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2016 May 07, 2016 -- 70.3 Ironman - St. George - Race reflections report



Well the day finally came. The week leading up was a bit rough because a lot of things kept taking priority, but family first. In the end, to me the recap starts the day we left and the first story goes something like this:


Liz - 'Shane do you think we have everything?'
Shane - 'Yeah, pretty sure' , as I am going through things in my head.
Liz - ' What about your wet suit?'
Shane - Pausing.  'Um, oh, SNAP! - Be right back hun!'.
Wet suit loaded.  Phew!  Crisis averted.
What's that, yes almost forgetting my wet suit.  That would have been just epic.


helmet and bib.  new addition is hte sticker on the helmet
I forgot at first writing the walk through's of the transitions.  Apparently I was a bit of a travel diva.  Dennis was on high octane especially with Grandpa and Naunie being around.  Sorted things through.  Check ins about 11 AM or so.  Perused the store.  Made a few impulse purchases for souvenirs and mother's day.  And I got my meager swag.  Went and ate something and then out to Sand hollow.  I wanted to sim but with things and time ad making it back for Dennis Ironkids it was a wee bit too much.  Glad I skipped.  Got things aligned, the bike next to mine was racked all wrong.  grabbed the attention of a volunteer and got that bad boy re-racked.  I have learned not to touch others equipment.  I don't want to discover a motor.  Liz wanted a few pix out at Sand Hollow since making it to watch would be a little bit too much to do.


Racked and ready

Wife's panorama of Sand Hollow the afternoon before the storm.

T1 lanes - over a million in liability to guard, at least.

Liz wanted a pic in front of Sand Hollow, sun was in my eyes...

Dennis IRONKIDS photos

Dennis finisher with Grandpa and Naunie

Juniper says I love my Sherpa and Big Brother Finisher.  Ironkids

Thanks to Chad's Wife Kayra for letting Liz clown around a bit and get this shot.


Ok.  So I woke up at about 4:15 AM.  My father came to watch again (YAY!) and the first disruption happened when I could not remember where I left my sunglasses.  I get dressed, grab and fit my kit.  Grab my Chacos for feet gear, get my pants and long shirt on.  I sort through where my glasses were, collected everything.  I made up my drink bottles, made my core for the morning, grabbed bananas, said good bye to Liz and had my father take me down.  You know what, it was stinking early.  We left about 4:45 AM and I got out about 5:00 AM.  I walked across the long walk and grabbed a bus with minor waiting.   

BUS RIDE

I grab a seat on the bus, almost at the back, and apparently I sat amongst a few elites.  Didn't know it at all.  So I sat next to Dan Feeney.  I tried to be quiet and he started the single serving friend conversation.  I didn't learn that he was a pro until the last few moments of our conversation.  What I learned before that though was pretty cool.  See, My father has MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  He was diagnosed back new 2000 and has been living with this disruptive autoimmune disease and fighting well.  Why do I mention this?  My seat mate is in his first year of PhD and at CU in Boulder.  His discipline is the theoretical physicist part of identifying the mathematics behind the disrupters in neurons in the diseases like MS.  We geeked out a bit, and little did I know I was talking to a fella that would be one of the top 20 overall finishers.  How cool is that?  So needless to say the bus ride was good, but I didn't learn who my single serving friend was until the night after this day.  Cool Cat, Mr. Feeney, maybe one day my father will benefit from your discoveries and work.  Until then, all best!

Body marking was nothing special except that it was a 15 year old that was nervous and trying to remember her script.  I think she was more nervous than I was.  I walked on after getting marked up and headed for my gear.  I found all well there and not too much chatter at first.  Getting things ready, I asked a fella next to me about where he got drinking water.  Then the persistent reminders started over the PA.  Do this!  Don't do that! Only 25 minutes.  And on and on.  I made a few adjustments.  I was actually quite warm at this point and determined what I needed to go into my morning clothes bag.  Once finished, I walked over in a I am not yet awake daze, and just calmly reminding myself, this is number two, you trained and put in the time, just let it happen.

