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Beach 2 Battleship - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
70F / 21C
Total Time = 11h 47m 43s
Overall Rank = 128/400
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 13/37
Pre-race routine:

This is going to be long, so I appologize beforehand. Also there is no spell check on this page so please excuse the Georgia grammar.

My wife and I arrived in Wilmington on Wednesday afternoon. The accomadations at The Blockade Runner on Wrightsville Beach were much better than expected ($89/Night). I can't say enough about the town in general and the staff at The Blockade. If you are even considering an Iron Distance race next year, I would reccomend this event highly.

Wednesday evening I went down to the gym and did a 30 minute interval run. Nothing too hard, just something to test how the legs felt. Afterwards I got in the sauna and stretched out. Things seem to feel pretty good.

Thursday morning was extremeley cold at the beach. My plan was to swim about 45 minutes in Banks Channel. When I woke up I felt like I was getting a sore throat. Nothing a little Theraflu, Coldeze, and Airborne can't fix?

I arrived at where I thought the swim would start and put my foot in the water. OUCH...that is cold. I couldn't find anyone else dumb enough to swim on this cold morning, so off I went up the channel by myself. Probably not the smartest thing in the world, but everything went just fine. I warmed up pretty fast and arrived back at the Blockade in about 40 minutes. I estimated this was just under 2/3 of the swim course. Wow, these could be some very fast splits on Saturday.

Thursday evening was the Kickoff Dinner. I found the BT group and sat down with them. Wow, what a great group of guys. I can't remember everyone's name but Ernie, Wade and I would meet up again on Friday for another swim.

Friday morning's swim was from The Blockade to the swim finish at the marina. I was really glad I got to see the entire course over the two practice swims. This would come in handy as sighting and direction could be a problem in the wide channel.

It wasn't quite as cold on Friday, but it wasn't comfortable either. The swim exit at the marina had you climb a ladder. From there you had to run about 500 yards to T1. I noticed several other athletes had neoprene booties on. I decided if I could find a pair to purchase them, not necessarily for the swim, but for the run to T1. GOOD DECISION.

I caught a ride back to The Blockade with Ernie and Wade, and we wished each other good luck on Saturday, not thinking we would be able to find each other in the coming maddness.

Friday afternoon I went for a short 15' ride followed by a 15' run. Everything looked good, so I checked, re-checked, then checked again my transistion bags and headed off to drop my gear off.

I went to bed pretty early on Friday night but sleep was hard to come by. The alarm went off at 4:30 and I was more than happy to get out of bed.

Breakfast consisted of 1 bannana, 1 Ensure, 1 Gatorade, 1 cup of coffee, and 1 protein bar.

I checked, re-checked, and then checked again my swim gear for goggles, bodyglide, and my timing chip. After I decided everything was accounted for I got dressed.

We have all heard that part of the IM experience is dealing with the problems that are bound to happen during the race. Well Problem #1 was when I bent over to get my shoes my swim shorts split right down the middle. Luckily I had brought a Tri-Suit that I hadn't planned on wearing. I had left it in my bag from the SCHIM. Sure it smelled awfull, but at least it properly hid my "junk".

So with crisis #1 averted I grabbed my swim gear, kissed my wife goodbye, and headed for the elevator. Just before the door closed I remembered to grab my wetsuit! I hope these mental lapses are not a foreshadowing of the day to come.

Event warmup:

After dropping off my special needs bags, I boarded the trolly to head to the swim start. Sure enough Ernie is right behind me. Wow what are the odds. It was nice to see a friendly face. We would soon meet up with Wade at the starting coral.

I had planned on warming up with a short swim but that was derailed after I put my wetsuit on backwards (it was dark) and had to fight it for 10 minutes. While the neoprene booties were nice in the water, they made gettting the wetsuit on and off pretty difficult.

Looking back, fighting the wetsuit was a better warmup than a short swim. Suffice it to say, my blood was boiling after making such a stupid mistake.

