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Ironman Louisville - Triathlon


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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
46F / 8C
Sunny
Total Time = 10h 15m 4s
Overall Rank = 67/2573
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 8/305
Pre-race routine:

There can be no race of this length or distance that I can train through that could not be supported by my wife. I cannot in good conscience begin this race report without giving my wife the credit she is due. Her inactive participation and support is awe inspiring to me. Her commitment to me and my passion for this sport is unparalleling.
I also would like to call out Brenda, who came down in support of me and Lisa. She took time away from her life to be there with and for Lisa throughout the long day or chasing me around yet another unfamiliar city and countryside. More importantly Brenda spent so much time praying for me during the training for this race and during the race itself. I do not believe I would have been healthy for another race without her intercession.
The months, weeks and days leading up to this race were more full of activity than I have ever had to deal with. Work weeks of 50+ hours and 15-20 hours a week of training took a toll on me mentally, but as race day approached my mind began to relax and calm. My mind was put at ease more so because work had taken me to a little more than an hour from the venue the day before I planned to arrive. This strengthened my mind and relaxed me and began to allow some solid mental recovery.

Race day:
I had set 2 alarms to make sure I didn't miss either of them and ensure I wasn't going to be too late to the swim start line, which at this race can be rather long. The first alarm on my phone was set to 4:05, the second to 4:10. I slept rather well and remember waking only once or twice throughout the night but only for a few seconds before crashing out again. This was possibly the best race night's sleep I have ever gotten.
But then only one alarm went off, the late one at 4:10. As it turns out I modified the early alarm for a work week alarm rather than a Sunday wake up. It was no worries though. I was relaxed and comfortable with my time getting ready and not bitey toward Lis, like I have been historically known to do. I seemed to feel a peace about me that I experienced for the first time last year. Maybe God has truly gotten hold of me and changed my heart enough that I can remain more calm and experienced.
Once up and both Lis and I were ready, it was off to transition and getting air and so on. I was able to get a pump from someone close by and didn't have to go to the mechanical area. (I always want to take me own pump but I know it would be Lis having to deal with it for a while I hate making her have to do anything other than the Sherpa work she already has her hands full doing for the day.)
Brenda had also brought her bike for her stay and was willing to allow me the use of it to get to the swim start line. This was huge!! I was able to pass hundreds of people on the way and I got a spot in line pretty close to the swim entrance. This made for a happier morning as well.
I met Chris at the swim start and we were able to hang together for the remainder of our wait. This probably relaxed my mind and body moreso having been able to talk to someone I knew for the close to 2 hours we waited. I hoped that I was able to add some calming to him during this time since he was a first timer. I knew he'd been nervous throughout his training cycle and I wanted him entering the water calmed and mentally ready. With his finish time I'd say he was in a pretty good place at the start.
The temps were very cool with a 46 degree low point as the race began get close to starting. (I was beginning to chill a little bit but it was controlled by Lis having the wisdom to buy a $4 blanket the previous day.)
As we began to shuffle forward in the line to crowd all of the participants together the energy became tremendous. The excitement was thick.
Event warmup:

The warm up was a barefooted walk and jog down concrete and finally a really cold metal ramp. It was just enough to really get your feet cold before jumping the river.
Swim
  • 1h 00m 34s
  • 3800 meters
  • 01m 35s / 100 meters
Comments:

As the swim start began to get closer they families that were waiting with all of us were pushed out and made to wait for the start as those of us that were close to the barricades were pressed into the corral.
Chris and I were able to hang together and join in a great parade of cheering fans and athletes ready to get the race underway. As we entered the corral and Lis and Brenda were kept out the excitement grew and the atmosphere became more and more contagious with each step down the ramp. Talk of cold feet, literal cold feet and not nerves, seemed a main topic. I heard nothing about people being nervous but I have to think there were plenty of nerves as we neared the jumping off point. I can say for certain I was nervous but Chris didn't seem to be.
My nerves stemmed from the race I was hoping to have and some of the pain I'd hope to be able to tolerate late in the run, the potential for bike crashes on some of the downhills but nothing about the swim made me nervous.
Approaching the docks where we would begin our swim high fives and fist bumps ensued. A final congratulatory "good luck" was exchanged and we were running into and jumping the water.