I cleared the gate shortly after handing over my belongings.  Oh crap!  I forgot to glide my neck.  It's ok, I have Hypafix on my neck so I should be good (later I found out that it was not ok, and the neck hickey is glorious).    While standing around a gal stops by, hey can I get your picture?  Sure why not.  mustered whatever moxie I could (will follow back and link it should I find it here).  Then a few folks in passing, brief good lucks, hello's, you paid for this, and the reality of this is about to get real again.  Oh, and don't forget, that looming cloud over the bike course, that is for you too.  While standing there, this guy says, 'Hey, you ready for this?', and I respond, 'Well if that cloud hits the lake, it's gonna get very interesting for me, as I will not DNF the swim this year'.  I forget what was said, but about 7 minutes of banter meeting his girlfriend, but never exchanged names.  it's stinking Lionel Sanders, I find out looking at the winners circle and their kits.  I kept thinking what a funny mustache, well apparently it gave him the draft and moxie he needed to kill this thing.

So, it happened, I needed to head to the bathroom.  Long lines, were moving fairly well, and the pro's were just stating to get called over.  Go faster, go faster, I need to do this now.  Still taking too long.  Talk to a gentleman from LA, keeping me calm talking about his Wattie kit and how he wanted to peacock his new orange one in HI later in the year.  finally my turn.   Well you know what.  Poop and BM's and bio breaks are important to endurance athletes.  On time, no struggles.  It was like clockwork.  The porta-loos wasted no money on proper TP.  The national anthem being sung at the same time of this pivotal BM to me was epic.  Stars are aligned.  Oh yeah, I need to get out of this loo and go find my wave.

Craig Green - an old childhood mate.  We grew up in Citrus Heights.  Was good to bump into him, at TOU 13.1 he told me he was going to do this.  Nonchalant and with a humble smile of, I think it will kill me, how did I do it.  Well take a look at his time, he's no joke.  Met his wife briefly.  So happy for them.  Forgot to congratulate her on the new adventure, as I recall they are now expecting.

We're almost there, hang with me.  BANg!  The pro's are off. Look at them go!  Look at them, ok what the crap, look at that mass?  It's over the bike course, no, it's already past, it'll be good.  Where is my wave.  Finally find another silver cap.  There is no wave sign just the one before us.  Finally!  There it is, and hey, more silver caps.  Hey there's Craig again, he looks good.  We all look good.  Don't look beyond the lake.  Stay focused, stay mindful.  BANG!  

SWIM - 01:00:58

We are crossing the thresh hold and heading down tot he water.   A few bantering moments about flip flops, socks, discard or keep, goodwill or litter, as people tenderfoot down and I just cruise.  Lesson learned from last year, go to walmart, 1.97 for discard-able flip flops.  Simple advice and so far my favorite.  Wave 12, get in the water.  Oh crap I am near the front.  Slowly, stinking cold, colder, why do I feel like a girl all of a sudden, oh because the 63 degree water just changed my biological sex/gender from male to female physically, oops I don't have feet, I am reading.  This is real.  oh crap. I am still at the front.  BANG!  

Well, needless to say I was off.  I couldn't get comfortable for about 750 yards.  Overall it wasn't pretty.  I couldn't get my face in the water.  I back stroked and side stroked more than I wanted.  'Put your had in the water Shane and just trust it'.  So to work I went.  There goes the first red buoy.  Oh crap here comes a wave, backstroking.  This went on for about 1100 yards total.  Then I just muscled up and swam.  I felt like I was egg bettering in the ocean but there was no salt. I felt the waves and the people were just everywhere.  Every time I looked in the water, I felt like Bilbo Baggins on the way to Mordor with dead bodies surfacing.  No those are just other IM swimmers trying to muscle through.  Finally the last red bouy.  Swim, Swim Swim.  CRAMP!  Left leg, I haven't been using my legs for most of the 1800 yards thus far, and when I do BAM!  Cramp.  Back stroking time check, whew, but too close.  Stretch, ok, has to do.  Swim!  Finally footing.  I'm walking, ok not really but I resemble Juniper while she grabs the ledge of something and tries to saunter around its edges.  Ok, get up the dang hill the timing threshold is at the top.  Locate the pullers, whip the suit off, no watch problems this year.  Hit the transition button, what watch says approx 62 minutes.  Phew.  Get moving!  Ignore the cold and the rain, is that really rain?

