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Ironman Arizona - Triathlon

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 27m 4s
Overall Rank = 1086/2705
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 208/442
Pre-race routine:

This was my 3rd full Ironman distance race (all IM Arizona course), and I was unusually calm before we started. I did not have the same level of nerves and jitters I have had in the past. Perhaps it was due to preparation, or perhaps I went into this race without a hard and fast "must have" time goal. Either way, it concerned me a bit that I would not push hard and I wondered if my adrenaline would kick into gear at the sound of the cannon.

Normal wake-up time of 3am for a 7am start. As my bike and some gear were already at transition, I had much less to load into the car and transport on race morning. This too was a bit concerning, as I am anal when it comes to having everything, so to make sure I threw an extra helmet, bike and running shoes into the car (probably just to make me feel better).

After getting up I showered and had breakfast (oatmeal & a banana). My morning weight was right where I expected it to be (192.4) after the pre-race pasta dinner the night before.

Gathering my morning clothes bag (with my wetsuit and swim gear) and my special needs bag (bike only - I did not see a need for a SN bag for the run this year), I was ready to go. Saying goodbye to my wife I made my way down to the IM Village and was on site by 4:30am (30 minutes before transition opens).

I was fortunate to run into people I know (Todd Slaten - first time IM for him in 2013, Steve Pilon and Bill Gilbertson - IM vets), and talked a bit waiting for transition to officially start the day.

After transition opened, I made my way to my bike and put my kit bag and hydration on board, and set my cyclometer up for the ride. A little pump of the tires to get them to 120PSI and I was prepped.

ONE Multisport does an AWESOME job of supporting their team, so I hung out at the team tent and chatted with my fellow ONE athletes before donning the wetsuit. A few pictures and good luck wishes and it was time to get to the swim start at about 6:45.
Event warmup:

Since my injury this year, I have made it a point to do more routine stretching before the race, so I incorporated this into my morning before putting my wetsuit on. No run or swim warm-up (other than the short swim under the bridges to the start line).
  • 1h 17m 29s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 50s / 100 yards

A picture-perfect swim for me. My starting position was about 4 people deep on the left side of the course. When the cannon went off I held a good pace and fought through the washing machine effect better than normal (although I did get hit more often and harder than normal).

My pace was strong and I found clean water often, trying to catch onto faster swimmers feet for a little draft. Looking at the GPS map of my swim my sight lines were strong and I did not have the typical zig zagging I see on my other race swims. I kept a good line throughout the course and stayed focused on my pull, my arm turnover, and my hips to keep in a good rhythm.

No cramping in the calves as I have had the past couple years, and with no fogging of my goggles, my sight lines were easy to hold. I will say that usually the bumping tapers after about 500m or so, and this year I encountered it sporadically all the way past the turnaround point. Perhaps this is because I was faster and in the midst of the pack of swimmers, instead of falling behind by several minutes.

Either way, this was the type of swim I had hoped for and after planning on a 1:20 water exit, seeing 1:17 on the clock put a big smile on my face.
What would you do differently?:

It is difficult to pinpoint what I would do differently, as the swim really went as well as I could expect for this race. Perhaps if I gain more speed, start a little more to the front and learn how to high-tail it early to give myself some space from the bump and grind, making the entire swim more smooth.
Transition 1
  • 05m 40s

A very quick T1 for me. After exiting the water I quickly found an available wetsuit stripper and had my suit off in a flash. I ran down towards transition and got my transition bag before settling in the grass (I do not enter the transition tent during T1 as it gets too crowded). A quick donning of the bike helmet and bike shoes and a spray of sunscreen and I was ready to go. I decided against wearing arm warmers as the temps were fine and I did not want to take the time to put them over my wet arms (this was the right decision on this day).

I guess I was spoiled the last couple years, as I had a volunteer grab my bike and run it to the mount line for me, and this year the volunteer on my rack just pointed to towards my bike. No big deal - again I think I was spoiled in the past.

I made my way to the mount line and got on my bike and was off (this is where my misfortune occurred - see the bike comments for more info).
What would you do differently?:

As far as transition goes, probably nothing, as I did not dawdle, was fast with my changing and departure.
  • 6h 05m 42s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.38 mile/hr

Well, here is where my day took a turn for the worse (and it was entirely my fault).