The swim started in a hectic crowd of athletes trying to get clear of the docks and the crowded start. When I jumped in the water there were three to four people in my immediate area. I bobbed up from under the surface and checked my path before beginning to stroke and then took off. Many of the people i entered the water that were immediately in front of me were passed very quickly as I made my way toward Towhead Island to clear as much of the congestion as possible.
Once clear of the initial crowd I began to make my way upstream staying somewhat close to the island. This worked for a couple of hundred yards but many other swimmers had a similar idea and things became congested again. I was pushed a little closer to the island than I had planned but I initially thought little of it.
I had had minimal contact with people but the push closer to shore and I eventually felt as if I was swimming over the top of a person. I had felt something under my high torso large enough that I thought a smaller person had swum under me without knowing it. After a second or two I discovered I was actually lying on a fallen tree that was not visible from the surface.
As I neared the top end of Towhead I began to notice a little fog lying on top of the water. I thought noting of it at the time and kept my race going. This fog however would become a question mark to my normally decent open water swim sighting ability.
After clearing the island completely it became apparent the fog was going to cause problems. I few times I had to raise as far above the water as possible to attempt to find the next marker buoy. During the rest of the swim upstream I was unable to see from marker to marker. I was abandon to following people I had no idea if they were swimming straight or not.
I should mention that my effort felt strong for the first 500 yards or so and I planned to swim harder for the upstream portion of the race before settling into a slower, slightly more intentional rhythm for the remainder of the swim.
Following the turn, fog was still hanging over the water but sighting became more tenable. I was able to pick a building out hanging over Joe's Crab Shack and start to settle in. The only trouble was I noticed was that I was well inside the marker buoys and chose to alter my course slightly to make sure I contacted the buoys as I passed. I did this over a long stretch before passing in to the inside of the course and finishing with the buoys on my left.
During the descent to the swim out I settled into a nice rhythm and began to feel only slightly winded. I was able to recover very quickly when needed and pick up the pace when passing some of the people that had poor sighting practice or ability that would occasionally cross my path.
At one point, late in the swim, a lady passed me and she was flying. She was cruising at a very solid pace. I wanted to catch her feet and immediately accelerated to catch her. One thing I noticed was her path as she crossed in front of me. She wasn't swimming particularly straight. She was slightly off course with no apparent reason. I still maintained my goal to catch her feet and see if I could hold onto her pace for the remainder of the swim. I attempted to catch her for maybe 25 yards but visibility in the water and her slightly off course swimming convinced me to change my mind. I decided to let her go after never really catching her feet fearing either she was too fast or may lead me off course too much losing the benefit of the pick up of speed.
The rest of the swim was mostly uneventful. I settled back into the pace and effort I felt was correctly placed for an Ironman swim. sighting proved very good on the last half mile or so. I watched many, many swimmers well out into the river causing them to have to swim an extra 50 yards or so back into the swim out. I stayed on the immediate right side of the buoys, brushing them on the way by keeping me as straight as possible.
I believe many of the people swam so far out thinking they were getting a benefit of the more open and fast current that they had been told was there. I never did feel, nor do I feel even today, that there was enough of a current at any point of the race to have provided much of a benefit.
As I exited the water I felt pretty strong, regained some wind very quickly upon getting to the top of the stairs and began the transition.
What would you do differently?:

I think I could have swum a little harder over the south or downstream portion of the course. Being a long course swim it's really difficult to determine proper effort, especially knowing how much time remained in my day.
Transition 1
  • 04m 47s
Comments:

As I began transition I was greeted by two ladies instructing me to remove my right arm from my wetsuit. I had decided that this race I would use the strippers for the first time ever and attempted to follow their instruction. As one went around my back to help me unzip, she loudly proclaimed, "we've got blood!" I had had an open sore from a wetsuit hickey I had gotten during my last OWS before the race and it had opened up and become worse, allowing blood to trickle down my neck. Until the time she mentioned it I had no idea I was bleeding. No matter, I kept moving figuring "chicks dig scars" and I would somehow become more attractive and I can use all the help I can get.
I approached the strippers and lied on the ground allowing them to strip the rest of my wetsuit. Honestly, my wetsuit has never come off hard, ever, and iI doubt I would ever use them again. i feel it wasted to much time. Not that the few seconds would have gained any ground on this day but there seems to be no sense with this particular wetsuit.
Following the wetsuit removal I bolted toward the transition area. Approaching the bag pick up I began to shout "2624, 2624" at the volunteers. I wasn't counting on them to be there but I was hoping they would have my bag ready. I had prepared well during my walk through the previous day and had counted the rows to my bag. I headed down my row and the volunteer had my bag hanging in her hand. I was able to check the number from the way it was hanging and grab quickly and kept moving fast.
Once in the changing tent I made a complete wardrobe change, including long johns and fleece beanie, winter coat and heavy gloves. I thought with the 46 degrees it was at the beginning of the swim it might be a little chilly for the first hour or so of the bike.
Seriously, I was in the tent long enough to hand off my wetsuit, grab the gel flask out of my back and shove it away, snatch my arm warmers and shove my cycling gloves up under my jersey. I asked the volunteer to help pull the arm warmers on but before they were up and on completely I was off and headed out of the changing tent.
As I exited teh tent I was on a mission. I was thinking "fast and fleet" for the remainder of the transition.
I made it to my very premier bike rack, only 3 spits in from the end of the row, third row up, without any issues whatsoever. I grabbed my helmet, and the missing Bonk Breaker I had wanted prior to the swim start, shoved it in my jersey pocket, helmet on bike in hand and was off.
The run out to the street was hard on my feet and a long run out at that. I almost mounted the bike a little too soon and thanked the volunteer that directed me to the mount line only a few feet away.
......And I was off.
What would you do differently?:

I would not use the strippers again. This was a complete waste of time for me. The wetsuit I use come off in 3-5 seconds once below my waste. someday, hopefully next season, I'll have a much better wetsuit and I may require strippers.
(I am actually curious if my swims would be much faster with a suit that costs more than $100 brand new?)
Bike
  • 5h 28m 7s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.48 mile/hr
Comments:

Leaving the transition area made me think about how long a day I was about to begin. Having a swim that was only 2% of the entire day out of the way I was anxious to get started and nervous about the power target.
During the week ahead of the race Zach had given me my power targets and they were significantly higher than I thought I would see. I was expecting to see something around 210-215 watts but when 225-230 showed up I was excited and nervous at the same time.
So the thoughts I was dealing with as I stepped onto the pedals were wondering if I could hold the watts for 112 miles, then get off the bike and run well. I know I had had some really strong runs off some pretty difficult bikes in the weeks prior to the race, but now it was real and there was a marathon at the end of the ride.

