Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ironman Florida 2008

This year was an experiment (somewhat forced) in what I can versus need to do to perform well. Life got in the way of what I wanted to do training wise, and what I could do. Heading down to Florida I was anything but confident in what the result would be. Granted I had a great race at peterborough half earlier this year, but I wasn’t feeling confident that I could meet or beat last years time.

That being said, I did make sure I got all of my ‘key’ workouts in this year. So could I do better on less hours? How would the fact that I was already at a higher fitness level affect things.

Got down to PCB on Tuesday. Took the day to get settled. Went for a quick 30min run to shake off the travel. Settled into my parents condo, and had the first of many amazing meals that my mom cooked up. It cannot be over stressed how amazing this is to have such healthy and perfect food during race week.

Wednesday. Slept in a bit. Went and picked up my race wheels ( and registered. Got all of this done early. Went back to the condo and put the Zipp’s on the bike. The orbea looks unbelievable with a disk on the back. Awesome! That is truly inspiring. Took it out for a test, and felt great. I swear those wheels add 3kph.

After the bike I gathered up my wetsuit and headed out to the gatorade swim course with my wife. We bobbed around in the ocean for a bit before calling it a day. (Managed to make it out to the 3rd buoy which is ,by far, the farthest she has been out in the ocean.) I think I will be able to talk Jenn into this Ironman thing someday!;> Headed home to another awesome meal and sleep.

Woke up on thrusday and headed out to the swim early. Met up with Alex. Swam with Alex and Brandon until about the 2nd buoy where they made their way back. I wanted to swim the full course so I kept going. I allways do this once as more of a way to ease the mind. I love ocean swimming, but it takes a bit to ease the little naysaying voices in the head. Had a great swim and was stoked to get too race day.

Headed out with Alex later to ride the run course since he had yet to see it. After we went out for a short run ’strutting’, as Alex put it, by running by the expo and all of the crazy IM people. The atmosphere at any of these events is second to none. I recomend it to everybody!

Thursday night was the athlete banquet/ meeting. I didn’t show up until later (skipped the crappy pasta) and just went the the athletes meeting. Really not much different from last year. Be safe, don’t draft and have fun etc . . .

Friday was a true rest day. Fiddled with the bike getting it ready and just ate. I love eating!
Dropped the bike and gear in transition and went for a walk on the beach to calm the nerves. Not nearly as bad as 2007. Felt pretty good about things actually.

4am on Saturday morning. Woke up to eat as much as I could shove in my face. I think I got to my 1000 calorie goal. Couple of cups of coffee to get things going. Headed out at around 5am to get sorted in transition. Pumped the tires, dropped the special needs, left my nutrition and then waited. It was probably only around 10 degrees in the morning so a bit chilly.

6:30. Got my westuit on and headed into the water. Short warm up and back out to watch the pro’s go.

7:00am. No nerves. Positioned myself right on the front. Same as last year. Gun went, and we sprinted for the first buoy. I was able to ease off a bit earlier than last year as I found some open space. The biggest benefit I find with getting off the front early is that you are swimming with good swimmers who can go in a straight line. Very little banging around. I stayed about 10m off of the main line until the first turn just to avoid any crazyness. Went a little wide around both buoys and took the inside line back. It was pretty easy sighting this year. There was a bit of a cross current coming in but not too bad. First lap was in 26 min. Super fast!

Once we got back in the water we had to wade pretty far as there was a substantial sand bar.
It took a while to get my HR down after the wading. The second loop was pretty easy (I don’t remember much!) I was out of the water in around 56min. A little slower than last year, but I think that is mostly to do with the sand bar.

Out of the water and to the strippers!! The first of many unbelievable volunteers whipped my suit off and I was on my way. I handed my suit to Jenn and was off to T1.

