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Ironman Louisville - Triathlon


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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
90F / 32C
Sunny
Total Time = 15h 49m 5s
Overall Rank = 2118/2600
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 349/404
Pre-race routine:

Race morning started early with the alarm going off at 3:30 am. After getting dressed, it was time to grab the bag with my bike and run nutrition and begin the walk from the Galt House to transition.
Event warmup:

Walk to the swim start and stretching.
Swim
  • 1h 15m 23s
  • 4156 yards
  • 01m 49s / 100 yards
Comments:

The water temp was 80 and perfect conditions for the swim. The swim at Louisville begins by swimming down a channel next to Towhead Island for approximately 600-700 meters, then you make your way out into the open water to the turn buoy which was approximately 1,200 meters from the start. Surprisingly, I had plenty of space around me to get into a good rhythm from the start. Once getting past the end of Towhead Island and out into the open water, you could tell it was against the current. I just kept to my plan and stayed as consistent as possible in my technique. The sun was now up and there was a glare on the water. I am glad I chose to wear tinted goggles for this race. When I got to the turn buoy I looked at my watch and saw it took me 34 minutes. Wow, must have been a strong current! After making the turn, it was nothing but clear space the remainder of the swim. I could see the two bridges we would pass under, but they seemed a long ways ahead. I could also make out the green roof of Joe's Crab Shack (where the swim finish is located) on the horizon, but it was even farther away. Just keep swimming. Before I know it, I see the tents in the transition area and the final turn buoy just 15 meters from the finish. As I approach the steps to exit the water, volunteers are there to help me get to the steps to exit the water. I looked at my watch and see a swim time of 1:15. I had to do a double-take because of the initial 34 minutes to swim 1,200 meters, I was not expecting that quick of a time for the remaining distance. Thank you Ohio River current.
What would you do differently?:

Continue to improve on my sighting. I sighted frequently, looking for buoys and main landmarks.
Transition 1
  • 06m 43s
Comments:

I took my time going up the hill from the swim exit and grabbed a cup of water as I continued to the Great Lawn where transition was located. I grabbed my T1 bag, headed to the changing tent to get ready for the bike. The tent was pretty warm for 8:30 in the morning. A volunteer helped me get my gear out of my bag which was really helpful. I left the tent, stopped to get sunscreen, use the bathroom and then head to get my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I was happy with my T1 transition.
Bike
  • 7h 11m 48s
  • 112 miles
  • 15.56 mile/hr
Comments:

The first 10 miles are basically flat as you head away from Louisville on River Road. At two separate points within the first 5 miles, I hit bumps at the railroad tracks and a bridge that ejected my nutrition from the bottle cage. I made sure to stop and get the nutrition as I knew how important staying on top of my nutrition would be. Once we made the turn off of River Road is when the hills began. I had a strategy that I would switch to the smaller ring and spin the hills to conserve energy until getting back to River Road. I was averaging just under 17 mph at this point, so I was feeling good as I reached Hwy 1694 for the out and back section. Riding the out and back section in the race was completely different than when I rode it on a practice ride. Add in hundreds of bikes on a narrow and fast section of the course going in both directions and it becomes white knuckle time. Once thing that stood out was the sound of the bikes zooming by in the other direction when I was climbing the hills. Some guys were probably hitting 50 mph. I on the other hand was happy with hitting 40 mph. On the way back from the turn-around as we are making one of the fastest descents, athletes coming the other direction are telling us to slow down due to an accident. As I am slowing down rounding a curve, there is an athlete lying in the middle of the road with EMT's around him. His bike was off to the right in the ditch. His knees and face were really banged up. I don't know what happened, but I pray that he is OK and recovering. It did not look good.

For the remainder of the ride until getting back to River Road it was constant rolling hills. There were some steep and long climbs. The volunteers and spectators were fantastic providing support and encouragement. I could feel the adrenaline as I made my way through LaGrange with the spectators lining both sides of the street. A surprisingly challenging section was Ballard School Road. There were a few climbs on that road that were tough. Just kept reminding myself to spin and take it easy as it is a long way to go. I made it to the start of the second loop which was 60 miles into the ride around 11:45 am. The second time through was more of a challenge as fatigue was starting to creep in from the hills and the heat was building. I started to experience cramping at various times and sometimes while I was climbing hills, which was no fun. I was looking forward to getting back to River Road knowing that was a flat 10 miles back to transition. It never felt so good to see the Louisville skyline ahead. I kept telling myself just a little more to go and you are finished with the bike. I make it to T2 and I know my legs are toast.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I was expecting to be on the bike for around 7 hours with the terrain and conditions.
Transition 2
  • 09m 22s
Comments:

After getting my bike to run bag, I make my way to the changing tent. Now it felt like it was 800 degrees in there. I sat in a chair right by the entrance just to have some relief. Leaving the tent I stopped to get more sunscreen and to use the bathroom, then off to start 26.2 miles.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing
Run
  • 7h 05m 49s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 16m 15s  min/mile
Comments:

Leaving transition, I tried to run and my legs just did not want to. Uh oh, this may be ugly. You have to work with what you are dealt and I knew I had plenty of time to finish before midnight, so my plan became to take it easy as I had the marathon ahead of me. This meant the marathon would become more of a walk. Within the first mile, I hear my friend Ken's wife cheering for me. As I look up, I see Ken standing next to her. Unfortunately, Ken was not able to complete the swim. I felt so bad at that point, but what a testament for him to be out there support me and the rest of the Second Wind team. I told them at that point I was cramping and hurting, but I am going to do this! I pushed on and tried to run a little to try and work out the soreness, but it was not working. OK, just submit and walk. So I did. I was walking at a brisk pace. God must have been preparing me for this because just a couple of weeks before the race my mom was visiting. We went for a walk one day and she walks at a brisk pace. I kept recalling that pace and knew that is what I needed to do for this marathon. As the miles slowly (and I mean slowly) passed, I got the chance to see my teammates Kenny, Butch and Shannon on the course. It was great to get little encouragement from them. As Kenny said, "Chick, you got this" and then Butch told me "just one foot in front of the other". Those were words I needed to hear. Leading up to the race, I read Philippians 3:12-21 where Paul says that we are to continue to press on towards the goal, forgetting what is in the past and press on towards what lies ahead. I kept thinking about this throughout the marathon. I also had several athletes thank me for the encouragement of Isaiah 40:31 on my back. God was at work in Louisville.

The most difficult part of the marathon is the turn-around at the halfway point. It has nothing to do with the physical aspect as this is all mental. The course takes you down Fourth St., just 1 block from the finish line. Athletes who are finishing the race are on the left and athletes who are going for the second lap are on the right. I purposely did not look at the finish line. I just focused my attention on the 13.1 miles to go and knew that I would be back here in a few hours. The sun was beginning to set at this point which is just an odd feeling, knowing the day began at sunrise and now it is sunset and I am still going. Surreal feeling. The good news is the temp was dropping a little from the low 90's.

As I was around mile 15, I heard a bike coming up from behind me. As I turned an looked, it was Ken who was coming to check on me. It was so good to see him and get some encouragement when I needed it most. After checking on me, Ken went ahead to look for the other guys to see how they were doing. During this stretch, I stopped a few times just to stretch as my back was getting tight. Around mile 16, I ended up walking with a guy for several miles. It was good to have someone along side me to help the miles go by. As we were talking I told him my nickname was Chick and he started to laugh. His son is named Charles, but they also call him Chick. Small world. After about another mile, he decided to run, so I told him to enjoy that finish line that is not too far away now. Now I am back alone in my thoughts and still have 5 miles to go. Keep pressing on, you can do this. I started to look at my watch and did some math in my head and knew I had a chance to break 16 hours if I keep at it. Legs, don't fail me now. Then, somewhere between mile 22-23 I look ahead and I see a Second Wind shirt approaching. It is Ken. He came back down the course to give me support. Next thing I know, he is walking with me. I started to get a little emotional at that point, but did not want Ken to see that. He asked how I was and I said, I am hurting, but I am doing this. Ken was also relaying messages back to my wife who was back in Raleigh tracking me and also keeping other friends and family aware of my status. I had no idea how much was happening with communication at that point. At mile 24, I start to pick up my pace a little. Mile 25, almost there.

Just before the finish, there are two final turns. First is a turn to the left onto Jefferson St. As I make the turn I hear someone calling my name and it is Shannon. I was so surprised to see him there at that point as it gave me a huge lift. My pace began to quicken as I have one turn remaining onto Fourth St. I make the right turn and I see the finish line just 2 blocks away. The music is booming, thousands of people are lining both sides of the street. OK legs, don't fail me now and bring me home. I start to run towards those bright lights at the finish line. I am holding back my emotions at that point since I had 2 blocks to go and I did not want to cramp. I gave some of the volunteers high fives and look down and see the Ironman logo on the carpet leading the way to the finish. About 50 yards from the finish line I hear Kenny calling my name. I run over to him and give him five before making my way to the finish line. There is no way to describe the next feeling I experienced, but let's just say it was amazing. I tried to raise my arms as I crossed the finish line, but I was not very successful. Then I hear, "Brett Ciancanelli from Raleigh, you are an IRONMAN!
What would you do differently?:

I did the best I could with the situation and just going with what I could do to make it to the finish line.
Post race
Warm down:

Walking, stretching, chocolate milk and pizza. Then off to transition to get my bike and gear bags. I am sure the walk back to the hotel helped with stiffness.

Event comments:

Awesome event! The volunteers and spectators were fantastic. Well-organized.




Last updated: 2012-09-17 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:15:23 | 4156 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Age Group: 176/404
Overall: 1112/2600
Performance: Good
Suit:
Course: Ohio River swim starting at Tumbleweed Restaurant. The first 1000-1200 meters were upstream, then we turned around and went downstream all the way to the swim finish at Joe's Crab Shack.
Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
T1
Time: 06:43
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
07:11:48 | 112 miles | 15.56 mile/hr
Age Group: 302/404
Overall: 1736/2600
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: First 10 miles & last 10 miles were flat. Rest of the course was pretty hilly with a couple of really big hills mixed in. The temp was ok and there was little wind.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 09:22
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
07:05:49 | 26.2 miles | 16m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 349/404
Overall: 2118/2600
Performance: Below average
Course: Flat... 2 loop, out & back course
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
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

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