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Ironman Louisville - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
Total Time = 12h 03m 44s
Overall Rank = 812/2345
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 134/408
Pre-race routine:

We arived Thursday afternoon. I made it just in time to get to check-in on Thursday. Samuel came with me and was thrilled by the whole thing. The body-fat-o-meter said I had 6% body fat, which sounds nice but is WAY off. I'm more like 10+%. So, their intention of selling me on the "Ironman Tanita" body fat scale didn't pan out too well for them.

I spent the next two days prior to the race doing things with my family. Among other things, we toured Mammoth Cave, which was very cool. Not the best strategy for racing, but hey, they made the sacrifice to come with me, and I wasn't there to win the thing. We hadn't had a proper vacation all summer because of Misty's job training, so this became our vacation, and we had a good time. Nevermind that I didn't get the greatest sleep with three restless children in a hotel room....

On race day, I woke up at 5am. I could hardly believe that the day was here -- I slept very little. 15 months before, almost to the day, is when I decided to stop single-handedly funding the liquor industry and start getting in shape. I couldn't quite believe that now, 15 months later and nearly 40 pounds lighter, having done nothing seriously athletic in my life (no, disc golf does not count...), I was heading out to the starting line of an Ironman race, where I fully expected not just to finish, but to finish in daylight.

But after a moment's reflection on the past, I got down to business. I had a cup of coffee and a bagel with peanut butter, and walked down 3/4 mile from the hotel to the transition area, where I begged a pump off someone and pumped up my tires. Then another 3/4 mile hike to body marking and the swim start. The line was unbelievable. I was at the swim start by 6am or so, and at first it looked like the line was 'long' (a few hundred yards), but not ridiculous, so I started walking towards the end. Then I realized that the line kept going, and going, and going. I really don't know why I kept walking. I should have just gone back to the start and waited for the line to come to me, which was my plan 'A' anyway. (So why did I go to plan 'B'??? No idea...) I got to know a nice guy from Virginia, who, it turns out, went to school at DePauw U. in Indiana, near where I lived for 10 years, so that was nice. The line was about a mile long, no joking. We heard the gun for the pros (in the distance...) just a few minutes after we arrived at the end, then 10 minutes later the gun for the age groupers. Soon after, the family and friends cleared out and the line quickly shrunk. I ate a gel, and we moved faster and faster until we were jogging by the end. I guess that was my warm-up. I was in the water at around 7:45.
Event warmup:

Um, all that walking?
Swim
  • 1h 23m 18s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards
Comments:

I was somewhat disappointed to see my time on this swim. I felt like it went much better than that. I was taking it pretty easy, and apparently too easy. I did get whacked on the head a few times, and kicked pretty hard in the gut by a breast-stroker, but none of that seriously slowed me down. Sighting went fairly well -- it was very easy in the channel as you could sight to the side, and needed look ahead only enough to watch out for packs of swimmers ahead. And in the river it still was not that difficult, nothing compared to ocean swimming. I weaved a bit, but was generally on course. I did swim out into the middle of the river hoping to catch more current, and that was probably a mistake, as there just wasn't much current. I probably should have stayed on the straighter line, but none of these things cost me much time in any case. I just needed to swim harder.

In fact, the only thing that did cost me time (apart from probably just not going hard enough) was that I cramped up, literally 50m from the finish. I accelerated between two swimmers to get to some clear water right before the exit (something I had done successfully several times throughout the swim), and BOOM! My right calf seriously cramped. I kept swimming, kicking with my left leg only and trying to stretch the other at the same time. I must have looked like a wounded fish. I 'hobbled' to the exit and by then at least the cramp had subsided. I just had the residual pain, and immediately started wondering how I was going to live with that all day.
What would you do differently?:

Don't get in line. That was one of only two significant mental mistakes I made all day (that I know about...), and not the most costly, but still rather stupid.
Transition 1
  • 06m 42s
Comments:

This went fairly smoothly. The volunteer was right there with my bag. I was a bit disorganized, but got it done. I could have done this a minute or two faster, but not much more than that. There was a decent run into T1, and a decent run out.
What would you do differently?:

Just be a bit more efficient. I paused a couple of times to ponder what I was supposed to be doing.
Bike
  • 6h 07m 47s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.27 mile/hr
Comments:

I felt very good about this bike. I kept my HR pretty much where I wanted, though because of the lower temperature, I wasn't 100% sure where I needed to be. It crept into the 140s on some of the steeper longer climbs, but even then, mostly low 140s. I maybe saw 150 once or twice, for just a few seconds. I did stretch my calf several times, as it constantly felt like it was going to cramp, and was quite painful all the way. But it never cramped (again, after the swim).

