My first Triathlon
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Ironman Louisville - TriathlonFull Ironman
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World Triathlon Corporation
= 12h 33m 30s
Age Group Rank
Same as usual. Got up, ate, got dressed as Mary made sure the kids were ready to go.
Walking to transition, and then to the line to wait for the race to start. More than enough!
1h 21m 10s
01m 55s / 100 yards
Swimming. My leg with the most room for improvement. This was my first big race without a wet suit, so while I was hopeful on a good time considering most of the swim is downstream, I'm more than reminded that the "wet suit" certainly speeds me up. I was shooting for a 1:10 here. As I jumped in and started swimming, I realized that although this was a "time trial" start, I was still surrounded by more than enough people to not be able to just "swim". There was plenty of bumping and shoving and hitting. My goggles got kicked off twice, and I had to aggressively push people off of me at least 3 times, but it's kinda expected in such a large race. As I headed out, the time it took to get clear of the island seemed much longer than I expected, and then we continued upstream even further than I thought we would. When I was finding open water, I was swimming very good. My strokes were good, breathing was good, and sighting was good. I was even passing people, so I felt my swim wasn't "sucky". When we finally got to the TURN around bouy and began heading down stream, I felt this was ALREADY taking forever. On and on it went and although I wasn't getting tired, I was thinking this was taking longer than it should. I was hoping this "down stream" thing would make up for the lack of a wet suit, but that didn't feel like it was happening. Eventually I passed under one bridge then the other, and soon I could see Joe's Crab Shack's green roof and the finish bouy, so I was mentally preparing myself for what would come next. I rounded the bouy, climbed the metal stairs out of the water with the assistance of the volunteer, and looked at my watch....1:20ish. Rat farts. Ok, no looking back, because there's way to much in front of me to do. Deal. I ran up the ramp, across the bridge and tried to look for my family, but there were thousands of people screaming and it all became a blur, so I rounded the corner to the left and headed into transition, yelling my race number so the volunteers would have my bag ready. A girl handed me my bag and I jogged into the tent.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. That's just as good as I am in the water.
This went ok. I was fairly smooth and was glad I practiced this at home. I talked myself through it as I went. Towel off feet, socks, shoes, GARMIN, stuff stuff in bag, glasses in teeth while running with helmet out the tent and off to my bike. The tent volunteer was cool and just let me drop my bag where I was. I had to get my bike myself...no one handing out bikes as far as I could see, but that didn't really hurt. Took me a second to find it, but no time to speak off.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. I went as fast as I could without forgetting anything.
5h 42m 1s
There are few times in a person's life, where a small change in plans can have such life changing effect. This was one of those events, and I don't say that lightly. I had my new bike ready to go and over the past 10ish days, and it's been a awesome machine to ride. I had my new rear bottle cages for my two bottles, which were mixed double strength to give me 4 hours worth of nutrition, which is without a doubt the most important thing you can do all day. What you do or don't do on the bike will determine what will happen to you on the run. Screw up the bike...destroy your run. I also had my front aero bottle filled and my one frame bottle filled, giving me about 2 hours of nutrition there. Perfect, right? I had this planned for months. So I grab my bike, run it to the end to transition, get on board and take off riding. After about 200 yards, I instinctively reached back to feel my rear seat bottle, since it was a little bumpy coming out of transition, and the bottle on the right is GONE! OH CRAP! My mind begins to race as I feel for the other bottle...GONE! OH...MY ....GAUD! I instantly have to decide whether to go back and look for them, or go forward and deal with it. The mesh of bikes heading towards me was thick, and going back and searching for a bottle on the ground seemed impossible, so on I went. Ironman is all about dealing dealing with "problem management". You CAN'T go into this race thinking it's all going to work out perfectly. There are just to many opportunities for things to go wrong. Ok...time to take stock. I had 2 hours worth of nutrition on board for a 5+ hour ride. Using the WATER on the course would keep me hydrated, but not give me enough calories or electorlytes to stop me from "bonking" eventually. I couldn't remember if they were giving "sports drink" on the bike portion, or just the run portion. Really, I was at the mercy of what I encountered at the first aid station and then ever station every 10 miles after that. I had no choices here. I had to deal with what was in front of me....so I did. The first 10+ miles were great. I was pushing some great speeds in the low 20s without much effort. YEA NEW BIKE....YEA JIM! But I knew a dark cloud loomed ahead. I was soon faced with the lessor of two evils. "A"...I would be stuck with only water, and face a sure "bonk" near the end of the bike and a horrible run...or "B" I would end up with the IRONMAN sports drink by POWER BAR. I learned years ago that these sports drinks shut my stomach down, causing me to bloat and not to process any of the liquids, eventually making me dehydrate. This is why I searched long and hard and was able to come across INFINIT at a friends suggestion
