Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ironman 70.3 Florida Race Report Part 1:

I'm going to write my race report in stages because I'm sure I'll forget something the first time and want to make an update.

It was Thursday May 15; I'm still a little sick and a little tired. I washed my bike and made a few final adjustments then packed the car. I went over my large check list to make sure I packed everything. I felt good about having everything so I headed off to bed.

It was Friday May 16 at 05:30 when my alarm went off, as I laid in my bed the fact that my race was just a few days away started to scare me. Not that I was afraid of it, but that it was so close and I'd have to put up or shut up. I've trained for 18 weeks and it was time to go, so I jumped out of bed and showered as quietly as I could. I tip toed into the kids room and gave them a kiss on the forehead, kissed my wife and left for my 500 mile drive. I was going to meet Eric at the Orlando Airport @ 02:00pm. Jumped in the car and started on my way, I had one small traffic issue, a car had knocked down a power pole and Rt. 78 was closed! The police had to divert us thru a parking lot, so I lost a few minutes but I was still on schedule. I made the dive in a good time and got to the airport as planned, I picked up Eric out front and we headed to the hotel so we could drop of all of our stuff. As we drove to the hotel we got to catch up a little, it had been a year since we got to hang out.

We unpacked the car and headed over to Disney to check in and pick up our race packets. Because it was Friday and the masses hadn't arrived yet check in was smooth and I we got to check out most of the tents. I picked up a new Zoot tri top and race belt and checked out the many Ironman branded nick knacks they had for sale. While we were looking at all of the tri crud I got Wes on the phone and got his location and made plans for dinner. We had a very nice dinner at Carrabba's with Wes, Dee Dee, Eric any myself. I think we were all excited about the race and a little spent because of all the travel. We said goodnight to Wes and Dee Dee and we headed back to the hotel to unpack and get some sleep.

Saturday May 17th, We woke up and got some breakfast and just hung out and catching up on current events and reminiscing about the old times. I should also add that Eric and his wife Sara are both training for Ironman Lake Placid on July 20th, so much of the time I was asking questions about training and was training going. After breakfast we drove the bike course to get a firsthand look at the route and see where these hills where. I did not see anything that look too tall just a from miles of rollers, so I felt much better, I have been training on much bigger hills. We finished up the drive and got to the Ironman village. Eric had shipped his bike so we went over to pick it up and get in a small 30 minute ride to work the legs a little and make sure the bikes where ready for the race. Once we got back into the village Wes had called and asked if we wanted to meet for lunch, we were both hungry so we checked out bikes into transition and we met Wes, Dee Dee and Kate for lunch at Davey Crockett's Tavern for a large lunch. After a nice lunch I looked at my watch and it was only like 3:00, but it felt like bed time, I think the long drive was getting too me. Soon we parted ways and Eric and I headed back to the hotel to drop our stuff off and get ready for a short run. We both got in a run, me 25 minutes and Eric ran 45 minutes, we headed to the hotel pool for some time to float around and just relax. After an hour or so at the pool we got cleaned up and went out for dinner and one beer (you know for good luck). We got back to the hotel and laid our transition bags, watched a little TV and just took it easy.

Sunday May 18th, We woke got ready and drove to Disney parking lot and took the bus over to where the race was, the line for the busses about a 500 people deep, but it moved quickly. Once on site we headed to transition dropped our bags and got body marked. We got back to transition and set up all of our stuff and made our way to the beach. Once we got down to the beach we found Wes and Dee Dee, I was glad to see them, Wes and I have been training and looking forward for a longtime. So we all hung out on the beach and got to see the pros go and a few waves take off. With about 10 – 15 minutes to go I started getting butterflies in my stomach about the swim, I knew I could make it, but my head was starting to play tricks on me. I needed to clear my head and focus, so I stepped away from Wes and Eric to try to center myself and watch the swim. This is the point where I lost Wes (sorry bro I didn't mean to), but they were calling my wave (red caps) and I need to get into the staging area.

The Swim:
I looked ahead and the furthest buoy looked real far, the water was dark, it still was a little dark, fear was trying to get a grip. The poor person that didn't make it out of the water at last week's Gulf Coast was on my mind and I could feel myself tighten up. With a quick blast of the horn I decided to Hardened The F%^& Up and jumped in the water and swam my butt of. I swam in the back and off to the side for most of the first leg, it took 300 meters or so before I felt my rhythm. The more I swam the better I was feeling, so I pulled inside a little more and started to swim more with the other swimmer and not in the boonies. I bumped a few times but nothing that caused me to lose my focus so I just kept going. I swam freestyle 100% of the time and only had to stop once for 1 or 2 seconds so a traffic jam could clear, I was real proud of my swim, this was a huge improvement from last year. I got out of the water in 41:19ish (my watch time) and made my way to T1, with a big smile on my face.

