Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ironman World Championships, Kona, Hi. race report

Kona Race Report. the nitty gritty.
here is the down and dirty race report. some power files, etc. more thoughts and details on the race will follow.

Race morning: was pretty standard. food, drink, get to the race, bathroom, etc...
the difference here was this is the world championship. The spectator volume simply crushes that of any other race out there. Media, helicopters, the whole 9. It was just fookin crazy.

I felt good 2 days earlier on my opener ride. and while I had this nagging tiredness and fatigue I told my self it would pass. I was confident it wouldn't bother me on race day.
The swim was pretty wild. The Ford car float, the sound of the helicopters, I took it all in. I lined up front and center. moment number one of "Oh my god I can't believe I am here!" Contact was pretty standard. but I found some clear water and got a rhythm. the water was rolly at times but I plowed through. at the turn I saw a guy under water 10 feet or so in full scuba gear filming. Moment number 2. "holy Sh** I can't believe I am HERE!"

The second half of the swim I pushed a bit more. The pack thinned out and went single file. A large group looked to be a bit ahead of me but I was still on some feet and connected to the group. I didn't have to sight any more, I felt strong and the separation was starting to happen... like normal... right? nope. This is the world championships. Everyone here qualified, you can't simply hold your pace and wait for the other to "fade away". About 10' from the finish of the swim it felt like the entire world came up behind me and it was the start all over again. "you gotta be kidding me!" I thought. but I made it. up to T1, in and out. Most crowded T1 I've ever been in. I had no idea what my swim time was at that point, didn't care. time to ride.

The bike was crowded. again its the W.C.! and I was getting passed, a lot. its rare for me to get passed. but I wasn't worried. Its kona there are just as many people here who will get over pumped up and blow there race as people who will crush it.
However, about 10 miles into the bike I could tell. I had the feeling... That feeling of struggle. There are different kinds of pain. good pain,bad pain, etc. at 25 miles I had been riding for 52 minutes or so. and I felt like i had done 250-260 watts. I had done 220. uhh. not a good sign. this feeling of strugeling would stay with me the rest of the race.
The fatigue of our 20 hour travel day (more on all this later) crawled into me and wasn't gona go away. I have felt this before and it has simply faded away. I had a great race, other times its been the worst day of my life.
I could tell the tail wind was raging as well. I knew it would only get harder. Onto the climb to hawi and I was still strugeling. I adjusted a bit. almost 100% going by feel and using my watts to stay real. Also my HR was jacked. This confirmed to me that this just wasn't gona be my best day. ohh well, I made it hear I wasn't that disappointed.
On the climb to Hawi I started to get pretty annoyed with guys passing me then just stopping 1 bike length in front of me. I tried to stay cool but I am sure there is a pic of me somewhere waving my arms and yelling at someone. Big head wind on the climb which was nice because unlike the common head wind we got a tail wind on the way down.
mile 80 to the finish was a big steady head wind. what I expected. I pushed. I tried to tell my self that I was riding well, just ride EK, come on push! This ain't supposed to be easy. I seemed to drop some of the people I was with for most of the ride but this is where I lost lots of time on the guys that were just in front of me. My watts dropped here a bit even if I was steady. I have seen a few power files of guys the bested me in the bike and this was the biggest area of lost time for me.
In T2 I was quick but scared. As I finished up a volunteer asked "sunscreen?" "yeah, please." he lathered up my shoulders and neck, I stood up and paused. "whole crap... I feel wrecked, I can't believe I have to run a marathon." not the feeling we are looking for coming off the bike in an IM.
Bike file:
if this jams up on you sorry, I am going to download it again when i get my stuff back with my bike.

in the Run I was at first holding back to stay around 8' miles but it was taking some much energy. Normally, "energy" is not my limiting factor. I've got energy to spare. Its more about how much can my muscles take. oh far and how hard can I push them until they fail. This time it was different. I was in a place I had not been before. i hadn't prepared for this. I don't prepare to do poorly.

OK reality check and adjustment time. Chris and I did a damage assment and made a new plan.
I was in rough shape all ready. If one more thing goes wrong, one tiny thing gets messed or stops working at 100% I am screwed. I'll be walking the rest of the way, at best.
~OK. run on 100% feel.
~walk at every aid station. get everything i need.
If I fall behind on fueling, get hot or .5% dehydrated things would crumble fast!
~I decided I would walk every aid station, get everything I need, stay cool.
~ My stomach was good so I started hitting coke on top of my other nutrition, Infinit.

This worked well. I walked most of palini but my rhythm, while slow, was steady. I never thought I would have to walk the rest of the way or not finish. I just kept on keeping on...
I had 3 or 4 more "oh my god i'm can't beleieve this" moments. when people say "just enjoy your day", this is what they are talking about. Often at the best times of our lives we don't realize it because we are so caught up in it. And... that's the way it should be. But every now and then it's worth taking a moment and just being aware of whats going on. of what your doing. Alii Dr., the Queen K, going down into the energy lab, The finish line. The finishing straight is INSANE. it's long, real long. the crowd is huge, and if you miss this opportunity to "take it all in" you are missing out.
Run file:

Lindsay meet me at the finish I drank several cups of chicken broth and saw lots of racers and friends I knew. The stories begin. "did you hear about so and so? 3 flats!" did you see Drew Scott? his running shoes were red with blood."
Even during the bike I saw guys just pull off the rd and stop. guys on the run 3 miles in, that were ahead of me! (I finished in 10:10) just stop and called it game over. while seeing this stuff during the race doesn't make me happy at all, it did, make me realize, "hey, that's NOT happening to me..." things could be way worse.

so Chris and I learned a few things at this race. It is possible for me to keep moving and finish what I think is fairly respectable time, with out feeling 100%. not even 90%. pretty cool.

Next post will be Soon! more on what Ironman Hawaii is like, do's and don'ts and what happened to me? training, prep, heat?


Kristin said...

Great post!! Hey it happens to the best! Nice to see you kept it together and finished!! Great job!

JP Severin said...

Awesome RR. Happy to read something close to my experience. Weak on the bike sort of out of nowhere and then a tough marathon. The sun was a brutal twist after a week of overcast weather. Again, way to gut it out.