Thoughts from the experience and journey - 2015 Ironman 70.3 St George, Utah May 02, 2015
Mandatory show off Bag shot
Proof i was around the finishing stuff and still alive
A Little background.
So, back in May of 2014 I got the itch to get a bike. I had thought about an Ironman ever since I saw that I could do a 70.3 and not the full. This is the half Ironman. When I got my bike and was researching road vs triathlon rigs, I really became connected to the idea of triathlons. I was wasting away travelling and trying to get ahold of my weight and frame. I had snuck up to almost 240lbs while heading to France and over 4 years of consulting. It wasn't me. So, I got the bike and started riding and the idea of the triathlon waned.
I was reading through some stuff as I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are a bit quirky and peculiar, but hey who isn't that is religious or faith-based. The topic was Word of Wisdom What is the Word of Wisdom?. Liz and I commonly talk about it as not being followed as well by others, but I was becoming that person. Then I came across this: 6.1 Purposes of Church Welfare (Health) . Specifically this line got me - They should obey the Word of Wisdom, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, control their weight, and get adequate sleep.
That line kicked me into gear. it was late November early December and I thought I had enough time. I began speaking seriously with liz about it, and she became my pseudo-nazi coach. Training schedules, meal plans etc were formulated and kinda followed. I concentrated on running. I ran in Connecticut in Sub-zero weather, I ran with Utah NERC's in Snow on trails that shouldn't be run on in subzero weather. I determined to get new shoes - Hoka's, and absolutely loved them. The shoes then set about ruining my knees.
We took a family trip to St. George, in hopes to get away and for me to go ride the route. It rained, and thank heavens it rained. The course is/was brutal and had I ridden it at that time, I may have put things off. So training consisted of running as often as possible and riding/spinning when I could. I was ramping up fairly well, and in March I finally started to swim. My wife got a position in the daycare at SARC and that allowed us to have a family pass, and SARC has a 25 meter lap pool. now this is where all my multi sports peers come in and say, you only swam laps.
I finally convinced Liz that I needed a wetsuit, and boy dandy did I. I was hoping to open water in Porcupine Reservoir or Hyrum Resevoir, but even after a mild winter, the 2-3 weekends I could do it, it snowed or got to sub 32 degree F weather. I was destined to swimming laps only.
Racked my own bike selfie, let's go to the hotel
Swim Stats - Garmin Connect
I built up to swimming only 1700 meters in the pool. the one thing I worried about was the swim, and I was hoping it was enough. On my trips hotel pools just don't cut it and I had no access to open water sources as they were either frozen or just didn't exist. I did the best I could mixing it up with other disciplines. This is the part I under trained and under prepared the most, but in the end, I was only 2-3 minutes off the 1h10 min deadline for DNF.
I imagined an epic run out and run and dive and freestyle into the water. I imagined wrong. It was a water start. and in the water where it was a blissful 60 degrees. we had 3 minutes between waves and pop, we're off. I started out well, was very cold. Got to the first turning pylon and it all began, cramps. I went to side stroke, then free then side, and ultimately after being past by the next wave I resorted to the back stroke, double-arming it the whole way to try and make the mot over each pull, but I forgot something. 'Save the legs'. No, I used my legs about 80 percent of the swim, and I was cramping in my sides and legs, and high groin by the time I finished. Unfortunately it took me 1 hour and 13 minutes. I missed the cut by 3 minutes. This meant I was doing a DNF the whole time. But I was determined to go on and finish. I didn't know where the cut off line was and think i spent 2 minutes walking the ramp to the line, knowing this for next time it will not happen again. After the line, the wetsuit pullers took about 5 minutes b/c i had my watch over my wetsuit arm and it was just a mess. oh well, this was the first so, working out the kinks. I almost forgot. I got a pretty good neck rash fromt he wetsuit b/c I forgot to glide up my neck like so many folks recommended. I forgot, which means I need to work on my transition routines.
