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LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125 - TriathlonOther

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Life Time Fitness
88F / 31C
Total Time = 7h 15m 32s
Overall Rank = 402/440
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 57/59
Pre-race routine:

I had a lot of ambivalence going into this event, due to a variety of factors. When it was origially scheduled, I wanted it to be the triumphant return to my first Tempe race since IMAZ 2009, having built a lot of momentum at the end of last season. Even though I had apprehension about having my longest event of the year happening as the season opener and in early spring, I thought I could be prepared. Circumstances over the winter had other plans.

My training took a lot of hits due to setbacks and distractions in the preceding months. Losing Barkley and the resulting depression, a knee issue that wouldn't resolve (and an MRI scheduled to assess cartilage damage two days after race day), a cold/cough/bronchitis/pneumonia progression that sapped my energy and kept me from intense training (fluid in my lungs was confirmed by a chest x-ray; I heard the results on the day of packet pickup, two days before the race), and wanting to spend time with the new puppies instead of putting in long sessions all contributed to me not being as prepared as I wanted to be.

As of Friday afternoon, when I was on my way to packet pickup, I was leaning against doing the race at all. I thought I would pick up my stuff, decide against going, and mail my timing chip back. Something needed to change. I was not only physcially unprepared, but mentally and emotionally unprepared as well. I had completely lost my confidence, and felt that the circumstances would certainly justify a decision to DNS (did not start) for the first time. When I got to check in and picked up my packet, I started to feel a small surge of enthusiasm. Maybe I would do it after all, at least give it a go. If I started the race and pulled out if my knee or illness were a problem, I could at least say I participated. I started to lean a little more toward seeing what the day had in store, but even as of Saturday afternoon, I was still 50/50. I would get up on Sunday morning and see how I felt. I had to pack and prepare as if I were going to go, so everything would be ready for a game time decision. If I decided to pull out at the race site or leave after the swim, I would still be able to go to training class with the puppies later in the morning.

Sunday morning arrived, and I didn't feel too bad. I decided to head to Tempe and at least get in the water. I decided that over the course of the day, if anything at all didn't feel right, I would pack it in and call it a day. I would feel a lot better about a DNF (did not finish) over a DNS. And besides, since I am under doctor's orders not to run, even if I made it to the run course, I would be walking it all anyway. Any 'racing' for me would be over after the bike. That relieved any pressure that I normally put on myself; just relax, go at an easy pace, and take the day as it comes.

With a decision made and a plan in place, I set up transition and put on the wetsuit. At least the weather was pleasant, so conditions would be good for a 'just enjoy the day' approach.
Event warmup:

About a half hour before the start, they allowed an opportunity to get in the water for a warm up swim. I have learned over the years with my open water skittishness that any opportunity I have to get in the water prior to the start I should take. The water was cool but comfortable, and I swam for fifteen minutes. No breathing issues, no coughing, no problems. When I got back into the water for the start of the race, I felt reassured.
  • 1h 03m 23s
  • 2734 yards
  • 02m 19s / 100 yards

I stayed to the back of my wave, knowing that I was going to go out very, very slowly and wouldn't have to worry about course cut offs. I relaxed and began a slow, smooth stroke. The nice thing about swimming in Town Lake is thaat the shoreline is always pretty close and it is good for sighting and comfort, at least until the turnaround. I used the shoreline and just kept swimming. The water was calm and I was making good progress. I managed to stay away from other swimmers for the most part, but there were a few bumps along the way. Each time, I managed to quickly collect myself and get back to swimming.

I reached the turnaround and saw that I had taken about a half hour - perfectly reasonable. Just keep doing what I am doing and I will be in good shape. Navigation was a little more challenging on the way back since the shoreline is further away, but I remained pretty much on course and kept making my way toward the Mill Ave. and railroad bridges. I was tired of swimming at that point, but my body wasn't sending any signals that I was in trouble. I finally circled the last buoy where I had done the practice swim earlier and headed toward the exit. I checked my watch and I was in a little over an hour - not bad, and a really good start to the day.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - I had the right approach and it was a solid performance
Transition 1
  • 08m 30s

I had a slow transition, but during long events, I need to use the restroom. I also take the time to put on socks, gloves, and sunscreen knowing that I am going to be riding for 3 1/2 to four hours. I also had no pressure knowing that I wasn't competing for an overall time today, so I just took my time. I enjoyed having a mini folding chair to sit on to change into socks and shoes. It came with my new transition bag, and is a nice touch that doesn't take up any room at all or encroach on other people's space.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - no pressure.
  • 3h 39m 13s
  • 69.28 miles
  • 18.96 mile/hr

Even though I felt better prepared for the bike than the swim and run, a nearly seventy mile ride in the aerobars sounded a little daunting. I haven't riden much outside this winter, so my neck and back are not used to the aero position. As with the swim, I just wanted to stay on a steady, comfortable pace and not press myself too hard. I would knock down each of the four loops and after getting off the bike, the 'race' portion of my day would be over.

The first loop felt pretty good and there were a lot of opportunities to pass the faster swimmers. I kept reminding myself to ease off on the pace because there were three more loops to go; it was a long ride and it was getting hotter - don't burn myself out. I got a small boost at two points on the second loop. Coach Troy Jacobson, whose Spinervals training DVDs I use and whose conference I attended last month, was out on the course as a spectator. I saw him at the beginning of the loop and then again at Mill Avenue bridge at the end of the loop. Seeing him was a reminder of all of the work I put in on the trainer over the winter and of the four hour trainer session that I did last month outside in Tucson. Seeing him reminded me that even though I am getting tired, I have this under control.

