Had dreams all season of being close to the nine hour mark, but in the end my fitness wasn't going to be there for race day to pull that time off, and I was fine with it. I could have pushed harder, did more volume, eaten better, got more sleep, etc., but in the end I was able to get through a whole training season with no issues, and for that I'm truly grateful. To do what we do is a true blessing, and just having the opportunity to toe the start line is a gift.
Got down to FL on Thursday. Wasn't able to pick up my gear bag, so decided to get a swim in anyways. So with my board shorts, and crappy goggles I went for a swim at the start with the rest of hundreds of people with 500 dollar wetsuits, Guici training bags, etc. Got a lot of weird stares. Wasn't able to hide the back hair either with the wetsuit, as usual I grossed quite a few people out. Got some easy rides in, and a few runs. Wan't feeling great, but waking up race day I felt the best I'd had all week. Glycogen levels were there, and hydration was spot on.
Once I picked up my gear bag and bike, I decided to ride back with my 40pd backpack. Took one pedal stroke and fell right in the middle of the expo, in front of tons of people. With a shattered ego and a bruised knee, I gather my self and walked home instead. At least I got my bike crash out of the way..
Swim: 55:21, 24th overall including pros, I "think" I was top ten out of the water, 4th inAG.
Was the last one out of transition. Spent a while in the Porta Pottie, getting rid of some extra weight. Ran down the beach after the National Anthem, took my spot in the front row in line with the first buoy, and the gun went off. Looked to the left, looked to the right and was right in the front pack. Sprinted hard the first 400 yds, and settle into the lead group. Using others to sight for me. Could have pushed the swim more, but was happy with just staying relaxed and strong for the whole swim, again just using fellow swimmers to do all the sighting. The water is so clear, I was able to gage my position from under the water, and never had to lift to sight. Wore a sleeveless wetsuit, as a swimmer I love "feeling" the water, and never have used a full suit. The down fall was I had no protection from the jellyfish, and the big ones were out in full force, making their way to the surface towards the sunlight. Took a bunch of huge hits on the arms, and underarms. My arms were on fire all day.
T1: 5:14. SLOW, but just took my time to get everything right, still managed to be the 4th overall out of transition.
Bike: 5:15:XX. NOT what I wanted or planned for, but mother nature messed with my head.
The headwind was steady for the first half, not horrible, but enough to mess with me. I had the fitness and felt I could push the pace, but didn't want to burn to many matches in the first half of the ride. Just concentrated on hydration, and fuel. Mentally I made the decision to do all I could to set up the marathon.
At the half way point, I just decided I had to take this day back, this wasn't how I wanted to end my race. I wanted to feel like I put in a decent effort on the bike. I lost tons of time in the first half, and needed to start the redemption process. Mentally, I got more focused and determined, to make a difference in the outcome. I needed to take the bull by the horns, and go for broke.
The wind direction became more favorable on the way back in. Finished the second half with an average speed of 22.72, while I went out in a 19.8.
T2: 6:02, SLOW. Did some transition fueling and hydration, got on the floor and did some back stretches, and loosened up for a fast run. I knew I had to lay down a fast marry, to get back the lost time in the bike. My legs did not disappoint, they were fresh and strong the whole time.
Run : 3:04:58
The plan was to run 6:50 for as long as possible, with :30 second walk breaks every other mile. Once the Garmin got a reception, I was spitting out 6:20's, oops. The leader, who went 7:59 overall, got to the turnaround, while I was running by out of transition. I was able to hold him off for 2 miles!!! Then snuck in behind him to get some face time on camera.
The run was uneventful, I just never seemed to fade too bad. I would come out of my walking breaks at a 6:50 pace, and by the time the next 2 mile marker came I was at 7:10's, took another break, and repeated over and over again. Had two long pee breaks, but even with those, my mile times were in the upper seven's.
Forced down fluids, and caffeinated sugar goodness for the whole run. Caffeine is magic stuff!!! Keeps those neuromuscular junctions firing all day. Once your HR and nervous system go down, you go down. So I did all I could to keep HR high and the nerves firing.
Used ThermoTabs for the first time in an IM. I was experiencing cramping at the ends of races, and these salt tabs did the job in keep all muscles firing at a high level all day Took two on the bike and two on the run. Spit out a couple of 6:20's to finish off a great day.
Finish with a 9:27:xx (I was planning on a 9:15 in great conditions, and a 9:30 in tougher conditions), 35th overall, 11th amateur, and 8th in my Age Group. I'll take it!! Will find out in the AM if that will be enough for a Kona spot. Not quite sure how many spots are up for grabs, but usually my age group has the most.
We all have dreams of certain times, and for some reason we view them as how we are suppose to judge a race day effort. Instead I'm VERY pleased with how I was able to get out of a funk, and lay down a solid 2nd half of the race. I took a possible crappy day at the office, and instead made the day a memorable one, and for that I'm grateful.
Big thanks goes out to QT2 systems, and especially Cait Snow for whipping up another great training cycle, and Tim Snow for all the training troubleshooting and a solid race day plan.
A HUGE thanks goes out to Brooke, for supporting me through all the long training days, and endless workouts. The biggest piece to me taking charge of this race, was to not let all we have sacrificed to go for not.
Thanks to my roommates for great company and humor, to make the day even better. Seeing them all lay down solid races was the highlight of my day