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July 2, 2013 / snowvols

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Part 3 – The Marathon of all Marathons

You can read the previous sections here: Part 1 and Part 2

After getting off of my bike, I quickly hand my bike off to one of the volunteers and think to myself I never want to ride that thing again.  My back was tight my feet hurt and all I wanted to do was run a marathon.  Who had I become in the months of training?  What type of sick individual enjoys this?  I was loving every second of it.

The marathon course for Coeur d’Alene consists of 2 out and back loops with a 6% grade hill that is a half mile long.  Below is the elevation profile.  Going into the race I was far more concerned about  the bike course than the run course.

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I ran over to my run gear bag to grab my shoes and a GU as those were the only two things I had in it.  I threw my shoes on but continued sitting for a few minutes.  This helped me regain my focus on the task at hand, run 26.2 mile.  I remember sucking down my GU since I was pretty depleted on calories, and then looking up at the arch to run under.  I really did not want to start the run so I paused there took a deep breath and took off.

It was a pretty slow jog starting out.  The first mile was around 11 an 11 min/mile pace.  All I wanted to do was walk until I got my legs under me.  Due to the great crowd support, I refused to walk though.  It was tough especially since the run started on an uphill and people kept passing me!  I was pretty frustrated with myself but kept reminding myself to ‘Run your own race’.

I finally saw the first aid station which meant I was around a mile through the marathon.  Luckily, at Ironman events, the aid stations are spread out roughly every mile which really helps break up the marathon.  I grabbed some GU Chomps, potato chips, pretzels, water and Perform and munched on all of that.  Most of it tasted terrible.  I jogged around 5 steps looked to my right and puked.  Well that wasn’t ideal, but I continued on because I only had 25 more miles to go.

I was able to run the next mile pretty easily with an under 10 min pace.  It must mean my legs are starting to wake up.  So of course I have a huge smile and my face and I am feeling awesome.  I stop at the next aid station grab some water and some more GU chomps knowing I am severely behind on calories.  I take them in as I am still walking the aid stations and same thing happens.  I puke again.  Oh well is my attitude at least I am running strong.

At around the mile 5 marker I decided to use the porta-potty for the 2nd time that day and take in some calories as I was about to go up that dumb hill.  I took in calories, but of course I wasn’t able to hold anything down.  Then a go I was joking around with on the end of the bike, John, he caught up to me and we chit chatted for a bit.  We decided to walk the hill together and run once we got to the top.

This was working out great! I found something that takes my mind off of the suck!  We got to the turnaround which was at about 6.6 miles and then were faced with the backside of that big hill.  I decided to walk it and told John to go ahead without me as I wasn’t doing so great.  Shortly after I told him bye, I started feeling a lot better and I ran for about a mile.  I caught up to John and convinced him to join me as he was walking at that point.  We set out a visual goal to run to and got there easily.

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John and I running.  I am all smiles.

The run course was pretty warm at this point, but luckily there were several aid stations handing out sponges.  I learned in St. George to stuff sponges in every location to cool off.  At this point I was done sweating and knew I was severely dehydrated.  I just kept grabbing sponges and covering my body in them.  Sucking on ice cubes didn’t work either as the fluid would still come back up.

We would walk for a minute and run for 2 minutes.  This was working out pretty nicely; except for the fact every time we got to an aid station I would attempt calories and puke.  Before I knew it we were back in town while continuing alternating between running and walking.  We had slowed down the amount we were running and our walking pace was a little under 15 min/mile so our pace was in the 13 min/mil pace.  We were just under a 2.5 hour half marathon.  Hey I will take that! My goal was a 5 hour marathon.  All I have to do now is repeat it.

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I am not having fun here.

On the way back in town though, you run right past the finishers chute on Sherman.  I was thinking going into the race that will be the most defeating moment.  It had the entirely opposite effect on me though.  I was so inspired by hearing Mike Reilly’s voice telling people they are an Ironman.  I knew I was going to do this.  This was the first moment I realized hey I have plenty of time to finish to become and Ironman.

John and I were still together when we got to the special needs area.  I packed a couple GUs, Bobo bar which are mighty tasty and a bonk breaker.  Since I wasn’t all there mentally, none of that sounded good and I bypassed my special needs bag.  I just wanted to keep going.  John packed himself a sandwich and had trouble eating it as it was so dry.  At this point I was still feeling pretty good, but John had super tight muscles and was fighting to run.

We headed back out of town and this is when I started to fall apart mentally.  I was tired of puking, my feet hurt but mostly I was just tired.  I had held a smile on my face the entire run.  At mile 19 though it came to a screeching hault.  I was about to climb the big steep hill, but I swear I needed to be roped up it was such a steep hill.  At the top I am talking with John and he is feeling pretty good.  I tell him to go on ahead as it isn’t looking pretty for me.  What a great guy he was.  He told me his 13 hour goal is no longer there and now he just wants to finish.  He told me we had made it this far and wasn’t going to leave me.

