Sunday, May 8, 2011

St. George

On Saturday May 7th I did Ironman St George. It was my first Ironman in 10 years and it was great to be back in that realm. The experience of accomplishing something like that is still just as amazing. I had a rough day out there. It was the slowest I've ever gone by a long way. The old Dave would feel bad about this for weeks. I'm in a great mood today.  I went in trying to qualify for Kona. But I went in with the through I was either going to do it or melt down trying. I melted down. I spent a good part of the day catching up which is normal for me. I was in position maybe too far back but in position and I melted.

Although the pictures are not in the right order, they are the story. The first picture is me coming into the finish line. It's downhill and I look fairly good. The second picture is of me going up the steepest of the hills on the run. I have good arm swing and seem to be powering up the hill fine. What happened between these to pictures where I turned in a 4:45 run split is the big question.

I have no excuses, just stupid mistakes on my part.

Mistake #1 - I relied on my old bike fit for the new bike. I should have had the new bike professionally fit to my body of today. When I got off the bike my low back was totally locked up.

Mistake #2 - Nutrition - Mike Reilly stressed before the race that Nutrition was the 4th part of the Triathlon. I was confident I had it right. How wrong I was. I have three bottle holders on my bike. I use Sustained Energy and Heed in all my races. I calculated my calorie needs on the bike at 1200 calories. I had 1500 calories. The problem was this. In a 70.3 or in training I put 2 scoops of Sustained Energy in a large bottle. I chose for Ironman to put 3 scoops. With 3 scoops you have to wash a drink of it down with  water which meant I carried a bottle of water. Stupid mistake that killed me between mile 75 and 90. At this point in the race I was out of Heed (or Perform), out of water and only had Sustained Energy. For 15 super hot miles I suffered and waited to get to that aid station. What I should have done is either gone with 2 scoops of Drink and carried two bottles if Heed. Or gone with three scoops drinking just prior to each aid station and using their water to wash it down. Carrying water was the wrong thing to do. To me this is what cost me lap #2 of the run.

Mistake #3 - I relied exclusively on coach. For the most part I did his workouts without question. That's not what a coach wants you to do. A coach wants you to bring your head to the game too. I'm not sure I did that enough. I have Ironman and Ironman training experience. I've qualified for Kona numerous times but I didn't bring much of that to this program.

Mistake #4 - I didn't find out all I needed to know about the course. Coach urged me to go visit before the race to check it out but 3 trips to China killed that option. But I had plenty of other options, I know people who did the race last year and I know the two guys that designed the race so I should have had all the information. If you ask me the perfect boring long ride training ground here in San Diego is multiple laps of Del Dios to Elfin Forest with a ride up Double Peak each lap.

Some thoughts on Ironman St George.

- If you've done an Ironman you have to do this one. It's worth every penny. It's hard, it's hot and it's fair.
- If Ironman is on your bucket list don't do this one. It eats people up. It is one mean beast if you are not prepared.

My Notes:
- One day I have to figure out wind. At 50MPH a heavy cross wind scares the hell of me yet guys were flying by me in their aero bars.
- Don't enjoy the swim too much. It was too easy which to me says I didn't race it I swam it.
- Stay in the game. I was in the game for the Kona slot after the first lap of the run. The guy who finished 6th was about 2.5 minutes in front of me. I would have been there at the finish. I let thoughts that I was out of the game creep in. I probably would have collapsed harder if I continued to push but I was in the game.
- Once you know you aren't reaching your goals you have to set a mini goal. I was walking with a guy early in the second lap of the run. Clearly we were both finished "Racing". He said "I hope we make it to the finish by the cut off". I looked at my watch and said "Cut off, Dude, I'm breaking 12 hours!" He fell off my strong walking pace and I had a new goal.
- Experience it. I had a great time with the volunteers. They gave me so much energy and hopefully I gave them something to laugh about. The popsicle was the highlight for sure. Ok, finding a $20 bill on the ground might top that but I'll still go with the popsicle.
- I'm simply amazed by the mind over matter thing. I'm dying. Struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I get to mile 24 that has a nasty down hill to start. I look at my watch and notice I've got 20 minutes to break 12 hours. I start running hard and somehow I'm running again, just blowing by people. It was in my head, it sure wasn't in my legs.

I must apologize to my wife. I came around on lap one and told her to take our son back to the hotel to play in the pool. I would be awhile but I was going to finish. I should have known this would send her worry nerve up. She sat there for 2.5 hours wondering if I was going to die out there. I'm sorry dear.

Again I have huge thanks and praise for Mary and Marco for sticking by my side. For Gordo for guiding me and to all my friends who encouraged and supported my dreams.

It's a good life...

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