November 26, 2017 - First Time IRONMAN
The Plan -- After completing Santa Cruz 70.3 in September 2016 the idea was to complete the LA Marathon in March 2017 and then Ironman Arizona in November 2017. Since I had to sign up a year ahead of time this has been hanging over my head for a long time. The LAM came in at 5:29, a little slower than I hoped, but it was my first and I thought that would be a target for the IMAZ run. In July I started working with Adrian Valdivieso of Cloud 9 Endurance on a training plan and he was very good about answering all my questions and providing feedback throughout the process. I asked for a 14:30 target race time, this seemed realistic.
The Training -- Training went very well, no injuries or setbacks and I shaved significant time off the Malibu Olympic Triathlon in September so I knew things were going in the right direction. When I began the taper I started to experience significant pain in the lower back/glute. I blame this on experimenting with a waistbottle carrier on long runs and not enough strength/core work. So my taper consisted of a lot of stretching, planks, ELDOA stretching classes at Tri Fit gym, a couple massages and I even froze myself in cryo therapy. I trained hard and viewed each training session as a small deposit into the race bank and I was getting ready for the biggest withdrawal of my life. That kept me focused, no workout was to small, I knew they would all contribute to my goal,
Arizona -- We arrived in Arizona and I felt a lot more calm than I expected. My body was healing and I spent a lot of time on the way up rolling on my plastic spike ball (which looks like a medevil torture device) along with my electro shock therapy gizmo. I had a really nice 4 mile practice run on the Friday before the race. On Saturday I drove the bike course which I always recommend and we were able to do a practice swim on course. Friday I did my pasta carbo load and Saturday night I did my chicken sandwhich and chicken noodle soup.
Race Day -- I slept suprisingly well and started my morning with the normal coffee, my Herbalife Shake and blueberry muffin. I had trained with Infinit Nutriton and their product is an all in one, so you just drink a bottle an hour and need nothing else, no food, no salt tablets. The plan was to have 7 bottles for the bike and 6 bottles for the run. There is a bike specific blend (with Protein) and run specific blend. The swim was self seeding. I put myself with the 1:20 - 1:30 Group. Before I knew it I was off. Here goes nothing.... I went full wetsuit and felt at ease the entire swim. I am comfortable in the water and found space. I did take one shot to the lip from another swimmer, but it was an accident (i think). Training in the Ocean and Pool made a calm lake swim seem relatively easy by comparison. According to my Garmin Watch I swam about an extra 400 yards, but my pace was fine and I came in at 1:25. Coming out of the water was my first experience with the wetsuit stripper and they aren't messing around, I laid back and it was off in a fraction of a second. I lounged in transition a bit too long but wanted to make sure I had what I needed and was off. The bike is 3 loops and going out of Tempe was very windy and a steady/slight incline. At mile 6 a rider ahead of me and to my right rode straight into a pylon and wiped out. We were not going very fast (maybe 14 MPH) and he almost took me out, but I was able to veer hard to the left and people behind me called it out so luckily when I made my move no one was there. Making the first turn back to town was fun. The wind at my back and downhill is my zone and I was able to make up a lot of time and finished the first loop at just over 2 hours. My nutrition plan went well, I would grab some plain water for extra hydration and refueled at the bike special needs which was at mile 67. Normally on a long ride there comes a point where I hate my bike, but this never happened. I have to give a shout out to infinity bike seats, its a great product. The plan on the bike was to stay at a 130-135 heart rate and I averaged 137 and came in at 6:25. I felt ok about the time and knew I left a little on the bike to help with the run. After finishing the bike I felt great, my biggest worry was a bike mechanical issue so I was relieved. Once again I took my time in transition. I had my spike ball in my run gear bag and all I had was a foot cramp and it worked well to help me roll it out. I also cheated on Infinit Nutrition and took a hot shot anti cramping drink... The run has always been my weakest leg of the triathlon , but this is where I knew I had great support on the course with my parents and girlfriend. I also knew I had a lot of friends tracking me and I did not want to let anyone down. This is where I drew on all the friends I have trained with. The run started suprisingly well. The first 5 miles were strong, I was well ahead of pace, but keeping an eye on my heart rate. I started to hit the wall at mile 7 and knew I would have to go to my run/walk. I used 6 minutes run and 1 minute walk. Mile 7-18 was tough but at this point I knew I would find a way to finish. At Mile 9 I think I did tell Lena that I hate this and will never do it again (but I later blamed this on a hallucination) I found a run buddy the last few miles and was able to come in with a marathon time of 5:23 and overall time of 13:39. Well ahead of what I expected in July 2017. This was a special experience and I learned so much through the process. Being an Ironman is something that can never be taken from me and for that I am very thankfull to everyone the supported me along the way.