Ironman Arizona - Triathlon

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
56F / 13C
Total Time = 16h 48m 53s
Overall Rank = 2338/2681
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 358/400
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 3:45am and made 2 peanut butter and honey toasties, ate one and packed the other for later. Filled all water bottles with hydration for race and prerace. Ate cup of apple sauce and ate a banana. Left hotel at 4:30am to recommended parking structure. Wasn't too crowded, whew!
Event warmup:

Got to transition and dropped off my bike and run special needs back at the pickup area. Then went to take a dump. ;) Returned to transition and loaded water bottles and filled PD aero drink bottle (learned I put too much powder because tasted too strong for comfort during race). Lubed up hips area, boobs, and chest area touching heart rate sensor. Put on wetsuit and did dynamic warmup and freestyle strokes then walked into 1:15 swim corral area for self-seeded swim start.
  • 1h 22m 9s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

With the mass start changed to a trickling in start based on predicted swim time it was an easy start. Carefully walked down the stairs and noticed someone had bumped my 910xt start button 2 minutes earlier so I didn't have to start it myself, hehe. Jumped in and started swimming towards the outside right a bit until I got my groove which took about 100-200 yards to do. There was minimal contact there.

As I started getting into a good groove I swam closer and closer to the buoys to stick with the pack. There were some slower swimmers I bumped into and other swimmers who accelerated quickly and I nearly got swim over a few times. The closer I got to the buoys the more contact I had to I decided to stay in the middle so I can draft as much as possible which worked well.

I stuck to this line and had no major problems after the turnaround until about 2/3rds through where everyone around started picking up the pace more and I had more and more contact which may be due to me slightly swimming closer to the buoys again. I swam out again to minimize contact but that didn't matter, I was hit twice in the head which dazed me but not so hard that I had to pause. I just growled under water and smiled because I knew I was almost finished. Then someone hit my left calf so hard that it cramped and locked up on me. I didn't wanna stop so I tried stretching it out while maintaining my right leg kicking for rhythm.

Getting up the stairs was struggle even trying to sit on the bottom stair before turning around and getting picked up by volunteers.
What would you do differently?:

Minimize contact by swimming more towards the outside despite having decent swimming skills. Maybe wear 2 swim caps if the water is below 65°F.
Transition 1
  • 17m 52s

Damn cramped calf! I hobbled to the wetsuit strippers and let them remove it for me while I laid on the mats. After 10 seconds I started shivering badly heading to the bike gear bag area. I picked up my bike gear bag and went to T1 just outside the tent and saw my friend Danny.

He finished helping a triathlete and immediately came over to help me and noticed how shaky I was and guided me into the change tent and put me near the heater. I couldn't put my fingers and thumbs together to grab things easily so I decided to take my time and do what I could do while warming up. I lubed well first then put on helmet with plastic cover for my head, plastic covering my torso, gloves, arm warmers, Oakleys, bike socks and shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Immediately go into change tent if I'm shivering my ass off.
  • 8h 01m 56s
  • 112 miles
  • 13.94 mile/hr

I exited T1 feeling good and completed the 1st loop at my planned effort. I took a piss at the first aid station after the turnaround start of the 2nd loop and looked at sky it looked and felt like it was going to be a clear day and warm up. So I discarded my plastic insulators only to notice it started to rain when I got to Beeline. It wasn't that heavy yet but as I ascended the hill to Shea I noticed my effort level go up and my bike felt sluggish. I looked down and thought my tire pressure looked okay but then I heard a constant clicking sound.

I stopped to pee at the aid station up there and learned my rear tire was flat. I started to change it out but a really awesome volunteer asked if he could help. I accepted and went to pee. At this point I was still feeling okay, meaning not cold. He finished installing my inner tube but was having trouble putting my Conti GP4000s tires back on so I asked for it back and let me try. Another volunteer noticed our struggles and said, yup, the padding trick helps. Let me help you guys finish this. Once installed we used a bike pump nearby only to notice the tube would not keep the air in. After multiple tries we figured that the tube was bad. So we pulled out my 2nd spare tube only to find the same problem, no air staying in.

By now I was starting to shiver from being cold and wet. "Oh shit." I was thinking to myself, "I don't function well when I get this cold." The first volunteer to help said he inspected my rim so we said let's double check and it was clean. Then I said, "Oh crap, then there must be something wrong with my tire." Yup there was! 2 big ass thorns penetrated my GP4000s tires through and through! GRRR! I had 2 small used Clif Shot Blok wrapper patches saved for this occasion and covered those holes but then I had no more inner tubes or CO2 and bike special needs was 6 miles down the hill. I said, "Damn, looks like I'm stuck here until I can get another inner tube." The 2nd volunteer started yelling out to the present triathletes if anyone had a spare inner tube and someone did! Thank you for saving my race man whoever you are!!! I owe you big time!

Successfully installed the inner tube and pumped air to 95psi and it held and I was back on my way but shit I was cold. And this was a bad situation to be in because I was descending so I amped up my effort a bit to get warm again and picked up my special needs bag and the rain seemed to let up, yay! I had a good pace going and toned my effort back down so I can finish the bike with pretty good legs to run in.