I got into transition and dried myself off a bit, my feet were covered with filth from the run up, it would have been nice if they had some trays with water for dunk and go. I had remembered to bring a bottle of water in past races but I left this off my list. I sat down and while I was cleaning my feet I called home and left a message I was out of the water, I know Maria was worried about the swim, so I didn't care about the extra minute in T1 if it made her feel better. Everything else was fine, but I forgot put out my chest strap and I had to search my bag for it. I grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line.
The Bike:
I mounted up and started riding, having fun, thinking about the swim still, boy I thought I swam good. I made my way out on the course and started drinking and eating as much as I could. This was my first time riding with my aero bottle and I found it real easy to drink from and refill. At about 5 miles into the ride my pedal or bottom bracket was making some noise, everything felt tight but the sounds where not that calming, I had the thought that if the BB was toast I would be done. The noise continued for another 10 miles or so and just worked itself out; I thought that was nice of my bike not to toss its cookies. I hit the first mile maker, mile 15 and I had 15.2 on my computer, I thought that was close enough, and I found that at every 15 miles or so I was that same .2 miles off, so first I was off .2 then .4 and then .6. During the first 30 minutes life was pretty good on the bike, but after that my lower back muscles started to get real sore and I could not ride in the aero position. If I rode up right my back felt better, so much of the last 2 ½ hours where spent in a less than ideal position. It was getting warm I had some sweat dripping of my head but just about when it was hot the rain rolled in and boy I started smiling. I knew the rain would make things a little messy, but it would cool it down and that's what we all needed. Once I got past the hilly section the rain stopped and I felt like I was on the home stretch. I think the bike was about 1 to 1.5 miles long, my computer was accurate for the other mile markers but in the end I was over, I had it as 58+. Eric passed me on the bike, said he was doing good and took off, I got to see he once more on an out and back section. I missed Wes all together, I guess he got out of T1 before me.


Once I got to T2, I ditched the bike, changed my socks and shoes, I was happy to have my long packing list that said extra socks for the run, drank some and grabbed a GU flask, my visor and headed out. I wish I grabbed some sun screen because I got a little toasted.

The Run from hell:
I ran out of T2 and needed to stop for a quick bathroom break, after that I ran for about 5 minutes and my right calf started to act up. I knew the run was going to be bad, and I knew I was going to have to walk part of the run so I hit the aid station and started to fill up, water, Gatorade, gels and cold sponges and ice. After 2 or 3 miles of walking with a few short runs tosses in Eric ran past me, he was on his seconds loop and said he was doing great. I was glad for him I knew he was training hard and he would just rip this race, he chatted for a bit and I said GO! Don't waste any time. My calf started to relax and my back was started to feel a little better so I started to mix in a few 2-3 minute run in with my much longer walks. Most people like to run and walk the aid stations, but I guess I like to walk and run the aid stations. I was really starting to feel a little sad that I wasn't running, I was feeling like a bit of a failure. But that didn't last long, I trained pretty hard, I gave up a lot to train, I gave up soccer games, lunch with the family and the list goes on, so I wasn't going to walk if I didn't have to. It was hot and I spent all on the swim and bike so I was ok with letting myself walk. I got past my time on the grass and got to the last paved section and ran most of the way into the finishing area.

The finish: I dug down and found a little for the end, not much, but enough to motor to the end. Thank you Wes and Dee Dee to waiting for me, when I turned the corner and say you two it felt great, it's been a long road bro. I got to slap hands and as soon as I left Wes and Dee Dee I could hear Eric yelling BMAC, or that's what I thing he was yelling, got another hand slap from Eric and headed down the last few meters to the finish. Hands raises for Joy, for the hard work, for the suffering, for the misses time with the family and for knowing that I can do anything if I work towards it.

Final thoughts:
I had a fear of the open water swim, so I focused much of my training on swimming and running was last on the list. I think I've put to rest my fear of OWS and my bike may not be 100% but I feel like I can really start to work on my running.

Thank you Maria, Emily and Maryelizabeth, without you guys none of this would have been possible. Thanks Wes and Dee Dee, thanks Eric I had a great weekend, and a race of my life (up to this point). Thanks to everyone at the office for putting up with me making them swim and run at lunch and listen to me blather on about triathlon.



Wes said...

Dude! I thought you were going to break this up into parts!!! ROFLMAO!!

I'm sorry, but I let out the biggest pffffftttttt! when you said you felt like a failure. OMFG!!! Most people were still in their f**king PJs when you crossed the finish line! You, sir, are a damn ROCK STAR!!! No doubt about it.

Now that you got that swimming and biking down, you can focus on running. You will improve!! Loads. This I know. I am so looking forward to training with you some more. I can't wait to hear about your future plans!

Happy tri-ing :-)

Kevin said...

Congratulations on a great race. you made it through it. YOU ROCK!!

Its funny I thought the same thing Wes did as I read through your post.. I guess you just got on a roll and wrote it all out in one part.

Sam said...

Make that 3 people thinking the same thing.

Any time you keep going and finish you're a winner in my book. A LOT of people just stop and even more never start. The details of the race are not important. YOU FINISHED a half Ironman!

And by the way- EVERY race report I have read about this race had people walking the run.

Marcy said...

Ummmm HELL YEAH! Dude, I will NOT EVEN touch a triathlon. Hi, too scary! LOL And it's not like a "little" one, it's 70.3!! The fact that you even finished makes you my hero. Seriously homie! You totally rocked! ;D ;D

teacherwoman said...

Nice job Brian. You did an awesome job and worked your ass off! You, my friend, are an inspiration!