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Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
United States
Redman Triathlon, Inc.
Total Time = 15h 13m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Be warned, this is a long race report. I wanted to put as much detail into this as possible because I gained so much from reading others first time Ironman race reports. Also, the race web site doesn’t have the official splits yet so I used the splits from my wife’s watch, which should be very close to the final results. So here it goes.

Pre race routine: The night before the race I cooked pasta in my hotel room with my rice cooker. It makes the noodles kind of sticky but at least I know the food is safe. I have a weal stomach so I can’t chance eating my pre-race dinner at a restaurant. After dinner I set my two alarms for 4 AM and spent the rest of the night hanging out on the hotel room balcony and watching TV with my wife. With every passing hour I was becoming more nervous. The day I arrived in Oklahoma City the wind speed was 40 MPH and there were huge waves with whitecaps on Lake Hefner.

I fell asleep at about 10 PM and woke up at 1 AM. I am an insomniac so I’m used to not sleeping well. I was praying I would fall back to sleep because I needed more than three hours of sleep before an Ironman. Not to mention I hadn’t slept more than 5-6 hours a night for the past 5 nights. I drifted in and out of sleep until about 3:50 when I finally just decided to get up and eat and begin my day.

My breakfast consisted of wheat flour and oatmeal pancakes and two cups of coffee. I had to force the food in because the nerves had robbed my appetite. After eating I put my tri shorts on and warm-up clothes and gathered all the transition and special needs bags. I had more time to kill so I stood on the balcony for a while watching the lighting and thunderstorm that was off in the distance. It had rained the night before and there was severe weather just to the southeast of Oklahoma City. Not much of a chance it would hit us, but it did bring back the wind.

We got everything loaded by 5 AM and we were off to the race.
Event warmup:

I stood on the beach and watched the thunderstorm off in the distance. The wind was picking up as the sun began to rise. I warmed up by hugging my wife.

  • 2h 00m
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 50s / 100 yards

At 7:15 the shotgun blast sent everyone into the water. This was a mass start race from the beach where you had to run about 100 yards to get to deep enough water to swim. I followed my plan of waiting towards the back to let most of the competitors go before me. There were approximately 600 competitors between the full iron distance, the half iron and the aqua bike. We all started together but only the full iron competitors did two laps of the 1.2 mile triangle.

This was my third actual triathlon and my first mass start with this many people. I expected a little thrashing and punching but it was worse than I expected. The chop in the water made it hard to see where the buoys were. Several people were swimming off course. Others were swimming perpendicular to the crowd, zig zagging back and forth. Then there were those who were backstroking and kicking violently. For the first 800 yards I could not get a clean section of water. I am not the best swimmer so I was really struggling to find my rhythm. Eventually after the first buoy turn things quieted down a little. The first portion of the swim we were swimming into a current because the wind was so strong. The second portion was shorter and had a bit of a tailwind. As we got to the second buoy turn the waves and current were from our left to right. So each time I turned my head left to breath (I can’t bi-laterally breath) I got splashed in the face by a wave. As I neared the last turn buoy I saw hundreds of people exiting the water. I looked at my watch at the halfway point and I was just at 50 minutes. As I made the turn to head back for the second loop I quickly noticed that the wind had picked up and was now blowing like crazy. The water chop was like nothing I’ve ever swam in before. I had a problem sighting because the waves were so big. Each time I did manage to sight I found myself heading the wrong direction because the waves were turning my body in the direction that the water was moving. It was a struggle to say the least to get to the next turn buoy. I was looking forward to having the wind and waves at my back for a while. As I turned at the buoy another surprise….the sun had risen and broke through the clouds and completely blinded me from seeing the line of buoys. Thank God a kayaker was there to tell me to swim directly into the sun, which I did, and he was right. As I got to the next turn buoy I quickly found myself in trouble again. The waves were now even stronger and were coming from my left as before. There were a few occasions where the waves almost rolled me completely over. Each time I lifted my head to sight I was off course. Several times I lifted my head only to get smacked in the face with a wave. I swallowed more water on this swim than ever before. I kept telling myself that this is an Ironman. It is not supposed to be easy. The harder it is the greater the reward. I finished in just under 2 hours. I was exhausted.

