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Ironman Louisville - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Maureen and I left the hotel at 4:00 am and started walking towards the swim start to get on line hoping to be somewhere near the front of the swim line. They opened T1 at 4:50AM so I took my nutrition bottles to the bike and dropped the running fuel belt in the running bag. I also turned on the gps tracking device from trackmyathlete.com (what a great product!). I got back to the line and found Maureen and Chris waiting by the porta-potties. I would say we had around 250 people in front of us, not bad considering the size of the field.
Every time before any race I have ever done, the nervousness and the adrenalin rush usually can be quite overwhelming and draining as well but today it seemed everything was different. I was unusually calm, I knew it was going to be a long day and I really did not have much plan with the exception of not eating the paste. The gun went off and 10 minutes later the age groupers were off (7am). When I passed the timing chip it was 7:06.
Right before jumping on the river I looked down to make sure that I was not going to jump on top of someone. I did not see anyone and as I was on the air, feet first, this body comes up from the water and I manage somehow to miss her. I did not land in the water like I planned and found myself submerged in the water and my first thought was that I was going to be nailed by Chris or someone else. Pheww!! dodge a bullet there, started swimming quickly and dodging people the best I could. I looked up and literally was glancing not only for sighting but to see where could I move so not to get caught up on the washing machine. I found that swimming near the Island was were there were the least amount of people and made it easier to move up. The swim to the first buoy seemed like it was never ending. I had planned to check the watch and see what time it was to give me an idea of pace but decided not to, probably for the best. After making the firs turn to swim downstream, I made my way to the right side hoping to catch some current and to stay away from the rest of the bodies. By now I felt comfortable and started pushing the pace, but not to the point of eating paste.
I saw Chris a couple of times and in one of them we were swimming side by side (he did not know it but I knew it was him) and I did my best to keep up, he is a fish in the water. Somewhere halfway or 3/4 of the way as I got to close to a buoy, I kicked my feet breast stroke style to get away and started to have a cramp on my leg. I just stopped waited till the sucker went away and started to get back up to pace quickly. after another ten minutes, I stopped my stroke again to check the timing chip. I thought it was coming lose and I did not want to deal with that issue once off the water.
I got off the water and started bolting to T1. Along the way I was looking hard for Maureen but could not find her nor did I hear hear calling me out. It was so noisy, exciting, the crowd yelling and cheering and going nuts.
What would you do differently?:
Having had issues in other swimming events and this being my first Ironman, I would have not changed a thing.
Running up the shoot or aisle down to T1 entrance I grabbed the T1 bag, went inside the tent (hot as hell in there) found a seat and started the usual routine which I did not practice much at home, mostly done mentally. Helmet on snapped, shoe on with no sock, stuffed two packets of fig newtons and a power bar energy gel chewables on suit back pocket, dabbed myself well with Vaseline,glasses on, and out the tent I went to get on the bike. I blew off the sun screen volunteers (I should have applied some!)I found the bike quickly and ran with it to the mounting area. There I finally saw Maureen, blew her a kiss, made her smile and gave me a little pep.
What would you do differently?:
I could have gone faster through the changing tent.
I got on the bike and started on the flats of River Rd and kept telling myself to take it easy as it was going to be a long day. With less than a mile from the bike start there was already a biker down and his bike from what I saw was mangled. This was going to definitely be a tri-yng day. I tried keeping the avg above 20 until I got to the in and out of 1694. I was pushing hard but decided to back off and take it easy on the hills and tried maintaining a constant cadence. As I got to LaGrange I was looking forward to checking the place out and be able to see all I have read about the race through LaGrange. I zipped through it and was looking for Maureen but she must have missed the bus or the lines were ridiculously long (she told me later she waited for 1.45 minutes to get into the bus and then a 35 minute ride). In the outskirts of LaGrange I found a PJohn and this made my first pit stop of the day.
There are more than a few challenging climbs but they are not that bad, what makes this course tough is the constant rolling terrain with plenty of climbs that end up eating up your legs after 112 miles.
After LaGrange came Ballard School Rd, Old Sligo, then Elsprit way, then something else before hitting 42 again before starting the second loop again.
I stopped at the bike special needs to get the power bar gel snack I had in there as well as another 2hr Infinit bottle. I was carrying 2- three hr bottles in the rear cage and a Speedfil water tank which I kept adding water and the powerbar drink. I stopped taking Infinit out of one of those bottles because I started feeling bloated, maybe it had to do with the concentration amount. I was constantly drinking out of the speedfill and I probably filled it up 4 to 5 times during the whole ride. I wanted to make sure I was well hydrated before the run.
As I came through LaGrange on the second loop I started to slow down while everyone zipped by me. I heard my name called out and I stopped the bike on a dime. I turned around, saw Maureen and I motioned her to come over. I saw that look on her face of "oh my God! what does he want that I don't have".. by this moment the crowd came to a dead silence. The kind of silence you get when you walk into a bar, the music stops, and everyone stares at you.
