Revolution3 Full Distance - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Sandusky, Ohio
United States
72F / 22C
Total Time = 13h 46m 10s
Overall Rank = 244/400
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 26/32
Pre-race routine:

Grueling, exhilarating, painful, awesome, torturous, and just plain incredible. It's amazing how oxymoronic an iron distance race can be. Intellectually I knew it'd be tough, but what the mind knows and the body experiences are two vastly different things. Overall this was an unbelievably great experience and I'm proud to be able to say that I've accomplished it.

The pre-race routine actually started the day before when I drove down to Cedar Point at 9am. Sue, Sarah, and my dad would follow me later that day - being that they were calling for rain and I had a bunch of stuff to do to get all checked in there was no need for them to come early. After arriving at the Breakers I met up with the BT gang and we gathered out in front of the hotel for a pre-race warmup. This warmup was taken from a tradition started in Kona - the underwear run! We all stripped down to some very creative skivvies and ran a race around the parking lot. It was a good way to start off the coming adventure!!

Later that day my family arrived, we had some dinner and I went back to the room to rest while Sarah dragged Sue and my dad to the arcade. In the meantime I unpacked and repacked my transition gear for about the sixth or seventh time making sure that I had everything. What was different about this race from any other I'd done is that we had a different plastic bag for each segment of the a bike gear bag, run gear, and a special needs bag for both the bike and run. For the latter I had an extra inner tube and CO2 cartridge just in case, and for the run I had some bandages, body glide, extra socks, and Advil.

Sleep that night was pretty non-existent. I woke up every couple of hours and then finally got up at around 4:45, took a shower, grabbed a cup of coffee and ate a Cliff Bar plus 2 bottles of Gatorade. Sure that I had everything I needed, I grabbed my bags and quietly left the room to go turn everything in and get body marked.

Walking down the beach it was pitch black out. The wind was a gentle breeze at that point out of the west and the lake, from what I could see, wasn't terribly rough - looked like it would be fine. I got to the transition area where they weighed us in (a precaution should you need medical attention at the end of the race they want to know how much weight you've lost) and got my bags turned in. I met up with Trixie and Robyn and got to meet Alice and was standing there chatting with them when someone said the word "chip". Son-of-a-bitch!!! I forgot my timing chip!! While making sure I had everything else I forgot probably the most important thing of all. Without that chip the entire race wouldn't have been timed - not good at all. Luckily, with the hotel being right in front of the race start, I hustled back to the room and got the chip. Phew! Disaster averted!!

While I was there I grabbed another Gatorade and headed down to the starting line with plenty of time left.
Event warmup:

My warmup consisted of walking up and down the beach along with rushing back to the room to get my timing chip!

After getting my wetsuit on, I walked around a little bit and found Andrea. Was nice seeing a friendly face. At that point it was about 5 minutes from the start when the announcer said that the race had been delayed. The reason? Light, or lack thereof. It was so cloudy that the sun was hidden and no one could see the buoys. So they had a kayak go out and hold up a light at the first buoy and delayed the start by about 10 minutes.

Finally the time comes. The pro's have all gone and its just the masses left. Around 450 people all ready to start at the same time. I gotta say I was very nervous at that point just minutes away from the starting gun. Then I heard someone yelling my name - it was Trish - I got a quick hug from her and then got back into the mass of wetsuit-clad bodies.

Thus begins the adventure!
  • 1h 37m 20s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 18s / 100 yards

Utter chaos. Hand-to-hand combat. Those are the only ways I can describe a mass start with that many people. There's no way to get into a rhythm when you're in a situation like that - getting kicked, hit, groped, pulled, and basically just doing everything you can to keep breathing and not drown and move forward. The first half mile or so was like that. No way I could bilateral breath - I had to breath every other stroke and had several times where I took on water and had to fight through thoughts of panicking. Eventually I found some open water and started to calm down and by the time I rounded the second buoy and was headed back to shore to complete the first half of the swim I was able to start bilateral breathing and get into a nice rhythm. I was also in clear water with only a few people around me - I felt like I was doing real well, doing a good pace and that I must be near the front of the pack.

I exited the first lap, ran the 50 yards down the beach where I saw Sue, Sarah and my dad - was great to see them there! I then glanced down at my watch....huh, what the hell? 44 minutes at that point, so I'm definitely not at the front of the pack! Well, one can dream can't one?!

Getting back into the water for the final segment I still felt pretty good, that is until my left calf started cramping. I could feel it coming on and fought to stay relaxed so that the thing wouldn't seize up. I knew that if it seized I'd have a hell of a time. Luckily it never developed into a full blown cramp. But at that time a new problem started - the last Gatorade I'd had was making its return. No way I was going to stop though - and there's no way that I could just let it rip while swimming either - not that I'm opposed to peeing in my wetsuit, its something that every triathlete I know does, just not while swimming!