The ride begins on a flat part of the course where it felt more like a little bit of a descent leading out to the main course on the loops. During this section of the ride I was to hold 210 watts until I reached the out and back and begin to build to the target of 225-230 watts.
Throughout the stick I was feeling really good but having the wind at my back and fresh legs meant I needed to be under control. I was trying to watch my power numbers and kept an eye on the primary fields on my watch. Before I hit the first hill of any sort I was already hitting 214 watts NP so I wasn't quite under the control I felt I might need.
During most of the stick it was almost lonely on the bike course. I didn't see much of anyone other than the cyclist here or there that was either passing me or I passing them. I remember thinking how different a feeling it was to be this far in front of everyone. I kind of liked having traffic to keep my mind busy and mentally checked into race mode.
Once into the main part of the ride and hitting the out and back was some of the most fun I would have all day. The descent into the creek hollow was fast quick. I was flying down the hill and never came out of my aero's. The brand new asphalt was like glass and the road had been cleaned and dry. I felt very comfortable and in control through this fast downhill.
The other side of the hill began very fast as I was still cruising hard. Gear selection seemed to be very good as I climbed out of the valley. I was dropping 2 cogs at a time and able to spin for much of the ascent and even when I bottomed out my gearing I wasn't pushing a lot of extra power. HR was under control throughout the climbs on both sides of of the out and back.
The return trip on the out and back didn't have as steep a descent so the speeds weren't as high but it did have the hardest climb for the race. Once back out of the valley and onto the climb I was bottomed out much faster and saw some higher HR's, and as it turns out the highest I would see on the bike course. As I was climbing out of the hollow I was enjoying watching all of the other as they flew down the descent I had just come down a few minutes ago.
Once back onto the stick I was ready to go, ready to get my power under control and see what I had in me for the remainder of the ride. I was already up to a 238 NP and knew some control would allow that number to drop into the tolerances prescribed. The short portion of the stick that remained wasn't a hard section so I was able to knock things down a notch.
The turn onto 393 begun the 2 loops of the ride and where I would spend most of my day on the bike. The turn was about 33 miles into the ride. I was able to begin thinking about the day and what I was looking to do and where I wanted to go. I tried to put my thoughts of having an insanely good race and seeing a KQ out of my mind or at least far at the back to keep me from being to distracted.
The trip south from US 42 on Ky 393 was pretty uneventful because of the vacancy of other riders. Along this stretch of road I don't believe I passed or was passed at all. There was one hill that slowed me and had me creeping along but I don't believe I had to bottom my gearing out for this one. I had been a little concerned in the weeks leading up to the race abut gearing selection for the race. I had purchased an 11/27 for Wisconsin last year and seemed to do well with that on a hillier course with a couple of more intense climbs, but I questioned myself for Louisville for some reason. I ended up happy with the 11/27 overall and may have been able to utilize a 28 cog only on one or two occasions.
The turn onto 146 in Buckner made me begin to think of where Lis would be as I approached Lagrange. I always look forward to seeing her on the course, although I sometimes don't see her. I also knew others would be on the course to see me and this was a nice change of pace from other races where I sometimes only see Lis or no one at all.
As I approached Lagrange the first person heard and saw was Mark and Peyton. I immediately began looking for Lis and Brenda, although admittedly I was more interested in seeing Lisa. Thankfully, because of Lisa's choice in apparel selection I was able to spot her from a long way away. In the week before the race she had chosen to purchase a couple of lime green shirts to make it easier to see her during the race. It worked! I saw her from not less than 150 yards away. As I approached her I came out of the aero's to blow her a kiss. It truly is inspiring to see her on the course at virtually ever race I have ever done.
Then as I approached, and maybe from a long way away, I heard the cowbells from my tri-mom, Brenda, clanging away. More smiles, more adrenaline and more appreciation!
Further down the street, and unseen as I passed, were Matt, Keith and Matt who had come to Lou to see me make an attempt to have the best race of my life. I heard them as I raced by but was unable to see them. It was truly humbling to know these guys had gotten up at 1:30 AM, left Sidney, Ohio at 2:30 AM, drove to the race site, looked me up at the swim start and chased me out to the bike course and waited for hours just to see me blast by for a few seconds. Thanks guys!
Once through Lagrange I kept rolling. The wind was at my back and I felt like I was flying for a while. I knew this part of the course felt kind of flat from when I had ridden the course about a month previous, although the reality is that it is a steady elevation gain. this part of the course was also my favorite part, other than the first fast descent on the out and back. There is a lumber yard on the south side of the road and you can smell the pine from the lumber for a long way. I guess it's just kind of a manly smell that makes me think of working with my hands and hard work in general.
The lumber yard is on a small incline or uphill that slows you down a bit but I knew at the top was another long, fast descent before the turn onto Old Ballard School Rd. so I took it all in and got ready for a little bit of a recovery period.
