Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the story of the day Ironman CDA 2009

Let me foreshadow this by saying 3 weeks before the race I sprained my ankle pretty bad on a trail run. 1 week before the race I was in bed sick. 2 days before the race we drove the course in rain showers’ previewing slick downhill’s and twisty wet roads. Other than that it looked like it was going to be a good day.

The house is up at 5 am ready to roll, this race is nice since I have two other racers staying with Frank and Cara Both first timers. The weather seems ok but the first thing I notice is the tree blowing in the neighbors yard. We walk down to the race venue to get checked in and drop our entire bike and run gear and find the crowds pretty big and all of the racers are there. The crowds were more stretched out for the other events over the last three days and race morning you can barely move in the slowly moving sidewalk of people. Somewhat of a cluster as they have bag drops on one end of the park and body marking on the other end. Time is getting short and we keep fighting the crowd. I get my bags dropped and into my wetsuit and when I get to the beach I realize I never got a body marking which is your race number written on your arm and leg and somewhat 100% required. Damn! I go back to the bags and ask where body marking was again and she pints to the other end of the park which is a bit far with 10 minutes to go. She then realizes she has a marker in her tool kit and larks me up. Second time into the wesuit now and a quick much needed last minute stop in a porta potty ( a favorite last minute thing to do for many a racer) and over the timing mat onto the beach.

SWIM: I am in the back of a sea of white and red swim caps looking at some very choppy water. I really do not have time to think about it since I hear the Ozzy song ironman and then a cannon and we are off. By about the second buoy I realize this is not the calm clear water of Penticton (Ironman Canada 2007). I have to time my breaths with the swells and find I cannot draft off anybody with any form as the visibility is low and murky. The course is a two loop 2.4 mile swim that as you round the outer buoys the chop is really high and making the turn you have to almost swim sideways to keep from being blown off course. I must say that this feels more like having just left a capsized ship in the ocean than doing a swim race. At lap 1 you get out of the water and go around a timing mat and back in the water……ohhhh I did not want another lap of that but the race goes on and back into the water I went for another 1.2 miles of sea survival training. I actually get hit in the head by someone and lose my goggles but they are under my swim cap so I just flip them back down over my eyes no harm. At one pint on the last 1.4 mile I get hit by a rogue wave and swallow some water and have to hack it up and a lifeguard on a surfboard checks in with me. I tell them I al all right and after getting y breath finishing the swim . Oh the feel of ground never felt so good.

I get my wetsuit stripped off by two guys in the wetsuit stripper zone and remind them to be careful of the left ankle and they gingerly remove the wetsuit without being the usual over exuberant wetsuit stripers that I have seen where the rip the thing off your body in 4 seconds.

BIKE: I change into my cycling gear and out to the bike. Nice to get on the bike after that. As usual I am in the back of the pack not being a great swimmer and have the opportunity to pass many people over the next few hours. It feels good mentally passing so many people. The weather is not bad, and the temperature is nice . The bike is fast and I am cruising with no worries…..until about mile 50 then my neck starts getting sore and the fit on the bike is not quite right. It’s a borrowed bike and I never rode it for more than 45 minutes at a time before. So this mistake ultimately makes me ride in a not so Aero position for the next 60 miles. Not a huge deal as I was still going fast and passing folks but not as fast as I would have liked. Alsi the course is very hilly gaining about 6000 feet and not as TT friendly as I would have liked, but oh well, get lots of food in on the bike and feel good in the legs so jam out 112 miles and on to the run…

RUN: so the run was my main concern as I had sprained my ankle about 3 weeks ago so I taped it up again for the run and as it started to get a bit overcast I took a windbreaker and tied it around my waist. Not something I would normally but with the weather the last few days and a full marathon in front of me comfort was a need. The first 10 miles were not bad and then the weather hit and the rain and wind was just biting at us along the shoreline as we ran. The great warm chicken broth hit again as the best tasting stuff on the planet at the time. My stomach fared fine and never really felt super thirsty or super hungry so just snacked to keep the energy going. By mile 17 we were wet. They started handing out space blankets and garbage bags. I took a space blanket and shoved it up into the front of my jacket and used it as insulation and I was just fine. I would have liked a beanie cap but the baseball cap style running cap would have to do. I spent a bout 5 miles with “Jim” from southern Cali who was getting lots of yells from the crowd as he had on an NBC kit and I later found out he did corporate travel and NBC was ne of his clients and raced for them. Nice guy and we matched each other running and walking to keep each other going. I had to bow out at about mile 21 or so to use the bathroom and he was off. The usual mental game of running to the next light post or street sign in little chunks started but it was just starting to get dark and I only had about 4 miles to go so it was in the bag, I jystr had to keep moving. With 2 miles to go I decided it was run all the way and ran (well more like a weak jog) to the finish line and heard the “ YOU ARE AN IRONMAN” over the speaker again as I crossed into finisher arch……..happy to be done and happy to have done it. Lets see??? Ironman number 3???? Maybe 2011?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Before and after in the bike corral

I will do a full story upon my return home but here is the short one!