I also was very happy with how I dealt with the traffic. I'm still not 100% sure how to deal with the situation where you pass someone who was in the draft zone of the person in front of him or her. Technically, this puts me in the position of having to pass the next person as well, which is fine if that person was going the same speed (meaning, the person I just passed was probably drafting), but what if the next person is going faster (for example, that person just passed the person in front of me)? On a less crowded course, I could have waited for the situation to get sorted out (i.e., for the person in front of me to get out of the next person's drafting zone), but here that course of action was just not feasible.

I played it by the letter of the law and passed, and this made for a few accelerations that I would have rather avoided, but none of them was extreme. I did an 'extreme' (hard) acceleration only two times that I can recall, both to get myself clear of congestion that was causing me problems (it was hard to avoid drafting without dropping WAY back and slowing down too much). I don't think any of these accelerations caused me much pain, and I was able to really cruise for the final 20 miles, where things had cleared up quite a bit and the road was nice and flat (where, for some strange reason, I seem to be stronger relative to other riders, even though I really LIKE the hills). The only other real problem I had on the bike was that my sunglasses got messed up and I was seeing double for the final 20 miles. I tried and tried to get them straight, but couldn't. I took them off for a few minutes, but that was even worse, as the sun was fairly bright, and right in my face. So I lived with it. I hit a couple of bumps that I would have seen if my vision were normal, but fortunately there were no serious consequences.

The one odd thing about this ride -- and it must be because the temperature was so much lower than what I have trained in -- was that I had to pee CONSTANTLY. It wasn't until an hour in that I was able to relax enough. And then of course it was important (to me) to be sure no one is too close behind before 'letting fly'. Enough said about that. Maybe I was drinking too much.

In any case, nutrition went very well. I stayed on schedule. I had some very minor stomach pain towards the end, and I was worried that it might get ugly on the run, but I decided that I just had too much sugar in my gut, and I drank some water to dilute it and that seemed to work. I had no further issues.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, really. Given my level of experience, this ride was great.
Transition 2
  • 06m 13s
Comments:

Getting off the bike went fine. I did have one minor issue at the end of the ride, when some wanker raced past me (fine) and then immediately after passing slowed WAY down to pull his feet out of his shoes (not fine). Really? You couldn't have done that BEFORE passing? I slowed down to get out of his drafting zone, and he proceeded to fumble almost endlessly around with his shoes, to the point where I got fed up and passed him.

Anyway, I managed to get out of my shoes without (I hope) pissing anybody off. The run to T2 was wobbly, but fine. Nobody had grabbed my bag, but I found it myself pretty quickly. As for T1, I could have been more efficient. My inexperience showed here. But basically, fine.

One thing that I did wrong that turned up only later -- I missed two spots with the sunscreen. Oops. Now I have a pretty ugly sunburn in two places.
Run
  • 4h 19m 44s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 55s  min/mile
Comments:

Things started off fine. I was taking it pretty easy. I was able to keep HR down below where I expected, probably because of the cooler temps. I was hurting, but nothing that couldn't be ignored. My goal was to run the whole way, even if that meant shuffling. And for the first 20 miles, I ran a fairly steady pace. (I don't quite believe the splits on the IM site -- I think that some of the mile markers were inaccurate.) At mile 20, I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to pick up the pace, and from mile 20 to mile 23 I was running sub 9:00, and was definitely on pace to go well below my 4 hour goal.

Then at mile 23 I seriously hit the wall, and had a major goal readjustment. I shuffled to the aid station at mile 24 and walked that aid station (generously defined as the area beginning 100 yards prior to the aid station and ending 100 yards after it). During that 'run' I had a very sharp pain in my abdomen, which I just ignored. At the time, it seemed gastro-intestinal (and what are you going to do about THAT at mile 24 on the run? nothing!), but I later realized that it was the knot on my tri shorts that had been pressing against the same spot on my gut for the past 12+ hours. Lesson learned.

