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Ironman Santa Rosa - Triathlon

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Santa Rosa, California
United States
81F / 27C
Total Time = 14h 23m 18s
Overall Rank = 1202/1708
Age Group = 55-59
Age Group Rank = 68/92
Pre-race routine:

Wake up at 3:00 a.m. Catch 4:00 a.m. bus to Lake Sanoma. On the bus, sat next to and got to know a lady who was a PhD Neurological Scientist from back east. She said this was her 4th Ironman, but after this one, she was going to start coaching and doing volunteer work for Ironman. She was absolutely inspiring to me! There were just incredible people in this Ironman from all over the world!
Event warmup:

Feel the sun rise. Close my eyes and sing our National Anthem. A lot of deep breaths and getting myself placed in the proper swim group based on my swim time. Then just scanning some 2000+ Ironman Triathletes all around me and telling myself, "You've done all you can do. You only missed 1 training day, and that was during your 2 week taper. You've physically prepared for this and spiritually prepared for this by getting a blessing from your Bishop. Control the things within your power to control, and manage the things you cannot control. Today you will become an Ironman." Several more deep breaths. I begin the slow march towards Lake Sanoma for the 2.4 mile swim. I feel the water on my feet, and the water feels good. Here I go.
  • 1h 53m 44s
  • 3800 meters
  • 02m 59s / 100 meters

My first 1.2 mile loop went as expected and everything was fine. My 2nd 1.2 mile loop, just about 600 M into the swim, a wave of water hit me as I was taking a breath. I had taken in a whole mouthful of lake water. I spit out as much as I could, but accidentally swallowed the rest. Immediately, my body started to throw up! I had to move to the side while my body continued to convulse and heave. The other swimmers went past me. I just bobbed around in the water and continued to throw up for the next 10 minutes. Finally, I was able to relax enough to continue the swim. I made it down to the final right-hand turn buoy and started heading back to the Swim Exit, when my body decided to throw up some more! There went another 3 - 4 minutes! I learned that I could no longer kick my feet or I would throw up again. So I only used my arms to pull myself through the rest of the swim. I finished the swim, but was nearly one of the last ones to exit Lake Sanoma. Very frustrating.
What would you do differently?:

I should not have been opening my mouth so much to take in air! I should have been doing the "Popeye-Breathing" technique the whole way. I did practice this during training, but just forgot to do this while in the event. Boy did I ever pay for that mistake.
Transition 1
  • 18m 54s

It was a very long walk up the boat ramp into T1. The men's changing tent was pretty empty because I was so far behind in the swim, but that was kind of a nice thing. I was able to find a place to sit and change into my cycling clothes as fast as I could and then make my way out to my bike. I consider myself a cyclist, and I really LOVE to bike. I told myself, "It is time to catch all of those great swimmers."
What would you do differently?:

Maybe hurry a little bit more, but I knew this was going to be a very long day, and I was trying to enjoy the entire experience.
  • 6h 00m 31s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.64 mile/hr

Leaving Lake Sanoma, there's a short climb away from the lake, and then you hang on as you plummet down towards the road that will take you away from the lake and out towards the main Highway. It was here that I saw my wife, my brother Doug and his wife and they were all cheering for me! It made me feel great inside! I turned and started the climb out of Lake Sanoma. The first 13 miles I had previously ridden the day before, so I felt comfortable. Further into the race, say around mile 37, there were 3 riders all riding abreast. They were blocking my forward progress. I yelled out to them and told them I was on the left, but they were in conversation and did not hear me. I was coming up fast, so I attempted a passing maneuver. Right at that moment, there happened to be a course official on one of those motor scooters. He came along side me after I had passed those 3 guys and told me I had broken a rule. I got pulled over by the course referee for passing 3 riders by riding on the double-yellow line. That was a no-no. I didn't argue. I just asked what he wanted me to do. I was given a Yellow-Card and had to sit in the time penalty tent for 1 minute. Uh, I sure got mad at myself for that one. However, the folks in the time penalty tent were really nice and inspired me to keep positive and to have a great race! I left the time penalty tent feeling a little better, went up and over the next hill, and there I was! I came upon one of the bike aide stations! I said to myself, "Ha! Another delay! Oh well, the quick rest will do me good and I've got a long way to go!" I stopped and filled my water bottles and continued on the bike course. I soon forgot about the problems in the swim and getting pulled over on the bike by the official. The ride was just SO BEAUTIFUL! I LOVED IT! I felt happy inside! We crossed more bridges and went through dark green wooded areas with beautiful little homes, and then the view opened up and I could tell we were headed for the city of Santa Rosa. I was racing again! Upon arriving in Santa Rosa, we had to loop 2 times around the city. There was a section of road, about 2 miles long? That was just the worse road you had ever ridden your bike on. It was broken up and patched and terrible and just seemed to continue on for a long time, but it was over soon enough, and the road smoothed out. Loop 1 was completed. Now entering the city of Santa Rosa again to complete loop 2. The wind had begun to pick up. There were a lot of triathletes hunkered down next to their bike frame top tubes trying to get as aero as possible. The wind became very difficult to pedal into, but we all just kept pushing the best we could. Finally, lap 2 was complete and I arrived at T2 for the Marathon portion of the Ironman.
What would you do differently?:

I would not attempt to pass anyone by riding on the double-yellow line. I learned to avoid even touching that dumb line!
Transition 2
  • 13m 45s

