Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ironman CDA Race Report



After elbowing my way to the front of the crowd on the beach at 7am Ironman morning, I had one specific goal:

Win the race.

The swim started strong. My plan was to swim consistently, and leave myself fresh for a solid bike. Although it felt like a 56:00 swim pace, I glanced at my watch coming out of the water and it was closer to a 59:00. I thought maybe it was because I only drafted for about 20% of the swim, but later that day, I spoke with a couple pros who were convinced that every swim was slower that day due to a strong current heading out towards the Spokane River. And we all know that pro triathletes are freakin' all-knowing, all-seeing gods, so this must be the case.

After about a 4 minute transition, I hopped on my Specialized Transition Pro and took off. My legs were really popping. I didn't even feel like I had a chain. At the Higgins point turnaround, I counted myself at 19th place and 6 minutes down from the leader, and knew I would catch most of the cyclists ahead, as they looked like swimmers.

And I did.

By mile 85, I was 90 seconds down on the leader and in 3rd place.

Then my world started to go black. I've never bonked in Ironman before, and at 350 calories per hour, thought it would be impossible. But my body immediately started craving solid food, so I pulled over to the mile 90 aid station, completely stopped, and ate 2 bananas, although what I really wanted was a Chicken Crave form Pita Pit, which avocado, and hummus, but no falafel. Light on the tzatziki sauce, please.

Sorry, back to the race...I was wavering back and forth standing at the aid station. It took about 5 minutes for the banana sugar to hit me. On pace to bike a 4:55, I was a bit annoyed at this interruption, but figured I could still make it back in around 5:00.

The legs never really felt right after stopping, and I rolled into T2 at about 5:06. I must say that my legs were shaved and shiny, so at least they *looked* good at this point.

Still, all I had to do was run a 3:09 marathon to win. In all my training runs, I've easily held a 7 minute pace, so figured the race was mine for the taking.

But once again, that's why they call it Ironman. After clicking away 12 to 13 miles at my desired pace, my IT bands gave out and never returned. They died and went to IT Band Heaven, leaving me here on earth to run with my big toes and groin muscles. My pace slowed by nearly a minute every mile, and I managed to drag it into the finish line with a personal record 9:46, somewhere as 12th overall age grouper and 3rd in age group. Top 25! I qualified for Hawaii, but I will be annoyed for weeks that I could have taken the race if I hadn't flubbed up with a couple silly mistakes. Big kudos to the smarter athletes who beat me, including locals Brian Hadley and Troy Nelson. You guys rock.

You know what irks me? Having a race in my grasp and letting it slip away. You know what irks me even more? The fact that I can't sit down to take a crap today without flailing all over the bathroom trying to stabilize my IT-bandless body. Irk.

Hey - big thanks to all my sponsors. Check 'em out on the right side of the page. Next stop, Lake Stevens 1/2 Ironman in two weeks, after a few serious massage sessions and some icing. I'm also going to be trying to win Lake Stevens, so it should be good, and I promise some cool fireworks and fast splits.

Ben

P.S. My next blog post I will officially unveil my special announcement I keep talking about.
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