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Ironman Arizona - TriathlonFull Ironman


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Tempe, Arizona
United States
Ford/NAS
82F / 28C
Sunny
Total Time = 10h 43m 33s
Overall Rank = 319/2200
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 59/399
Pre-race routine:

I race a lot. This year I have raced about 40 times. When I race, I do so for PR's, Age group wins and the occasional overall podium spot. So as with my previous race reports I have written this one as I usually do; it is performance based and with much self criticism. Before reading on, understand that I think that I had something like an epiphany out there on the course and shortly thereafter. I am struggling to understand some complex and deeper feelings and thoughts about racing. I will try to touch upon that aspect of my Ironman experience in my closing. Still the bulk of this report will be about the physical experience...

I woke up early as I usually do, showered and then packed the car and drove to transition with my buddy Brett. On the way we stopped at the Circle K so that I could get my Kona Blend Coffee, a Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tart and a Red Bull. I should have known that this was going to be a long day because they were out of Kona Blend! It was a bad omen for sure. Shit, the Colombian blend was going to have to suffice.
Got to transition, added some stuff to my transition bags, taped my Gu's to my bike and taped the valve hole on my disc wheel. Ran into KiloDave and Dills where we wished each other luck and then I went to the bathroom to meditate for a while. I could hear the announcer dude guy on the horn telling us to get in the water so like the conformist I am, I got my wetsuit on and headed out to the lake.
Event warmup:

Warm up? For this? You gotta be kidding me... Still, since this is a deep water start, I swam up to the start area and floated a few rows back from the front where I ran into KiloDave. We chatted a bit and without warning, the gun went off.
Swim
  • 1h 24m 21s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 11s / 100 meters
Comments:

I'm not a good swimmer. I feared this in the days leading up to the race. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought. Well, the swimming part that is. However, the cramp in my leg was almost a complete disaster. Anyway, the swim gun went off and I did not have my watch set. I went to my back to try to get it started (new watch issues) and people were swimming over me so I had to scrap the watch. No big deal... I began swimming and it was crazy... I couldn't find open water and I kept bouncing off and swimming over other athletes... My goggles got completely knocked off my head at one point and miraculously they fell right into my hand as I was swimming. Getting them back on was not easy and I ended up getting bashed and popped a few times until finally I got them back on. I continue swimming and found a patch of clear water… Nice. Finally I can think about my stroke and I let my thoughts wander and I start feeling confident. I keep telling myself that I belong here and that I can do this! Some girl is now swimming along side of me… she pops me in the head… another stroke another pop in the head… another stroke another pop in the head! I pull away from her hard and jam my thumb on another swimmer. OUCH. Suddenly I see the turn-around buoy. I was stoked. I felt great, I was half way finished and it occurred to me that I will finish this swim easily. Shortly after the turn buoy, it happened. My left calf completely froze… I’m not sure why; it could have been the icy water or it might have been my lack of swim training. It didn’t matter because I couldn’t swim. I rolled to my back and tried to float the pain away. No luck. I was about ready to cry. I was scared and considered finding the rescue boat. SHIT! I just could not believe this. I was determined to not go down like this. I tried to swim again but could not kick. I just swam with arms. This was hard. I tried to massage my calf, but it didn’t help. With my right leg I kicked my calf and that felt good. I began swimming and kicking my calf’s as hard as I could. It seemed to help so that is what I did as I swam on. Before long I was at the last buoy and turned towards the stairs that are the finish. As I stepped onto the stairs, I knew that I was in trouble and that my race was now going to be defined by this cramp. It hurt like hell to run so I stopped and stripped my wetsuit off then jogged to the transition tent and got myself together. My only hope now was that it would loosen up on the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Obviously swim more in training.
Transition 1
  • 05m 29s
Comments:

Not bad... I think I could have been under 4 minutes if I was more focused.
What would you do differently?:

Move my a$$
Bike
  • 5h 30m 10s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.35 mile/hr
Comments:

So I’m a bit disappointed with my performance on the bike. The bike is usually one of my strengths, but I think my reduced training volume the past two months limited my ability to hammer the bike. If this was a summer race I would have been considerably faster. Still, my ride was OK. My calf hurt as I pedaled but it was more of a nuisance than anything. I was hoping that the painful knot in my calf would loosen up enough on the bike so that I could run well.
The ride was mostly uneventful, I was pounding Gatorade and eating Gu’s and Shot Blocks fairly regularly and I felt fine the whole way. My neck was killing me from riding aero and my butt got sore, but I never felt like I was pushing too hard. I did have to take two bathroom breaks however, so I lost some time there.
There were a lot of drafters on the course. I did not draft at all. I wanted an honest ride and I did not want to get busted. Unfortunately, many racers had no problem riding in pace-lines. By the 90th mile I was pretty aggravated by cheaters passing me. Still, I wasn’t even tempted to join them.
It was cool seeing Julia and Trixie and other BTers out there cheering us on…
Oh, so before the race I thought it would be a good idea to tape my valve holes on my disc… well the tape came off and was jammed between my caliper and my wheel. I rode with that friction for about 75 miles. Looking back, I should have stopped to remove it. I think the accumulative work due to the rubbing over 70 or 80 miles, may have slowed me some. Maybe not, but I’m sure it didn’t help.

What would you do differently?:

Not slack off in my training leading up to the race. My overall fitness was good evidenced by the fact that I felt strong enough to ride a lot farther and I never felt bonky or tired.
Transition 2
  • 02m 14s
Comments:

This was a very good Ironman transition. I was fast even though I changed into running shorts and a running singlet.
What would you do differently?:

Nada
Run
  • 3h 41m 21s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 27s  min/mile
Comments:

Damn it all to HELL! I really expected a great run and I was ready to run well. Unfortunately that calf cramp did not loosen up and I knew I was screwed. By mile two of the marathon, I was in damage control mode. My whole strategy was to not walk at any point. It occurred to me that the pain would not improve if I walked… This was going to be a painful jog and that is all there was to it. At mile 3 I saw Andrew Holten walking… I tried to encourage him to run with me and told him that he was only experiencing a bad patch. He said, “maybe, but it is a very long bad patch” – I felt for him and continued on. I passed a few struggling pros and as I finished the first lap the race leader caught me and I ran a mile or so with him just for fun… As we completed the first lap, I got back into my slow groove and buckled down. I was seriously pissed that it hurt so much to run. I felt like I had enough juice, but my straw was cracked. As I started lap two, I thought about quitting. It was really hot out and I was frustrated and I felt like I had lost my desire to race. I fought through that and then marched on. Mark had a huge lead on me and each time I saw him he looked smooth. I was happy for him… Before long I was finishing my second lap and I knew that I would finish. On the last lap I drank a lot of cola at the aid stations and just kept running. The sun was setting and I raced it to the finish. The finish was anticlimactic. I crossed the line and tried to compose my emotions. It was a hard day and now I had some thinking to do.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I ran as well as I could on this day. I'm happy that I had the strength not to walk.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much... had a water... wanted a beer. Mark was in the massage tent. I don't do massage, but I decided that it would be nice to lay down on the massage table and rest for a spell. The girl was nice and worked on my calf. I told her to be gentle because it hurt like hell.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Obviously the cramp. Also, my limited training due to my move to Vail, my intense work schedule and of course the weather in Vail turned on me.

Event comments:

Ok... so this is a world class event and it should be for $550. There should also be free beer and decent food available after the race for a race that is so expensive. French Fries and Dominos pizza is bush league. Also a tech shirt would be nice, but the greed at NAS stinks and the crappy cotton t-shirt will become a bike cleaning rag. I did not buy a $36 tech shirt (although I wanted one) and NO I WILL NOT tattoo an M-DOT to myself unless I am paid to do so.

OK, sorry... I'll stop the bitchy rant... Yes, I will do another Ironman, NAS or a non Ford iron distance... I think I have a fast ironman in my future, and Kona is not all that important to me anymore. This distance is no longer a mystery to me.

What I learned: I learned that the race is the least important part of why I train. I've been going hard for a few years now, and I have been very focused on this one day in my life. It consumed me. At a certain point in the race I realized that my finish time was really unimportant. I was happy to give Julia my Garmin during the run. I didn't care about splits or breaking a certain time. I just wanted to finish. To move on with my life and to become a better more balanced person. After I finished I was not elated. I did not feel a sense of accomplishment. I was just finished. Within minutes I knew that I had just started... I had just started caring about living again.

I'm having a hard time with this. The thing is I enjoyed training for the IM. I absolutely loved the group rides, training hard with Mark and then drinking beer in his driveway. I cherished my trail runs with Ramone. The epic training rides... the numerous races leading up and all of the friends that I made along the way. I guess I expected Ironman to be larger than all that. It is not. At no point during this race did I get one of those fuzzy chills... I'm writing this 5 days later and I still feel underwhelmed by it all. I walked around after the race and watched proud families greet their finishers and it occurred to me that some things are more important than finish times and personal records. Yeah, I looked around at the scene and I knew that the race was just one day in my life; hardly my most important day.

