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Ironman Louisville - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Louisville, Kentucky
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
89F / 32C
Total Time = 7h 00m
Overall Rank = 308/2200
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 64/298
Pre-race routine:

I started loading up on carbs about 3 days before the race. Most every meal, except b-fast included some pasta and I overloaded my food with salt. (I'm a heavy sweater). Dayna (my girlfriend) was an absolute angel. She was a professional soccer player and put me on her "pre-game diet" and made sure I VERY hydrated.

Night before the race, Dayna cooked me pancakes w/ banana's and for lunch, we had some turkey wraps and pretzels. For dinner, we had a light meal of pasta w/ a small amt of chicken and LOT of salt with about 5 bottles of water at about 6pm... then we headed off to bed. She rubbed on my legs, my shoulders and my feet for about 45 minutes to relax me and she put me to sleep. All things considered, it was the best night's sleep before any race I've ever done.

Race morning, I woke up at 2am and drank 3 Ensure. I'd planned on drinking 4, but my stomach was so bloated after 3 that I couldn't get the 4th down. Then I went back to bed.

Tbatt called me at 4am to make sure I was awake for the day. I actually woke up at 3:45am and got in the shower to warm up the muscles and wake myself up mentally. I drank 2 Diet Mt. Dews for the caffeine to get things moving and ate a Power Bar. Then I put all my special needs stuff in the car, filled up my water bottles, put Dayna's bike on the car and woke her up to go to body marking.

We went to body marking and I was excited that they were using the stamps to put our numbers on... like they do at KONA!!! Sweet!!! I went in, met my old coach and some friends in transition. Filled up my water bottles and pumped up my tires and headed for the porta potties.

I finally found one and the security people yelled at me that it was only for the race officials. Feeling neglected, I met up with Mike and Dayna and we started walking to the swim start. Since I still had to go and it was my home town, we knew exactly where to go and went to the orange lot bathrooms on the way to Tumbleweed. Ahhhhh.... much better!!!

Once we got to the start, we sat and waited for a while. We saw a couple pros and we tried to calm our nerves. I went to turn in my morning bag and the top of it ripped!!! Yikes! We jerry rigged the top in some kind of crazy knot and I went back to my friends.

I hugged Dayna, she wished me good luck and that she'd be with me every step of the way. She told me how proud she was of me and to have a great day! Then off to the swim start LINE we went!
Event warmup:

Really wasn't much of a warm-up. We had to walk from the transition area 3/4 of a mile to Tumbleweed which got the blood flowing somewhat. The warmup after that was the 15 minute walk from the back of the line to jump in the water after the pros! Talk about nerves.. I thought I was either going to pee or puke!!!
  • 1h 06m 2s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 34s / 100 yards

The swim was a time trial start. We jumped in the water one-second apart so we didn't have the mass swim start as in most IM races. I was a little disappointed because I'd played in my head all year how I was going to adapt to kicking/slapping/grabbing, etc and I didn't get that opportunity. But jumping in, there was still some of that going on and I got all the water in my mouth that I'd wanted.

Under the last bridge, I swam up next to some older guy and he kicked me in the b***s. It was a little hard to breathe for the next 50 meters and I was trying to swallow them back down to my groin.

Overall, I never really felt like I was swimming all that hard and while it didn't feel "effortless," it felt very comfortable. As though it were a good warmup. I was able to keep pretty well balanced in the water and had a good smooth pull. I was unable to get a draft as I was pretty much swimming over or around people the entire swim. Only 3 people passed me on the swim but I passed countless people. The swim overall was MUCH better than I had EVER expected I would do.

My coach, Nancy, was in the last kyack at the exit so I swam up to her sidestroke and said, "Hey there Kyack lady!" She said, "Great swim Sean, now get out of the water!" I said, "It's not like I don't have another 10 hours to go or anything!" She replied, "Sean... get out of the water now!" :) LOL! But I was having so much FUN! :)
What would you do differently?:

If I'd known how far back we were from the front, I would have gotten in line a little earlier. My swim time would probably been closer to 1 hour, maybe less, if I wasn't swimming over people or trying to get around them. But I only hit someone once, and that was on accident, so I felt good that I wasn't THAT guy knocking people around.
Transition 1
  • 10m 44s

Because I'd done several swims in the river followed by a bike, I knew that I would be sticky coming out of the water. So I decided to wear a swim suit in the river, then change into my tri shorts for the bike and run. That way, I would try to head off any potential chaffing.

