Learned more from this race than any other race thus far. In short, I was mentally strong throughout (that’s a first), but I made a couple of mental mistakes/ misread a couple of body signals that probably ending up costing me some time in the end, but they are mistakes that are easy to correct. I also can’t thank my cousin and her family enough for hosting me at their house and being my support crew for the race!
Prep- Went excellent. Good breakfast, visualization, etc. I was actually calm before the start and couldn’t wait to get in the river. Usually I’m dreading the start. Also parking was very easy, since 80% of the athletes stayed at the host hotels across the street.
Swim- Dove in and got straight to work. This was a TT start and I was probably ¾’s of the way back to start. First 600 yards I spent climbing over everyone. First mistake I made was thinking that the turn-a-round was right after the little island barrier. I know I looked at that map a dozen times and knew it was about another 400 or so to the turn-a-round after the barrier. There was a buoy right at the barrier and I turned. About 25 yards later I realized I was supposed to go straight. That probably costed me a min. and my sub-1 hour time. Hit the turn-a-round and got going with the current. No more bodies to climb over anymore and pretty uneventful. With about 200 yards left I started kicking hard to get the legs going and blood flowing. Finished strong and got out feeling great and ready to rock. Time 1:01:xx.
T-1: Transition is really far (about a ¼ mile total). Bags were lined up in rows. I remembered I was row 8 and went to turn. However, I was turning and my body was going straight (wet grass and soil) and slid and took out about 30 bags (I thought it was pretty dam funny and even chuckled a bit). Flew through transition and off we go.
Bike: Power was locked in and I was rocking. Plan was to stay between 205 and 210 watts and take the hills easy. The course is laid out as follows: 10 miles flat, 10 miles up hill, 10 miles out n back (rolling hills), 2x30 mile loops (rolling hills), 10 miles down hill, and 10 miles flat to home. Besides the first 10 miles there are absolutely no flats. You are constantly either going up or down. I kept the power at the lower end for the first 10 miles (around 205). First two hills, which I had originally thought were the toughest were relatively easy. At about mile 25 is when I realized that I had totally underestimated the grade of these hills. It’s not that there was anything super challenging (BSLT has steeper climbs). Its more that there are just so many and it doesn’t stop. UP,DOWN,UP,DOWN, UP,DOWN. Needless to say I struggled a bit on the first loop (30-60). The second loop I was prepared more mentally and it wasn’t that bad. Total avg. power was 217. A bit higher than we wanted, but it was the hills. I kept it under control where I could (flats and downhill), but the uphills I just had to do whatever it took to get up and over. Looking at my garmin data afterwards, I spiked over 300 watts about 20 times, however short it was. I had 1 mishap about mile 65. There was a steep downhill then a hair pin turn into a good climb. Made the turn fine and threw the front derailur into the small chainring and the chain came off. I’ve had this happen before and if I just shift back to the big ring it catches on again. However, I was pretty much at a standstill (going uphill), so I didn’t have the 3-5 secs it would take to catch the chain and get moving. Had to stop and fix (only took about 10 secs to fix).
Bike nutrition: Went really well with the things I could control (keep reading). Went through 1st bottle of 2 of Genucan at about 2:45. Wanted to be done about 2:15. Played a little catch-up with the second bottle and was back on track. At the 4:30 mark I took in a ½ tablet of caffeine (100mg) and we were rocking. Mentally I never felt more clear headed and stronger and no going into that dark place on the bike at any point. Everything was going well, then came mile 85. At mile 85 I knew this was the last aid station till about the 107 mark. Plan was to grab a bottle of water and a bottle of perform to last me to 107. Grabbed the water no problem and knew the perform was up ahead. Saw the guy and pointed out. Then some jackass pulls in-front of me and took the perform (and this was the end of the aid station too). I had two options. Completely stop and get my nutrition, or conserve and hold out till 107. I opted for the latter. I didn’t waste any water and ran out around mile 100. With 7 miles to go to the next aid station all I had was about about 4oz of Genucan and two gels, but what good is it to have any of that if there is no water to wash it down. Needless to say, 100-107 had me dehydrated. Fortunately it was flat and I was able to keep the dehydration to a minimum. Hit 107 and took water and perform and swear I finished both bottles in about 2 min. flat. I didn’t want a full gut going into the run, but at this point I had no choice. Total time 5:30 and 217 avg watts. Slower than I was expecting (5:10-5:20), but I knew I was conserving for the run and could make up time on the guys who were pounding me on the bike. @ 215 avg. watts I should have been around a 5:06 (22mph) finish with a equally flat course.
