Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
93F / 34C
Total Time = 12h 19m 3s
Overall Rank = 481/2028
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 45/204
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3:45. Ate my usual oat pancakes, Ensure, milk, coffee; ~600 calories. Drove to the race site and arrived too early - 4:40. I thought there might be a line to get into the garage. So, sat in the car and snoozed until 5.

Went into the transition area. Setup my bike with fluids. Squeezed a pile of Carmex onto my handle bar (for my lips in this dry heat). Added a couple of extra things to my transition bags - lip balm, extra endruolytes. I didn't use special needs bags, so didn't have to worry about those.

Hung around and people watched until it was time to put my wetsuit on.
Event warmup:

We had to swim about 200 meters to the start line. That would have been a decent warmup if we didn't have to sit in the water for 20 minutes waiting on the start.

Had a GU before getting in the water.
  • 1h 10m 54s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

It was finally here. The start of IMAZ. I moved to the dock and prepared to jump in. I saw Mike (mkmbharris) on the dock and we talked until they let us in the water. We joked about being at the same place for IMFL - we saw each other at the swim start there also. Time to get in the water. We looked like a bunch of penguins jumping in the water.

I positioned myself about 4 or 5 deep from the start line and about 200' to the right of the start bouy. My plan was to go hard for 200 meters then settle in to a good draft, breathe to the left sighting on other swimmers. The bouys would also be on my left. So there we were. Waiting. It seemed like forever. My little warmup swim didn't help because the 20 minutes of waiting really cooled me off.

National anthem...then boom. We're off.

I went out hard just like I planned. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of a warm up. Within the first 100 m I had panic attacks and couldn't get my breathing right. It was also one of the most physical starts I've been in. Lots of washing machine action, bumping, foot to the chin, tec. Just told my self "Continous motion, continous motion. Just keep moving. It'll get better." Tarzan swim. Head down swim. Tarzan swim. Head down swim. After a couple hundred meters I got my breathing under control and settled into a good rhythm.

I breathed every stroke to the left and sighted off swimmers to my left. When possible I latched onto someone's hip and stayed there until they verred off or I just lost them. I never really sighted for a bouy. Maybe sighted 4 times the whole swim. Everytime I passed a bouy I saw it on my left about 100' away. I seemed to be swimming straight and sighting off of the other swimmers was working well.

The first leg of the swim out to the red turn around bouy was very physical. Lots of bumping going on. After the turn, the swimmers really spread out. Found a swimmer going my speed and latched onto his hip for probably half the return swim. After a while I lost him and really didn't get another good draft.

Crossed into the shade under the Mill Ave bridge and then turned for the stairs. Up the stairs, hit my watch. 1:10. 2 minutes off my goal time. But I'll take it. The swim seemed easy (except for the start) and seemed to go by fast. OK. Let's bike.

What would you do differently?:

Try to remain calm at the start. Get a better warmup. Swim harder. My avg HR of 144 is low. I usually average in the mid 150s for a HIM distance swim. Overall a good swim.
Transition 1
  • 06m 15s

Long run from the wetsuit strippers to the T1 bags. Grabbed my bag, sat in the grass outside the change tent. Socks on, shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on. Ran through the tent and out to the bikes. I had to get my own bike and missed my rack. This cost me some time in T1.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I worked efficiently. Just missed my bike rack; although I expected my bike would have been brought to the center aisle.
  • 6h 06m 16s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.35 mile/hr

I headed out for loop 1 of a 3 loop course. As soon as I hit Rio Salado I could feel the headwinds. I thought several things all at once: "This is going to be a hard ride", "Don't eat the paste", "I've trained all winter in these kinds of winds", "Just ride your own race". On the way out to the Beeline I was being passed by lots of people. I just let them go. I didn't see anyone on the return leg until I hit the Beeline. Then here they come - the pros. And they were flying with the tailwind. It was an awesome sight and sound. Disk wheels at 40 mph sound really cool.

The temperature wasn't up too much on the first loop, but I knew it would climb. The strategy for the day - stay cool, HR under control, conserve energy, start in lower z2 and build to z3 through out the race. At the second aid station I picked up a bottle of water and dumped it over my back, chest, head and legs. After that, at every aid station I picked up at least one bottle to dump on my self and another to refill the aero bottle.

