Ironman Louisville - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
83F / 28C
Total Time = 11h 01m 13s
Overall Rank = 263/2439
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 50/371
Pre-race routine:

Flew in late Thursday and drove to the Hyatt. Put the bike together and tried to get to sleep. Woke up early and went to the Galt House for registration. Met up with my friend Lisa and drove the bike course - or at least we thought we did. Lisa's bike was at Tri Bike Transport, so we met up later and rode a bit of the course (River Rd - it was fast! And hot!). Got cleaned up and scrambled to meet up with BTers at Starbucks before the Athletes Dinner. Up early for the practice swim on Sat (10 min w/o speedsuit, 10 min with) and then an easy 20 minute run. Went shopping for drinks (found some Powerade Zero at CVS, whew!), prepped gear bags and ordered pizza for delivery @ 5:00. Checked in bike and bags and then hunkered down for the night, trying to lie down as much as possible.

Got up just before my alarm went off at 4:00 - I swear I had one eye on the clock the entire night. Made coffee in the room (Einstein's was mobbed), ate a banana and a bar, mixed up my nutrition bottles and headed out.
Event warmup:

Not much - just walking around from downtown through transition to the swim start. Some stretching once the line started moving, but that's about it.
  • 1h 12m 21s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 52s / 100 meters

I was a bit nervous about the no-wetsuit swim in warm fresh water since I've done most (if not all) of my swim training in the chilly open ocean with a wetsuit. The practice swim really helped tho - if nothing else, just to let me know that swimming is swimming. I decided to wear my TYR speedsuit. I had been concerned about chafing, but liberal application of Body Glide = no issues! I was pretty far back in the swim staging line and could barely hear the National Anthem. I met a few cool guys while we were waiting to start and they held my place in line when I went over to chat with Lisa and her support crew. I was behind both line stoppages and was right at the last turn in the bleachers when they stopped it for the second time. They brought the troubled swimmer out on a gurney right in front of us and they were still administering CPR on the fly. It was very surreal. He had a bluish look - I thought I was imagining it until I heard the murmurs in the crowd and others commenting that he looked blue and some said that they thought he was gone. We were a bit shaken, but there wasn't really anything we could do. I just said, "think good thoughts" and shortly thereafter they started up the line again. At that time, I had no idea how much of a delay we had from the first swimmer - it was the last thing on my mind. I was kind of dazed. I just followed a couple of people along the dock, made the turn and crossed the mat. The pusher told me to go, go, go. That kind of snapped me out of it and I started my watch and jumped into the water. It's odd, but as soon as I started swimming, I completely forgot about the situation that just unfolded in front of us until after the race.

The swim is always my worst discipline, but I can get through a long swim if I just keep it relaxed and easy. I was surprised that I felt good the whole way - although the upriver section was definitely harder. There were a few cooler spots nearing the turnaround. Once we made the turn, I ended up swimming too far left a lot (I only breathe to the left and I tend to veer that way). I tried to focus more on sighting towards the end and hit the last few buoys straight on. It was nice to have the bridges to use as a gauge for the distance and the red buoy came up quickly. I was happy to see my time when I hit the mat.
What would you do differently?:

Be a faster swimmer. Train in the pool.
Transition 1
  • 04m 6s

Okay, I made a mess of this. Running was good, and they had my bag ready for me as I ran by, but from there it went downhill fast. I thought I'd get a jump on things by pulling my helmet out of the bag on the way to the tent. Yeah, not the best idea. I had a feeling I had sent my sunglasses flying, so I stopped to look back and saw another athlete bend down and scoop them AND my race belt/bib number up for me. Thanks bro! Hands full, I ran into the tent. Chaos. Normally, the routine is suit off, goggles on, helmet on - go! But for this race, we couldn't leave shoes on the bike, so we had to put them on in transition. And, when I put my sunglasses on in the dark tent, I couldn't see a thing. Great. Glasses off, helmet on. Grab shoes and...Ugh, speedsuit still down around my waist. Just then, a volunteer came by and grabbed my cap and goggles and put them in the bag. I got my suit off and he grabbed it. I picked up my shoes and glasses and ran out, thanking him and shaking my head. That could have gone better. It's a long day tho. Just thought it was funny. At the bike, I put on my shoes (lots of bikes gone), grabbed my bike and headed out, wondering how far behind the gun I started the swim.
What would you do differently?:

Grab the bag, run into the tent and dump things out. Put swim stuff in bag, helmet on, grab the rest and go.
  • 5h 28m 48s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.44 mile/hr

Let me just say I loved this bike course! From the flat & fast sections along River Road and the 42 to the punchy hills on 1694 and La Grange loop, I thought this was a fun and challenging ride. Everyone I saw was riding safe and fair and we were communicating well. The headwind just before La Grange wasn't too fun, but riding into town with the cheers from at the festival was pretty cool. I made sure to unclip and dangle my foot to have the sensor pick up my chip as I rode across the mat. The first time through, Mike Reilly announced me as I was coming through and said "way to go, Mikey!" That got me fired up. When we previewed the course on Friday, we turned left waaay too early (still in La Grange), so we cut off all of the Ballard School Road / L'Esprit / 153 section. As planned, I stopped at Special Needs and the volunteer that helped me was awesome. I was only stopped for about 15 seconds as she helped me swap out my bottles. As expected, the second loop started to get a bit tougher, and by mile 90 I was getting hot foot and looking forward to being done. Fortunately, the course was mostly downhill from there. The fast section along River Road back to downtown was not quite as fast as it was when I road it on Friday - may have had something to do with the 100 miles in my legs, eh? Down the stretch, I munched on some more Shot Bloks and salt and put the baggie with what little was left in my singlet pocket. I got out of my shoes and enjoyed the cheers from the spectators.
What would you do differently?:

I think this went just about as good as it could have. I'm very happy with my bike time. My splits were pretty even. The only thing I can think of is to manage power a little better in the beginning. I felt really good and probably worked too hard. My legs were tired and I was having trouble keeping my heart rate up towards the end of the ride. I think that last 20-mile section could have been faster. I also could have chosen to bring my rear disc, but I don't really know how much time that would have saved, if any. I didn't have a good feel for the course and I'm much more comfortable with the 90mm - especially with open roads with the possibility of passing trucks. I had also just received my power meter the day before leaving for the race and didn't have time to get it installed (not that I would have known what wattage to maintain - it's probably a good thing that I didn't bring it). I'll try to have all of that figured out by the next time I race.
Transition 2
  • 05m 54s

I had gotten out of my shoes, but I didn't do a flying dismount. I didn't know exactly where the dismount line was and the last thing I wanted to do was take a spill right in front of everyone. I stopped, got off the bike and stopped my Garmin, resetting it while running to the bike catchers. I asked the volunteer to power off the Garmin and I grabbed the one full bottle of Carbo-Pro mix off the back of the bike. When I started to run to the tent, I could tell it was going to be a tough run. An awesome volunteer helped me out and took my run bag when I was done with it. Socks, shoes, visor, full baggie of Shot Bloks / SaltStick and I headed for the porta-potty. After another minute or so I was off on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Use speed laces, remember to put my run Garmin in the run bag. Bring handheld bottles. Not have to use the porta-potty?
  • 4h 10m 4s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 32s  min/mile

