Getting to the start lineMost of the stress of race week was getting my kids to Idaho and making it to athlete check-in before it closed. We managed to get there with an entire hour to spare. Awesome.
|Fact: Kids love airports|
I made a short list of stuff I needed to pack for the race. This doesn’t include my clothes/toiletries for the rest of the 8-day trip. As you can see from my manifest, triathlon is a stupidly complex sport. No one should have a hobby that involves making lists like this.
|That's right, crack pipe|
- Skinny legs
- Bad hair
|Creepy little toddler|
The actual race partsHere’s a picture I snapped on race morning at 5am, when transition opened and only a few athletes are up and around. The lake was glassy and the sky was rumbly. Those 2 would reverse within an hour of the start.
|The boxing ring|
The swim start involves 2500 people running down the beach and into the water. That sounds like a lot of people, and it is. Here’s how it breaks down:
- 1000 start breaststroke immediately and freak out. Dodge these people and their wide frog kicks. They are destined for hypothermia, the warming tent, and a rectal thermometer.
- 200 punch me in the kidneys and push my legs down. The cold water leads to tight back muscles, which are easily strained. Unrelated, I pulled a back muscle on the swim.
- 3 women had an item on their list that I did not: long finger nails. They scratch. Avoid, or end up with claw marks.
- 1 guy, me, not being careful catches a heel to the jaw, which still has a metal plate holding it together. I thought I was done. I was happy with my 5-minute effort, and was about to go back to bed. Then I tested out my bite, and decided it wasn’t broken. I raced on, for another 12 hours.
The bike was fine. My back hurt from the Greco-Roman, but it wasn’t a big deal.
I exited T2 at 2:30 PM. That means I had 4 hours to to finish in 11:30. My goal was a 4 hour marathon, so I honestly though I’d do it. The first mile is uphill, and that’s when shit got dark. This 2-loop run course has a BAD hill that you climb, descend and then climb again, each loop.
My goals kept changing:
- 11:30, if I can average 9:10/mile
- 11:45, if I walk the aid stations
- 12:00 if I walk 1 minute of each mile, and some extra on the hills
The final half-mile is downhill, and it’s got to be the best finish in all of Ironman. The street is lined with people cheering. I looked up and saw 11:55 on the clock when I finished. That’s 1 painful minute faster than my Ironman Arizona time in 2010.
AnalysisI enjoyed the run at IM Arizona. This race was NOT fun. It was hard, very rewarding, but I was in the pain cave from mile 2 to mile 26. It was one long nightmare.
The real success at this race with transitions. I cut out 8 minutes of screwing-around time in transition from my first Ironman race.
Getting homeWe spent a week messing around in Idaho after the race. Northern Idaho is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to. The people are great, and the forests are just spectacular.
I was pulled aside at the airport for further screening. When the TSA opened my gear bag they recoiled in disgust. It turns out I shoved everything from the race into a plastic bag the night of the race and left it in there for a week. Oops!
- Wetsuit, definitely peed in, still wet
- Bike shorts and jersey, wet
- Bike shoes, may have been peed on
- Running shorts and t-shirt, very wet
- Bottle of Gatorade, open and spilled
|The wite/orange bag contains the nastiest nasty ever|
All of that is true.
Now I’m home and rested, mostly recovered. (Actually I’m on a plane, traveling for work. I lie to you all the time, so it’s fine.) I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I don’t want to go for any long bike rides for a while.
Here is a more technical race report, if you're into that sort of thing.