My first Triathlon
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Beach 2 Battleship - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Wilmington, North Carolina
66F / 19C
= 10h 29m 29s
Age Group Rank
If you know anything about my race reports, then you know this will be long. Feel free to skip ahead. During my journey, I remember reading in a RR that "some first time Ironman RR are written with just the facts, others use humor to tell their story, and some just tell their story". Each quest for IRON is different, and this is my story. This RR will sum up the drive to Wilmington, NC on Wednesday to my finish Saturday night. I hope you enjoy.
I had finished packing the night before. I had check, re-check, and check again all of my bags; however, I felt the need re-check all of my bags once again before loading the car. The kitchen counter looked like a GNC store shelf with all the nutrition sitting there. A large bottle of Carbopro, four water bottles pre-loaded with carbopro, three Hammer Gel jugs, four mini-squeeze bottles with gel locked and loaded, power bars, multiple bottles of boost, and a zip-lock bag full of extra GU's, recovery aids, etc., etc. We were going up early, so we had plenty of time to buy anything I had forgotten. So, I loaded the car. It was absolutely packed with gear, and we were off by 10:30 AM.
The drive was pretty uneventful until we reached Wilmington, NC. Before we entered the city we drove under a traffic warning light that had this warning. B2B Triathlon Saturday November 7th, prepare for traffic delays. That was so cool; I had never seen that before. We Checked into the hotel, and got something to eat.
We decided to sleep in a tad
), then got up because I wanted to get in a brick before the packet pickup opened at noon. We decided to drive over to the swim start area to look around. We ended up parking as some random park, and I headed out for a ride. Knocked out a fast 10 miles, and knew it would be a fast ride since I had averaged 19.5
(a little foreshadowing
), then headed off or a 1.5 mile run. Finished up and came back to the car, checked the Garmin and it showed 6:48/mile. I guess I was a bit pumped up. We grabbed a quick bite to eat on the way back to the hotel, quick shower, then over to the Coastline center. I guess every triathlete had the same idea, as it was packed. We checked in, picked up my gear, and then hit the expo. After checking out the map, we learned that the random park was actually the T1 sight. That started putting things in perspective.
At the expo we bought an extra set of goggles, mini-cow bells for my IRONsherpas, and the largest display frame they had. It will hold three pictures, finisher medal, and race number. They will also have a plate etched with my name, time, etc. afterwards that goes on it. Steph said "this is your first Ironman, get the biggest one, it is important". The funny part was the woman that was selling the frames lives in Cumming, GA which is only 10-15 minutes away from my house. What a small world.
After the expo, we went back to the hotel and chilled until the athlete dinner. As we were sitting there a B2B commercial came on the TV. That totally blew my mind, now they have TV commercials?
Athlete dinner was a bunch of different pastas, garlic bread, etc. After dinner they had a motivational speaker. No one would sit with Stephanie and me until the very end. Then a solo guy sat down. We ended up talking and he was signed up to do his first HIM; however, he had blown out his Achilles tendon a month before. His training buddies put together a relay team with him doing the swim. I wished him good luck and off we went.
I knew there was a group of BT’ers getting together at the Blockade Runner at 7:15 AM for a swim. I wanted to test out the current, and see just how cold the water would be. We got there a bit early, and then all these cars started pulling up. Every car had some sort of triathlon sticker on it. I jumped out of the car and asked the first group I came to “anyone up for a swim?” We all laughed, and then I saw James. We all suited up, and were ready to go. A quick BT picture and we were off. We only swam the last third of the swim course, but came in around 21 minutes. WOW, this was going to be a fast swim.
I got off the bus, and walked over to the port-o-potty line. One last bathroom break before I got started. Small chit-chat in line, but nothing more. Everyone was preparing for what was about to go down. Afterwards, I headed to the start line. I walked up the wooden bridge, and crossed the mat to check in. BEEP. It was a long walk to the swim start, 100-150 meters. I had my booties on, but I could tell the sand was cold. The path took us through the sand dunes, and then all of a sudden the dunes faded to a flat sandy beach, and I could see the start line. There was a large inflatable that said "START" on it out on the beach. It looked like something out of a movie start.
