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.


Junie B said...

oh john...what an incredible resurrection of feelings and facts.

i cannot even imagine. just cannot.

not me. not ever. awesome. just awesome!!!

ross88guy said...

Hi John,

Found a link to your report on RT and just wanted to say congratulations! I am training for the UK IM in July and have picked up quite a few nugget of info from your report.

if you have any more tips that you think I shouldn't be without then comment me over at my blog

Congrats again