113.14km (70.3 miles) and 6:21:11 later – I am IRONMAN!
What a day! What a trip! Awesomeness! I finished an Ironman event and (for the most part) exceeded my own expectations. That is good enough for me… this time.
113.14km (70.3 miles) and 6:21:11 later – I am IRONMAN!
What a day! What a trip! Awesomeness! I’m not even going to say the ubiquitous “I didn’t finish as fast as I hoped”… ’cause that is getting old. I finished Ironman 70.3 Syracuse and (for the most part) exceeded my own expectations. That is good enough for me… for now.
We got to the race site about 1.5 hours before the race. Ellie took a nap in the rental car while I went to get body marked and to set my transition area up. I chitchatted with a few folks, got into my wetsuit and did some warmup laps in the reservoir. I was feeling really good. Oddly calm. Ellie found me just before 7:00am and we took a few photos. At about 7:10am I joined my wave and did some deep/yoga/cyclical breathing. My wave (Men 40-44) started at 7:25am.
The swim was so good – I actually can’t believe how well it went. I was smooth, strong and in control the whole time. I even had the presence of mind to do some drafting! Got myself wedged in between, and on the hips, of two dudes and got pulled along for a while. Then I decided I could be going faster than those guys, so I broke away. I went a few degrees off-course… but not too far. It was worth swimming a few extra meters to have a bit of open water to myself. I finished in 36:01
There were wetsuit strippers, which was awesome, but it was a long LONG run from the water to transition. By the time I got there I was calm and ready to rock. I took a little bit of time to get some sunscreen on my arms and thighs. I figured this was worth it. It was a sunny day and I didn’t want to burn during what I thought would be a 4 hour bike ride (turned out to be much shorter). I was out of T1 in 6:00.
They warned us that the first 12 miles were very hilly – and they were right (Elevation Gain: 1,409 m). Holy jeepers! The rest of it was not flat by any stretch of the imagination but that first 12 miles was HARD! I held back as much as I could, without being a chump, but it was hard with all that climbing to keep my heart rate in Zone 3 (below 132bpm). I kept promising myself that I would get it back under control “after this hill” or “as soon as I pass this group” but I guess I was feeling too strong and competitive. I started to cramp up in my thighs and hamstrings with about 20km left to go. I tried standing more to get my muscles lengthened out but I would still pay the price during the run. I finished in 3:16:35
Got off my bike very smoothly and managed to yell some stuff to Ellie as I ran into transition. I accidentally ripped the corner out of my bib as I put my belt on and had to re-pin it. Then… I had to pee. I had been trying to pee on the bike but I just couldn’t do it and now it was time. I ducked in and out of a porta-potty as fast as I could and got running. I was out of T2 in 4:46.
Turns out that the cramps I was feeling on the bike were only precursors to what I was going to feel on the run. The first 2 miles were good. Cruising along, getting my heart rate under control (which was tricky due to the 928m Elevation Gain) and then the leg cramps started. Mild at first and ignorable but then my left hamstring went into spasm and I could actually feel, with my hand, a knot and a dent where my smooth hamstring would usually be. I couldn’t straighten my leg. I walked, hobbled and finally stopped and stretched. I got it to relax enough that I could run again but not for long. I tried a few times, stretching it out, walking, running, cramping… it sucked. So, I walked for a good 8km. It was a fast walk but a walk none-the-less. I got my groove back with about 4km to go and managed a decent run/walk strategy to the finish line (aside from a huge cramp-session 400m from the finish line – gah!) but by then I was well over 2 hours on the run. Not cool… not cool at all… but – it is what it is, as they say. I guess I can’t push that hard on the bike and expect my legs to hold up for the run. I finished the run in 2:17:49.
- Breakfast – 4 Extreme Endurance, 7Systems, 3 scoops of goat’s whey protein, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup of oats, banana, sprinkle of coconut, 1/4 cup coconut milk, some raisins,
- Lunch – soba noodle salad w/ tofu and mushrooms,
- Dinner – quinoa, sweet potatoes, beets and a can of tuna,
- Snack – blueberries, dark chocolate and 4 Extreme Endurance.
- First thing – 4 Extreme Endurance, two big glasses of water and a small cup of coffee,
- Breakfast (3 hours before race) – 3 scoops of Living Fuel SuperGreens, a banana with a few dried cranberries and a pack of 7Systems.
During the race:
- 10 minutes before the race – 1 Gu Roctane w/ caffeine (orange vanilla) and some water,
- Bike – 1 Gu Roctane w/ caffeine (orange vanilla) every 20 minutes with 4 Gu Chomps on the hour with water (to thirst),
- Run – 1 Gu Roctane w/ caffeine (orange vanilla) at the beginning and then switched to cola, water and ice at every aid station.
I had abstained from caffeine all week (7 full days) and ate as clean as I could muster for about 10 days before – including: no booze for 3 weeks before. I am sure that all really helped.
I am looking forward to some fast/hard Sprint and Olympic distance races now that I have this under my belt. Especially the swim. I can’t wait to burn up a sprint!
Next up is the Rochester “Shoreline Multisport Festival” where I will be running a Half Marathon on Saturday morning and a Sprint Triathlon on Sunday morning. Woo! That should be fun. I have decided to call both of these “just for fun” races. No pressure… for now.