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Ironman Louisville - Triathlon

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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
90F / 32C
Total Time = 12h 25m 25s
Overall Rank = 473/2076
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 71/263
Pre-race routine:

I'm including some training notes here as well.

This is my 3rd Ironman. For the first one, I trained based on time with a free online plan. I swam/biked/ran at the same speed for everything. And I suffered on race day. The second one, I started doing intervals and doubled my efforts for the run. I was doing ~15hr training weeks and peaked at 20+hrs. Monthly, I was biking 500-600miles and running 100-120miles. I did significantly better. This time around, I got a coach. I was only training 10-12hrs/week and peaked at 16hrs. Much less than before but every workout had a clear purpose and focus. I was very confident in my abilities and never even got that "I just want to done with this shit!" feeling during my peak weeks. I was VERY concerned about my breathing problems I've been having. It has been getting worse and during the last weeks and especially during the practice ride in Louisville, it was scaring me quite a bit. I was thinking about my options but finally decided the night before that I would go for it and just see what happens. Thank God! I can't imagine not doing it now.


I don't like staying at hotels before a race because I can't fix what I usually have for breakfast. I ended up only having a slice of stale pound cake, a cliff bar and some gatorade. I had a stinger waffle and the rest of the gatorade while standing in line waiting to start the race.

Shelly and I got up early and walked to the transition site. We got her bike set up and then my bike. It'd been a while since the chain had oil and since it rained the night before, I lubed them up and wiped them off. Inflated tires and couldn't find my extra sticker that goes over the disc wheel stem (later found them in my wheel bag back in the car). Used some electrical tape to secure the old sticker over the hole. Added some nutrition to the bike/run bags and then headed off to the swim start.

I was still considering wearing my wetsuit but the mile walk to the swim start and another mile to the end of the line warmed me up enough I didn't want to put it on.
Event warmup:

There's really no need to warm up for an Ironman. And with the time-trial start, there wasn't an opportunity to anyway. Walked down the dock, jumped in and started swimming.
  • 1h 09m 56s
  • 3800 meters
  • 01m 50s / 100 meters

Ah, the Ohio River. I didn't realize it was so dirty until I came here and heard everybody panicking over how disgusting it is... blah, blah, blah. I've swam in a lot worse and Ironman athletes seem to want to panic over EVERYTHING!
The current was strong because of the rains and that relaxed me some. I knew I could swim as hard as I could for the upstream part and then take it easy for the rest.
I jumped in next to Shelly and as soon as I hit the water, I realized I hadn't turned my garmin on. I turn it on and start swimming, knowing it wouldn't lock on to the satellites until I stopped. Oh well
I swim closer to the middle of the canal just because I didn't want to swim through any tree limbs. It was congested and, at times, very hard to navigate between other swimmers. I kept getting pushed closer to the shore until my arm hit sand. Sat up and fixed the garmin. Then swam out away from the shore until I could see the end of the island and the only turn buoy. Made it through the very cold section of the river and around the buoy without incident. Take a look at my regular watch I did start as I entered the water. 35mins. CRAP! It took that long to swim less than 1/3 of the course.
I knew swimming down would be faster but I had no idea how fast the buoys and bridges would come. Everybody was spread out more and I rarely had to change my direction.

I see the crowds and start hearing the cheers. I head towards the stairs where there was a small group of swimmers trying to stand upright for the first time in over an hour. I swim an extra 10feet to the empty stairs and the volunteers practically lift me out of the water. I look at my watch again and can't help but laugh. It took 35mins to swim 0.6 and (almost to the second) 35mins to swim the other 1.8miles.

Still a long way to transition so I slow jog my way while taking off my goggles and cap.

What would you do differently?:

Have everything turned on and ready before we go through the inflatable.
SWIM and not worry about anything else.
Transition 1
  • 10m 48s

I ran into the transition area and have to grab my own bag. Not a big deal; I knew exactly where it was. It was a bit muddy but I head into the tent and grab a chair near the entrance. Dump everything out and grab my towel and socks first. Dry and wipe off my feet and then put on the injinji toe socks. I hate how long they take to put on but my toe nails sometimes cut my other toes on long rides. I put my jersey on and then helmet. Stuff my nutrition in my jersey pockets and then leave the tent.
Find some lovely girls to rub me all over. With sunscreen. I make sure they get my tiger strip and then run for my bike. The white disc on black rims makes it pretty easy to spot. Make it to the dismount line and of course, everybody wants to mount in the middle of the road. Annoying but I'm getting used to it. Run past most of them and then MOVE TO THE SIDE and mount my bike.
What would you do differently?:

I can try and start wearing regular socks for my long bike rides and get used to that. The injinji socks take forever to put on.
I also should have put all my nutrition in my jersey beforehand like I did last year.
  • 5h 47m 2s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.36 mile/hr

It was a great feeling to get on my bike and even better after such a quick swim. We had seen the whole course with Hal, a local that drove us around and told us everything we needed to know about the course. I knew what to expect and nothing really scared me about it.

