Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ironman North America
72F / 22C
Total Time = 14h 58m 38s
Overall Rank = 2105/2556
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 404/
Pre-race routine:

Tossed and turned after about four hours of sleep. Decided to get up at 0300 and eat breakfast, take a shower and surf the internet. Gathered up my dry clothes and special needs bags. Ken (swimmng480) and a lifelong friend Vince picked me up at 0500 for the drive to Tempe.
Event warmup:

Vince dropped off my bags while I headed into transition. I told him that I would be out in a few minutes to find him. Ha! The area was packed and I could not find him.

I did the usual stuff at the potty, filled up tires and aerodrink etc. Pretty calm.

I shook Dustin's (duju) hand at body marking and Dean's (rotordean). I wished him luck. For those of you that are not local, please go read rotordeans race report.

Met up with my long time training partners Tanya (standswithfist), Jerry (perkins_jerry) and Chris (cordova61). We were joking around while putting on our wetsuits and goggles. There was one conversation about a kayaker and the ability to take on another that really had me laughing hard. This just took the remaining tension out of me.
  • 1h 28m 59s
  • 4224 yards
  • 02m 07s / 100 yards

I have never been a strong swimmer. I have always been comfortable in the water just slow. I recall my first swim in this lake two years ago. I stopped 2x to rest during a sprint swim.

We were standing by the water's edge when the pro's went off. I quickly ran down the lake towards the swim exit looking for my family. I did not see them but saw Milton (mm5093).

Just as I returned the volunteers started to yell at us to get in the water. I was bracing for the cold water but found it to be fine. I wore a full wetsuit, 2 caps and earplugs. I have raced in 52 and 59 degree water so 63 felt balmy.

Tanya, Jerry, Chris and I started just under the new Mill Ave bridge towards the center of the lake. The idea was to get away from the wall where the majority of the others were. The national anthem was played and then the cannon went off.

I waited for a few seconds for the crowd to get started and then I went. There was plenty of bumping, grabbing and kicking. I have learned over the years to just keep swimming. I really try not to allow others to disrupt me, although at times I did feel like a human pinball.

I headed east towards the Scottsdale bridge. I just focused on staying within myself and sighting correctly. Once under the bridge I started sighting for the turn bouy. This turned out to be farther than I thought it was.

I reached it and made the turn and right about then is when I started to get tired of the bumping. There was a female who was doing some sort of breast stroke kick just taking up too much space. Then on the backside I got kicked in the goggles and then about 10 feet later kicked in the face.

I then just started to pick up the pace whenever someone was bothering me. When I had clear water, I would focus on lenghtening my stroke, rotating by hips and using nice fluid flutter kicks.

Once back to the Mill Ave bridge, I saw the final turn bouy and picked up the pace some more. I then went straight for the stairs.

I got out and stood at the top for a moment to take off my cap and goggles. I did this so my family would be able to spot me. They did. I then ran to the strippers and to the changing tent. Along the way I saw Kelly (tri2befitaz) and gave her a high five.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I took Masters swim all summer to improve my swim. Although, I did not swim longer than 2500-3000. I was in the pool 3x a week with a coach.
Transition 1
  • 15m

This was a new experience for me. First time in the change tent. I knew I had a decent swim because the tent was crowded. I did a full change so basically just took my time to towel off, lube and put on cycle gear. A volunteer put my swim gear in the bag for me.

This took a little longer because I had to decide what bike gear to take and what to leave. I walked outside got a little sunscreen for my ears and neck and stopped to potty. It was here that I looked at my watch and saw it was 8:40. I knew I was under 1:30 for the sswim.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, It was a long race.
  • 6h 57m 51s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.08 mile/hr

I spent the entire summer riding the Beeline. Most days I liked it. It turns out that it did the trick for me as I truely felt that I knew every inch of that road.

Loop 1 - I towel dried off in T1 which really helped. My toes were cold at the start but warmed up by the time I got to the Beeline. I felt no wind and had an easy loop. I stopped at the potty at Aid#2. Tanya came up to me at the end of the Beeline on the return and chatted. This would turn out to be the start of several chats. My avg was 16.91, slowed down by the potty.

