Or maybe it could be titled 10 years between Ironmans. Before capturing my thoughts around IMAZ I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my longtime girlfriend Sarah for putting up with me. Thank you very much.
IMAZ was a bit of an unknown. It’s been a decade since my last ironman. I’ve raced 2 races over 4 hours in length since Vineman , Vineman 2010. I’ve raced about a dozen times since then, half of those coming this season and at least two of those races were duathlons. Since 2010, I’ve not really trained much. My training hours for 2014 are under 570 hours which is slightly higher than 2012 and 2013. Combined. Given that and the fact I don’t swim much, almost 300,000 yards over the last three years and 165,000 of that was this season. I was a bit unsure how IMAZ would go. I knew I’d go ok, but wasn’t sure what ok would be. When asked my response was it’ll be somewhere between awesome and an awesome disaster.
I planned my IM focused training to be 10 weeks long. Week 1 starts; I get my long run in and then get sick. That runs into week 2 where I traveled to DC to give a talk for the DC Tri Club. I got a few days of training in did an Olympic triathlon then left the next day for Philly, which basically killed week 3’s training. I’m 21 days into my ironman build and I’ve worked out 9 of those days. Awesome, not really. Week four was solid and on track. Week 5 I moved from NC back to AZ. No riding that week since FedEx had my bikes. I did manage to get in a lot of 11-17 mile runs and just over 63 miles of running in the week we spent on the road visiting family. Now that we were back in AZ, and a mere 37 days away, I was able to get some solid biking in. I banged out a couple 300+ mile weeks on the bike, some 40-45 mile weeks of running and even a had two weeks where I cracked 10k of swimming. This took me to 2 weeks to go where life reared its head and tapering started early. I missed that last long ride unfortunately. While things didn’t go as planned I did get three very solid weeks of training in where I trained 21-23 hours. In hindsight, there are several things I’d change about how I trained. I would swim more than 165,000 yards in the year before IM. I’d do more than just two 6+ hour training days.
The biggest concern going into the race was the swim. There was a little apprehension about the start. Twice this season I ended up with bronchospasms in the swim and had to DNF. The thought of being trampled by 2500 other swimmers while having difficulty breathing was a constant running through my mind. On race day we had to get in the water further from the start line. That 300 yard swim to the start line reduced my anxiety level. I lined up on the front line with only one person near me and no one lined up right behind me. I was in a little pocket of uncrowdedness which alleviated a lot of my anxiety.
Once the gun went off, things were pretty uneventful except for the lady in the red Orca wet suit. She was an asshole in the water. Seriously people, there is no reason to keep whacking people, no reason to pull on someone’s leg, no reason to keep running into them. Finally I just rolled over her legs onto her left and watch her drift right. Unfortunately she caught up right at the first buoy. I was watching her come closer and closer. All I could think was Damn it, she’s going to start whacking me again. Sure enough she runs into me. She also dove inside of me and whack, whack, whack. Then she actually grabbed my shoulder to pull herself forward. There are no reasons to be an asshole in the swim. Be kind when racing, especially in the swim.
Coming out of transition I had to stop by the tech tent to get a new wheel since I had a flat. One of my athletes last year was complaining about how boring IM racing really is. I told him to embrace the boredom. He texted me that the day before the race and reminded me of this. I hate when my great advice is used against me. The most exciting part of the entire bike ride was leaving transition. Some dude within: 10 of mounting our bikes T boned me. Lucky for us, I’m fine with shoulder bumping from my bike racing years. Since each loop got windier smart decision making is/was important. Based on how aero I am and my watts/speed/pre the ride became a ride hard into the head wind, ride semi hard into the crosswinds and stay above 24mph in the tailwinds. Around mile 70 I was averaging 190-195 watts when my bike computer decided enough was enough and it leapt off my bike. Without data did the ride even happen?
The run was uneventful. I never cracked on the run, just kept slowing as the miles wore on. My poor feet were brutalized by the concrete. In hindsight my Brooks Ravenna 5’s would have been a better shoe choice instead of the Asics Gel Noosa 9’s.
Mother Nature made the day longer and it didn’t turn out too shabby. I cracked 10 hours by 63 seconds, made smart decisions throughout the day, and took low risk risks that played to my strengths and aerodynamic position on the bike crossing the line with a 59 minute PB.
Swim 59:27, T1: 6:07, B: 5:08:38, T2 3:19, R: 3:41:26. 9:58:57. 13th M40-44, 86th overall out of 2731 with an equal number of pros and age groupers beating me. My girlfriend told me she and my Dad were done spectating at 10 hours even if I wasn’t finished. Suckers!