I rinsed off and put on my tri shorts w/ a big handful of Chamois butter. After a hot swim, nice cool chamois butter.... ahhhhh, nice! ;) I put on all my stuff, sprayed myself down w/ sunblock and ran out in my socks..... TO A MUDDY TRANSITION AREA! Argh!
What would you do differently?:

Maybe put my socks on while on the bike while riding. Wet feet for almost 6 hours on the bike wasn't the best thing I've done. If I was trying to KQ, then I'd have gone bare minimum and swam in tri shorts... but I was out there to have fun, enjoy the day and try to make it under 12 hours.
  • 5h 45m 10s
  • 112 miles
  • 19.47 mile/hr

The 2nd half of the bike was much hotter than the first. I enjoyed having water stops every 10 miles or so. I was able to dump very cold water on me to keep cool and on my head as well.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe have used Infinit more. The Gatorade Endurance was just too sweet and I couldn't keep it down.
Transition 2
  • 09m 54s

I got off the bike and my hip flexors were all tight. I had trouble running!
What would you do differently?:

Stood up more on the bike and spent some time out of the saddle to work some other muscles. Other than being tight, I felt GREAT!
  • 4h 37m 6s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 35s  min/mile

I'd planned on running a 3:30 on a good day and a 3:45 on a very bad day. So to run a 4:37... I was somewhat disappointed, but in retrospect, it was a good run given what I had to overcome.

I started out at about 7:45 pace and my goal was to run 8:30's for the first half and if I felt ok, pick it up and run has hard as I could, comfortably. Mile 2, I had to walk the first aid station as I was getting sick to my stomach. By mile 5, I was puking in the porta-potties. I started walking shortly after and by mile 9, I saw Dayna. I could tell she was disappointed that I was walking. I explained to her that I felt strong but I knew that I needed to walk to let my body get back to equilibrium so I could get fluids and nutrition in me; otherwise, I wouldn't be able to finish the marathon. She walked w/ me for 2 miles and I said I was going to try to start running again.

From mile 7 to mile 10, I did a walk/run. Walked the aid stations and tried to get water in me... but couldn't hold it down. I started running and after about 10 minutes a guy ran up next to me and I noticed his race nubmer said, "A. Baldwin." So I said,"Hey, arent't you the bachelor dude?" He said, "Yeah, come on." So we ran together for a while and talked. I thought he'd be some pompous, arrogant guy, but he was actually pretty cool. We were running around 7:30's at the time and I said I needed to back off a bit and to have a great finish. He gave me a high five and I slowed down.

I hit the turn-around point where you split to either finish or go back out for the 2nd loop. I turned the corner and my old TNT friends were there. A couple of my friends started running next to me for a while and they said I was running strong.

I decided at that point that I would try to run the rest of the 2nd half and I would still shoot to go under 12 hours. Going out to the last turn-around was up and down. I simply ran from aid station to aid station. At the turn-around, I figured out that if I ran 9 min miles the rest of the way that I'd make it under 12.

The last the 5 miles, I dug deep and ran sub-7 min miles to the finish!!!

When I saw the finish line, I felt like I was bulletproof! I remember when my foot hit the carpet that I had this rush of emotion come over me and then I saw the finish, then the announcer. He stepped out next to me and said, "Sean Saunders... YOU!!! Are and IRONMAN!" It sent chills throughout my whole body and I remember coming under the finish banner, hearing my chip beep and the tears just came uncontrollably down my face. I went to hug my Mom over the fence and my legs buckled... and the catchers caught me! Then held me up and I just hugged my Mom as hard as I could. I then hugged Dayna and thanked them both for supporting me.

Abby, my ex girlfriend, was a nurse at the finish line and came over and hugged me as they brought a finisher medal to me. I told her I couldn't hold any nutrition down and she said, "Come on, lets get you an IV. You'll feel like a million bucks." They put me in a wheel chair and took me to medical and 10 minutes later... I was being refilled. And she was right, I felt like a million bucks afterwards!
What would you do differently?:

Overall, it was a good run. I wish I could have mustered enough to run then entire time but in retrospect, if I had run the entire time, I wouldn't have finished. I would have had a severe bonk because of not having enough nutrition to carry me through.
Post race
Warm down:

Medical tent and got an IV.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat. I'm not a good runner in the heat and my digestive system had shut down. Even though I tried to eat/drink, it just sat in my stomach and I would puke it up.

Event comments:

Kudos too all the volunteers and to the WTC. This was the most amazing experience of my life and I am SO PROUD to have become an Ironman in my hometown. The race was absolutely the most organized of ANY race I've ever seen, even with the change in the swim course.