Loops three and four began to get a little blurry as fatigue and heat started to set in. There were now less riders to pass (at least those in the Leadman category), and the aero position was getting increasingly uncomfortable. I kept reminding myself that after I was done, I would only be walking to the end of the race, so stay focused and safe and the pressure of the day is over after loop four.

About midway through the fourth loop, I started counting down the miles as I passed each spot for the last time. I picked up Gatorade at aid stations and tried to stay on top of my fluid intake. I still had a couple more hours in the sun awaiting me. I finally rolled into transition and breathed a sigh of relief. Each loop was a little slower than the last, which indicates that my bike fitness is a little lacking - no surprise, really, but I had gotten through the nearly seventy miles unscathed.
What would you do differently?:

No complaints - it was about what my current fitness would allow
Transition 2
  • 05m 7s

Re-applied sunscreen. Had a long hike ahead of me.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - racing was over, so no pressure
  • 2h 17m 39s
  • 8.1 miles
  • 16m 59s  min/mile

I took in fluids and poured ice water over my head at every aid station. Even though I was walking and not really exerting myself, it was nearly ninety degrees and the course was exposed to full sunlight. Thankfully, even in the up and downhill trail sections, my knee didn't hurt. Maybe the rest has been doing it some good and I can avoid needing surgery - time will tell, but I was sticking to my promise to not run a single step. I have already spent a month of resting it without running and didn't want to start the clock over by being stupid. It required some restraint, especially when passing photographers along the course.

Thankfully, the Garmin was letting me know when I passed each mile, because despite excellent course markings, there were no indicators of passing distance. I felt the Garmin shake and heard it beep, letting me know I was a mile closer to finishing. I was relieved to get out of the trail section and knew that the chances were much reduced that I would hit some terrain that would jar my knee on even pavement. I hiked over the Mill Ave. bridge and turned the corner for the finish chute. I had to restrain myself from the temptation to run down the chute, with all of the spectators cheering. Of course, even though it feels better to run across the finish line, it would feel pretty disingenuous to walk the entire eight mile run course and then run the final 20 yards.

I collected my medal as they removed my timing chip. There were still some other folks finishing, so I was relieved that I wasn't holding the race organization or volunteers up. I grabbed a couple of bottles of Gatorade and headed for the transition area.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing - restraint was the smart plan.
Post race
Warm down:

I felt satisfied with the approach I took to the day. For being on the fence about whether to even show up, I had a pretty good day and felt good about my effort and decision making. I think I got the most out of what I had to give without going too far and got everything out of the day that I could. I think if I had stayed home, I would have ended up regretting the decision. The process of deciding to do this race and executing a plan based on adjusted expectations seems to have rekindled my enthusiasm for the season. I feel like I have some confidence back. I think that allowing myslef off the hook would have been succumbing to the negative factors and continued the downward spiral. Somehow, I almost feel like I forced my momentum back in the right direction.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Health - knee and illness

Event comments:

Red Rock and Lifetime did a fantastic job with this event. Things were organized, and the course was well marked for people doing all distances. Aid stations were well manned with enthusiastic volunteers and well stocked with cold beverages throughout a long, hot day. The packet included a book, a visor, a nice shirt, a transition mat, and a couple of Leadman stickers. The finisher's medal is really cool - black stony edge texture, square with silver lettering. Worth a long day in the heat.

Last updated: 2012-10-27 12:00 AM
01:03:23 | 2734 yards | 02m 19s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/59
Overall: 0/440
Performance: Good
Course: Long rectangle around Tempe Town Lake
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder: Good
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 08:30
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:39:13 | 69.28 miles | 18.96 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/59
Overall: 0/440
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Four loops around Tempe; numerous 90 and 180 degree turns
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:07
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:17:39 | 08.1 miles | 16m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/59
Overall: 0/440
Course: Gravel paths and trails to a long out and back along a canal; back over Mill Ave. bridge to the finish
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-04-15 3:53 PM

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Surprise, Arizona
Bronze member
Subject: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125

2013-04-15 4:30 PM
in reply to: #4701447

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Queen Creek, AZ
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125

A well fought finish beats a DNF, which beats a DNS any day of the week!

Well done!

2013-04-15 5:53 PM
in reply to: #4701447

Scottsdale, AZ
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125
Way to go!!! You went into it with the right attitude and had a good day - beats a DNS anytime!
Awesome job and hope the results of the MRI are ok!
2013-04-15 8:25 PM
in reply to: #4701447

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Extreme Veteran
Casa Grande, Az.
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125
Great job of understanding what your realistic capabilities of the day were and sticking thru and , most of all, FINISHING!!!!!
2013-04-16 11:25 AM
in reply to: #4701447

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125
Great job sticking to your plan, and for keeping the courage to not DNS.  It is a hard decision to make, but it sounds like you made the right one, having not come away worse off with your injury, and having completed a distance race.  Congrats Brian!
2013-04-16 11:31 AM
in reply to: #4701447

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125
Good job, the first one is always the most difficult... you've done it, you know that you can do it... and a real HIM will be a piece of cake now.

2013-04-17 10:10 AM
in reply to: #4701447

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the desert
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125
Great job sticking to your plan and not overdoing it. You made the right decision to race. Finishers medal earned.
2013-04-19 4:56 PM
in reply to: #4703910

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125

Holy smokes, that's a lot of racing when you don't really feel like it!   I am sure you would have regretting not doing it, so good choice.

Super job!

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