We got to the turn around and I start downing chicken broth hoping the saltiness will help.  I really didn’t help much.  Instead it came back up and my mouth now tasted chickeney after that.  GROSS!  I just want to sit down.  Still telling John that I should just sit down and take a rest, he convinces me otherwise that we should keep moving.  We finally got to the top of the hill.

Some lady comes running down past us and is super cheerful.  This really pisses me off.  Actually, everyone that passes me is pissing me off.  The only person that isn’t pissing me off is John.  I was in a very negative mental place and was getting even more pissed off with every moment.  We ran down the hill but that would be it for the running.  Once we get to the bottom all I can think about is an IV drip.  I am so dehydrated at this point.  I hadn’t sweat in hours.

We are only 5 miles away from the finish line, but I knew at the pace we were going it was going to take a while.  We still have a 14 hour time we could get if only I could muster a run.  I just couldn’t.  I am looking forward to writing another post about the mental battles one encounters during the race.  We are 4 hours into the marathon and only 5ish miles from the finish line.  Come on I know I can do this I keep saying.  I would think of running but nothing was there.

The city and spectators on the way back in started about 3 miles from the finish line.  As soon as I started getting around people cheering I was much happier and pleasant to be around I am sure.  John quickly noticed my mood change and commented on it.  It was rather funny how quickly my mood changed to smiling again.  I think I just forgot to smile while I was suffering.

We attempted a couple jogs but they were very short lived.  As we were about a mile from the finish line there was 1 more hill and I swear if I had stopped on it I would have fallen backwards it was so steep.  After than I knew I was home free.  Emotion started to overcome me at this point.

John and I agreed once we made the turn onto Sherman we would go our separate ways.  I high fived him congratulated him and he took off running.  I was still somewhat hurting so getting up to speed took me some time.  All I can say is what a finish!

Sherman is a street with buildings lining the side and it is like an old town main street.  There were people lining both sides of the street so I immediately went to the far side of the road and high fived every person I could.  I had a smile on me that I have never had before.

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Like I said so much joy.

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I did it I am an Ironman

I looked back behind me and saw a girl coming up on me.  I knew I could beat her, but why not let her pass so I can have my moment?  I let her go, yes, I got chicked for the thousandth time, but I didn’t care I was over caring.  I then heard  ‘Logan Julian YOU ARE AN IRONMAN’.  I put my hands up knowing I had just done what so few people had ever done.  I crossed the finish line and gave a fist pump, not the Jersey Shore kind, to the sky.

After crossing the finish line, I went got my photo taken and was ushered to First Aid.  I was in such good spirits I do not believe they actually believed me when I said I am severely dehydrated.  I asked for a drip but they were not going to give me a drip.  They gave me a bottle of water, I puked it up.  One guy helped stretch me and holy cow that helped so much.  I talked to several people in the first aid tent.  It seemed like a war zone.  People on stretchers everywhere, shaking out of control and people just weeping.  I knew I did not belong there so I calmly got up said my thanks and left.

I went got some food and signed up for a massage.  I had nothing else to do so why not hang out and enjoy the moment.  I talked to just about everyone I could talk to.  Trading war stories with people was such a great time.  I ate 4 slices of pizza and drank 8 chocolate milks, if you know me you know I love chocolate milk almost more than life itself.

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Best Little Ceasers EVER!

Anyone can train for an Ironman I believe.  It takes someone special though due to the mental battles you face all day long.  It seemed once I got over one struggle there was another.  I finished my marathon in an AWFUL time of 6:12:17.  I never imagined that bad of a time.  What might have been if I ran a decent marathon of 4:30.

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Sweet run splits….. FALSE

I finished in a total time of 14:18:08.  This was the toughest day of my life.  It mentally broke me down to a point I didn’t know I could go, but the sheer joy I felt going across the finish line I cannot put into words.  My life is forever changed.  I would like to thank the wonderful volunteers.  There were so many of them out there that helped me cross the finish line with either physical aid or mental aid.  Thank You so much.  I can now say I am an Ironman.

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How could you not want to run down this?

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July 1, 2013 / snowvols

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Part 2 – Bike

While coming out of the swim I was ecstatic.  Did I really swim a 1:20?  Haha you bet I did.  Coming out of the water all I could think about was keep running.  Pass these suckers.  I then swathe wet suit strippers and since I lost my shorts in St. George, I opted to strip myself to prevent anyone from throwing dollar bills at me.  I ran and found my bike bag which was pretty easy to find, but the transition area is rather large.  I then found a towel inside transition, SCORE! I wasn’t thinking and didn’t pack a towel so this helped my feet to not blister.

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After changing I then ran out of transition in a time of 5:01.  I used to think Ironman transitions were slow, but now I know why everyone has such a slow transition.  It is a lot more difficult than I would have imagined.  The bike course for Coeur d’Alene is a two loop out and back course.  Below is a map of the course.

