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Archive for September, 2009

Subaru Ironman Canada, 2009

I’m not even sure where to start on this one, there’s a lot to cover. The few days in Penticton leading up to the race were busy ones. It seemed like there was always a line to be standing in or small details to do that required stops around town. Thursday evening Sara flew in from Portland & rest of the spectating crew came in the following days. I had a great group in town for the race: Harmony, Sara, Jasmine, Steve, Mike, Rick & Kendall. Its definitely helpful to have a crew out on the course cheering!

Look at those Ironfans!!!

Look at those Ironfans!!!

Saturday’s major tasks included getting transition bags & bike dropped off. After that was done there wasn’t a whole lot to do other than relax in the shade. For dinner the whole group met at our place for pizza. As instructed I didn’t change my diet or hydration for race week, I ate & drank normally. As the sun started setting I got my special needs bags together & got ready for bed. Around 9:30 I crawled under the sheets with a Nutella sandwich on the night stand (ok, on the floor). I didn’t really sleep much or at least I never felt like I made it to any sort of deep sleep. As planned I ate the sandwich around 3am.

Saturday Bike Drop Off

Saturday bike drop off

Packing Up Special Needs Bags (Yes I ate the Pringles)

Packing special needs bags (Yes I ate the Pringles)

Pre Race Dinner With the Support Crew

Pre race dinner with some of the support crew

5am came quick and it was up & out of bed. Breakfast was oatmeal, coffee & a handful of different Kona Endurance supplements. Out the door at about 6am as the sun was coming up. I was a little rushed to get everything done before transition closed at 6:30am. being a little rushed didn’t give me time to stress or fret over the race race so I think it was a good thing.

Early Morning Walk From the Hotel to Transition

Pre race walk from the hotel to transition

Swim

Before I knew it the pros were off and my start was 15 minutes away. As it turns out, that was the fastest 15 minutes ever. I lined up on the left-ish side & not quite into the middle of the pack. About five minutes before the start I spotted my crew of Ironfans, it was nice to see everyone before the cannon went off.  The swim start was surprisingly non-eventful, it stays shallow for quite a while but I started swimming earlier than a lot of people. My plan for the swim was to keep it easy start to finish, I really wanted to avoid the dreaded calf cramps. Everything went as planned, the whole 2.4 mile swim I had good feet to draft off of & no cramps. For the second half of the swim I had to fight the urge to look at my watch for a time update. I thought I may start to push the pace if I saw where I was at time wise. The swim went by quick & I felt like didn’t use much energy. As it turns out my watch didn’t survive the swim so looking at it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Going into the race I had contemplated not using a watch & just racing off feel, looks like that was going to be the plan after all. I was happy with my swim time & how I felt getting out of the water.

I'm In There...

I'm in there...

Link to swim start video here.

Now the Race Can Begin!

Now the race begins!

In sad news one of our fellow competitors didn’t make it through the swim. Reports say that a heart condition played a part in the tragedy. My thoughts go out to his family.

Swim Time 1:24:03

Div place 311/359 overall place 1975/2600

T1
I got into the changing tent, threw on some cycling shoes, a helmet & race number. On my way out of transition I get slathered with sun screen & grabbed my bike.

T1 Time 0:04:16

Bike

I got on the bike feeling great & with a huge smile on my face. Jonathan beat into me how important pacing the first half of the bike. The other thing that stressed to me was how important making adjustments would be. As it turns out I wasn’t all that good at pacing, I rode harder than I should have start to finish but I don’t think I payed for it too much later in the day.

Trying To Pace & Not Race...

Trying to pace & not race...

The first 30 miles of the bike I had a headache, eventually I loosened up my helmet & the headache went away instantly. This was just the first of the small adjustments I’d be making throughout the day.

002_2

Richter Pass was the first real test on the bike, its a BIG…LONG hill. I was using a 12-25 cassette so spinning up the hills wasn’t bad. The cheering squad was out in force on Richter, it was helpful to see them & gave me a boost. The downhill after Richter was a good chance to catch my breath & get the HR down. Up next was a stretch called the 7 Bitches, these are a series of 7 big rolling hills, they weren’t as bad as I had expected, spin easy on the way up and push hard down the back side. Apparently there was a decent head wind but I really didn’t notice it much. It was pretty hot, at each of the aid stations I grabbed water to dump over myself, this did a pretty good job of keeping me comfortable.

Special needs was a bit past the half way mark on the out & back. Waiting for me there was three new bottles of nutrition & a small can of Pringles. The exchange went really smooth, I had fresh nutrition & was well beyond the half way mark. In addition to the nutrition I packed with me on the bike I ate a total of two bananas that I grabbed at aid stations. For the most part my nutrition was solid, occasionally I’d feel the things trying to come up the same way it went down, when that happened I’d switch to water for bit to get my stomach settled down.

