Having spent the entire year thinking and preparing for this one race I decided I did not want to end the year on this note. Immediately I began thinking about Plan B where all the hard training I had done and the fitness I had gained could be put to the test. I decided to sign up for Ironman Arizona hoping to redeem my season. Once I regained my health and began training I encountered two obstacles that made training a bit more difficult compared to my Kona training. First the weather did not fully cooperate with two feet of snow in Boulder before Halloween and second my son brought back some bad sleep habits from the Big Island. He slept so well during my Kona build, but I guess when we got back from the Big Island he thought the season was over. While these things made training a bit more challenging they were nothing that I and countless other age groupers hadn’t experienced before. I was hungry and determined to test myself and the hard training I had put in this year.
The next six weeks flew by and when race day arrived I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My training leading in was a bit up and down with some sessions going great and others leaving me questioning if my fitness would be there on race day.
Race day started without a hitch and I felt like I had a good stat to the swim. My times leading into this race were a bit slower then the one’s prior to Kona, but I still felt like i was ready to set a PR. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed to see 1:00 on the clock when I came out of the water.
On the bike my stomach didn’t feel very good at the start, but I kept things mellow and biked through the field. I paced the bike the way I normally do in an Ironman where I build the effort. This usually means starting out with what feels easy building to steady effort about 30 miles in and then waiting until the last 30 miles before it feels like I am making a conscious effort to go fast. For this race I was on a new bike, the Look 596, which allowed for a more aggressive position then my old plasma (thanks to the help of Mat Steinmetz at Retul and the gang at Colorado Multisport). It was apparent that this new position and bike were paying off as I moved through the field solo until the second half of the second loop where I had some company. However, about five miles into the third loop I picked up the effort and dropped the couple of riders who were with me. I came off the bike in a time of 4:46 with my highest average power in an Ironman of 252 watts and held the same power throughout the ride with no drop off.
At the start of the run I felt like I had a great shot at sub 9:00. I didn’t feel great for the first couple of miles, but this is nothing new so I decided to be patient and accept what felt like the right effort and rolled along. At the start of the second loop I had to make a quick trip to the portopotty, but after that I started to feel pretty good and began to pick up the pace. However around mile 13 the pounding of the concrete seemed to catch up with me more then in years past and my pace began to drop off again. Around mile 18 or so I started to do some math in my head and knew I would need to get moving if I wanted to break nine hours. At this point I began to really dig and up the effort as I repeated the phrase “nothing in the tank”. This is something my good friend Marcos said to me days before the race and since it was the end to a long season it seemed pretty appropriate. I did manage to pick up the pace and crossed the line in 9:02 with a run time of 3:09. While I didn’t break 9:00 I did manage to set a new Ironman PR by 22 minutes in my 12th crack at the distance. I ended up 18th OA and first in the male 35-39 age group.
After the race I came across a women who had broken her arm just days before the race while in Tempe and was unable to compete. It reminded me of my own situation before Hawaii this year and how we can’t take our ability to toe the start line for granted. This is especially true for those racing Ironman in which we put in months of training for one day of racing. Despite my hiccup before Kona I am thankful for the season I had and the chance for redemption in Arizona. Who knows maybe it is a blessing in disguise as it gives me the ability to plan 2010 around one day in October without having to worry about qualifying. Regardless of this there will always be uncertainty with how the future will unfold, but it truly is the journey and not the destination that makes our sport so rewarding.
I would like to thank those who have supported me this year-Tim Deboom, Kris McFarland, Marcos Mejias and The Zone nutrition products. A special thanks to my amazing wife Isabel who not only supports my craziness throughout the year, but when I told her I wanted to try and ramp up for one more race after a long year (when my season was supposed to be over) she didn’t blink an eye and gave me her full support to go ahead with it. I love you Isabel and can’t thank you enough!
- Ironman Arizona 2010
- Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009
- More Kona Pictures
- Hawaii 2008 Race Report
- Ready for Kona