I don't know why but by this moment watching her comes towards me I was overcome with emotion, I gave her a kiss and the crowd went wild.
At mile 70 I had slowed down quite a bit and I was ready to get off the bike. The bottom of my feet were killing me and I started to get a few cramps on the inside groin area and quads. I did not think I was pushing hard at this point so I started to slow down some more and kept up an easy cadence. Coming through mile 80 I remembered that this was the last station before hitting the next one after mile 100+, and somehow they had ran out of water. I am sure they took care of that problem for the people behind me. Oh well, grabbed a Powerbar performance instead.
The last 20 miles was more of hanging on and trying to maintain a descent pace without getting a cramp and trying to ignore the needling pain I was having on the bottom of my feet. I got to the bike dismount area, swung the leg around gingerly as to not induce a cramp and started the run towards T2.
I made it safely through the bike stretch and was very thankful to have not had any mechanical problems or issues with my system as I saw plenty of other athletes with bike issues, ambulances taking care of dehydrated athletes, road rash, bikers on the side of the road leaning against the trees.etc.
After the race was over, my wife told me that as she waited for me to arrive from the bike, that there was this guy who came 1/2hr before me and he dropped like a fly. Medics were doing CPR, IV'ing, rushed to hospital in an ambulance... Very thankful...
What would you do differently?:
I don't think I would have changed a thing. I would love say to push harder but I did not want to ruin the run at the end. I just did the best I could and rolled with punches on the bike side.
I got off the bike, gave it to bike catcher volunteer, said Thank You and I was on my way calling my number as I got to the bags. I grabbed it, got in the tent, sat down. Helmet off, glasses off, turned belt around. Compression socks on, shoes on. Unzipped trisuit to apply vaseline, snapped the fuel belt on, put visor, sunglasses, and I was out the tent. I got a refresher course on sun lotion application and I started the run. I took a look at the P.Potty and decided I was going to wait if any for later.
What would you do differently?:
Hurry the hell up.
It was not even a mile and I was kicking myself for not having stopped to see P.John to take care of that and continued on with my first marathon ever. I saw the first PJohn at the turn around coming back from the bridge, finally.
Coming out of the bridge at the bottom of the hill, I saw my cheering section hooting and yelling, videoing, taking pictures as I went bye with a big smile, I got close enough to give her a kiss. I was trying to absorb as much of this as I could because I knew that tomorrow it was going to be a memory.
My legs were sore! from the ride and from having a couple cramps earlier on the bike. I wanted to run the first 7 miles at a comfortable pace but I was not feeling to good by the time I hit mile 6 or 7 where the Ford RV was parked, there I had to see John again.....took care of it and hoped that was it and no more issues but deep down I knew I was not home free as of yet.
I continued at a steady pace and was actually feeling good aside from muscle soreness and the knees giving me the stink eye. I was still running though the aid stations and grabbing what I thought was essential to keep cool and hydrated; by know my routine was 4 cold sponges (3 to the chest and the other one to pour water over my head), cup of water, and kept moving. I was also trying my best to keep on taking my flask of Infinit every 15 minutes but ended up being as I felt the need.
As I was reaching mile 12 I kept telling myself to keep on going, to not stop for any reason what so ever and that my cheering section was going to be there waiting with a big smile at the half way point. As I approach 4th street live, I could hear this runner coming from behind and grunting like Sharapova (tennis pro)with every step she took. As she went on to finish down the shoot and Rilley calling her name, I started to become overwhelmed with emotion, my eyes got so teary eyed, listening to the crowd cheer this girl from Wisconsin and Mike telling her she was an Ironman, I knew I was almost there, that I was going to be an Ironman, that I am halfway done with run, and a step closer to the finish line. I could not wait to see Maureen at the turn right after passing the section were the finishers go straight.
As I kept running I saw Mo with a big mile, heard a few words of encouragement,got a hug and a kiss and I kept moving forward. I told myself, common' you have seven more miles before the turn around before the home stretch.
My plan for the run was a steady pace until the half way point and then pick up the pace a bit, and push the last three miles. The knees started to hurt by the time I got to mile 15 and I did my best as I tried not to think about it and just kept grinding through it. Physically or cardiovacularly I felt great but the legs were a different story. I was thinking how incredible the body can be and how uncooperative it can be at times. This was one of those times, I wanted to go faster but the legs were not responding. I decided to not push the pace and waited until the last 5k.
Somewhere along the way before the halfway or just beyond the halfway point I ran next to this guy who had done 4 Ironmans, we exchanged some words and he told me he had pushed to hard on the bike (hammer head) and that he had finished with the best bike splits for his age group. He definitely ate too much paste and threw it all away in the run.
