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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
72F / 22C
Total Time = 15h 09m 15s
Overall Rank = 2142/3000
Age Group = 18-24
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I got to sleep at 7:30pm the night before, so waking up at 4:30am wasn't a problem at all. I had half a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and some water. I left the hotel at 4:45am and made it to Tempe Beach Park at 5am.

Everything was pretty much set up from the day before. I just had to clip my shoes onto my bike, take my helmet to my bike gear bag and put my water bottle on the bike.

I had a lot of people there to support me and Jacob called me with some last second encouragements so that was really cool of everyone. I had everything situated and was in my wetsuit an hour before the race start, so I just relaxed.
Event warmup:

3000 participants walked toward the water and stood along the edge of Tempe Town Lake. The water was freezing cold and some event coordinator kept screaming into his loudspeaker for us to toughen up and just jump in haha. Ben (my friend racing with me) and I waited a few seconds before summoning the courage to jump into the icy water. I don't do cold well.
  • 1h 22m 32s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 57s / 100 yards

When the gun went off, everyone went crazy trying to jockey for position. I was swam over, kicked, punched, and everything else I expected from an Ironman mass swim start. I never really got into a groove because everytime I would start swimming well, I would swim into someone or get knocked around. I lost my goggles twice and never found open water.

On the way out, the sun had just risen over the horizon and we were swimming directly into it so it was difficult to sight. As a result, I just followed the pack in front of me and we ended up veering about 50 yards to the left of the buoys and had to be corralled back in by the kayak volunteers.

Around the halfway mark, everyone seemed to spread out a little bit so I didn't get banged around as much. I thought it would be really easy to draft with so many people, but that didn't really work out haha.

With all the confusion in the water, the finish came quicker than expected. Before I knew it, I looked up and I was just 200 yards or so from the swim finish.
What would you do differently?:

Sight and draft better.
Transition 1
  • 13m 12s

Exiting the swim was the most terrifying experience of my life. After being in the murky water for nearly 1.5 hours, the exit was a sensory overload. Within 30 seconds, I had been yanked up the 10 stair swim exit, had my wetsuit stripped down to my waist, tripped over someone, fallen down and got pushed down by 2 volunteers to have my wetsuit totally stripped off. All while being a little disoriented and having throngs of people cheer and yell wildly just inches away from me. It was insane.

After that, I ran to the bike gear bags and had some trouble locating my stuff. Grabbed it and went into the changing tent where there were NO seats. I stood and unpacked my bag, but I couldn't feel my hands because of the cold swim. It took me a good long while to get on my cycling clothes and stuff my pockets with gels and my flat kit.
What would you do differently?:

Pack my bag in a more convenient fashion. I just had everything randomly thrown in there.
  • 7h 24m 20s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.12 mile/hr

Good ride! I stopped once every lap to give my mom a hug near transition, and I also stopped 20+ times to pee. Literally. I had a bad experience with dehydration at BSLT 70.3 and I didn't want a repeat, so I overdrank this time.

My entire goal on the bike was, literally, to use as little effort as possible. I just wanted to get the distance done and I wasn't concerned with time at all. As you could have guessed by my overall pace haha.

With that said, my bike went well. There was a stiff headwind on the way out during the first loop, but then I cruised it back in. Everything went fine on the loop, and I was busy enjoying the experience and checking out the themed aid stations.

On the second loop, the winds turned into a crosswind that stayed for the rest of the ride. Everything was still going well.

I was pretty tired on the third loop. The way out was pretty rough and there weren't many people left on the bike. It was pretty sad haha. At the turnaround I had a little tailwind that helped me get back home.
What would you do differently?:

Train. :)
Transition 2
  • 06m 50s

There was a bike catcher there who I gladly handed my bike to, then went and grabbed my run bag and changed. I don't know what took me 7 minutes. Maybe I blacked out or something.
What would you do differently?:

Not much.
  • 6h 02m 23s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 50s  min/mile

1st loop: walked the aid stations
2nd loop: 10 minute run, 5 minute walk combo
3rd loop: 5 minute survival shuffle, 10 minute walk combo

This run was brutal. From my first step, my legs were cramped. I ate as much as I could grab at every single aid station during the whole run haha. The course was really nice.

