Monday, December 12, 2011

Sugar Land 30k

Summary: YESS!!!! I am Local Elite for Houston Marathon. 3rd year I've earned this award and 3rd time will be the charm - as I missed the first 2 injured.

Drove out race morning for a 6:30 start time. Tried a normal marathon routine for morning and race fueling which included a 400 cal drink at 3:30am, another 400 cal drink at 4:30am - some coffee at about 6 and some gatorade at 6:25. In the future I'm going to bail on this last bit of Gatorade - stomach cramps every time I do it - maybe now I've finally learned to give it up. At the startline I find out who the competition is - two fast local masters - one of the unbeatable, the other would be neck-n-neck - but both already have their local elite slot so nothing is gained by beating only one of them. Only one other local was on my watch list as able to run a qualifying 6:19 pace for the race and he didn't show up so I could see from the start I wasn't going to get drawn into a competitive race - I could run a good MP workout as planned and get the local elite slot. I was worried about this muscle pull that messed up last weekends workouts - it always seemed to start getting sore around 10-12 miles and I didn't really know how it would be to push through that as I was reluctant to push it on the workouts.

I ran with a buddy the first mile - he was a contender for the win but wanted to start "slow" 6ish pace then run MP miles to the end - I planned to run 6 mpm for the first mile then see based on my heartrate if the heat boost run from Friday was working - in the past a 15 sec/mile improvement from Tuesday's 6:15 benchmark run was a pretty normal improvement - but after the 1 mile marker when the HR came up on the Garmin - it was clear I needed to slow it down - so I dropped the pace to get the HR back where I was targetting - the pace felt easy - but then mile 2 of a marathon is supposed to feel easy so I went with the strategy.

Here's the splits:
6:10 Avg 1-6: 5:59(150) 6:14(160) 6:14(158) 6:09(160) 6:09(159) 6:17(159)
6:12 Avg 7-12: 6:08(159) 6:15(158) 6:17(158) 6:15(159) 6:07(159) 6:12(159)
6:11 Avg 13-18: 6:11(159) 6:26(159) 6:13(159) 6:07(159) 6:05(161) 6:07(160)
5:49(164) for the last 0.75 miles (per Garmin).

6:13 average for official race distance (18.6).

After the first 12 I recall feeling how great I felt with only a little over 6 miles to go - from this I concluded I was probably below MP effort on this first part - I think for the marathon I'm going to be going for 160 HR. I thought about picking up the pace for the last 6 but then the muscle pull I was fearing started to bother so then I was just hoping I'd make it to the finish. I kinda just monitored for a mile or so then I altered my stride to land on my heal and roll to the toe for a while (you can see the efficiency drop in mile 14 split) and that seemed to do the trick - I was able to switch back to normal and all seemed OK - nice to know I can work through this particular pain and get to the otherside OK.

12 overall, 3rd Master, 2nd AG .... and beat the qualifying time for a Houston Elite spot by a couple minutes with no other Masters in front of me that didn't already have their slots ---- I'm in!!! I've never done any race as an elite before - and I know Houston treats the elites right - I'm looking forward to it!!

Overall lessons - forget heat-treating run - it doesn't work for me anymore with my current NSAIDs treatments, I think 160 HR is about the right target - since this race averaged just under this I'm thinking my MP pace is about 6:10 - I'd like to notch that down a little before Houston - 5 weeks to go - but getting to 6:00 seems pretty far fetched at this point - but sub2:40 maybe still within reach - barely with perfect execution - we'll see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TXU Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot 10k:
Splits: 5:36,5:34,5:38,5:42,5:43,5:40,5:13pace for last 0.31(per garmin)
Time: 35:27
Place: 1st Master, 10th overall out of ~3000 (7th to the line but I guess a couple chip vs gun times lowered me down a bit - not sure why 3 fast dudes start 20-50 seconds late).

I was pretty excited to see a cool forecast for this race after a couple warm races recently and was pretty excited all week to run the race. I planned to try to hold 5:35 pace which seemed very doable and I kept it there through the turnaround at 1/2 way - but then into a little breeze I couldn't seem to hold it coming back and lost time on the 2nd half. I was pretty much alone from about 2 mile in and at the turnaround the next guy seemed a world away ahead and a pretty good gap to the guy behind too so no chance for a wind block for the return trip. For the last mile a kid caught up to me and traded off with me a couple times. Finally once when he passed and going into the wind I decided to tuck behind him for a bit then with about 1/4 mile to go I dropped the hammer and sprinted it in leaving him a few seconds behind (but he kinda got the last laugh holding a 21 second chip/gun time delta).

I was surprized to see the clock ticking away greater than my PR (35:11) as I approached the finish - I thought even with the wind I was at least sub35. Later looking at the Garmin distance I'm fairly certain there was an extra 20-30 seconds on this race being a little long so I'm feeling like I got the PR - and maybe even the sub35 unofficially. Not much master's competition in this race - main competitors were split between three main races around the city and I seemed to be the only one within a couple minutes at this race. After some reflection I'm feeling pretty good (not jumping off the walls great but pretty good) about the race although initially I was pretty bummed to not have crushed - or even edged out a PR from the race. I didn't stick around for the awards as I wanted to be home not so much past when the house got moving for the holiday so no idea what I actually won - guess I'll wait to get surprized in the mail - my expectation are very low.

Update - expectation exceded - Prize was a new Kindle - pretty cool!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Metric Marathon

Metric Marathon:

Splits: 5:53,5:53,6:03,6:12,6:08,6:16,6:17,6:15,6:19,6:15,6:29,6:16,6:23,7:18,7:19,7:02,1:54(6:16 pace last 0.3)

I was on track for 13 miles at 6:12 average pace with just a 5k or so to go and I'd have the local elite spot at Houston Marathon (requires a sub1:41:54 - 6:16 pace) - but I just couldn't hold it together and took a couple walk breaks and ran a few 7:xx miles to let it get away. if only..... oh well - still a fun time despite the heat. My head was just not there for this race - after a week off with a pulled groin muscle and this week I'd call pretty tame/low quality - I just didn't have the confidence going into this race and add to that the heat - 65°F Dew Point - and this race just wasn't great - still a good workout and likely a quick recovery from it for some good training next week so I guess it's all good - I was worried about all sorts of niggles and I felt good that nothing seemed to get worse in the race. I forgot my Garmin/HRM (data above from my blackberry's GPSlogger) so I was running kinda blind on my effort level - seems I just pushed it too hard and blew up with the heat. Or perhaps more likely I just wimped out at the end.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goblin Gallop 5k

Background – 2011 so far has been venturing off into other frontiers – first half of the year was mostly Ironman focused – through the summer was Ultramarathon focused – both were great experiences but certainly not great races. In fact my last good race with good conditions was the CIM marathon last December. This 5k I wanted something more from a race. Conditions were perfect in the 40s. I had a PR that it seemed like I should be able to knock out but historically the shorter distances I’ve just had problems with. Some recent workouts suggested sub16:55 – my PR set in 2008 – was within reach. After the ½ marathon last Sunday that I ran on a hard week of workouts with tired legs – I set up my week to have fresh legs at the 5k – I really wanted my best. Besides the PR I knew one of my local rivals would be there – W – who has beat me in every race we’ve ever raced except for one – ’08 San Antonio Marathon – where I managed to snag the 1st place Master’s title from him on a technicality (I had the faster gun time – he had a much faster chip time starting the race 15 minutes late). W and I ran this 5k race for Shell in a corporate challenge so I knew he’d be there (as I invited him) so we’d both represent the team.

Race plan was to just stick with W – I told him before the race I was just going to try to stick with him so he could lead me to a PR – I wanted to try to hold 5:20’s per mile and was hoping he’d be right about that pace.

We’re off – after a few 100 yards I glanced at the Garmin and it showed about 5mpm pace so I tried to ease off just a little – there were a few ahead of me and as I eased off W came on by so I tucked in right behind him. The pace feels just a little hot but I was going with it. My watch shows the auto mile 1 split at 5:15 – just short of the milemaker. I stick tucked behind W but after another ¼ mile I glance down at the watch and see we are holding 5:35 pace – too slow – so I pick it up and go on by him. In my mind I’m thinking of the story he just told me at the startline about the ½ marathon last weekend where he let J go by about mile 11 then sprinted by him at the end to beat him by 1 second at the finishline to take fastest Master (besides Sean Wade). By about another ¼ mile my split pace is back to 5:25 for the 2nd mile and with a few turns in the next ½ mile the overall split for the 2nd mile ends up 5:21 by auto recorded laps on my watch. One final turn and the last mile is a straight shot to the finishline. A heavy breather comes by me near the beginning of that – not W – but I still figured he was back there somewhere. I’m holding on with all I’ve got – the words “pain is good” or many variants of that keeps ringing through my head – that finishline so far up ahead I just kept willing towards me with all I had. With the sun behind us pretty low I could see any shadows of someone coming up from behind and I kept expecting a charging W to come by but he never came. Finally mile 3 clicks off at 5:23 and just a short 0.1 miles to go. I’m trying to muster up a sprint but could only manage a small pace increase and I take that into the finish – 5:08 pace for the last 0.12 miles by my watch – and I see the clock clicking through the 16:3X seconds and I finish right at 16:40 4th place overall and 1st place Master – a 15 second PR – and beyond all expectations – I somehow beat W – who ends up finishing 5th place about 25 seconds back.

Summary (Garmin):

1 5:15 152 (163 max)
2 5:21 168 (172 max)
3 5:24 173 (175 max)
0.12 5:08 175 (176 max)

Total 16:40 (5:23 pace per official race distance)

Gotta love the award picture at the top - a picture of a competitive jerk pushing 2nd place out of the way to break the ribbon - Love it!