The first section of the course is a rough road with a slight incline. It felt easy and was still overcast so I knew it was going to be a good ride. I see Gus a few miles after River Rd.
The next section was an out and back. Some cracks in the road and some pretty good hills. It was just unfortunate that there was so many people, I couldn't always take full advantage of the downhills. Several times there were 4 people across all riding their brakes.It's free speed people!
I did drop my chain as I started going up one of the hills. I got it back on quickly but had to wait some time before it was clear to get back into "traffic."
Some sketchy riders at the U-turn. On the way back, I saw Rich and Steve . Back on the main road and start the first loop. As I turn right, one of the pro's (Jason Shortis) was turning left to start his second loop! Mostly rolling hills through some beautiful horse farms. I do relieve myself on one of the not-too-steep downhills. On another slight downhill I hear a guy on the side of the street asking for tape. I keep some electrical tape in my saddle back for who knows what and I'm in such a good mood, I stop. Throw him the roll before I even know why he needs it. We chat for a bit while he's taping his broken spoke to the one next to it. I've never broke a spoke or know what to do if I did so it was good to get some info on how to temporarily fix one. I also believe in karma and figured it really wasn't hurting me much. I told him I was giving up my kona slot to help him as I jumped back on my bike.

And then we get to LaGrange. It was like a mirage in the desert. A finish line halfway through the bike. Hundreds of people lined the streets with fences keeping them back. Signs and cheers and cameras everywhere. It was incredible.But short-lived. I pass Brian and Mandy next before we turn onto a small country road. Some tough inclines and the final descent is ruined by a sharp right turn at the bottom. Another dropped chain on this road.
A few more rollers and one more turn before we do it all over again on the second loop. It was a lot less crowded on the second lap but starting to get warm. I can't complain as I was almost 4hrs into the ride before the clouds went away. This lap goes by fast enough and it always feels good going straight to the finish while others are turning for their second lap.
Around mile 100, I catch up with Mike and chat for a minute. We were both enjoying the course and feeling good so I carry on.
Back on River Rd. and I can't believe how many people I pass who are looking a little rough. I make my way on and just try to avoid all the cracks and rocks on the road.
I see the final turn so get out of my aerobars and prepare to turn and get out of my shoes. Then, I almost crash! As I'm turning, my front tire rolls under the rim. Somewhere along the way, I must have got a sharp rock puncture the tire. I get steady and look at how low the tire is and how far the finish line is. Not worth changing so I just try to keep it steady and get out of my shoes. Jump off my bike right at the line and run into the crowd of several racers handing their bikes off.

I don't know why but this time around, I didn't take much interest in what I was going to eat. I know how many calories I should eat each hour but never created a plan. I did plan for my salt intake. I took one salt pill an hour while it was still overcast and 2/hr after it became sunny and HOT. I also took some "sport legs" on the bike only. 8total I think.
I took with me 4 honey stinger waffles, 2 bottles of infinit and 1 bottle of water. From the course, I drank 1.5bottles of Perform, 2 bottles of water, several bananas and 2 bonk breakers.
For a 5:45 bike leg, I think that was enough calories. But when you add the swim to it, it's a little low. I also didn't drink enough water for the first 2hrs. I always struggle to take in enough water when it's shaded and overcast.

Overall, I felt really good throughout the whole bike portion. I had a little pain in my lower back but no foot pain or neck pain or wrist pain. It's the best I've felt during a ride this long. My average HR was 152. Not bad but I know if I can keep it below 150 (Zone2) , I'll be much better off for the run.
What would you do differently?:

I'll never do an Ironman and say I should've gone harder on the bike. There's always room to take it a little easier.
I should have rode the bike on hills after the mechanic "fixed" something. I would've been able to adjust the derailuer before the race so the chain stayed on.
When I stopped to help the guy, I should've just given him the tape and left.
Actually HAVE a nutrition plan. I'm smart enough to know better. Also, just use the regular salt tabs instead of the ones with caffeine.
Transition 2
  • 06m 24s

There was actually a line of people and not enough volunteers to catch the bikes. They still did great and didn't really cost much time.

I ran through the soggy transition area in my socks and sat down to put my running shoes on and get rid of the helmet and gloves.Still felt great after the ride and was anxious to get running.