Once at the top and seeing this descent I settled in and got ready to pick up some free speed. I grabbed some big gears and began to allow my legs to pick up all I could pick up without causing any additional stress. I held onto my cadence but cranked on the pedals all the way to the bottom, or at least until I knew I would need to begin to brake for the sharp turn off the highway. I have nearly always felt the benefits of pedaling on downhills far exceed the "rest that comes from just coasting to get the free speed. My theory is that you can actively recover while pedaling, picking up more speed without losing any additional glycogen, all while allowing your HR to naturally lower itself. I have done this for as long as I have been riding and it seems to have worked well.
The turn onto Ballard School was a little faster on this, the first time through. because of lighter traffic. The loss of speed has nearly immediate consequences because within a hundred yards or so you begin a short climb and there is no momentum to carry you up and over. From there this road is narrow with a lot of ups and downs that are more steep than are seen on the main part of the course along the highways. The descent on Old Ballard is another fast one but it has a hard, hard turn at the end that begins an immediate climb, knocking all of your speed out. Gearing selection here wasn't good this first loop. I was still in the big ring but I had at least shifted to a smaller cog. Thankfully with this poor decision I was able to recover quickly by dropping into the small ring quickly. There was probably minimal negative effects.
The rest of this part of the course was mostly an elevation gain with one very short climb that caused me to have to grind harder than any other place on the course. The climb is literally only 100 feet long but the less intense, longer hill immediately leading up to it disallows any momentum whatsoever to carry speed. There is an upside to this climb. If you're onto of gear selection you can stay ahead of it and be geared well at the bottom minimizing the negative impact of powering up the hill. I seemed to gear a little better in the second time around than the first.
I was now at about 50 miles into the bike and settled in nicely to the ride. Nutrition seemed to be on track and I was still feeling pretty solid. My NP had dropped to around 235 -ish even while having the rolling hills to deal with.
With only a short ride left for the flast part of the first loop ahead I felt pretty good, other than an extremely full bladder.......
  • ...I had never peed on the bike before.......UNTIL this race! It took me several miles before I could talk myself into this. It's kind of funny I guess. I have no issues at all peeing while wearing my wetsuit but the bike seems so, I don't know, different. Around mile 60-65 or so I was finally able to talk myself into relieving the pressure but not fully.
  • From here I was ready to take on the second loop and see what the course would do to me while riding among the later riders. Making the turn back to the south on 393 I was able to steer clear of other riders for about a half mile. Then once the traffic began it was almost incessant. Riders were everywhere now and passing became the common thing for the second loop. It was rare that I would have more than a minute or two, at most, between passes. It didn't matter whether it was on an uphill, downhill or flat (like there were a lot of those on the loop). I thought about getting flagged for drafting but didn't think much of it because compared to most of the people I was riding around I was flying. It was only the uphills where I would be riding along side or behind someone for very long at all. I didn't figure there was much of a chance getting penalized going uphill at 12-13 mph.
    As I came back into Lagrange I was looking for my "fan support" again and sure enough, they were there yelling for me still. All in a little bit of a different spot than before but still hanging out in town.
    Heading out of Lagrange I began waiting for the lumber yard again, kind of looking forward to the smells for another few minutes before heading off of the loop and back on the stick toward the marathon.
    The rest of the loop I spent passing people routinely and enjoying seeing other people on the course. Having spent so much og the first loop all alone it was a mental boost to see other people riding. Beside, I would most likely have been enjoying some sort of drafting benefit from having all of the other riders in front of me now.
    Now at about 95 miles I was at the turn for the riders who had to make their turn for the second loop. There were a couple of cyclists that were hanging around me and I had hoped that they were going to have to make the turn. They had been hovering close to me and we had traded positions a couple of times. I felt if they made the turn I would have a better shot at having a better positional race. They however were on their second loop as well. I am not certain but I believe one of them was Todd Shellenberger, who had won the AG last year at Lou.
    I also now had a full bladder again. This time however, I was unable to relieve it. I held onto it for the rest of the bike but trying to talk myself into letting go.
    Now back on the flat part of the stick I was feeling like the stress of the bike and holding the higher watts had been straining me. Following the race Zach and I talked about the watts I had been expecting prior to his race plan. I had thought I would see 215 max NP which would have been typical high end Ironman target zone of 75% FTP but my target was 80% instead. At first glance this may seem high but I had ridden 83% FTP on the course (and the hilliest part for 112 miles) and run extremely well off the bike during that training day.
    The stick had me facing the wind now too. It wasn't bad but it was enough to keep me from gaining the speed I had lost during the loops. I had been looking to pick up some speed but as I watch my watts and speed I wasn't seeing anything that would give much back.
    My power was staying relatively steady but I had been holding at 230 watts until the last 20 miles. i allowed the effort to drop slightly fearing my legs would not hold up for the run because of the fatigue seemed to be building. That said, I have run very well on fatigued legs in training and felt I could do it again, especially after having a taper to fully recover. During this last little bit I saw my NP drop to 229 and then finally very close to the dismount line, while coasting and removing my shoes from my feet, I saw a drop to 228 watts NP. For all intents and purposes I suppose I rode 229 watts NP for the ride, allowing that final watt to drop during the last .25 mile of no pedaling at all.