My HR was higher than I wanted at the beginning of the first loop so backed off on the intensity and concentrated on staying in my HR zone. It was slow going into the headwind. Hit the turn around, picked up some water and was flying with the tailwind. I hit 35 mph and easily maintain 30 mph. I would pedal for a while and then coast for a while, thus conserving some energy and keeping my HR down.

Started the second loop and could feel the headwind and the heat increasing. For this loop I let my HR increase a bit higher. Continued with the water shower at every aid station. My wet clothes felt so cool as the water evaporated in the dryness of the Sonoran Dessert. I think I made a bathroom stop on this loop. I found the Beeline Hwy to be cooler than the roads leading back into Tempe. Once we hit the city streets, all that extra concrete and asphault just radiated heat. Finished the second loop.

On each loop I saw Michele and her folks. They were out from the Hot Corner up Rio Salado a bit. As I started the third loop I gave Michele 'one' finger, meaning one more loop. As I was approaching one of the 90 degree turns I saw a cyclist coming toward the same corner but opposite direction. I thought "This guy is coming in way too fast". He was headed back toward Tempe and had the tailwind. Sure enough, I could see him fighting to keep an inside line. But he was going too fast. I thought he was going to veer into my lane. He missed me but did hit a cone and went over the handle bars. The volunteers at the corner rushed to his aid. Hope he's OK. I also saw lots of flats. I can't remember ever seeing so many flats in a race.

Back to loop three. Still windy and HOT. I was still feeling good on the bike so raised my HR a bit more. This loop I was able to maintain 17 mph into the headwind with a HR just into z3. About half way through the Beeline outbound leg, my stomach started feeling bloated. I know the feeling and stopped all nutrition. Just drank water. I had probably taken in too many calories too fast. I needed to dilute that stuf in my stomach so it could digest. About 30 minutes later, all was well and I started back on my nutrition. On this loop, the concentrated GU2O I was drinking was beginning to taste pretty nasty. It was hot; probably as hot as the air. I added cold water to what was left in the bottle and tried to get that down before the end of the bike.

Made it back into town and to transition. I was ready to get off the bike. It was a good ride eventhough I wasn't close to my goal times. But given the conditions, it was a good ride.

1 bottle of GU2O - 16 scoops + 18 Endurolytes.
Had 6 extra endurolytes during the ride
6 GU gels
1/2 Cliff bar (couldn't eat the whole thing)

FIRST BIKE SEGMENT 36 mi. (3:17:58) 17.88 mph
SECOND BIKE SEGMENT 37 mi. (5:19:22) 18.29 mph
FINAL BIKE SEGMENT 39 mi. (7:23:19) 18.88 mph
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (6:06:10) 18.35 mph

What would you do differently?:

Not much. I think I rode well considering the conditions.
Transition 2
  • 04m 23s

The volunteers took my bike. Thanks.

Ran to grab my T2 bag then hit the change tent (or was it the medical tent?) Oh the carnage. There were guys throwing up, laying on the ground in the tent, heads between knees, water being poured on heads. Had a volunteer help me. He sprayed me down with Bullfrog while I changed socks and put my shoes on. Grabbed my hat and took off.
What would you do differently?:

  • 4h 51m 24s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 07s  min/mile

My plan was to run at the top of z2 (149 - 152). Because of the heat I knew my HR would be high, so I planned to run the first couple miles easy to judge what the conditions were like.

As I headed out of transition I saw Michele. I stopped to give her a kiss then headed out on the first of three loops.

Wow, was it hot! It felt like running in an oven. At least there wasn't any humidity. Decided that this was going to be a 'run from aid station to aid station' kind of run. Walk the aid stations and run in between. Physically and mentally, the first loop wasn't too bad. My HR and my pace was all over the place and I had a hard time maintaining a consistent pace. But, I was still running.

The second loop is where my brain went to mush. I forgot to check splits. I started negotiating with myself. "I can't make my time goal so what's the new goal." "Sub-12, yeah that's it". "No, not sub-12, how about finish in the daylight". Had I been thinking clearly, I would have realized those were the same goal. At some point I decided to 'just have fun' and walk whenever needed. So, that's what I did. Lots of walking and talking. I reallyd don't remember much about the second loop. I do remember looking at my forearm and thinking the skin looked all wrinkly and shrivelled. Dehydration?

