My group got to Tempe on Thursday before the race and we were able to ride about 10 miles of the course on Thursday. We ran about 3 miles on Friday and then had the swim practice on Saturday. The bike ride was good and flat compared to NE Edmond so I was excited about that. The run was along the Tempe Town Lake and is pretty. The swim was Saturday morning was cold and actually took my breath away but I am self admitted weenie when it comes to cold water. I wore a full suit and a neoprene cap and was warm once I got going. My face and feet were cold but not unbearable.
I got up at 2:00 and drank a smoothie for caloric intake and then got up at 4:00. I slept surprising well before the race. Got up and took a shower to wake up and then had oatmeal with honey and some coffee. We headed down to transition about 5:15 am. I got there and of course had nature calling 4 times that morning. I chalked it up to nerves but was grateful to be lighter
. Definitely recommend taking a roll of your favorite toilet paper unless you like sandpaper tp. I checked my bike and got my disk aired up with the help of Ken (two man job) and did last minute checks on the bike. I then got into my wetsuit about 6:35 and made my way to the entry to enter the lake. I jumped in and it was still cold actually colder than the day before but I did not really notice as I was really excited. I probably swam about 100-150 yds and waded in the water until the cannon.
The cannon blasted and it was like playing hockey at first getting checked and bumped. It did not really clear up any until after the turn around. Literally as I was getting into a rhythm, a big dude came up next to me and hit me twice in the head and hit my left arm. I swam a couple of strokes and realized he had knocked off my Garmin 310XT. I panicked and looked around to see if it was somehow right around me. It messed with me mentally because I thought how in the world I am going to be able to pace myself on the run. I was swimming very slowly at this point and then kind of snapped out of it and realized I had about 139.6 miles to go so I decided to get after it get going again. I ended up with my worst swim ever of 1:32:20 time wise but know that was my first time to swim that distance with that many swimmers at once. I am not the strongest swimmer but get more confident as my triathlon career gets longer. Just two years prior I could not swim freestyle at all and used to panic in the water. I got to the stairs to get out and the volunteers were awesome helping me out and got my wetsuit off with the strippers and ran to T1.
I really need to improve my time in transition overall. You run out of the water and strip and then into the changing tent after yelling for your T1 bag. I had my doubts but the volunteers did an awesome job making it flow. I was a little colder than I expected and cramped in my feet while getting compression sleeves on and I chose to wear socks as it was still in 50’s temperature wise. I had bought a cheap black jacket from target to wear while riding and was glad I did. I went out of the tent and ran to grab my bike. Ran through transition and got to the mount line. My transition time was a slow 8:16. Definite room for improvement there.
I took off from the transition and rode a little hard for the first few miles to get clear of the crowd since my blistering water time put me towards the back of the group. I then settled in and held my power number I had pre-determined would give me a good bike race and would allow me to run strong. The first lap was faster than my last two but not because I went out to fast but rather as the day wore on, the wind picked up pretty good. Again nothing compared to what we Okies are used to. I had my disk on and my 69er in front (between a 404 and 808) and never felt uncomfortable in the wind. We had the wind at our back going up the false flat of about the last ten miles and went downhill against the wind. I thought that was a good combo. I had to stop a total of 5 times to satisfy nature’s calling and once to get my special needs bag in which I shed my jacket and got some gum to keep my mouth moist. While I was happy I was staying hydrated, I have not learned like some of my buddies to pee on the go. I have a self debate with that philosophy as to whether I want to pee on myself especially since I am not competing for a podium spot . I felt strong on the bike and then at mile 90 (just before the last turn around), my left Achilles started hurting. This is an injury that has been nagging me since late August. I tried to ignore through training and Redman and even did not run train like I wanted to the month before the race. It ached but was not unbearable. I tried my best to compartmentalize the pain and did pretty good. I ended up with a 5:52:19 bike leg. Felt pretty good about that. Hindsight, I think I could have gone a little harder on the bike but you never know. I had hit my nutrition and was well hydrated and felt good going into the run.
Again slower than I expected at 5:07 in here but I stopped for nature after getting dressed and had my own marathon of time spent in the urinal. Seemed like an eternity but felt much better after doing so. The volunteers were again great as I came in off the bike; I handed my bike to a volunteer and ran to my T2 bag and again into the changing tent. Handed off my bag with my bike gear, the bathroom and then headed out running.
I caught up to one of my fellow IBMT brethren and ran with him for the first 7-8 miles. I was using him to help me pace myself. He was a stud as he said his knee was hurting and he handed me his watch and said go. I cannot tell you how much these training partners of mine mean to me. They are all great guys. I was stopping about every mile to stretch the Achilles. I was running where I wanted until I got to mile 20 when my Achilles was really starting to ache and that old feeling of somebody taking a baseball bat to my heal was rearing its ugly head. At mile 23, I hit a rock and tweaked my Achilles (burning sensation) and thought wow that really hurts. It never crossed my mind to quit as that is not in my DNA to quit but I did literally walk from mile 23-24 which was devastating to my overall run pace. At 24, I started jogging again and gritted my teeth. At mile 25, I could hear the crowd and decided it was time to finish. I got my pace down to about 7:45 for the last mile and went down the chute and heard the announcer call my name. Overall, a great race and I still PR’d by 25 minutes. My marathon time was 4:34:47 and I know I can go faster and given my difficult year of training due to personal reasons, I was pretty ecstatic. Overall time was 12:12:49.
Next up is Oceanside 70.3 in March and then IMCdA in June. I love this stuff.