It was a perfect cadence and rhythm  through these aid stations.  At one point I thought I need to really keep everything cool and so I stuck two sponges down my short and into my crotch.  As I was running I was thinking what if I have to pee will I take the sponges out and go or just pee on the sponges.  I'm not sure if this was the same thought from the volunteer who just handed me the sponges or not but after she saw me jam down my shorts she made this look of disgust.  I laughed so hard and said:  Jason take them out if you have to pee. After the 30 minute mark and the 2nd 15 minute alarm the watch started to really go nuts and beep.  At around mile 5 I looked down to see where my heart rate was at and my watch was blank.  The battery finally died and it became a race of perceived exertion.  Where am I?  How do I feel?  Are you breathing heavy?  Are the legs hurting?  All questions I would ask myself for the remainder of the race.  Each time I asked the response was you feel great keep plugging along. Toward the end of each lap you get onto the canal and it is lined with spectators.  People cheering for their athletes but as I came around for Lap 1 it was kinda dead.  I yelled out to the crowd that I understood we were having all the fun but let's hear some noise.  Let's get some cheers going and they responded.  Right after that I came up on the Kingwood Tri Club tent, which Jeff is a part of, and sure enough a sign.  Powered By Veggies....Go Jason!  I almost peed' myself from laughing.  It was the perfect sign to see. Right after that I caught up with a guy and we started chatting.  He told me he was on Lap 2 and ready to be done.  I told him he has to look at this like a 5K.  The first mile you fly and love life, the 2nd mile sucks and you are wondering why you are out there, the third mile you are so geeked to be finishing that you turn up the speed.  He thanked me for the analogy and off he went.  I kept at my pace because I was still on Lap 1. Midway through Lap 2 and the bladder was yelling at me.  I knew it was about time to release and so I took out the sponges and started peeing everywhere.  It felt magical and made me feel a lot lighter until my stomach rumbled.  It wasn't a rumble of you have eaten too much and drank too much but more along the lines of having eaten a big meal and your body had to get rid of the waste.  I crossed over the bridge and into the Swim Start area where there were 15-20 porto-potty's.  Stupid me ran past them thinking I could hold it.  Looking back:  Hold it for what stupid?  Anyway about 1:00 past the porto I was faced with turning back and going, keep going forward and potentially be the cover of a poster for Ironman who doesn't quit regardless of situation but then I remembered the bathroom I used at 6:30am was right around the corner. I must have had this look on my face of desperation because a volunteer was about to enter the bathroom when he gave way.  As a matter of fact he did not enter with me either.  I blew that place up and I apologize to those that had to go in there after me.  Let me tell you though about 5 pounds lighter and this race was ON.  I got out of there ready to roll.  My pace felt like it picked up and I started passing more and more people.  Keeping steady to not overheat myself though. Toward the end of Lap 2 I saw Karen sitting at the Kingwood Tri tent and I yelled at her and she yelled back.  It was great to see a friendly face at that point knowing that within the next 8.5 miles I would be an Ironman.  I chugged along and each time you pass through this section you hear Mike Reilly calling out somebody else's name and saying YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.  I played this vision over and over in my head.  My goals times were out the window as I didn't have a watch and just wanted to keep running.  Walking was never an option and especially on Lap 3. I was on cruise control and running strong when Jeff of Apex Endurance caught up to me.  I asked me where we were at because I had no watch.  He told me it was 6:40p and that we had about two miles to go.  I said to him that we have 20 minutes or 10:00/mi to beat 12 hours.  I was ecstatic to think that.  After hearing that I came up on Karen again and handed her my handheld.  I honestly wanted that thing gone at Mile 18.  I was tired of drinking the EFS at that point and even more tired of carrying it.  At Mile 20 I took in some coke and a mini-brownie.  Then at Mile 24 took some more Coke and that would be the end of the nutrition/hydration.  Giving Karen that handheld felt like an anvil was being let go from my hand. Jeff began to pull away and I just kept running.  When you know you are getting closer your pace picks up, and the volunteer directing traffic between the 2/3rd laps and finish was awesome.  When she saw me veering for the finish she smiled bigger than me and said you are almost done so soak it up.  Coming up that hill and into the finisher's chute was something I will never forget.  Karen, Jeff, Scott, Annie, Shannon and Lesley were all there cheering hard.  Hearing their voices was incredible. Now the finisher's chute starts but then you have to make a right turn and then a 180* turn to head back toward the Finish Line.  I was beyond word and high-fiving people when I heard some spectator say you only have 30 seconds to beat 12 hours.  Mike Reilly said something along those lines as well.  Then I saw our friend Stefanie yelling my name and cheering and I just bolted up the hill.  I saw 11:59:4X and knew I would be in under 12 hours. As I neared the finish line I pumped my fist and just let out a yell then jumped high over the finisher's line.  The catcher grabbed me and put her arm around me, then asked me to dinner and a movie.....just kidding.  She asked how I was feeling and I told her great that I just needed a moment.  To them that means medical and ice.  Told her I didn't need any of that and I was just overwhelmed with the enormity of the whole process. From training to racing to finishing.  The whole idea was incredible and now it was over.  She walked me to get my medal and lo and behold:  Chrissie Wellington.  She put the medal over my head and then said to me:  Way to crush that course Jason.  I smiled and thanked her and kept moving.  Another volunteer poured ice down my back and chest, I was handed a shirt and cap.  They took me over to take pictures and were going to shepherd me to the athlete lounge when I told her I wanted to hug my wife. I walked over to Karen and grabbed her and held on for dear life.  Each second that passed my grip on her got tighter as did hers on me.  My tears were flowing (as they are now) and I could barely keep my composure.  I kept telling her how much I loved her and thanked her profusely for going with me on this journey.  As tough as it was to wake up at 2:30-3:00am every day to train it was harder on her.  Lots of missed family time and friends but through it all she kept me moving forward toward this dream.  I cannot say it enough but without her this day never happens.  Thank You Karen.....You Are An IRONMATE! After the crying and hugging we walked into the athlete lounge where the worst part to the whole adventure took place.  I walked to Freebirds to get a burrito and asked for the veggie burrito.  The lady handing them out promptly went into the whole you need protein.....OMG LADY I JUST RACED AN IRONMAN. GIVE ME THE F'N VEGGIE BURRITO NOW!  I then told her that the burrito had plenty of protein in the black beans and what I really needed and anybody out here needed was CARBS.  After that moment came a better moment and that was running into Susan and Neil again.  Just two great and wonderful people. After all that was over Karen and I went alone to our favorite after race or hard workout spot.  IHOP!!!!!  Those pancakes never stood a chance. Stats: 4:09:43 (9:31/mi) –> Goal 3:55 - 4:00 First Lap: 8.4 miles: 1:11:01 for 8:27/mi pace Second Lap: 8.5 miles: 1:26:08 for 10:06/mi pace First Lap: 8.4 miles: 1:26:24 for 10:04/mi pace 0.7 mi: 6:10 for 8:48/mi pace Division Rank: 113 (moved up 91 spots from the bike; moved up 171 spots from the swim) Gender Rank: 544 (moved up 481 spots from the bike; moved up 1010 spots from the swim) Overall Rank: 443 (moved up 404 spots from the bike; moved up 771 spots from the swim) And for those keeping score at home: #1s on the run:  1x #2s while on the run course:  1x #3s while on the bike: 0x Thank you for reading.  Come back tomorrow for the overall experience and wrap-up. [gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]
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