Swells in the water during the swim reminded me that I do not want to be shipwrecked. The bike was hilly and fast and the run was done in rainy and windy conditions that were brutal. Even though this race felt twice as hard as Canada in 2007 I finished within 30 minutes of that time at 14 hours and 30 minutes.

Thanks for all the support from online, phone calls, locals and friends and family. It was a team effort.

also congrats to Frank and Cara who also got it done!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

on site!!!

found an internet coffee shop to update the blog. What a great locaton here in Idaho. yesterday was super perfect and today...RAIN!!! looks like a 70% chance of rain. the temp is ok so just have to stay dry. good thing I train in wet weather. I wil have to slow the bike down for safety in places after driving the bike course today. pretty flat but the back 9 has a few hills and rollers that look slickery. So new goal ( old goal was to beat Canada by an hour) is to finish in one piece with a smile.

We went to the kids race last night and Jennelle did great! she was upset that she did not get to do the 1 mile course with the 8-12 year olds and got stuck doing the half mile course with the 7 and unders but she managed to control the anger :)

Cara and Frank and I all went for a 15-20 minute swim on the course and then a 20 minute run all at easy pace......now just rest until start time on Sunday at 7 am. not much else to say other than I hope the temp stays right where it is but the rain goes away but the forecast is not pretty....adapt and adapt some more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

on the road again!!!

ok, all packed up and off to the races....not sure if I will have internet when I get there so think happy thoughts on Sunday and I will post race after!

"Here we go again on my own..." WHITESNAKE

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

last long ride

did a super easy mellow 90 minutes of spin today mixed in with bike commute to work pulling the old Bob trailer with the Kratsch bag,,,,,,,,,,LOVE IT!

by the way...BOB TRAILER IS THE BEST COMPANY EVER!!!!!! seriously.

5 day countdown

Well this is the boring part before the race....rest, travel and rest.

I will take photos when we get on site......we will be there with the crew on Thursday night.

thanks for all the well wishes!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

half marathon sweep

I will be doing an easy run today and then doing the sweep for the dirty half marathon on the bike on Sunday. easy easy as we come to race day

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I got my ass kicked by a girl and I liked it

Stacey showed up for my final training session before ironman and she kicked my ass! She mixed in some heavy weights to failure that ended after an hour with heavy squats. When I was done I was a little light headed and spent. She asks me " are you seeing stars?" and I thought...wow that's odd how does she know I am seeing stars?....cuz I was. She suggested I take a seat and drink some sugar in some Gatorade.......I almost passed out. It was the best workout of the week!!!!!!

I tell you after spending 30 minutes doing cardio and plyometrics and then ending with a super heavy no rest weight routine I was done in such a good way.

The rest day is Thursday and then Friday: swim and mile repeats, Sat super easy run and Sunday super easy bike, then T minus 7 days.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

ohhh rest days!!! T minus 15 days

a few rest days are killer, I rode the single speed to the pool and did a very leisurely 1000 meters and rode home. laid by the local pool here reading runners world and then BBQ some chicken breasts:

easy: marinate 1.5 pounds of chicken in........1/3 cup soy sauce and tbs. of lime juice, 3 tbs of olive oil, some thyme and salt and pepper......marinade for 1-5 hours...BBQ.

less hard workouts are easy to do but you always feel like you should go harder, in your mind you feel fitness seeping away but it is building and making the machine fresh and rested and ready. Thankfully I felt this last time and it worked out great.

2 hour road ride tomorrow....easy. followed but an easy run. MR. IPOD here I come, slow and steady and ready to eat the little fish.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Denis Menchov wins Giro Italia from Universal Sports

road bike crashes are always bad!!!!! I love the announcers here going berserk!!!!!!!