Back into town it was raining again but this time much harder. Alot of the spectators had to seek shelter because there was almost no one there at the turnaround. At this point I was getting cold again, so cold my teeth were chattering and my fingers were unable to get a good grip on my aero bars to shift or get a grip on my nutrition. I stopped at the same aid station I stopped at the first time and asked if I can make a plastic insulator out of the used water bottle packs they had and they gladly assisted by inserting one underneath my tri top because they noticed I could barely hold it. Thanks guys!!! It was raining hard and was shivering again so I had to make a decision how I want to make the remainder of the bike course play out for myself... do I keep an aerobic effort and freeze my ass off more or amp up the effort a bit to warm up to avoid hypothermia. Slightly amped up effort was the decision and it worked until I got to Beeline.

More rain and wind. COLD! More teeth chattering, more nearly dropping nutrition, short dizzy spells, shivering. That dark place you hear about? Well, I was experiencing it up the Beeline. At around mile 85 there was an aid station where I had to stop and pee. As I exited the portapotty I was shivering like hell and noticed there was a tent with about 4 triathletes with blankets. We were all cold so I said, "Hey guys, we gotta group hug so we warm each other up!" Another triathlete called it in and jumped into the medical van. The rest of us hugged closely and another triathlete joined who was crying, saying her race is over. I assured her by saying, "No no, it's not over, come here and join our group hug. Let's all warm up! We have time to make it to the turnaround. With all this shit happening around us I want all of you to focus on this." Using my left hand, I made motions to try touching each of my fingers to my thumb. I wasn't able to do it yet but said, "Focus on this and only this. If you can touch your fingers on your thumb, you are warm enough to get going again. Don't stay in this damn tent because your body will shut down if you take too long, got it!?" After a few minutes I was able to touch my fingers and thumbs on both hands and told the group, "Okay, see this? I can do it and you guys will be able to soon! I'm gonna go first and you guys better follow me!"

And off I went and cold again so same strategy. Amped up effort to warm up or die out there. I knew this was gonna hurt my run but I didn't want my race to end yet. Medical would be the only thing that would stop me and there was no way I was gonna let them see me in such a bad condition!

As I descended the Beeline, the rain died down slowly but it was still wet out there. At least I was only getting sprayed from below by my wet tires now, hehehe!
What would you do differently?:

Be better prepared with the gear to handle the probable weather conditions.
Transition 2
  • 24m 45s

I was in bad shape at this point. I didn't need to be near the heater because it was already warmer. I wasn't feeling well mentally and physically but told myself I'm not dead yet and changed into my dry running clothes. It took me a while to do everything because I was shivering badly. I made sure to put some NewSkin on my left foot around my big toe and toe to the left to prevent blisters. Need to put some on left pinky toe too next time. Maybe I should apply NewSkin race morning, hehe.
What would you do differently?:

Not really sure, maybe hurry up faster despite feeling like shit? I felt there was not much I really could do with the conditions out there and I feel I did well handling how bad things went. :)
  • 6h 42m 11s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 15m 21s  min/mile

The run special needs was near the run start so I took it early since it was going to get dark soon and colder. I requested leaving the bag there unopened for my nutrition later but the volunteer said she couldn't do that. Oh well, I just had to carry my gels in my hands then because my pockets were already full, doh!

I knew I had cutoffs to make so I did my best to maintain an aerobic pace while I fought off the cold and short rain spells during my marathon. Felt okay holding a 5:00/0:30 run/walk ratio pace until mile 4 where I changed to a 2:30/0:30 pace for the next 10 miles. Took in nutrition and hydration well and by mile 14 I changed to a 1:30/0:30 pace to mile 18. Changed to a 1:00/1:00 pace until mile 20 where I changed to speed walking. My legs were totally gone, no power left to run despite all the cola and chicken broth I took in. This is where the dark place hit me again. Even speed walking was hard. I started before 7am so I knew I had to finish at least by 11:50pm to make the record books.

I randomly tried jogging for a bit but whenever I tried it my legs were about to collapse so after 3 tries I said forget it, I'm probably faster just walking like this. At some time between 10:30-11pm my Garmin 910xt started telling me I had a low battery so I turned off the run/walk alerts to conserve power. Why did I need it anyway??? I was walking! hehehe!

More and more walking, eating grapes and pretzels, hydrating wisely, anything to prevent my legs from locking up. The closer and closer I got I noticed I was pacing myself well enough so that I was speed walking past some of the triathletes ahead of me. I said hello to all of them and wished them well to the finish line.

As I got to that last stretch I got super excited and jogged in high fiving many of the spectators and gave Mike Reilly a high five as he said, "Roland Valdez! You are an Ironman!!!"
What would you do differently?:

Not much I could do with the conditions out there.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around and was only able to eat oranges in the food area.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Flat tires, rain, wind, being cold.

Event comments:

I feel super happy to have completed my first Ironman triathlon and would like to race again in better conditions if possible to exercise my true physical performance abilities.

A big thank you to the triathlete who gave me a spare inner tube, volunteers, and training buddies who helped me get to this race and finish it!

Thank you Ironmen Mike and Lisa Miller for being great hosts in Arizona.

Last updated: 2015-06-23 12:00 AM
01:22:09 | 4224 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/400
Overall: 1198/2681
Performance: Average
Suit: Roka Maverick Pro Fullsuit
Course: Rectangular course, east, north, west back to swim start which was a climb upstairs.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 17:52
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
08:01:56 | 112 miles | 13.94 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/400
Overall: 2417/2681
Performance: Bad
Wind: Some
Course: 3 loops to Beeline, Shea turnaround, and back to Tempe Beach Park.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 24:45
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:42:11 | 26.2 miles | 15m 21s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/400
Overall: 2338/2681
Performance: Bad
Course: 2 loops around Tempe Beach Park area to bridge, back to T2, out to residential area and back.
Keeping cool 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