By the third loop the sun was getting low in the sky. The temperature had dropped a few degrees and that made all the difference. Also the chicken broth and flat coke had come out. That stuff is magic. I downed some at every aid station. I began running consistently again. I saw one of my customers from Dallas sitting on a bench. He said he had just puked and was hoping a clear stomach would help. He asked if I was walking or running. I said running but I would walk with him for a while. So we did. As we walked I saw docshock pass me. I told my buddy bye and got on docshock's heels. He was running well and I hoped I could stay with him. I stayed on his heels for about mile...that's it. I backed off to my comfortable pace. Also, saw Aaron along the way. Walked and talked with him for a while.

I had the same emotions in the finish chute as I did for my first IM. That was nice. I saw Michele in the stands snapping pictures. My mother-in-law was on the railing. I veered over and high-fived her.

After crossing the finish line I was surprised to see a 12:19 time. I really thought it would have been closer to 13+.

I saw a bunch of BT'ers - Marcy, Steve, others that I can't remember, at the end of the chute. Then Chippy caught me and showed me the way to the pictures, food, etc.

Found my wife immediately upon exiting the chute. The lay out for IMAZ seems to be much better than IMFL.

I ran just about all of the second half of the third loop. It was amazing how much better I felt and how I could run once the temperature dropped.

4 GU gels
GE from the course + chicken broth and coke

I copied these splits from the website. They don't make much sense. It appears the timing mats weren't working correctly. But I put them here anyway to remind myself of what I did at the end of this run. I was able to run the last 5.7 miles at a decent pace.

FIRST RUN SEGMENT 3.5 mi. (9:29:46) 34:52/mile
SECOND RUN SEGMENT 8.5 mi. (11:17:23) 12:39/mile
THIRD RUN SEGMENT 8.5 mi. (--:--) --/mile
RUN FINISH 5.7 mi. (12:19:03) 09:39/mile
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (4:51:21) 11:07/mile

What would you do differently?:

Stay focused on the task at hand. Suck it up...more.
Post race
Warm down:

I wanted food. Where's the food. Found the food, grabbed pizza, subway, french fries, coke. We sat in the eating area and I scarfed down the pizza and coke.

While we were sitting there, my mother-in-law noticed an athlete sitting and hunched over. She went to talk to him and ask if he was OK. He wasn't. She found a volunteer to take care of him. They eventually wheeled him away to the med tent.

I wanted a massage. At the massage tent I saw Clint and Gina. Clint looked good, having just finished his first IM.

The massage wasn't a massage; it was more stretching than massage.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat and wind. Also, need to develop better mental skills to deal with tough conditions.

Event comments:

IMAZ was very well organized. The multi loop course is very spectator friendly. My supporters were out there all day and were able to move around the course easily. They even found some great viewing spots with shade! Thanks go to them and especially my wife, Michele. She's already asked which race I'm doing in '09!

The climate is hot and dry. But I'll take hot and dry over hot and humid any day. I love the Southwest US, so for me this is a race I'll do again some day.

The volunteers were awesome. Thanks go out to all the volunteers. You guys made this a great race experience.

And thanks to all the BT'ers both at the race and online who supported us. You guys are great.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2007-10-10 12:00 AM
01:10:54 | 3862 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 63/204
Overall: 669/2028
Performance: Good
Avg HR: 144
Suit: Zoot Synergy - Full
Course: Single loop, rectangular course in Tempe Town Lake. The out portion is into the rising sun.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 06:15
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
06:06:16 | 112 miles | 18.35 mile/hr
Age Group: 63/204
Overall: 576/2028
Performance: Good
Avg HR: 140
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Modified out and back from Tempe Beach Park out to Shea Blvd on the Beeline Hwy. 3 loop bike course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:23
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:51:24 | 26.2 miles | 11m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 55/204
Overall: 549/2028
Performance: Below average
1, 9:00, 146; 2, 9:29, 149; 3, 11:14, 148; 4, 9:15, 152; 5, 9:47, 149; 6, 10:42, 145; 7, 9:42, 143; 8, 9:47, 145; after this I lost my focus and didn't get any more splits.
Course: Figure 8 course through parks and on roads. Mostly flat. There is a slight incline/hill on the far end of the course.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5