That was the most awesomest finishline feeling I’ve had all year – one of those big loud “YES!!” moments.

Official Results

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Houston Half

Here's my half marathon week - too much fast stuff for a good race I think:

M 7(6:53) with strides
T 6(8:00)//4(7:30)
W 12 progressive miles from 7:20 down to 5:30....that was the fastest I've ever gone down to on a progressive which gave me great hopes for the upcoming 1/2 marathon....very nice cool and low humidity morning run.
Th 4 (7:00)
F 5 (6:37)//5(7:12)
S 11.3 (6:53) in 1:17:11 (time on legs run - hoping to go shorter time next day).
S 13.1 in 1:20:50* - 3rd AG (for which I received what I believe to be the worst AG award ever - a Certificate of Achievement)

Total 70.6 (with a few missing puppy jogs above).

*Felt like I should have been able to run it faster. With Master's gone (Sean Wade) and 1st and 2nd AG a couple minutes ahead along with the Houston Marathon Elite Entry Prize (to 2nd AG) and a PR out the window perhaps I didn't fight hard? Don't know - the heartrate was the lowest I've ever done for a 1/2 marathon yet for a warm race it should have been higher which suggests I had another gear but I sure couldn't find that gear out there. Really looking forward to cool racing vs this - 68°F w/ 63°F Dew Point (86% Humidity).

Overall a pretty good week although I thought I'd do that 1/2 marathon a lot faster. Guess I should know better than to expect things on the clock on a hot/humid day. Good news is now 4 of the fast guys around already have their Houston Marathon Local Elite status - with two more races shots left and only one guy I think is competitive with me I've still maybe got a good shot to get it. 26.2k in 3 weeks will be my next shot. Another bright spot is these warmer races don't take near so much time to recover from so I'm thinking I don't need to alter my schedule for next week much. I'll have to juggle around a little to swap out a long tempo run on my schedule for Wednesday with something else - with a 5k race on Saturday and longrun on Sunday on tired legs - maybe I'll plan another progressive run midweek.

oh and by the way - I will NOT be trying that bean/rice buritto pre-race dinner again....I swear it added 3 lbs to my race weight without any "fiber-induced blow out - first thing on race morning"...

Just checked and found 44 fricken ° for Saturday's 5k forecast - I'm excited!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

10 4 Texas

I did my 10 miler on Saturday - first "real" race of the year back in my own element. Ironman/Ultra first time racing certainly wasn't my element. The weather was bad with Dew Points over 70°F which sapped some motivation so I kinda decided to take it to about 1/2 way controlled then decide if I was going to go race effort the back half or just get a good work-out out of the race. Last year I won Masters with a sub59 climbing from ~7th to 2nd OA over the last half of the race. This time I kept the first 5 controlled by capping the HR at 172 (cold weather average for last year's race was 170 but with the heat I knew I could do a little more) which started fast enough but slow down as the heat effect set in with splits of 5:51,5:54,6:09,6:25,6:30 - at that point still kinda tipping between workout or race I decided one more mile with the HR cap and did 6:36. Then at 13th place I decided I was going to bring it home and started trying to pull guys in - a bit of a headwind for the last 4 miles but the HR show the effort jump a bit more - pulled in one guy with a 6:20/175 7th mile then a guy caught me from behind which I found a little discouraging since I though I was upping it a little - 8th and 9th I didn't make progress on anyone and just lost that one place - 6:36/174, 6:30/173 - last mile gives me some finishline magnetic motivation and I pull in two guys with a final 6:13/176 mile to finish the race in 11th place to finish 1:03:17

I didn't recognize any of the typical fast masters among those out ahead of me but I've finished races in 11th place OA without even ending top 3 AG so as I looked at the results I was kinda self-talking myself to be grateful with anything - turns out the 1st place Masters was the next guy 9 seconds ahead of me and I scored the 1st AG award. He turned out to be a local good tri-guy which explains why I hadn't heard of him (as a Competitive Jerk I of course keep tabs on who in my AG is my competition:)). 4 minutes slower than a year before but knowing I'm typically a bit more slowed in the heat than others I gauged my race performance more by how it felt than the time and it felt like I gave it near all - yeah I'm certain I could have squeezed out another 9 seconds but that's spilt milk - I'm pretty happy pulling out the AG win on such a disadvantaged day to me with the heat. Nice to be out kinda back in my (road racing) element again. A great kick-off to my training to Houston....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sierra Nevada 50 Mile UltraMarathon

there and back again – a runner’s tale.........


I picked this race as I looked at the rather large gap between Ironman Texas (May) and Houston Marathon (January) thinking I needed something to fill this void. I’d knocked the Ironman off my bucket list why not progress towards another. Western States 100 is a race that goes from Squaw Valley to Auburn in June and is difficult to get into but it’s on my bucket list too. To get in requires some skill but mostly a lot of luck. For the skill part of it I needed a sub11 hr 50 miler to get a Western States Qualifier (WSQ) to enter the lottery – for the luck part I must win a lottery that majorly disadvantages the newbie held each December for the following year’s race. Last year’s race the lottery chances for a newbie entry was about 10% (218 wins out of 2,113 names) - and those odds only get worse each year as an ever growing number of 2x or 3x or more “losers” trying to get into the race get extra entries into the hat increased odds by the number of consecutive times they’ve tried to get into the race. I think that maybe within 4-5 years I might have around even odds of getting in if they don’t change the entry system again. I’m kinda hoping a way is figured out to increase the field size of this race to increase the odds of getting in sooner.

Other than to get the WSQ – I picked this race also because it gives a good opportunity to go to California and visit with my Dad and Step-Mom who live in Auburn. Auburn also has the finishline to the Western States race and this course happens to have a few of the final miles of that race within it. I’d run this small portion of the trail one time visiting my Dad and I’d spent many days boating around on the lake adjacent to the trail growing up in Sacramento so it all just had that home like draw to it. The end of September timing worked well with my training as before was mostly low-medium base-building mileage through the summer with the real training for my goal race (Houston Marathon on 1/15) starting in October so this seemed early enough to recover from and still train OK.

We (Susan and I) flew out Friday Morning and my Dad drove us around to see a few of the spots around the course. Two variables that caused me some anxt was the major overgrowth of thistles everywhere as I imagined socks and shoes full of them poking into my feet after a few miles – and the dust level which tends to send me into asthmatic misery – I found myself wheezing a little just from the driving around to a few of the trail heads so I got a little worried how I’d be after many hours out on the trails. My daughter flew out as well and we all drove out to get her from the airport in the evening. I put her in charge of tracking me through the race on her iPhone and giving everyone updates of where I was which she seemed to enjoy doing and she did quite well. I carried my cellphone on the run and had an app on it that would send her a google maps link with my gps coordinates every 30 minutes so she could compare with a course map and see my progress. As I mentioned a portion of the course is at the end of the Western States run and we happened across this sign along the way:


Although I'd never taken a step beyond 26.2 miles ever and I've never run hilly trails of any significance - Sub11 hours did not seem much of a challenge so I didn’t do much special to prepare for this race. Through the heat of Houston summer I ran mostly on the treadmill at no grade since the Ironman in May. Around the beginning of September the temperatures were sometimes not so bad so I switched most of my running to outside. For the last couple weeks I tried to avoid the pavement as much as possible and opted for trails near the house as much as possible. Flat easy non-technical trails are about all I’ve got without a lot of effort and that’s pretty much all I did. Mileage averaged about 65 mpw for the last few months with a few weeks in the 80s while I was on the treadmill in August. Mostly what I’d consider basebuilding type speeds – relatively slow and relaxed – which is my view of an ultramarathon so I figured that worked OK. My goal race is the Houston Marathon in January – this race is more or less a tune-up race after the basebuilding phase on the road to Houston. I practiced fueling strategies up to about 3 hours of running or cycling. I got a fueling strategy from an accomplished ultrarunner and tried to copy it – seemed to work OK on my training runs.

Pre-Race Strategy:

Fueling/Hydrating/Electrolytes Plan:
- Target 24 oz/hr and ~250 cal/hr and 375 mg/hr Sodium.
- Carry one 24 oz bottle and powdered mix for refills. Each fill had a heaping scoop of HEED and Sustain (Hammer Products) (~250 cal) and I also broke open and mixed in 1 SaltStick tablet into the powder so I wouldn’t have to carry the tablets separate. I also carried a few Caffinated Gels I planned to take with water at aid stations.
- Estimating about 3:45 in each direction I planned for 3 bottles (1 at the start, 1.5 I carried mix and 1 given to me by my crew about 3 miles from the turnaround which I’d drink ½ each way to the turnaround and ½ way back) and two Gels in each direction.
- My watch was set at 15 minute intervals to give a vibration alarm and I’d empty a ¼ of the bottle at each alarm.

Pacing Plan:
- Try to keep the HR below 150 (I average about 160 for a Marathon and 170 for a half marathon so I'm figuring each doubling of distance I should knock down 10) which I figured would probably give me 7:30-8:00 pace. I was kinda figuring to stay in the low 140s would be 8-8:30 pace. Although these paces seemed not so hard relative to my training I was certainly aware the course record is only 8:00 pace so these are certainly not fast trails. I wasn’t going to try to stick with the leaders or anything – run my own race - but I was expecting to not be far from them.
- Try to keep the effort even – fully OK to walk up the hills if the HR goes high jogging up them.
- Don’t burn myself out unless there’s something to be gained (like a win or something) – stay relative comfortable, get the WS Qualifier and keep the legs able to recover for good 4th quarter training/racing.
- First half weather would likely be dry-60s (heaven compared to the humid weather I’d been training in in Houston) but the 2nd half would be into the 80s and maybe 90s for a good portion so I figured I’d be running a slower 2nd half if just for that factor alone.

