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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
79F / 26C
Total Time = 13h 19m 30s
Overall Rank = 1347/
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 252/
Pre-race routine:

My wife and I got into Tempe on Thursday. I was very excited, goes without saying, to be in town and starting the whole race weekend. Built my bike back up and went for a ride. On Thursday, there was a party of fellow BTers that was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Friday, really tried to do not much of anything. Tempe was a great town to pass some time in. Good restaurants, caught a movie, and tried to keep calm for Sunday. I did do the practice swim on Saturday. On race morning, I was up at 4:30, didn't even need the alarm.
Event warmup:

Got down to transition and dropped my special needs bags, topped air off in my tires, hit the port o' potty one last time, and started to get into my wetsuit. Race morning really is an amazing site with all the athletes gathered together getting ready. Found my wife in the madness, and got a good luck kiss. With that, it was into the water for the 150 or so yard swim from the entry to the starting area. That was really the extent of my warm up.
  • 1h 21m 38s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 56s / 100 yards

Overall, I have to say I'm happy with how this swim went. I had watched just about every video of the Arizona start that was available on Youtube, so thought that I had found a good place to start. Looked like lots of people either crowded the buoy line or the wall, leaving a little less congested area in the back middle. So, that is where I started, and it worked out for me. I did drift a little towards the buoy line and got into some more traffic as a result. There was some pushing and shoving, but nothing too terrible. I do have to say, though, ladies, when I did look up after someone had swum over me, more often than not, it was a pink swim cap in front of me! :>) The water itself, for me, wasn't too cold. I know lots of people were worried about the cold. But, for me, it wasn't an issue. Coming back under the Mill Avenue bridge it hit me that I was going to finish an Ironman swim. 1/3 down! That was a great feeling, as it was the swim that most concerned me. Of course, there is a great lesson there. You do the work, the swim is first, it may not be the thing to worry the most about. Because that run is hard.

One thing to note is that getting out of the water is not always the easiest thing. I had to swing my legs up to the bottom rung of the ladder, and after that long of a swim, that wasn't the easiest, or most graceful, maneuver.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. My Garmin registered over 2.55 miles, so swim seemed long. Overall, I was happy with how it went. My time might have been better, but I navigated ok, paced decently, and came out feeling pretty good.
Transition 1
  • 08m 47s

Wetsuit peelers are the greatest. Did a full change into my favorite bibs. For 112 miles, I wanted to be as comfortable as possible. Found a place to sit down in the tent easy enough. Got changed and off as fast as reasonably possible.
What would you do differently?:

  • 6h 16m 56s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.83 mile/hr

This ride was right at what I trained at. Now, in hindsight, was that the right pace? Given my run, I don't know. But, I did ride how I trained to ride this course. First loop was a headwind out to the turnaround and tailwind back. We were flying coming back. That was a lot of fun. Second loop was a tailwind out, headwind back. That made coming in not as much fun. Third loop was a cross wind I think. Or no wind, and I was just getting tired. I think I came pretty close to even splitting the three loops. I think fist was 2:02, second and third around 2:07, but there were two pit stops in there. Haven't convinced myself to pee on the bike yet. Though, at the first turnaround, the racer in front of me did let loose a record pee. I'm not sure I have that much in me. One woman near me said, "gross," the other said, "I've got to learn how to do that!" Not me, not yet. The third loop, my neck and shoulders did start getting tired. That is a really long time to ride in the aero position. Coming in on the third loop, I remembered that my daughters would be arriving and I'd get to see them, that was a nice pick me up because I was ready to be off the bike. Overall, though, I enjoyed the ride, and it seemed to pass pretty quickly. I have to say, I liked the looped course. I could learn where the efforts would be, where the easier places to recover were, and I got to see my wife, my brother, and his wife each lap. That was great. I do find it slightly amazing that my swim rank is higher than my ride rank. When asked what my strength is, I have to say its my bike. Though at this distance, I don't know that I really do have one. But to think that I'd rank higher on my swim than bike, that is a little strange. I'm going to go with "I was pacing myself." Yeah, that sounds good.
What would you do differently?:

More long rides, and get a bike fit. I thought I rode enough, did several 100 mile days, several more 90+ days, but I'd still ride more. Next time I will do one or two 125+ mile days. I don't think you can have too much time in the saddle. And, I'm going to get another bike fit. Thought my set up was good, but need to be able to stay aero longer and more comfortably.
Transition 2
  • 05m 17s

Decent transition. Got my stuff together and on. Changed into my Tri shorts for the run, I like to run long in those. Meant taking my Tri jersey off and putting it back on, but no matter. That is what I like to run in.
What would you do differently?:

  • 5h 26m 53s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 12m 29s  min/mile

I started out feeling pretty good. Saw my family and got a big boost from them. My Mom and my girls had made it by this time (they had to fly out the morning of the race due to them having lives of their own!) I knew from training that I had to be careful to not go out too fast in the beginning. First loop went pretty good. I was on the pace that I hoped I could keep all day. But then, it did fall apart. On second loop I was really really tired. Walked a lot, and at times didn't even feel like I could walk any further. I knew my goal times were out the window, and was talking myself into feeling good about just finishing. I got some cramps in my shins about end of second loop and just couldn't run. I was really hurting, really tired, but didn't want to look too bad when I passed my girls.