So I am an Ironman. I knew that already and I didn't need to finish this race for the confirmation. I see ironmen and women every day. People who overcome greater challenges and do so with grace and fierce determination. Sure, I'm proud of being a finisher. I did it, hell yeah! That day is over and the real race continues...




Last updated: 2007-11-26 12:00 AM
Swimming
01:24:21 | 3862 meters | 02m 11s / 100meters
Age Group: 314/399
Overall: 1598/2200
Performance: Average
Suit: Full
Course: Out and back in treated pee water. Racers: Drink up and be somebody!
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Shot
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 05:29
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Yes
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
05:30:10 | 112 miles | 20.35 mile/hr
Age Group: 94/399
Overall: 448/2200
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: 3 loop course with a long sustained but gradual uphill on the way out
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 02:14
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
03:41:21 | 26.2 miles | 08m 27s  min/mile
Age Group: 29/399
Overall: 174/2200
Performance: Bad
Course: Flat 3 loop course with a few rollers and mostly on concrete bike paths.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Bad
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

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2008-11-28 1:51 PM

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Expert
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500100
Coral Springs, Florida
Subject: Ironman Arizona


2008-11-28 5:10 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Extreme Veteran
646
50010025
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Congratulations on finishing Ironman, finding out some stuff about yourself.  Some people need an event like IM to define themselves, or to affirm their toughness or drive.  In your case, IM probably made you realize you're not that type of person.  But you should take GREAT satisfaction in completing the ironman distance.  Very few people have the ability or opportunity to do so.  While it won't define your life, there is nothing wrong with holding your head high and saying "hell yea!"

 Keep racing and loving it!

2008-11-28 6:44 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Master
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Royersford, PA
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congrats on finishing. For me the best thing about an Ironman is the journey. Those 140.6 miles on race day are important, but the most rewarding part was all the work, training, and friendships I developed along the way to that day. But you powered thru the finish line, overcame the cramps, and the other obsticles and that is something to be proud of. Congrats Ironman.
2008-11-28 8:59 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Extreme Veteran
454
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Denver CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Interesting musings about the race. Some people use the iron distance to define themselves, or prove something to themselves... I think that it can be different things for different people. Whatever you were expecting out of this Dimealime, I think that YOU are bigger than IRONMAN. This one-day-event isn't the thing that defines you. Of all things, when I think of what you are, a finisher of a 140.6 mile race isn't what leaps to mind first.

Anyway, CONGRATS on a hell of an accomplishment. You should be proud of everything you've done leading up to this, and your performance at the race too. It was fun following your training all these months.

 What will he do next???

2008-11-28 10:29 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Westminster, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

congratulations Richard!  great race and great effort and great results!  I enjoyed your rr.

see you out there next season

2008-11-29 1:59 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Champion
8735
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Abilene, Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

My favorite line:

as I finished the first lap the race leader caught me and I ran a mile or so with him just for fun

Heh.

Awesome race and awesome self-examination.



2008-11-29 11:19 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Veteran
165
1002525
Parker, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Congratulations on finishing IMAZ. That was an incredible first Ironman!
2008-11-29 9:53 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Pro
4193
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Broomfield, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

DIME!  You rock. 

I can relate to your feelings.  After CdA, I kinda fell apart and struggled for a while.  But I'm ok now.    It's weird.  But you are an introspective guy...and that is cool. 

Oh and calf cramps suck. 

2008-11-30 1:48 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Regular
77
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Denver Colorado
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Hey Richard! I'm really proud of you! I have always looked up to you as a person, a business owner, and an all around cool dude! You have always been so cool to me and I want to thank you, and Fil, for always being so supportive of me at events and in everyday life! I really hope you continue to race because you have always been an insperation to me and I hold you in the highest regard for your amazing talant... as specially as a runner.  I'm sure you'll figure it all out... you always do! Think of all the crazy stuff you've dealt with in your life and to top it all off you're now an Ironman. But really, you always have been! You've taken on all sorts of crazy stuff and lived to tell about it! You're tough as nails Dick Dime and I have feeling you'll be kickin' butt and killing PR's for many, many, many years to come in races, and in life! Take care buddy! Congrats and thanks for being you Richard! Good luck with everything in the future man! You'll sort it all out after some souls searchin' and little time...