What would you do differently?:

I probably should have started wider and away from the buoy line to avoid the traffic. I don’t know how I could have prepared myself for the heavy wind and waves. Maybe learning to bi-laterally breath would have helped.
Transition 1
  • 06m 30s
  • 00m
  • 112 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

The bike is my strong point so I wasn’t too worried about how this leg would go. I was in for a surprise as I headed out on the course. The wind was steady at about 25 to 30 MPH and was a headwind going out, which is fine because it will be a tailwind coming back. The course was a two loop course, each loop 57.5 miles long. That’s right. 57.5 and 57.5 equal 115 miles. So much for 112. The race director warned us that the course was long due to safety concerns on the turnaround. They didn’t want the competitors turning around on a hill along this particular highway so they opted to lengthen the course. I did the best I could to keep my hear rate (HR) zone in Z1 and Z2 but it wasn’t happening. I was going 15 MPH into the wind on a rolling hills course. My HR hovered around 145-150 bpm (Z3-Z4) for the first hour and a half. The bike course was continual rolling hills, only once did I have to stand because of gearing. There were also a few flat spots on the return where you would really tuck in and go with the wind at your back. At the end of the bike race I had averaged 17.1 MPH

At about 70 miles into the 115 mile bike portion I started feeling weak and fatigued. I didn’t expect to feel this way at this point but then I remember reading from someone on BT that the race doesn’t really begin until mile 80. Apparently its common to feel spent at mile 80, because I was spent and then some. I started getting twinges of cramps in my left hip. This was a new problem. Probably caused by the swim being so rough. I did my best to ignore it. I stuck to my nutrition plan and consumed 6 bottles of Perpetuem + Heed while on the bike, a few pretzels and 5 servings of HammerGel.

What would you do differently?:

Coming off the bike I was drained, physically and mentally. The wind and rough road conditions had beaten me down. I felt like I had been riding a jackhammer for 7 hours. I’ve done dozens of 100+ mile races in less than 6 hours, some in 5 and have never felt this exhausted. Even in my training I averaged 18.5 hours on my 6 hour rides. 17 MPH average was my worse-case scenario. Now I had to run a marathon.
Transition 2
  • 06m 30s
  • 6h 00m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 44s  min/mile

As I got off my bike and headed into transition my wife was running parallel to me outside of the transition area. She asked if I were OK. I said “No, I hurt”. She said to me..."Remember why you are doing this. Remember Kerstin and Rachel. You are their hero.” I began to get choked up as I shuffled into the T2 tent. Once in T2 I changed into my running gear, which was running shorts and Team In Training shirt. As I ran out of T2 the announcer broadcast the following...”Here comes Michael who’s racing his first Iron-distance race in honor Kerstin Leaf who is fighting cancer. Michael is racing for Team In Training. Let’s hear it for him”...and the crowds were cheering me on. I could literally feel the adrenaline serge into my veins and give me energy. I kept running as I headed out on my first of two 13.1 mile loops. I was now feeling pretty good mentally and physically. I passed the first water stop without taking anything. I got to the second water stop and grabbed a small bottle of water. I planned on walking through most of the water stops but for some reason I decided I should keep running as long as I could. So I did.

It wasn’t long and I was at the 6.5 mile turnaround. I grabbed a gel and some potatoes and kept running. I eventually stopped at about mile 7 to let the food settle in my stomach. I walked about a half mile before starting to run again at about a 10 min/mile pace. I suddenly felt dizzy and sick. I don’t know what caused it. Maybe I shouldn’t have ran so far without stopping. Maybe I’m not sticking to my nutrition and hydration plan. I couldn’t remember what I had been doing. My mind was starting to play tricks on me. I couldn’t remember what my plan was. If I had too much water or not enough. How many calories was I supposed to be eating? I couldn’t remember.

The run/walk went from 90/10 % to 50/50. Then eventually to 30/70. By the time I was nearing the 13.1 mile mark I was nauseous, dizzy, confused….my tongue felt like it was swollen and I could get any food in my mouth nor did I have enough saliva to get any food down. I got to my special needs bag and looked inside. I grabbed a gel, a photograph of Rachel (my friends daughter who has leukemia) and two letters. One of the letters was from Rachel and was in her own writing. It said that she was very proud of what I was doing to help cure cancer and that I am her hero. I started weeping like a baby. My wife came up to me as I started walking out onto my second loop. I don’t know what she was saying to me. I was out of it. Then another women came up to me who I’ve never met. She was the Oklahoma City director for the Leukemia Society. She told me to hang in there and she’s been on the phone with the Nebraska Team In Training chapter giving them my progress. This cheered me up a little, but I was still doubting I could continue on feeling like this for another half marathon. One foot in front of the other until I could get away from the crowd and re-evaluate my mental state. As I left the start-finish area I once again hear the announcer call my name and Kerstin Leaf’s name and speak of my mission for the Leukemia Society. I welled up inside again. I didn’t know if I could continue. My stomach had shut down and my mind was nearly gone.