By this time the wind had picked up and so did the surf. It seemed like the waves were coming from all directions. No matter which side I breathed on I was getting a wave in my face. At the last turn buoy I got hit by a big wave and breathed in a lung full of water. I had to stop and cough it out and was immediately hit by another. Finally I got a breath of air and was able to continue. On the final leg back into shore I still had delusions of being towards the front of the pack! Getting out of the water I saw the fam again and trotted up to get my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. My sighting was right on - I swam straight, just not fast.
Transition 1
  • 06m 30s

My first thought upon entering transition is cool, they have little pans of water to wash the sand off our feet - what a great idea! My next thought as I grab my bike gear and look up is, where the hell are all the bikes? There were probably only about 50-60 bikes left there. Damn, I guess I now know why I had open water!

Transition for an iron race is much different from any other. First, I decided not to wear my shirt under my wetsuit. Two reasons, first I didn't want the extra clothing to possibly cause me to overheat in the water since I was wearing the full wetsuit, and second cuz I wanted to put on a dry shirt.

After getting some help putting on that dry shirt, I got all suited up, all of my food stuffed in the pockets of my shirt, sunscreen on, and ran out to take care of that Gatorade issue.
What would you do differently?:

Considering I wasn't in a huge hurry and added extra time hitting the porta-potty, I'd say that 6:30 is a pretty good time, so I wouldn't change anything.
  • 6h 44m 29s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.61 mile/hr

Torture. Sheer, utter, grueling, torture. I've endured some painful experiences before, but that was when I was much younger and this was just something altogether different. I knew it was going to be bad and in anticipation of this I took 3 Tylenol as soon as I got on the bike hoping it would didn't.

The first 30 miles were fine, I kept it at an easy pace of between 18-19mph, not pushing real hard. My goal was to avg 18mph for the whole thing. When I had the wind at my back I took advantage and used it, coasting a lot and getting up over 22-23mph. Around 40 miles in my right IT band in my knee started to complain. Not good, I thought, I've still got over 70 miles left. I just pushed through it and it didn't seem to get much worse. I think at about 50 miles or so I finally passed Robyn and we played leap frog for awhile. She was having hip flexor issues which were slowing her down and at one point I stopped with her to stretch.

Finally I came up to the turn to start the second loop and there was a hill there that had grown considerably from the first time I'd gone up it. I swear it wasn't that big before! But I got over it and pushed on only to encounter another really steep hill in Milan. Around now the wind either picked up or it was just starting to affect me more, not sure which. It was windy on the first loop, but this second one was killing me. That and the road conditions. I was handling the chip seal ok for the first 50, but then it just started to wear on me. Later on after the race I heard one of the race directors saying that the winds were around 22mph - ya, I can believe it.

Besides the one stop with Robyn I ended up stopping 2 other times to go to pee. At least I knew I was hydrating enough. The second time I stopped at an aid station and one of the volunteers held my bike for me while I went and she was even kind enough to top off all my bottles while I was in the john. By the way, the volunteers were awesome!!!

4 hours into the ride I decided to pop another 2 Tylenol. While it didn't seem like the first 3 I took earlier helped, I figured it couldn't hurt and seeing as I was drinking a lot and obviously burning lots of calories I figured I'd metabolize them pretty quickly.

By mile 90 the pain in my shoulders, neck, lower back, and right knee went away. Well, maybe not so much went away as masked with a newer, better, pain. And when I say "better" I mean excruciating. Obviously the 2 extra Tylenol didn't help. On long rides, my feet tend to swell a little and my toes start to tingle. I'm guessing this is due to the ball of my foot pressing down on the pedal for so many hours and probably restricting some blood flow. So normally I'll keep wiggling my toes and try picking up my feet a bit to take the pressure of the ball of my foot. This was working fine for me up until mile 90. At that point my toes began to feel like someone was taking a blow torch to them. The pain was horrendous but there wasn't anything I could do about it. No way was I going to stop. I may have been secretly hoping for the chain on my bike to break, but no way was I going to stop while I was physically capable of moving forward.

The next 15 miles were a blur. Between the fire in my feet and the roughness of the chip sealed roads causing the rest of my body to ache I couldn't focus on anything other than going as fast as I could. Then came the final few miles along the worst section of road on the route. This is along the water where there are million dollar homes where you would think the conditions would be good. Not. Pot holes and tons of raised cracks made it hell. Finally, though, I came to the parking lot, the last 400 yds or so and the wind, getting in its final licks started gusting in my face. All I could do was laugh.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure there's much I could have done differently. I pushed it where I could, took advantage of the times the wind was at my back, which didn't seem like it was very often, and coasted down all of the hills. Had this been an HIM I would have pushed much harder and averaging over 19 would have been doable, but with the distance involved, the wind, the road conditions, and just my own conditioning, this was the best I could do.
Transition 2
  • 08m 36s

As with T1, this being an iron distance makes the transition a little different. I almost fell after getting off the bike. Actually, "collapsed" is probably the better word for it. I was so happy to stop that getting off wasn't an issue. Standing upright, that was the issue. Thankfully there was a bike handler there to take my bike while I focused on moving forward. I immediately took off my shoes and started to limp along to get my stuff.