    What would you do differently?:

    Overall this was good ride! The target was high for sure, but I feel it was not out of the realm of possibility for me.
    The one thing I could have done better was the execution of the stick going out. I was riding hot when I should have been using this time to get acclimated to the the bike and a better NP factor. That said, I was still on a tight power average versus normalized power number. My variability was 1.04 for the day, keeping things pretty tight and not allowing the unnecessary burning of matches or glycogen. Other than the out portion of the stick this seems to have been on track per the plan.
    Transition 2
    • 03m 49s
    Comments:

    The run down into the transition area was the same long run out, but this time my feet weren't so bothered by the concrete. I had left my shoes on my bike, as I normally do when racing and I didn't have trouble with my shoes flipping and turning as I have had in the past.
    One of the things I love about Ironman racing are the bike catchers. Being able to hand off my bike and allow others to rack my bike makes for a little quicker and less frustrating T2.
    As I approached the transition area, bike in hand, the catcher grabbed my bike quick enough that I could have kept running without slowing had something not caught on my hand. There wasn't enough time lost here to even account for but it was only a minor distraction.
    As I ran down the chute calling out my bib number again I was able to grab my bag from the volunteer and glide into the tent. I had done as good a job of remembering where my line was for both transitions as I can recall in any of my races allowing me to be able to relax my mind for the things I needed to do.
    My change in the tent was somewhat quick and I really didn't use the volunteers much on this one. I was already opening my bag as I ran into the tent so reaching in and grabbing the items was quick and smooth. All the items, other than my visor and race belt were tucked into my shoes so everything came cleanly out.
    I tucked my Liquid Shot in my jersey, sat down and put one sock and shoe one then the other, grabbed my visor and belt and was gone.
    I headed out of the tent and stopped quickly at sunscreen application and breezed through there. Then off I was to the marathon.
    Everything seemed to be really quick so I'm as happy as I can be with T2.
    What would you do differently?:

    Everything seemed to be really quick so I'm as happy as I can be with T2. Looking back at the transition I am not sure there would have been much I would have been able to change. Things seemed to flow well and I kept my thoughts organized.
    So, I guess I wouldn't change anything here.
    Run
    • 3h 37m 47s
    • 26.2 miles
    • 08m 19s  min/mile
    Comments:

    Leaving T2 seemed really fast and my run felt the same. I was feeling fatigued but not yet into the run enough to get a real feel for how the rest of my day might go. On the stick on the way back into town I was feeling some of the fatigue in my legs. I recall being nervous about the feeling but having talked myself into remembering how well I'd run off the bike during the last month of training. I'd had some super fast brick runs after some stiff intervals and the course ride I'd done a month earlier, so I was optimistic about what I would feel.
    The first mile is always one of the fastest, at least maybe most of the time for me, so I tried to hold some control here. As I was running out of transition I saw Lis and Brenda as they screamed at me.
    Next up was Mark and his family. Mark began to run alongside me, while outside of the barricades, and coached me a little. Asking me how I was feeling I mentioned " not too well." He encouraged me to run smart and stay strong. He had mentioned on Saturday evening that I needed to run the first half of the marathon at a pace that felt like I was able to run forever. He mentioned this again and I was trying to let it sink in a little deeper. He ran alongside coaching me for only a few seconds but the encouragement and reminder seemed to serve me well.
    Leaving the transition area altogether and onto the course itself became a mental boost. I knew the remainder of the day would have it's struggles but I was encouraged to think I was nearing the end of a long day. The longest part was behind me but the hardest part was in from of me. There would be no easy or moderately paced swimming or any more free speed as I rolled down the hills. It was all going to be leg work for the next three and a half hours, I hoped.
    Inside of the first mile I was still dealing with the full bladder I was unable to relieve on the last miles of the bike. I spotted a porta about a half mile into the run and considered trying to skip it but thought better of it. I don't think the stop took long but I didn't want to spend this time. After having placed 5th and hitting the podium at Steelhead by 1 second I didn't want to lose any more time than absolutely necessary. After the pit stop it was motor on and into the race.
    Near the turn up the hill and out of the Riverwalk area I saw another friend who I'd heard on the course at other times but never saw. Nick was standing almost at the corner of 3rd street and River road encouraging me, another face on the course to support me was awesome. I continued the turn and up the hill to begin the out and back portion of the run.
    The uphill didn't feel to bad but it was here that I recall beginning to feel some fatigue on my legs that was not familiar at all to me. Usually during brick runs I feel the strain in my quads more so than any other place but not today. The fatigue, or whatever it was, seemed to be in my legs below the knee, in everything below the knee. My feet felt tight, all the muscled that make up the calves, everything was tense.
    At the top of the hill I noticed 3 men running well ahead of me and in what appeared to be a side by side line. They were possibly 3 blocks ahead of me but other than them, ahead or behind, there was no one else on the course I could see. This was a really funny feeling. I am not used to be all alone on a course. In all honesty it is a good feeling knowing you're out in front that far but it was a distraction.
    It was beginning the 2nd mile that things began to turn for me. The unfamiliar fatigue in my legs began to draw my attention and concern. I kept thinking about how Mark suggested I run at a forever pace and I kept trying to pull my pace down. The first 2 mile splits, according to Garmin (allowing for the auto-pause when in the porta), were 7:29 and 8:00
    From here the control I was trying to lend myself to was beginning to take hold, at least form the most part. I was trying to get that feeling of "run forever" into my legs and body, pulling my pace down as slowly as I felt I could without giving up too much of my pacing too quickly. I know sometimes I can either not let go of my pace r have a hard time reestablishing once I have dropped too far.
    Mile 3 (117) came in about 8:16 and my HR had somewhat stabilized to a lower number, or so I thought. But then the pacing instructions from Zach seemed to hit me and determination to have a little faster race than I may see if I ran many more miles at that pace distracted me. I began to pick up the pace slightly and began checking my watch more closely for the next several miles.
    As I ran along I had tired of the Liquid Shot I had been taking on the bike and early on the run. I had taken a shot on the way out of T2 at mile 2 and a quick, smaller shot at mile 4, feeling like I may have needed more. But as I ran through the aid stations I began to take some coke. I just felt I need some changing up.
    The mental strain of the race at this point was pretty intense. I'm cannot say for certain why I was fighting some much already. The calories on the bike seemed okay and even early on the run, to this point, seemed on track. So a lack of nutrition doesn't seem to be the case, at least from the prescribed plan.
    As I approached the first turn I had been struggling mentally pretty heavily. My mind raced with the thoughts of wanting to walk, justifying the reasons to maybe walk/run the marathon. Thoughts raced through my head that people who KQ don't walk parts of the run but more intensely were the "it's just a little bit, go ahead and walk" were inescapable, even so early in the run.
    I had been passed several times on the run to this point but near as I could tell all of the other athletes were younger than me. As each of them passed me I took an intentional glance at their calves to check the AG. I don't feel that being passed on the run was demoralizing at all. As a matter of fact it may have been somewhat of a good thing. Having been on the course and alone much of the front of the run it was refreshing to see someone else. Several of the people were moving very well and I tried to encourage myself by considering that they would slow and I would pass them later.
    At the turn I was almost elated. I knew I would be headed back to the turn around and the halfway point of the run. There was what appeared to be a slight grade downward for a short stretch and I was happy to allow some gravity to take hold. Just after the turn, maybe a mile, there was an Asian man wearing a blue Newton singlet that was hauling the freight. He may have been running sub 7's or maybe a little slower, regardless, he was moving very fast. I remember thinking how strong he looked and wished I felt that way. I wondered just how long it would be before he passed me.
    I trudged along hoping to maintain my paces through mile 11 were somewhat consistent with slight variations because of subtle elevation changes and the mental battle within. The fastest mile since mile 1 were miles 7 and 10, splitting evenly at 8:07 and the slowest to this point at mile 3 with an 8:16. Most other miles in the middle were in the 8:06-8:09 split range. So far, by all appearances I was having a day that was on track with the goal of a 3:33 marathon. But mentally I was a wreck! I was hanging on with all I could, feeling like at any moment I could step to the curb and sit down. My HR remained unchecked throughout the race for the most part to this point. I had made a few checks and things appeared to be where the target was given.
    The mental strain so early in the race became such a distraction that I didn't know if I could fight much longer. As I was nearing the turnaround I was eager to see Lis. She always is a bright spot during my days of racing and I needed to see her face. I was figuring on seeing her close to the turn around on Chestnut somewhere so when she came up about 2-3 blocks closer to me it provided a little pick me up. I saw her from a long way off because of the jacket she was wearing and was able to keep moving quickly past her. She and Brenda told me how strong I looked but I wasn't feeling anything other than pain mentally at this point. Brenda began ringing her cowbells and drowning out all the other sounds of the course and that did make me smile, if only on the inside. As I passed them I uttered how badly I was hurting but apparently neither of them heard me, as indicated post race.
    As I neared the turn onto Chestnut street I could begin to hear the sounds of the finishing area. I turned the corner and immediately heard my name being called. Mark and his family were on the opposite side of the street calling to me. I saw Peyton pretty quickly and she had come into the street seeking a high five. Kerin caught this on video and it is one of my fond memories of the race. When I saw her in the street I immediately began to have this huge smile (Brenda would have been very proud of me). It was a natural reaction to seeing her so into the race at such a young age. I absolutely loved the moment!
    Mark again, as he had done near T2, began running alongside me encouraging me. I don't believe he volunteered the information to me, I believe I asked where I was in the field. He didn't mention my placement, rather he mentioned that I could pick up some ground. I said I would do what I could. He encouraged me to keep taking my nutrition on schedule and stay mentally strong. I told him I was hurting pretty badly, he helped me stay focused, at least for the moment.