Bike Stats - Garmin Connect
This is my current love and passion. I built up with no problem to riding 40 miles. I also included coming over Sardine Canyon and mashing up climbs around the valley. The ride during the event, threw all that out the window though. it was a magnificently beautiful course. I rode and rode, most rides were 20 miles - 30 miles in length and almost every ride was in a strong headwind or cross wind. I am glad that the resistance training was always built in.
The day of the event was epic. This transition wnet well, the only thing I forgot was the glide on the neck. No, to my utter shocking surprise, suncreen and wetsuit rash on the neckline do not mix. not at all. the pain I felt was immense and almost made me quit (it was for a quick second, but it was BIG). Once out of the water i was out from the Sand hollow Reservoir area and remembered not to take it out too hard. I was passing a large number of folks but not killing myself doing so. I was riding well. Things were good, but I just couldn't let myself go on the epic downhills. I think my max fastest was approx 35 mph. I don't know if it was fatigue, confidence, or my speed problem associated with trees, but I did not wreck and i wanted to finish dammit. Overall I did well managing my time and speed, and then I got to the dreaded mile 41 and into Snow Canyon. I was well in front of the cut off time. Then the course change killed me. We were directed up a trail to past the Pioneer Name location, then directed to descend then re-climb what we just came down. That took me out as I planned for nutrition but executed poorly. I dismounted and walked approx a mile from the lava tubes to just below the check out cabin. on the downhill into town i was riding my brakes more than letting it just go. i should have been able to get up to almost 50 mph, but I was so fatigued and wanting to finish I just kept that rear brake engaged.
Run/Walk/Stats - Garmin Connect
I was doing pretty well running. I was getting good pacing in and cutting down time. One night while running in East Hartford, CT after it was starting to thaw I was running in my newly acquire HOKA's. They were great - Rapa Nui Trail's, and got them for a great price. I was pain free and loading up distance. While running though one night, I didn't see a divot, running a rout I have run many times but it was usually snow packed. This time an unseen divot took my right ankle. I was over joyed, it rolled, and no pain, well or so I thought. Over the next two weeks, each run was a bit more difficult and acute pain was onset in my knee. Then it would go to my other knee. I finally took a week to almost 2 week break for relief in late February and early march. It felt pretty good, but the day I did my first Olympic set of distances, my knee really acted up. The swim and bike felt awesome, but my knee just didn't like it. and it switched to both knees now and it was only 6 miles and I had 13.1 to build up to. the week before I ran and amazing 7 miles in Black Smith Fork Canyon and in just over 60 mins too, pain free. I was perplexed. i switched back to my old Mizunos, and liz freaked out b/c they are pretty worn, so out we went to runner's North in Providence to get me some new Waver Riders. Along the way I got a few lectures from CT's finest about how too cold it was (they had on mostly cotton), running hills to my death, and good Folks that stayed with me in the cold dark nights on trails in 0 weather and snow, and it was all worth it!!!
The transition went fairly smoothly, but I was a bit wobbly after the finally climb and coming back into town at near 88 degrees. I took too much time, but got things squared away, changed and more sunscreen applied and head out. I was only able to run about 3 miles total and I was limited to walking the rest. I had strong knee pains when I ran but was able to manage it by walking. Along the way I saw 3 other competitors bodies fail them completely and require medical assistance. Regardless, I was not going to not finish, I was going to make them pull me off the course, I wanted that darned finishers medal. I stocked my runners hat acquired the day before (an Ironman decal-ed hat) with ice every aid station and watered up well along the way. For all that was considered I lasted on the run, more of a walk, and I brought it on in the last mile in a trot that was be-labored by my knee. I was going to make it and I did! Liz and Dennis were there to see me come in!