But then, the chicken broth came out! I found the elixir in chicken broth, water, and coke. With that, a second (third, tenth?) wind came on. I was able to run more, and it was a little bit of the horse wanting to get back to the barn. I caught on to a little group and just told myself to run with them for a little. Got some more broth and coke, and just kept on running. Started feeling a little bit better, and told myself to run between aid stations, walk the stations, and keep on going. I knew that the stretch after the bridge to the hill was hard for me, so I told myself to just run to the aid station before the climb. One station at a time, just keep moving. Let myself walk the hill, then it was just 5k to go. Run, man, Run! Continued to walk the aid stations, but I was feeling better now, or at least figured I knew how much energy I could put out and pain I could stand until the finish. Of course, this "push" meant 11:30-12 min miles, but it felt like I was putting out sub 7 miles! But, before I knew it, I was across the last bridge and the last aid station was coming up. Well, that nutrition wasn't going to hit before I finished, so I told myself to just keep in going. By now, I was looking around to see who was with me. If possible, I wanted to cross alone. The turnoff to the finish was so awesome. There were two guys just ahead of me, but both started to walk as we hit the parking lot just before the final turn. "Put your head down and run" I told myself, as I looked around and realized I was alone. I made the final turn down the chute and saw the lights, and the crowd and the finishing arch! I could hear Mike Reily say my name, and my home town, and those words we were all aching to hear, "You are an Ironman!" Outside of getting married and the birth of my kids, I'd be hard pressed to name a time I felt better or happier! I had done it, I am an Ironman!
What would you do differently?:

I know the mantra is "there is no such thing as a good bike followed by a bad run," so I guess I should have paced differently on the bike. More bike and run training, and not having run training limited last 5 weeks with an Achilles issue might have helped. Might have not gotten enough fuel in me, seeing as how I improved with the broth and coke. But, to some extent, the run was always going to be a Magical Mystery Tour since I had never run that far before or asked my body to perform for that long. Some things to learn for next time for sure, but I'll never forget running down that chute at the end.
Post race
Warm down:

Fell into the arms of a catcher. That was all I had left. Saw Al, husband of a BTer who was racing, and gave him a sweaty hug. I'm sure that is just what he wanted! Found my family pretty quickly, got some chocolate milk, wow that tasted good! I was dead tired, it was physically hard to make my legs bend enough to sit down, but the emotion just kept flowing over me. I kept hearing more people come in and become Ironmen, and it made my smile.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

140.6 miles is a long way to go. There is a first time for everything, so this way mine. Learned a lot, I'm fitter now than ever, and will build from here. Just keep moving, learning, and training. And smiling. It is a great feeling.

Event comments:

This is a great race. Incredibly organized. Volunteers were the best. Tempe is a nice town to visit in the time leading up to the race. I enjoyed this tremendously as a first Ironman. I knew I wanted my first shot at this distance to be a WTC event, and I was not disappointed.
The next day, went to buy some finisher gear and watched the awards presentation. My girls have always like TJ Tollakson and we saw him and got a picture with him. He was really nice, so that was a great topper on the cake.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-11-22 12:00 AM
01:21:38 | 4224 yards | 01m 56s / 100yards
Age Group: 219/
Overall: 1209/
Performance: Good
Suit: Full
Course: Basically an out and back. When looking at the course, it seems like you swim from one bridge down to the next then back. However, in the race, the turnaround is a fair distance past the bridge. That was a little discouraging during the race.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 08:47
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:16:56 | 112 miles | 17.83 mile/hr
Age Group: 267/
Overall: 1358/
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Three loops of an out and back course. First part is pan flat. Once on the Beeline, it was a little more of a climb than I had thought. Its not really a climb by any stretch, but it is up enough to let you know that its not totally flat. Beeline was newly paved and glorious.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:17
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:26:53 | 26.2 miles | 12m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Three loops around Tempe Town Lake. Its sort of a figure 8. The second half of it, after you go past Special Needs, is harder than the first half. At least, I thought so. Great crowd support around transition and Special Needs area. Climb was tough, its not huge, but its substantial enough to hurt.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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

2012-11-21 12:13 AM

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Morgan Hill, California
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2012-11-21 11:19 AM
in reply to: #4505718

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great work Kmac.....great meeting you and thanks for the tip of the swim start you mentioned at the get together....its exactly where I placed myself in the swim....
2012-11-21 1:46 PM
in reply to: #4505718

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Extreme Veteran
Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great job, that chicken broth has saved me as well!
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