Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RACEDAY

August 26th, 2012
Raceday started at 3am, while actually I woke up before the alarm went off (as usual). Showered, then ate breakfast with consisted of PB&J & 2 Fit & Active milk chocolate shakes, also had a small cup of coffee. Headed out the door at 3:45am to meet Liz & RaeAnn in the lobby of our hotel (Courtyard by Marriott). Out of the hotel by 4am & to transition by 4:15am, it was about a 3/4 mile wakl. There was already a line to get into transition which didn't open until 4:45am. Line got pretty big but we were one of the 1st 50 inside. Got inside & put IM Perform bottles on bike, aired up tires, & did a quick check to make sure everything looked good. Meet back up with Liz & RaeAnn, then headed down to the swim start, which was about a mile walk. We were at the swim start by 5:10am. Got our race numbers put on our arms & legs, my was done by my friend Cristy Doll. Headed to the end of the start line, which seemed like it was already pretty long. Since this race is a time trial start which we go into the water one at a time, I figured it would take about 15 minutes to start. But someone else in line said it would only take 5-7 minutes, which it did! Now was the waiting game is the start wasn't until 7am. Took a visit to the bathroom a couple of times, once to the port-a-pots, other was to the bushes (by the 2nd time, the line was fairly long). About 6:15am, Cathy & my parents found us line & wished us luck (of course took a few pictures). We had a good view of the start area & got to see the pros start at 6:50am.
When the gun went off at 7am, it sure didn't take long to get to the water. 2.4 miles of swimming in the Ohio river was up first. The 1st 1/2 mile of the swim is on the inside of an island & my plan was to stay towards the outside of the island to avoid the crowds. This worked great! After passing the end of the island, we continue in the same direction, just more towards the center of the river. This is when it got weird. Every 10-15 strokes, I look up to make sure I'm headed in the right direction. Once when I did this, it looked like someone was walking. How could they be walking in the river? Put my head down & continued. Next time I looked up, I saw it again. OK, maybe it was a lifeguard on a paddle board. Next time, it was a lady walking. WTH! Now I'm thinking it is a low spot & I want nothing to do with it. All I could think was I didn't want to step on something that would have cut my hands or feet. So I head left to get more to the middle & more into the crowd. Later I learned that it was a sandbar that everyone was walking on. Checked my watch & I was right on pace. Next was the turn buoy which was extremely crowded. Turned & headed downstream. I could see the 2 bridges that we pass under & the 3rd bridge, which if you get to you have gone too far. About 1/2 back I checked by watch again & was still right on pace. Got out of the water & checked my watch, 1:16:57. Was hoping for a 1:15:00 but I was still very happy with that.
Next was transition which is a good 1/4 mile walk/jog. Got to see my family along the way, always good. Grabbed my transition bag & headed to the changing tent, put on my socks, bike shoes, helmet, & sunglasses. Got my bike & headed out for 112 miles. T1 was 5:53.
Started drinking my IM Perform right away. The plan was to drink alot & stay calm for the 1st 60+ miles. The 1st 10 miles are pancake flat, just settle in cruise. Pasted the aid station & grabbed another Perform. Next up was a nice little climb, stayed in the seat & spin. I was trying to keep a cadence (RPM) of 90-100. Made a right turn to start a 4.5 mile out & back section. It has a nice long downhill with the same distance back uphill. On the downhill, I hit a max speed of 43.5 mph. Headed up hill where the gream ripper was waited & then the devil. Those fans made it fun! Got to the end of the out part & passed another aid station. This time & everytime after, I grabbed 2 Performs & a water. The water was to wash down my salt tablets that I took every 16 miles & to spray over my head if I felt hot. Headed back downhill & then up again. This uphill had a guy dressed as Superman & he had a megaphone screaming at us! Now on to the 2 loops section which 1st takes us to Buckner & is the section that I think is hardest part of the bike course. Another aid station & right after that is where my family is stationed. I rented a GPS unit that they could track me & know when I was getting close to them. I saw them before they saw me, so I started waving at them. They jumped up & started cheering, another needed boost on a very long day! Left turn & headed towards LaGrange & there is where I saw RaeAnn's cheer block (Team Survival). This section is probably the fastest part of the bike course. Then a left off the highway & into the country. More hills, but isn't it all. Aid station & more Perform. Left again once you get to Sligo, another aid station, then left to start the 2nd loop. This time when I got to Buckner, my family was standing & ready for me. I stopped long enough to put my foot down so they could take a picture, then off again. That was the only time I stopped during the bike. After Sligo at the next aid station, I noticed about 20 bikers had stopped & it looked like they were in line for the port-a-pot. I was thinking if I had to go that bad, I would have found a tree or something. I learned later that some idiot had thrown tacks on the road & about 50 bikes got flat tires! I was lucky enough to not get a flat. The last 30 miles is mostly downhill to flat & my plan was to pick up the pace during this section. But when I made that last left turned, I turned into a headwind! Oh well, everyone has the same conditions. Last couple of aid stations I took a few extra salt tablets, didn't want to cramp, & it worked. Coming back into transtions, I saw my family again. Finished the bike in 5:47:10, 19.5 mph average. Was hoping for 5:45:00, but was still very happy. Felt like I could have went harder but wanted to same something for the run.