) and it worked like a miracle. I never get hungry with it and it flows through me like poop through a goose! So, I approached the first transition and was mildly happy to discover that they had the sports drink. Better than water....but also maybe not. I grabbed one and stowed it in my crappy rear bottle cage, that I would be forever grabbing and yanking on for the remainder of the race to keep it from falling down far enough to launch the bottles out...which happened a few times anyhow. I was passing bikes in droves and hoards...For every 30 or more I passed, one guy might pass me. This went on for the next few hours. I turned to the out and back, and continued to do nothing but pass. On this section, there are some steep down hills, and it was getting aggravating dealing with the butt heads who would ride out in the middle or on the left as I'm whizzing down at 35+mph yelling at them to move....How could people get to this race and not realize this important safety rule?!? UGH! On the uphills, I resisted the urge to push to hard and tried to maintain the same power as I did on the flats. Going into a high heart rate on the bike only destroys the run...and the bike portion is all about setting you up for the run portion. Resisting the urge to go super fast when you know it's in you is quite a little internal battle. As I entered this section of the course, with it's ups and downs and rollers, I watched my average speed slowly decrease, but I was still passing bikes at the same pace, so I wasn't discouraged. I finished the out and back and turned right on to US42 and headed out to begin the double loop section through La Grange. Up and Down, up and down...pass, pass, pass. Eventually, on this first of two loops, I noticed the numbers of bikes in front of me began to thin out, which made me feel good. Passing so many people meant I had recaptured some places from my less than stellar swim, and although this was a time trial start, and the "passes" meant less, it was still a good indicator on how I was doing. Every now and then I would get passed, and it was interesting to note that half of the people who passed me seemed to be using rear disc wheels...whatever that is worth. I played PASS with a few people on the course, which makes the time go by faster when you are kinda seeing the same people often as you pass each other back and forth. I had my "bike legs" for this ride, but I could tell my "run" legs didn't seem like they were going to be waiting for me once I was done riding. I saw plenty of people with flat tires, but not in one particular place, so no one was throwing tacks on the course this year I guess. By the last few miles, I began to run out of all fluids, due to me dropping a bottle as I tried to fill my aero bottle at the last aid station. I did the last 2 miles without fluids; not terrible, but not great either. I hit the transition line, handed off my bike to a volunteer and began to jog to my RUN bag. My legs felt a bit tired, but what do you expect after 112 miles of riding.
What would you do differently?:
The obvious answer is to make sure all of my equipment works prior to race day, but thinking my rear bottle cage would be a issue wasn't even on my radar. Duh. But if that's what life needed me to deal with today, then I did what had to be done.
I'm usually a bit faster on T2, but not so much today. I was smooth, but just a little slow. Grabbed my bag from the volunteer, went into the tent, took off bike shoes and helmet, put on run shoes. Grabbed hat and fuel belt and put them on as I was running out the door.
What would you do differently?:
5h 20m 49s
12m 14s min/mile
So here is where the story gets interesting and where I learned more about myself than all previous races combined....ever. As soon as I exited the transition area, I knew my legs didn't have the "umph" they should. Even after the bike ride, I knew what they "should" feel like, and I wasn't feeling "it". But I told myself to just chill out and cruise the first couple of miles to let them work themselves out. I saw Mary and the kids on my way to the first mile, and I told her I wasn't feeling so well. She said I looked "great" but I had my doubts. Off I went on the bridge, and while running on it, I didn't feel so bad, in fact, I was feeling a tad better, so I raised my hopes a bit, but this was very short lived. I saw them as I exited the bridge again, which is a unspeakable boost to my morale, and then headed off to parts unknown. By the time I passed mile 2, I already felt my legs feeling tired instead of switching into it's normal "run" gears, and knew this was a bad sign and that now the bike problems would begin to make themselves known. I headed out of down town and south, into the neighborhoods of Louisvile. I feeling bad enough to quickly determine that I was going to walk the aid stations every mile in order to have any chance to make it to the end of 26.2 miles. I hit each aid station, used the iced sponges to drench myself in cold water, drank iced water and continued on. At mile 3 I was supposed to start my run nutrition with Hammer Gels, and then every 3 miles after, but I could tell my stomach was already full and wasn't emptying out what was already there, so gel wasn't going to do any good. Without my stomach emptying, my future was pretty set...not good and not long. The question was HOW long. As the mile markers ticked off, I watched my pace slowly creep from average to slow to REALLY slow. I hit the turn around and wondered what I would be like when I hit this mark again later. On I went, heading back towards the city, to hopefully see Mary and the kids for some type of inspiration and a boost. As I hit the city, I could feel everything beginning to shut down, and I was looking at this process in a detached sort of way...almost as a little science experiment to see what goes wrong with "me" when I try to push myself to far. I ran to the "finish line" area and was a little dazed here, almost become disoriented enough to not figure out were to go next, so I actually stopped and asked a spectator where I should go, and they pointed to the turn that would put me on course for my second OUT AND BACK loop. I shuffled on turned two corners and found Mary and the kids at the same spot we always wait for her when she does this race. She ran next to me for several yards and I told her about the bike. She swatted me on the butt and said she would see me again in a couple of hours....which turned out to be a little longer. On I went. Finally, I made it to mile 16, and my body said "enough". My "gut" area was feeling like it was shutting down and I was beginning to get light headed and couldn't maintain a completely straight line. So, with the little mental capacity I had left I made a decision. If I was going to finish the race and not end up in the back of an ambulance, I was going to have to walk. There were plenty of other people walking, but even they were blowing me away. I did this for about half a mile then tried to jog again, but immediately became very light headed again. All I wanted to do was go to the side of the road and lie down in the shady grass. I knew if I did, I'd never get back up, so I just continued to put one foot in front of the other as best as I could. At mile 17, I hit my "split" button on my watch to see just how long a mile was taking me. When I eventually came to mile 18, it had taken me 19 minutes. Crap. Ok, so 7 miles to go at that kind of pace would take me nearly 2 more hours. CRAP that was going to be a long time. But you know....I was kinda ok with that. It was either that or DNF