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Elevation Chart

I jumped on the smurf and knew it was time to start picking the ‘fast swimmers’ off.  I found a nice group to talk to and we just continued passing one another and passed tons of people.  It was nice having a group of guys with jawing back and forth with as it let me take my mind off of the mundane bike ride.  At mile 18 or so there is a nice hill that is climbed.  It doesn’t look like much on the elevation chart but boy was she bad.

Using the 30 in the saddle 30 out of the saddle technique I was untouchable going up the hill.  So many people were already struggling going up the hill, I made significant time gains going up the hill.  It is always so nice passing tons of people especially on the uphill.  Looking at people’s bikes as I pass them and they have $8,000+ setups always will put a smile on my face.  Going down the hill I quickly ran out of gears as well and hit a speed of 42 mph.  So of course no one touched me on the downhill.

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Thinking I’m fast. Yes, real men wear pink.

At this point I feel amazing.  Nothing can stop me and I am going to crush everything.  I am taking in food every chance I can and it is all going to plan.  Wait, what? An Ironman can go to plan? And then mile 34 happened.  I heard the ole, PSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  I let out a few choice words as I watch my front tire go from 95 PSI to 0.  Son of a….. Really a flat?  I just changed my tube yesterday.

As I was getting over, I looked up and saw a support motorcycle.  Perfect place to get a flat I was thinking.  I run up to him and ask him if he has a tube and CO2 as I didn’t want to use my own in case I got another flat.  Of course the guy doesn’t and says he probably should carry something to help people.  Really?  Ugh, but he was nice enough and held my bike for me.  It took me 8 minutes to change the tube.  I gave the tube a shot of CO2 and she was ready to get thrown back on the bike.

Since I had lost 8 miles or so to the people I was riding with, it made total sense in my mind to really hammer down on the bike and try to catch the people.  I now look back at my mental thoughts and laugh.  How was I going to make up 8 miles with guys that are averaging 21 mph?  I keep hammering even though the only thing on my mind is how bad I had to pee.  I kept saying at the next porta potty I would go, but there was always a line. Aint no one got time for that nonsense.  I am not going to stand in line to use the restroom.

So I keep hammering down and I get back to the bike finish course, mile 56, and decided I was about 9 miles from the turn around so I might as well just hold it until then and I could get my special needs bag at the same time.  There was only 1 6% grade hill between me and there.  I really messed up though.  I bought a burrito the previous day with intentions of putting it in my special needs bag.  Of course at 4:30AM that did not sound good so I left it out of my bag.  At 11 AM when I rolled into special needs, all I wanted was the burrito.  That would have been such easy calories I completely regret it.  I scarfed down a candy bar, used the restroom and was gone within 5 minutes of pulling into the turnaround at mile 65.

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I was completely out of fluids and had been for a few miles.  I was kind of pissed at myself, but there was an aid station just a few miles away.  I quickly rode to the aid station, but it was up another hill and I could sense dehydration setting in.  Pretty frustrating.  I got off of my bike since I was pretty tired, but I was still trying to race smart, to fill up my bottles.  I had 3 bottles to fill with various powders and tablets.  I was trying to avoid straight water as there are not any calories or electrolytes in it.  That worked pretty well until later in the race.

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Gotta continue passing people

After another 5 minute break, I was back off to head into town and then to face the hills.  I was hammered. I was dreading the hills, most of all though I was just wanting to be off of the bike already.  Thinking I had 40 miles still to go I was starting to combine the race.  The distances for each leg are too far to combine it so for the bike course I broke it up into 8ths as there are 4 places you have to turn around at.  So I had to keep telling myself I was 75% of the way finished once I rolled through town.

Having the crowd support really helped me forget about everything else and reminded me to smile.  I got through town okay and headed south on the highway.  It was starting to warm-up, but thankfully it was still beautiful weather.  Seeing people coming into town finishing their second loops was annoying to me.  Why am I not that fast?  So I tried to mix up my thoughts and think about the mountains.

The mountains got old real fast, and the only thing I wanted to do then was get over these hills.  I climbed the hills slower this time, but I was still fortunate enough to continue passing people who were not having as much fun as I was.  I guess training does pay off?

Once I got to the top I was glad to have that climb behind me, but I was dreading climbing it again on the backside.  I only got up to 40 mph on the downhill, clearly I was getting tired.  After another climb I knew it would be pretty flat.  Or at least it seemed pretty flat on the previous loop. I swear after the second large hill it was 8 miles of pure hill at a 10% grade.  I didn’t seem nearly that bad the previous loop, but my back was feeling it that is for sure.

I got to the turnaround point and was 7/8th’s of the way finish on the bike.  I got passed a lot on this middle section.  I was out of aero and my back kept tightening up.  I have never been more excited to run a marathon in my life.  I knew I still had a big downhill and then the last large climb.  Geeze I was over the bike.