    As I rounded the turn near what would be the finishing line the special needs area was in front of me. I signaled that I had no bag but at the time I sure wished I'd had one, it would have given me a reason to stop.
    Now out on the main course again I was eager to see Lis and Brenda again. I made my way up to the same place I'd seen them before but on the opposite side of the road. They weren't prepared to see me so quickly apparently and jumped from the curb scrambling for cowbells and cameras. As I passed by them I had was a little more energetic than the first time I'd seen them, possibly because I had made the turn, seen Lis already once, gotten encouragement from Mark and, the highlight of the moment, given Peyton, and myself, something to smile about. As I passed them, I gestured with my hands toward Brenda, making praying hands and pointing toward her. Brenda is such a passionate prayer warrior and has supported my from the unseen sidelines for the past 2 years. I felt if anyone could help me get to the finish line running it was she and her intercession.
    The back of the run course was almost a blur. Blur of pain, but it wasn't physical, it was mental. I really don't recall my legs hurting much, maybe they were numb or I was to stupefied by the mental anguish to feel it. The miles seemed to trudge along far more slowly than the first half marathon, maybe because I was slower??? Duh!
    My plan beginning the day was to run the entire marathon and not have to walk the aid stations. This plan fell apart late in the first half and then the second half was nonexistent. I decided if I wanted to finish this race on my feet I would have to change some things.
    The first thing I changed was the calories I was taking in. I had gone away from taking full shots ( I kept taking small shots, maybe half-shots) EFS Liquid Shot, against my coaches plan, and gone to coke early. Now it was time to get back on the full shots and hope for the best. I also was grabbing more water and Gatorade occasionally. Water had been at every other aid station on the front but now I was little more frequent, although not every aid station.
    Secondly, the intense mental struggle I had been fighting since mile 2 was taking its toll, heavily. I had to change my mindset. As I was still fighting the ferocious desire to walk I began to take one mile at a time rather than trying to chew on the rest of the run altogether. Taking these small bites should help me remain stronger.
    The run out to the turnaround was much more busy this time, much like the second loop of the bike course. Most of the athletes were now on the run course and it provided some distraction to the anguish in my mind. Mentally, picking off people became a game of sorts to keep myself motivated. It wasn't a desire to consider these folks less of an athlete than myself, rather it was almost something to keep my mind occupied. The reality is I feel strongly that these people were more athletic or mentally strong than myself. After all, many of these people wouldn't cross the finish line for several more hours, exposing themselves to so much more than I would. In some regard these folks are the real Iron men and women than I.
    As much pain as I was in and as slow as my pace had gotten, I can now reflect on the day, I may have, somehow, enjoyed the back of the course the most. There was so much distraction, so much going on, so many people encouraging me and others that it was hard to remove myself from the atmosphere of true sport. People were lining the streets from mile after mile yelling support and encouragement. The echo's of "you're looking strong" and "nice pacing" and "you've got this" reverberated throughout.
    Mile 18 brought about the Base Salt tent and Natalie. She was able to lift my spirits more as I ran by. She had seen me coming and run alongside me for a short stretch, asking me how I was feeling good. I answered her by saying I was miserable. She offered me anything that she could do but there wasn't anything. It was a great offer but there would have been nothing there for her to do. There was an aid station close but that would have left me waiting and far slower than I was already going to finish so I kept floundering along.
    Now I wasn't but a mile or a little more until the last turn around and it felt really good. Just knowing I was on the route back in town and ending the day made for a stronger mind set. The turn brought about the desire to pull more of myself out of the gutter and get my mind right with the goal I've striven toward for nearly 12 full months.
    My miles on the back half of the course had been holding something around 8:30 to this point which is probably an indicator of where I was mentally. A post race look at HR data suggests I had more in me than I was putting on the table. HR numbers were averaging about 2-3 beats lower than target for miles 13-18 but some of this would be due to the slow walks through the aid stations. Mile 14 was the slowest mile of the race, coming in at 8:57, and maybe because I was struggling so much mentally. The burst of energy I'd gotten from seeing everyone at the turn was gone and I'd begun to sink again at 14.
    Back to the mile 19 now and the remainder of the race I was thinking more and more about picking up the pace and trying to negative split the last 10k, at least on the back of the run. I knew there was no way I could run the paces I had been running during the first half marathon of the day, or so I thought.
    Miles 20 (8:49) and 21 (8:55) were the nest slowest miles and now, after looking at the race from a high angle, I may have allowed myself to relax a little to set myself up for a faster lat few miles. I don't recall making a conscious decision to do this but it appears that way now. Falling off the back half pace by up to 15 seconds seems to point in that direction.
    Following these miles the pace picked up substantially. The decision I made to press as hard as I felt capable at this time hit me. The miles began to tick off more quickly even with the walks through the aid stations, despite how miserable I was feeling. I was also taking in more EFS Liquid Shot during the back of the run possibly making a difference in my physical ability.
    As I walked through the aid stations wanting to walk the rest of the run along with them, I used the break to work my mind up to running a little harder each time.
    The run back onto town kept me seeing the finishing line coming closer and closer, even if the physical sighting was not possible, the mental view was getting clearer. I kept thinking about how with each step the line drew me in to it. I recall seeing the train overpass (mile 23) knowing the finish line was almost a straight line ahead of me. I could begin watching downtown coming closer and closer into view and picking up the pace as much as I could.
    Mile 22 (8:10) and 23 (8:27) seemed to go by faster than they felt. Keeping my mind engaged in suffering for a little while longer became my goal. Mile 23 allowed me the time to walk the aid station so the mile appears slow. This may have been where Chris saw me, yelled at me and I was in such a miserable place that I didn't have a clue he was yelling at me.
    The last 3 miles were among the fastest of the race. I was able to muster enough mental capacity to discipline myself into the finish as hard as possible. What seemed so hard to do for many of the miles previous was now a little easier to do. I knew suffering was coming to an end and with each miserable step I was just a little closer to being able to get something real to drink, and a while later, something other than some form of gel in my stomach.
    The miles were increasingly hard despite the pace of mile 25 being slow at 8:09. I had stopped at an aid station so the time is a little skewed with the perceived effort. The last mile I was able to push myself to a 7:44 pace, which to be honest is a little disappointing. I have prided myself with being able to put so much effort out on the course that I don't typically have the capacity to run so much faster into the finish than I've run throughout the remainder of the race. I never understand people that reserve the energy to sprint into the finishing line, it seems counter intuitive to me. Racing is racing and finding the sweet spot for pacing evenly across the given course seems to maximize the entire race effort.
    The finish was in sight and I was already making my plans to lie down in a heap as soon as I could. I was mentally and physically exhausted more than I have ever felt during a race. The lack of fatigue I seemed to have felt earlier in the marathon that made no sense with the lower HR's I was seeing was gone. My legs during these last few miles had gone from wobbly as I walked through the aid stations to nearly unable to keep me upright. I recall stepping on a stone toward the side of my foot causing my ankle to run in slightly as I walked through one of the last aid stations and nearly falling over because I couldn't react quickly. I knew when I stopped at the finish line my determination to keep moving was done! I would no longer be able to walk normally for a while.
    Coming into the finish line I saw Lis and her lime green jacket amongst the other family members awaiting their athletes finish. I moved slightly to that side of the chute and considered another kiss but chose to keep moving for two reasons. First, I don't think I would have been able to stop and move again once stopped, at least not for a few minutes. Secondly, I was attempting to KQ and I felt with the run I'd had I would need every single, possible chance……I kept moving.
    But I did finish. And I left everything I had on the course. That is the only way I know how to race and the only way I ever want to race……100%



