My first Triathlon
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Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon - Full Redman - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Redman Triathlon
74.8F / 24C
= 14h 59m 8s
Age Group Rank
A few days prior I had a friend go through my bike and give it a tune up. He did way more than I was expecting. He greased the wheels, bottom bracket, headset, and even took my pedals apart and regreased the bearings. It was like a new bike. I then put my bell on the headset. Yep, the kind of bell you'd have on your bike as a kid. I planned on having fun, and not worrying about hitting times and competing. Don't get me wrong I had times that I thought I might be able to hit, but they weren't the main objective of the day. Crossing the line before midnight is all that mattered.
I headed up to the event site at 6:00 am the day before for practice swim and check in. I am glad I did the practice swim, because I learned that the first 4/10 mile was less than waist deep. I then checked in, got all of my cool swag, went to the racer's meeting, checked my bike in, and turned in my transition/ special needs bags. That evening my wife came up, and we went to dinner. She asked me how I thought I was going to do tomorrow. I replied "PR or ER!" She asked what that meant. I said I going to set a personal best for IM distance or go to the ER trying. She said it had better not be ER. Then after thinking about it for a bit, said, "You've never done an ironman before. Wouldn't any time be a PR?". Exactly, that's the point.
Woke up at 3:00 am. I took a hot bath on put on my number tattoos. We loaded everything from the hotel into the truck and headed out. We stopped at Beverly's pancake for some breakfast. I had a ham and cheese omelette, hashbrown's and pancakes. Yeah, that's a big prerace meal, but if I don't eat a hearty breakfast before a raceI always get stomach problems. After breakfast we found a place to park. Athlete's parking was about a mile away from the start. My wife was setting up base camp and she had a lot of stuff to carry. The first load, I carried all of my transition stuff, ice chest, table and two chairs. I then went back to get the easy up tent. By the time I got back to the starting area I had only a few minutes to set up my transtition and start staging for the swim.
Walking 4 miles while schlepping camp gear.
1h 17m 31s
01m 50s / 100 yards
At 6:45 we had our prerace meeting/pep talk as they were staging us into the coral. My wife wasn't back from her final trip to the truck getting all of the base camp gear. She is 6'2" so I was hoping to find her in the crowd. I hadn't yet received my ritual prerace kiss and hug. They then called the white caps onto the boat ramp. Still no sighting of my wife or any family. "Take what the day gives you". We started parading down the ramp into the way. It was magnificent. I couldn't believe how calm I was. I was able to take everything in and enjoy the moment. Sunrise, full moon, calm water....Once we were in the water, not even waist deep, it was still 15 minutes until start time. Plenty of time to look around and reflect on the journey just to get to this point. I was about to do something I have only dreamt about for 30 years. Then the announcer said 2 minutes until start time, then "Ironman" came over the stereo system. I was totally expecting it but it still but it still got me a little emotional.
Ready set go! The water was so shallow, you could have walked the first 4/10 mile. Not wanting to get caught up in the washing machine effect, I waded for about a minute, keeping up with everyone trying to swim in the chaos. Once the crowd thinned a bit, I got in the water and started swimming. I used the moon to navigate with. It was working pretty well. Everytime I would look up to sight I was right on target. I was coming into the the end of lap one. Race plan was going perfect. I hadn't yet gone anaerobic. I was feeling good. I was once again in shallow water so I stood up a little to look around and take it all in. Over the stereo I heard Bon Jovi singing. "Half way there, whoa-ohhhh living on a prayer." The guy behind me stood up at the bouy too. I said "nice song". He laughed and we continued on our way. I found myself swimming right next to someone. Just like swimming with my swimming partner, I dropped back to where my head was even with his stomach. There I was able to get a little draft and use him for sighting. He was swimming straight, so I no longer had to waste energy to sight off of the bouys. On the back stretch of the last loop I started swimming through the slower HIMers. I swam until my hands hit the bottom and stood up. There was my wife, in front of the crowd taking pictures and yelling for me. I had been thinking about getting my kiss while running up the ramp, but all I said was "Are my parents here?"
(my dad can barely walk 50 feet, I was afraid that the shuttles weren't running, and he'd try to walk that far, putting himself in the hospital
). The wet suit strippers were yelling at me, so I sat down and let them go to work. I was thinking I can't believe how easy this is so far, what a fantastic day. I just might actually be able to do this thing.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. It was absolutely perfect.
I took my time. I walked the entire way from water to tent to bike. The volunteers in the changing tent were terrific. According to plan, I didn't take in any nutrition. I walked to the mount line, where my wife and mother-in-law were yelling for me. I rang the bell and got a few laughs.
