My first Triathlon
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Ironman Arizona- JCHYTE - TriathlonFull Ironman
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Ironman North America
89F / 32C
= 16h 34m 44s
Age Group Rank
woke about 4am to eat and start filling my bottles with Acceleraide and carbo-pro. I felt really calm and relaxed for having such a big event starting in just a few hours.
Did a little stretching, mostly while I was trying to pull my wet suit on. used the 15 minutes of wading time after the pro start to warmup for the swim.
1h 31m 22s
02m 10s / 100 yards
After entering the water with my brother and a couple other friends we all kind of silently slipped off to get a little warm up in and to absorb the moment. The banks and the bridges of the lake where filled with spectators all of which were trying to pick out their athlete from the sea of black wet suits and white or blue caps. I was planning on starting closer to the back of the pack but by the time the 10 to15minutes of wading passed I found my self right smack in the middle and about 10-15 people back from the front. Right before the cannon went off I thought, “Holy Crap, I’m going to get pounded out here”.
The cannon went off and the swim section started like a WWF match in the water. At 1st everyone seemed to be holding their line and I seemed to find a nice space between a couple of other swimmers then someone in front of me STOPPED and started breaststroking. What the Heck! This caused me to pull up for just a brief moment because I couldn’t go left or right, well the swimmers right behind me didn’t seem to care what was going on in front of them, they just plowed over the top of me like I was a boat ramp.
My goal for the swim and for the race in fact was to simply meet each cut-off time one at a time so I wasn’t trying to break any speed records on the swim
(Not that I could anyway
) but just get out of the water feeling good and before the cut-off time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. The crowd in the water had a faster pace than I was comfortable with but if I slowed down I got run over so I keep the pace. I hit the turn around in about 38 mins.
(a great pace for me
) But with a HR that was pumping so I decided to swim more to the outside on the way back and ease it up some so I wouldn’t leave all my energy in the water.
On the way back I just watched the landmarks slowly pass by on my left. First the Scottsdale Bridge then the ASU stadium, some big tall ugly building, the 1st Mill Ave Bridge then the next. Then I saw the stairs leading out of the water I was going to make the 1st cut-off! SWEET!
When I finally pulled my self out of the water I felt great! I paced myself right and survived the water-wrestling match.
What would you do differently?:
Not much other than get more time in with the wet suit. 6 months ago I was really pushing the 2+ hour cut off time for this distance so coming in at 1-1/2 hours was one great feeling.
Oh, a lessons learned item. for this race I found out in practice and on race day to sight the course just follow the suns reflection in the water on the 1st half. The reflection took you in a straight line right to the 1st turn around bouy.
The wet suit strippers where great, I guess by the time I got to them they had their system down pat. The crowd was great coming out of the water as well. It was really cool having people scream your name as you ran past.
The TRANSISTION AREA. I believe this is the root of what is going to turn out to be a very long
(longer than expected
) and painful day.
In my rush to get moving onto the bike leg I neglected to actually dry my feet. A little step in the scheme of things but as it turns out a very big one to miss. More on that later.
What would you do differently?:
slow down some and make sure not to miss anything. For this distance race I'm going to complete change into bike shorts next time.
7h 19m 34s
As I was crossing the mount line to start the bike leg one of the guys I’ve trained with yells out “go Big John” and like the wave in a football stadium the crowd picked up on that statement and one after the other yelled it all the way to the street.
Let me start off by saying that I rode this bike course almost every weekend for the past 3 months in one form or another
(1 to 3 loops
) so mentally and physically I was ready and prepared for the 112 miles I was embarking on. So I thought.
I’m not 100% sure if I drank too much regular water or lake water or it was just nerves but I didn’t make it 10 miles before my stomach starting cramping something fierce. I new I had a long day ahead of me so I calmly just slowed down and spun until I came across the 1st aide station where I had an extended stay at one of the blue houses on the side of the rode. Sparing all the details I never seemed to recover fully from my stomach issues but I needed to keep moving forward. My mantra for the day will be “Just keep moving forward”.
I actually had a very detailed plan for both the pace of each lap and nutrition for the bike leg. It was very simple and I practiced it many times but today was different somehow and it took me too long to adjust. A very bad thing on this length of course is to not be flexible. I stuck with my nutrition plan although it was more and more obvious that it was making me feel worse and my pace was dropping slower and slow as a result. By mile 50 I felt like crap! I had muscles cramping
(quads, my sides, stomach everything
) I didn’t want to drink or eat anything, I think I even stopped sweating
(at 90’f this was a very very bad thing
) and to top it off sometime in the last few mile I had developed blisters on both of my feet, to the point where it was hurting to apply pressure to the pedals. In 18 months of doing races and training I have never once developed a single blister now today of all days both my feet are killing me.
I was wreck! Just let me say that I’m man enough to admit that the emotions of countless hours and miles of training going down the drain not even halfway thru the day had the tears flowing as I cruised along at 4 to 5 mph slower than my easy pace on this course.
In my head I heard 2 things that snapped me out of my funk. 1st “Just keep moving forward” and 2nd from the BT site “suck it up buttercup”, every time I hear that statement it makes me laugh. So I sucked it up and keep moving forward.
I ditched my plan that wasn’t working today and switched to only drinking Gatorade and pouring water on my head at every aide station. I also stopped at each aide station just long enough to get off the pedals and relieve the pressure/ pain from my feet. I kept moving forward, my eye only on the next time cut off, starting the 3rd lap before 3:30pm.