As I rode through "the chute" out of transition and headed for the bike course, I realized I had not pushed the button on my Garmin 910 to move it from T1 to bike mode (now, this is really irrelevant to do, as I use the official Ironman timing for my records, so forgetting this does not stop the watch, meaning it still tracks my total time - which is important during the race).

As I looked down on my watch, I looked up and I had drifted to the right and was about to run right into the barricade fencing lining the chute (I even heard a bunch of spectators gasp as it must have appeared I was going to totally wipe out - which I almost did). I recovered just in time to run over the footing of one of the fence sections and hit my hand against the railing (cutting my knuckles slightly). My tires both went over the footing and I worried about a flat but heard no pop, so I thought maybe I had exited with only the hand scrape. Well, I was wrong......

As soon as I got onto Rio Salado Pkwy, I could tell my back tire was losing air, and as soon as I realized that - POP!!! My tire blew and I had to pull over. OK, so I got a flat on a race - it happens to everyone and it was my turn (of course - this was all my fault). I got off my bike and a volunteer came over to hold my bike as I changed the tube. I must have known this was going to happen as I added a 3rd spare to my kit with an extra CO2, and put 2 spares in my special needs bag with 2 extra CO2 cartridges).

I got the tube out of the tire pretty quickly and went to install a spare. I had the entire tube inside the tire when I looked for the valve stem and realized it was just a bit too short to protrude through the 80mm skirt on my wheels. So I worked to get the spare tube out of the tire and installed spare #2. I had this spare on the tire and the tire sealed up when I went to fill the tube and saw the valve itself was bent. NO!!! So I tried to straighten it up and it broke completely. Oh great - 2 spares and no working tube. It was then that a spectator asked if I wanted the Bike SAG van, and I quickly replied "Absolutely!" She went off to fetch one as I went about removing the 2nd spare from my wheel. After getting it out I was down to a single spare, but the volunteer asked if I had a valve extractor, which amazingly I did.

It is here that I must say huge kudos to both the volunteer and the spectator that were there. They both knew about bikes and the SAG support, so they were able to assist me "without actually assisting me."

I quickly pulled the valve from the spare and used the valve from spare 1 (too short of a valve stem) and installed it. It was then that the SAG van showed up and these guys were very helpful. They mostly watched as I got the tube installed and went to fill it up with CO2. It felt "soft", and so I used a 2nd CO2 to try and get it to full PSI, but I think I was still a bit short (I must mention here that the valve on this spare also seemed a bit bent, so I was very careful with it when inflating).

I went ahead and had them put the wheel on my bike as I gathered my kit bag. They did an awesome job and once on the bike I went and tried a bit more CO2. At this point I felt it was a good as I could get it, although it still was not as firm as normal. I decided to go on my way and try to get to special needs at mile 60 with 1 spare remaining (and not too much confidence in the current tube, as I thought it might be leaking air with a bent valve).

I settled down and just rode to my plan, having wasted 15 minutes with my flat tire debacle. Again, it was all my fault, but it was still a bummer. Luckily I had the right mindset that I would not let it ruin my day, and was thankful I had enough spares and more waiting for my 1 1/2 loops up the way for any further problems.

Riding to my plan I felt I was moving along fine on the first loop, including a pretty fast descent down Beeline. The soft rear tire worried me all day and I just kept counting down the miles until I could stop at S/N and get my other spares.

For my nutrition, I planned on water every 15 minutes, with Inifinit replacing water every 30 minutes. Stinger waffles every 1:15 would be my base nutrition. I kept to this plan fairly well, but think I needed a bit more water (based on my quad cramps on the run).

On the 2nd loop I knew I was getting close to special needs, so I started to calm down a bit (every time I saw a bike SAG I wanted to stop and see if I could use their pump to pump up the tire - maybe I should have, but it is too late now). At S/N I got the 2 spares and shoved them into my tri suit rather than trying to get them into my kit bag, and put the spare CO2's into my side pockets on my tri suit.

