Nothing epic. Everything went according to plan. Strong swim, easy bike and ran the entire marathon (except when fueling). Came to the finish feeling amazing and could have kept running another 6 miles at least.
The biggest mistake I saw out there (including all of my friends) was nutrition. I would venture to say that 90% of all athletes out there are clueless in this area. I say way too many athletes walking the marathon because they had various GI issues: throwing up, cramps, diarrhea, etc...It was obvious to me that their bodies were shunting blood flow to their muscles and the food they were taking in was not getting digested. So not only was their body trying to purge the unused mass, but they were not taking in the calories they thought they were.
It was appalling watching so many people take everything offered at the aid stations. And seeing so many bottles filled with Gatorade and the like in the bike bottle cages! Orange slices, bananas, grapes, etc... Even my good friend succumbed to this temptation and alas, paid the price.
This is not a plug, but I used Hammer Perpetuem the entire day and never wavered. Even if you don't use their products I highly encourage you to read their knowledge base about nutrition and why things like Gatorade and other simple sugar based solutions are a recipe for disaster. Everyone I know that has used this product has had great results.
None of my friends could believe I would be only taking in liquid calories all day, even though I explained over and over again why it was a total food source and why the body can digest it when it can't digest solid foods. Here is how simple my plan was:
I carried one multi-hour bottle in my cage that had all my calories for the first half of the bike...take sip every 15 minutes, and chase with water. Pickup second multi-hour bottle at special needs and sip every 15 minutes...THAT'S IT!
I carried one multi-hour fuel bottle on my back hip. Sip every 15 minutes. Pickup second bottle at special needs, sip every 15 minutes...THAT'S IT.
I could have mixed only 1 bottle for the bike and run leg each, but don't like my calories that thick, so put second bottle (packed on dry ice) in special needs.
I've read some other posts where people are drinking gatorade every 15 minutes, vanilla wafers every 30 minutes and a GU every hour. I'm not trying to knock on anyone in particular because most people just don't know, but this particular person said they had serious GI issues for almost the entire run (my several friends included). Besides the issue of insulin response to simple sugars, this nutrition is more complex than necessary. On race day I want SIMPLE.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and now everyone in my triathlon group is finally listening up. I felt great, looked great, and all my internal plumbing worked that night and the days following...just like it always had in training.
Oh, and BTW, I added endurolytes and ammonia buffers into the multi-hour bottles as well, so I didn't even have to think about that either.
You don't even want to get me started about what people do for their recovery drinks!!! I have a secret formula that hands down will beat or rival ANY formula on the open-market...I'll be happy to share if you request.
While I might have the nutrition thing down pat, I have a lot to learn about other aspects of Ironman and was truly humbled by the amount of talent out there. I struggled with an IT band injury that only surfaced within the last month of training and almost prevented me from doing the race. (It only flares up on the bike and is most likely a hip alignment and bio-mechanical imbalance issue. I will be working on this in the offseason.) Hence, I had to take it very, very easy on the bike (I had to stop at virtually every rest stop and stretch my hips and IT band). Other than that, everything else was great!! I was slow compared to most of the field, but I felt better than most of the people around me! I quite literally could have continued to run another 6 miles easily!