T-2: Flawless. I tried peeing on the bike, but it just wasn’t happening. Had to take a 30 sec. time out in T-2 to take care of this. Made sure I took a deep breath before I left T-2 to clear the mind and hit the restart.
Run: I was mentally focused and ready to rock. Plan was to start with gel at the 15 min mark and switch from gel to salt every 15 minutes. Decided to start with salt instead since I just downed 300 cals of perform literally 10 min earlier. After about ½ mile I got into a good groove and a pace that I thought was 8:00/ mile. Looked down and saw 7:20. Ummmm, yeah time to slow down. Backed off the pace slowly but the body was just moving. HR wise and breathing wise I felt like I was doing 8’s, but I was doing 7:30’s. Going any slower would have expended more energy than going at 7:30’s. By about mile 5 I was into a 7:50 pace and felt more comfortable and was in a good spot both mentally and physically. At about mile 10 is when things started happening and I had to make decisions.
At mile 10, I could feel my quads starting to contract hard. Not like “OMG I can’t move and limping”. Just starting to feel the contractions really good in the muscle. Never really had this happen before, so I didn’t know what it was and what was causing it. I assumed it was cramping (but in the quads?). I’ve had it happen tons of times in the calves where the calves just lock up, but never the quads and didn’t quite feel like cramping. Still discussing with my coach as to what it was exactly. Seeing that I was at mile 10 what I didn’t want to happen was to have total muscle failure around mile 18 and then forced to walk the rest. I could have pushed at the same pace without stopping, but just didn’t know about the unknown. I decided to play it safe and walk the aid stations. At mile 13 I took in gel #3 right on time and I could hear my body say “no more gel” and almost lost it. I could feel the quads tightening more and took in even more salt.
From mile 14 to mile 18 (30 min) I took in 5 lava salts. Looking at my garmin time graph I had my best splits during this time. I was still walking the aid stations (more of a mental cushion at this point) but my paces were sub 8 easily, meaning my pace was 7:15-7:30. From mile 13 on, I was taking in water, coke, perform. I kept focusing on 1 mile at a time and kept moving forward. I kept telling myself at mile 18 I’ll take in another 100 mg of caffeine and we will be good. Took in the caffeine at 18. At mile 20 I started feeling sick in the stomach (nausea) and wanted to throw up. I was actually wanting my body to throw up, so I could feel better. I stopped taking in salt as I originally thought it was too much salt I took in. Looking back now at the charts I realize that it was the caffeine pill. The caffeine was good, but it was just too much at once for the run. Next time I’ll break it up into 1/4’s (50 mg) and take one at mile 10 and one at mile 18.
At mile 21, I passed (and lapped) the sponsored athlete that was wearing the same race kit as me. I had the biggest and shittiest grin on my face as I paced him in stride. Just because you can run a 5:15 mile, and 11 min 2 mile doesn’t mean you can conquer IronMan!
At mile 22 I said that’s it, no more stopping at the stations, run through grab what I can and keep going. I was pushing hard, and just kept pushing, no matter how much it hurt. Made the turn home and had 1/3 mile to go. Closed they eyes and kept going harder, harder.
Crossed the line at a 3:46 run time (goal was 3:30) for a total time of 10:28:xx. Felt completely sick to my stomach. Had a seat for about 10 min and sipped on water and perform. Catcher asked if I was allright, told her “No, and I just want to puke”. She said “good, do it then” and brought me a trashcan. She was one of those older hard core country grandma’s. Love it! She asked if I wanted to go to medical and I said no. She asked again, and I was like, fine let’s go. Got an IV and that stuff they give you for nausea. WOW! 5 min. into the IV I felt great and ready to go. Spent the next 20 min. or so joking with the RN’s. Probably didn’t really need an IV. I would have been fine in a short amount of time, but why not get one when its available. Even if I have to pay $30-50 for one, it’s so worth it.
Total time 10:28:xx, 28th /400 AG, 140th /2800 OA- Definitely getting to the pointy end of the field now. AG was pretty deep. Top 15 were all sub 10 in AG. Goal time was 10 flat. So even if I would have hit that I still wouldn’t have KQ’d.
A bit disappointed in my run performance and the mental mistakes made on the run. The one thing I keep playing in the back of my mind is would I have been all right if I wouldn’t have walked the aid stations? Would my legs have been fine? I figure I lost 10-15 min walking the aid stations. DAM IT ALL TO HELL!!! ;-). Now I know I can start that push a bit earlier.
What a difference 3 years of racing makes. First pic is after the 1st IM (12:35:xx), and this is after IMKY. No need for words, the pics say it all.
Finally today I got to eat my desired recovery meal back home in Dallas. I think I just equalized that calorie deficit from the race!