During the 3rd loop the wind picked up considerably and we had a headwind going east on McKellips, followed by a slight cross/tailwind going up Beeline (pretty typical for Beeline and IM races), then a cross/headwind coming down Beeline, and a tailwind going west on McKellips. It definitely slowed my average a bit, and my total riding time of 5:50 was about 5-10 minutes slower than I had planned, based on my schedule. NOTE: Part of this was the wind, part of it was my riding a bit more careful with my tire feeling soft.

I enjoyed most of the actual ride, even with the issues, and have to say that considering my small plight, my mood was very positive, and I was very, very thankful I had no other problems on the bike once I fixed the flat and got going again.

During the ride I had the race leaders pass me at lightning speed, first the men, then a bit later the women leaders. It is awesome to see the power they put out of the bike, whether on a decline, flat road or incline.

I also was fortunate to see my wife and youngest daughter a few times at McDowell/Alma School, and was quick to tell of my misfortune (2 flats). It became my story of the day.
What would you do differently?:

FOCUS!! Don't worry about your watch, especially in tight areas. Additionally, due to the wind on the 3rd loop and some feeling of tightness in my quads I did not push the 3rd loop to my target HR (I was at about 142bpm avg as compared to my plan of about 150bpm).
Transition 2
  • 05m 8s

I decided to not take my feet out of the pedals and leave my shoes on the bike, opting to run in my bike shoes through transition. Probably not the best choice, but I did it anyway.

Once I got off the bike I ran gingerly (my feet were sore and toes numb) to get my transition bag, and went into the tent to sit down and change.

I knew I was moving a bit slower than I had planned (I wanted a 3:30 T2), but at this point having lost 15 minutes on the bike, I was not as concerned with minutes, and more concerned with comfort.

I asked the volunteer for water and he told me it was waiting for me outside, which was disappointing but I guess I understand. He stayed right by me and waited for me to get my transition bag together, then took it away when I was ready.

I got into my running shoes ok, but my feet were hurting and numb and I hate that. I donned my hat, race bib, and nutrition, and loaded my transition bag before spraying some sunscreen on my face and arms (apparently I missed the back of my shoulders as they were red after the race).

Once out of the tent I grabbed some water and made my way onto the run course.
What would you do differently?:

I think I should have taken my bike shoes off, if for no other reason than it was originally my plan.
  • 4h 53m 5s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 11s  min/mile

What to say about the run? It was not anywhere I expected it to be. My HR plan was set for me to average 9-9:30 miles until mile 16ish, then 10-10:30 minute miles the rest of the way.

However, my quads were already tight and cramping at the start, and it took my feet 3-4 miles before the numbness went away.

During the first loop, I saw Steve Pilon and Stu Schulman coming back my way as I was close to the 1mi mark (they were at mile 3+). Steve tried to tell me to catch up to them, but I already knew that would be a futile effort unless they slowed down considerably (which I did not expect). So I plodded along, trying to keep a sub 10 min/mi pace, and walking through the aid stations.

I managed to run up the hill at Curry and downhill (which was part of my plan), and was tracking my overall time and noticed I was pushing the 12 hour mark. It was going to be close. As I finished the first loop I knew I needed to average 10-10:30 per mile to get there. Coming back to transition at mile 17 I saw my family, and they have me encouraging words to keep moving forward (KMF - my motto).

However, once I got to mile 19, I looked at my watch and realized that 12 hours was not going to happen at my current pace, and I knew I did not have it in me to push harder. So I decided to enjoy the run, walking through and past the aid stations, and slowing my run pace down a bit.

I actually enjoyed the last few miles more this way, and decided at mile 25 I would run the last 1.2 miles to the finish (which I did). I made sure I had ample spacing between those in front and those behind me so I could have my solo time for Mike Reilly and the Ironman finish. I high-fived people along the fences and enjoyed the finish as much as any other race.
What would you do differently?:

I need to work to make sure I come off the bike stronger and can hold the pace more. Somehow I was not anywhere close to the stamina I expected to have (and had the previous year).

My nutrition plan seemed fine, but I just did not have the leg strength.
Post race
Warm down:

I signed up for my massage, and felt good afterward.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The flats did not help, and my sore and cramping quads limited my run performance.

Overall I felt great on the swim, and felt good on the bike, with the exception of the flats and ongoing concern about the tire pressure.

On the run, I never felt strong or overly confident, and I know this led to my decision to slow down and not push my body to the breaking point.

