Sunday, November 8, 2009

Richard's Ironman Race report

Race day was a great experience. We were surprised by the increased choppiness of the water compared to the days before the race. Still it was nothing compared to Utah in 2002.

Everything about race morning went well, got a solid 8 hrs sleep both the night before and the night before that. As with Mel I was grateful that we weren't ill.

Melanie and I both lined up on the extreme right, the current and swell pushed us slightly away from the line but I quickly found the perfect person to draft off of in the water. She was just a bit stronger than I so tucked on her feet was perfect for me. Bonus was that she sighted a clean line, went just enough wide that we avoided traffic. The far end of the course was pretty choppy with swells and the return trip to shore was enough swell I had to breathe only on the left side. I completed the first loop in 31:30 and was happy due to the amount of chop. I had a strong second loop in 34:00 and was able to follow the same girl out to the turnaround. At the far turn she was too fast for me so ended up coming back on my own. Final time 1:05:30 only 84 seconds behind Bernie.

It was a longer transition zone than last time and I was taking it more casual than usual. In the end I was only 6:30 so I was happy. Transition went without incident and I got out on the bike.

The bike started with a huge tailwind. Everyone as usual was flying by me but I was happy with my pace so let them go. After 10 km we turned north had had a cross wind but again pace was fine for me and I let everythone go. I used my HR zones from last time and focused on staying 130-135 HR. When we made the eastbond turn we had 50K of headwind and the very soft rollers. I saw a number of peletons go by me but not as many as last time. When we finished the long stretch I knew it would be mostly tailwind / crosswind from there. We had the 7 km headwind on the out and back stretch. I made sure that I sat up only on the tailwind sections and stayed focused in profile in the headwind positions.

We hit a rough bumpy stretch a few times and in the last 30Km or so I started to fade again. I couldnt figure why I was working so hard and people were going by me, I thought I was bonking but just hunkered down. At 10K to go we had a strong left - right S curve and I skidded out sideways, fortunately I stayed up but realized I might have a flat. The guy who went by me said I didn't.so I kept going but when I got to the end of the bike I checked my rear tire and it was completely flat - still need to chek the rims for damage. Considering how the last 30 km went I may have flatted on the rough section.

My final bike time ended up as an Ironman Bike Split PR at 5:38 but it came with a cost. I ended up being very slow in T2 for me (6:57). I had to stretch, massage my feet, refuel and get focused. I was really concerned with my run with as beat up as I was but thanks to Ross's advice over the year I had hope I could rebound on the run.

The run started somewhat ugly but I made sure I stayed under 150 HR and got lots of fuel and walked through everything 3rd or so aid station. I kept my feet dry and as much as possible my shirt and shorts. I averaged about 5:24 / km a lot of the run but in the middle took a couple longer walk breaks. I was gaining on Bernie slowly thruogh the first 25K but at about 25K I got a second wind and started running VERY well, averaging under 8 min / per mile except walk breaks for about 5K and then about 8:20's from there in with scattered aid station walks. Overall I negative split by about 3 minutes (first time I've done that in an Ironman, mostly due to a lot of patience through the first part of the run. Overall run time was 3:57 (only 3 minutes slower than 2007).

Final time was 10:54:28 (less than 6 minutes off my PR with a lot less overall prep). 39th place in age category in swim compared to 70th in 2007 and 70th in age category at race end out of the 420ish compared to 75th of 362 in 2007.

End result - VERY HAPPY

Richard

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