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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
78F / 26C
Total Time = 10h 18m 51s
Overall Rank = 190/2900?
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 28/523?
Pre-race routine:

Up Early. Oatmeal. Banana. Two cups of coffee.

Planet Sun Sunscreen all over. This stuff rocks! Essentially no suntan/sunburn at all after 10 hours in the sun.

Drove to the race and got set up. Very low stress. My wife came with me and she settled in for the very long day of race spectating.
Event warmup:

Very little. I counted on the approximately 150 yards of swimming to the start line to get me warmed up for the swim. That and squeezing in to the wetsuit--that always gets me sweating. I thought that putting the wetsuit on may be the hardest part of the day but I was forgetting about the marathon at the end :)
  • 1h 16m 49s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 49s / 100 yards

I have swam almost 400,000 yards this year trying to improve my swim and I was precisely two minutes faster than my IM last year--and this was in a wetsuit. This was actually pretty easy overall. I never felt bad during the entire swim--although I never felt that great either. The water was freezing and I was really feeling it. I talked to others who said it was not so bad but I was cold! I actually think that my wetsuit may be a little big for me and that it was letting in too much water at the neckline. This is my new, much smaller than my old, wetsuit. It looks like the third time may be the charm.

There was a lot of contact during this swim. It would be almost impossible for there not to be with this many people in the water. I had several people swim up on my legs and push me down and truth be told, I probably did the same to others. In spite of all the bodies and how close we were together, I never felt like I got a good draft going. I was also drifting left the entire time so I ended up right on the buoy line for pretty much the entire swim.

When I went to get out of the water at the stairs my suit was full of water and I weighed about 1000 pounds--again thinking perhaps this wetsuit is a little big. I was still freezing.
Transition 1
  • 06m 27s

I was freezing! Have I said this enough. I did not realize that the tent was warm inside. After I grabbed my transition bag (marked with black tape so it was easy to pick out on the fly) I sat down in a chair outside the tent. It was an open chair and I took it. No one helped me because I was dumb and did not go in to the tent. I was so cold/shivering that this took me awhile to do. I just couldn't make my hands do what I wanted to and I was having trouble focusing. Teeth were chattering, etc. Eventually a volunteer saw me shaking and said, "you know it is warm in the tent?" By then I was done. I ran through the tent to drop off my bag and got about 10 seconds of heavenly warmth.

If I would have been smart I would have been in the tent the whole time and a volunteer would have probably cut two minutes off my T1 time.
What would you do differently?:

Have I mentioned that I should have gone in to the (warm) tent?
  • 5h 26m 38s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.57 mile/hr

The first 35 minutes I was so cold and miserable that I don't remember much about the bike.

About 10 miles in I started to warm up and feel better. Coming out of the water when I did, the course was so crowded that it was almost impossible not to draft. It was just packed with people. I was doing everything in my power to not draft but no matter where you went you ended up behind someone again. People would pass you and slow down so you had to drop back four bike lengths before you went by them again. It made for a very uneven power output for the first 19 or so miles. Low power to avoid overtaking people/drafting. Huge power spikes when I drifted up in to the draft zone and then had to pass. Averaged less than 20 MPH during this first segment/climb up to Fountain Hills. I know that the course looks flat but it is a long, steady uphill that taxes you a little bit. During this time I was trying to get fuel/fluids on board. My U-can/Infinite frankenstein mixture was going down great.

Past the turn around and downhill with the wind at my back and I was cruising. Averaged almost 26 MPH for the next 9.3 miles and things finally spaced out. I did not have any issues with drafting/pack riding all the way back to turnaround for the second lap.

Starting the second lap and the second gradual uphill and things tightened up a bit again. By then I was sort of in my place in the race and I kept seeing the same people over and over. They would pass me and go out in front and then eventually I would pass them and do the same. No drafting, just riding along and seeing the same people over and over. One guy was spending a little too much time a little too close to my rear wheel but that is his issue not mine.... more to follow.

After the turn around there was a group that I caught up to that seemed to be "riding together" a little too much. I passed them and got out in front for awhile and then they would come roaring by me as a group. They would get out in front a bit and then I would catch up and pass again. my buddy who was following my too closely latched on to them and went by me and I could see them riding pretty much together out in front of me. Eventually they got about 150 yards ahead of me. At this time a course marshal rode by me on his motorcycle and gave me a thumbs-up that I was good. He then rode up to the group and red carded the whole bunch of them. Poetic justice I guess although I am not sure that they were all intentionally drafting or if they were just prety much the same speed and kind of got caught up together....