Off to the water we went. The sun was beginning to rise to our east and it was truly a beautiful moment. I forgot my camera, but that image is burned into my subconcious for the rest of my life. After the National Anthem was played, the anticipation began to build. I am not a big Eminem fan, but I couldn't think of a better song than what they had playing (Lose Yourself). And we are off.........
  • 55m 29s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 19s / 100 yards

Going into the race, I knew I could put down a pretty respectable time. My goal was 1:10, but with the incoming tide I though I might be able to get it down to 1:05.

I only got clubbed hard one time on the swim. The guy hit me with a forearm and it knocked my googles sideways. We both stopped and he appologized. No problem, at least we are not at IM Florida dealing with that every other minute!

When I got to the turn buoy-boat-Wiggly Man, I took a look at my watch.....35 minutes! Was I going too hard, spending too much energy? I felt good, so I continued on at the same pace, but thought I might draft some of the way back to the finish.

I found some feet to grab onto, and followed him around for a bit. I think this guy wasn't sighting too well, as I was struggling to stay on his feet. It felt like I was spending more energy trying to follow him, than I would simply swimming alone. With that thought in mind, I took off by myself for the marina.

As I climbed the ladder out of the water, I glanced at my watch...55 minutes! Ok so the tide helped out some, but I was still VERY happy with my effort and time.

What would you do differently?:

Not much....maybe try ANOTHER pair of googles.
Transition 1
  • 10m 24s

The run from the swim to T1 was long and cold. I was very happy to have my booties on. My wife was waiting for me on the side of the road, and I think she was more happy to see me (not drowned) than I was to see her!

Sure enough when I picked my spot in the changing tent there was Ernie again. Wow, was he some sort of guiding angel or what?

Things went pretty smooth in T1. I was little slower than what I wanted but overall I was happy not to forget any crucial items needed for the bike. I chose to wear a short sleeve jersey with arm warmers since the temperature was going to get into the 70's. It was cold to begin with, but I think I made the right decision. The one item I wish I had was toe warmers.

One thing that did concern me was my HRM was not registering on my watch!
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 15m 43s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.89 mile/hr

When I started out of T1 I knew I had to use the bathroom. Boy was that a sign of things to come later (7 Times To Be Exact).

My nutrition was spot on with 2 three hour bottles of Perpetulum, 1 Gel every hour along with 2 endurolytes. There is no doubt that I drank way too much water. Better safe than sorry.

With my HRM out, I had no idea how hard to push. I remembered hearing find a gear you are comfortable pushing and then drop one more. Sounded good to me.

I was getting passed left and right on the bike. My bike computer said I was going 18.5 MPH which would put me in at the 6 Hour mark if I didn't have to stop every 45 minutes to releive myself! I held that speed througout the ride, even though I felt I could push much harder. Oh well, again better safe than sorry. Maybe I could actually save some energy for the marathon.

The most frustrating part of the bike ride was that the milage markers put out by the staff were about 6 miles off! I asked several other riders what their GPS indicated and we were all about the same. My guess was that the bike was going to be about 5-6 miles longer than planned due to a last minute constrution detour in the course!

When we got to Mile Marker 100 my computer told me I was at 107. Yep we were going to ride about 118 miles!

Then like a surprise birthday party, about 5 minutes after seeing the 100 mile marker there was the 110 marker. THANK GOD!

After crossing the bridge back into Wilmington and hearing all of the drivers curse us for closing down the right hand lane while backing up traffic for miles, I smiled and waved at them just happy to be off this bike.

I never really hit any true lows, as I expected those to come on the run. That said, somebody could have bought themselves a really nice Kuota for a steal of a price in T2
What would you do differently?:

1. Have a funtioning HRM.
2. Work on hydration (too much water)
3. Push just a little harder (sub 6 hours)

Transition 2
  • 06m 12s

T2 went much better than expected. Volunteers took your bike and helmet as you headed into the changing tent. I had planned on changing socks, jersey and shorts, but ended up just putting on some compression bottoms. Socks and jersey were still dry.

