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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 14h 04m 8s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = W45-49
Age Group Rank = 62/109
Pre-race routine:

I never had any sleepless nights leading up to this race. Slept well again, up at 3:30, ate my Cream of Wheat and a banana with Peanut Butter about 450 calories should have had a bit more or eaten something else a little later. Made my PB&J sandwiches that I would carry on my bike and put in specail needs. Was staying with Brittany (TexasMPGal) and Dave (Dave699)so wished them both well and headed off to the race.
Stopped at my bike to load it up with nutrition, put my glasses in my run bag, dropped off my speacial needs bags and found a seat on the wall to wait until race time. Finally decided it was time to say goodbye to the warm close I was wearing and put the wetsuit on. First challenge of the day occured when I went to put my hair up in a pony tail and my hair band snapped. I simply walked down the fence line where the spectators were standing holding up my broken hair band and asking women if they had a spare one. In no time I found a lady who gladly dug to the bottom of her purse and procured a hair band. I thanked her sincerely and oddly felt calmed by knowing this is exactly what IM day is all about. Taking the little things that are thrown at you and finding the best course of resolution without letting it derail you mentally.
Event warmup:

No warmup, more like just trying to stay warm.

I knew that water temperature was going to be an issue for me today so I waited until about 3 minutes to go when Mike Reilly was starting to hyperventilate about athletes getting into the water before I jumped in.
  • 1h 55m 18s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 44s / 100 yards

Jumped in and was immediately hit by the sharp coldness of the water. I had done a good job of mentally preparing myself for this. I knew I would be cold but that I just had to swim and I would soon warm up on the bike, the sun would be out and the rest of the day would be great. Just get through this swim.
I had waited until late to get into the water, then swam up to the last Kayak and hung out there, chatted with a couple other athletes for only a minute or two and the gun went off. I've been using a Timex Ironman watch for probably close to 30 years and I could not figure out which button to push to start my watch. First note to self that the water temperature might be affecting my mental abilities. Never did start my watch the entire day.
Not too much trouble with other swimmers. Occasionally had someone swim into me but people were real good about hitting you once and adjusting rather than continuing to smack me.
I think I could have done a better job sighting on the way out. I probably swam some extra yardage in the mid-portion of the outbound leg due to poor navigation. I am pretty good with bi-lateral breathing but my right is definitely my strong side. Ended up breathing almost exclusively to my right which is probably what caused me to swim in less than a straight line at times.
About the time I hit the turnaround I began to realize that the cold water was having more of an effect on me than just being cold. My body was becoming very sluggish. The actual swimming was never a problem for me, no problem with fatigued arms, definitely no panic attacks, no problems breathing, only took two 'drinks' of water during the entire swim, so I know my swim fitness is much better than last year. The problem was more in my heart rate slowing and my mental facilities getting very foggy. It is a sensation that I can't really put into words but I was very aware that there was something starting to go very amiss in my body. I knew that I had to just keep swimming as hard as I could because I needed to generate what little body heat that I could. I was also able to pee in my wetsuit three times without stopping which helped. Stopping, even for a moment, was not an option.

Last year this swim took me 1:45. I am a better swimmer now and felt like a 1:35 was doable. The 1:55 swim time was directly related to the cold water. Even though the swim was very nearly the end of my day, I have several things to feel good about with this swim. I can FINALLY say that I can do a race with an OWS without freaking out and literally being scared of drowning (as long as I have my wetsuit). I had zero panic today, even when I knew my body temperature was approaching questionable levels. My swim fitness level was fine. I'm slow in the water but I can go the distance.
What would you do differently?:

Learn to swim faster. Swimming faster = less time in the cold water. Although today even a faster swim I think would have been troublesome for me.
I do my swim workouts in a pool that is kept at 82* and I have to wear a sleeveless wetsuit in order to be able to stay in long enough to do an IM type workout. At 64*, even with a full wetsuit, it is something that I'm just not physically able to handle. Some people can't race in hot temperatures, my body doesn't do cold, especially cold water.
Transition 1
  • 34m 35s