What would you do differently?:
6h 54m 4s
"Don't eat the paste!" My plan was to start in zone 1 and end in zone 2. I wasn't able to keep HR in zone 1 one the first lap, but I was able to keep it in zone 2. I was being passed by everyone it seemed. I had to remind myself that this was 112 miles and I needed legs for later. At 30 minutes I took in my first nutrition
) and some water. At the second aid station I picked up more water. It was ice cold. Damn!
(I have deducted that in every event that I have had gi issues, it was immediately after drinking an ice cold drink
) I took a few sips and my stomach instantly hurt. I decided not to drink from that bottle until it had warmed up a bit. I knew I was going to have to ration my water intake if I was going to have to let it warm up first. During the first loop I ran out of warm water, but I was terribly thirsty. I stopped at the next aid station and asked if they had any water that wasn't on ice. They did, but they'd have to go get it. So this was the new plan. Every water break from then on was a complete stop and wait. "Take what the day gives you" I think my total stoppage time
(water breaks and bathroom breaks
) was close to 25:00.
I stayed with my race plan and only got above zone 2 on some of the longer steeper hills. Nothing I could do about that. I stopped at special needs and grabbed my Redbulls and Yoohoos. Nothing but liquid nutrition for the last half of the ride. I was feeling very strong still. Through my first 3 laps I was averaging 17+ mph
(that's with water stops omitted
) I was very pleased with my pace. I was having a great time. I was thanking volunteers and ringing the bell for the roadside fans. The bell was great. It reminded me to have fun and I recommend it to anyone. From my 5 training centuries, I knew that miles 80-95ish could be very dark. I was ready. It never happened. On my last lap, I made sure to thank every volunteer, policeman, and traffic control person I saw. I rang my bell for all of the spectators ringing cowbells. I was having fun! I felt great from beginning to end. My training, race day execution, and nutrition plan had all worked perfectly. I couldn't believe how easy the first 2/3 of my ironman had been.
What would you do differently?:
Train for several consecutive years so that I could be faster, and figure out how to have enough warm water so that I wouldn't have to stop.
After a few days thought: I wouldn't switch to liquid nutrition for the last half, and I would do Redbull shots instead of whole cans, so that I wouldn't feel so bloated and I could eat solid foot.
I rang my bell profusely coming into T2!!!! Woohoo. I knew the hard part was coming up, but I was feeling great. I racked my bike, put on my running shoes, and walked to the changing tent. On the way to the tent, I stopped at the T2 aid station and asked for some warm water. They had only iced water and informed me that that was what was on the whole course. UGH! Oh well, you can't do a marathon in 90+ degrees with no water. So I drank a cup. Instant pain. Changed in the tent. I had put a lot of food in my T2 bag just-in-case. None of it looked good so I headed out. Here we go "The run is where ironman dreams die"
What would you do differently?:
Have a bottle of water in my transition bag. Eat some of the food that was in my T2 bag
(cheese, beef sticks, chicken soup, pringles
6h 35m 32s
15m 06s min/mile
I came out of T2 feeling way better than I had expected too. I saw my Dad for the first time, and finally got that kiss from my wife. I was feeling pumped. I was a little stiff, but I knew this would work out by mile 4. Unfortunately, I didn't get to that point. In my excitement I forgot to pee in T2, so I stopped at the first aid station I came across. My urine was a little dark so I determined that I had to drink some water even if it was cold. I put a Hammergel in my race belt, and downed a cup of water. It did not settle well. I ran to the next aid station, had my Hammergel eaten before I got there, so all I had to do was wash it down with some water. My stomach really revolted this time. It was cramping and I was in a lot of pain. I could no longer run. At 3.2 miles I was on the side of the road throwing up. I don't know how long I was there, but it seemed like an eternity. When I was done I felt much better. I was able to run/walk for the rest of the loop to mile 6.55, but I skipped the aid stations because the thought of eating was disgusting. I gave my friends and family the thumbs up. Told them I had gotten sick but I was feeling better now.