I flew down that down hill hitting about 38 mph compared to the 40 I got on the previous lap.  The uphill was much worse than I imagined.  I was doing 30 sitting and 30 standing.  It was not going by faster and I kept trying to shift to an easier gear.  Nothing would happen of course so I just continued to suffer.  Looking around though I was passing people that passed me earlier and they were suffering too.  I don’t mind suffering I learned if other are suffering the same or worse than I am.  What can I say I am a bit of a jerk.  I finally crested the hill upshifted like a madman and took off.  Yelling Left to everyone I was passing as the downhill was on the shoulder and a concrete barricade was to the far right.  I got up to 41 mph and wanted to just use that to help me cost the last 6 miles into town.  There were a few rolling hills left but I got over them without any issues.

I finally saw the city and of course tried my best to look happy and to feel as if I wasn’t feeling it.  Surprisingly, my legs still had a little bit of a bounce to them so I quickly dismounted from the bike and ran into transition.  I quickly looked at my garmin though and it told me I did just under 5800 feet of climbing.  I thought there was supposed to only be 4600?  Whoops oh well nothing I could have done about it now.  I quickly changed my mindset to focus on walking/running in cycling shoes as it would be pretty embarrassing to fall over from running in those pesky shoes.

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Coming into transition

Run Post Coming Soon……..

June 27, 2013 / snowvols

Ironman Coeur d’Alene Pre-Race and Swim

I arrived in beautiful Eastern Washington on Thursday night after work.  My accommodations were setup with a very nice family in Spokane Valley.  The house I was staying in was about 20 minutes or so from the start line.  I was somewhat concerned about the distance, but everything worked out very nicely.  Here is a photo of the house below.

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On Friday morning I woke up and went to get checked in.  Somehow I botched the times for everything and showed up way too early.  I am pretty sure it was because I was so excited about the entire event.  While waiting for the registration check in to open, I watched everyone go for a lovely swim.  This made me pretty jealous as I left my wetsuit 20 minutes away.  I did bring my running shoes though and slipped them on for an easy jog.

Going just the 3 miles along the pedestrian parkway I loved the city.  With so many athletes out enjoying the day it is really hard not to love a city that has so many healthy individuals outside.  So after my run, I went to a lovely coffee shop on I believe Northwest Blvd and enjoyed my morning coffee and a big bowl of oatmeal.  I was so antsy for the registration to open, I finally gave in and went to stand in line with the other excited individuals.

The process of checking in was very streamline.  It was quick and painless once the tent opened for everyone. I finally got my legendary Ironman backpack and all of the other stuff one receives when checking in for a triathlon.  After I got all of my gear, it was still really early in the day and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I drove back to Spokane Valley to grab my wetsuit.  After getting back in Coeur d’ALene I put the wetsuit on and went for an easy 0.5 mile swim to get used to the water.

After going for a swim, I decided I would go drive the bike course before the big athlete dinner.  Heading out along the lake, I was treated to nice views of the rolling hills and the clouds coming in.  Fortunately, at this point it had stopped raining and I could get a sense of the views I will be treated with on Sunday.  The 2 loop 56 mile course was going to be difficult I knew from driving it, but having do so I feel prepared me to know where I could push the pace and where I needed to downshift.

I timed it perfectly and pulled back into Coeur d’Alene just in time as the athete dinner banquet was beginning.  It was a typical meal of bland pasta, large cookies and some cheap salad.  I feel the WTC really missed it with the meal, but there were things I was far more concerned about than the meal.  After the meal, the athlete briefing occurred which really just went over the rules and also had several emotional parts.

The entire meeting was an emotional roller coaster for myself as I knew that this was my turn to finally have the opportunity to become an Ironman.  There was a story of a girl racing Ironman races to help her coup with PTSD after returning from Iraq.  Those kinds of stories always get me and I started to get chills hearing her story.  After several of these, they had the biggest loser event.  I was kind of bummed because it was supposed to be who lost the most weight during the last year.  The guy who won got lapband, which is cheating, and lost all of the weight years ago.  He did lose 180 pounds but come on.

On Saturday, I took the day even easier, I picked up my bike and of course had a flat tire.  I walked my bike back to my car and changed the tube, it proceeded to flat again.  Talk about a good omen eh? I was really pissed off at this point so I took my bike to the bike shop and had the lady change my tire.  While there, I meant to pick up salt pills, but of course I forgot them.  The bike shop continued to get more and more crowded so I went for a short job while waiting on my bike to be fixed.  This helped calm me down as well.  After 3 hours of my bike waiting for a tire change, it was finally ready so I took it out for an easy 8 mile ride along the course.

I dropped my bike off in transition and decided to call it an early day and headed back to the house.  The family I was staying with was nice enough to make a delicious meal for me and I enjoyed their company.  Being able to relax and enjoy good conversations made it so much easier to mentally prepare for the race by not thinking about it.  I got all of my transition and special needs bags packs and was in bed by 8:30.

Everything laid out so I wouldn’t forget the minor things

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3:30 AM rolled around pretty early, but I had no problem waking up so early.  I quickly heated up two of the prepackaged bowls of oatmeal, coffee and two bananas to eat before I left the house.  I left and was so full.  On the drive in though I drank a Naked juice to give myself even more calories.  I took in 1200 calories before the swim start to help counter set the calorie deficit I was sure to take in throughout the day.