Sue, Sarah, and dad were all there too, but quite frankly I was in so much pain at that point that it was hard for me to acknowledge them much other than to try to smile.

After getting my run gear bag I headed into the changing tent and gratefully sat down and leaned back for a sec. It felt great to sit on something wider than a 2x4 board stood on edge and just relax. But that was over quick. I stripped off my shirt and put on a different one. I'd also decided to lather vaseline on my toes before putting my socks on. I hoped that this would help prevent chafing and blisters. Lastly, I put on more sunscreen, laced up my shoes and popped 3 more Tylenol. Yes, I'm aware that at that point I'd downed 8 in just over 6.5 hours, but with 26.2 miles left I needed any help I could get to dull the pain.

And with that, I walked out of the tent and began the run...well, maybe not so much run as a slow jog.
What would you do differently?:

Considering I took my time and hit the porta-potty again I'd say that this was a pretty good time in transition. Don't think I'd change anything.
  • 5h 09m 14s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 48s  min/mile

The run started out slow. I passed the family who cheered me on, Trixie dressed in her Wonder Woman outfit ran me out a little ways and I was off.

26x1 mile runs. That's how I decided I was going to look at this. I'd already covered 114.4 miles, 26.2 more wouldn't be bad at all! I was able to actually run to the first aid station where I walked it and drank and ate a little, then off to the next station.

I ran into Andrea as she was finishing up her HIM, got a hug from her and continued on when I ran into Kristen where she was finishing her's too, then came up to Sue (Smoak) who was in some obvious pain, but finishing it strong, so it was a good way to start off. My legs had loosened up and didn't feel bad at all. The pain had left my feet, my right IT band was behaving...I was good to go.

I was able to keep up a decent, if not slow, pace. I knew I wasn't going to be breaking any speed barriers here, but my only goal at this point was to keep moving forward. The first loop finally went by - don't know what my split time was, probably about 2 hours 30 minutes or so. Coming back into the park on that first leg I ran into my BT buddies, got hugs all around and then went to pick up my special needs bag. I wasn't hurting at that point, but I decided to down the 2 Advil I'd stashed in it. During Steelhead I'd ended up with a really inflamed IT band that made it hard to walk let alone run, so I wanted to try to prevent that if I could.

Coming out of that area I realized that I hadn't told Sue that I'd be doing 2 laps, that's why she wasn't there, so I stopped and gave Trish her number to give her a call and let her know approximately when I'd be back for the finish. Wonder Woman ran me out again and I was off for the final leg.

This one started off more slowly. I walked a bit more at first, but then with 8 miles left I sucked it up and decided I was running the rest. The sun had gone down, the volunteers were passing out glow sticks to wear so we wouldn't get run over, and I was ready to be done. I walked 2 more of the aid stations, but the last 6 miles I did it straight. "Running" at that point was a relative term, but it was faster than a walk and I was passing people, so I considered that a good thing. Also, it might be cruel, but I was taking satisfaction in the fact that I was only a few miles from finishing and I was passing all sorts of people who where just starting out their last loop. I felt very sorry for them, but so glad that I was about done.

As I was coming into the parking lot, the paraplegic who had raced was just starting out on his final 13.1 mile lap. That guy was incredible! And he even cheered to me as he went out.

Turning the corner, there was the sign to either go left for your next lap or right to go to the finish. Damn was I glad to go right! Two tenths of a mile left and now I could hear the crowd and the announcer. I heard him calling my name, I looked up and there was my picture on the jumbo tron! And stretched across the finish line they'd put up a finishing banner to run through. What a awesome touch! Breaking through that I could barely believe it was over.

Post race
Warm down:

The warm-down consisted of getting a kiss from Sue, hugs all around from my awesome BT friends, and the most delicious post-race beer that I've ever had courtesy of Trish.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The wind was the biggest environmental issue I had to deal with. The chip seal definitely slowed me down, but at least I didn't have any flats because of it, which happened to plenty of other people out there. Other than that, just conditioning. I now know why many people say that it can take 4-5 years of training to get ready for an iron distance race.

I'd decided when I started this race that I'd leave it all out on the course. This was the big one and I wasn't going to have anything left when I crossed that line. I accomplished that - so while it wasn't the fastest race anyone has ever run, it was my best effort and I'm pleased with being able to break 14 hours.

Event comments:

This was by far the best race I've ever done. Rev3 is incredible. They did a tremendous job of organizing the race and making sure that everything went smoothly. They had lots of little touches that really made this enjoyable, little things like having pans of water to rinse your feet off inside T1 and having that banner at the finish line. That last bit was such a little thing but meant so much. They treated everyone coming across that finish line like they were the winner. An incredible, excruciatingly painful, tortuous, and awesomely exhilarating experience.

Last updated: 2009-11-24 12:00 AM
01:37:20 | 4224 yards | 02m 18s / 100yards
Age Group: 29/32
Overall: 243/400
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Full
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:44:29 | 112 miles | 16.61 mile/hr
Age Group: 24/32
Overall: 218/400
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 08:36
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:09:14 | 26.2 miles | 11m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 26/32
Overall: 202/400
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5