This is where my day came very very close to ending. In T1 of all places.
The volunteer helped me up the stairs and out of the water. She handed me off to someone else and they kept asking me what my name was. My first thought was 'why is my wetsuit stripper wearing a stethoscope?' Next thing I knew two people had me by each arm and were walking me to the tent but I vaguely realized it wasn't the changing tent. We entered the medical/warming tent, they got my wetsuit off, wrapped me in 3 mylar blankets and two regular warmed blankets, put hot IV bags under both armpits and made me drink chicken broth. I had no idea how long I was in there but I knew the minutes had to be ticking off and I needed to get on my bike. I must have been completely purple and was shaking uncontrollably but had enough mental awareness to know that I HAD to get out of that tent. I kept asking to go and they kept telling me I had to wait and making me drink more chicken broth. Of course I was shaking so badly that each time they'd hand me a cup of broth I immediately spilled half of it. After what seemed like an eternity and more begging and pleading than I've done for anything I can remember, the guy with the stethescope who had all of the power and at that moment in time held the outcome of my IM in his hands finally conceded to allow me to leave the tent even though he strongly indicated that it was rather against his better judgment.

Once I finally escaped from the tent I made my was as quickly as possible to my T1 bag and into the tent. I had prepared my T1 bag knowing that my core body temperature would be low coming out of the water. I had long wool socks to use as arm warmers, two of the big chemical body warmers, foot warmers to put in my shoes and a big piece of cardboard to put in the front of my jersey to protect from the wind. All of which was easily disposable once I started to warm up. However, when I finally made it to the changing tent the volunteers helped me out of my swimsuit, into my bra, shorts and jersey, put my shoes on my feet, handed me my helmet and kicked me out the door. They did allow me to grab the wool socks for my arms. They knew what I hadn't realized yet which was that I was literally within seconds of being DQ'd. I was the last person allowed out of T1 and onto the bike course. The gates closed immediately behind me.
What would you do differently?:

People are always telling me if I had more body fat I wouldn't be so cold all the time, but gaining weight is not an option. I'm not underweight, I just don't carry any body fat.
  • 6h 53m 35s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.25 mile/hr

Started out on loop one knowing I was way behind. Coming into this race I've struggled badly on my long bike rides so coming into this race I was more worried about the bike than I was the swim or run. Now I was just happy to have the opportunity to ride.
Even heading out the the Beeline I was only hitting 14mph at best. My body was still frozen and not functioning very well, physically or mentally. Physically I just wasn't getting any power. Mentally I was trying desperately to beat down the demons. I even started trying to make the decision of if it becomes apparent that I won't make the bike cut-off, should I just stop after two laps and then start my run. I'd be DQ'd later but at least I'd be able to run. Or do I just take the DQ for not making the bike cut-off and let my day be done? At this point I thought about KathyG and her IM race and another of my friends who just did B2B as her first IM. I told myself that if they could finish their races, then I could do this too.
I was a good 10 miles into the bike ride before my core temperature really got back to where I felt normal. I also started taking calories as much as I could as soon as I got on the bike because I knew that a lot of the mental demons would be quieted by some good glycogen.
I did the math and figured I'd have to finish each lap in about 2hr 45min. I finished the first lap and realized I had put some time in the bank even though I had stopped at a port-a-potty. Started out on the second loop and suddenly realized that where I was barely holding 14mph on the first lap I'm now doing 18. My body is finally working properly and the winds have shifted. I find myself going into a happy place where I will spend the rest of the day. Work my way up the Beeline for the second time, turn around, hit the port-a-potty again, and fly back down. I stop at special needs, take a nice long hit of my diet pepsi (my special treat) and eat 1/2 PB&J, and off again. Shortly after I got back up to speed from the special needs stop a lady passed me wearing one black sock and one pink. It was my coach that I used last year. I pulled up and chatted with her for just a second. She was on her third lap and I was on my second. We played cat and mouse a few times and even after she passed me the last time I still stayed 5 or 6 lengths behind her for a few more miles. It was motivating and comforting just feeling like I was riding with her. As we headed back into town she was finishing up her ride and starting to put the pedal down and I still had another trip up the beeline yet so I let her go and stayed within my box.
Third lap I knew would be harder. I rode pretty hard the second lap, I was feeling good and having fun. There were lots of other riders on the course to keep me motivated. The third lap was going to seem very lonely and unfortunately the wind picked back up some. I was also heading into the distance where I have started to struggle on all of my training rides. But today is IM day, you just keep riding, there is no being wimpy, there is no complaining, you smile and enjoy it. Heading up the Beeline I got lazy shifting and dropped my chain and wasn't able to spin it back on so I had to make another stop. The turnaround actually snuck up on me. Stopped to pee once again and headed downhill for the last time.
Did pretty good with the calories throughout the ride. My goal is always 100 calories every 20 minutes. I was able to continue with that until about the last hour when I didn't take much in but I normally slow down the calories as I prepare for the run. Was very satisfied with the bike nutrition and hydration. Considering I stopped three times to pee and a fourth time to fix my chain and still rode under 7 hours without hating life was awesome.
Riding down Rio Salado I took it all in knowing that I had survived a close call with the swim this morning and had nailed the bike ride that I was most concerned about going into the day and all I had left to do was a fun run. As I approached T2 I could hear Mike Rielly declaring people 'Ironman'.
What would you do differently?:

Really need to do more consistant and harder interval work on the bike and get back in the gym to regain some leg strength.

Get out of T1 faster so I'm not so far behind when I start the bike and the third lap isn't so lonely.
Transition 2
  • 07m 34s

Took my time in T2. Changed from my tri shorts into my CWX running shorts. I don't wear panties with my bike shorts and thought I had put a pair in my run bag to put on with my run shorts. Nope, not there (I later found them in my dry clothes bag, oooops). Traded the sun glasses for my regular glasses, changed socks, slipped the running shoes on, put on some body glide, brushed my teeth real quick, grabbed the fuel belt and my headlamp and was out the door.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Not the quickest transition time but I'm in a happy place and looking forward to the run.
  • 4h 33m 7s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 25s  min/mile

Made the decision as I was coming out of the T2 tent to not start my watch. I didn't start it when the gun went off this morning and I opted not to start it now. I have done 20 marathons and can tell you the mile splits for every one of them. Even training runs if I somehow forget a watch I'm very likely to skip the run and do it later so this is totally new territory for me. I did look at my watch and make a mental note that it was about 4:30.
I went into this IM with only one goal which was to finish without it being a suffer fest. I am stoked that I made it through the bike ride feeling good and never had to fight the devil (after I made it through the initial period). Even if I have to walk a good portion of this run I'm going to be very OK with that. I'll have a smile on my face and try to cheer up others that I meet on the course that are also walking and possibly broken.
Seen Jeanette shortly after coming out of T2. It was so great to see a familiar face. Seeing her always has such a comforting affect on me. I had my watch set for 4:2 intervals hoping that would be my worst case scenario. I ran the first four minutes and then power walked about 20 seconds. I repeated that a couple of times and then just kept running. I walked through the water stops only when I needed my water bottle filled. I noted at the very first water stop coming out of T2 that they were already offering the chicken broth and I'm just starting my run. Didn't take many calories during the run 1 Gu, some pretzels at one station, a few grapes at two different stations, and one bite of a cliff bar. With about 7 miles left I told myself to take a gu and then I wouldn't ask my stomach to process anything else. Squirted some in my mouth and had to spit it out. No way was it going down. Barely even took in any more water from that point on. I usually really like the Coke on the course but it never sounded good. I carried chocolate covered espresso beans in my fuel belt which is a trusted treat for myself when I need a boost late in a run but I never found myself wanting those either.
During the first loop I ran quite a bit with an asian guy. He was on his third lap and keeping a nice steady pace. It was his first IM and as we got closer I could just feel his excitement growing. He commented to me at one point that he was 'just so tired' but he kept right on going. I would think of him as I approached that same point on my third lap and experienced the same tiredness.
As I started the second loop I put my headlamp on. I was very glad that I had decided to have it in my run bag and took it with me. About a mile into the second loop I ran into Dave699 who was on his third loop. Chatted with him for just a second and was on my way. Again it was nice to see a familiar face. Stopped quickly at special needs to grab the long wool socks to use as arm warmers. The temps were dropping quickly and I didn't need another episode with being cold. The hardest thing is finishing the second lap and watching others head to the finish turnoff and you have to go one more time.
As with the bike, I knew my third lap would be lonely. I still felt pretty good physically. The legs were getting heavy but I kept telling myself there was absolutely no valid reason for me to do anything other than what I was currently doing. There was no need for me to walk or really slow my pace. Just keep doing what you're doing and as each mile marker passed I just felt stronger and stronger mentally. As I finished up the last mile and turned to the Finish it was a welcome site and an awesome feeling of accomplishment but not the totally emotional feeling of 'becoming an Ironman' that I had last year.
Stopped three times to use the bathroom during the run. I'm always scared that I won't be able to get the legs going again and find my rhythm after I stop but I had to make the stops. Was able to work back into the run pretty good each time. The splits show me slowing down to just over an 11:00 pace for a portion of the mid-late miles. That included my one long potty stop. The last 10K was actually my fastest split. I was steady throughout the run and stayed in my happy place the whole time.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I was very happy with this run.
Post race
Warm down:

Got my t-shirt, hat, medal, picture and mylar blanket. Chatted with my brother, sil, and nephew for a few minutes until I started to get chilled. Headed off to claim my dry clothes bag, went into the changing tent to change clothes one more time, collecting my bike and turned it into Inside Out sports for transport home, and got my bike and run bags. By that time, I was ready to eat. Three pieces of pizza and a plate of french fries. Now I'm tired, warm, full and just internally happy. I head home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I knew I wasn't trained as well as I would have liked for this race. But I did the best I could with what fit into my life. I was at ease with that and was expecting the race to go accordingly. I was very pleasantly surprised. Other than the near miss with the swim, I had a tremendous day. Last April I did 14:02 on this course, but the day was extremely hot and windy. I was very well trained for that race. Today the weather would be much better but the training was not there. I hoped they would balance each other out. My very happy goal was to beat the 14:02 from last year and if you're going to beat a 14:02, let's just go sub 14. Without the cold water, I would have been well below 14.

Event comments:

This is an awesome race. The volunteers and race organization are incredible. I would recommend this race to anyone wanting to do an IM.

Last updated: 2008-12-28 12:00 AM
01:55:18 | 4224 yards | 02m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 104/109
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Suit: Full Zoot Zenith
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 34:35
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:53:35 | 112 miles | 16.25 mile/hr
Age Group: 66/109
Overall: 0/
Wind: Some
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 07:34
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:33:07 | 26.2 miles | 10m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 24/109
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2009-11-24 6:46 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Ft. Myers, Florida
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2009-11-24 7:01 PM
in reply to: #2530181

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Fishers, Indiana
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Awesome resilency against that cold water!! I am so glad you were able to get out there and continued on to have a great race! Now doubt about it, get you in warmer water, and you have a PR ahead of you.  Your calmness about all of it was awesome. It was so great to get to meet you, spend the weekend with you at the dinner and at the house, and to get your input on the race site since you'd been there before.  It was so wonderful to have you and Dave racing out there as well.  You are an awesome athlete and I cannot wait to see how "barefoot" running goes for you!
2009-11-24 7:53 PM
in reply to: #2530181

Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job, Judy. Thanks for the advice and it was great to meet you and hang out a bit.
2009-11-25 1:08 PM
in reply to: #2530181

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
You overcame a lot and recovered from the cold water well to finish strong..shows what you are made of tough stuff!

I looked at your splits and knew something was kept getting faster as the day progressed.

Having your body react to conditions that are out of our control is so tough and discouraging. So glad you were able to convince medical to keep on going and get out on the bike, warm up and have a good ride and awesome run!

I think we learn more about ourselves in tough conditions than when everything goes according to plan. You are made of iron and proved yourself out there.

I'm humbled to think you thought of me in your low spot on the bike.

2009-11-26 10:00 AM
in reply to: #2530181

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Enjoyed reading your race report. Congrats Ironman!
2009-11-26 3:04 PM
in reply to: #2532302

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
what drama! thanks for a killer rr and being an awesome penpal during the training. well done IRONMAN!

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