Gear Plan:
I’m not at all used to running with stuff so I tried to go as minimal as I could. What I brought with me:
- 24oz Gatorade bottle with ¼ turn sports top I’d carry in one hand.
- Garmin 310XT + HRM with display only showing HR and distance and an alarm set every 15 minutes for fueling. AutoLap every mile. Vibration alerts only so I wasn’t beeping – I really like that feature as in prior racing with the 305 I had way too much watch beeping going on – kinda annoying to me and to others.
- Injinji socks (toe socks) with a coating of hydropel all over the foot before I put them on to prevent blisters.
- DeSoto Skin Cooler top with ice pockets down the spine for cooling down when it got hot.
- I used a bib belt for clipping stuff to around my waist. Attached to the belt I had 2 pouches and a cellphone holder. In one pouch I had 2 ziplocks of powder – 1 for a full bottle and 1 for ½ a bottle – that filled up the pouch. I planned to try to get the powder into the bottle before the aid station without stopping by biting off a corner of the bag and stuffing it into the bottle – I hadn’t actually tried that in training but thought I’d give it a try anyway rather than stopping for several minutes pouring powder into the bottle. In the other pouch I had 3 GU. I could put the pouches on either hip and found in test runs it didn’t bounce much. I decided last minute to add an old cellphone holder to carry my cellphone (in a plastic bag) vs what I’d planned and tested of putting the phone in the bottom shirt ice pocket because it ends up bouncing around a lot back there – I thought it might be better on the belt.
- iPod Shuffle clipped to the bib belt and earphones – although I don’t race with music typically I figured for such a long race somewhere within the many hours a little motivational music might be nice as a little pick me up.
- My normal training shoes – Brooks Adrenaline with ~200 miles on them.
With my crew at mile 21/28 I had spare shoes (~350 miles on them)/socks a first aid kit and refills to all my pouches – ziplocks of mixed powders, gels and I had them mix up a new cold bottle for each direction I passed them. I also had my Dad bring an albuterol inhaler in case I get asthma from the dust. Also for the finishline my wife had instructions to get a beer in my hand as quickly as possible :).

The Course:
- An out and back run along trails that parallel the Folsom lake and on up to the North Fork/American River ending in Auburn with the turnaround at No Hands Bridge – one of the aid stations for the Western States run.
- First and last 18-19 miles is a single track trail regularly used for horses and some joggers –continual rolling <100’ kinda hills. Much of the trail is pretty technical with rocky sections to climb or jump down pretty regular along.
- One big hill to climb ~1000 ft into Auburn starting around 18 that takes about a mile at 16% grade then decent back down to the river at the turnaround at a somewhat gentler 8-10% grade then turnaround and do them both the other way.
- At the top of the hill and for couple miles each way get a flat trail along a little few foot wide canal.

- Taper plan was same as I’d done with marathons recently. 3 day out run in sweats which normally drops my HR a few beats on raceday for the same pace, 3 day carbload, lots of hydrating and salty foods day before.
- Morning pre-load with a bottle of UltraFuel 3 hrs pre-race and another 2 hrs pre-race.
- Usually I’d also take a couple of electrolyte pills and 12 oz of Gatorade just before the race but I didn’t this race as I was going to be taking lots in the race.
- A new variable that I’m now wonder its impact was I was about 1 week into a 10 day prescription of antibiotics (Sulfameth) as a precaution against infection my Doctor gave me for a boil. I see diarrhea as a side effect and I’m now wondering if it played a role in my getting dehydrated during the race.
- 6:30 am start and my Dad, wife and daughter all joined me to the start leaving the house about 5:15.
- I tried to take in my first UltraMarathon and looked at those around the start and all the different gear they had. It sure made my stuff loop pretty skimpy – people really carry a lot on these races and they have pretty efficient ways to carry it too. Also some fancy bandana kinda things over the shoes I imagine keeps the rocks out. The calf compression socks I thought would be pretty cool to not get scratched from the thistles.
- ½ mile walk out to the startline with everyone – it was really great to have my send-off party there at the start. I start my phone app to send signals to Kaylee and head over to the front for the race start.

The Race:

The Garmin Data: LINK

- Easy jog it out – I forcing myself to keep it cool and not take the lead – I end up running 2nd for most of the first part. We are instructed to follow the pink ribbons that are hung along the trail and at every twist and turn so we know we are on the right trail. At one point we are all confused which way to go and we stop to decide whether right or left – after 5-6 guys stack up someone sees the pink ribbon and we are off again.

- A couple of early gear issues – the cellphone holder on the bib-belt turned to have way too much bounce to it so I moved the cellphone to the shirt’s icepocket – it bounced a little but it was secure and I got used to it. The iPod Headphones proved to not be secured and kept coming out and dangling down past my knees – I kept trying to wind them around things on my belt while I was running but they kept bouncing free and I’d wind them again.

- First miles click away and I’m running around 8s and feeling pretty relaxed but I’m a bit concerned my HR is running so high – mid150 and sometimes even more – I was expecting for this pace to be low 140s – maybe even lower with the good heat run I’d done a few days before. Something screwy was going on because the HR was just running way too high. I decided not to pace adjust for it – breathing seemed OK and the pace felt pretty effortless so I’ll just monitor the HR and hope it starts to fall off after a few miles.

- The HR does fall off but it took a full 10 miles before it got within what I was hoping would be my max for the race of around 150. A little worried about it I’m tending toward slowing a little and let a few go by.

- At the aid stations I’m re-filling my bottle as needed. I’m somehow able to get the powder into the bottle without slowing down so just a brief stop for the volunteer to fill the bottle and I’m off again. I’m pretty much on plan with everything fueling/hydrating.

- I’m taking the ups slow – walked a couple steeper ones – and I’m having fun kind doing a two step jump down the more technical rocky hills (pick a spot – jump down to it, pick next spot and jump down to it) moving pretty good. I’m thinking I’m a pretty good downhill runner although I don’t practice much – the words from the DipSea movie On the Edge about running downhill by faith give me some confidence to just put my foot out there quickly and have faith I can figure out how to make it land OK and move on.

- My Dad and Step Mom mentioned as they go for hours long walks on beautiful trails around the country how they kinda pitty the trail runners who can only focus on the dirt ahead while they are walking and can look up and appreciate the beauty around. I think of this as a beautiful sunrise over Folsom Lake comes up to my right – but I cannot dare look at or I’d twist my ankle on a rock. But it was all still nice in the peripheral view anyway :).

- The big 1000’ hill at mile 20 was as expected – a walk. A girl with pink ribbons in her hands who has been marking the trail gives some caution that the markings aren’t perfect – but just keep going up – if there’s an option to cut across or go up – go up.

- I get to the top of the hill and there’s a canal that crosses the trail with an option to go across the canal and keep going up a little more hill – or run along the trail with the canal – with not pick ribbons in sight and the lady’s instruction in my head I march on up – and in the distance I see a couple others up there so must be right.

- So a ½ mile or so of no pink ribbons and I’m starting to think I’m not on the right trail. I decide to pull out my phone and pull up a GoogleMap of where I’m at and see what I find. After a couple minutes I determine the trail I’m on is going generally the right direction so I stick with it hoping things will somehow workout. I get to a street and happen to see a pink ribbon on a trailhead down the road so I jog over there and find the RIGHT trail which happens to be going along the canal.

- Another mile or so and I get to the Auburn Dam Overlook – recently renamed the American River Canyon Overlook – apparently after decades have gone by since it was planned to build this dam – and construction never began – they finally gave up on the name. Although there was no Dam to overlook – this being the highest point of the race that I had to climb nearly 1000’ in either direction – in my mind grinding away up the hill it became the goal to get to that Dam - or actually DAMN Overlook :).

- As I run through the aid station at mile 21 at the Dam Overlook my crew spots me coming in and I get lots of cheers and encouragement and a new cold bottle of fuel and I’m told I’m in 5th place overall. It turns out 2 of those are running the marathon so actually I’m in 3rd place for the 50M. I’m feeling perfect – big grins and waves and looking forward to a good long decent down to the river before the turnaround to come back. My pre-race optimistic pacing plan had me through this aid station at 9:30 and 10:30 and I was coming through the first time at 9:38 – things are clicking pretty good.

- Down the hill go for a bit and find a big uphill too steep to jog so I’m walking up the hill. Top of the hill turns out to be Robie Point – mile 99 of the Western States 100. Over the point and now I’m on the course going down to no-hands bridge. This particular couple mile section of the course was a key part of the women’s race to the finish in 2011 because a Momma Bear and her cub blocked the 2nd place woman for a good 10+ minutes making catching 1st place impossible.

- The bouncing down the hill is going OK but by the second 15 minute alarm to drink more of my bottle – the thought of it just grosses me out completely. I get to the bottom at the turnaround and instead opt to drink some flat coke.

- I’ve passed two runners on the way down coming back the other way and find out a 3rd runner who had been 1st place decided to switch to the Marathon and finish up after taking a wrong turn and loosing the lead (I think he was the guy I followed the wrong way back at the canal). First place was within a mile ahead I think.

- I start back up the hill – jog the flatter parts and walk the up hills but after a mile so the nausea starts to catch up and as seems to be my calling card on these long races – first the Ironman – now the UltraMarathon – yeah you know how it goes:

- I walk a little farther feeling weak then I decide to sit for a minute on the side and let this nausea feeling pass a little.