As I rounded a bend at mile 14 I looked down in my hand at the picture of Rachel. The picture was taken of her at age 5, two weeks before she was diagnosed with Leukemia. On the back of the picture her mother had wrote a message to me. I squeezed the picture in my hand and swore I would not stop no matter what. I shook my head, poured some water on my face and started to re-think what was going wrong. I knew I was either dehydrated or over hydrated. I thought back to all of the Endurolyte pills I had taken to this point and all of the salt on the potatoes I had eaten. I decided I needed to start pounding water. My plan was now to shuffle to each water stop and grab a water and sip it until the next stop. I did this for the next 10 miles. The sun had gone down and it was pitch dark along portions of the marathon trail. I still had Rachel’s picture in my hand and I was starting to feel better. My pace picked up a bit but then my calf started to cramp. I stopped a moment to stretch and my back cramped. I would reach for a bottle of water from a volunteer and my neck would lock. Although my spirits were better and my mind was coming back, my body was telling me it was tired.

I had roughly two miles left. I could hear the announcer off in the distance announcing finishers as they crossed. I could see the boom lights of the finish area. I knew I was going to finish. I continued to shuffle until I came across my wife at less than a mile from the finish. She was crying her eyes out because she was worried about me. She began running next to me then sprinted to the finish so she could film me as I crossed the finish line.

The last 5 minutes of the day was a blur. It was so surreal coming into the finish. To be in the dark for so long, alone for much of the time, coming into the lights of the finish chute, hearing your name being announced and the crowd cheering. There are no words to describe how I felt. No words.

15 hours and 13 minutes. 140.6 + 3 miles traveled. I was now an Ironman. Wow……what a trip.

Post race
Warm down:

Less than two years ago I signed up for my first sprint distance triathlon on a dare. I had never swam before in my life, I didn’t know how. Even though I trained in the pool I ended up pool-walking the 500 yards of my first race. Flash forward to the Ironman. When I stood at the beach looking at the waves of water slapping the buoys off in the distance I thought of how far I have come since April of 2005. I have put an enormous amount of training in and have made enormous changes in my life-style, many many sacrifices were made. One thing sticks in my mind the most during the past year. Beginner I found this site a year ago and signed up as a bronze member in order to get the Ironman training schedule. I got to know so many awesome people, members of BT. I can honestly say that if it were not for this web site and the members who support, inspire and encouraged me I would not be posting an Ironman race report. Thank you Ron and everyone behind the scenes at BT. A big THANK YOU to all the support and inspires from Brian, Allison, Brett, Scott, Mike, Dan, Janelle, Art, Bear, Andy, Rodger, Steve, Debbie, Courtney, Lauren, and many many others. Without you people I would not have done this. You are all truly amazing people and you've all made a difference in my life. Thank you!

Last updated: 2006-07-28 12:00 AM
02:00:00 | 4224 yards | 02m 50s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: Two loop, counter clockwise in Lake Hafner.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:30
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:00:00 | 112 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: The roads were in very poor condition. They were mostly country roads consisting of broken up asphalt. I was constantly dodging massive potholes and cracks. The roads looked to be 40 years old. Some even had tractor tire tread impressions, which caused the road surface to be like constant rumble-strips. Because of the road conditions and traffic you could never drop your head. You had to stay constantly alert and head up.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 06:30
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:00:00 | 26.2 miles | 13m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2006-09-25 2:36 PM

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Subject: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

2006-09-25 2:48 PM
in reply to: #551086

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Awesome effort! 20-30mph headwinds would pretty much take the starch out of anyone's collar but you dealt with it and had a great race. 115mile ride? You should get like an oak leaf cluster on the medal. .

Congratulations - I'll bet it's a great feeling.

2006-09-25 2:54 PM
in reply to: #551086

User image

Cambridge, MA
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

Oh my goodness -- what a triumph! 

I'm proud to know that people like you are out there, racing and making a difference.

Thank you for the awesome RR, -Sunny

2006-09-25 2:55 PM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2006-09-25 2:59 PM
in reply to: #551086

Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
awesome Job..amazing race report!! Congratulations you are an IRONMAN!!!!!!
2006-09-25 4:30 PM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

dude you rock.  thats about it.  seriously.


congrats on what you've accomplished.  its awesome that you ran 13 miles with Rachel's picture in your hand, keeping it all in perspective.  Good for you. 



2006-09-25 4:36 PM
in reply to: #551086

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
2006-09-25 4:51 PM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Great job!! I did the half, and when the 57 mile bike portion was finished, I was soooo thankful I did not have to turn around back into that darn wind! You iron distance athletes just awed me into silence.

I stayed and watched many peolpe finish. I found myself as emotional as some of the competitors finishing their races.

Congratulations. You can add perseverence, dedication, motivation, inspiration to your amiable qualities. Amazing job, IRONMAN!!!
2006-09-25 6:10 PM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman


That was one hell of a RR.  Congrats IRONMAN!   I am in awe of your perserverance.  Keep up the good work.




2006-09-25 7:41 PM
in reply to: #551086

Albuquerque, NM
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

WOW!  What a Race Report...I'm speechless.  I felt like I was there watching you.  Congratulations IRONMAN! 