T1 Swim to Bike - 00:09:02

Bike, nutrition, check the weather, um, it's starting to rain.  2 people around me are panicking.  Grab my jersey, and start to solve the first problem.  Grabbed my nutrition, made a few quick decisions, skipped the socks, threw on shoes (so far dry), changed my sunglasses lenses to clear quickly and headed on out.  Peanut butter sandwich in hand.  Go, go go!


Bike - 03:38:21

So, the rain started in the middle of T1.  After making quick adjustments and making sure to switch into my jersey, I grabbed half the peanut butter sandwich and rolled out.  Skipping the sunscreen as folks were starting to duck for cover and grab rain gear.  There were a few folks that were brave and cheered us on as we were tearing out as quickly as we could.  Eating the PB sandwich was interesting.  choking it down.  I had to change from RX bars because I couldn't find them in St. George.  That sucked!  The climb up and out of Sand Hollow was a good reminder to, I haven't had the biking volume I wanted, but my running volume really helped.  I settled in as the rain continued.  Getting into aero was a bit uncomfortable as I felt the wheel throwing water up my hind parts and up my back.  The first 10 miles was a decent ascent up and around the reservoir.  The first climb I kept mountain goating.  I find that I am nervous in the downhills, but was pounding it out on the climbs.  The people I passed, would a few times pass me ont he descent.  I settled into a good rhythm.  The first aid station finally came and I just grabbed cliff shot blocks.  I was able to get three blocks in and was able to discard.  I was also ready to start drinking in my BCAA's.  The changes in the course were quite welcomed.  I was so much more comfortable.  It was great on the climb up to Washington Parkway until I saw the SLCTri guy go over the handlebars.  Was a rough digger, and he looked to be shaken up.  About 1/3 of a mile up the road, I alerted the volunteer police gentlemen to which they started to scramble, hope the fella is ok.

Again, the climbing was warming me up overall.  I kept taking in my drink, a few swigs of my aero bottle, and salt tabs.  I kept to my plan fairly well.  I was able to stay in front of the cramp I had in the swim.  I remember looking around a few times and just taking it all in.  It was absolutely majestic and gorgeous despite Mother Nature and her PMS fits.  Telegraph street flew on by.  I was building up to make it to Snow Canyon.  We passed by first and scrambled out to Ivins.  I began to chomp through the second half of my PB sandwich, knowing mile 41 was coming up.  There was a gentleman that passed and was like, man is there another aid station.  I quipped, there is one just as we start toward Snow Canyon.  I flew by the aid station, grabbing more blocks.  Chomp, chomp, throw.  Into the canyon.  A good Scottish drizzle in the face.  There's a gal in a full wet suit, guess she is cold.  Kept at it, slow and steady good cadence.  Pioneer names, lava tubes, amphitheater, will it ever end?  When, where, how much farther, there's the gatehouse.  Serious?  I am going to do this.  Up to the turn, the gentleman says whip your hands to get the blood to your fingers.  Yaya, it's about holding on from here down.  Came to a stop for the second time to re-gear my chain.  i was losing the big ring, after my major climbs.  2 stops at 1 minute or so a piece is a lot better than last years dreadful bonk.   Hang on, hang on, 35 - 36 mph, it's wet, do not fall down.  make the turn to diagonal street.  There's the roundabout, hey, that's dad, snapping a few photos.  There's Liz and Dawn and Dennis and Juniper, slow down for T2.