- Along comes Eric – A very kind experienced UltraRunner who has probably seen this a thousand times before and knows exactly what to do. He tells me to get up walk and he walks with me up the hill asking my symptoms. His plane water in his bottles looks so good I ask him for a little and take a swig. He quickly concludes I’m low on electrolytes and dehydrated. We continue to walk our way up the hill. He tries feeding me a cracker but before it even hits the stomach I was losing all the water I drank. I recall a podcast saying when helping another runner in an ultrarace – always stand to the side – and I could see he was the professional knowing where NOT to be :).

- Eric is so cool he walks me the rest of the way over Robie Point, down the other side and much of the way back to the Damn aid station at to top of the hill. In the process he shares all the rest of his water in both bottles and tells me what I need to do to recover and continue on including – get in the canal - no more sweets as the stomach is shutdone to them – get electrolyte pills at the aid stations – water only to drink – and eat bland foods from the aid stations. What a cool guy to sacrifice time in the race to help me out. He told me a little about running Western States last year and it was pretty clear he knew what he was doing.

- I get to the aid station at the Damn Overlook – mouth completely dry as I’d finished off all the water maybe ½ mile down the trail. My wife and daughter are there and try to hand me another bottle of my mixed stuff (which at the thought of that just grossed me out) and I have her get some bottles filled with water only. Eric had jogged ahead and warned the aid station workers I was coming and might need some help and one of the guys notices I’ve stopped sweating – a sure sign of dehydration. I get a few electrolyte pills a the aid station and have the couple bottles filled with water and the aid volunteer takes me over to the canal where I take my shoes off and climb in and submerge myself in the cool water. My Dad and Momma Sue come over to make sure I’m OK and I give them a fatigued smile – “are you planning to stop” – “no, no – I just need to recover a bit then I’ll be on my way” – The look back from Momma Sue was priceless – now completely convinced of my insanity:).

- After ~15 minutes changing shoes and socks, dealing with a blister on my right big toe (draining, bandaging then duct taping the big toe) and emptying more than a bottle of water – I’m feeling much better. I head back to the aid table and eat a couple bland things – potatoe dipped in salt was pretty good. Watermelon too.

- I’m off – two 24 oz water bottles in hand – I recalculate my estimate finish time figuring I’ll take maybe 4 hours to cover what I covered in 3 hour trip to get to the Damn Overlook before – I tell Susie/Kaylee I’d probably want my beer around 4:30 ish at the finish.

- I think the dip in the canal screwed up the HR Monitor because the data was all screwy after that but I wasn’t using that anymore anyway.

- Lots of time to get back and still get my WSQ – I’m pretty sure I could even walk the whole way and still get it but I start jogging out of there and back onto the trail by the canal.

- I stop a couple times and dip my hat into the canal and pour water on my head as it's really starting to warm up. With the delay it looks like I’m doing this back half in the heat of the day.

- I don’t think I’m moving all that fast but for whatever reason there’s no one passing me and I’m actually catching up to the next runner. In hindsight I think I actually made it back to the Damn Overlook around 5th place and lost another 6 places while I was messing around in the canal recovering so I guess I was around 11th.

- The other runner stops to jump in the creek and cool off so I pass by her and make the turn to descend the 1000’ or so down to the lake. It’s pretty steep so gotta go pretty slow.

- Get to the bottom and another aid station – more watermelon – more electrolyte pills – fill both my hand bottles with water – and ice as I could but the Gatorade bottle lid was hard to get the ice into so limited success here - and had the volenteer add ice to all the pockets in my shirt and fill my hat too so it will keep me cool as it melts off over several miles. This became my routine at each aid station and I’d leave each aid station with a slosh slosh noise as the ice would bounce up and down in my shirt pockets. This really worked well to keep me cool.

- After 10 miles or so I felt the need to pee so I stopped and pee’d the darkest yellow I’ve ever seen – but this is a very good sign the dehydration levels are dropping a lot – I keep my focus on downing more and more water.

- All the uphills of any significance were walks – I tried to jog along the flats and downs as I could and did for most of them. I few more runners came back to me as I was going along and we’d chat for a while as we worked our way down the trail. Lots of yo-yo’ing as I’d catch up to someone – stick with them for a bit then feel like walking and they’d move ahead etc so I’d see the same person for miles at times. We were all pretty well spaced out and at the aid stations where we all stopped for a few minutes to re-fill stuff there would usually be 2-3 of us.

- Pretty much it’s all grinding out the miles all about the same with the occasional frozen back and head as I’d pick up more ice – such a wonderful feeling.

- Somewhere maybe 10 miles to go I lost concentration for a second and wobbled up the slope into thistles – caught myself that overcompensated and almost wobbled off the trail down the hill – but caught myself again and ran straight – not sure what I did in that wobbling – I think I kicked a rock – but my other left big toe now hurt from whatever I hit. Not a lot but there was something there. I could still put pressure on it so I didn’t worry about it much. At the end I found the whole big toe toenail blistered from that so I’ll be losing that toenail – never lost that one before.

- That last aid station before the finish had a long gap before it – 6.3 miles didn’t seem too far the other direction but in the heat and going 13 mpm instead of 8 mpm – that’s a long distance apart – all my ice had melted off and both my bottles were nearly empty by the time I finally got to it. I got there with two other runners – guy and a gal – I didn’t really car if the gal beat me – I don’t race the gals – but I didn’t want the guy to beat me. I quickly finish up at the aid station – I get ice, refill the bottles – only 2.7 miles to go and I’m first to leave the aid station.

- Walking the uphills still – the gal catches up and passes me – we chat a bit – she’s 2nd lady and trying to hold off 3rd who I saw a while back but has been struggling with nausea much of the race. But she’s keeping a steady pace while I’m walking/jogging/walking – I end up kind bungy cording her for a while – she’d go on ahead then I’d jog and catch up then walk and she’d go on ahead etc.

- Then the guy catch up and starts to pass so I match his speed an chitchat with him a while. His first every UltraMarathon too – has only done one Marathon even – pretty impressive – we confirm we are in different age groups so I’m kinda happy I don’t have to race him for that. He’s jogging the uphills and moving away but then I roll down the downhills and more than make-up for it – after a while and knowing the finish isn’t much more than a mile to go I kinda let one of the downhills get me going fast and I just try to hold it – I still walked a little uphill gain but then sped back up and ran it into the finish opening up a couple minutes on the guy and giving me a nice fast feeling again to the finish.

- Susan and Kaylee are cheering big as I come running around the corner to the finishline ---- and not more than a few steps later ---- my beer is in hand – it took a little more time to find the bottle cap opener but a beer never tasted so good.

- As the race is called the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run – the beer had to be a Sierra Nevada beer.

- Before I made it to the bottom of the first beer I was handed the 3rd place Age Group Award for the race and I got my WSQ with a time of 9 hours 46 minutes.

- Good shower/massage and company around the finishline. Had another beer.

- Found Eric (actually he found me) and thanked him profusely for his help out there and shared stories with him for a little while. He was a bit surprised I made it to the finish after how bad I looked but I told him I followed his advice to the letter and it got me home. He assures me what he did is pretty darn business as normal in an ultra race – people just take care of each other out there – which is pretty darn cool! He ended up making the race a fun run on the back half stopping at aid stations for long times chewing the fat with aid workers etc. He still finished ahead of me but maybe not by much – would have been kinda cool to catch up with him on the trail and hang for some miles. As it turns out he appears to have done me another favor too – I’m guessing to keep good finishing time statistics he apparently didn’t cross the finishline as he doesn’t show up in the results – only on the registered runners list – since he’s in my age group too he also apparently gave me his 3rd AG award too – I certainly owe Eric a lot from this race!

What went well:
- AutoText Messages to Kaylee and Kaylee keeping everyone informed – worked like a charm.
- DeSoto shirt and hat for stashing ice to stay cool.
- Crew at the Damn Overlook – perfect placement for help and encouragement.
- Pacing for the first half seemed OK – think I ran the hilly trails with a good balance of caution and aggression.
- Steady effort 1st half slowing and speeding up with the grade.
- Recoverying from a bad patch – adjusting the plan (to the great advice of Eric) and finding something that worked to finish up. Having bad patches I’m told are fully expected in such long races – and especially on up to farther distances. How you bounce back from them and adapt on the fly says more than whether or not you have them and I think I bounced back and adapted pretty well with the help of others.
- Eric giving me some water to make it to the Damn Overlook – I may have made it up there anyway but without the water my dehydration level may have made this day a DNF.
- Got to experience a little of the WS100 Trail – and with the bad patch I had just so happening to lineup with what would be about mile 97-99 of that race – I feel like I kinda got to experience is as I would feel after that many miles.
- Thistles only lightly brushed past the legs on a couple overgrown narrow trails - otherwise no issue.
- No asthma.
- Stomach was great after the race. 2 Beers and 4 slices of Pizza before I left then a big Prime Rib Dinner a couple hours later – no way I’ve ever been in a condition to do that after a marathon.
- Ice Bath and Massage – DOMS pretty much gone within a couple days – although going down steps was wobbly for a while - I was able to run 5 on Monday and 10 on Tuesday (along the beautiful beaches in La Jolla) without much problem.