I dropped off all of my bags, which apparently was supposed to be done on Saturday, whoops.  I then went to my bike and filled up all of my water bottles with my proper nutrition after leaving my bottles on the bike the night before after my St. George debacle.  It was finally go time.  After writing on my arm to embrace the suck I put my wetsuit on and headed towards the water.

Here is the smurf racked and ready to party

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Looking out onto the swim course in the morning of the race

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Getting in the 1:15-1:30 corral I felt pretty comfortable.  I didn’t bother doing the warm-up which was part of the new Ironman Swim Smart initiative.  The course is shown below and consisting of a 2 loop course.  I was pretty confident I could finish the swim in 1:30 so I started towards the back of my corral.  Once I crossed the timing mat I was all focus.  I started way to the right which caused me to swim further, but I had clean water in the first 900 meters.

Swim Course

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I tried to find fast feet after the first 900 meters since I finally became grouped up.  It was a pretty un eventful first loop except the furthest point from land had a little bit of wake which caused me to swallow a few gallons of the lake.  While swallowing all of the water I started singing Taylor Swift’s song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ or at least the part she repeats the words drowning.  This song then stayed in my head for a few hours.  I crossed the timing mat for the first loop in 38:46 which surprised me.

The second loop I tried to stick closer to the buoys to prevent myself from adding additional time to my swim. This one had a little bit more contact with people but it was nothing too bad.  I was dunked once by a girl and that kind of irritated me.    I got out of the water without much incident in a total time of 1:20:48.  This is right where I wanted to be.  Now it was time to head into transition…..

Part 2 – The Bike

June 18, 2013 / snowvols

Race Week: Ironman Coeur d’Alene

It is still a couple days out before I leave, but I am predominately packed for Coeur d’Alene.  Does this mean I am excited?  Hell yes it does.  I haven’t had a true rest weekend in a couple of months.  Every time I should have taken a rest day, I opted to ride 100 miles or run a marathon.  My body actually feels rested.  I forgot how nice it is to be rested.

This past weekend was the most productive in quite some time.  I planted my garden, rode my bike, ran, hiked, dropped my bike off and I am sure I did other various dirt bag activities.  I was pretty sore after a 8 mile hike, but I did bag the first summit of the year.  Here are a few photos I took with my phone of my adventure this weekend.  Of course as I was on the saddle it dawned on me that I have an Ironman a week from then.  I knew I would be sore so I got home and took an ice bath.  Now I have to use that foam roller now to remove the last bit of soreness.

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I leave Thursday Night.  I am staying with some people I met on the internet.  Yes, that’s how I roll.  Some people have a spare bedroom and for 40 bucks a night how can you beat that?  I will return to Salt Lake on Monday evening.  The only thing that is kinds of disappointed is I will not have any in person support at the race.  I know that’s how it has been for me ever since I moved to Utah a few years ago not knowing anyone west of the Mississippi River, but it is fun to know people at the race.

Good thing I am a sociable person and never afraid to meet new people.  I might only go talk to hot single females, but why would I want to talk to anyone else?  There shouldn’t be as many married women my age as there are in Utah so I need to dust off the moves.

I am bib # 1056 and I plan on getting in the water at 6:50 AM PST.  My main goal is to finish.  I have other time goals, but I do not really want to share them as I would be super disappointed if I do not meet them.  So goal 1 is to finish.  If I do finish When I finish, I will be an Ironman and next weekend most likely will go get the M-Dot tattoo.

This is going to be a sufferfest in which I have never even imagined.  I know I will think of everyone who has had a positive or negative influence on my life as I have 17 hours of being uncomfortable.  The way I like to get my mind off of the pain is thinking of old memories.  For some reason it works and I will stick to that.  If you want to track along you totally should!  I am also in need of positive thoughts, prayers or really any sort of vibes sent to the Northern Idaho.  At least there will also be mountains for me to imagine me splitboarding down if it gets too bad.

Am I ready? I finally think so.  I am terrified of the 112 miles on the bike though.  I know I can finish that part, but running a marathon afterwards, ‘Is you Crazy?’.  I will just have to keep a positive attitude which I am normally pretty good at.  If I get chicked When most of the girls my age pass me, hopefully they are friendly.  I don’t mind being passed as long as you are friendly and aren’t a tool to your other competitors.  No worries though, I will be rocking the pink calf sleeves as no guy wants to be passed with the guy in pink!

June 14, 2013 / snowvols

1 Week from Ironman Coeur d’Alene

This is it.  I am a week away from leaving for Coeur d’Alene.  Am I ready? No! Am I scared? Yes.  Now I am thinking of all of those training days I missed.  It seems now that I missed more days than I trained.  I know my mind is playing tricks on me, but I am terrified.