(DID NOT FINISH
), and I'd watched enough IRONMAN videos of people in worse shape than me cross that line, even if it took until midnight. I have NEVER quit, and I wasn't going to start today. I thought about the lesson this would teach my kids. No matter how bad you feel, if you can move forward, you are making progress, in races and in life. Move forward. Never quit. I saw a couple of police officers next to the road and asked to use their cell phone. I wanted to let Mary know that I was walking and this was going to take much longer to finish. No answer. I had them text her that I was walking now. By mile 19, I decided to walk to the turn around and then try something new. The course had orange cones down the middle of the road. I would jog from one cone to the next one, then walk the next set of cones. I turned the corner and started my jog/shuffle. My stomach/guts felt bad, but not as bad as before, and I wasn't feeling light headed now. Maybe the walking allowed my stomach to work out it's issues. At mile 21, I decided to walk one cone and jog 2 to see what happened. It was tough to first few times, but as mile marker 22 approached I decided to just start jogging and not stop unless my body began to shut down again. Also, the last couple of aid stations, I began drinking COKE and CHICKEN BROTH. For anyone who hasn't done an IRONMAN race, chicken broth is served on the later stages of the run. Someone in the past determined that chicken broth has some some type of magical and mysterious powers that make runners very happy and gives them strength. I believe that chicken broth saved my race. As I began my jog at mile 22, I began to feel progressively more like "myself" I still walked each aid station, drinking a cup of coke and a cup of broth, but each time I began running again I felt increasingly stronger. By mile 24, I was "almost" completely back to my normal running self, and by 25, I was leaps and bounds BETTER than my normal self! I was at full race pace now and I saw Mary and the kids with Mike and Kurt. They all looked extremely surprised to see me and I told them I was feeling great. They had it in mind to walk the last mile with me, but now their plan was blown. What a nice thing they were going to do! Kurt began jogging on the sidewalk next to me and talking to me. I was feeling good enough to run hard AND talk. Eventually, Mike caught up and they both too off ahead of me in order to try to beat me to the finish line so they could video me. On I went. I turned a corner to the left and knew I had one more turn to finish. The roar of the crowd was already crazy as people lined the streets 4 and 5 deep. I turned the last corner and it was amazing...as usual. I was by myself and people were screaming and yelling for me like I was winning this race. It was absolutely nuts. I was getting those wonderful chills. I was good with this. With one block to go, some guy passed me, but I let him because I wanted that finish line all to myself as I came in. A quick glance behind me told me no one was around me...so this was all mine. Kids and adults had their hands out for me to slap, and slap them I did. My name was on the front of my bib number and they were yelling my name. I crossed a timing mat just before the finish to let the announcer know my name and he said those magic words....."JIM WHITE, YOU ARE A IRONMAN". I crossed the line, hands in the air and a smile on my face. Yep. I am a freaking IRONMAN! Not my fastest race. Not my slowest. But I left nothing out there. I pushed it as hard as I could. I did not quit. I did not complain. I did not die. I put one foot in front of the next and reached my goal. A volunteer "caught" me and put my medal around my neck, then walked me along to get my shirt and hat, then my picture. I felt awesome! Sure, I was hurting, but nowhere near as bad as some marathons I've finished. I walked on to the street and was happy.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. I did it the best I was able to.
Walked around for a few then sat on the ground for a bit.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
The cosmos had it's own plans for me, so I could make up reasons, but they would just be reasons.
When I did Ironman Florida two years ago, I blazed through it and had an awesome time. That was a great thing and I was extremely happy. After 16 years of doing long races, I have never had a bad race and then recovered from it. When I go down the tubes, I usually stay down the tubes. I always finish, but it isn't always pretty. I learned more about myself on this race than all others combined. I saw that I have the ability to "come back" after things go wrong. I saw that I can push myself past some limits and mentally go on and in turn physically go on. Never give up. Never quit. Never....
Last updated: 2009-10-14 12:00 AM
01:21:10 | 4224 yards | 01m 55s / 100yards
Off the dock by Tumbleweeds, "upstream" between the shore and the island, turn left after island, then downstream.
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:42:01 | 112 miles | 19.65 mile/hr
Some with gusts
Out River Road to US 42, then a out and back you do only once, then a double loop through La Grange, then back down US42 to River Road and done.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
05:20:49 | 26.2 miles | 12m 14s min/mile
Out of transition, up to bridge to Indiana, mostly across it, back, then head out about 8 miles, come back to finish line, then head back out and back to finish again. Sounds easy doesn't it?
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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