Training went well leading up to the big day. I had a bit of a longer off season and a slightly different build for IMCDA then in seasons past due to the timing of this race. One big positive was that I remained healthy all winter and spring. This is no easy task with two children under age 4 running around. I attribute this to a healthy diet and the use of The Zone nutritional products. Their fish oils polyphenols (a powerful antioxidant) were vital in helping me recover by keeping inflammation down and supporting my immune system.
My confidence was high coming in and the cool weather made me excited for a change of pace. I have not raced a cool Ironman since Lake Placid 2006. Race week went by quickly and I remained relatively calm. I actually worried that maybe I wasn’t focused enough because of the lack of nerves, but I reminded myself that after 10 Ironmans the drill becomes familiar.
The morning of the race I began my normal pre-race routine at 4:00AM. This involved drinking a pre-race shale of Hammer’s Perpetuem, yogurt, apple juice and frozen berries. I did some light stretching and prepared my race nutrition bottles. Lucky for me my wife, Isabel, was in attendance and my parents were home with the kids in Boulder.
Everything went as planned until I got to T1 to set up my bike only to discover that my rear tire was flat. So much for no pre-race nerves! My stress levels started to soar as I walked over to bike support for help. Les (who I have gotten to know over the years) was his usual calm self and decided that because it was a small leak our best option would be Pit Stop to seal the tube instead of replacing the entire tubular. I trusted him and decided to give it a shot. Isabel also remained calm and being a seasoned Ironman veteran grabbed my special needs bags while I dealt with the tire. I later learned that my Redbull had spilled in the bag and she had managed to siphon it back into the bottle like a true IronSherpa!
With another Porto stop and final bike check, I headed to the swim start.
At the start of the swim, I lined up at the front and about 100 yards to the right of the buoys. I swam hard for the first few hundred yards and quickly found the water to be very choppy. It was hard for me to find my swim stroke rhythm, but on the other hand, I seemed to have plenty of space. I finished the first loop in 30 minutes and was a bit disappointed, but quickly got back to work. Unfortunately on the second loop I had some severe calf cramping which forced me to stop kicking and even stop swimming and a few times stretch it out. I was relieved to finally reach the shore but was disappointed with my time of 1:03.
I had a slow T1 getting on some arm warmers but soon settled into ride the 112 miles ahead. I felt OK at the start bike, but not great. I think my legs were a bit sluggish from the cool weather. For the first loop all I could think about was my rear tire and hoping that it stayed inflated. I really like the course at CDA. While it doesn’t necessarily suit my strengths like a flatter course does, the hills break things up and keep people honest.
During the bike, I focused on my nutrition and had no problem staying on top of my hydration given the cooler weather. I could tell I was gaining strength over the other racers during the second loop and began motoring passing a couple of different groups on the back half of the second loop. If anything, I had to hold back just a tad. I came off the bike first in my age group for the first time in an Ironman.
A quick T2 and I was out of the tent and starting the run. I made sure to check and see how my stomach felt to keep it mellow and get some calories in. I clicked off a coupld of sub 6:50 miles but then settled into a 7:05 pace. I was surprised I was not running a bit faster given the cool weather but I just dialed into the effort without forcing the pace. The run went pretty quickly and, beside a Porto stop that cost me a couple of minutes at mile 14, I pretty much held the same pace for the entire run which mean’t really lifting the effort over the last 6 miles.
I crossed the line in 9:24 after a 63 minute swim, 5:07 bike, and 3:08 run. This put me 18th Overall and 1st in the Male 35-39 age group. I was amazed at how tight the race was with 12th and 18th only separated only by 5 minutes. This type of separation I am used to seeing in Kona but not as much in other Ironman races in North America. it certainly speaks to how much more competitive things are getting out there! It also makes you think about how over the course of a 9 hour day the little things do matter.
Now it is time for a break and lots of family time before I step things up get even fitter for Kona.
- Ironman Arizona 2010
- Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009
- More Kona Pictures
- Hawaii 2008 Race Report
- Ready for Kona