Saturday, November 22, 2008

Silverman Half ironman

This was really a fantastic weekend. I meet and hung out with some great people. the race was run very well, per usual, competition was high and the racing, epic. I could go on forever about all the non-race stuff but I’ll get right to it.
Race morning was the normal, are we really getting up this early?, deal. On the bus, down to lake mead to get thing organized. Plenty of time, stretching, food, hydrate. The Full athletes were out on course and I began my quick swim warm up 5’ before the start.
The weather was great when we got there… to good. As it got closer to go time the wind picked up, a lot. White caps formed, it hailed, rained and got sunny all at once. The kayakers were calling in saying they couldn’t see anything let alone help someone if need be. then we saw lightning. “everyone out of the water!” crap! I thought. This blows. A hour delay of huddling in the tent with a few hundred others. Mean while the full IM race was battling 4 foot waves and 30+ mph winds. The storm cell passed and we went for it. As I knelt down at the edge of the water to do my usual; set of hail Mary’s before a triathlon swim I looked out at the rough water and felt really good. “I am gona crush this swim!” my swimming had come along way in the 2 month prep. I was ready. the count down began as we all did the “creep”. Maca yelling “hold, hoooold” in Braveheart fashion with his huge smile gleaming out. Every one was happy, nervous and fired up to go. I lined up in fount, like normal, acting like I was the next Phelps, needing to get the best start possible. Hey… it only takes 1 sec. to lose. I found my rhythm quickly, a good sign and never really got into the burn phase. I felt strong and pushing into the head wind in the second half I was catching people. nice! Get me to my BIKE!!! I kept thinking…

T1. normal chaos. People trying to take my wet suit off, “are you Ok? Do you need anything? Are you cold, hypothermic? Cramping?” Dude! I have only been in the water for 33 minutes! I’m fine!
Off on the bike:

This year they added the relay to the half. This made it hard to figure out where I was. But I went with my normal motto. ABP. Always Be Passing. The roads were wet the sun was out an the tail wind in the first bit had me cruising nicely and kept my intensity down. A tip for you all, don’t ride in the gutter on race day! there is all kinds of “stuff” in there! Along with wet roads people were getting flats all over the place. I felt bad as I would never wish a flat on anyone but come on your kinda asking for it.
Approaching the turn around at mile 22 I counted the riders in front of me. It seemed that Maca had only about 10’ on me at this point. Less that last yr I thought. However there were still 16 people in front of me. Ok steady EK, lets dish out some rodie wattage! My alter racing ego “Chris” starting to wake up. From here to the finish was head wind, head wind and more head wind. Add in some hills and I was now passing people. Every time I did Chris would yell 15!, 14!, “sit down poser, 13!” Chris is a great racer, very knowledgeable, and knows me very well, of course, but the guy would knock a baby carriage over to beat you to end of the aisle in a grocery store.
The hills got bigger and I pushed harder. I was hurting but the watts kept coming. Up the 3 sisters (3 short, 18% hills back to back) I push more, harder, faster. I was passed by a relay guy about 15 miles from the finish. “are you a relay?” I said. “Yeah, I am. I think your 3rd right now?”
3rd!?! I’ll take that!. Chris chimed in. “3rd! you F#@** sally! That sucks, you gona settle for that!?! Lets get on it!!”
I push more coming into town. I tock every second I could. I scared one road marshal pretty good with the speed of one of my turns. I almost hit a cone in the road. Almost ran into a fence on one turn, went up on a side walk, and did a fair bit of drooling.
257 avg. Power
269 norm
VI 1.05
Avg. Cadence 91
Time 2:46:00
Bike place, 1st amateur
avg. HR 172
effort on a 1-10 scale. 11

T2 was pretty smooth. Off pretty quick. I was glad to have Infinit this yr. on the run. so key. First mile was pretty chill. Flat to down hi. I clocked a 7:30 or 7:45 somthing. to fast but it was down hill and I was feeling good. I had to pee but didn’t want to stop then realized that I should tighten up my left shoe. My foot hurt. Mile 2 came, quick pee, forgot the shoe. My foot still hurts.
At mile 3 I was still under 8’ miles. Nice! I thought. HR was good. felt good. At mile 4 I was passed by, who was now, my AG leader. I held him at 30” for some time, a few miles. Right on 8’ miles now. Chris said, “that guy is going down! Hold him until the last ½ mile! There is no way he has a bigger VO2 than you. You will DESTROY HIM!” good plan. I kept pushing. Approaching half way I started feeling it, big time. That last mile or so of the long windy hills that are the Silverman run really got me. As I crested the last bit and turned onto mile 6 he was gone. No way I could get him. I fired down the last bit of my go-go mixture and kept yelling at my self. Finally to the down hills and I could let the legs go now. More, stronger, quicker, faster faster, FASTER!!! started grabbing Coke but decided I didn’t need it. The Infinit had me totally toped off. With 2 to go I was on full auto pilot, trying to not crack. Head up, big breaths. Comprehension was gone, I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying. I grabbed some water as I passed a huge crowed a people yelling and parting like crazy at the last mile marker (a local bar throws a huge party, its get pretty rowdy there) around a corner water spilling out of my mouth, I was at top speed, this was it. I was passed by a relay guy. “I’m a relay” he said, “blah, blah, blah, he sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown. “the next guy is REALY far back”. I was glad to hear that. I relaxed and ease up just a tad…
Yep, you got it Chris chimed in right away! “Hey! What the F%#** are you doing!! What does “really far back” mean? Who is that guy anyway? He doesn’t know you run like a injured walrus!” get on it! We don’t slow down just cause we can! This is a RACE remember! Go your own pace on your own time! This is MINE TIME!
As I said before Chris is smart. In the last half mile rounding a turn I looked back. And I’m glad I did. A tall figure wearing all back was there, hunting me down like a lion chasing that old or weak zebra, lagging at the back of the pack. You’ve seen it happen, you don’t want it to, you pray and yell for the under dog but you can see it in the hunters eyes. He gona get dinner. Its just a mater of time. For the hunter chasing me (a guy who beat me last year) time was running out, the finish was in site and I was now killing the pace. Longer strides EK, quicker, push more, knees up up UP!!
Down the chute, I was still clear.

7:57 miles, 1:44
164 avg HR
Very hard.

Over all:
4th amateur, 6th over all

I treated my self to a massage, a beer and a few rounds of food as I waited for my new friends to finish. Trading stories feeling pretty bad ass about my 4th place, over all, amateur effort we saw an “operation rebound” athlete finish. These are Guys and gals who have been injured in the line of duty. I Iraq mostly. Watching some one with 1 arm or no legs finish this race is humbling to say the least. Very humbling. When this guys came trough every one cleared a path. They all got the biggest applause, and everyone would walk by put there hand on there shoulder to say congratulations. As I left the venue I passed an operation rebound athlete. I put my hand out to shake his, he shock my hand without hesitation, “Thanks” I said, looking straight into his eyes. He nodded. I said nothing else, nothing else needed to be said.
On the way back to the hotel I instantly had a bus full of new friends. We shared stories of the race, the wind, the hills, we joked, laughed, complemented each other, you know, the whole deal.
The whole weekend was great. As I said I could write for ever. Getting lost in the hotel casino, going out in Vegas the night after, texting, the yoga class, “what is this bag for”, it goes on forever.
Thanks to all who supported me and every one else. The race directors and volunteers. Congrats to everyone who showed up and gave it 110%.

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