Monday, December 5, 2011

Water Under the Bridge

Total time: 5:14:41 - 537 out of 1505

It's been 84 days since the Marines Ironman World Championship 70.3 which means enough time has passed for me to move on - water under the bridge. We say "water under the bridge" to refer to past experiences and conflicts which we have decided to forget. I know, I should be happy with finishing. I left a lot out on the course that day and no matter how many times I play Monday Morning Quarterback, the outcome stays the same.

In reading Dave Jewel's blog, he posted a pic that gives me hope.

"Failure Leads to Success if you let it. If you let failure get you down you will stay down. But if you learn from your failure you will grow. I can tell you that I hope to fail often in the future."

Dave is right. I learned a lot from the race and the prep before it that will help me in the future, not to mention the next time I qualify/race the World Championship.

Now for the race report.

My training over the last 4 weeks prior to the race were hit and miss. I traveled pretty much every week up to race week and therefore, my bike and swim training really suffered. Was able to recon the bike and run course 2 weeks prior which did help and gave me a taste of what the temperature could be on race day. 2 weeks out, the temperature at 10:00AM was around 105F and 115F at 11:00AM when we finished the run. Living in SC, I'm used to the heat and humidity so I was hoping for a hot race day as this would be a field separator.

We landed on Thursday and headed over to packet pick-up and the race expo. Pretty uneventful but did hook up with the Profile Design rep who hooked me up with some warranty replacement aero carbon bars. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites about 2 miles from the finish which worked out well but if I ever go back, I will get a room at the Green Valley Ranch. Very close to the race finish and the District for shopping, eating, etc. The race host hotel was great for the pre-race meetings/dinner/awards ceremony but not for much else. Over priced and isolated from civilization.

Slept pretty well the night before the race which isn't usually the case. Should've realized this was a sign that I was too relaxed and didn't have my game face on so to speak. A cold front moved in Saturday afternoon/evening which did bring a little rain on the way to the start but did clear out until Monday evening.

With the race being on September 11, the organizers did a great job with scheduling in a moment of silence at the exact time the first plane hit the WTC. I was very impressed that everyone was silent during this time and just shows you what an impact that act of terror had on the world and not just the US.


Ok, here is where my frustration starts. I'm at best, a MOP swimmer so going into this race I knew I would come out of the water with a deficit. Didn't realize just how big it would be. The race officials said the water temp was too warm to be wet suit legal so you had the option of the new fabric swim skin or just your race kit. I ended up wearing the new swim skin from Blue Seventy which was OK, as it was too tight around the neck. The luck of being between a S and a M. The 40-44 wave was 4th from the end so I knew I would have a lot of people out on the course ahead of me and very few behind me. A through L's were off first and as soon as the canon went off, they were telling us to get into the water. Man that water was cold. The Europeans were complaining at the water temp and said there was no way it was not wet suit legal. I agreed with them but not much I could do. Over 50% of my wave ended up climbing up on rocks under bridge to get out of the cold water as we had 10' of treading water before they shot the canon.

Mistake #1. Allowing your draft to get away. I decided I would let everyone take off and then start my swim. Wanted clean water or at least that's how I justified my poor decision. Note to self. Never do this again. The large group could've helped drag me along the course with less effort.

1.2 miles - 43:36

Yes, you read that correctly. Should've been 35' or less. Nothing like a leisurely Sunday swim.

T1: 4:14 - About 2' slower than I expected. There was about a 400 yd run around the back of the lake to get into T1 and an uphill bike exit with switchbacks that added some time. I also had difficulty buckling my Garmin, had to remove my swim skin, and had to stop and put on sunscreen.


The first 2 miles leaving the resort area are uphill. Nothing like burning a match or two a few minutes into the bike ride. Legs felt dead for the first 40 miles. Once out on the main road to Lake Meade Park, the speed and wind started picking up. I hit 46 mph heading into the entrance of the park and this gave me an opportunity to catch my breath. The plan was to keep the wattage at around 208W for the 56 miles. On the first hill, people were blowing past me like I was standing still. I was tempted to follow suit but knew I would pay for it on the run.

Started the bike with (2) 24oz bottles of my home brew. Drank 1.5 bottles by the turn around at which point I ditched my second bottle and grabbed a cold Perform and a bottle of water.

On the bike you are either going up or going down. Probably needed an 11-27
versus the 11-25, especially with standard size cranks. Saw very little drafting - maybe a pack of 4. The last few miles just before the park exit wore on me as I was ready to get back on the main road towards T2.

The last 10 to 12 miles appear to be flat but in reality, you are going up a 2% grade all the way to T2. There were a lot of tired people at this point and many who were drafting and sitting up on their base bars. My legs actually started coming around at this point and I managed to pass quite number of people during this time.

56 miles - 2:42:33 - 20.7 mph (Pavg 212W)

Rolled into T2 and handed my bike off to a volunteer. Grabbed my run bag and headed to the tent.

T2 - 2:05


When I started the bike, I needed to make a bathroom stop. Unfortunately, this didn't happen and rode the next 56 miles with a full bladder. My only thought starting the run was to hit a bathroom. First aid station and porta potty was at mile 1. Ran the first mile in 7:03 and then took over a minute in the bathroom. Run was pretty uneventful and made the on the spot decision to walk the aid stations to make sure I got the fluids down. Wasn't part of the plan and probably cost me around 4'. The course is 3 laps - 2 miles up and 2 miles down. On the down hills I ran the same pace as the up which didn't register to me as being a mistake until the last 2 miles of the race at which point I ran a pace of 5:53/mile.

13.1 miles - 1:42:14 - 7:48 pace

Total time: 5:14:41 - 537/1505