What didn’t go well:
- Getting dehydrated – clearly I need more electrolytes for the conditions but I’m still a bit surprised after only 4 hours I got so dehydrated. Longer training runs would have helped me understand my limits here better and mitigate the risks of dehydration. I still wonder if the antibiotics somehow played a role in this – don’t know. If not I’m wondering if my limit on these longer races is how well I can stay hydrated. It could be I an aerobically handle going faster but I sweat too fast and can’t replace enough of it at these speeds and I just need to slow down to maintain the water balance. Again – can only figure this out bit experimenting in training and I didn’t have those kinda training runs.
- iPod – useless and headphones in the way – leave it at home next time. I tried the music once just before Eric came along to try to motivate – waste of time.
- More than 2 things on the BibBelt no work – I can keep a pouch on either side from bouncing around but as soon as I add a 3rd in the middle – too much bouncing.
- 24 oz Gatorade bottles – hand gets tired holding a bottle – need a hand wrap – also need a wider opening so aid workers can get ice into the bottle – use regular water bottles next time.
- Blister – I think the Injinji socks and hydropel did OK – but the blister formed under a callus on the big toe and I think if I had filed it down before the race I wouldn’t have got the blister. All the rocks and things hitting the toebox in different angles I think just had too much go push on with the callus – a smoothed hydropel’d surface I think would have been fine.
- ToeNail – I’ve heard dehydration makes you more prone to lost toenails and blisters so that may have been a factor but mostly I think I just need to keep my eye on the trail – probably will come from running more trails. To only have this once minor incident along such a long technical trail off no training on similar is pretty good I think. But I would need to get many of these type of trail runs in to be able to focus better.
- Didn’t get a good picture of my crew --- Thanks Dad, Momma Sue, Kaylee and especially my Darling Wife Susan!!! Also thanks to Pam and John for trying to come see me at the Damn overlook on the way back – sorry I was so late getting there I missed you but glad we caught up for dinner.

Next up – Houston Marathon is the goal race – a few tune-up races along the way including a 10 miler on October 8th if the legs are up for it.

Some more miscellaneous pictures:

Who could argue with this:

Before it all – you can kinda see my gear set-up. I brought a light just in case it was too dark at 6:30 am but it was just light enough I didn’t need it:

Mile 19 first time through the Damn Overlook:

Second time through the Damn Overlook – I’m not feeling quite so energetic:

The magic of Duct Tape – amazing all the uses for it.

Apparently I almost had to crawl under the finishline but they got the airpump restarted before I got there a few minutes later.

There I am “flying” my way to the finish:

Now finally achieving that out of body experience us UltraRunners (I can call myself one now) are striving for:

Me and Eric’s – I mean my Age Group award. It’s a really cool coffee mug too.

With this written on it:

These shoes have seen enough miles – into the trash – I kept the first pair which looked about the same until I cleaned them off in the ocean.

No UltraMarathon Race Report is complete without an addition to the black toenail hall of fame:

Now that’s a way to finish off a report!

Monday, May 23, 2011

IRONMAN TEXAS - Race Report Take 2

Some of the other experiences along the way:

This Ironman thing is a richman's sport. Chatting with a few experienced Ironman athletes around the Expo I find the routine for many is to go to the site of the ironman a couple weeks in advance, have the bike shipped out, acclimate to the new environment and train along the course. Multi-thousands of gear - especially the bike. Massages, club memberships, large entry fees - on and on and on. The lady I happenned to be behind in line at the packet pickup happened to be a very good age grouper who has qualified for Kona on a number of occasions but doesn't ever go because to her it's not worth the $15k bill. This gives me some pause - two kids coming out of High School - college bills starting up this year - I can't go dropping $15k to go runs some race - sure I could do it on the cheap and cut that down but still. I'm not sure I want that choice even should all the stars align perfect.

As we tread water like bait in the Pacu infested waters of Lake Woodlands (seriously one was caught here just a couple weeks ago) this 7am day of May 21st a few questions are thought but not asked:

- Who will make it to the end before the 6pm Rapture?
- Will these Pacu infested waters let all of us out alive?
- Can I swim to the left of the bouy's where it's not likely to be so crowded - will those Kayak'rs really stop me?
- Is it rude to be holding onto the bouy instead of giving up my spot for a Purple Hat Lady?
- Where does that canon ball land after it's fired?
- This kayak'r is pretty cool letting 20-30 swimmers grab a hand around his boat but I wander how smart that is - might they flip him over by accident?
- Where's my hand under the water 3" away - I can't see it.
- Should I have shaved all this body hair off like so many others around here?
- What's the point with putting on all that suntain lotion a 7am before an hour in the water - can it really last that long?
- Was it a smart thing to line up at the front of this race when I expect to be in the lower half at the end?
- Those poor people who didn't get into the water in time - I could easily be one of them - I was just coming over to the start to see the pros start and noticed everyone was getting in the water so I tagged along - blind luck I guess.
- Saw in someone elses volenteering race report siting of a couple water snakes swimming across the water a few minutes pre-race - I'm sure 2000+ swimmers scared them off pretty good.

The cannon fires and all I know is the ball didn't land anywhere near me - thousands and thousand move it out. Despite stories of abuse on the waters - I actually found others to be quite tolerant as I slammed my hands into them and they slammed there's into me. I didn't hear a single foul word - even heard several appologies - these are good people just put into violent sport. Clawing pushing knocking breathing taking strokes in whatever means was available I finally get enough clear space after 15-20 minutes to get in a groove.

Drafting - yeah I'm supposed to do that - but each time I try I seem to get into this foot tickling routine with the person in front. At least once my foot comes into contact with something a bit hard and not flesh - probably goggles - sorry about that. That happens once to me too so I suppose comes around goes around.

I'm no swimmer - I'm a runner - most runners I know don't swim - don't like to swim even and I'm kinda like that guy but I want the Ironman T-Shirt and I'm going to get it - I can tolerate 90 minutes of this because the rest of the day will be divine.

Cool - I can walk in the canal - would I be DQ'd if I just ran along the bottom - I seriously considered this strategy:).

Out of the water to transition.

How are all these people changing outside the tent? I guess they don't change their shorts.

In the tent I go with my bag - I guess I should have got away from the door - I hope I didn't flash any ladies going by out there.

The arms are just too short to pull the back down on the shirt bound up at the neck.

How do people get 5 minute transitions anyway - there's just too much to do here - I suppose maybe practicing more than zero times might have helped a little:).

Off I go on the bike right according to plan - plan was to let most everyone get ahead of me so I can pass them all back in the bike run - that's the way to boost the ego:). These riders are just dang slow - I'm cruzzing by them by the dozens - what a blast.

Age 41 dude - "Why do you have a calculator on the back of your seat" - I don't ask but wonder - no matter - he's in my age group he's going down - onward.

Poor guys along the side of the road changing tires. One apparent fall around an hour in - actually the only one I saw evidence of the whole day - that's pretty amazing actually.

Calculator guy passes me back - whatever - we're cruzing by everyone else.

I pass calculator guy again....he passes me back.....I pass him.

All these rules to follow - no drafting, after being passed must drop back 4 bike lengths, all passing must be done within 20 second - Pass only on the left - although I never saw any inforcement at all of these rules - I was rather amazed most actually made some efforts to do them - much of the time the 4 bike lengths was impractical with the density of riders but for the most part things were followed.

Here comes calculator guy again......I'm asking myself higher math questions about how many oz/hr or cal/hr or mg/hr I've had trying to forecast what time each bottle is supposed to be empty - man do I wish I had a calculator - how many bottles of this stuff have I had - what kinda flavor is that anyway - Mango maybe - interesting.

Sitting on a 1" plank crouched over across the bike for many hours - what happens - sore butt and back maybe? You betcha. I cross the 70 milemarker and I'm 1/2 way to the the finish - hurray. I cross the 70 milemarker and I've still got 70 miles to go - crap!

How did this lady clearly more than 50 lbs over weight take 70 miles to pass - was my swim really THAT bad?

Wow that ~5 miles stretch of road - if you were there you know what I'm talking about - I don't recall a rougher road ever - anywhere - I think they might have just stripped it down making it ready for the asphault trucks to come.

A story I heard from others - apparently a good guy cop trying to help with all the congestion all the cars were facing decided to take it apon himself to help things out a little and direct traffic. He was pretty quick to figure out the real problem with all this traffic was all these bikes charging into the intersection without regard for the rules so he's stop them and wave the cars along to clear out the traffic - several lost many minutes waiting for this good guy to straighten them out.

These long long lines of cars at many interstions I'm so sure were filled with people thinking to themselves - "Go Ironman - push it to the finish!" - yeah - that's what they're thinking.

Hey - I caught calculator guy again - is it me yo-yo'ing or him?

Cross mile 100 at 5:05 - darn-it - I think a 5 hr centry would have been pretty darn cool. I am now riding farther than I've EVER ridden before - at least as far as I can remember. After so much headwind this last many miles it was a very nice respite for a few miles to turn north near this mile marker - what a perfect place for a tailwind.

I haven't seen calculator guy for a while - seems I haven't seen several of the people I was yo-yo'ing for a while - and I'm hardly passing anyone anymore - just on occasional biker coming by me - guess I'm slowing down.

We ride by about mile 4 of the run and I glance over and sure enough - there's a few runners out there - man they are way far ahead.

I must say all the way through the ride - these are a talented group of volenteers! This was not just a group of people that show up on race days - it was clear every one of them was trained to do what they did and do it with a smile and encouraging word - what a pleasure it was at every point of contact.

The final miles - ready for a good transition - Loosen the shoes - it must have taken a while because there's 3 pictures on the website capturing me loosening the right shoe - a magical moment I'm so glad they captured in triplicate.

Off to transition again - what a pleasant surprize I don't even need to take my bike to the rack - a volenteer jumps right out and takes care of it - cool stuff.

Ok - a hot/humid marathon - this is going to something!


- I didn't expect a run/walk strategy going in but it did create opportunity to chitctat with other racers and hear stories along the way. The most interesting was one guy I walked with for a while was conserving his energy because he wanted to finish fresh - huh? - turns out he had a big proposal planned ~100m before the finishline to catch his girlfriend totally off guard - now that's pretty cool!

- The Woodlands canal system is very cool - I'd never been down the trails around the canal before and its beautiful. The crowd support all around it was incredible too. Seems like the locals really embrassed this event and came out in force to chear everyone on.

