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Ironman Louisville - Triathlon

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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 17h 14m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got there on Thursday afternoon. Checked into hotel,did athlete check in,picked up race wheels at bike shop and tried to just chill. Friday did a recon of the bike course and swim entrance and exit. Met up with two buddies I did a century ride with during training. Had dinner and again,just tried to chill. Saturday did the practice swim, a short bike ride,turned in bike,run and special needs bags. Went ahead and put water bottles on bike,I don't mind drinking lukewarm fluids if it would save me some time the next morning. Had dinner and actually fell asleep at 9:00 pm
Event warmup:

Race morning. Up at 3:30 am. Had a PBJ and two bottles of Perform for breakfast. Grabbed my morning clothes bag and met my buddies to go to the swim start. Quick stop at transition to check my bike tires. Walked almost a mile to swim start,got body marked then walked another quarter mile to end of swim line. Took a short nap,did some dry land warm up with exercise band,ate two Honey Stinger waffles,and drank another bottle of Perform. At 6:50 heard the cannon go off for the pros. At 7:00 heard the cannon go off for age groupers and the line started moving. Actually got to see the pros swim by in the channel between the shore and Towhead Island as we were making our way forward.
  • 1h 45m 32s
  • 4156 yards
  • 02m 32s / 100 yards

I was very pleased with my swim time. My goal was 1:40 and I wasn't off by much. I think I had a sign on me that said " please pummel me during swim". I knew there would be contact in the channel but it continued all the way past the turn buoy and sometimes downstream. I finally resorted to kicking anyone who swam onto my legs and elbowing anyone who tried to swim on top of me. I never panicked. I swam freestyle the whole way,lifted my effort above my comfort zone and actually enjoyed OWS for the first time in a race!
What would you do differently?:

Try to sight a little better. I sighted frequently enough using large fixed objects but I guess I have a tendency to swim off course to the right. Gotta work on that.
Transition 1
  • 00m

IM transition is a bit different. You aren't allowed to leave anything on or near your bike except your water bottles. You call out your number and a volunteer brings your bag to you. I stripped off my tri top and put on a jersey,put on my other gear and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

Not much,it was as fast as I could go.
  • 7h 57m 58s
  • 112 miles
  • 14.06 mile/hr

I set a goal of 7 hours or less on the bike but that was not to be. I planned on actually stopping at only two aid stations and special needs and grabbing everything else at aid stations while still riding. About 20 miles into the ride I started getting severe nerve pain in the fifth metatarsal of my right foot. It felt like some was sticking a hot poker into it. I had to stop at almost every aid station and ice massage it then put ice in my shoe. That killed my time. I handled the actual course well and LOVED bombing the downhills every chance I got but the foot situation brought me into T2 almost an hour later than I wanted
What would you do differently?:

Try to figure out how to alleviate the nerve pain prior to the race. It had become an issue during training but I felt with a two week taper it would calm down enough to tough it out for the race. I think if I could have invested in a pair of Specialized Body Geometry shoes with the metatarsal buttons and varus/valgus wedges it would have helped immensely,but the funds just weren't there for the shoes. The bike is usually my strongest leg so I'm a bit disappointed. AND more long rides with even more climbing than I did,followed by longer brick runs. I did 3 century rides in the course of my training, but next time I will do MORE,whether it be for another IM Lou or for the new venue at Chattanooga in a couple of years.
Transition 2
  • 00m

A bike catcher grabs your bike for you so no issues there. Called out my number,got my bag and into the changing tent I went. Helmet off,jersey off. Pulled running shorts over my tri shorts because I need pockets,put on tank top,socks and shoes. Grabbed race belt and hat and was outta there.
What would you do differently?:

Get a clearer knowledge of where the T2 exit was. It wasn't very clearly marked so I had to run further to start the marathon.
  • 7h 01m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 16m 04s  min/mile

I knew coming out of T2 after a less than stellar bike that I was gonna have trouble finishing by midnight. Common knowledge says don't use new shoes for a race but my partner surprised me with an early birthday present with a pair of Hoka One One shoes. I wore them for two days pre-race and they are like running on clouds. Such great shoes for my big ole over pronating self! I actually RAN the whole first loop but it was death march slow. When I came into special needs at the halfway point I was in a dark,dark place. I was crying and very down. I want to thank my partner and IronSherpa for being there to kick my a$$,telling me to hurry up and change socks and go finish what I started last November. Off I went,still struggling but still moving forward. About mile 17 one of the members of the IM Louisville Facebook page recognized me from the MDot I had shaved into the back of my head. She was my second angel that night. She was power walking due to an injury and she really helped me get my head screwed on right. Somewhere along the way I reached into my pocket to get my electrolyte tabs and I dropped the metal vial I had been carrying that contained my beloved dog Shadow's ashes. I was devastated. She told me that meant it was time to let go of the deep grief I've been carrying since Shadow died and honor her by finishing strong. She stayed with me until about mile 22,then said she had to go on and finish the race she was doing to honor her mother who had passed away from cancer. She was truly a Godsend and has my utmost respect and thanks. I kept on plodding,knowing it would be past midnight but I would finish. Being the last of two runners left on the course, I got a police escort back toward the lights of Louisville and the finish at Fourth Street Live. I crossed the finish line at 17 hrs,14 min. I did receive a finisher's medal,hat and thirst. But the best part was hugging my sweet girl and one of my training buddies and and my angel friend who was waiting on me too. I didn't get an official picture or an announcer saying I was an Ironman,but I got something even better; I got my partner yelling "Shad Holt,you are an Ironman!!!"
What would you do differently?:

The only thing I would do different is train longer runs at a faster pace on legs pre-fatigued by super hard bike rides. I truly left everything in me out on that course and I never stopped moving forward. Making a time adjustment for hitting the water 20 minutes after the clock started I finished in approximately 16 hrs 54 minutes and I don't regret a thing about my race. I will return to Ironman in about 3 years,after my partner finishes school. She sacrificed a LOT and took on so much to allow me to train and race. Now it's my turn to step up for her. :-)
Post race
Warm down:

Water,chocolate milk. Picked up my morning clothes bag and walked back to the Galt House. I knew I needed to eat but I simply couldn't force anything down. Took a shower,put massage lotion on my legs, BioFreeze on my knees,propped my legs on pillows and fell asleep at about 2 am. Woke up at 7 am and started packing up to come home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Severe nerve pain in my foot during the bike and I needed more long runs under my belt. Next time I will get a coach for the bike and run training. I already have a super swim coach.

Event comments:

I want to say that the volunteers at this IM are stellar! They all went above and beyond to do whatever an athlete needed. I also highly recommend the Galt House as the hotel to use for this race. Everything within walking distance and the staff is 5 star quality. Our room didn't get cleaned the first two days due to a glitch in a new computer program they are using and they gave us one night free to make up for it.

Last updated: 2013-01-19 12:00 AM
01:45:32 | 4156 yards | 02m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Point to point. Swim in a protected channel for approximately 700 yards,then upstream to the turn buoy,about 500 yd the downstream for the rest of the swim to exit at Joe's Crab Shack.
Start type: Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Average
Time: 00:00
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
07:57:58 | 112 miles | 14.06 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: About 20 miles out,then a 10 mile out and back dogleg,the 2 loops through the country side and the town of LaGrange,then a straight shot back into Louisville. The course is HILLY. The dogleg was longest climb but the relentless rollers to the 2 loops was the most challenging part.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
07:01:00 | 26.2 miles | 16m 04s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Two loop out and back. The turnaround is 100 yards from the finishing chute. That is sadistic! Flat course,aid station every mile. AWESOME support from volunteers and fans along the route!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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] 4

2013-08-27 11:43 AM

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Middle Tennessee
Subject: Ironman Louisville

2013-08-27 11:56 AM
in reply to: #4840256

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Temple, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome race, you did such a good job describing the highs and lows as you went through your day!  I gotta say, that I still do not want to do one!  I can die happy not being an Ironman, ha ha!!!!  Glad to hear you already have a plan to do even better at the next one!
2013-08-27 12:33 PM
in reply to: Hildebeast

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Falls Church
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

Thanks for sharing your experience.  Very moving for me to read.  Sounds like you were in a 'relentless forward motion' mindset from the start.  You have an iron core.  I'm sure you will reflect on this for a long time to come.


I hope you figure out your foot & biking issue.


2013-08-27 1:05 PM
in reply to: hoffsquared

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Roll Tide!!
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

What an AWESOME & terrible & fantastic experience!! You report was great- I am fighting back tears- you kept going- even though you were in pain and crying!! You did it!!! You truly are an Ironman!! Whoop Whoop!!


and I'm with Hilde- do desire to do one for me... 

2013-08-28 12:14 AM
in reply to: Evergreen

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Northern Ontario (near Lake Superior)
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Thanks for the race report. Sounds like it was an experience that will not be forgotten. Reading these race reports is pushing me towards a 70.3 with a full in the future. Well done. One would think that the cutoff clock shouldn't start until the last person hits the water.
2013-08-28 7:52 AM
in reply to: #4840256

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N Carolina
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome report!!! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

You kept going until you crossed the line.....that is what Ironman is all about!!!!!

2013-08-30 8:15 AM
in reply to: #4840256

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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Hey Shad, I more proud of you than you know!! It's not easy to do what you did and the way you did it was very, very inspiring indeed!! Congrats to you as "YOU ARE AN IROMAN!"
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