back the language, it was that kind of day. Just warning you...
I was really looking forward to this 70.3! After the debacle at Syracuse and all the lessons learned, knowing the Timberman course like I do and the projected cooler (high 70's, low 80's) weather forecasted, I thought the conditions would be perfect for me to crush the race. Friday was spent getting up to the venue, getting checked in, meeting with the great Ironman staff (story to come about that later) hitting the expo to buy race gear and then a quick swim and run with J and Kim.
Race day wake up came at 3am (never ceases to amaze me that I can't get my butt out of bed at 6am to get ready and into work but will be an alarm on race day) packing everything up and heading to the venue to get parked. Great parking spot found it was time to head into transition to set up. I will say that I really enjoy setting up my transition area. Its a great, quiet time to envision the race. How you'll get into and out of the transition, what you'll need, how to finish. I use it as a great visioning exercise for the day and a way to cement locations and paths I want to take to and from. I find it very settling. I also get a little chuckle to lighten the mood by seeing folks layout their living room's worth of stuff around their bikes. I understand the wanting to have everything but people you just don't need to have it there.
I have to say, I wasn't nervous at all...getting my wetsuit on, getting down to the start, swimming a bit in the water (which felt great by the way), right up until I queued up in my wave. I have no idea why but a hurricane of butterflies hit my gut as I stood there. All I could do was close my eyes, take deep breaths, focus on the task at hand and get ready to enter the water. Now when you sign up for Ironman races they ask you to write a short bio about yourself and why you're doing this race...imagine my surprise when they read MY bio as we entered the water. I was blown away and to be quite honest, very moved. I get so focused on racing and times and such that I forget how far I've come. I yelled "thank you!" when the announcer wished me the best of luck and couple of my fellow racers leaned over to shake my hand and wish me good luck as well. All the nerves went away. I thought to myself that this will be a great swim for me and started to move toward the front of my wave. I've spent way too many races now seeding myself in the middle or back. I'm gonna find a pair of feet to hop on and if these guys wanna swim, they can swim over me!
The horn goes off and I start swimming. I know the first few hundred meters will be a meleé so I just focus on keeping a good line and concentrating on form. The Timberman swim course is more of a rectangle (short to first turn buoy, long to the second, short into the exit) so my goal was to get out in open water by the first turn, try to find feet to hop onto and swim hard to the last turn buoy. I knew I was swimming hard because I was breathing every other stroke and while I felt the effort, I felt really good. I just focused keeping calm, sighting the next buoy, swimming hard to it, focusing on form (especially not dropping my left shoulder at each breath), repeat. As I hit the second turn buoy to head home the feeling of a full bladder hit me. Now, unlike "real" swimmers I am unable to pee while swimming so the next 100 meters was spent debating whether to stop and pee or try to pee when I get into transition or while out on the bike (don't "eww", plenty of triathletes do it). I thought the best choice was to stop briefly, pee and then get back to business. Getting to the swim exit required swimming over people but I swam as far as possible (the lake is extremely shallow going out and coming in for quite a way) before standing to get off my cap/goggles and start getting my wetsuit off. As I exited the water I glanced down to pause my Polar RCX5G5 and saw that I just did the swim on 39:30!!! Are you kidding me?! I couldn't believe it. Did I really just knock 6 minutes off my swim PR?! I was afraid to dwell on it just in case I read the watch wrong but I could crack a smile that the day seemed to start off very well. I changed my focus on getting to the bike, getting off my wetsuit and getting out for the bike leg without incident. Unfortunately I nicked something heading out of transition and lost control of the bike for a second but recovered quickly, mounted and was on my way.
Saturday was spent milling about the expo and venue, checking in bikes and buying tons of Timberman gear. Very rarely do I buy race-event gear but after not buying stuff at Syracuse (losing it all in a taken bag, long story) and nothing in my size being available online after the race, there was no way I wasn't going to have enough Timberman 70.3 gear! Then it was back to the hotel for simple dinner and an early night's sleep.
|Nice and clean layout|
|Calming the nerves|
The Swim: 1.2 miles, 38:35 - 2:02/100m (a new PR!)
|I look surprised because of my time!|
T1: 3:02 (not great but not bad)
The Bike: 56 miles, 3:00:03 - 18.66mph (not what I wanted)
Ok, here's where all the lessons learned from Syracuse had to kick in. I started drinking water as soon as the course flattened out and popped 2 salt tabs. As I got settled into a good rhythm in the first mile I passed a terrible crash with a cyclist on his back, face covered in blood. So terrible, but medical personnel were getting there so I needed to shake it off and get back to work. I knew that there was a big hill coming at mile 11 or 12 so I had a few miles to build a head of steam, get a good rhythm/pace, get hydrated, get fed and prepared for the climb. I was averaging around 24mph and was feeling good. My legs felt great, I was force hydrating and got calories in me which should pay off big later in the race. There was a slight downhill into a turn around mile 9 and then the unthinkable happened. Going into the turn at about 28mph, the woman in front of me picked an outside line, so I picked one to the inside. About mid-way into the turn she decided she wanted to change direction and jumped to the inside...right in front of me and on the line I was taking...sending me straight into the pavement.
|You can see my whole left shoulder is purple already|
Now, I'm pissed. I'm angry that I've NEVER had a bike crash until now...NEVER. I'm angry that someone could be so stupid and jump my line at speed. I'm angry that my "redemption race" is slipping away. That anger fueled me to make sure I ate, hydrated and salt-tabbed and pedaled my ass off to the turn. I hit the turn to see I was averaging around 20mph thus far. Not anywhere near where I wanted to be...and then...I guess the adrenaline wore off. Coming home I felt like I was pedaling through mud and deep breaths were out because of the pain. Throw in that I was getting passed...by some people I had passed already...and by people who went by me with looks of horror on their face (which let me know I must've torn myself up worse than I thought) and that second 23 miles was torture. I just kept telling myself that I needed to bike as hard as I could because I knew I'd lose time on the run. I've never been so happy to get into transition. I only had a short run left, I kept telling myself its a series of 5ks and then I'd get that medal and get to wear my finisher's clothes (no one ever said triathlete thoughts were sane).
T2: 4:48 (not bad, terrible)
The Run: 13.1 miles, 2:32:22 - 11:37min/mi pace (horrible)
As I came into transition I thought I could quickly get out of cycling gear, get on my running gear and figure out how I felt on the run. But...my body had other plans. Getting off the bike and running to my transition spot was difficult. Bending over to grab my shoes was hard and getting my shoes on, even with flex laces, was excruciating. My fingers were bloody and stuck together, my hands were swollen and didn't want to work and I never thought the "pulling action" of getting on shoes would hurt my ribs so much. All I could see were stars...ok, ok...quick breaths, quick sip of water and get out on the run.
|Holding onto my jersey and my form has gone to crap.|
|You bet your ass I bought this picture!|