I got my bag really quickly and headed into the tent. I sat down and had a volunteer helping me. I threw my compression socks on (get them, they are unbelievable. If you want more on them just ask me, I will probably do a gear review soon!) and the volunteer actually put my shoes on for me while I put my arm warmers on!!! I was out of the tent fast and was handed my bike. I managed to take almost 2min. off of my T1 time last year. I looked at my watch as I hit the mat. 1hr right on. Great stuff!!

The bike.Last year I really eased into the bike for the first 30km. I was trying to get my HR down. This year I wasn’t racing with my HR monitor and was going by feel. I took it fairly easy for the first 10km and then started pushing. We had a pretty steady head wind from 10 -40km. I was still able to stay above 30kph the whole time. I pushed pretty hard in this section because there was a pack forming and I didn’t want to get caught up in it, and didn’t want to end up pulling them along.

Made the turn at Ebro and things got easier. I was riding mostly with a pair of Beligium twins (who eventually won my AG with 3hr marathons!!!) and we were around eachother for most of the bike. At about 70km I looked back and saw a big pack riding behind us. I eased off and let them pass. At this point I talked breifly to one of the Belguim dudes and we decided that we would try and get away from the pack after the special needs station at 80km. At about 75km I passed the whole pack and lead by about 200m into special needs. I didn’t get my bag and made the turn onto 231. There was a good tail wind and I was able to stay around 48kph (on flat ground) for most of this section. The twins caught me around the turn off of 231. We rode together(legally) for most of the rest of the bike. At the turn around we saw that we had put around 2km on the pack who were riding two abreast!! I hope they got some penatlies!

The rest of the bike was steady pacing. I was feeling pretty good, but honestly was concerned that I had pushed too hard. I thought I was going to go sub 5 on the bike! (only missed it by 22secs!) I knew I was faster than last year for sure. The last 10km were into a head/cross wind. I took it real easy for the last 5km and eased into T2 feeling a little torched but alright.

T2. Another super transition, and another super volunteer! Quick stop at the porta potty and I was off.

The run.The first few steps were tenative, but ok! I quickly got up to my distance crunching pace (the one I feel like I can keep forever). The first 10.5km went fast. Lots of people on course and lots of great volunteers at all of the aid stations. I hit the turnaround in just under 50min (too fast!) and hoped that wasn’t a mistake.

Finished off the first loop in around 1:43. At this point I knew I had over 2hrs to finish sub 10! I knew if I was smart I should be able to do it. After the turn around I started to feel like absolute crap. Popped another Gu and thought that maybe I had used up all I had. I forced myself to keep running and kept telling myself that it would turn around. It did. The Gu kicked in (along with a banana and some coke) and I started to feel good again(relatively:> )

About 2km before the turnaround I felt my inner thigh starting to cramp again like last year. This had forced me to walk quite a bit. This year I was going to be pro-active. I decided I would start walking the aid stations until it got better to prevent it from cramping. This really seemed to work well. It would start tightening up until around each aid station. I kept this up for about 6km. At this point the adrenaline started to kick in as I knew that I was going to be under 10. I kicked it up a notch. I wanted to leave it all out there this year to see what I could do. The cramp left me alone and I was able to run pretty quickly for the last 4km. Coming into the shute I noticed that I was at 149:00

I wanted to keep it under 9:50 ( an 4 is better than a 5!) So I sprinted it in. 9:49:XX!!!!!! I was unbelievably stoked at this point. I didn’t think I had this time in me today. It was awesome. So rewarding and satisfying.

Met Jenn and my parents at the line! It was great!.
Got my medal/hat/shirt and went off for some Pizza. I was torched! Really had nothing left. I was starving and thirsty. The greasy Pizza was perfect!
So it was an unbelievable day for me. Honestly, this hurt more than last year. I pushed a lot harder.

It is going to be a few years before I do and IM again. I just can’t dedicate the time at this point to training (if you are going to do it, do it right!!).Thanks to everybody for their words of encouragment and support. It means the world to me.
Keep the rubber side down!