Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas - TriathlonFull Ironman

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The Woodlands, Texas
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = 1377/
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 162/
Pre-race routine:

This year I planned things a bit differently as far as lodging. Last yer I stayed at the host hotel. This time I stayed at a 4 star hotel in Houston. A bit of a drive to the race site, but wanted to see more than just the Woodlands, also wanted an "escape" to get away from all the pre-race hoopla. This worked out well, and driving to the the race site was no problem at all. I did my best to get well hydrated in the days leading up to the race.
Bike in transition successfully by 530 AM and headed to the swim start. Bodymarking done, I found a bench to sit and got in good conversation with other athletes. 30 min pre-swim, went to the porta potties one last time. Was treading water a few minutes before the pro's started. Did not do the practice swim so needed to tread water a bit before the cannon.
I had no plans to wear a wetsuit but did bring my swim skin along. After further deliberation, chose to go with swim suit alone and am glad I did as the water was very warm. Ate 2 bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios, a powerbar, and a bottle of Gatorade for breakfast. I felt nervous but really confident.
Event warmup:

Nothing too fancy, just drove to the race site and chatted with the other athletes.
  • 1h 33m 54s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 13s / 100 yards

I am a slow swimmer. Endurance however is not a problem. I felt great throughout the entire swim. I decided not to check my watch and just kept going, knowing that soon I will hear Mike Reily's voice on the microphone. The hardest part of the swim was the canal where I felt like a frog in a bucket of 1000 other frogs all trying to get out at the same time. The canal was very narrow and shallow for a few hundred yards. I banged my knee and scraped my toe on a log on the bottom of the canal. The separate wetsuit start was ten minutes after the swimsuit start. It was at this time in the canal that I encountered the wet suited swimmers who were much faster.
I started near the middle as opposed to out to the right as I usually do. I found that I had many wide open areas as I swam by the yellow buoys, and was actually bumping into a few of them. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I felt good, and my goal was to get out with a decent time, with lots of energy for the bike.
I have learned how to swim defensively, eg. fight for my spot when needed which helps when the areas get congested. I still got kicked more times than I can count, and I'm sure I kicked lots of people as well.
I wore goggles that were shaded and it was a great choice as the sun was beaming down.
There is a white mansion on the way out on first swim segment, which is an excellent landmark for sighting!
What would you do differently?:

Not much.
Transition 1
  • 00m

A little slower than I had hoped but not bad.
What would you do differently?:

Sit in a less crowded area in the transition tent even if it meant spending more time trying to find this area.
  • 6h 04m 18s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.45 mile/hr

My best IM bike ever!!! I kept telling myself over and over "don't push it". So many times I had to fight back the urge to go all out and do extended passes. I knew I needed to save this energy. My plan was to take it easy until about mile 80, then push it if I felt I could. This worked out well.

At about mile 25 on the bike I knew something was wrong. I had to pee about every 5-10 miles and this is very abnormal. I began to get nervous that maybe I was in afib. My cardiologist explained that Atrial Natriuretic Peptide is a natural diuretic. Sometimes the only way I know I'm in a fib is if I have to pee ALOT. I peed so much that it burned so bad and I actually yelled out in pain. The last 25 miles I rode with a full bladder as it was too painful to pee and waited until I could get to the porta jon to pee in agony. At least I knew I was hydrating well.
What would you do differently?:

I had a solid bike, with equal splits. I felt well prepared for this part of the race.
Transition 2
  • 12m 53s

It was awful. After I got off my bike, I felt a bit wheezy and lightheaded. I wanted to throw up but dry heave was all that I could manage. I went to the porta jon and agonized having to pee with all the burning. I'm a wimp with pain in that area, and it hurt like hell. Not sure why. I screamed in the porta jon as I went. Enough details for the purpose of a race report....
I was so angry as this was the first time I've been in afib (at least that I knew) in the last 6 months. My electrophysiologist (cardiologist) wants to do an ablation but I am hesitant to do so just yet as this occurs so infrequently and the data for prolonged success is not yet good enough. He explained to me that my afib is likely from endurance sports and the added catecholamines produced by exercise. Go figure!!
Anyway, I went into the shade of the tent and sat for a few minutes. A few volunteers came to my aid and I just kept telling them I'm resting for a minute and that I'd be OK. Many thoughts went through my head including turning in my chip and going back to the hotel. I was sweating profusely and felt defeated, betrayed by my own body.
I then thought of my boys, and how I tell them I'm not a quitter. I've biked and run before while in this rhythm. I know what I can and cannot do. I just have to not push it too hard or I get lightheaded and start wheezing. I know afib in itself is not life threatening, and I am followed closely by my cardiologist. I know what I physically can and cannot do. I felt pissed as well because I just PR'ed my bike and was right on line to achieving my goal of 12:30.

I fought off the nausea and dizziness. I began to feel a bit better. I sat in the shade with a few others, closed my eyes. Did a few valsalva maneuvers magically thinking it would make my afib go away. I managed to somehow pull myself together.

I kept debating on calling it a day, attributing my DNF to AFib. Sure it would be a good, respectable reason to call it a day. I just could not and would not accept defeat, even if I had to walk the entire run. I'm here to do an Ironman!
What would you do differently?:

I'm going to talk to my Cardiologist about pre endurance race flecainide. Since Afib is paroxysmal, and so infrequent, we decided against routine meds. Beta blockers are definitely out as they kill my workouts. Guess it's time to rethink ablation as well. Giving up endurance sports is not n option for me.
  • 00m
  • 26.2 miles
  •  min/mile

I slupped out to start my run, and 2 or 3 times during the first mile I stopped, told myself "this is crazy" and wanted to call it a day. Kept checking my pulse. Still irregular but slower. Slowly I began picking up speed and made it through the first several miles. My legs felt good, no cramping at all which was a first for an IM run. I continued to feel pissed that my body is failing me. This was the IM I was hoping to go sub 4:30 on the run. I had prepared well.
What would you do differently?:

I was in survival mode and did the best I could. Once I decided I could not run, I came to accept this and finally came to peace with the fact that I am still going to finish. I'm not a quitter. I met many people on the last half of the run, shared good stories and encouraged everyone I could. I ran little bits at a time.
Post race
Warm down:

I found an isolated area near the expo where I could lay down and rest. Since I traveled alone, I had to go get my bike and gear after the race. Usually my son Kyle does this for me. I decided not to participate at the finisher chute and drove back to my hotel, showered, and went to bed by 11 pm.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Damn Afib!!!!!!!!!

Event comments:

The volunteers were awesome. The nutritional and fluid support was incredible. The people lined streets during lots of the run.
I made it!
This makes for my 9th IM completion. I know well that despite one's best preparation, anything can happen during a race.

I did not let Afib take this Ironman away from me!!!

Last updated: 2012-05-20 12:00 AM
01:33:54 | 4224 yards | 02m 13s / 100yards
Age Group: 167/
Overall: 1534/
Performance: Good
Suit: swim suit
Course: 1 Loop through a lake/canal.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 81F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:04:18 | 112 miles | 18.45 mile/hr
Age Group: 117/
Overall: 993/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Fairly flat, decent roads for the most part. Some traffic but the police did a great job and I did not have to slow down at all for cars/intersections. Some potholes but all in all a fairly user friendly course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 80
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 12:53
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:00:00 | 26.2 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Keeping cool Drinking
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?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 3