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Ford Ironman World Championship - TriathlonFull Ironman
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World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
= 11h 33m 10s
Age Group Rank
1h 24m 24s
01m / 100 yards
5h 48m 28s
4h 10m 37s
09m 34s min/mile
Ironman Hawaii Race Report
October 13, 2007
It’s all about the Journey
The journey to the Ford Ironman World Championship was a wonderful ride for me. As most of you know, my wife and I made a trip over to the Big Island three years ago. I had watched the Ironman on TV and had been inspired by the myriad of stories and images of epic human battles, and thought it would be cool to see it “up close and personal”
Up to this point, I had not done a triathlon, I was not a swimmer, nor did I have a bike. I was an experienced marathon runner, thus my interest in endurance events. We volunteered that “fateful” day in October 2004, and after witnessing the event, I was “taken up” by its majesty, difficulty, and beauty. I also said to myself, there is no way I could “ever, ever, ever” complete those distances, and of course, I would forever be a spectator for the World Championship.
The distances of an Ironman seemed mind boggling to me at that time. A 2.4 mile swim was just not something I could get my “arms around”. 112 miles on the bike; heck, I don’t like driving that far. Then run a marathon; crazy. All in the same day!
I must have had a change of heart about completing the distance, because when I returned to California, I proceeded to sign up for the Florida Ironman which would be held in November 2005. While training for Florida
(I joined a swim team and I bought a bike!
), I signed up for the Wisconsin Ironman to be held September 2006. I was now “in” for two Ironman competitions before even completing my first one!
I did great in my first event in Florida
), and I went on a “mission” to try and reach the “podium” in my age group when I competed in Wisconsin in 2006. Low and behold, I had a great race in Wisconsin, and finished in 4th place in my age group; thus securing a Kona Slot for the 2007 event. I now had a year to think about and train for Kona. What a thrill.
In the world of triathlon, Kona is spoken about in a reverent and respectful manner; I now more fully appreciate why that is the case. I had seen the event on TV many times, and now, holy cow…I was in it! The electricity in the staging area was amazing. The athletes were also very courteous and friendly. Volunteers; they were “over the top”.
As I leaped into the crystal clear waters of Kailua Bay, joining 1,800 athletes for what would be a long day of racing, I was surprisingly relaxed as the helicopters hung above us, and the thousands of spectators lined the entire bay.
Let’s go for a 2.4 mile swim
I jumped into the ocean off the pier. My buddy Ben told me that was a practice reserved for the professional triathletes; oh well. I treaded water for about 10 minutes, seeded my self to the far left and back about ½ way. The cannon blew, and the swim started. It was the “cleanest” swim start I have experienced. As we approached the first buoy, everyone was converging closer and closer. I had some “friendly” contact, and just kept pushing ahead. The water was beautiful, and you could see the fish and sea life below.
It was hard to actually see anything with the mass of arms and splashing, so I just decided to follow the “feet” in front of me. At the turnaround, I found a swimmer who was going at what seemed to be a good pace. I hung on to her feet
(the draft makes it much easier an effort for the swim
), and followed her all the way back. A couple of times I tried to pass her and it was too hard an effort, so I just decided to let her do the work.
This was my third Ironman, and the first time to do an Ironman without a wetsuit. Wetsuits are not allowed in the 80 degree water of Hawaii. A wetsuit gives me a huge advantage and I swim much faster with one on. I felt great coming out of the water, and just wanted to get on my bike and start what would be one of the best parts of my race.
I finished the swim in 1h 24 minutes.
The 112 mile bike journey----LAVA---HEAT---HUMIDITY---WIND---
Madam Pele did not disappoint. The weather conditions caused last year’s male/female champions to pull out of the race. I was finally going to get my chance to “tackle” the “Queen K” and ride the Hawaii Ironman Bike Course. Hot and humid is one thing; strong/punishing winds can simply demoralize. I figured everyone else has the same battle, so let’s give this thing a “go”.
Several times while I was riding the bike, I said to my self….hey Lar Dog, you are in the Hawaii Ironman. It was surreal.
Out on the bike course, I had numerous friends from my triathlon club, friends from California, friends from work, and my family. They were screaming my name as I zoomed by. As you may know, swimming is not my strength, whereas biking and running are my weapons. I passed a large number of people on the bike; I know it had to be at least 450!
I got into a good rhythm as I got out onto the Queen “K”, and felt very strong. Hank from Edge
(the bike shop I am loyal to
), set me up perfectly on my bike with the best race wheels, and aerodynamic “everything”!
The course takes you north up the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, and as the Lava heats up, and the hot air rises, the cooler ocean air blows in to fill the void. This creates the heavy wind conditions. The wind started to be a factor when I made the turn at Kawaihae, to head uphill
) to Hawi
). Athletes were starting to suffer at this point, but I felt strong and continued to pass people. I only remember a few people passing me all day, and most of them, I passed before we got into T2.
I kept drinking my fuel, and taking in salt, and felt I was doing a good job with hydration. I couldn’t eat anything, but I did force down a ¼ of a banana. I reached Hawi for the turnaround back to Kona, and it is 8 miles of glorious downhill with a tailwind….woooo-hoooo!