Got another dose of sunscreen and made a trip to the port-a-john. I had to pee but it's always a good idea to rid myself of everything before a run so I sat down. Both legs immediately hurt and seized up. I could open the door and straighten them or just leave and hope for the best. Since I really didn't have to go anyway, I opted for the latter.
What would you do differently?:

I think changing socks would have been nice and wouldn't have taken too long.
  • 5h 11m 15s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 53s  min/mile

I got off the bike feeling really good. That, coupled with the crowd cheering and the knowledge that I would be done in a few hours had me starting the run way too fast. I think I was running 8:30s when I looked down. Slowed to a comfortable 10:30 and carried on.
I saw Joey and Heather in the first mile and he ran with me a bit. Asked how I was and told me about how the others were doing.
I grabbed some water at the first aid station but continued running. I walked through all the other aid stations (except the last I think).
Mike passed me back (as expected) shortly after the next aid station. It was early so we were both still in good spirits.
I was still feeling great until mile 5-6. I was starting to get a little nauseous and I could feel my legs starting to cramp up a little. Not a big deal; just keep moving forward. My right shoulder almost always hurts on long runs but this time it started hurting 90mins into. I took 2 advils but it seemed to take 2hrs before they did anything.
Just after the 6mile mark, we turn around. It was kind of a relief. I had basically seen the whole course and now I just had to repeat it a few more times. It also felt like a slight downhill from there.
Passed by Steve and Shelly coming the other way. It was really getting hot now and was taking it's toll on everybody. The nausea would come and go but the cramps were getting worse. About 12miles into it, I had completely stop and lay on the ground. Trying to stretch out my leg muscles.I did this 2 more times and each time, someone did come over quickly to see if they could help. "No, I just want to roll around in the grass for a bit." The last time I got up (mile 22 or so), I held myself up on a telephone poll, just waiting to throw up. Never did so just made my way to the next aid station and the next mile.
My stomach was feeling a little better and I found a better way to deal with the cramps. When I started getting really tight, I could walk for a bit until they subsided some. I was walking 14min/miles and then running 11m/m. And walking is always better than rolling around on the side of the road. I did this until the finish.

For the run, I took in very little solid foods. A bonk breaker, a gu, and a few pretzels. That was it. I did have water and perform at nearly every aid station. At the magically 5pm hour, they started giving chicken broth so I added that to the mix. I was taking salt tabs throughout the run but as the cramps worsened, I was taking more until I ran out about mile 21-22. I took 22pills and still had an hour to go.

I dumped ice water on myself at the first aid station and my HR monitor quit working after that. I messed with it a little but never got it to work again. It wasn't a big deal though because the run was flat and I knew I could keep my HR under 150 if I held a 10:30 pace or slower.
What would you do differently?:

Obviously, start out slower.
An actual nutrition plan (for the bike as well) would be helpful.
Walk out the muscle cramps instead of trying to run through them.
Post race
Warm down:

They rush you through the finish line and give you water, medals, shirt, etc. When I came out of the chute, I was greeted by my friends and parents. I sat down on a trashcan because I couldn't bend my knees any lower and talked to them for a few minutes. I was not feeling better after I stopped moving and after a few more minutes, I headed to medical. Nauseous, light-headed and tingly. They gave me a pill for the nausea and an IV. They were beyond helpful in the med tent and I'm so thankful for them!
It was a while before I started feeling better but I did have to pee almost immediately after the IV line was hooked up.

The last thing worth mentioning was my heart rate was still 100bpm after lying in the bed for 20-30mins. They weren't concerned or even mentioned it but I saw it on the "release paperwork." My resting HR is around 52-53bpm. I later looked up the suggested daily max of caffeine one could take. No more than 400mg... and I had about 650 for the day. Lesson learned!

Needless to say, I was still wired and did not sleep well that night.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Overall, I couldn't be happier.

Last updated: 2014-01-06 12:00 AM
01:09:56 | 3800 meters | 01m 50s / 100meters
Age Group: 103/263
Overall: 771/2076
Performance: Good
Suit: Brought it but didn't wear it
Course: Upstream in a canal for .6miles and then down the Ohio River for the last 1.8miles
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 79F / 26C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 10:48
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
05:47:02 | 112 miles | 19.36 mile/hr
Age Group: 57/263
Overall: 412/2076
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: About 25miles away from downtown, 2loops of 31miles around LaGrange and then 25back.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 06:24
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:11:15 | 26.2 miles | 11m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 71/263
Overall: 473/2076
Performance: Good
Course: Very flat course with 2 out and backs.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
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] 5

2014-09-21 7:06 PM

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Subject: Ironman Louisville
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