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Ironman Arizona - Triathlon

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 10h 19m 6s
Overall Rank = 131/2800
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 23/503
Pre-race routine:

We got to Arizona on Thursday and got checked in in no time flat. Picked up the bike and went to our hotel. We met up with friends over the next couple days and had a very relaxed mini vacation before the race. I did a couple extremely short bike rides a 20 minute run with some accelerations and about 1400 yards of swimming with 5 x 100 hard to keep the swim muscles engaged.

Race morning I was up at 4 AM. Had my usual giant bowl of oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar and walnuts. A banana. Two cups of coffee.

Drive to the race took about 20 minutes and was seamless. When we got there I dropped off my special needs bags, put my nutrition and computer on the bike and gave the setup a quick once over. Portajohn x 2 and it was time to get the wetsuit on. Drank 400 calories of U-Can/Infinit in the last hour before the race start.

Said goodbye to my wife, thanking her again for putting up with all of the training triathlon BS. She gave me the usual pre race advice, "don't die, don't poop on yourself, try not to end up in medical." (Secretly I wanted to have a race where I went so hard that when I finished I had to go to medical.....and I almost achieved that one :) )
Event warmup:

Putting the wetsuit on always gets me sweating!

They put us in the water about 200 +/- yards from the start. I had sworn I was going to swim at least 200 yards as a warm up so this was nice. I actually went left and swam about 50 yards opposite the start line to get out of the mass of people. Did a couple accelerations then swimming toward the start to get the arms loosened up. I felt really nice in the water and it was much warmer than it was in 2012.
  • 1h 13m 41s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 44s / 100 yards

I am an adult onset swimmer. I have dedicated huge chunks of my life to swimming every year for the last four years with almost no improvement in my race paces. I am a thousand times more comfortable in the water and I come out of the water feeling great and ready to start racing. I just can't seem to get faster. Frustrating. With that being said, this is my fastest IM swim ever by four minutes :( . This was an amazingly physical start to a race. I positioned myself right in the middle, about four rows back and when the gun went off I went with the masses. There was a lot of contact for sure.

I was very happy with how I felt in the water. My sighting was good and I swam very straight (in 2012 I was all over the course). Never really got out of my comfort zone. I tried to draft off of faster people but in the end I just swam my own pace and did what I had to do.

Because this is a one lap course and I am a slow swimmer it feels like it takes forever to get to the turn around. Make like Dory and "just keep swimming."
What would you do differently?:

Start swimming at age six.
Transition 1
  • 04m 24s

More than two minutes faster than 2012. Partially because I wasn't frozen like a popsicle this time and could actually feel my hands.

No socks! :)
What would you do differently?:

Forgot to bring a towel and could not get all of the dried grass off of my feet. I rode 112 miles with my feet covered with dried grass because I didn't bring a towel.
  • 5h 27m 42s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.51 mile/hr

In the three days leading up to the race there was barely any wind. Mother nature laughed at us on race day and gave us 15-30 mph winds out of the Northwest that meant we rode a lot of the race in to the teeth of this wind. It made what is usually considered an "easy" IM bike significantly harder.

The first lap I had a lot of energy and the trip out to the turnaround, while tougher than expected, went pretty quick. The return trip with the wind at my back was awesome. I tried to concentrate on putting out the same power in both directions. This is sometimes kind of hard because I spend so much time on the trainer and not out in the real world. One thing I will say is that I think the wind really broke the field up significantly. In 2012 the field was crazy crowded and I spent my entire first lap surging and/or easy pedaling to avoid getting caught up in draft packs. This year I was able to ride my own race on all three laps. I saw almost no drafting at all. I know that people complain about drafting at AZ but I sure didn't see it today :)

Second lap was hard. Wind was more. It seemed to take forever to get to the turn around the second time. It began to get a lot less fun. The return trip was once again a lot more fun. I was averaging about an hour out to the turnaround (18.5 miles) and then 45 minutes or so back if that gives any indication about wind speed...... On the second return trip I got my front tire in a groove in the pavement and it about caused me to wreck. It scared me. Then I started to think, "if only I had crashed back there I wouldn't have to do the third loop." My brain was trying to talk me in to quitting instead of fighting against that wind for another hour. Fortunately I decided that I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I gave up so I turned around and slogged back out for the third lap. The other interesting thing on lap two was Jordan Rapp passing me at about mile 65. I was going 29 MPH at the time and he passed me like I was watching from the sideline. The pros are a different species.

Lap three was more of the same with the wind being even more fierce and more gusty. It wasn't a particularly pleasant trip out but I tried to keep myself in aero to cheat the wind as much as possible and just get it over with. Once at the turn around I knew I would make it and tried to make up a little time on the way back in to town. Mile 105 a tumbleweed blew across the road and I went right through it. Scared me. Luckily they are a bunch of nothing but it was still a bit shocking.

Nutrition on the bike. Started the race with 2 x 24 ounce bottles with two scoops of custom Infinit plus one pack of U-Can per bottle (about 400 calories per bottle). Finished those off by about mile 48 or so. Supplemented with water from most aid stations. Picked up two more bottles at special needs of the exact same mix and drank both of them over the next 56 miles.
What would you do differently?:

This was pretty good for me. I always seem to miss my power goals by about 5-10 watts so I am going to start to set the goals just a little bit higher. That way when I miss the goal I will be hitting what the real goal power was. Does that make sense? I feel like I could have ridden 5-10 watts higher and not adversely affected my run.
Transition 2
  • 02m 24s

decided to leave my bike shoes on and run in them instead of picking up another layer of dried grass on my feet.