Transition 2 was next, off the bike & handed it to a volunteer, grabbed my bag again & headed into the changing tent. They have volunteers in the tent helping with anything you need help with. My volunteer was another friend, Nathan Otte! Changed socks & shoes, put on a hat, grabbed more salt tablets & off I went. T2 was 5:53. Funny that both my transtions were the exact same time! Now just a marathon left.
Out of the gate on the run & 1/4 mile into it I get to see & high five my family. Feeling great to start out. Next up is the 2nd Street bridge. It has the only elavation on the run course to speak of. Hit the first aid station then get almost to Indiana & they make you turn around. On the bridge, I see my neighbor Kendra. She has signs & is cheering me on. I can't say enough how important this is to all competitors. Later I learn that she meant the winner, Patrick Evoe. She saw him walking down the sidewalk & had a finisher's medal on, If you know Kendra, of course she struck up a conversation. Back to the run... Off the bridge & get to see my family & a lot of friends again. Then it is on to the out & back section of the course, 6 miles out & 6 miles back. Things seem to be going good, hitting every aid station, walking thru to make sure I get everything I need including ICE since it is over 90. I heard that the high for the day was between 92-94. I stuff ice in my hat, in my shirt, & in my shorts. This really seemed to help a lot. About mile 4 it really starting getting tough. Needed to walk a little more. I was hoping to run in between very aid station (which were a mile apart), then walk every aid station. But starting at mile 4, I was getting half way then walking another minute. Also started taking a GU gel every 3 or 4 miles. Made it to the turn around & headed back towards downtown. Got passed by the top 3 women (if not more). Also saw the top men as they were headed to the finish as I was headed out on my 1st loop. Got to see RaeAnn then Liz as they were headed out when I was headed back. When you get back to downtown, you get within 3 blocks of the finish, then you have to take a right turn to head out on the 2nd loop. 1st loop on the run was just like the 1st loop on the bike, pretty spread out & not a lot of runners. But when I started that 2nd loop, there was a lot of runners starting there 1st loop. This was a good thing, catching & passing people is always good (but was also getting passed too). One last time to see my family & friends as I started the 2nd loop. It was tough & I think I actually walked from 1 aid station to the next a couple of times. Lots of ice, sometimes I would take a cup of just ice & eat it. I could feel my goal of breaking 12 hours slipping away, but I knew it would be close. With just about 3 miles to go, I saw RaeAnn again but I don't remember see Liz again. Probably did but at that point I was so focused on the finish. After the last aid station with just over 1 mile to go, I decided to try & run to the finish line. As I got closer & the crowds got bigger & louder, that make it easier to do. I could now see the finish line, I knew I had did it (again)! I crossed the finish line with a run time of 5:08:44 for a average of 11:47. I was shooting for 4:30:00 but it sure was hot.
My official finish time was 12:24:37 for 523rd place out of 3014 starters & 92nd place out of 464 men in the age group 40-44. Thats top 20%, I'll take that. I know it was hot, but I really didn't think the heat affected me as it did most.

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