I took 1 Gel, 3 Endurolytes, 1 Five Hour Energy, and 2 Advil. My plan was to throw on my camelback for the run, but once I got it out of my transistion bag, I realized the water was way too hot to drink. No panic, with this change of plan. I think I had plenty of water still in me from the bike!

As I left the changing tent, I saw my wife Whitney again. I kissed her goodbye and told her I was feeling better than expected. One final thought to her was "Don't forget to get me the score of the UGA vs florida game when I come through for lap #2"!!!!!!!!
What would you do differently?:

No much here at all. My goal for T2 was 7 minutes and I beat that time and stole a kiss from my wife all the while.

  • 4h 19m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 55s  min/mile

All I can say is WOW! I can't believe how good I felt starting this run. Maybe I didn't push too hard on the bike and this was my reward.

My goal was 5:30 on the run. I thought if I could at least run the first lap, then I could walk most of the second loop and make my goal of 13:00 Total Time.

As I approached the first bridge I noticed lots of athletes walking. This really surprised me and I began to question my strategy of running the first loop.

Going through downtown on Lap 1 was incredible. The fans and volunteers were cheering and screaming encouragement to everyone. WOW, talk about lifting your spirits up.

I came up on an athelte with a prostetic left leg. The young lady looked strong and this provided me with some very positive energy. Just thinking what it took for her to be out there was something else. Her husband/boyfriend was riding a bike behind her and seemed to be helping mentally support her. WOW....that really was uplifting. I spoke to her for a minute and told her how great she was doing.

About this time I remembered how I had read on BT that if you continue to thank the volunteers and encourage the other athletes you will stay in a positive state of mind. I ENCOURAGE YOU ALL TO ADHERE TO THIS STRATEGY!

I walked through every other aid station and tried to eat some oranges, drink a couple of cups of water, and muscle down a Gel every hour. The nutrition I took in on the bike seemed to be really paying off.

About 8 miles into the run, I met a very nice lady who had completed several IM races. As we ran together I told her how good I felt. She warned me that at some point you will hit a wall and just to push through it. I thanked her for the advice and kept on running.

Around mile 11 I started to get some pain in my right knee. This was nothing new to me on long runs. That said, the pain in my left achilles had me worried.

I made my way back to the finish area to start Lap 2. I was well ahead of schedule at this time. I realized that if I could run the second loop under 2:30 I could break the 12:00 mark! Well, I felt good at this point and there was no reason not to go for it and see what happens. If I felt like things started to go bad, I could always finish walking.

I grabbed my Runs Special Needs Bag, and the only thing I needed from it were my Red Gummi Bears. Wow those really hit the spot.

Because I was ahead of my time schedule, Whitney had not made it back to the T2 Area yet, and I wasn't able to see her as I started my second lap. More importantly I wasn't able to get an update on the UGA vs. florida game (THANK GOD!).

So up the big bridge again I went. Still feeling really strong at this point I began to pass runners/walkers at a pretty good rate. Hearing the positive feedback from them and the volunteers just fueled the fire.

I had plenty of friends and family praying for my health and safety this weekend, but I had no idea that these prayers would translate into speed on the run! Seriously, this was beginning to get weird.

The miles just kept clicking off on Lap #2. I didn't feel like I needed too much nutrition but I kept to the 1 Gel per hour and some Endurolytes with water. I tried some of the Chicken Broth around mile 16 and decided that was not for me. I thought that stuff was going to be warm....this was more like Gazpacho.

Around Mile 20 I saw the lady with the prostetic leg again. She had slowed down to a walk and looked to be hurting some. Once again, I stopped and encouraged her and her husband for their effort. Truly amazing what some of these athletes go through during this day.

