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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Total Time = 13h 27m 12s
Overall Rank = 1419/
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 83/
Pre-race routine:

This is probably the first race report where I draw a blank when deciding what to write, so that's why it's taken so long. I knew going in that this race was going to be tough. I have what I believe to be a phobia towards the marathon distance, and knowing what I would do before the marathon made the IM distance seem impossible for quite a while. However, I wanted to be able to say I did an IM one day, so here we are.
Event warmup:

Setting up my bike and gear bags felt enough like a warmup for this race. After everything was ready, I jumped in the water and made my way to the swim start.
  • 1h 24m
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 59s / 100 yards

I've watched the video of the swim start several times on youtube for IMAZ, so I knew what was coming. However, you don't get the real picture until you're in the middle of it. The first half mile is pretty chaotic to say the least. Got kicked, elbowed, slapped, and all the other fun stuff that occurs in a mass start swim. I fought my way through it, until I finally saw the big red turnaround buoy. After that the swim was relatively smooth until the final turn buoy. I was glad to be out of the water at that point.
What would you do differently?:

I feel like I could have gone faster than this, but all I could do was play with the hand I was dealt.
Transition 1
  • 11m 12s

I changed completely for both transitions. For this race, I wanted to do what I could to be comfortable.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Transition was the least of my worries this day.
  • 5h 53m 13s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.03 mile/hr

The bike is a 3 loop course where the first loop had a headwind going out with a great tailwind coming back. After that loop, the wind shifted to the point where you had headwind going out and slight crosswind coming back. It felt like going out was still hard, but you never got the time lost back. At that point I just stuck with keeping my HR in upper zone 1/lower zone 2. I skipped one aid station that I thought I didn't need, and I ran out of fluid about 5 miles away from the next one. That was probably my biggest mistake of the day. Also I struggled with peeing on the bike. I had to stop at an aid station to use a porta-potty to be able to go.
What would you do differently?:

Take every aid station no matter what. Also, I probably should have pushed my long rides harder in training.
Transition 2
  • 07m 22s

I got off the bike and knew that this marathon would be tough. I've done my share of bricks off a long run to know that this was going to be tough, but it definitely felt different on this day. I grab my bag and walk to the change tent. It has been a while that I actually walked my way through transition, but I had to mentally take in what lied ahead. I've been dreading this marathon for a year, but it was what was between me and being an Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. Maybe eat some food while I was there. I ate a good bit on the bike, but I did not feel ready to run right away.
  • 5h 51m 25s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 25s  min/mile

I start out telling myself just to ease in. I've ran two marathons before this race, and in both of them I hit a wall after mile 20 or so. The second marathon I did a little better keeping the idea of "if you feel like you're racing, then you're going too fast".

So I'm easing on the course and after 2 miles my right lung feels like it has a thorn in it. I can't breathe completely and it hurts to even hold a 10:00 mile. Not a good way to start a marathon. I stopped drinking coke at aid stations and switched to perform and water, and that seemed to eventually make it feel ok, but I still wasn't breathing comfortably.

I lowered my HR strap to alleviate any pressure around my chest and eventually put it in my special needs bag. It became unnecessary as I was unable to push my body to the point where HR was even an issue.

I realized at this point that this was going to be a long marathon, so I resolved to a run/walk routine to get me the rest of the way. It was painfully and would keep me on the course longer than I wanted to, but one way or another I was leaving this race an Ironman.

Looking back now it's tough to remember how pushed I was in the race. After the halfway point I felt my pace slowing during my run portions. My legs were joining my lungs in the rebellion of me finishing this race. My mom came to watch this race and support me, and I know that she was dying watching me push myself this hard. Finishing at this point was as much mental as it was physical.

The third loop I remember specifically thinking "you have 6 hours to go 8 miles. Just keep moving forward". I saw a sign that read "Forward is a pace", which became my internal chant for the remainder of the race. I thanked each aid station as I passed them for the last time.

Once I got to mile 22, I ran into a friend of mine that was having a hard time like I was. It felt good to see someone I knew this late into the game.

Finally I got to the last mile and pushed with what I had. I was so ready to be finished with the race. I looked at my watch and noticed it say 10:00 for my pace. I've ran a sub 40 10k, and my max effort was a 10:00 mile at that point. That's Ironman for you, I suppose.

The finisher's chute is everything everyone said it would be, completely amazing. I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders when my name was called. I stopped for just a second to take everything in, and the crowd went crazy. I remember wondering during my last few months what I would do when I crossed the finish line. Lacking the energy to even raise my arms, I decided to just cross the line and be happy to be finished. I was pushed beyond my limit, and it wasn't pretty, but I finally became an Ironman.

What would you do differently?:

The marathon is something I've always struggled with and front-loading it with a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike didn't make it easier. Long course is something that I definitely have a lot to learn about, but I'll save that for later.
Post race
Warm down:

I grabbed my little space blanket, got some pizza, and eventually went to the hotel with my mom. I was never happier to be on a bed in my life.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

That's something that I'll be researching for quite some time.

Event comments:

This is a race that I'll remember for a long time. It took me to several dark places, but I eventually persevered.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-11-20 12:00 AM
01:24:00 | 4224 yards | 01m 59s / 100yards
Age Group: 80/
Overall: 1364/
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra Vortex Full
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 11:12
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
05:53:13 | 112 miles | 19.03 mile/hr
Age Group: 70/
Overall: 1049/
Performance: Average
Avg HR 148
Wind: Some
Road: Smooth  Cadence: 92
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 07:22
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
05:51:25 | 26.2 miles | 13m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 83/
Overall: 1421/
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
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

2012-12-09 3:25 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2012-12-09 3:46 PM
in reply to: #4528237

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Awesome report and awesome race Matt. Glad to see you persevere. I'm scared to see post-Ironman Matt at races next year!
2012-12-10 12:04 PM
in reply to: #4528237

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Extreme Veteran
Olive Branch, MS
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Way to push through to the end! Congrats to you!
2012-12-10 8:39 PM
in reply to: #4528237


Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice race report Matt! I still haven't written one for IM texas.... but I did write down some stuff in the days pre race while in Texas. Great to see ya and meet your gf this past weekend!
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