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?