Alright just 10K left to go. I stopped at this Aid Station to use the rest room and stretch my achilles heel again. It was hurting pretty bad at this point, but I was determined to finish this race under 12:00 now. The Comodore 64 Computer in my head was constantly calculating average mile times needed to reach this new goal.

With three miles to go, I was still waiting on that wall to hit me. Nothing! I still felt great, and was actually talking with each and every person that I passed along the course.

The Commodore 64 told me to average 10:00/Miles from here on in and we can break 11:50:00.

As I climbed the last hill onto the bridge I began to reflect on all the training I had done on this "walk about". When I started back in November 2006 I could hardly run 12 minutes on the treadmill. The human body and more importantly the human brain can accomplish so much more than we think possible. That said, the crucial link between the brain and the body is your heart and soul, and without committing to both comletely, these impossible achievements can not be reached.

I passed a small group of runners in the final mile just to make sure that we all had the finish chute to ourselves. I heard the crowd about 1/2 mile away and I began to get really excited. I wanted the final mile of the run to be my fastest of the race. Mile 26 was 8:56.

The volunteers asked me if this was my first or second lap and I was more than happy to tell them this was the end of the adventure for me. They pointed me to the finishing loop and I saw Whitney cheering me on. I had envisioned this sooooo many times and the one thing I remembered was not to look down at my watch as your picture was taken......Unfortunatly Whitney was having trouble with her camera, so I turned around to face her just as the B2B cameraman was taking my picture. Needless to say my offical finishing race picture may be of my better side (back side)!

What would you do differently?:

Absolutely NOTHING!

Get my free BEER!
Post race
Warm down:

Whitney met me at the finish line, and I really didn't do much of anything. I tried to stretch my left achilles some more, but other than that nothing. I got my finishers medal and some pizza and we decided to gather up my gear and watch some others finish the race.

After about 15 minutes of walking around I had some minor GI issues but nothing too severe.

I didn't want to do much more, but if someone had a gun to my head I think I could have made another loop on the run course?

As we got ready to board the Ferry back into town, guess who shows up in line right behind me: Yep its Ernie again. Either this man is stalking me or someone paid him to watch over me all day long! Thanks again Ernie for all of your advice and encouragement.

Oh yeah.....What was the score of the UGA vs florida game? florida 49; UGA 10......GOD I am glad I didn't hear that any sooner!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think I could have cut some time off on the bike leg if I had my HRM on. I bet my AHR was in the low 140's or high 130's.

Event comments:

Great race again by Setup Events. The only minor complaints were the mileage markers on the bike course and the Ferry line at the finish.

Other than that, I HIGHLY reccomend this race to someone as a first time Iron Distance Race.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-11-03 12:00 AM
00:55:29 | 4224 yards | 01m 19s / 100yards
Age Group: 12/37
Overall: 91/400
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy Full with QR Booties
Course: The course started where The Banks Channel meets The Atlantic. Basically the swim was straight up the channel, with a left hand turn back towards the marina. The channel is wider than you would think, and it is easy to spend a lot of time wandering back and forth. The incoming tide really helped with the swim splits. You had to exit the water by climbing a ladder at the marina. Seemed odd to me, but it wasn't a problem.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 66F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 10:24
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
06:15:43 | 112 miles | 17.89 mile/hr
Age Group: 20/37
Overall: 181/400
Performance: Average
HRM Dead On Arrival
Wind: Little
Course: The course was a beautiful ride along country roads once you got out of Wilmington. There were a couple of bridges to cross, and a few RR crossing. Other than that the course was smooth.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 06:12
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:19:57 | 26.2 miles | 09m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/37
Overall: 77/400
Performance: Good
HRM still not functioning.
Course: This was one beautiful run course! Out of T2 you had to cross the bridge going back into downtown. This was a pretty good hill and took some effort to climb. Once across the bridge you headed through downtown Wilmington on Water St. The crowds there were GREAT. After going through downtown you headed up another decent hill towards Greenfield Lake. This was an absolutely beautiful park. Once around Greenfield Lake you headed back towards downtown then across another bridge back to the Battleship and T2. Overall this was a great course. There was plenty of variation, and lots of turns. To me this really breaks up the boredom of the run.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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

2008-11-03 11:38 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Beach 2 Battleship

2008-11-03 11:50 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
All I can say is..WOW! Talk about knocking the cover off the ball!