T2 - Bike to Run - 00:05:53 

I dismounted and started to move.  oops, hang on, get those legs, what she saying, slow down?  Oh its slick.  Rain is gone, can't feel much.  Grab my socks, wait, rack bike.  lose helmet dump shoes and socks.  Do I need help, yes, but you can't help me (to 2 volunteers, simple smiles of encouragement).  I get my socks on, I am not sitting.  Slipped into my shoes.  Head toward the chute, I even grabbed off my watch with out even thinking about it.  I tapped my watch for T2 at the Ironman thing, but as I came around, stopped to pee.  Oh, that freaking stung like no body's business.  I must of taken in enough salts, plenty enough.  Wow.  I am freaking cold still.  Got out and heading out to the turn.  I begin to start to run.

Run - 02:20:58

As I round the corner and try to find my frozen gait, off to the left I see my family, wife all smiles and the rest of them with words of encouragement.  I tried to muster a wave and grimace a smile.  As I started up to the round about it was clear that I was not going to feel my feet or legs for a bit.  When would I find my legs.  I had a few quick spats of short walks over the first two miles and I ignored the first 3 aid stations.  In fact I didn't use an aid station until mile 7.  I was able to move up all of diagonal street and about 80 percent of the hill into red hills parkway.  I started to alternate walking ups and running the downs.  I would go at least 20-30 percent of the up and then walk with a strong pace up.  Finally I was able to get up the 3 up and backs.  they removed Pioneer park, although it was nice, I hated the 3 or 4 up and backs.  Was able to run it out, but the hills back up were killer albeit small.  Finally the long return after the underpass tunnel.  two good grades, and then running it back in.  I grabbed a couple of redbull shots and a gu at mile marker 11 and ran it in.I determined at mile 10, I wouldn't be passed anymore and only I would pass people.  I did that.  small goals during events make me more mindful.So I was able to bring it on home.  Mile 10 to the finish was without stops and at a decent pace given how much I burned on the bike and avoided bonking.  I was able to round the corner strong and bring it on home.  In fact I passed a person or two in the chute without going into a hard core sprint.  Just steady through the finish.

Overall Time:  07:15:12 - link to results breakdown

Reflections and Thoughts

Well event number 2 was much better outcome than the first. i was much more prepared for the journey. I really got in front of my nutrition and upped my run volume immensely. I was also able to do it pain free with really only one major cramp in the swim. I am not yet where I want to be with the swim. I think I could have done 42 minutes or so, but the wetsuit and the waves and rain were game changers. Like I said I couldn't get comfortable.


None of this would have been possible without my wonderful support crew. Liz, my wife, is a real champion here. I know it drives her batty but it gives here the giggles for her to see me do this. Undertaking this with an 10-month old infant is no joke. I have run into a handful of folks and we all kind of have those same feelings and comments. We all get that our spouses are amazing. I think Liz may take a crack at St George this next go around. We'll see. The whole OWS gives her the heebie jeebies. I dunno if she will, but now that I know what it truly takes, I am sure she will use me and abuse me to get there should she try. We need to find people to tend to Juniper should we do it together. Next year I think renting an RV and staying at Sand Hollow would be AWESOME!


All in all, it has been a very worthwhile experience. Seeing my Father and his wife Dawn and celebrating Mother's Day by adventuring out to Sparkle Mountain, sharing time with them and sharing the condo at Worldmark was very good.


Getting to meet Chad from the triathlete group - Pathetic Triathletes, was a nice and welcome addition and having our wives meet was a nice touch.


The next adventure makes it a bit more interesting with Juniper and Dennis. Note to selves, let's not double up on the events next time. The question of will we do it again has come forward. The answer is yes, but the question is when and how do we budget this all differently.








Link to Official Finisherpix photos








Photos from race/event day to come.





I didn't lose my watch during the swim, naysayers.

I can call it a day, finally.  

Bringing it home passing some folks.

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