Once I finished the 8 mile downhill, it was back to cross winds, and headwinds. Some of the crosswinds were scary. I was being pushed pretty hard and felt like it could knock me off my bike. My coach
) told me that the “Death Zone” is between Kawaihae and the Kona Airport, where he said there would be a lot of “carnage”. He was right. People were loosing it in that stretch between miles 75 and 105. I felt strong and continued to push my pace.
10 miles from the finish, I knew I was having a great bike segment. All of the “hard” interval work I have done in my garage at 5:30 in the morning was starting to pay off. Also, my long quality rides with my training partners throughout the summer were paying their dividends. Coach McCormack
(aka as M2
) gets a lot of credit for teaching me how to become strong, efficient, and fast on the bike, with the least possible amount of training; thanks M2!
I was really happy as I flew down the last stretch of Palani Road into T2
), where I again saw numerous family and friends who were screaming their heads off. I was looking forward to the marathon and seeing what I had left in my ‘tank”.
I finished the bike segment in 5h 48 minutes, and averaged 19.3 MPH on the bike. This was by far the best bike performance of my life.
26.2 miles left on this journey called Ironman
Exiting transition, the mass of crowds propelled me onto the run course. I banged out a 7:40 mile and felt decent. I knew that pace would not last, so I slowed it down a bit. The first 10 miles of the run are an “out/back” on Ali’i Drive. Some shade, and a lot of people. At mile 4 I experienced my first severe hamstring cramp. The kind that “lock your leg” and you cannot run or really even walk. I continued to swallow my salt pills, and take in nutrition, but the preceding bike segment had me very dehydrated. I had not gone pee all day until I finally had gotten to T2
(off the bike
). That was the first and last time I went all day.
The only way I could keep the leg cramps at “bay” was to slow my running pace. If I sped up, the cramps would seize up on me. At mile 7 I got the hamstring cramps in both legs, had to stop, walk them off, stretch, then resume running. This pattern continued throughout the run, where I could run 3 miles with no cramps, then all of a sudden, BAM…both legs, one leg, you name it. The dehydration was causing my pace to slow.
I said before the race, the only way I would not finish was if they had to carry me off the course in an ambulance, so I was not deterred. I saw numerous people I knew while I was running and we gave each other “pep talks”. There were a lot of people suffering and I saw several throwing up their nutrition along the side of the road; I felt really bad for them.
Once I got through the first 11 miles, it is off to the lonely lava fields on the Queen “K” highway. This is a hard stretch, no shade what-so-ever, and hardly any spectators. You have to run about 6 miles out to the Natural Energy Lab, then down into the Lab Road, where it is a furnace of heat and humidity.
I pounded down as much coke as I could, water, gels, salt pills to re-hydrate. I was pouring water over my body and cold sponges every chance I could get, yet the heat was oppressive. I was still able to run, just not at the pace I am accustomed to. As I was running, I thought this marathon might take me 4 ½ hours to complete. I started feeling “sorry” for myself. This was by far the hardest run I have ever had to do. I was tired, in pain in my hamstrings, and I knew if I tried to run faster, I would be a “goner”.
I then had a moment of enlightenment, and said “dude, you are in the Hawaii Ironman, embrace the pain, keep moving forward, and quit worrying about the time; I took my own advise.
When I got to mile 22, I knew I was almost home. I could see the lights of Kona, and with a couple miles to go, I could start to hear a buzz of people, and the lights got brighter.
I was told that the last mile is a magical one, and I must say, whoever told me that was “right on”. I ran down Palani Road, and people were really encouraging me. I turned left on Kuakini and knew I was only a ½ a mile from the finish. I turned on Hualaili and the crowd was getting thick, one more turn on to Ali’i Drive, and it was a deafening noise with a mass of humanity everywhere. The music was pumping and all the pain and suffering was history.
I had a hop in my step, and heard my name announced. I remember pumping my fist, seeing my brother Rob about 100 yards from the finish line screaming my name, and then I saw the finish line. My wife Kim, my boys Erik and Tony, and my friend Wendy were there to receive me. This was one of the greatest days of my life.
Pure joy is a rare feeling for me and maybe for you. However, this was as pure of joy that I have felt in my life. Sort of like the feeling of witnessing my children being born. Thus on October 13th, I was born into the fraternity of “The Hawaii Ironman.”
I ended up finishing the marathon in 4h 10 minutes and finished the race in 11h 30 minutes. I could not be happier with my results. I gave it the best I had to give and I am proud of it. I did end up in the medical tent after I finished and received an I.V.
Many props, thanks, kudos, love, and aloha to all my co-workers, my friends, my family, my training buds, and my coaches for their tremendous help, encouragement, and support. We don’t get very far in our lives without the help of others, and I for one am grateful for the help and generosity of everyone.
I had a big audacious dream 3 years ago, that someday, maybe I could do the Hawaii Ironman. It seemed too big, too hard, and with my talent, not very likely. I dared to dream big, and my dream came true.
I hope and pray that my journey will cause you to be inspired, to dream big, and to go after something that is seemingly “out of your reach”. We can all make our dreams come true if we really want them to and we are willing to commit 100% to its attainment.
We may not always be successful in our quest, but when it all comes down to it; it really is “ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY”.
Last updated: 2007-01-08 12:00 AM
01:24:24 | 4224 yards | 01m / 100yards
0F / 0C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:48:28 | 112 miles | 19.28 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:10:37 | 26.2 miles | 09m 34s min/mile
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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