As I walked up to the swim start, I saw James and a few other BT'ers standing there, so I joined them. Everyone had their game face on, and we started to get pumped up. As I got pumped up, I yelled "yeah, come on". James looked at me and said "save that energy", so I so started to turn that power in-wards. We all wished each other good luck, and put our hands in together. BT on three....one.....two......three.....BT!!!
That started a reaction, and another triathlon club hit a cheer, then another. After the final cheer we
) looked at one another, and said BT needs to come up with a better cheer.
I have waited an entire year to say this, and I did so in my head at the swim start. "Warm up, HA. This is an IRONMAN, I have 140.6 miles to warm up".
The American flag stood there posted in the sand, and then they started the National Anthem. The crowd fell silent, dead silent. No one disrespected the moment, not a word was spoken. The only thing that could be heard was the waves crashing on the shore, and the anthem being played. I remember looking up, and seeing a single bird circling over head with the sun raise as the back drop. It was going to be a great day.
After the anthem was played they started Eminem's "lose yourself". I had listened to this song 1,000 times after reading it in James' RR last year. My focus narrowed, nerves calmed, eyes forward, it was finally time. A year of training came down to this one day.
No surrender, no retreat, fight to the very last breath.
Only the weak stand at the line and tremble, the strong prepare to produce!
I have answered your call! Bring your worse. I WILL NOT be stopped.
As the horn sounded, I told myself
so it begins………
01m 23s / 100 meters
The horn went off, and it was a mad dash through the start line and to the water. It was 100 meter straight out to a turn buoy, then we hung a right. I remember James saying to take the turn a bit wide, since it would bottle neck around the buoy. That sounded good to me, and I knew that would put me in the center of the channel where the current would be the strongest. Yes, I am up for any additional help with the swim leg I can get. After I rounded the buoy, I let the thought that this was the actual IM swim, and let it soak in. In a brief flash I thought about the countless laps ground out in the pool, and then I remember thinking, man, I have plenty of room. What is with all the crap about 2.4 miles of full contact washing machine? BAM, I got kicked in the face, right in the goggles. I popped my head up, and there were people everywhere. I swear I heard a voice say “are you ready to ruuuuuuuuuumble?” Then, it was on, it was on like Donkey Kong. The rest of the swim was a pure slug-fest. Pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, holy crap, I was kicked in the face three times. I remember sighting the buoys in the distance, and then I would be flying past them. For once, I felt like the Captin and knew how it felt to swim fast. I thought back to the swim plans Captin had provided, and I started using the speed bust to find open water. I would find open water for brief stents, then I would draft off the next group, then back to full contact swimming. That cycle repeated itself over, and over.
At this time I guess I was about at the half way mark, and I realized that I had forgotten to load my gel bottle in my bento box. CRAP! I started to freak, but then relaxed and thought about the IM mantra. “Figure it out, find a way”. I took a deep breath and started calculating the calories loaded in my bottles and knew I had an extra gel bottle in my bike SN bag. If I could make it there, I could load that if needed. I remember reading that most people take in way too much nutrition during an Ironman so perhaps this was a sign I need to thin my calorie intake? Nonetheless, I remember thinking, where the hell is that wiggly man? I came by a boat and realized that was the wiggly man. It was a larger boat, with a green wiggle man on the bow. I guess I was thinking it would be a small boat with a huge red wiggle man. Just stop thinking and go. I took a sharp turn and stayed high. I knew that when I hit the next turn the current would again push me straight towards the marina. That plan worked out perfect. I ended up in position to hug the next turn tight and the only distance I would need to correct would be 25 meters to the dock. As I started to make that correction, there was a guy that was blocking my way. He was not sighting the ladders
), and just swimming straight. I decided it was go time, so I lengthen my glide and pushed a bit harder. I passed with ease, and headed directly to the ladders. Found an empty ladder and climbed out. Peeled the wetsuit to my waist, and did a time check. 51:XX, WOW, I am ahead of schedule. It took me a second to find a striper, and then they yanked my suit off the rest of the way. THANK YOU and I was off. Hit the mat at 53:28.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, I felt like this was a solid swim for me.