    What would you do differently?:

    Listen to my coach a little more closely. Now, after nearly a week post race I can take some of the details in more clearly. The fog of race day is gone, the soreness has mostly gone away and I'm left with a clearer head to consider things and look at data.
    I should have spent more time taking in the EFS Liquid Shot and staying off coke for as long as possible. Despite picking up the EFS later in the race the damage had been done. I was able to sustain the run but not at the pace planned.

    Post race
    Warm down:

    This is laughable! Warm down????
    As I ran into the finish chute I was exhausted and miserable, which is such a gross understatement it's hard to communicate. The catchers were able to approach me after I finished and immediately grabbed me as I placed my hands on my knees. They supported me under my arms as I became more and more limp, gasping for air the entire time.
    Over the next few seconds my legs became so wobbly that I could feel their support increasing as I began to slowly drop toward the ground. the man asked me if I wanted a wheelchair but I declined stating "Leave it for someone who really needs it." They asked if I needed to go to medical and despite the urge to say no I knew I was not going to be able to recover on my own. We "walked" to the picture area and I asked they grab my shirt and hat as we went. Lis overheard this brief discussion and, now, laugh about it because she believes it to be funny that I was concerned about a T shirt while I was suffering so badly. But hey! You gotta get the shirt otherwise it didn't happen.
    As the catchers walked to over to the screen for pictures they let go of me........NOT SO FAST!!!! They had to dive in and catch me again because I was headed down. still no legs! I somehow mustered the energy to to put a smile on in the picture and hold up 2 fingers for two Ironman finishes.
    Next was off to Medical for almost an hour. My trip required one of the catchers to support me all the way there. But as the trip two blocks down the street continued my wind began to come back to me, although I would rather have had my legs come back, and I was able to make light of my condition and joke with one of my catchers, a lady. I told her "I really didn't need you to help me. I just want a pretty lady holding onto me."
    We made it into the medical area and I was at my bed/cot and my full medical staff began their assessment. Attempting to take my BP, they wrapped the cuff around my arm and I immediately jerked away from them. The cramps were beginning!!! After a minute of "stretching" I relaxed again only to jerk away again as they were pressurizing the cuff. Once able to take my BP I heard them indicate 102/68 which is a little lower than I would have expected.
    After a few minutes I told them I was going to begin chilling. They grabbed a blanket and more mylar to wrap around me. In less than I a minute they took away the Gatorade I had been trying to drink because I began shivering so hard I was going to start launching it all over the place as I begun to shake harder and harder. I had begun to shake so hard that I probably looked like I was having a grandmal seizure.
    They took my temp and I heard the nurse say it was low. I didn't pay much attention to her at this point but later they took my temp again, and again she told the other nurse doing the charting it was low. I kept wondering now what the numbers were so I finally asked what it was. The nurse told me it was low. I told her I understood that but "what was the number?" She said there wasn't one, which I didn't understand, so I asked again, she looked at me and smiled and said "Low" again. Still confused I asked why she wouldn't give me a number and she responded with "because there is no number to give. Your temperature is to low to register."
    Later, maybe 10 minutes, they took it again. This time it was 94.6. At least there was a number this time. When I finally was getting close to being able to be released my temp had come up to 96.? (I couldn't understand what she said). I had consumed about 20 ounces of vegetable broth and 12-16 ounces of Gatorade and I was ready to leave.
    The medical staff was awesome and we kept each other laughing the entire time I was there. Making light of my condition was an attempt to make them see I was going to be fine and hopefully allow them to keep more at ease and save their energy for some others who would need them ore than myself.
    I never received IV fluids because it would have brought my core temp even lower. There was a possibility that if they had given me the fluids I think I needed I cold have gone into shock, although this would have been an extremely low risk, at least from my perspective.
    In my days as a firefighter I had never encountered someone with so low a body temp that it wouldn't register but I can't imagine ever having introduced fluids at air temp to someone having such a low body temp.
    I exited Medical and was on my way, still cold, very cold, but wanting out of there to see Lis. She had been updated via texts that I asked a nurse to send to Lis from my phone, so she knew I was alright.
    Once out of the medical area I got some clothes on and began to mentally relax a little.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    Possibly that I didn't fuel correctly, at least for the run. I had been solid on the bike. Possibly on the low end of the target of about 1600-1800 cals over the course of the bike. But according to my calculations I was about 1700 calories.
    The run may have been low, especially beginning about 5-8 miles in when I decided to go for coke rather than EFS. This will also be slammed into my memory banks in preparation for next years race.......somewhere!!!

    Event comments:

    I think the swim may be able to be a little more organized by ceding. Even that would make a more stressful day for the slower swimmers and people close to the cutoff times.




    Last updated: 2015-04-24 12:00 AM
    Swimming
    01:00:34 | 3800 meters | 01m 35s / 100meters
    Age Group: 16/305
    Overall: 135/2573
    Performance: Good
    Suit: Neosport
    Course: A point to point swim with a short upriver swim before heading downstream for the bulk of the swim.
    Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
    Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Good Drafting:
    Waves: Navigation: Average
    Rounding: Good
    T1
    Time: 04:47
    Performance: Average
    Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    No
    Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
    Jump on bike: Yes
    Getting up to speed: Average
    Biking
    05:28:07 | 112 miles | 20.48 mile/hr
    Age Group: 11/305
    Overall: 87/2573
    Performance: Good
    146 bpm Avg HR 169 bpm Max HR 219 W Avg Power 836 W Max Power 249 W Max Avg Power (20 min) 54% L / 46% R L/R Balance 82% L / 76% R L/R Torque Effectiveness 23% L / 22% R L/R Pedal Smoothness 228 W Normalized Power® (NP®) 1.140 Intensity Factor® (IF®) 710.0 Training Stress Score® 91 rpm Avg Cadence 125 rpm Max Cadence 91 rpm Avg Cadence 125 rpm Max Cadence
    Wind: Some
    Course: Lollipop with rolling hills and an out and back with the largest climb and fastest descent, and a couple of decent climbs.
    Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 91
    Turns: Good Cornering: Good
    Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
    Race pace: Hard Drinks:
    T2
    Time: 03:49
    Overall: Average
    Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
    Jumping off bike Average
    Running with bike Good
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal Good
    Running
    03:37:47 | 26.2 miles | 08m 19s  min/mile
    Age Group: 8/305
    Overall: 67/2573
    Performance: Below average
    143 bpm Avg HR 155 bpm
    Course: Mostly and out and back 2 loop run with a small finger. The course is flat and fast.
    Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Below average
    Mental exertion [1-5] 5
    Physical exertion [1-5] 3
    Good race? Ok
    Evaluation
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? No
    Post race activities: Good
    Race evaluation [1-5] 4

    {postbutton}
    2015-10-18 12:47 PM

    User image

    Master
    3486
    20001000100100100100252525
    Fort Wayne
    Subject: Ironman Louisville


    2015-10-20 4:47 AM
    in reply to: #5147452

    User image

    Expert
    1439
    100010010010010025
    Tallahassee
    Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
    Dirk, you smoked it. Thanks for the race details. So glad you posted your race report. Congrats and Congrats!!!
    2015-10-20 10:48 AM
    in reply to: #5147452

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    Elite
    3683
    20001000500100252525
    Whispering Pines, North Carolina
    Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
    Great job out there, Dirk! You had some overall fast times! Your training leading up to IMLou was beastly, and it reflects in the results. Great job!
    General Discussion-> Race Reports!
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