- This certainly didn't feel like a race - all were wearing a number and all but there was more walking then running - and of the running there was much more suffling than jogging - even of the joggers there was almost no real running by my thinking of it. 1st place lady came by me at one point and I looked at how fast she was moving and figured maybe 7:45 pace - of course that was still faster than I was moving at the time so good on her!

- At mile 21 I look down at my watch and see it's exactly 6pm - I turn to the jogger next to me and say looks like the world isn't going to end - guess we'll have to finish this thing - she gave me a wierd look like what are you talking about - get away from me wierdo - so I jog on ahead :).

- Incredible aid stations - again every volenteer appeared to be well trained, enthusiastic, empathetic, helpful in every way possible. I've never seen a better run aid station in any marathon and every aid station at every mile was the same.

- Ironman aid stations are very well prepared for the heat! Lots of ice, cold drinks, cold sponges, chicken broth, different kind of real foods, drinks - everything needed to deal with a hot day.

I think someday I'll need to do another one of these things. Probably I could take what I learned from this race and put together an effort around 10.5 on the next - but I'm just not feeling it. I really don't like to swim - it's a very expensive sport - and I'd need about double the training time. Maybe in a few years when college expenses are forecasted to drop off - we'll see.

I'm finding the words "I'm an Ironman" a bit awkward - I felt similar about "I'm a Marathoner" until I felt I'd actually done the race right which wasn't until my 3rd Marathon. I guess technically I can say I am - but I won't really feel it until I've done it right.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

IRONMAN TEXAS - To Infinity - and Beyond!

140.6 miles is like forever - nearly infinity - it just keeps going and going - kinda like this report :).

This was my first Ironman - 2nd triathlon after a Sprint Distance (~1 hr race) in April. A saying common in the runners world is after you can't go faster - go farther - referring to the inevitable slow down with age. I kinda felt like I was pretty close to tapping out the Marathon speed after a couple sub2:40 marathons - figured I might try the go farther approach - two avenues open for that - the Ironman or Ultramarathons. Also the go farther by all accounts seems to actually be a bit easier on the body since the intensity level isn't so high and after a couple long injury outages going after fast marathons being a bit easier seemed the right direction to be going. I may try the ultramarathons someday but after having a year off running in 2009 due to injury - I'd picked up some very basic swimming skills from a book called Total Immersion and obtained some of the gear for biking so I kinda had a slant towards the Ironman. I didn't really have the patience for doing a bunch of triathlons building up to the distance and really figured the endurance part of an Ironman isn't so much different from a marathon - my simplistic view of ultra events is you basically just go slower so you can go longer - not so complicated.

My training plan really was no plan at all. Mostly just working on what I needed to work on with the time I had available - there was no shortage of things to work on with 3 sports and most of the time I felt I wasn't doing enough. In all 12 marathons I'd done to date I had only once or twice spent more than 10 hours in a single week working out - and that many hours was hard to fit into my life working full time with a wife and two teenagers. In the race program for IMTX there's a section called The "Average" Ironman Athlete which I fall far below the average in all categories of training leading to this race yet I spent more hours per week than any marathon I'd ever trained for averaging YTD what I'd only done one or two weeks prior:

Average hours/week devoted to training - 18-30+ [I averaged 10 YTD]
Miles per week swimming - 7 [I averaged 2]
Miles per week biking - 225 [I averaged 100]
Miles per week running - 48 [I averaged 21 but 2 months of zero knocks down the average]

But I think I did the best I could with the time I had available. Generally my strategy was to do enough to get by on the swim - it's the smallest percentage of the race at typically ~15% of the time so the effort/benefit ratio is pretty low - plus I don't enjoy the sport. For the bike I did 2-3 spin classes per week which got some of the higher intensity into the training and I did 1-2 rides per week usually on the weekend as could fit into the day. I never had the time for the very long rides and in fact the longest training ride I did was 90 miles along the course of the Ironman. For the run I had a good foundation coming off the 2:38 marathon in December but I also had a couple months of no running I discovered in January investigating some pains in the SI joints that I've got what appears to be a very mild case of a chronic disorder called Anklyosing Spondilitis which is basically an autoimmune disease that goes after joints in the spine. Now that I know about this I take a daily NSAID that keeps the inflammation away and its become a non-issue with pain levels most always at zero to 1. But figuring all that out took running away for Jan-Feb which in a way was helpful to developing some basic bike and swim fitness but it eroded some of my running base. Mar-May I was able to get much of the base back but certainly not near PR levels of run fitness.

Jan-April I was focused on fitness - two brand new sports I had no adaptation for and then building back some basic level of run fitness took most all my focus. About the end of April I started shifting focus to race day execution. My first priority was getting heat acclimated as a mid-May Houston afternoon Marathon promised to be brutal so for all my running and spin classes and bike rides I added depending on the weather long sleeves and/or jackets and/or sweat pants to get heat acclimated.

Then the last couple weeks I started planning out the actual race execution - in the race planning I hit a couple Oh Crap! moments. I created a spreadsheet incorporating what I found for hydrating and nutrition rates that can be fed into the body - I knew it is not physically possible to replace as much fluid or calories in what I drink and eat as I loose during a race - but I didn't actually realize how much of a deficit I'd get too. First crunching of the numbers and I could not get anywhere near my target time without being very much beyond dehydrated and beyond empty in calories. Must be a mistake in the numbers so I searched around looking for how others can possible hydrate and fuel for an Ironman and discover I am a pretty exceptionally high sweater - I guess I kinda knew this by the size of the puddle under my spin bike compared to others at spin class - and I also discovered the faster Ironman athletes somehow consume far more that the 250-280 cal/hr that I'd read as the most theoretically possible. Also I found they do a lot of practicing this fueling strategy in the training to figure out what works and doesn't work with their stomach. Then there's all these other things they seem to figure out through trial and error or lab experiments like how to keep electrolyte balance - a very individual things based on how fast the electrolytes are lost in sweating. So here I am sitting a week to got to IMTX and I'm feeling very clueless - I felt reasonably OK about the training level and how to pace myself OK - but how does a heavy sweater stay hydrated when the physical limits to consume liquids cannot be exceeded and what combination of fueling will get me to the finishline before I run out of gas.

I set to work on the issues and come up with a plan of sorts. To prevent dehydration the key seemed to be to sweat less. I ended up with Skin Cooler Long Sleeve Top off the suggestion of someone on a Triathlete forum at Runners World. For the fueling I got various input from another triathlete forum at slowtwich where I went for some "fine-tuning" of fueling strategy only to find it needed a major overhaul. One of the guys there (sciguy) helped me through PM's and pointed me to what one of the elite athlete's does and I ended up kinda cobbling together a plan from that and using this to approximate the calorie burn. I wasn't ready to give up a success strategy despite many saying the typical things people say to first timers about take it slow - just go for finish - don't try to push it - add hours to your expectations - all that typical stuff I might tell to a first timer marathoner - but any who know me know I'm way to competitive to try for anything but a top rate performance so although my calorie/hr along the bike plan was risky to backfire being untested in training - I was convinced by calculating out the numbers that there was no way to have enough fuel to finish a good run without it so I went for it fully aware of the risks.

May 21st - Race Day

Pre-race - alarm went off at 3am at which time I grabbed a 16 oz bottle of UltraFuel and guzzled it down and laid back down for another 30 minutes or so then got up and guzzled down the second bottle. Gathered my last things together - Susie got up to wish me luck - we'd scouted out the finish area the day before so she could come out and cheer for the run part of the race. Out of the house around 3:45 for the 1 hour drive to the race and I drink my 3rd bottle of Ultrafuel on the drive out. Visit my bike which was dropped off day before and add a few things for the ride then go chill out in my car until ~5:30. Walk ~1 mile to the swim start and do the normal portajohn line a couple times, drop off my special needs bags that are available mid-race for the bike and run - then around 6:45 I get in line to get into the water.


Training - mostly in the pool, 3 full length swims (2.4 miles) with 2 of those open water. 2 swims with other people - one just 500m in a sprint tri and one 2.4 mile practice swim at the lake where the Ironman was held with a couple hundred others. There were a few glimmers of satisfaction within the swims as I learned enough technique and built enough endurance to last for that long but overall I didn't get much from the swimming. 25m pools get repetitive and boring - open water opportunities are 1 hour+ away and not very appealing - I imagine I could grow to like it with nice outdoor lakes around but I developed no love for the sport in the training I did and was aiming for no more than what I could get by with.

Race Day - This is an in water start meaning 2000+ people are treading water before the startline until the canon goes off at 7:00. I'm in the water about 10 minutes early and I find a spot near one of the startline buoy where I can hang on with one hand. I wanted to conserve energy so I try to keep movement to a minimum. As 7:00 approaches there's still hundreds of people trying to get into the water being funneled through a timing mat that reads the chip strapped to the ankle to record starting the swim. The race started on time so we in the water just got a little head start on all those still getting into the water. Swim is an out and back followed by a swim down a 50' wide canal to the transition area - I think of it in thirds - out, back, canal.

Out: Total chaos - can't take two strokes without one landing on someone - I'm getting bumped into in every direction - there's just no way to get a rhythm. After the last open water swim I figured I needed to swim taking breaths in both directions so I could site those on either side vs most of my swimming was breathing left so I practiced that in a pool a couple times and thought I had a decent chance to do that but it felt unnatural. I keep dropping into random strokes - back strokes for a few strokes until I hit somebody, side stroke for a while, breast stroke - back to freestyle - can this please just be over - my dislike for this swimming sport is strengthening. I survey my options - I have only one - gotta keep moving forward - the way out is ahead - so after maybe 1000m I put my head down and start cranking it out - go back to the stroke I'm comfortable with breathing left - I'm not hitting people near so often and I'm not letting it mess me up so much - start pounding it out. Then we come to the first turn and I'm hitting people left and right again - getting crowded but there's no way out but moving forward. For several minutes around the corner I'm locked in right left front back and I gotta keep pace. Seems a randomness about the direction each swimmer is taking but the continual bumping directs everyone into the shortest path around the corner. A slight spreading out for the next 100 yards or so then another turn to start the swim back.