Event comments:

This is a WTC supported Ironman race - the best supported and most organized races in the world. No complains about the venue, support, or volunteers. They make this race a huge success, regardless of performance or individual results.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-08-17 12:00 AM
01:17:29 | 4224 yards | 01m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 172/442
Overall: 997/2705
Performance: Good
500m - 9:38 1000m - 19:00 (9:22) 1500m - 28:32 (9:32) 2000m - 39:02 (10:40) 2500m - 48:24 (9:22) 3000m - 58:14 (9:50) 3500m - 1:08:04 (9:50) 3850m - 1:17:29 (9:25)
Suit: Tyr Hurricane Sleeveless
Course: Counter-clockwise rectangle, single-loop.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:40
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:05:42 | 112 miles | 18.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 233/442
Overall: 1212/2705
Performance: Below average
Race plan - Loop 1 (to mile 38): < 140bpm, Loop 2 (to mile 75): <145bpm, Loop 3 (to finish): <150bpm In 5mi increments (Lap time - avg HR): 5mi - 30:23 - 133bpm, 10mi - 17:07 - 134bpm, 15mi - 16:56 - 134bpm, 20mi - 18:22 - 139bpm, 25mi - 11:31 - 137bpm, 30mi - 14:02 - 139bpm, 35mi - 14:20 - 139bpm, 40mi - 14:39 - 145bpm, 45mi - 15:23 - 145bpm, 50mi - 15:27 - 143bpm, 55mi - 17:38 - 145bpm, 60mi - 13:32 - 147bpm, 65mi - 16:05 - 145bpm, 70mi - 15:13 - 146bpm, 75mi - 15:33 - 144bpm, 80mi - 15:43 - 143bpm, 85mi - 16:16 - 142bpm, 90mi - 17:27 - 142bpm, 95mi - 17:04 - 141bpm, 100mi - 15:25 - 141bpm, 105mi - 16:11 - 139bpm, 110mi - 16:13 - 141bpm, 112mi - 4:31 - 141bpm,
Wind: Cross-winds with gusts
Course: 3 loop course (37+ mi per loop). Slight incline up Beeline Hwy (miles 8-18), turnaround and return (downhill miles 18-28)
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 05:08
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
04:53:05 | 26.2 miles | 11m 11s  min/mile
Age Group: 208/442
Overall: 1086/2705
Performance: Below average
Race plan - Loop 1 (to mile 13.1): < 155bpm, Loop 2 (to finish): <165bpm In 1 mile increments (lap time - avg HR): Mile 1 - 9:50 - 149bpm, Mile 2 - 9:18 - 158bpm, Mile 3 - 9:07 - 157bpm, Mile 4 - 9:42 - 155bpm, Mile 5 - 9:26 - 157bpm, Mile 6 - 9:48 - 155bpm, Mile 7 - 10:36 - 152bpm, Mile 8 - 10:48 - 149bpm, Mile 9 - 10:49 - 146bpm, Mile 10 - 10:56 - 147bpm, Mile 11 - 10:04 - 147bpm, Mile 12 - 10:16 - 149bpm, Mile 13 - 10:27 - 149bpm, Mile 14 - 10:15 - 150bpm, Mile 15 - 10:16 - 150bpm, Mile 16 - 11:04 - 145bpm, Mile 17 - 10:53 - 147bpm, Mile 18 - 10:58 - 145bpm, Mile 19 - 12:06 - 138bpm, Mile 20 - 13:21 - 131bpm, Mile 21 - 13:26 - 128bpm, Mile 22 - 14:04 - 121bpm, Mile 23 - 14:45 - 119bpm, Mile 24 - 12:36 - 127bpm, Mile 25 - 16:17 - 114bpm, Mile 26 - 10:47 - 141bpm, Mile 26.2 - 1:12 - 153bpm
Course: 2 loop course around Tempe Town Lake
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
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

2013-11-18 4:28 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2013-11-19 8:39 AM
in reply to: #4900874

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Morgan Hill, California
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations, especially on the great attitude after the flat. That can either throw a day completely off, or you can fight through it. You fought through it and had a great day.
2013-11-19 3:07 PM
in reply to: kmac1346

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats! Take what the day gives ya, roll with it and smile at the end!
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