(6.5 - 13.1
I stopped at the first aid station again to pee. I was thinking this was a good sign, as I was surely hydrated well enough despite gi issues. But my urine was very dark and the temperature was rising into the 90'. I knew I needed water
(I have had plenty of heat training this year
). I also did some math in my head to check my blood sugar levels. They were doing fine, so I just grabbed some water. Again, my stomach protested to the ice water. By mile 7ish I was doubled over in pain. By mile 8 I was on the side of the road throwing up again. On top of the stomach pain, I could feel myself bonking. My ability to do mental math was gone, my legs were slowing, and I was just plain tired. It was very dark from miles 8-9. I threw up again, and I was no longer walking straight. People were asking me if I was ok, and did I need medical. I was thinking the only way I was going to take medical was if they came and picked me up off of the road. It was "PR or ER" afterall. I then started getting mad, and mentally blaming the aid stations for my failure. blah, blah, blah I was having a pity party. Then I remembered the race plan I put together for my friends and family to read. One of the run mantras was to "Stay in the box"
(only worry about those things that I can control, and no whining about what was out of my control - I often say "Take what the day gives you"
) Well today was giving me gi issues. If I wanted PR, I was going to have to change something. I went through the steps of problem solving. 1. Identify the problem. The real problem wasn't the fact that only ice water was available on the run course. The real problem was that I can drink cold water on an empty stomach. I have to eat in the mornings before I drink cold liquid or my stomach feels this same way. Step 2 brainstorm solutions. I thought about looking for water fountains along the trail, asking for warm water from spectators
(I didn't care if it was against the rules at this point
). Find some "real" food somewhere and force myself to eat it. The next aid station was awesome. They had a smorgasbord of food. I asked if they had anything fatty, pizza, mayonaise, anything. They had PB and J's hidden away. Woo Hoo! I then asked if they anything to drink that wasn't iced down. I didn't care what it was. They had 7-up. I had 1 1/2 sandwiches, 3 cups of 7-up, and some salt tabs. My stomach felt brand new. I was still bonking hard and I knew that I couldn't run until some of this food hit my system. I walked/staggered the remainder of the loop, eating grapes, bananas, and 7-up at each station. I walked past family and friends unable still to run. I shrugged my shoulders.
(my way of apologizing for wasting their time, I know they didn't come to watch me take a stroll in the park
) My second loop was a dismall 2:05.
(13.1 - 19.6
I was starting to feel better. My wife and friend were heading to dinner, and we met up about mile 14. We walked for a bit and decided I was feeling good enough to start running again. I was able to run/walk the remainder of the loop. I stopped at each aid station for fruit, salt, and 7-up at each aid station. The only exception was mor PB & J's at the turn around aid station. I was feeling good, and I knew that I was going to finish now. I was excited as this was my fastest lap. 1:20!
(19.6 - 26.2
At mile 20ish my legs started to seize up. It wasn't like training runs, where they would just quit working. It was more like pre-cramping. I started walking. I was a chore just to walk. My legs really wanted to stop, but I remember advice from BT that said "never ever sit down, keep moving foward". The aid station at mile 21 said it looked like I needed some potatoes and coke. I took their advice. I rolled the boiled potato cubes in salt. Delish! I washed it down with some coke and hobbled to the next aid station. More salt and more coke. I could feel the urge to cramp slowly subside. I tried to run. My legs almost gave out. I had images of some of those crazy IM finishes. I didn't want to go there. I figured it would be easier to walk normal the remaining 4 miles than it would be do duck walk. I had another coke at the next aid station. I tried running again, but I wobbled again, and even took a few steps backwards. I said, "shut up legs, do what I tell you to do!" But they weren't listening. At about mile 23 I could feel the coke working. I tried to run again, and it worked this time. With each step I was feeling better and my legs were loosening up. Then I could see the lights of the finish line 1 mile away. They were awesome! I got a little emotional as I knew my dream of becoming an Ironman was just minutes away. My wife was waiting at the finish line with her "140.6 until I get my husband back" t-shirt. This 36 week journey was finally coming to an end for both of us. I pulled myself together
(it's hard to run and cry at the same time
) and cruised through the shoot. I ran the final 5K in about 29:00. I couldn't believe it.
I always wondered what I would do when I crossed the finish line. As it turns out I was too conservative and tired to do anything but stop. I had to bend way down for my finisher's medal as the volunteer couldn't reach my head. She asked what size t-shirt I needed. XXL. She said that she didn't bring any of those, so I'd have to wait until she went to get them. I waited forever, and finally got my shirt. When I stood up, I realized why you never, ever stop in an IM. My legs were done, and already stiffening up. Wow! I then met up with my family and vowed to never do another IM again. Lots of hugs and kisses.
What would you do differently?:
Get my stomach problem fixed so that I can drink cold water on an empty stomach.
After a week of looking into my stomach problem. It could be gastritis. All of the same symptoms. It's number one cause - NSAID's. So what I would do different would be to take longer to train for an IM so that I wouldn't have to take so many NSAID's because of hip, foot, knee, IT band, etc... pain.
I laid down while my friends helped my wife load up all the camp gear.
On the way home I got very cold and was shivering uncontrollably.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Nutrition and hydration plan.
I would do Redman again, but I'd do the 70.3. My next IM will be mDot. I wanna hear "Ray Samford, you are an IRONMAN!" "Ray Samford you are a finisher of the Redman Irondistance Triathlon", just doesn't have the same magic.
Last updated: 2010-01-05 12:00 AM
01:17:31 | 4224 yards | 01m 50s / 100yards
75F / 24C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:54:04 | 112 miles | 16.23 mile/hr
4 out-and-back loops
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:35:32 | 26.2 miles | 15m 06s min/mile
4 out and back loops.
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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