So yeah...this run was a struggle. My goal time was 10:20 with a 3:30 run and I headed out of T2 at about 6:50, race time. Even though my legs felt horrible, I thought I might be able to maintain 8:00 - 8:15 pace the whole way. That was not to be the case. I realized I was falling off pace around mile 5 and then, just after the turnaround, somewhere around the 10-mile mark, I had to make a pit-stop to relieve some pressure. Afterwards, I felt good and continued running, but I was running 9-minute pace, not 8-minute pace. I had been force-feedng a couple Bloks every 20-30 minutes and I was taking salt and drinking my Carbo-Pro mix from my bike bottle, just taking sponges and water from the aid stations. The internal struggle was on. The turnaround near the finish was tough to take, but I just figured I'd get my money's worth and do the whole thing. By mile 15, My bottle was empty I walked through the aid station at mile 16, making sure to get enough ice water. I did this for pretty much every aid station through mile 22. I drank so much! Walking the aid stations slowed down my mile pace as I was up over 10-minute miles through the second loop. I still stayed with my nutrition and salt and kept taking the sponges and ice/water at the aid stations, shuffling as fast as I could between them. I experienced a lot of highs and lows and was trying to head off the dark periods with Shot Bloks. In hindsight, I probably should have taken them just a little bit more often (or taken one or two more each time) as there were times when I actually felt pretty good - and then others where I was bargaining with myself about when I would finally capitulate and let myself walk. After the last turnaround, I realized a sub-11 was still possible, so I tried to pick it up a bit. Lisa saw me running and we exchanged a high five and, shortly after, her support crew picked me out and shouted some encouragement. I ran through the mile 23 aid station, just grabbing ice water and then stopped to walk through the 2nd to last aid station, stocking up on ice/water for the last push to the finish. I took my last few Shot Bloks and when I passed the 25 mile mark, I had 10 minutes to break 11 hours. Great. 8-minute pace? I picked it up and it actually felt okay to run faster. I didn't have my Garmin and I know I felt like I was running faster than I really was. That last stretch on 3rd Street seemed like it went on forever, but the last 3 blocks went by in a blink, with all of the cheering and the excitement of the finishing chute. IronmanLIVE had that last 1.1 mile stretch at 9:10 min pace. Funny how you lose your sense of reality at the end of the Ironman. Still, the finish felt great - so good to be done!
What would you do differently?:

Take in a little more nutrition on the run - remember to bring handheld bottles! Put Garmin in run bag.
Post race
Warm down:

My catcher was named Olga. She was very nice and held my Finisher swag while I took a picture. She walked with me to the Convention Center and handed me off. I felt pretty good. No issues. Tight, of course, but not bad. I picked up my Morning Clothes bag and a few bananas and headed up to my room (so happy to be staying at the Hyatt at that point). Best shower ever!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of focused swim training (pool/masters) and lack of long bricks. I did a lot of 2-mile open-water swims, some tough 100+ mile bike rides with a lot of climbing and a couple of 20-mile trail runs, but I think that just helped with overall endurance. I've raced a lot this year, but obviously all shorter distances. I'm probably a victim of over-racing, but I like it all and I have trouble focusing on just one event. Still this was the biggest build I had for any race this season and I feel I got out what I deserved for what I put in. This was another learning experience and I think I need to do more longer sessions with late intensity so I can race late in the day. After about 7, 8, 9 hours, I don't feel like I'm racing anymore - I just feel like I'm in survival mode. Tough to train for that, I think.

Event comments:

I was impressed with the quality of this race. Of course, we caught a break with the conditions, but IMO the organization rivaled that of Oceanside, Coeur d'Alene and the Boston Marathon. The bike course was beautiful and while there weren't any real monstrous hills, it certainly wasn't easy. The run course was boring at times, but at least it was flat. I would definitely do this race again and have already recommended it to friends.

Of course, we found out later that the swimmer we saw taken out of the water passed away - most likely as a result of cardiac arrest and then drowning. So sad. I hope his family can find some peace. I still have not seen any official word from WTC, but I have seen some updates from Louisville online news agencies.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-09-04 12:00 AM
01:12:21 | 3862 meters | 01m 52s / 100meters
Age Group: 129/371
Overall: 824/2439
Performance: Average
Suit: TYR Torque Speedsuit
Course: Unique point-to-point time trial swim in the Ohio River. Starts upriver in the inlet between Towhead Island and the shore for 1300m, then 2500m downriver to T1. Buoys on the left.
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 85F / 29C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:06
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
05:28:48 | 112 miles | 20.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 37/371
Overall: 186/2439
Performance: Good
Ave HR: 138, Max: 153.
Wind: Little with gusts
Course: Lollipop course two 30-miles loops and one shorter out-and-back section (that you only do once). About 4,300 total elevation gain.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:54
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
04:10:04 | 26.2 miles | 09m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 68/371
Overall: 344/2439
Performance: Below average
Forgot to put Garmin in run bag on.
Course: Two out-and-back loops after one little detour across the 2nd Street Bridge.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5