Well, the big day has come and gone and my first Ironman race is in the bag. Quite amazing really...time just flew by heading into this race.
I got into St. George Monday before the race and really had the chance to relax and settle in. I had a pretty hectic few weeks prior so it was nice to take some time to rest up.
Before I knew it it was Friday. It turned into quite a busy pre-race day. Ironman has so many logistics to work out especially when there are two transition areas. It was actually a little stressful, which I wasn't used to. It was a new experience for me so looking at 5 different race bags, having to drop my bike, bike bag and run bag the day before actually made me feel overwhelmed. Funny thing was I wasn't at all nervous about the actual race...in fact, I was excited and really relaxed about the task at hand but all the logistics just made my head hurt =) I finally got to sit down and chill out around 4 or so and had the usual dinner of chicken, sweet potatoes, vegis/salad. We watch a good movie and I hit the sack. Didn't get much sleep, which was to be expected and the 3:30 alarm rang in my ears way too soon!
Got up, put down some breakfast, and then Tom and I head down to drop our special needs bags and jump the bus to the start. We got to the reservoir with plenty of time to just relax. At 6:45 we all lined up and started to get into the water. Got in a bit of a warmup and the the gun went off.
I started at the far left buoy. The first 400 meters or so was pretty aggressive. It mellowed out after though and I settled into a group. After 10 min or so the group was a little slow so I bridged to the next group. I actually continued this trend the entire swim. Honestly, the swim was easy and I felt good. I could bridge to groups in front without much trouble and I felt relaxed. Actually had a smile on my face the whole time and really enjoyed it. Yeah should have been hurting more but I figured why...the course is tough and the race wasn't going be decided in the swim. I just used it as a warmup and swam 55 min.
I was blown away by the volunteers...ALL DAY they were amazing and it was apparent how amazing they were as I transitioned from the swim to bike. They did everything for us!
Once on the bike I got into my rhythm pretty quickly and it felt so sureal! I just kept thinking to myself...wow, I'm doing an Ironman. So much prep went into this day but to actually be racing just felt wild. I was happy and just rolling along, enjoying the whole experience. I found a good group and we rode well together. There was so much unknown out there for me so I just stay conservative and kind of followed the guys in my group b/c they all seemed to be experienced and riding steady. At the half way point Slater caught me and I rode with him for the next 40 miles until he decided to drop me! Thanks man ;) Ended up riding 5:16 and I felt good coming off the bike.
Again, the volunteers were amazing and sent me out on the run with everything I needed. The first couple miles didn't feel great (plus it's uphill) but the legs came around after the first steep climb. I was amazed how easy it felt on the first lap. I ran 1:32 for the first 13.1 miles and honestly thought I could hold the pace. I was so relaxed and kept cool with all the sponges, cold towels, water, etc (temps were in the 90's!).
Then I hit mile 20 and my quads really started to feel the pounding. I knew this would come but they were wrecked and getting more so as every mile went by. I knew once I got to mile 23 it was all down hill so I just kept pushing to that point but at mile 22 I had my only "breakdown." I just had to walk for a minute. I felt pretty dizzy and my quads were screaming at me. I didn't want to walk but I did so I could refuel through one of the last aid stations. It proved a good move b/c I got my blood sugar back up and fell back into my pace managing to close with 7 min miles. Ran 3:17.
Finish time was 9:34, I was 19th overall, 2nd in AG, Kona bound. On this course I am happy with that time. I had split times in mind when I started the day (but on such a tough course times were really hard to predict and it was my first ironman so who really knew how I would hold up)...I thought if I had a good day I could swim 55 min, ride 5:15, and run 3:15. I wasn't far off from my predictions. Just goes to show you how prepared I was b/c I knew I could do these times based on my training results. Overall, I really enjoyed this race. It actually left me excited to go fast at this distance. Not sure it is something I will pursue after Kona b/c it is so time consuming and demanding but who knows. I still think Xterra is more my speed =) I guess I just have to go sub 9 hrs in kona so I can end my Ironman stint on a good note ;)
I really have to thank Adam Zucco and Trainingbible Coaching for all the help. I couldn't have done any of this without the guidance of Adam. He is an AMAZING coach and a great friend. Thanks man...I owe you big time!!
Also, thanks to Jim Vance...your always there to give advice and support...It means a lot!
James Walsh, what else can I say but thank you for ALL of your help! Dude, I owe you more then you know. You are always there to keep me honest and you inspire me to work hard. I think you believe in my abilities even more then I do sometimes and it really means a lot to have you in my corner. Seriously, you make me a much better, stronger, smarter athlete and I can never repay you for this. Beers on me (for a long time hombre!)!!!
HUGE thanks to my ENTIRE family for all the support. Specifically, my parents...I couldn't do what I do without your support and attention...you guys are awesome and I love you very much.
Jess, your the best wife anyone can ask for. I could write all day about what you have given me over the years but the support you provided when I said I wanted to chase my dreams pursuing triathlon and Skinfit and quit the safety of corporate america is something I will never forget and always respect. You inspire me everyday to be a better person and I can't thank you enough for this. Having you there in St George was so special...I so wish you could be at all of the races! You always bring out the best in me!
So, that's the scoop from my first Ironman. I am excited for Kona but first I have some Xterra races to knock out. I am REALLY enjoying racing this year so I am fired up to get back into the dirt. The next stop on the Xterra Tour is this weekend in Santa Cruz...obviously, bad timing for me b/c my legs are crushed but I will be there to have some fun. SLight chance I won't race but as of now I will toe the line. Then on to Alabama the following weekend for the 4th stop on the tour. Giddy up!!