The bottom of my feet had become numb. Later I would learn that the seat post had slipped down 1 inch. Also, I noticed the left cycling shoe buckle had come loose. When I removed the shoe I found my cycling sock was all bloody! I discovered my left big toe had been rubbing on the inside of the shoe. The skin on my left big toe had been removed, and my toe was bleeding. I did not feel this probably due to all the endorphins floating around in my body. I thought, "Well this is not the ideal way to start a Marathon - numb feet and a bleeding toe, but here I go!"
What would you do differently?:

The night before the race, just go around with a torque wrench and make sure all bolts are tightened to their correct tension levels. Take the time to make sure your cycling shoes are securely latched onto your feet.
  • 5h 56m 26s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 36s  min/mile

This was a 3 loop course where each loop was around 8 miles.
During training for this Ironman, I had run a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes (approx. 13 miles).
My strategy during this run was to do an 8 min run 1 min walk. I had to adjust that down a whole lot because of my numb feet from the bike and my left foot bleeding. So I just told myself, "Just run as much as you can, and when it hurts too much, just walk for a minute. Then get back to running." My "run" was more of a Chinese Shuffle! The dirt trail had these little triangular pointed rocks that seemed to be able to poke right into my running shoes. My
feet were so tender from the bike that those rocks really hurt. I tried to avoid them as much as possible, and luckily it was possible. Along the trail, I noticed a sign that said, "Mile 15" I slowed down and walked and out loud I said, "I've never run this far before in my life!" A passing Triathlete heard me say this. He was from Australia. He patted me on the back and said, "Good on 'ya mate! Keep go'n! You're doing great!" That was so kind of him to say and it gave me courage to just not stop. Somewhere along the way, I lost my nutrition bottle. I still had about 10 miles to go. I told myself, "Just manage this the best you can." When my nutrition alarm buzzed around mile 19, I told myself to get something to eat at the next aide station. As I pulled into aide station an African American lady said, "Son! You look like you could use some grapes!" I told her, "I don't know if I can eat them. I never ate grapes during training." She told me, "Well, they're so good for your body! I think you'll be surprised!" I decided to go ahead and eat the grapes and drink more water. She was right! My body LOVED the grapes! Prior to the start of the Ironman event, each athelete was given a "Red Wrist Band" to hand out to a person to had helped us cross the finish line of the Ironman. I still was wearing my "Red Wrist Band" I thought to myself, "Hey! That sweet lady who gave me grapes - she should get my "Red Wrist Band!" So I promised myself that as I returned back to Santa Rosa on the running trail, I would run over to her aide station and present her with my "Red Wrist Band." I did so and she said, "For me? Oh honey!" and she started to cry! Then she said, "Thank you!" She gave me a wonderful hug and she told me, "Now you go finish and become an Ironman!" I thanked her again and continued running. I could hear the announcer and the music. As got onto the red carpet, people were leaning inward, extending their hands (as is tradition at Ironman), in hopes of getting a "Five-on-the-Side" from a person about to become an Ironman. It is supposed to bring good luck! I loved that part of Ironman! I gave as many "Five-on-the-Sides" as I could and ran with my arms straight up in the air crossing the Ironman finish line! It was a dream come true for me! I had dreamed of this day for many years and now it was a reality! I even heard Mike Riley announce my name as I crossed! Incredible experience and one of the most difficult events I've ever done in my life. It seems to me that the most difficult, positive, wonderful things we achieve in life seem to have the highest rewards and are worth all of the effort we pour into them.
What would you do differently?:

Thank more volunteers along the way! They're awesome!
Post race
Warm down:

I was freezing cold and began shivering shortly after crossing the finish line. It was around 9:15 p.m. and the sun had gone down. The temperature began to go down quickly. Luckily, my sweet wife brought with her warm soup to eat and that helped me feel better. My coach told me to go over to the massage table. I did and that massage was wonderful. Best advice I got from my coach ever!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Numb feet, bleeding left big toe, and my right middle toe nail ended up going black-and-blue and I lost that toe-nail during the run. My feet were just hammered, but I finished! It was tough.

Event comments:

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 - My First Ironman
I want to thank my sweet wife, my Ironsherpa, who helped me all the way! I'll love her forever!
I want to also thank my Coach from, John Mayfield, who was instrumental in getting me to even sign-up for the event and helped me all the way across the finish line!
My sweet daughters Aimee and Sarah who both inspired me to do my best (Sarah is an Athletic Trainer and a certified Yoga Instructor, and helped me repair my body after some tough training days).

Profile Album

Last updated: 2018-01-01 12:00 AM
01:53:44 | 3800 meters | 02m 59s / 100meters
Age Group: 88/92
Overall: 1646/1708
Performance: Bad
Suit: BlueSeventy Axis
Course: 2 x 1.2 mile loops. You exit the water at the end of the first 1.2 mile loop and then repeat.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 18:54
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
06:00:31 | 112 miles | 18.64 mile/hr
Age Group: 27/92
Overall: 549/1708
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: The course was steep during the first 8 miles but then began to level off some and the rolling country side with all of the vineyards came into view. The ride was absolutely beautiful!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 13:45
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
05:56:26 | 26.2 miles | 13m 36s  min/mile
Age Group: 73/92
Overall: 1321/1708
Performance: Average
Course: 4 miles of dirt trail headed out of the city of Santa Rosa 4 miles of paved trail headed back into the city of Santa Rosa The course kind-of mixed between pavement and dirt most of the way. The course had gentle rolling hills, kind of like what you would find at your family's favorite park! The course had wonderful shade and all of the volunteers at the aide stations were so upbeat, fun and helpful! They were awesome!
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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

2018-01-01 12:56 PM


Subject: Ironman Santa Rosa
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