I then shuffled to the aid station at mile 25 and did the same thing. That second walk, plus the prospect of soon finishing, perked me up a bit and I was able to run at some semblance of a decent pace to the end. One block before the finish I saw my family for the first time that day -- although they had seen me several times, I was never quite able to pick them out of the crowd -- and I high-fived Samuel on the way in. At that moment, seeing my family for the first time that day, and hearing the amazingly loud cheers of the crowd, the ugliness and suffering of the previous 3.2 miles disappeared and it was done. I was quite spacey for a while, but the very kind volunteer who grabbed me at the end took good care of me for a few minutes, and helped me find Misty and the kids.

What would you do differently?:

Picking up the pace at mile 20 was a huge mistake. I should have kept plodding along. I would have finished several minutes faster if I had. In fact, I would have hit my 'A' goal of sub 12 hours if I had. Still, I guess missing that goal by less than 5 minutes isn't bad. I'll take it, and smile.
Post race
Warm down:

Pizza, cookie, beer, french fries, cheesecake. Not the greatest recovery food, but it's what I craved. Back to the hotel, clean up. We went back out to cheer for others for a while, then went to bed. We had to drive back to Columbia starting at 6am the next morning...

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Experience. I'll get faster.

Event comments:

IM is expensive, no doubt, but these people KNOW how to put on a race. The volunteers were absolutely AMAZING. The organization was as near to flawless as an undertaking of this magnitude can be. The civil service should take lessons from these people. The crowds were fantastic. I loved it, even while I was suffering.




Last updated: 2009-03-04 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:23:18 | 4224 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 170/408
Overall: 1162/2345
Performance:
Suit: tri shorts and tri top
Course: Upstream in a channel for about 1/3, then downstream in the main river for the rest. the upstream part was quite clam. There was a bit of chop in the downstream part, but nothing major.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 06:42
Performance:
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
06:07:47 | 112 miles | 18.27 mile/hr
Age Group: 174/408
Overall: 974/2345
Performance:
Wind:
Course: Flat for a while, then hilly for a long time, then flat and fast to the end. Roads were mostly good. The course was crowded but not insanely crowded. I really really like the course.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 06:13
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
04:19:44 | 26.2 miles | 09m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 114/408
Overall: 739/2345
Performance:
Course: Flat. Two loops. Two maddening loops.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2009-08-31 8:14 PM

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Champion
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: Ironman Louisville


2009-08-31 8:53 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Expert
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Lake in the Hills, IL
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Nice job. Great time! You did it.
2009-08-31 9:19 PM
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Champion
7595
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Thanks!

Edited by Experior 2009-08-31 9:19 PM
2009-08-31 9:24 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Great job!!! Big lifestyle change.....Congrats Ironman!!
2009-08-31 9:37 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Extreme Veteran
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Louisville, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Congratulations to you!!!
2009-08-31 10:42 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Great race report ironman! I had trained for warmer weather also - I was glad that I was cold at the swim start.


2009-08-31 11:48 PM
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Pro
5761
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Bartlett, TN
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

Nice Job, I enjoyed reading your race report. Can't wait till I am ready for my 1st Ironman!

2009-09-01 6:44 AM
in reply to: #2381537

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Regular
73
2525
Charleston, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Great job; what a way to cap your 15 month journey! 

Comming from Columbia did you find you were prepared for the hills in KY?  I'm in the 2010 race and worried about training for hills.  Here in Charleston our hills might be a bridge or freeway overpass.
2009-09-01 7:44 AM
in reply to: #2381537

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Master
2327
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North Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome race report. Way to finish!

You sir, are an IRONMAN.
2009-09-01 10:08 AM
in reply to: #2381537

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Master
1411
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Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

15 months to IM.  Impressive story, and great race!

2009-09-01 10:28 AM
in reply to: #2381537

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Champion
10143
5000500010025
Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

Well done sir!

 

~Mike



2009-09-01 2:29 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Champion
7595
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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Thanks everyone.  I appreciate the well-wishes.  Best of luck to you all.
2009-09-01 3:45 PM
in reply to: #2381537

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Way to go man!!  Ready for Hartsville this weekend?
2009-09-04 10:17 AM
in reply to: #2381537

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Veteran
147
10025
SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Great race report, congratulations once again on a great race. 
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