I found my steady pace running to T1, and started passing people. I heard my Ironsherpas cheering, but I was trying to focus on making it across the street. Grabbed my bag, and headed towards the changing tent. Ran inside, and it was packed. WHOA, there are naked people in here. I have never seen that during a race before. I found a small spot, and threw on my arm warmers, then socks, gloves, helmet, glasses and I was off. As I ran out, I saw a bottle of sunscreen sitting on the table. DAMN, I totally forgot to put on sunscreen. Oh well, it was too late now. I ran down to my rack, and my Ironsherpas were right there. I gave them a quick thumbs up, and grabbed my bike and out I went.
What would you do differently?:
I have no idea how long this transition took, as its time is lumped in with the bike segment. It felt like forever, but I am sure it was no more than 5 miles.
5h 48m 56s
I did a flying mount, and peeled out of T1. I kept remembering all the articles about proper pacing on the bike, and not to blow up. I had my pacing set in mile segments
(e.g. 0-25, 25-50, 50-100, 100-112
) and fully intended on hitting those pace markers. Well, as I got started I was barely pushing the pedals and cruising at 20 mph. I kept thinking, easy now, easy now, but I was not putting any effort into the pedals, so I figured that was the correct pace. I thought “let’s see how this works out?” It was not long until I came by a guy with his right butt check hanging out of his pants. I laughed to myself, and started my pass. Well, that turned out to be James. I slowed up, and we rode side by side for about 30 seconds, and he said “keep it easy, but you are looking strong”. That sounded good to me, but I was still freaking out about holding a 20 mph pace.
The miles started clicking off, and next thing I knew I was crossing come railroad tracks. I reached back to make sure I had not ejected my rear bottles, and a voice said “keep going, your bottles are still there”. WTF, it was James again. Seriously, James was my guiding light on the bike. That was all it took to restore my confidence, and I said I can hold 20 mph. Just stop thinking, and GO!! Well, I found my rhythm and started to go. The miles really started clicking off, and I up’ed my nutrition intake. I knew I did not have my gel flask to hit every 10 miles as planned, so I increased liquid nutrition to make up for it. I started tossing my rear bottles when empty, and grabbing HEED from the aid stations. My new plan was to go as long as I could with the carbopro I had, and then turn to HEED when needed.
Well, decision time came around mile 60. Bike SN was suppose to be at mile marker 60, but it was not there. After passing 60 miles and no SN, I said “F-it” I don’t need the extra gel bottle. Well, at mile 65 there was bike SN. It was a moment in slow motion as I passed, I thought about stopping, then made the call to push on. My legs felt fresh, plenty of power in them, and everything was sitting nicely in the stomach.
Shortly after I turned onto 421, then the fun started. Before that point, I was holding a 20.5 mph avgas, from mile 70-112 there was a nasty headwind. I hate headwinds more than anything on the bike. No problem, I tucked tight in aero and continued my rhythm. After about 30 miles of fighting the headwind I started cursing the wind. I had a foul mouth that would burn even a sailor’s ears out there. But somehow, that made me feel better to cuss at the wind. Well, at mile marker 90
) I came by come people cheering, and one woman had a sign that said “Sore Taint?” I pointed at her, and started laughing. I swear she was about to hit the floor laughing at that. That totally made my day.
I tired, and tried, and tried to pee on the bike, but I just could not. So, I ended up stopping to pee. Oh well, only a minute lost there.
A few more miles and I started coming into Wilmington. Thank GOD! I was about two miles out, and I noticed this huge bridge. WTF, that is the run course. I thought this was supposed to be flat? Oh well, I will deal with that in a minute.
Rolled into T2 and heard my Ironsherpas cheering me on.
