Monday, November 5, 2007

Ironman Florida 2007 Race Report

Chad's Ironman Florida 2007

10:51:57, 56th in Age Group


I lined up on the far right (outside) since this was the closest I could get to the start line. I was about 3-4 people deep at this point and I was fighting for my position while waiting for the race to start. A few guys near me were saying that they were swimming around a 57 and 58 so I knew I was in a good area. When the gun went off, it was very apparent that the people in the front of the line were not sub-one hour swimmers. I swam between/over/around for the first 200 meters till I had open water again. This swim consists of a two laps of a rectangular swim, where we have to get up and run around a marker on the beach to start the second lap. The second lap is a bit longer than the first as there is a huge diagonal that was need to swim (into the current too) in order to hit the first of the buoys again. It always surprises me during the swim that even a few fast swimmers (under the hour) have trouble navigating a 90° left hand turn. I must have swum into and over 3 swimmers that were stopped (or doing breaststroke) on the outside of the turns. The end of the first lap I saw on the clock that I had 28:xx on the clock, I thought that was good but I wasn't sure if I could break the hour as we still had a large diagonal to swim. Diving back into the water after running for 15 seconds sure does feel strange, I felt like I couldn't get my swim groove going again. Managed to get my arms moving after a while and then at the farthest point of the course I got a jellyfish sting across my ear. My ear burned a bit but it wasn't too bad. Suddenly I got another jelly straight across my nose and cheeks. That was hurt! I was glad to be done the swim and was stoked when I saw the time was under the hour.

Bike (headwind the whole day)

The plan was to start the bike easy for the first half and build it up for a few good miles between 90-110 miles. I did start relatively easy, which meant that everyone seemed to be passing me. I was sure that nearly 800 people went passed me at before I hit 40 miles. About 2/3 of the people that passed me were drafting! I saw packs that were 50 people large, but most of the draft packs were 20-30 people large. It was sure interesting watching the packs go by with people sitting up and talking to each other in the middle of the group. Yeah they knew there were drafting. There aren't really any hills on this course, but, there are some tiny bumps that require a downshift or two. My training from Victoria must have set me up well for these as I powered up the hills with relative ease and passed clumps of people that were starting to blow-up from trying to stay in a draft-pack that was a bit fast. I tried my best to not draft, so it really aggravated me when I would notice a wheel right behind me for an extended period of time. I had some thoughts about dropping a water bottle, but I didn't want to cause an accident. The best course of action that I found was to turn around and stare the offender in the face for a couple of seconds. That would normally cause them to fall well behind and I wouldn't see them on my wheel again. What was really upsetting was a lot of the drafters were in my age group. I got to special needs and had to stop to grab my bag (the volunteer was quite ready), then pulled into a port a potty. The race officials had warned that anyone relieving themselves on the race course, and is caught by the county police, would be arrested and thrown in jail (now that would have been an interesting race report). Back on the bike, I was happy to hit the second half and seemed to be passing back a few people that were blowing up. There were still draft packs coming by me though. I punched it from miles 80-100, and passed a pack of 30. Somewhere around mile 90 my left foot ached really bad, it's related to my pedal/cleat position, and on training rides it usually disappears after a while of loosening my shoe. Today the pain was going away. It was manageable, but, made a mental note to check my cleat position before I ride again. Oh and it was certainly windy out there! I think that it contributed to some of the draft packs to form.



I started the run feeling awesome. The run is two out-and-back loops, with the special needs section next to transition. I made a real effort to start slow and build into the run. At about 3 miles into the run, my left foot was telling me to stop. I knew this was a continuation of my cleat problem from the bike so I did my best to ignore the pain and continued to run. With every mile marker that went by the pain got worse and worse, but I was still running and passing a lot of people. I got my special needs and thought I had left enough in the tank to pick up the pace for the second half. At 16 miles the good news was my foot pain was gone, but the bad news was, it was replaced with seizing calves and a hurting stomach. I started to walk the aid stations to grab more gator-ade for the salt and some ice to cool down. I found and passed Tammy with 4 miles left. I knew something wasn't quite right with her race since she was just heading out on the run course, but she told me not to stop and to keep going because I was almost there. Seeing her there really helped me push it that little bit more. That finish line seemed to take forever to reach. 4:03 for the marathon, a PB by about 15 minutes.

Overall, it was a PB by about 5 minutes (2002 IM Canada 10:56:xx). I found the IM Florida bike course very demanding, there are no breaks when it's so flat and windy. I enjoyed the run course (yes even through the pain), I found I was passing more people than had passed me. We are both struggling with the amount of drafting on the bike course though (packs up to 70 people), with very few penalties given out.

As for Tammy's day, here is her summary of what happened.

So the day started off pretty good: During the first lap of the swim, I found open water on the inside and made my way comfortably around the course. As I stood up to round the course, I checked my watch (38 min ) and was stoked. Even though I had been going easy, I noticed I was weezing a bit. Dived in to the second lap and this time got caught in a bit of the washing machine chop. I had settled in enough to be ok with this and decided to stay with this group since I was getting a good draft and had enough space to feel comfortable. Finally, made it around the last turnaround to see shore. Once again had open water closer to the buoys and remember feeling so excited that the swim was going so well. I got closer and closer and then only three buoys from shore started to wheeze heavily and realized that I wasn't taking any air in. I made my way over to the bouy to recover and hung on for I figure 3-4 minutes. I slowly made my way to shore and exited to the transition. For the rest of the day I kept thinking I would recover, but I just never did. I had my inhaler on the bike so I got through it, but starting the run was wheezing so heavily. I thought hard about what to do, along with all of the consequences, and although I'm disappointed, feel that it was the right decision. I have never DNF'd from anything before, so it feels strange, but I am elated for Chad since he had such a great day, and our time here has been so amazing. I have to admit, I've had some emotions and feel overwhelmed by everyone's supportive words. One thing is for sure, there will be other days!

And now we are hurriedly packing for Disneyworld. We will be in Clearwater on Friday evening to watch the 70.3 race Saturday morning.


1 comment:

Megan said...

Wow, what a day.

Have fun in Disneyworld!