Signing up for an Ironman sounded like a complete blast a year ago.  Now that I am a week away I am terrified.  I didn’t drop the weight I planned on dropping through the workouts because I have never been so hungry in my life.  All I seem to ever do now is eat. I recently read an article, ie yesterday, about people who are always hungry and how they aren’t eating right.  That is totally me and now it pisses me off that I didn’t read the article months ago.

If I wasn’t so cheap at the store tired after my workouts, I would have cooked meals after workouts.  Instead it was much easier to grab takeout.  No worries this will change though.  I have another Iron distance race in a month so I know I can drop the weight I wanted to drop just by eating right and buying healthier snacks.  Speaking of that article I read here is a link to it.  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/06/nutrition/how-do-i-tame-my-hunger_77558

I am so organized for this race though it is silly.  I have a binder with the Athlete Guide and all of the maps printed out in it.  I have studied the guide and maps multiple times.  I plan on driving the courses once I get there probably on Saturday.

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The bike is the part that scares me the most.  I am not a cyclist; in fact I don’t care to bike honestly.  I would rather just run for the time it will take me to do the bike.  The funny thing is that I am not slow on the bike, but I could be better.  The 4700 vertical feet of climbing scares me.  That is going to hurt and I know it will.  I rode 60 miles last weekend and climbed 3800 feet so that made me feel a little bit better.

I have several goals for the race, but I don’t want to address those just yet.  I am excited for the entire weekend.  I have bought new compression socks, a suitcase and various odds and ends that I will need for before and after the race.  I plan on spending a stupid amount of money in the souvenir booth as long as I finish.  I don’t see myself not finishing one second and then knowing I won’t finish the next.  Is that normal?  I have never been this terrified before.

I have to finish doing laundry and buy new headphones and then I will be ready to pack.  I leave Thursday night.  No worries I will document the entire journey with my phone and blowing up Instagram.

I have told everyone how excited I am for this race, but that is putting it mildly.  All I can think about is what I will be thinking about when I race.  I will probably think of everyone that has had any sort of influence on me since I have such a long time. Putting so much pressure on me for one race can not be good, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I hope….

May 6, 2013 / snowvols

Ironman 70.3 St. George Race Recap

This past Saturday May 4, 2013, was the start to my tri season.  Some people like to start their season with shorter distance courses or even easier courses.  Since I enjoy a nice suffer fest I opted for the Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship in St. George, Utah.  This was the inaugural 70.3 race as they opted to lower the distance from a full Ironman to a half Ironman to drum up more participation.

The race took place on Saturday, so I was able to leave work a little early and head down Friday for packet pickup and dropping my bike off.  This was part of the fun adventure as it allowed me to go a different way to Southern Utah, but I was able to travel through the sand dunes to get there.  I have wanted to see the sand dunes since moving here 3 years ago and this was the perfect opportunity.  Fortunately, driving down was very uneventful except stopping in a small town for gas.  It was a full service station, SON OF A GUN GAS WAS EXPENSIVE, and the entire time the guy was trying to sale me a set of tires.  Yes, I know my tires need to be changed but this triathlon thing is expensive J.  Now I am going to get tires this weekend.

Photo from the drive down

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Getting into St. George, I immediately went to packet pickup as they were going to close in an hour and there was not packet pickup day of the race.  When I was trying to register I of course forgot my USTA card and that created a delay.  Luckily I was able to pull up the information via my phone and could save me 12 bucks for a new set of tires HA! I got my sweet wristband and then it hit me.  This just got real.  Am I ready for a 70.3?  Last week I wrote about how I was getting concerned over my full distance, but I was pretty confident about a half.  I was somewhat concerned about the climbing involved as I haven’t done too many hills on my bike.

After getting back to my car, I had to drive back to the reservoir to drop off my bike.  The bikes had to be in transition by 7 PM and it was already 5 PM.  I quickly rushed there and racked my bike.  I took everything off of it so I could have cold nutrition in the morning.  Here are a few photos I took after setting the bike up in transition.  Yes, the view did not suck during the swim.

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Looking into Sand Hollow Reservoir

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T1 It was sunny and a crappy cellphone photo

Finally I was able to get around to calling my team to find out where they were.  I could relax as everything I needed to do was done and I could enjoy the rest of my night.  I met up with my Team Blonde Runner Triathlon Team, https://www.facebook.com/TeamBlondeRunnerTriathlon?fref=ts , at the local Olive Garden for some Carbo Loading.  Well I didn’t eat much as I have a fear of Olive Garden after an office experiment and none of the food went bad.  Too many chemicals in their food as not even the bugs or bacteria wanted anything to do with it.  I had a few bites of my pasta and of course left the take out box there.  There goes my midnight snack L

We went back to the condo we were all staying at and I organized my stuff.  I put NUUN in two water bottles GU Roctane carb mix in another.  After that I placed them in the fridge so they would be nice and cold as it was supposed to be HOT the next day at 88 degrees! I went and read a book in bed but I couldn’t get the excitement out of my head for the race.