What would you do differently?:
This blew my mind. I never went into the large chain ring up front. I had ridden the entire bike course in the small ring, and used the rear clog gears. Next time, I will totally drop the hammer and use bigger gears to push the pace. Perhaps this is what saved my legs? Perhaps I could have pushed harder or faster?
I read once “If you think you can ride faster than we're telling you, prove it by running well off the bike first”. The question now becomes, can I prove to you that I could have pushed harder on the bike? Can I run solid off the bike? Keep reading, and you tell me.
The official times have T1 lumped into the bike segment. I took a guess that T1 was around five minutes or so
) and that puts my bike split around 19.5 mph. That actually sounds more correct. My computer had 19.8, but with the stop to pee 19.5 should be dead on.
I dismounted, and handed off my bike and helmet to the volunteers. THANK YOU! Grabbed my T2 bag and started towards the changing tent. Stopped, doubled around and headed towards the port-a-john. Everyone started yelling at me that was the women’s changing tent, and I just started yelling bathroom, bathroom. I swear I must have peed for two minutes or more. Finished up, and ran to the changing tent. I was only one of six guys there. I took that as a good sign. I found a seat, and changed. Deep breath, and said “lets do this!” as I headed out of the tent. I started coming around following another guy, and everyone started yelling that we had to go out the rear of T2. So, we turned around and headed that way. As I rounded out of T2, there was Stephanie. I blew her a kiss, and headed to the road.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, I had to pee and then took my time getting my run gear on. It did not take me long to get geared up, as I did not have a ton of gear to change over.
3h 41m 17s
08m 27s min/mile
Ironman are not born, they are forged. They are forged during the marathon. I was ready for my purification by fire, let’s do this!
As I started out of T2 the crowd was unreal. Both sides of the street were packed with everyone cheering. I narrowed my focus, and started to find my rhythm. I came past my Ironsherpas and they went crazy. That a boost! I actually gave two of them high fives as I headed out.
My legs felt great, but I dialed it down as I knew there was a nasty climb to the first bridge. Up and over I went, then the second one. My legs felt great, I could not believe it. I started at the first aid station taking small sips of water to keep my hydration up. I had a hand held gel bottle with me that I was hitting every two miles. That plan seemed to be working perfect, so I pressed on. Down to Front Street, and again the crowds were freaking great! They were going crazy. I started muttering words of encouragement to everyone I passed, and I was passing a ton of people at a click. Up off of Front Street, and towards the park. I was in a perfect rhythm, and my legs still felt great. I decided to set it in cruise control and just go. I headed out to the park, to the turn around, and then back towards the battleship. I had just about made it back to Front Street, and I saw James. He looked at me, and says “go get it!” Shortly after that, I saw a green tri-top and green visor and I called ‘Keyone, Carol?” She looked at me, and said “Brian…..and something else”. I could not hear, and I dipped down to Front Street. How cool was that, that was Keyone.
I kept cheering on everyone as I passed, and then I noticed that the bib numbers were different. The full and the half were different colors. That made a ton of sense to me now, because I was passing people cheering them on and several of them kept saying “you’re a beast, you’re an animal, etc.”. I just thought that was their cheer back to me. Now I realized they were seeing that I was running the full, when they were doing the half. That totally pumped me up!
Back down to Front Street and pass my Ironsherpas, another free pick-me-up. Up to the bridges and I saw Doug
(Brown Dog and Tony
). I gave Doug a high five and continue to hammer back to the start. When I took that final left to head to the turn around, I hear Doug’s Stephanie
(Mrs. Brown Dog
) cheer me on. That was great to see/hear from familiar faces out there.
As I came to the Run SN they yelled at me for a bib number. Just an FYI, I run with my race belt turned around towards my back. I turned it around, and they started yelling out my Run SN bag number. I quickly told them that I did not need it, made my turn and back out for lap two. Back out to the bridges, and up and over. Down Front Street, and I kept hearing people from the crowd ask “what is up with the arm warmers”? I had decided to run with my arm warmers on to keep warm when the sun went down. That worked out perfectly to help regulate my temperature.