Third loop, more of the same although it felt a little easier going up the "hill." This was because, unbeknowest to me, the wind had switched directions and once we turned to come back down the hill we were no longer flying like before. My third descent power was higher but my pace was slower. Finished the third loop feeling pretty darn good.

Bike splits from IM Tracker:

9.4 mi 9.4 mi 30:06 1:53:22 18.82 mi/h
18.8 mi 9.3 mi 33:02 2:26:24 16.91 mi/h
28.1 mi 9.3 mi 21:36 2:48:00 25.86 mi/h
37.4 mi 9.3 mi 24:39 3:12:39 22.66 mi/h
46.7 mi 9.3 mi 28:05 3:40:44 19.91 mi/h
56 mi 9.3 mi 29:27 4:10:11 18.97 mi/h
65.3 mi 9.3 mi 25:05 4:35:16 22.27 mi/h
74.6 mi 9.3 mi 25:10 5:00:26 22.22 mi/h
83.9 mi 9.3 mi 27:03 5:27:29 20.65 mi/h
93.3 mi 9.3 mi 29:07 5:56:36 19.18 mi/h
102.6 mi 9.3 mi 26:01 6:22:37 21.47 mi/h
112 mi 9.4 mi 27:17 6:49:54 20.76 mi/h
Total 112 mi 5:26:38 6:49:54 20.57 mi/h 96 487 423

What would you do differently?:

Still working on FTP improvements. It will happen

Consumed just shy of 1600 calories of UCan/Infinit mixed in four water bottles. About 3-4 gels. About 3 bottles of water. Grabbed one bottle of perform but it tasted so bad that I just ignored it until I could get rid of it at special needs and get my own stuff going again.
Transition 2
  • 02m 5s

Great Volunteer. In and out. No fuss.

Saw Dennis from Ann Arbor as I ran out of the tent--he sunscreened me and did a great job.
  • 3h 26m 52s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 54s  min/mile

I actually enjoyed the three loop format. It made it so I could break it up in to managable chunks. I knew what awaited me on the second and third loops and could mentally prep for it.

This was as much a mental battle as a physical one. The first lap I felt great and had to hold myself in check. I know I could have run 7:10s pretty easy for this whole first lap but I had been warned that this would be a recipe for suffering on lap two and three. My initial pace out of T2 was 6:40-50 and it felt easy. Not a good idea. I slowed down to around 7:45 with the goal being to be at around 8:00/mile for the first two and keep something in the tank for the third lap. Even though I felt good I could sense the mileage from the bike in my legs and knew it was going to get tough eventually. Also, I knew based on the swim and bike splits that my sub 10 goal was not going to happen so I didn't feel the need to totally destroy myself on the run.

Lap two was more of the same although the suffering made it much easier to keep the pace at around 8:00---imagine that. I really didn't have much trouble holding back this time. About half way through lap two my coach blew by me on his third lap on his way to a 9:03 or so (with a ten minute mechanical on the bike--the guy is fast). He looked great and we exchanged a perfunctory greeting.

Third lap. This is where the mental HTFU has to over rule the physical suffering. Up until this point I had not walked a step but I relented and walked the aid station on the hill under the bridge right before mile 20 and also the aid station between 20-21. Probably 30-40 seconds of walking total but it allowed me to drink a little coke and a little water and to mentally focus to push to the end.

After crossing the 23 mile marker, for the last time, woo hoo! I just went to my happy place and dropped the pace to 7:40 or so and planned on pushing through, which is exactly what happened. When you are running sub 8s at that point in an IM it feels like you are running 6:00 miles and you are passing people like crazy. It is a cool feeling but it does hurt. I ran the last mile with/against a guy in the 45-49 age group and his kick in the end nipped me by two seconds. At that point I just didn't care.