The knees - thanks to Endevr for the tape up
So in the end, I finished at 9hours 23 minutes and something. Officially according to IM 70.3 standards I was a DNF, but I finished and got my medal. I was approx 1 mile over. however, for walking nearly most of the 13.1 run, that's not too bad and doing so under-prepared for the swim. Liz keeps saying I don't take on small things. No, I don't. I just go big, and usually end up good.
Post Event Thoughts
So, the question is, will i do it again? Yes! I am getting my knees checked out by a popular sports medicine doctor in Cache Valley early next week. hopefully we can address the problems and overcome them. Talking to a few friends, I don't think I allowed enough time to build up and stay pain free. That being said, all things considered, I am very grateful. I am currently weighing in around 213 lbs and feeling pretty good. I am strongly considering a ketogenic diet lifestyle Ketogenic Diet Wiki. More to come on that front. I am pressure testing the knee until I get it seen on Tuesday May 12.
Grateful to my pregnant and patiently frustrated wife. She is great and beautiful and one stubborn SOB. She was there and panicked and thought I was dead because the timing chip was malfunctioning, not something worth addressing, but she thought I drowned and had an accident while riding. She took it right to the limit for me, as I don't like all the signs, and cheering and stuff. I have a scarred past from previous experiences. I was always a strong athlete, just not always the best, and I am ok with that as I always did my best, most of the time. Grateful to my wife, Liz, and grateful she didn't give up on me although I know with the pregnancy she wanted to kill me a few times. Training for a 70.3 in that short of time kills family time.
Mandatory finisher's pic for Dennis - Ironkids finisher 1-mile
Dennis did Ironkids, and had a lot of fun. I think he will become a triathlete over time. He does not like team sports, but loves him against things like swimming and MMA and nature. He loves to run and tries to get other kids to do it, but parents are strange and don't encourage kids to run anymore because of fears (this is where I offend folks so I just stop). I am grateful that he wants to be active. I am grateful that he likes to see Daddy kill himself. I am grateful to his mis-timed hugs and high fives. He's great.
I am grateful to my Father who made it and came out and enjoyed time with Liz and Dennis while I was out for 9 hours in the 94 degree morning heat around St. George. Liz was nervous to be pregnant and alone and to have Dad there to help was awesome.
I am grateful to all the friends I made along the way. The NERC's and Runner's North folks. I am grateful to the hotel staff and colleagues that kept saying that is awesome. I am grateful to all the amazing VOLUNTEERS at the ST. George Ironman 70.3 event. It was a display and in action the BEST I have ever witnessed in all things I have ever participated in. I am in awe of the professionals and what they do in this multisport discipline. I am in awe of all the support that occurred in my behalf along the way. Current friends, past friends, friends of Liz's I don't know all in support of, me. That in itself is humbling and a reminder that humanity is not all lost.
Now one of my buddies, Buda, thank you for the inspiration. I got uber jealous when I saw him go through his experience. i was in awe when he was like call me, which I have failed to do, b/c life has consumed me again. We weren't the best of friends in the past, but man, this thing, IM70.3 is awesome. i will re-do St George, and I will get a sub 7 hour. I will concentrate on Olympics mainly for now to strengthen this knee.
The only disappointment I had during the whole thing was when folks would be like ' you are doing that you are crazy. That is awesome' - promptly followed up by the "this is why I cant's". I am disappointed that people limit themselves. I fell into that trap and fight it too, but no more. I encourage anyone to get out and do better. You don'thave to come do and Ironman, but just do better than yesterday. Do it for you, do it for someone you love, do it because you want more.
That is all. #IM703StG - Finisher
BIB: 751 RACE TIME: 09:23:41
IRONMAN 70.3 NORTH AMERICAN PRO CHAMPIONSHIP ST. GEORGE 2015
ST. GEORGE, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS
Link to Official Event photos, should anyone feel inspired to gift me something as Father's Day and Birthdays and baby is coming. Scroll past the swimming ones, as those are false positives (I am not in any of those).
Some extra photos for keepsake memories are below!!!
Relief in the St GEorge Town Square kiddie stream.....