On the first loop, I was doing alright. It hurt, but I expected that so I knew how to deal with it. I just kept a steady pace, albeit slow, and again simply enjoyed the fact that I was in an Ironman.

On the second loop, I altered my run/walk strategy because the aid stations were sporadically placed and it was tough to get into a rhythm trying to walk them. It worked out alright, and it was pretty easy to maintain my 10 minute run intervals. At my special needs bag, I pulled out a long sleeve tech shirt since it was dark and getting chilly.

When I got to the third loop, I wasn't really sure how I was going to make it haha. I felt like someone had steamrolled my body from the waist down. Every part hurt and I kept stumbling in the dark. 9 miles might have been another full marathon!

Quitting never entered my mind. After all that been involved in getting to that point, quitting wasn't even a possibility. I did wonder if my body would allow me to make it to the finish line though. The only way I wouldn't finish is if my body collapsed and the volunteers were scraping me off the sidewalk.

I kept thinking of a sign I saw that an athlete's family member had made that said "Today, conquer the world, tomorrow, rest." That became my motto for the last 9 miles. I kept thinking of that and all my friends and family that had traveled to the race to give me support.

Without my support crew out there and all those people who cared enough about me to show up, it would have been 10x harder to finish this race. They all gave me the motivation and courage I needed to finish strong (relatively, anyway haha) and I can't thank them enough.

Next thing I knew, I was turning down the finish chute and was blinded by bright lights and camera flashes. I'll remember that for a long time.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I collapsed. I have a habit of doing that. They took my picture and volunteers walked me to the "time-out" chair until I could walk again haha.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The fact that the race was 140.6 miles.

Event comments:

I didn't do a whole lot of training for this race, and my only goal was 16:59:59. I'm really happy that I completed it. For the next one, I plan on training more and nailing nutrition so I don't make 40 bathroom stops over the course of the day, and hopefully knock a couple hours off my overall time.

Last updated: 2008-11-24 12:00 AM
01:22:32 | 4224 yards | 01m 57s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/3000
Performance: Average
Suit: Zoot Wetsuit
Course: Out and back down the length of the lake.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 13:12
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:24:20 | 112 miles | 15.12 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/3000
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong
Course: The course was 3 loops of just over 37 miles each. Pretty flat with some slight uphills near the back end.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Too much
Time: 06:50
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:02:23 | 26.2 miles | 13m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/3000
Performance: Average
Course: Really strange course. It was a loop with some out-and-back figure-eight type things. Or something. One short/steep hill, and one long/gradual hill. The aid stations were great.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
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

2009-11-25 7:40 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Austin, TX
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2009-11-26 9:47 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Lacey, Washington
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations Ironman!! Sounds like you went out and did what you wanted to do! I look forward to seeing what you do next time and I love it when people have a "next time" already in the plans!!
2009-11-26 9:56 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job out there! You are one of the few people that was in my AG! Keep up the good work.
2009-11-26 9:56 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job out there! You are one of the few people that was in my AG! Keep up the good work.
2009-11-26 10:06 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Chandler, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats Ironman! You accomplished a major goal at a young age.
2009-11-28 8:27 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations!!  Even with all the pain, I'm sure you enjoyed the day.  When is the next one?

2009-11-28 9:37 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations Ironman!

You'll get the hydration thing down..
2009-11-29 10:03 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations dude!! I wish I started as young as you are, at that age I was smoking cigarettes and doing stupid things. You finished an Ironman!! WOW.
2009-11-29 10:34 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Extreme Veteran
Sunny San Diego
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations on your first IRONMAN!
2009-11-29 10:48 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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Plano, Tx
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Nice job Michael!!!

Hopefully we'll get to do one together sometime

2009-11-29 11:20 AM
in reply to: #2531933

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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats on your finish. Enjoy some recovery. I stood on the edge waiting to jump, I wasn't ready to commit to the water.

Congrats Ironman.

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