Starting at mile 16 the cramps got worse and I could not take the Infinit fast enough and started to walk the aid stations. I picked up two flask belt bottles of infinit from the special needs coming the opposite way and started to increase the infinit intake but it was not doing the trick so I started to gulp down (nasty!)chicken broth at mile 18 and chasing it down with water, coke if I felt sluggish, and slices of oranges; walking the aid stations were definitely a relief to the knees.
With 5 miles to go I started to think of the many times I had done the 5 milers in 40 minutes and how easy it was to run them. I started to increase the pace but every time I did it, the cramp on the left leg came out and I had no choice to stop,stretch, and as soon it went away, I started to run again. By mile 22 I had been running behind this girl that was going at my same pace. We both hit the aid station and I did my usual sponge hydration,gulping the chicken broth, coke, water, and orange. I started running again at the end of the aid station and noticed that she had not started to run, so I turned around and yelled at her to get a$$ next to me. She picked up the pace and we ran for about a mile and half. We chatted for a little while and was kind enough to offer endurolyte tabs for my cramp but like a dummy I refused. We offered each other some encouraging words.
It was nice to hear encouraging comments along the way specially towards the end of the run as other faster runners came by and would say something along the lines of, "your pace looks great & keep up the good work" or "you look strong,keep the pace up", definitely a morale booster.
I skipped the last aid station and in my mind I wanted to be under the 10 minute mark. I pushed and got a bad cramp with 1/2 a mile to go that almost brought me to the ground. As soon as it went away I started the run but the sucker came back again with two turns to go. I bolted over and started to walk but the crowd watching was yelling and screaming and kept telling me to keep on running and that the end was near.
I pushed through passed a couple of people and with a few hundred yards left I started to get all teary eyed again, ran through the shoot with a big grin, got a cramp along the way, ran under the finish line raising my hards in victory. I turned around searching for my name being called out and got closer to the edge of the railing to hug Maureen, we both started crying tears of joy. An unbelievable and unforgetable experience that I will cheerish for the rest of my life.
What would you do differently?:
My goal for the run was to run the whole thing and finish this being my first Ironman. If I could change something, it would probably be taking in more salt tablets or endurolytes.
After hugging Mo I started walking towards the exit and ending up dropping to the ground with a cramp that would not go away. A medic ended up helping me stretch the legs and he gave me a hard rub down which helped a lot. I thank him and my catcher as I exited the finishing area after taking the picture and gathering the finisher shirt and visor.
We walked (more like hobbled in pain) all the way to the hotel room. I took a shower, shoved plenty of water, 4 motrin's, changed into fresh clothes and started to head back to Fourth Street to watch other athletes finish and see my friend Chris come through the finish line.
When we got the finish line I met up with Chris'es wife Sarah and she told me he was in bad shape, that he had thrown up three times during the run, and was not able to take any fluids, that Chris had been walking the whole marathon with no fluids.
If I had known he was in that bad of a shape I would have walked with him the whole way, I was so distraught and felt terrible for letting him be out there by himself. I found out at that moment as well that his Dad was out there walking with him, almost went out there, should have!
Chris (jeepguy)was the reason I was here to begin with, he introduced me to triathlons and I wanted to do it with him. Hey Chris- I am proud of you and of your own accomplishment. What you had to endure is a true testament of what being an Ironman is all about. It is about enduring and overcoming the obstacles that go along the way to achieve success. I got teary eyed as you came across the finish line. Love ya like a brotha! :)
Later on Maureen & I celebrated by having a few drinks and Pizza.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Lack of endurolytes or salt tablets and poor bike fitting on the shoes.
The overall event was fantastic and held on a great city.
It is unfortunate that when I went through the last aid station on the bike they had no water available at that momement but I am sure they replenished afterwards.
They also ran out of water at one of the run stations, can't remeber which one but they had it when I went by the second time.
What a great place to have this venue and the people were so friendly. From LaGrange to Louisville and all the volunteers, Thank You! Thank You! without them this race would have been possible.
Last updated: 2009-10-22 12:00 AM
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|General Discussion-> Race Reports!|
World Triathlon Corporation
94F / 34C
Overall Rank = 652/3000
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 121/430+
I woke up at 2:15AM even though the alarm and wake-up call were set for 3AM. I had my usual 2 to 3 cups of coffee. I went to the 24hr cafe that was on the third floor of the Gaul hotel and got another large coffee, two bagels, and a banana. In the room I had peanut butter to go with the plain bagels. I also had approximately three glasses of water by the time I jumped in the water.
The event warm-up for me was walking from T1 to the line where Maureen was waiting or holding my spot. The temperature at 4AM was around 76deg and and humid, in other words I was warm already and with a full day ahead of heat and sweating the thought of warming up never crossed my mind.