Edited by Triathlon Sean 2008-11-30 1:52 AM
2008-11-30 9:31 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Regular
130
10025
austin/tx
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
great job finishing the race in AZ and it was good to meet you as well. I too had to awful calf cramp issue in the swim and it stuck with be for most of the bike as well. it was weird reading your account of the cramp b/c it was like reliving my episode. i liked your post race perspectives and agree with your thoughts about the cheapness of the food and shirt. i hate that you have to finish to get a shirt, otherwise you got to buy one. plus they obviously have now problem selling nice in the $$$ tent while they give us the worst shirt possible. its not about a shirt in the end but it would be nice to have something decent to wear. oh well, i hope you enjoy the snow this winter and come back ready to kick again next year. glad to see you also opt'd for the run shorts. running a full mary in tri shorts blows!!!!!!!!!!! take care.
2008-11-30 9:42 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Elite
2797
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Texas
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
I have to admit I skim race reports some times, but I read every word of this one. Great RR Dime. Continued success with the real race buddy...


2008-11-30 10:16 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Master
1920
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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
First of all, thank you so much for detailing your intimate thoughts about the race. It is refreshing to read such an honest report. Despite the feelings of 'underwhelm' I still want to congratulate you on an awesome day! You are still my hero
2008-11-30 11:24 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Regular
108
100
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Dime,

After a particularly frustrating run at the Tri-it-High Triathlon in Leadville, I read your race report.  You made mention of the fact that the run was one of the most challenging 5K's you've ever done (or something along those lines).  Your statement gave legitimacy to what I had previously thought was just a dismal run performance.  That being said, while you're an Ironman now, and that is certainly to be congratulated (for many of us it's something to ultimately aspire to), you were inspiring atheletes on this site before, and I'm certain you'll continue to do so from this point forward. 

Congratulations on a great race and thanks for the race reports!

2008-11-30 5:14 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Master
1411
1000100100100100
Lexington, KY
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona

Thanks for the report, enjoyed reading it.

2008-11-30 5:25 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Official BT Coach
2210
2000100100
Englewood, CO
Gold member
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Dime!  You don't give yourself enough credit.  How many pros don't finish an IM?  Lots!  You did awesome and I loved everyday we trained together.  I know we will have more.  I am counting on it.  I loved all the conversations we had and pain we felt together.  You pushed through a huge race ending cramp and should be proud.  Not many people can go sub 11 hours.  It is your first one and not your last.  You  learned alot and will be a better person for it, trust me on that one!  You are a top agegrouper in any  discipline so don't let one IM get in the way of continued greatness.  I am proud of you for finishing strong.  I like the beers and Mexican food afterwards too!  Looking forward to Chilly Cheeks.  Rest up my friend!
2008-12-01 8:04 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Pro
4418
20002000100100100100
Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Great report, and awesome job overcoming the cramp.  I don't know what to say about your self-reflection stuff, as I'm still trying to figure out how to exorcise my own IM demons    Congratulations


2008-12-01 10:40 AM
in reply to: #1829619

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Member
49
25
Parker, CO
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Sub 11 on your first IM. You kick a$$!! Learn that swim thing and holy moly..... You'll be a force at this IM thing. glad you didn't quit and had great reflections.
And, ummm.....can I ride with you next year?
2008-12-02 10:03 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Veteran
181
100252525
Colorado Springs
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Dime, yours is one of the most entertaining and inspiring blogs on BT and this RR is no exception.
An over 20mph Bike average, even with stops, and a 3:41 IM-Mary, Bravo!
Under 11 for a first IM, a little too late in the season to be at your peak, and despite significant cramping. I'd say the future's so bright you gotta wear shades, buddy. With that kind of potential, that it was underwhelming seems just and end of the season, not perfect race, and just exhausted kind of reaction. Time to recharge.
I know you're already planning other races and getting out there in the snow and enjoying your fitness. I'd like to suggest more time off, but whatever bug you've caught may take care of that. :-)
Keep the lights on, and keep on Rockin' and Racin'. We really enjoy the ride.
2008-12-29 7:12 PM
in reply to: #1829619

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Member
49
25
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Well hell Dime. well put, I just want you to know what an inspiration you have been to Sean and I. I just finishe a 14 mile run that was going to be just ten, I would still be running single laps around wash park once a week if you hadn't lit a fire under my . Do the Diablo April 11th with me in Clayton California. and stay Golden Ponyboy.
2008-12-29 9:21 PM
in reply to: #1829619

Champion
9376
500020002000100100100252525
No excuses!
Subject: RE: Ironman Arizona
Heck of a race for a first time. Great job out there!
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