Back: I pretty much stay in a rhythm for the long swim back. I get my goggles kicked off once and stop and take the time to put them back. I'm getting decent at spotting where I'm going and swimming straight towards it. The occasional swimmer going 30° off straight knocks me off here and there but overall a pretty straight shot back. A pinch at the turn into the canal but the turn is more gradual so not quite so crowded.

Canal: As I start the canal my right calf muscle totally goes rock hard and locks up on me. No surprize as this has happen in every one of my 3 full distance swims in training - I stop kicking on that side and wait it out and it goes away after a minute or so - like it did every other time before. I couldn't remember how long the canal was - I was thinking it was about 1/3rd of the race but I wasn't sure. I decide to stay right - stay on the canal wall so I only have one side to worry about getting whacked from. Works pretty well but it gets very shallow at one point and I'm hitting the bottom with my hands. I put my feet down and take two steps to propel me forward then back to swimming - a nice little break from the swimming. I really want to see the bridge because I know that's just before the transition area so I keep peaking ahead for it. I recalled from the map there would be a gradual turn to the left then I should see it - moving around the turn and there it is - my heart lights up in delight - the end is not so far off. I'm pretty sure it's only a short distance from there - minutes go by - after the bridge I think I see white tents in the distance - could that be the transition area - I'm excited - I recall exit is left so I start moving off my right side wall and move into the pack. Closer and closer - then I spy one final red buoy we must all go around then straight to the stairs so another compacting of swimmers before the final small distance to the stairs. As I climb the stairs I'm thinking - I never have to do that ever again - after that swim I'm certain I'm a one-and-done'r on this Ironman thing. After the open water swim a couple weeks back I'd added 10 minutes from 80 to 90 minutes for my swim time projection due to the bumper car effect - I look up at the clock as I run over the mat and it says 1:42:xx - man that's slow but I don't care - it's over - the high point of the whole day right there - I survived the swim - what a feeling of euphoria. I found out the next day the clocks at the transition were set by the pro's start 10 minutes ahead of the field so actually my time was 1:32:xx.

T1: Swim to Bike - I jog up to the transition area - there's a large tent with a partition down the middle with men on one side and women on the other. I grab my transition bag and dart into the men's side and make haste. I change into the bike cloths with particular difficulty with that long sleeve DeSoto shirt on my wet skin - after some effort I got it all pulled down and straight. Socks, shorts, shirt, helmet, shoes, gloves, HR monitor, bib holder strap, a little targeted body gliding and I'm off to my bike. First step in my cooling strategy is to dump water all over my shirt as it works to cool when its wet so I dump out a bottle of water I had in the transition bag over my back and arms as I'm trotting along. Get to the bike and pull a couple fig newton packages I'd planned to shove into my pocket and discover I'd put my shirt on inside out. My whole cooling strategy relied on using those pockets - I had to have them on the outside so I take off the a few things, strip the shirt off and progress again to put it back on - of course the shirt is wet since I just dumped a bunch of water on it so it is again a challenge to put on but I finally get it on straight and buckle everything up again and I'm off to start the bike. T1 time - 11:28.


Bike Set-up: Fueling was to be all liquid - I had 77 oz of UltraFuel on me then I figured the rest would be from Ironman Preform given at the aid stations every 10 miles. I've got 2x30 oz bottles behind me and 20 oz between the aerobars. I left one holder on the frame empty for the Preform bottles and I also had elastic bands between the aerobars I could stuff another bottle into should the need arise. In a little bag on top of the frame I had a couple tic-tack jars full of electrolyte pills, a couple tools for changing a flat and a couple fig newtons as a back-up supply for extra calories. Garmin is strapped next to the bottle in front showing cadence, HR and time - no speed because I didn't want to feel rushed if I fell behind plus I put it in indoor mode turning off the GPS to conserve battery for the run so there was no speed anyway. Also strapped to the back was a spare tire I tied under the seat. I set this all up Thursday and gave it a test drive for 1/2 hour and lost one of my 2-24oz bottles I'd planned to use and I didn't have any others but I got a couple give-away 30oz bottles at the expo so I decided to use those since they were slightly bigger so wouldn't be so likely to fall out and the extra 12 oz sounded like a plus - I also slanted the back bottle holder up just a tad also to avoid loosing a bottle. Bike gets dropped off to the transition area Friday night.

Fueling strategy numbers:
72 oz Ultrafuel
107 oz Ironman Preform
13 Endurolytes

28 oz/hr of water (some of the ultrafuel volume is the powder so I subtracted that out)
2351 calories 391/hr
3280 mg sodium 546/hr
650 Ca 108/hr
415 Mag 69/hr
819 Potas 137/hr

I was thinking that sodium level was probably too high but I wanted all those other electrolytes too and the Endurolytes were a lot lower in sodium than then my other electrolyte pill option I had - SaltSticks - so in my plan I stuck with the Endurolytes for the bike and SaltSticks for the run where I'd be sweating a lot more.

Bike gets underway. Weather is nicely overcast with wind from the south that would be a tailwind for the first half and a headwind for the 2nd half. My effort target is 140bpm and 90 rpm for cadence - I'm not getting a cadence number and I look down and see the meter on the bike is bent a little - I don't want to take the time to stop and fix it and 90 rpm is pretty programmed in anyway - I know what it feels like - so I decide to not stop for this - if I stop for some other reason I'll fix it. For the first 10 miles I'm working down the 16 oz of Ultrafuel in the front figuring it should be gone at 35 minutes to maintain 28 oz/hr. I'm probably passing 10 for each that passes me. Although I feel like I'm going fast enough and putting in enough effort the HR is staying lower than I'd planned and I felt OK with that - didn't want to push it up - making good time - lower HR meant more fat burning which means more fuel left for the run. Pass the first 10 mile marker and I hit the lap button and find I'm making good time. Shortly after the first aid station I grab a Preform and throw it in the empty frame holder then grab a 24 oz water bottle (cold :) ) and proceed to spray the contents all over my shirt to get the cooling thing going again. Generally a tailwind most of the first 50 miles or so which was great for the speed but also reduced the wind's cooling effect so I wanted to dump that cold water on me as much as possible. I had no drinking water in the plan so all I grabbed was for dumping on me and I got a bottle every aid station.

After a while I've got my system down every 5 minutes take a swig - two times from the front (Preform) then on the quarter hour from the back (Ultrafuel). I figured I'd start taking an electrolyte pill every 30 minutes with the Ultrafuel on the 15 and 45. I discovered I put the wrong tic-tack jar in the bag - I only had saltstick pills - no Endurolyte - I kinda shrug it off and stick with the plan with SaltStick pills instead of endurolytes - I knew they were more sodium but somehow in the mental math of it all mid race I just ignored that little factor. Also I stopped really watching the total volumes consumed just trying to take around 2+ oz each swig each 5 minutes. In the final tally because of my lack of portion control and taking the wrong type of electrolyte pills I ended up drinking a full 6x20oz bottles of Preform and all but ~10 oz of Ultrafuel + 12 capsules of SaltStick pills before all was done in 5:47:

186 oz or 32 oz/hr
2695 cal 449/hr
5896 mg sodium 983/hr

That's way way way too much of everything! The last hour of the bike I can't say things were feeling great in the stomach but I was kinda blaming that on the fact I had not gone beyond 90 miles on a bikeride in training so I was just at that stretching the fitness part of the ride - and I was still able to keep up the every 5 minute drink routine to the end.

I grabbed a water bottle at every stop and had the bright idea on the 5th aid station to keep the bottle to keep spraying my back and head between the stops. The elastic bands between my handlebars became my holder for the water bottle which worked out well and I was pouring water on my back and head every few miles then on out.

Ride itself was lots and lots of passing through around 1/2 way then I kept going back and forth with a few riders for the last part - on net passing people but only a rider here and there - not so continual. I switched the Garmin to Outdoor mode about halfway thinking it could last through the marathon from there with the GPS on. No stops for the entire 5:47:35. A couple brief misses or lapses in concentration that could have resulted in a wipe-out but I managed to recover OK. And I got my 4 character text message out to my wife saying 3:45 I'd be around the finishline for first loop. A couple bike pics:

10 mile splits:
Mile mph HR
10 21.9 132
20 21.0 136
30 21.4 134
40 20.4 133
50 20.1 132
60 19.5 131
70 18.5 132
80 19.3 132
90 18.1 130
100 17.0 128
112 17.4 130

T2: Give the bike to a volunteer who takes it to the rack - I forgot to transfer the Garmin to my arm before I stopped so I wasted some time unstrapping it from the bike and onto my arm then the volunteer takes the bike away. I did accomplish the flying dismount keeping the shoes clipped on the bike then proceeded to jog through the then muddy grass in my socks to get my running transition bag and change into the running gear. Fortunately I had a change of socks in the bag. I change into running shorts, training shoes (I considered the racing flats but decided against), socks dumping the gloves, helmet and other stuff in the bag. I grabbed the 16 oz Ultrafuel bottle I planned for the first part of the run but I was already thinking how totally yucky it was going to be. Dropped the bag off and hit a portajohn real quick - urine color wasn't as clear as I would have liked for just getting ready to start a marathon so I was concerned about the dehydration factor later in the marathon but I'd have to deal with that when I get there. Trot out to the run - get lotioned up on the exposed spots and off I go. Sky cover had cleared so the LSO (life sucking orb) in the sky was shining bright and stayed that way off and on with passing clouds through the run.