Loop 2 - Tanya and I basically stayed together for the entire bike ride. Often, we rode side by side. We were careful not to impede anyone's progress. I stopped at aid#2 again for the potty. I almost went over the bars while stopping as I grabbed water with my right hand and braked with my left. Luckily a volunteer caught me. The 2nd loop had more wind. The headwind was on the way down. I faded a bit at least mentally from miles 60-75. I got to the end of the loop and stopped for a few seconds to talk to Mel (etselec444), Kim (Rotorkim) & Kerri (ktriathlete). Oops, Jenna Hannahs was there as well. I was ahead of Tanya at this point so it allowed her to catch up. 16.17 mph

Loop 3 - Tanya and I talked all summer about how this loop would suck. Heading out of town for the 3rd time, going up the Beeline etc. Well, it turns out it was fine. We stopped at aid#1 this time, the top of the hill and special needs bags. The last two stops were to pick up my new favorite tri item. The Crest toothbrush strips. Tanya thought she had one at the top of the hill. She did'nt so I stopped at my special needs bag. This was the best thing of the day. I slipped it on my finger and ran it over my teeth and gums. Yummy!

We also started to thank volunteers and talk to other racers about being done with the bike. This leg of the race concerned me the most. I have never been a strong rider. To this point I had never ridden farther than 92 miles. So, after 92 it was all new ground for me. I am happy to say that I felt great on the bike all day. I think having Tanya nearby allowed me to focus on each half loop of the race. 15.28 mph.

A few more thoughts. Tanya and I were chatting about Rudy Garcia-Tolson a double amputee above the knee. Right as we were talking, he was right in front of us. He ROCKS. He was riding a tri bike with his prostheics instead of a hand-cycle. I passed him and told him he looked strong. He said thanks.

Tanya and I talked about how we would run together on the run.

I wore an ASU jersey and I heard shout outs all day of "Go ASU", "Go Devils" and a nice chant of "Here we go Devils, here we go".

As all of us athletes do, I was doing math in my head all day. I knew that getting off the bike at 3:30 ensured that I would finish.
What would you do differently?:

I felt good throughout the day. My body acted like I had to go when I did not have to. This caused me to stop more than needed.

Ride more.

Transition 2
  • 10m

I entered the finish ramp and got my feet out of my shoes and handed my bike off to Dawn a long time friend. I have known her since my Air Force days.

Headed into the tent and did my thing. Put on some more lube, took off jersey, got some water, sunscreen and was off. Kind of uneventful.

As I was leaving T2, a volunteer/official whatever says to me that "If you want I can take your chip right here." To which I replied that there may be a lot of things that may happen but that is not one of them. Off I went. He was joking. Think about it, if someone was in a fragile state of mind at the moment. That could be bad.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really
  • 6h 07m 56s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 14m 02s  min/mile

I started the run and quickly saw Mat (Mathias), Tanya's husband and asked if she had gone by yet. He said no, so I kept going figuring that she would catch up to me. Turns out she never did. I then saw my wife and daughter who said that I looked good. I told her I could walk this thing and finish.

Loop 1 - As I left my family and really started to run, I noticed that my stomach was still acting up from the ride. I remember thinking to myself "Please tell me that I do not have another 25 miles of this." I stopped at the potty at aid#2 and lost my arm warmers. You see, I tucked them into my shorts in the back and when I...Nevermind.

I was walking up Curry hill. I have run in enough to know the experience and just felt there was no need to abuse myself for that stretch of course. An IM veteran came up beside me and asked my ETA. She must have watched my pace and determined it matched hers. I said 10:00PM. She said she could do that and asked me to keep up. I said I could not right now and talked about my stomach. She said I needed some salt, eat some pretzels. She kept going and I got some pretzels and then some chips. At the end of loop 1, I ran into Dav (DavBar12) who took afew photos of me and walked with me for about a half mile. He was working the finish line, so we discussed when I expected to finish, taking my picture at the line etc. I told him I felt good and was still running. I also handed him some gear I no longer needed. Sunglasses, HR watch and strap.

Loop 2 - The sodium did the trick. I was running again with my body's cooperation. Stopped at special needs for another Crest strip and my long sleeve shirt. Saw Mel and Kerri during each loop. Got my glow bracelet. I saw Jude and Sandy (sandysafety) under the train tracks and asked them where that slacker was (cordova61). They said he was behind me.

Loop 3 - I found that for both the bike and the run, I focused on simply completing loops. This took away the art of counting miles. It was unexpected but turned out to be successful. At the start of this loop, my right knee started barking. A random guy named Dan came up to me and we walked for a bit and chatted. We talked about finish times and 15:00 hours was still in reach if we ran some. I was living off of chicken broth, soda and grapes. My stomach, body and mind were all fine except for my knee. At the start of the loop, Dan would direct our run by saying let's run from this light to that sign etc. I ran as my kneee would allow.