Last updated: 2007-08-29 12:00 AM
01:06:02 | 4224 yards | 01m 34s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/298
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Good
Suit: Black Speedo jammers
Course: Course was flat, wet and mildly crowded. :) Actually, the swim course was changed 3 days prior to the race due to heavy rainfall upriver. The current was pretty swift and seeing many athletes get themselves into trouble during the practice swims, I would certainly have made the same decision if I were the race director. A large number of athletes probably would not have finished within the cutoff if the course was not altered. The course was difficult to see the buoys and it probably would have been better if they'd announced how many buoys we had AFTER the end of the island. But it was what it was and Ironman is about adapting to what the course gives you and finishing regardless.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 84F / 29C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 10:44
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
05:45:10 | 112 miles | 19.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/298
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Good
I kept my HR in low Zone 2 for most of the ride (Except in LaGrange w/ the crowd and on the uphills)
Wind: Headwind
Course: First 10 miles is flat. My plan was to stay in Zone 1, maybe a little of Zone 2 for the first hour. I knew people would blow up in the first part of the race w/ the first part of the course being flat. I was surprised my HR was in high zone 2 but I felt effortless on the bike. I figured my HR was just running high from the excitement so I kept thinking to myself, "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" and trying to control my breathing. After about 30 minutes, my HR started to settle but I had to pee SO bad. At the first uphill, I pulled over to pee. For some reason, I was all stopped up. I had to go, but couldn't. Finally when I did, it took about 5 minutes to empty the tank. did I really drink that much before the race? Or did I swallow half the river? I got back up on my bike and BAM! I dropped my chain! Argh... took me <30 sec to fix it then >3 minutes to find an opening in the line to pull out and start riding again. I hit 1694 and was riding steady. This is where I knew I'd kick some major A**! I'd trained on this part of the course 2-4 times a week for the last 8 months and today, I WAS READY! The first downhill, I hit 38mph and on the uphill, I mainted about 16 mph.... while many were struggling at 8mph. I knew my training had paid off. My coaches husband was at the top of the hill in a devil costume and gave me a high five as I crested the top of the hill. I turned around and looked for Dayna at the turnaround point, but she wasn't there. (Turns out, she went to my house to check on my dog and decided to pull into my garage. Normally not a big deal... but did I mention she was driving MY car and that I'd put HER bike on the top? Yep, drove right in, pulled the bikeoff my car and bent all the trim on my doors... that's my girl!) LOL! Back to the bike.... I made the turn around, saw Marcus (My coach's husband) again and hit 38mph on the downhill again. I'd planned on taking the next uphill moderately hard and I knew from training that I could hold 14 mph reasonably comfortably in my 23 spinning easily. I came down the hill, got cut off my some woman who wasn't paying attention so I swerved to miss hitting her and hit the infamous pothole at the end of the bridge. Bang! Out flew my water bottles. I tried to pass her on the uphill and she cut me off again and I quickly shifted to my small ring... and click... I dropped my chain again. ARGH! (Of course I SAID something different) I had to stop and put my chain back on and the worst part of it was, I had to start on a very steep incline... and WAIT until an opening was there I could start up because the people behind me were beginning the climb at about 25mph after the downhill. Hit 42 and made the turn onto 393. I rode past my parents road and they had put a sign out on the street that said, "Go Sean!" For the next 2 miles, they had brightly colored signs every 1/4 mile that said, "Go Sean, Never give up, today you will become an Ironman. We love you and are proud of you" They had 1-3 words on each sign so you had to pay attention and put them together as you rode. At the end of the signs, it was about 1/2 a mile to LaGrange where the festival was. I hit LaGrange and WOW! It was amazing. It was like the Tour de France! I saw my parents and Dayna there. Whoo Hoo! It was awesome to see them. On the second loop, I saw them again in LaGrange and I was still feelign very strong. I said thank you to almost everyone on the route cheering. The crowd support on the bike was SO much more than I had ever expected or anticipated. On the 30 mile ride back into town, we had some rollers but it is net downhill. And we had somewhat of a tailwind so I was holding an even 22-26 mph most of the way. I kept leapfrogging a few guys most of the way. I could have ridden MUCH faster but I knew I had to conserve for the run.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 09:54
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:37:06 | 26.2 miles | 10m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/298
Overall: 0/2200
Performance: Below average
I couldn't get my HR to rise. The highest HR I had was 3.1 during the entire run.
Course: Course was VERY HOT and flat.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-08-29 8:58 PM

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Golden, CO
Subject: Ironman Louisville

2007-08-29 9:29 PM
in reply to: #946627

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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Great report and great race Sean! Good job!!

Are you gonna do IMKY 2008?

2007-08-29 9:38 PM
in reply to: #946627

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Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
OH! What an amazing RR! I felt like I was right there with you. How cool to race in your home town!

Great job out there! You rocked it ... IRONMAN!!!!
2007-08-30 7:59 AM
in reply to: #946627

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Extreme Veteran
Greenwood, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome race! Way to overcome all those obstacles along the way!
2007-08-30 11:01 AM
in reply to: #946627

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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville


Great RR and how cool it is in your hometown...super to have lots of support on the race course.

Heat/humidity is tough to race long in...I just don't handle it well.

Hope you are feeling is the the gf bike and your garage?

Congrats Ironman!

2007-08-30 1:14 PM
in reply to: #946627

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Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Congrats on an awesome race! I'm glad i wasn't the only one crying at the finish line! Awesome home town - we LOVED Louisville!!

2007-08-30 5:01 PM
in reply to: #946627

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Lakewood, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome race and it sounds like you had a fantastic support crew around you!!!!
2007-08-30 5:17 PM
in reply to: #946627

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Nutmeg State
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
Awesome job!!!! Sounds like you had a fantastic experience.  Doing it again in 2008?
2007-08-31 7:12 AM
in reply to: #946627

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Charleston, SC
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville
congrats on a great race.  a kick to the b*lls during the swim, porta potties for race officials only....  like the IM itself wasn't enough of a challenge?? 
2007-09-03 9:57 PM
in reply to: #946627

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St Petersburg, Florida
Subject: RE: Ironman Louisville

I'm soo proud of you!!   I'm sorry I wasn't there to see you come over the finish line..

Well done!

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