I woke up at 3AM to take a shower and not be rushed around.  We were planning on leaving a 4:45 to get to the run transition and drop off our bags.  The bus that took us to the reservoir was also at the city center.  One of the members on the team had his girl drop us off and as we were getting out of the car it hit me, my bottles are still in the fridge! UGH There goes all of my nutrition and having to lean on aid stations.  I will admit it I have a bit of a weak stomach that does not take to kind to sugary drinks.

The whole forgetting my water bottles really put me in a foul mood.  Luckily, Jackie, had an extra water bottle in the car so I was able to use that.  I had just enough GU roctane powder in my saddle bag for 1 bottle.  I was planning on taking 2 water bottles of my GU mix, but I would have to make do with the 1.  This also means I did not have an electrolyte drink.  That is not at all what I had planned on! I am glad I read the book, ‘Mental Training for Triathletes’.  That really helped me refocus my worrying back onto the race and run the race I was capable of.  This was a training race too why was I so worried?

We got to T1 with over an hour to spare so I finished my coffee off and used the restroom and sort of just hung out by my bike.  It was still dark when we got there but here it is in all of its glory.  The pros were to start at 6:57 and I would be in the 5th wave to start.  Around 6:30 transition closed so I put the wet suit on and made my way to the swim start to watch the pros start.  All I will say about them is they are fast and they are in incredible shape.

SWIM:

It was time to enter the water and it was a deep water start.  Treading water is always a good time! I tried to place myself right in the middle of the ciaos to simulate the Coeur d’Alene start as it is a mass start.  I got a few punches but I made sure to punch back J That is what makes the swim fun right?  The swim was in a nice 60 degree reservoir.  I was concerned about the temperature until I finally got into the water.  It wasn’t too bad.  Which is perfect as Coeur d’Alene will be cold as well.

The swim went around an island and was my first open water swim of the year.  The entire time I was trying to find a good set of feet to get on but of course I couldn’t until the few hundred meters and he was from a group that started after mine did.  He was fast but I said to heck with it and stayed on him as well as I could.   One guy bit my ankle WTH? Who bites someone’s ankle?  This was close to the finish line but I felt the teeth on my ankle the rest of the swim so weird!

My goal for the swim was 40 minutes.  I got out of the water in 39:22 right on pace!

T1:

This is when things got weird.  I found the strippers and they helped me thankfully.  Well maybe thankfully.  I got the top of and they told me to sit down so they could remove the leg part of my wetsuit.  Everyone got a free show too! My tri bottoms and compression shorts decided they liked my wetsuit more than me so they went down to my ankles haha.  Whoops! No one gave me dollar bills or anything.  So then I got up and noticed my right glut had a sharp pain in it. Oh well the bike will take care of it I figured.

My goal for this was 5 minutes.  I completed it in 4:08.

Bike:

This is the part of the course that separates everyone.  I know I have a fast bike.  I will put my biking up against most other peoples especially this year.  Trainer rides really do make you stronger.  I was concerned about the amount of climbing involved, but I figured I would make it.

The start was a loop around the reservoir with a climb in it.  It was a scenic course for sure! So pretty with the red rock everywhere and being able to look back and see people still swimming.  The fastest guy on my tri team, Chris, he passed me on the first climb of the day and gave me a pat on the butt for encouragement.  I was able to get in a pretty good groove and average 19.2 mph the first 22.5 miles.  This though did not have the big climbs in it.

I was able to pass a bunch of people on the bike.  I love my bike on courses that doesn’t have tons of climbing.  I am slow on some of the climbs.  We had to climb Snow Canyon.  There were not people cheering the athletes in there, but there were tons of awesome signs along the climb.  I kept repeating my mantra as well ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.  Simple yes but I have resorted on that for the last two season and it helps me climb hills.

In Snow Canyon though, I met a nice girl who was doing Coeur d’Alene as well! I should have gotten her number as she was hot.  Maybe the fact she does triathlons made her hot or the fact I had sweat all in my eyes but regardless she was hot.  We rode side by side for the top part of the climb, illegal yes, but she was good company.  At the top we had a downhill so I zoomed on without her.  The second 22.2 miles I averaged 16.3 mph.

The rest of the bike course was pretty much downhill except a couple smallish climbs.  I opened the bike up and hit 45 mph at one point.  I averaged 25.7 mph the final 11.3 miles.

Goal: 3 hours

Finished: 2:58:46

At this rate I was thinking. PR son!

T2:

This was just throwing my run shoes on and a bathroom break.  I need to man up and trying peeing on my bike.  So scared of chaffing though.  I was shooting for 3 minutes and I got out in 2:53

Run:

This is where my fun ended.  The first half mile I was going where I wanted in the 9-9:30 min/mile range.  This would give me my goal of 2 hour half mary and I would be so stoked.  Well I put a total of 7 miles on my new shoes and that wasn’t enough.  I had a sharp pain in the arch of my left foot.  Never had that before.  I took my shoe off tried to stretch it out but it would not leave.  I started getting upset and hitting a low place.  Everyone I passed on the bike seemed to pass me on the run and then some.