Somewhere on the 2nd loop I was passed by Dana
) and Jessica
) at the same time. They both looked great and seemed like they where having a good day. There was some conversation about peeing on the bike but with my head not focusing right I thought Jessica said she has to pee from her bike so somehow I managed enough extra effort to put me in front of her for awhile so she could do her thing. Later I found out that wasn’t the case but I played it safe just in case.
I managed to pass the next time cut off at 2pm over an hour ahead of the cut-off. I smiled and started calculating the time to the next cut-off, my next target time.
I came into the bike dismount right at 4pm feeling a little better than death warmed over but I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone could see the huge smile on my face. I bet the bike cut-off time. Keep moving forward.
What would you do differently?:
Be more flexible on the bike leg if the plan isn't working simply adjust.
At the bike dismount several volunteers grabbed my bike and steadied me as I tried to walk towards the timing mat, I vaguely remember them asking if I need anything off my bike as I stumbled towards the transition area to find my running stuff. It seemed to me that I was in the tent forever but 8 minutes was nothing compared to my brothers 23. All I could think about was my feet are killing me and I HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
As I exited the T2 area another volunteer dished out the sunscreen for me
(See picture below
As a side note: I got in the wrong line for volunteers, I had a guy who squirted the sunscreen in my hand for me to apply whereas the guy next to me had 2 ladies apply the sunscreen all over him, go figure.
As I applied the sunscreen I noticed my whole family screaming my name from behind the barricade a very cool feeling having loved one cheer you on..
What would you do differently?:
Plan better which line I get in for the sunscreen.
7h 27m 35s
17m 05s min/mile
As I started out on the marathon portion of today’s event all I could think about was with the way my feet felt and pain that still lingered in my lower back/ side that there was NO WAY that I was going to finish before midnight but I had to try, I was not going to quit. Getting pulled from the course is one thing but quitting is not an option.
As I started out of the gate walking I started to do the math in my head. Only 7hrs 45min to go 26 miles I need to average just over 17.5min/mile, no problem. I started ticking off the miles. The 1st mile was at 15:30, sweet I gained some time I’ll need that later. That was my thinking process; just keep moving forward and run when you can.
My brother and I passed each other on the middle of Scottsdale Bridge going opposite directions and exchanged some words of encouragement but I could slow any further to talk I had to keep moving. By the time we passed again at the same spot on lap 2 the pain in my side/ back was so bad I couldn’t take a full breath of air. I was only taking short shallow breaths and each step sent pain from my feet
(I was afraid to look at them because they felt like hamburger by now
) to my head. I stopped briefly on that bridge to express to Dan I actually don’t think I can finish this thing. He slipped me 2 advil and repeated what I’ve been saying in my head for hours “JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD, YOU CAN DO IT”. I kept moving. This was a defining moment. I truly think that if Dan would have not been there at that moment with his few words I would have stopped at the next aide station or EMT I saw and would have been done.
The entire run course is a blur except for a few parts, The turn around for each lap, because my wife, kids and other family members where waiting there to holler words of encouragement as I went stumbling by. Aide station#4
(I think that’s the number, mile 7 anyway
) because of having several training buddies there along with some of their family members gave me an added boost to keep moving forward.
Somehow I managed to make up enough time in the 1st 2 laps that I was able to slow it down for the last lap and as I started that last 8+miles I was all smiles, I made another cut off time, starting the 3rd lap before 10:30pm. That means only one more cut off to go, midnight.
My breathing was better now only my feet where getting more sore and more painful so after doing a little more math I figured I could slow down some and finish about 11:30 verses 11:00 and still have ½ hour to spare after all my goal was to finish not to beat a time. That last lap seemed to fly by, I received all kinds of encouragement from friends, family, volunteers and other folks doing the run/walk thing to the finish line.
The best thing ever was getting the strength from somewhere and being able to jog down the finishing line shoot with my wife and 2 boys. I think my two sons where more happy than me as they high-fived everyone they could all the way down the line.
I MADE IT!
What would you do differently?:
Besides improving my running skills, on this day I couldn't have done anything better today was just about getting to the finishline before midnight.
Went to the med tent after the finish to see if they could help my feet, they couldn't really do anything so I elected to not even take off my shoes until I could keep them off. They actaully ran out of the food my the time I got to the athlete's tent except for a very old hamburger so that was a bummer, oh well I guess that's what happens when you take so long on the course.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
In a word, Issues.
In re-reading everything I wrote regarding this race I want to make it perfectly clear I still had a good time, as crazy as that sounds. I had challenges thrown at me that I never faced before in any of my other races or in training. I had stomach issues, various muscle cramps, foot pain, blisters
(the entire width of and on both my feet
), hydration issues breathing pains and momentary lapses of mental fortitude but I went into today knowing this was going to be the most difficult thing I had ever done, it was. I learned a lot from today’s “issues” and thanks to family, friends and the many volunteers on the course I was able to dig down deep within myself and become an IRONMAN.
Last updated: 2005-12-09 12:00 AM
01:31:22 | 4224 yards | 02m 10s / 100yards
The course was a on loop out and back trip around Tempe Town Lake. starting into the sun so visability was next to nothing. Iactually just followed the sun's reflection in the water which wored great.
70F / 21C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
07:19:34 | 112 miles | 15.29 mile/hr
Some with gusts
a 3 loop course from Tempe town lake to the bee-line hwy and back.
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
07:27:35 | 26.2 miles | 17m 05s min/mile
Some confussing laps around Tempe town lake times 3.
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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