Great day/Great RR.
2008-11-03 12:27 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Roswell, GA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Congratulations!  Great race - awesome race report.  Best part of all was your run and never hitting the wall - that should happen to everyone! 
2008-11-03 2:41 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Gulf Shores, AL
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Wow, you really rocked it. Way to go.
2008-11-03 3:07 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Extreme Veteran
Roswell, GA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Fantastic race!
2008-11-03 3:13 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Great job, and I'm glad you had a great experience here in Wilmington!!!

2008-11-03 5:39 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Kinston, NC
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Great race!  Not sure who the second "Ernie" is, but Wade and I met you at dinner and you rode with us back from the Friday swim.  Obviously my doppleganger is out there somewhere.  Hope he helped

Again, great race.

2008-11-03 6:16 PM
in reply to: #1783544

Extreme Veteran
Randleman, NC
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Fantastic race and I agree with you 100% about the swim start. That had to be one of the most beautiful things I have seen outdoors - and Lose Yourself was right on time! Congratulations on a very well run race!
2008-11-03 7:03 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Herndon VA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Hey James,

Congratulations on a great race!  I think you got a little confused on the Friday swim personnel but I enjoyed your race report and the shout out.  You executed your race perfectly and I think you would have had problems on the run if you would have gone harder on the bike.   That's probably one of the best run first IM's I've read about.

It was great to meet you and your wife.  Bummer about UGA but I hope the race made up for it.


2008-11-04 7:11 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Thanks Guys.

For some reason I got Ernie and Spot confused on the practice swim.  Either way, it was great meeting all of you, and I appreciate all the advice and encouragement.

Wade....tough break with the flat.   I would have freaked out with the tubular....of course this is coming from the guy that put his wet suit on backwards!

Hopefully we will see all you next year.

2008-11-04 7:15 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Awesome race!!  Way to go!  : )

2008-11-04 8:04 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Canton, Michigan
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Great report.  Hope my first shot at the IM dist at B2B next year can go as well as your experience this year.
2008-11-04 8:39 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Elmira, NY
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Simply OUTSTANDING!!!  Great job out on the course.  Ya gotta love it when a plan comes together.
2008-11-05 11:30 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Thanks everyone for the kind words.  Looking back I think keeping a positive attitude throughout the entire race is simply the key for a successful race.  Sure, I know there is NO way I am going to win a race or even compete in my AG.  However, by focusing on the enjoyment of the race, WHICH WE CHOOSE TO DO, is the key to a rewarding adventure.

If someone forced me to run in this thing I would have been miserable out there.  You have to remember that we are the ones PAYING good money for this experience......why not enjoy it.  Things are bound to go wrong during the day.....HR Fails.....Achilies Flairs Up.......Leaking Googles......just accept these things for what they are.

Anyone that is contemplating an Iron Distance race: 

1.  The training is MUCH harder than the race itself.  So for anyone out there that didn't finish the race because of equipment failure or injury, if you completed your training plan you are an Ironman to me.

2.  Sign up for the ridiculously cheap Gold Plan on BT and follow the 20 Week Beginner IM Plan.  I promise you will be ready to toe the line come race day.


2008-11-05 11:52 AM
in reply to: #1783544

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Not a Coach
Media, PA
Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship

Great job James!  Great pacing and execution!

Congratulations Ironman!

2008-11-06 12:58 PM
in reply to: #1783544

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Subject: RE: Beach 2 Battleship
Congrats! Great to meet you as well!

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