Run: I hate swim, I like bike, I love run - showtime! Legs feel good - don't feel too tired - kept the HR low the whole bikeride - I can do this.

Nutrition Plan - By my pre-race math - to do an 11 hour Ironman with 1.5 hr swim, 6 hr bike and 3.5 hr run I was going to burn around:

8800 calories total to be burnt in all three activities together
-2500 in the body from carb loading
-3300 from fat assuming 140HR for the swim/bike and 150HR for the run (fat burning goes up with lower HR)
-2351 planned to be consumed during the bike
640 calories to be consumed on the run in 3.5 hours. I figured I'd come up a few hundred calories short on the bike as 400/hr was pretty aggressive so I was planning for ~1000 calories or ~300/hr. I planned to get that from 16 oz Ultrafuel at the start of the run and 80 oz of Preform along the run or ~3 oz per aid station every mile.

In hindsight with the extra 350 calories consumed on the bike and the lower HR which should have saved 2-300 calories by fatburning - I really needed very little calories at all to finish the run but I didn't realize this - I thought I was going to run out of gas if I didn't figure out how to get some in me.

Lap 1 - Off I go - I glance down after a few hundred yards and see mid 6 mpm - too fast - I ratchet it back and settle somewhere around 7 mpm until the first aid station then I'm focused on cooling. I have them fill all the pockets down my spine with cold sponges and pour some cold water on the front of the shirt - feels cool - I jog out of there and take the smallest sip from the Ultrafuel bottle just to see if I could handle it - yuck!! Things are feeling off - before mile 2 I give into walking a little. Just a short walk then I get going again but the trend starting this early for walk breaks was very concerning. I get going again - things aren't feeling right - I have the good sense to ditch the bottle of Ultrafuel at the second aid station. I get my pockets refilled and off I go. Pattern continues I pass through the next aid station without grabbing any calories - just focused on cooling. Get to the 4th aid station and decide I'm going to try some Preform - one small taste of it and it tastes so gross - I take a few steps and lean a little towards the grass across from the aid stations and out flows all the contents of my stomach in 3 geysers. On the 3rd comes also 4 undigested SaltStick pills. That's 2 hours worth of SaltStick pills taken on the bike so they'd been undigested in the stomach for some time. I kinda sleek out of there trying not to make eye contact with any of the volunteers that saw me. One guy I see point me out to an a lady in the med center and the thought crosses my mind she could pull me out of the race so I kinda just ignore them and move along before they could say anything. I get a little ice down the back and walk out of there. I start feeling much better after that and I jog and a decent pace to the next aid station. I'm really feeling much much better and I keep going. Around mile 5 I try a gel I had in my back pocket - Mocha flavor - seems to go down OK with water and I'm encouraged I can get some calories into me. I decide to just stick with my standard marathon fueling strategy of a gel at 5,10,15,20 and see how that goes. I'm moving along - an occasional walk break but mostly moving along. I'm amazed how many walkers are around me - seems like everyone is going in very slow motion. Anytime I was jogging I was passing like crazy and even when I was walking not many were passing by. Some major struggling going on.

Continues on until mile 8 where I get my special needs bag where I put the hat I'd forgotten to get into my run bag on Friday - so nice to have a hat - from here on out every aid station was scooping up ice and water with the hat - dumping/trapping it on my head under the hat and having a volunteer fill all three of my spine pockets full with ice then grabbing a couple cups of ice water and pouring it down my front. When I jogged you could hear the ice bouncing around on the back. I pass by near the finishline for the finish of the first loop on the 3 loop course where I was expecting to see my wife and a couple friends that drove out with her to spectate but I didn't see them. Disappointed I keep jogging along - generally feeling pretty good. I check the time and notice it's 4pm instead of the 3:45 I texted so I'm not too far off - she should be around. I hope maybe I'll see them the next lap in another 8.5 miles. I grabbed some peanut M&Ms from my SN bag to give to my wife as seen in the first photo - I ended up throwing it to a kid.

Then after I'd given up on them - out she shoots from the sideline mega excited to see me and I'm mega excited to see her too - a couple poses for the camera and a big hug and off I go - sorry Susan - no M&Ms for you :).

(btw - A huge thanks to Jim and Moni for coming all the way out to The Woodlands to cheer me along and snap a few pictures and keep Susan company!!!)

Lap 2 - I'm puzzled by the time - 4:00 at the finish of lap 1 was on schedule - I can't be on schedule - maybe my Garmin clock is off so I ask someone the time and sure enough - its right. Somewhere in the math of adding up all the times I was off 10 minutes or so and I didn't have a clue how that happened (of course it was the Pro start vs when I started). I've got two laps to go or 17-18 miles to go and I'm 9 hours into this race. 1 hour per laps was 11 hours - forget that - but I'm feeling OK so maybe I could be somewhere in the low 11s. I jog along for a while. But as I jogged along the stomach had a kinda worse and worse feeling - like I was shaking up a carbonated soda or something and I'd stop to reverse the trend - things would settle then I'd start running again and this cycle continued on. I took another Gel at mile 10 with some water and kept the pattern going. I was getting pretty good with getting all the volunteers to fill all my pockets with ice and dipping my hat to get water and ice on the head and on I go - so refreshing. I tried to jog between the rest stops but seems more often than not I'd have another walk break or two between the aid stations. On and on - once in a while I take an endurolyte pill from the tic-tack jar I was carrying. At 15 I grab one of the PowerBar Gel's a volunteer had as I'd used up the two Cliff gel's I had in my pocket - it was vanilla flavored - I didn't like it - I don't think it helped settle the stomach at all. Pattern just keeps going on - jog/walk/jog/load up on ice and on. I see my neighbor friends out on the trails for a little encouragement - get another picture - I tell them it's going to be a long last lap.

I finish 2nd lap - missed my wife for the second lap but I knew she'd be there at the finishline.

3rd lap - I'm working the math out - sub4 hr seems doable - just need to keep moving much more than not - all more of the same but some of the walk breaks got pretty long - at one point I think I hit the a lap button and saw 14 minutes.

Sub4 was out the window so the next milestone was sub12 hr Ironman - walking wasn't going to get it - I needed to do more running - I finally cut a deal with myself around mile 23 to go 3 minutes jog, 1 minute walk - that gave me focus and I was able to stick to it - I skipped the rest of the aid stations and just stuck to the plan - time to get this thing over. At mile 25 I decide to just jog it in - no more stopping - at 25.25 I decide to take a 1 minute walk break - then I decide to finish it up - this time my resolve sticks to the end. I find my wife about 100m from the end and stop for a big smooch - I move on to the finish - I hear my name called - I hear "first Ironman" by the announcer and I hear "YOU are an IRONMAN". I have no strength to raise the hands in victory but I'm delighted.

Nutrition summary:
- small sip of Ultrafuel, small sip of Preform
- 2 Cliff Gels
- 1 Powerbar Gel
- 1/4 slice of banana
- 4 orange slices
- 4 pretzels
- 2 potato chips
- 3 Endurolyte Pills
- ~2 oz of water at ~20 aid stations

Total - ~400 calories, 200 mg Sodium, ~10 oz/hr fluids

1 7:30 134
2 8:07 137
3 9:54 126
4 11:21 125
5 8:22 134
6 10:43 121
7 10:42 123
8 8:12 134
9 9:18 132
10 9:07 137
11 8:06 142
12 8:33 138
13 8:08 141
14 9:18 135
15 10:31 128
16 11:00 119
17 10:28 125
18 8:06 135
19 10:05 127
20 9:23 127
21 11:41 116
22 14:02 106
23 11:00 112
24 9:49 121
25 9:06 129
26.2 8:31 141 (7:05 pace)

I walk it out - a volunteer takes my arm to be sure I'm OK and walks me the whole way to the exit talking to me - stomach isn't feeling good but I'm finished - it will probably get better after a while. I meet up with my wife

I sit for a while - look at the buffet of food for the finishers and nothing sounds good at all. After a while I realize I need to lean over a trash can and have a few dry heaves - not much comes out - someone sees me and wants to take me over to medical and we start walking over there but 1/2 way there I'm feeling much much better so we stop our journey - in fact I'm feeling hungry now so I grab a burrito and a 7-up and slowly start eating it - and I'm feeling good for the first time in hours.

My first words post race to those that asked how it went were "Great to finish but I hate swimming" - and I really do - especially that swim - bad swimming experience. I'm absolutely certain I will never be doing another of these Ironman races - I've punched my ticket - I'm ready to move on to something else.

In the after days this feeling had evolved into also a certain sense of unfinished business - feeling a bit more like the conquered than the conqueror - I know I can conquer this beast - but still don't have any plans to try that anytime soon - but I've moved "never" out of the picture - it certainly won't be for a while. I don't have the time nor desire to try to do this right right now and don't expect to for some time.

The after days are a little sore - not quite so much as after a fast marathon - recovery seems like it should be pretty quick.

Results from website:
John Hill 1736 44 Kingwood TX USA Engineer

TOTAL SWIM 2.4 mi. (1:32:08) 2:25/100m 1428 274
T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 11:28
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi (5:47:35) 19.33 mi/h 902 181 [passed 526 on the bike]
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 9:26
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi (4:11:09) 9:35/mi 429 78 [Passed 473 on the run]
TOTAL11:51:46 429 78 [~2200 Starters, 2000 Finishers]

Next adventure ...... TBD.