The miles were still clicking off until I reached the final turn around. I knew this would probably be my darkest hour, and where my ‘line” lurked in the darkness. Well, it was there waiting for me, just as I thought. It is at “the line” where you stand up to the iron challenge, or crumble before it. I decided to make a stand. My body was screaming for mercy, but I kept telling it, mercy is for the weak. You WILL keep pushing. I came up on a guy running with a 55 on his calf moving at a good clip. I thought I have 25 years on this guy; I have to be able to keep up with him. I moved up on this right side, and asked “mind if I run with you?” He gladly said yes, and we both push on. We ran together for a couple of miles until he had to hit the bathroom. Then, I was left alone again. At this point, I was heading out of the park area and closing on Front Street. I knew if I could make it to Front Street I could use the crowd for more free power. Down to Front Street, and I started repowering. I knew the worse was left to come, the climb off of Front Street, and the two bridges.
I chopped my way up the first climbing and started towards that first bridge. Again, I saw Doug & Tony and tried to give Doug another high five. I ended up just hitting his outstretched fingers. I don’t know how, but some how I made it to the top of the first bridge. I knew I had a down hill, then the final nasty climb over the last bridge. I did a time check, and I was well ahead of plan. I decided to run to the next bridge, and I could walk that hill, and then run in to the finish. When I approached the bridge, the pavement changed right at the base of the bridge. I said, run to the pavement change. Made it, then said run to the next cone, then the next cone, and the next. I looked up and I was five cones from the top, and I said screw it, run to the top.
I will be honest, as I topped the final bridge I started to get a bit emotional. I had done it. I only had a down hill, and a flat to cross until the finish line. I fought back my emotions, and regained my focused. Now, it is time to hammer, so I started picking up my pace. As soon as I made the final turn I started to hammer. I was really pushing at this point, and I was running down ANYONE in front of me. It did not matter that everyone around was still on their first lap at this point, I was going to pass them. I passed the turn around, and dropped the hammer to the finish. I heard someone call 200 meters, then 100, and then I turned to the chute.
The chute was wide, dark, and lined with flags, and there it was, the finish line. I eased up, hit the line and threw up my heads in VICTORY! I held my pose until I saw the flash of the photographer snap. I had done it, I was an IRONMAN!!!
What would you do differently?:
Not much. I am sure I could have focused a bit more between the 20-23 mile markers. Those were definitely my slowest miles, but those were also my darkest, so I chalk it up to a win since I was able to hit the wall and keep pushing forward.
I grabbed a water, and then headed over to the warming tent. As you would guess it was heated, and I got a cup of hot chicken broth. I had heard so much about the chicken broth, and it was all it was talked up to be and then some. Did some light stretching, and headed out to my Ironsherpas. We took numerous pictures with everyone.
My goal was to hang out and see others finish, but I was done. I needed to shower, eat, etc. So, Steph took the buddy pass and went and gathered my gear. We stood in line what seemed like forever to get on the boat. Finially, we made it across. As we were loading the car I was cheering on the people still on the course. There were a ton of people out there still. I looked up and saw BT'er Kevin coming by. I gave it my all and cheered him on. He looked solid, and he continued to push forward. Great job Kevin!!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Overall, I would say fear of blowing up. I kept myself in check all day, and would not allow myself to push at any point. I think next time on this course, I might try and go for it. I think sub 10 is in the cards on this course.
I really enjoyed this race. No only because it was my first IM, but the setup was a bit different which mixed it up. The run on Front Street was tough because the road was not even, so you really had to watch your step. Other than that, I give it two thumbs up. I WILL be back, and try to break this time.
Last updated: 2008-12-05 12:00 AM
00:53:28 | 3862 meters | 01m 23s / 100meters
Out & around a buoy (perhaps 100 meters) and hang a right. Down the channel and a left at the wingly man. A few hundred more meters, and then another right for 100 meters, then left to the marina. Exit was several ladders.
62F / 17C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:48:56 | 112 miles | 19.26 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:41:17 | 26.2 miles | 08m 27s min/mile
Two out and backs.
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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