First time I have tied a pair of shoes in T2 in three years. I have been dealing with PF all year and wearing Hokas as a result. Wanted them tied nice and secure to protect my foot.
What would you do differently?:

  • 3h 30m 55s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 03s  min/mile

My run fitness has been a little bit off all year. This year has been more bike focused (because I need a lot of work on the bike) and I have not been as fast on the run at any race this year as I have been in the past. I knew this going in and didn't have any illusions about going faster on the run than 2012. I ran four minutes slower this year and I am happy that I was that close to my previous performance. In 2012 I thought I might be able to run 7:30s for the race but wisely started slower and finished with a slight negative split.

This year, as I said, I had lower expectations. I figured that I could put it at 8:00 pace and keep it there for the race. And that is what I did. I didn't get caught up in any one else's fantasies about IM running pace. I am pretty sure that every single person that passed me in the first 13 miles of the race, I eventually caught, repassed and never saw again. There might be one person that I didn't but I'm not 100% sure. I ran a 1:44ish first half and a1:46ish second half for the 3:30 :55.

The first 13.1 was relatively easy. I knew that dark times were coming so I didn't do anything foolish. As usual, things got mentally and physically tough from miles 15-20 or so. At that point you are playing all kinds of games in your head to keep going. I realized that I had not yet stopped running and decided that my goal was not to walk a single step in this marathon. Whenever my will got weak I just thought about not walking.

The turn around of the second out and back was almost exactly at 21 miles. At 8:00 pace that meant there was only 40 minutes left and I started counting down.I actually had enough left in the tank to finish the last three miles at just under 8:00 pace and get this race behind me. That last 1.2 miles seemed to go on forever but at that point you are done and just need to hang on.

What would you do differently?:

Better run training. Not have hernia surgery nine weeks before the race.

First time that I have not walked at all in an IM run.
Post race
Warm down:

I felt OK for the first five minutes or so after I finished. A little disappointed that I wasn't going to need to go to medical :) Then I started to feel pretty crummy. My wife says that is the worst she has ever seen me look at the end of a race.

Eventually I drank two big cups of broth, drank a water, ate a couple slices of pizza, had a cookie......and started to feel like a human again.

Went back to the car and changed in to street clothes (started to get very cold in my sweaty tri suit) and ended up meeting my coach (the Overall AG winner) for dinner.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Surgery. Not my best summer of training and racing.

Looking forward to a bounce back year next year.

Honestly, I don't think I had much more to give. With the fitness I had on race day, this is my best executed race to date. Maybe I could have gotten 5-10 more watts on the bike but maybe not.

Very, very satisfied with this race.

Event comments:

Thank you to the volunteers for helping us through this very long day.

Thank you to my wife and kids for putting up with all of the training and racing.

Thank you to my coach, Steve Johnson, Darkhorse Triathlon, for having me ready to race all season long and dealing with my crazy schedule.

Last updated: 2014-06-10 12:00 AM
01:13:41 | 4224 yards | 01m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 111/503
Overall: 654/2800
Performance: Good
Suit: Aquaman Cell Gold
Course: Big giant rectangle.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:24
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
05:27:42 | 112 miles | 20.51 mile/hr
Age Group: 47/503
Overall: 259/2800
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Three loops of about 37 miles each. Slight uphill for about 4-5 miles to get to the turn around and slight downhill coming back. Lucky us, it was windy today and we got to ride about 56 miles in to a pretty impressive headwind that only got worse as the day went on.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 89
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:30:55 | 26.2 miles | 08m 03s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/503
Overall: 131/2800
Performance: Good
Course: Two loops. Each loop is essentially two giant out and backs, one on the South side of the Reservoir and one on the North. This can be slightly disheartening because when you are doing the first out and back of each loop you can see the people on the North side of the reservoir doing the second out and back and you can see just how far you have to go. Don't look if you can avoid it.
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

2014-11-22 8:37 PM

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: Ironman Arizona

2014-11-23 1:15 AM
in reply to: #5069288

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Orangevale, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice job out there.

I was there with you in 2012 and I'll be heading back next year. Hopefully I can follow in your footsteps and have a nice race like you did.
2014-11-23 8:22 AM
in reply to: croyston

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Awesome race. Fitting end to another great season.

2014-11-23 8:22 AM
in reply to: croyston

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Awesome race. Fitting end to another great season.

2014-11-23 7:23 PM
in reply to: slornow

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Congratulations on another great race result! 

2014-11-25 9:33 AM
in reply to: Catwoman

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Great race, Jason.  You had a plan and executed it perfectly.  Well done!

2014-11-26 9:01 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
you totally rocked this race - despite the surgery! I want to be YOU when I grow up
2014-11-28 11:49 AM
in reply to: mtnbikerchk

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, Minnesota
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Well done!

Great bike in windy conditions. Awesome run.
2014-11-29 5:57 PM
in reply to: leapdog

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Bedford, MA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice work, Jason! That's a solid running without much run fitness.
2014-11-30 5:38 AM
in reply to: #5069288

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Great job Jason!  Impressive even pacing on the run and not walking at all blows my mind!  Congrats.  

2014-12-02 5:40 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Camden, NC
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
You inspire me as a fellow 40-44 age grouper! Sugery and a 3:30 marathon, nice work. We can have birthdays, but we don't have to be old!

2014-12-04 12:44 AM
in reply to: #5069288

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Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Nice work!
2014-12-08 9:53 AM
in reply to: #5069288

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