Normally I don’t use or even carry salt pills. Knowing it was going to be a hot day I decided to take some along “just in case.” This turned out to be a good idea, not long after special needs I started feeling some cramps coming on. Luckily the salt did the trick without any ill side effects, never try anything new on race day…right?

THE SUPPORT CREW!

THE SUPPORT CREW!

Looking north at about the 75 mile mark I could see the smoke in the air from a forest fire. The fire wasn’t close but the smoke had settled around Penticton. I wouldn’t say the smoke had a big impact on my race but I would have preferred it not be in the air.

Throughout the day I passes a lot of people with flat tires. Climbing Yellow Lake I heard the dreaded PPSSSSSST… I got a flat right where Harmony & the crew were cheering. I jumped off the bike, told them I’d handle the fix then got pushed out of the way by a total stranger who took-over & pretty much changed my flat for me. All in all I think the flat took about 5 minutes of time. Getting off the bike for a couple minutes to stretch my legs was welcomed.

NASCAR Pit Stop Style...

NASCAR pit stop style...

Once I was back on the bike I had one last climb then it was pretty much down hill back into town. The descents were fast and smooth, I was comfortably going around 40 m.p.h. no need for a crash this close to T2. From my bike computer I knew what my bike split was but never did the math to figure out my total race time. I focused on eating and some high cadence spinning on the final stretch into town.

Technical setup for the bike geeks…

Zipp 404 clincher front, Renn disc clincher in the back, both with Continental GP4000 S tires.

Gearing up front 53X39 & 12-25 in the rear. For me this was the best gearing for the course, I was able to spin up the hills but still had plenty to work with on the descents.

Bike Time 5:41:28 (1 pee stop, flat tire & stop at special needs)

Div place 106/359 overall place 497/2600

T2
I handed off my bike and ran for my bag of run gear. Running to the changing tent didn’t feel so great, a quick change of shoes & I was back out of the tent ready for a marathon.

T2 Time 0:04:04

Run

I felt surprisingly good starting the run, I’m not sure of the pace since I didn’t have a watch but I would say I started around 7:45 per mile. The first 10 miles of the run I felt great. Each aid station I would get a cup of coke, wet sponges and a little water. Throughout the run I also continued with the salt pills to keep the cramps away. It was hot, there wasn’t much shade on the run & the forest fire smoke was apparent. My foot started hurting around mile seven or eight & progressively got worse through the race. (At this point everything got progressively got worse through the race)

One Foot Infront of the Other for 26.2 miles

One foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles

The last few miles to the turnaround were downhill…this means the first few miles after the turnaround would be uphill…

At the turnaround I got some Carbo-Pro, Pringles & the all important Ibuprofen. The second half of my run was slower than the first half. I walked the aid stations & other short intervals of 10-30 seconds when I started to feel like I was going to cramp. Once I was back in town and a few miles from the finish I picked up the pace. The crowds were great & having a dedicated cheering squad was awesome. Towards the end of my run I came across a clock & for the first time all day knew just how long I had been out on the course, comfortably I was going to be sub 11:30.

Not Only a Long Run But Hot Also, 90+

Not only a long run but hot also...90+

The final stretch of the run is an out and back lined with people. The pain went away, my pace quickened & I was pretty sure I was going to be an IRONMAN! (Writing this was more emotional than when it actually happened)

I crossed the finish line at 11:28:05.

Run Time 4:04:00

Div place 84/359 overall place 432/2600

Overall Race Time 11:28:05

Div place 103/359 overall place 496/2600

I'm an IRONMAN!

I'm an IRONMAN!

Looking back on the race I’d say its a long, tough day that provides a TON of opportunities for things to go wrong, a couple of bad decisions & the day could go terribly bad. I woke up on race morning feeling physically prepared, the only question in my mind was could I take the mental beating of the day. I answered that question with a HELL YES!

Sitting never felt soooo good ;-)

Sitting never felt soooo good 😉

Important Thank You’s…

For a year now Ironman has taken up all my free time & then some. Harmony was a trooper throughout the process & my number one fan, thank you.

My crew of Iron Fans on race day was Awesome: Harmony, Sara, Jasmine, Steve, Mike, Rich & Kendall. These screwballs put on pink rhinestone studded cowboy hats complete with yarn braids & cheered racers on for 12+ hours.

Additional photo albums here, see what happened all day during the race as well as the hijinks in pink cowboy hats!

Click for Album 1

Click for Album 2

Photos from the professional photographer

The army of volunteers it took to pull this event off was huge. I heard a rumor that there was over 4000 volunteers, without them the race wouldn’t be a possibility!

Coach Jonathan, aka Jonnyo. My training went great throughout the year, Jonathan kept me moving forward & it was actually fun! I never second guessed his plan I just kept doing the work as prescribed & the results came. He’s also a hell of a nice guy & I’ll miss our online messenger exchanges.

Monday After the race with Jonnyo

Monday After the race with Jonnyo

What’s next? I have no idea, I’m enjoying the Ironman Hangover right now.

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