The run course had a ton of vert involved.  I went with the approach of walking the hills as I really didn’t have much energy as well.  I needed more calories, but I know why I didn’t take in enough.  This mistake will not be made again.  My garmin picked up a total vert of 1,358 feet.

I saw all of my teammates on the run course and Travis looked like he was having about as much fun as I was.  NONE.  I had what I called an ironman shuffle going.  When I ran I would average about 10-11 min/mile.  Yes, I was running not walking.  I would walk the aid stations, but I swear there was a hill around every corner.

Overall, the run wasn’t terrible.  I really feel if I had eaten what I wanted I would have been okay.  Instead I had sugary drinks on the bike which resulted in my puking a few times on the run.  I even ran for a little while at 7-7:30 min/mile but backed off of that pace after realizing I was smoking it.  There were a lot of really strong runners out there.

Goal: 2 Hours

Time: 2:26

The race was really fun.  I didn’t hit my overall goal of 6 hours nor my secret goal of 5:45, but I really think if I had a better run things would have worked out.   I would much rather make this mistake in St. George than Coeur d’Alene.  Now I get to look forward to the Ogden Marathon in two weeks.

My overall time of 6:11:27 was not a PR but it was a solid effort I felt.  Here is the gear I got. A finishers hat, shirt, medal and my bib

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What I Learned:

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition oh and Nutrition.  Don’t be a fool, eat some food and drink calories.  I burned over 5,000 according to my Garmin and replenished nowhere near that.  This was a training race for that very reason.

What I Enjoyed:

Everything.  The race was super organized and everyone was pretty friendly.  Spirits were pretty high the entire race so that helped.  I tried to smile the entire run and when I did smile I ran faster.  Oh and ice down my shorts I enjoyed that.  It was hot.

Will I race this event again:

I believe I will.  Maybe not next year but who knows.  It was a fun course overall and I really want redemption on the run.  Next time I will be stronger and smarter.

April 30, 2013 / snowvols

Stressing about the 140.6

I am sitting here starting to freak out.

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I missed my long bike ride from this past weekend due to some friends leaving town this week.  I opted to go to a hot springs thinking we would get home around midday so I would have plenty of time to get my ride on.  I didn’t get home until 6 o’clock so I went out and rode for about an hour.  Sure an hour isn’t terrible, but I was shooting for 5 hours.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is 7 weeks away.  I am terrified.  I am irritable.  Little things are starting to piss me off at work.  I do not know if it is the fact I am so worried about this race or the fact I am training so much.  It has to do with some of the pressure I have put on myself.  This morning I was planning on waking up a 4:30 and doing a brick workout for a couple hours but my body told me to sleep.

Ironman St. George 70.3 is this weekend and my legs are heavy.  I was stupid and decided I needed to start lifting weights last week then ran a half marathon on my heavy legs the next day.  I am learning what my body can handle.  I will do my brick tonight but that will delay me from hanging out with friends that leave tomorrow to return home.

Signing up for a full Ironman I knew I would not have a social life.  It really doesn’t bother me as long as I am able to make my training count.  I do get to socialize with my team, but with the hours I have been working this year it is harder for me to make team events.  I get stressed about that as well since I know everyone is progressing on my team and I do not know if I am or not.

This weekend I am about as ready as I will be for the 70.3.  I almost wish I hadn’t signed up for it.  I am not worried about the race, instead I am more worried about the additional miles I need to put on my bike after the race.  That is my biggest concern.  How will I be able to ride for a few more hours after the race when everyone from my team wants to hang out?

After this weekend I have a marathon.  Yippee! A marathon when I haven’t trained a lick for it.  My longest run is 13.1 miles and that was last weekend.  The way my body feels is night and day between this time last year.  I was almost 20 pounds lighter this time last year and had just finished the worst marathon of my life, http://ironmaninthesnow.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/country-music-marathon-race-recap-2012/  I do now I will get to where I need to be, but it seems all of the training I am doing I am not dropping weight like I expected.  That is going to make my 140.6 mile journey more difficult.  I started counting calories and that has helped for sure.  I sure do snack a lot is what I have learned.

Everything is booked for Coeur d’Alene so this is real.  I have spent so much money this year on races.  It sucks that long course races are so expensive when you total race fees, airline, hotel, car service and bike shipping I am sitting close to $2K on this race alone.  I think that is where the pressure is coming from.  What if I don’t finish?  My last bike ride of 70 miles my legs were so tired I couldn’t go another 42 miles if I wanted to.  I need to strengthen my quads.

I have learned A TON about my body though since I started training hard.  I wish I didn’t love snow as much as I do.  If it wasn’t for the touring I think I would have come into the main training regimen in better shape.   I know I know, I am walking up a mountain how did I loose fitness?  Well I did I know I did.  Next year when I go long I know what to do and sign up for a later race.

Now I just have to sit back and trust that I will be ready.  It is going to be a tough 7 weeks, but I will get there.  Who knows maybe I will even do pretty well in Coeur d’Alene, only time will tell.

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