On the Mill Ave bridge with about 6 miles to go, my friend Vince was there to check on me. I told him 15:00 was still the goal. Dan and I were in a good rhythm. Just off the bridge were Ken's and my families. So, I stopped briefly to say hi and high five my daughter and kept going. I knew the next time I saw them would be at the finish. At this point, Dan and I started to talk about how we would finish. I told him that I was going to strip take off the glow bracelet (thanks jdicarlo) so it did not ruin the finish photo. I was also going to take off my LS shirt and cross with just my tri top. We then talked about which one of us would go first. We agreed if we were less than 15:00 that I would go.

During the last 6 miles, I pushed the run more. The walk breaks were just to allow my knee to get a break. We were going under the 202 when I spotted the gal from loop 1. I told Dan that I was going to catch her. I ran behind her and said "look who showed up". I told her we were still on for 10:00 and to keep up with us. She asked if we could still walk the hill. Yes!

I have to say it is an experience watching the sunrise and set in the same race. The course got awfully quiet during the last loop as the competitors and crowds thinned. Dan and I approached the Mill Ave bridge for the last time. We agreed to run to the turnoff and walk the parking lot. I have had visions of reaching this point.

I reached Ash and started to run and quickly decided to pck up the pace. I did not want to slowly jog or walk to the finish. I rounded the corner and OMG. The sights and sounds were incredible. I saw Jerry and Lisa (Javamom) and pointed to them. I looked straight ahead and there was the finish. I started to listen to Mike Reilly with one ear as I proceeded. I high fived some people on the right and then Kerri and Mel on the left. I then pointed up to Mike and crossed the line. Others have said that the finish chute goes by too fast. I agree. I want to remember that feeling forever.

I stopped on the line for a moment to ensure that 1) I got a good picture from ASI and Dave and 2) so, that people following at home could see me. Oh, my finish time was 14:58.38. Under 15:00.

What would you do differently?:

I have not run a full marathon in a few years, so I was not sure how I would do. I think if my stomach would have cooperated during loop 1, I could have been under 6:00. As it was I was close to a PR at this distance.

Naturally, some more mileage before the race would have helped the knee. I only did 13-15 mile runs during training.
Post race
Warm down:

I smiled alot.

I was caught my a friend of mine in Master's swim. Dave took my picture and place my medal around my neck and Kim was there to greet me. Dave and I have been friends sine our teen years. So that was nice to have him there.

Soon after I crossed, Tanya and the gal from loop 1 crossed. I chatted with them and took the finish photo. I then sat in a chair and had my shoulder worked on by the ART Dr. who worked on me at the practice swim.

I hung out with the family, put on some warm clothes and mylar blacket. I then ate some pizza which I thought would be gross but was'nt and finally a 30 minute massage.

One of the best decisions that was made on this day was to have someone pick up my gear bags and bike while I was on the run. I only had to worry about getting myself to the car.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Here is the thing. I am a lifelong Asthmatic. I nearly got kicked out of the Air Force for it. I have been hospitalized for it and about 7 years ago my doctor said I would be on oxygen later in life if I did not get my Asthma under control. So, I am grateful to be able to live an active athletic lifestyle. I do the best I can and try to improve. I don't beat myself up over times. My stretch goal prior to the race was 15:07 and I beat that. I am extremely pleased with my performance.

Event comments:

There is always some active discussion on the value of an IM branded race. I can say for me, that it was worth the price of the entry fee. I enjoyed the entire experience from beginning to end. The organization, support, volunteers are fantastic. Having Mike Reilly start and end your day is not a bad thing.

I am very pleased to race with several of my training partners. I thought of them the entire day. All of us had our doubts about this distance and we all finished strong. It was great to have many friends, family, BTers on the course. It all made for a life changing experience.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-02-13 12:00 AM
01:28:59 | 4224 yards | 02m 07s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/2556
Performance: Good
Suit: Yes
Course: One rectangular loop of Tempe Town Lake.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 15:00
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:57:51 | 112 miles | 16.08 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/2556
Performance: Good
It would have been nice to have some HR data but my strap was not picking up the signal. So, I rode blind all day.
Wind: Some
Course: 3 loop course. Downtown Tempe out to the Beeline highway to Shea Blvd and back.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 10:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
06:07:56 | 26.2 miles | 14m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/2556
Performance: Average
Course: three figure eight loops around Tempe Town Lake
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5