Open water swim

Last Sunday I was able to go out and meet with Utrek and get in some open water swimming in Davis lake, Utrek was fly fishing so he took me out in the boat and watched to make sure i did not drown. What a great place to swim and the water temp was just right. Felt really good to get back in the wetsuit. What a great place to swim huh?

Ankle is still there for sure but i have been able to perform on it so ultimately i think the race is a go but i am being careful. no more trail runs or mountain biking for the next 16 days.....16 days until he race???? this is coming fast now.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Where is Waldo?

I like this pic from the Central Oregon Crossfit competition as it shows all these beefy dudes competing and then there is me in the background thinking..." How did i end up in a race with these guys????" of course as you read below I did just fine and Kyle trained me well. The crossfit way has many merits and Kyle actually does a lot of the same things and had years before there was crossfit but there is a nice balance of endurance work which is what I need for my particular sport. so see if you can find me in the pic thinking....." this may be harder than I thought..."

I must say it was a nice group and everyone encouraged each other...good folks

Monday, June 01, 2009


what a crazy week its been. a week ago i could not even walk.....so I spend the week with ice and wraps and calling Dr. frank every other day. the foot even turned black and blue on day three. I was very worried about my running at Ironman. I had the crossfit Oregon games the following week and I was pretty sure it would not happen. The foot got better over the week and with Dr. Franks permission ( good to have a foot surgeon as a buddy in this story) i tried to run easy on a treadmill on Friday.....I could tell I was still guarding the foot and running was ok but not super solid. So i decided I would go do the crossfit games and during the running I would just take it easy as this was meant to be fun side event not a key part of my ironman training. I showed up early in the old mill district and saw the course.....HOLY CRAP I HAVE TO LIFT WHAT OVER MY HEAD AND RUN???? I was signed up for the elite division by accident and realized they wanted me to lift 70 pound kettle bell over my head...? what? with a sprained ankle as well??? so i wandered back to the registration and explained i needed to be in the intermediate division ....this way I only had to carry a 53 pound kettle bell over my head and walk 100 meters....ohhh much easier.

So I am not in Kansas anymore as i recognize nobody from other races or runs or triathlons etc. these are hardened crossift guys and gals that look riped and much larger than my endurance buddies........oh this is going to hurt.

warmed up a bit and the ankle is ok, I can still tell its affected but no pain just really have to pay attention to landing when running. I start in heat 7 and do a 500 meter row as fast as I can. This was good as I actually have one of these rowers at home so I understood long powerful smooth was just as fast as this guy next to me cranking out as hard as he can and working twice as much for the same distance. i am second off the rower and running over the foot bridge to the kettlebells. I grab two and put one over my head and hold one below for the waiters walk.....man this is heavy and about 15 meters in i hear a volunteer tell someone else you raise the lighter of the two above your head.....OHHHHHH!!!! i had the heavy one up. switched them and off I went. back down to the other side switched arms and took off for a 3/4 mile run......wow this is harder than I thought. my run is slower than normal but I am catching a few guys. the next station was insane! we had to snatch a barbell with 45 pound plates and then throw it and keep doing that for the length of the field and then roll it back to the start....just throwing Olympic barbells in a park was fun/hard/different. run some more to a filed and do burpee long jumps and then run to finish......sounds so short and easy but ooooohhhhhhh so hard.

I was out front and a younger kid about 23 passed me and was about 10 meters in front of me on the final run and in the last 200 feet he was fading and i was gaining on him....I started taunting him..." I am coming to get you"...." you better pick it up"...."I got you at the line".....he starts looking back and stepping up.....he crossed the finish line one second before me.

I went over to talk to him after the race ( he was on the ground trying to breathe again sweating like a criminal in an interrogation room) and I said good race and he said i would have taken him if i would not have let him know I was gaining on him. I explained no that is part of the fun of the race...by pushing him I was pushing me and I like a hard fair race. gave me a rabbit to chase.

so then I had to leave as I had other commitments and just this morning I found out I got third place!!!! Holy crap! that is awesome. I am back baby! 4-6 weeks for an ankle? 1 week later I am on the podium....WOW!

side story: on the way back to the car there was a national guard recruiting station and they had 2 pull up bars set up. I jokingly said I wonder how many pullups I could do after getting my ass kicked in the event and a soldier says " lets see......jump on" I cranked out 13 full bar to chest pullups. DAMN i was having a good day.

1 581 Michael Thille B M 17:53
2 577 Jon Hill B M 18:08
3 537 Drew Holm B M 18:09

photos from Eugene crossfit