Felt good to be done.

run splits from IM tracker:

1.5 mi 1.5 mi 10:56 7:02:55 7:23/mi
3.1 mi 1.6 mi 12:15 7:15:10 7:45/mi
4.6 mi 1.6 mi 12:22 7:27:32 7:55/mi
5.9 mi 1.3 mi 10:26 7:37:58 7:54/mi
7 mi 1.1 mi 8:04 7:46:02 7:24/mi
8.6 mi 1.6 mi 12:50 7:58:52 7:58/mi
10.1 mi 1.5 mi 11:18 8:10:10 7:38/mi
11.7 mi 1.6 mi 12:33 8:22:43 7:53/mi
13.3 mi 1.6 mi 12:43 8:35:26 8:12/mi
14.6 mi 1.3 mi 10:42 8:46:08 8:06/mi
15.7 mi 1.1 mi 8:18 8:54:26 7:36/mi
17.3 mi 1.6 mi 12:50 9:07:16 7:58/mi
18.8 mi 1.5 mi 11:48 9:19:04 7:58/mi
20.4 mi 1.6 mi 13:11 9:32:15 8:17/mi
21.9 mi 1.6 mi 13:11 9:45:26 8:30/mi
23.2 mi 1.3 mi 10:46 9:56:12 8:09/mi
24.3 mi 1.1 mi 8:04 10:04:16 7:19/mi
26.2 mi 1.9 mi 14:35 10:18:51 7:45/mi
Total 26.2 mi 3:26:52

What would you do differently?:

Had about one gel and approximately 10-12 cups of coke for the whole race. Lots of water, sponges, ice in the jersey at every aid station.
Post race
Warm down:

Felt bad at first. My body just wanted to shut down but stopping all movement was a bad idea. When I got back up and started walking and then stretched a bit I felt a lot better.

Event comments:

Great race. I had a blast and would do it again but judging from how hard it is to sign up--it is not that likely for awhile.

Last updated: 2012-11-20 12:00 AM
01:16:49 | 4224 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Age Group: 166/523?
Overall: 887/2900?
Performance: Average
Suit: Zoot
Course: A big giant rectanglish thing in Tempe Town Lake.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 06:27
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
05:26:38 | 112 miles | 20.57 mile/hr
Age Group: 86/523?
Overall: 487/2900?
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Three loops out the beeline
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:05
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:26:52 | 26.2 miles | 07m 54s  min/mile
Age Group: 28/523?
Overall: 190/2900?
Performance: Good
Course: Three loops with a surprising amount of elevation change. If you expect a totally flat run you are in for a shock.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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

2012-11-20 10:01 AM

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2012-11-20 10:21 AM
in reply to: #4504787

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Alexandria, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Nice job, impressive performance.  You're right about the drafting, I think I spent more effort trying not to draft than if I had just rolled with it.  I saw plenty of people in the "tents of shame" however.

Amazing run too, I can't even fathom running that hard in this race!

2012-11-20 2:30 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Awesome job and great race report.  Stellar job of pacing the entire race.
2012-11-20 2:32 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats on a solid race! It is awesome about the pack that got carded in front of you - how often do you see it but never know if they were caught! 
2012-11-20 3:27 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Well done !! Congratulations.  You should change your screen name to superfastguy
2012-11-20 5:28 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Westminster, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice Race!! Way  to kick it into high gear during the last few miles!!

2012-11-20 10:41 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job -- and a really nice run to round it out.
2012-11-21 8:03 AM
in reply to: #4504787

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Bloomington, MN
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice job on the race.
2012-11-21 8:49 AM
in reply to: #4504787

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great race, great execution. I'm very impressed with your performance. I swam about a minute faster than you but walked up to transition and then changed outside also. We were probably sitting right next to each other outside the tents.
2012-11-21 8:50 AM
in reply to: #4504787

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Extreme Veteran
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great fast race!  My neck collar came open during the start of the swim and I found myself much colder than normal.  Nice to see those drafters get pinched!
2012-11-21 9:33 AM
in reply to: #4504787

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Guilford, CT
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great pacing! Solid race!

2012-11-21 1:58 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Extreme Veteran
Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great overall race and an impressive run, congrats!
2012-11-26 11:54 AM
in reply to: #4506450

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Sin City
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
That crazy fast!  Nice work.
2012-11-26 1:45 PM
in reply to: #4504787

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Very nice job! I am hoping that my stand-alone marathon time next month is inline with your IM marathon time Smile
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