2006-09-25 8:19 PM
in reply to: #551086

Kaneohe, Hawaii
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Absolutely EPIC! Awesome Job IRONMAN! Fantastic! Such an emotional experience, I felt like I was there. Congratulations on such a monumental task.

2006-09-25 8:50 PM
in reply to: #551507

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

140.6 + 3

I love it!

Great race and great race report. You made me feel as though I was right there with you. Awesome job in pushing through that wind on both the swim and bike, and in keeping going when your body just wanted to stop. That was so great you did that race for Rachel and I am sure she is so proud of you. That was also really cool how the announcer said your name and Rachel's each time you came out of the TA .

It was great following your training these past few months and then to have the day finally arrive. I'm so proud of you! Now rest up and enjoy being an Ironman!!


2006-09-25 9:04 PM
in reply to: #551086

Edmond, OK
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Steph W. and I were there for most of the race cheering on the athletes. I recall the first announcement over the speakers and wish now that I would have know where you were so that we could have cheered you on, personally.

A noble cause from a true athlete. Congratulations, my friend.

2006-09-25 9:08 PM
in reply to: #551086

Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
2006-09-25 9:32 PM
in reply to: #551086

Delano, MN
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Damn Mike now my eyes are welling up! What a great report. I am EXTREMELY inspired by your perseverence when the going got tough. I hope Rachel gets a copy of this race report. I think she would enjoy it. I'm proud of you man! Way to go! Ironman Mike!
2006-09-26 12:07 AM
in reply to: #551086

Vestavia Hills
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

[qoute]One of the letters was from Rachel and was in her own writing. It said that she was very proud of what I was doing to help cure cancer and that I am her hero. I started weeping like a baby. [/qoute]

Me too.

Super, triple-dog proud for you ... Ironman, with an iron heart.



Edited by brian 2006-09-26 12:09 AM

2006-09-26 8:10 AM
in reply to: #551086

Muskego, WI
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

YOU ARE an IRONMAN!!!!!!!  Congratulations!!! 

Fantastic race report.  What an amazing struggle that had to be.  But, look what you've accomplished.  BE PROUD!!!! 

I'm proud of you and impressed!!  You spanked some injury demons along the way, and spanked a couple trying to get you off the course as well.  

Nice avatar addition.  Very well deserved.

2006-09-26 9:55 AM
in reply to: #551086

The Original
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Awesome, aawesome race!  Congrats on finishing under choppy swim conditions and a windy bike.  All I can say is wow- you did it!  I got really choked up reading about how inspring Rachel was for you in this race.  You are truly her hero!  Well done!
2006-09-26 10:15 AM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

I'm confused they have whole potatoes at the aid stations?  Isn't that hard to eat?

Oh, and you are AWESOME-O. 


2006-09-26 11:05 AM
in reply to: #551086

Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
See now you made me go and get all weepy eyed at work....I can't tell you how incredibly proud I am of your for sticking it out when the going got tough. You have truely earned the title IRONMAN!!
2006-09-26 11:20 AM
in reply to: #551086

DC Metro, slowly working my way to NC
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Absolutely amazing job.  Words are pretty much failing me at the moment, but WOW.

2006-09-26 12:17 PM
in reply to: #552039

San Diego
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

Congratulations and welcome to the club!!!

Awesome race and race report! Just reading your report brought back all of the emotions I felt during my races. You are truly inspiring and I hope someday we can race together, then go out and get some new tattoos.

Rest up, set a new goal then go get em

Take care


2006-09-26 12:38 PM
in reply to: #551086

Keller, TX
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman
Awesome job. Way to push through the rough spots. Awesome RR teary eyed now.
2006-09-26 1:29 PM
in reply to: #551086

Flower Mound, TX
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

Congratulation Mike.  I had a lot of trouble in the swim too.   At the time, I didn't realize it was so windy and I didn't know why I kept getting blown toward the center of the course.  I was getting really frustrated.

Also similar to yourself, my bike performance was much worse than I expected.  Again, I partly blame it on the wind and the fact that I'd never bike 115 after swimming for 1.5 hrs either.  

Anyway, great job.  Your perseverance was awesome.

If you care, you can read my RR here.  But please take the time to read this emotional story from the race that I'm sure you can appreciate.


2006-09-26 1:51 PM
in reply to: #551086

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman

Amazing. What an inspiring race report! You've overcome alot this season--and did alot of racing this season, and were successful in it all. And now you've capped it with a wonderful race. Not only are you an IRONMAN, but you perservered through some rough mental moments-I knew you had it in you. You are one tough guy! Congratulations on a great race, and especially on getting through that tough, tough swim. You really earned it.

Congratulations. Whew. Now please, go get some rest


*I agree with morey, like the addition to the avatar

Edited by Sassafras 2006-09-26 1:51 PM
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