Monday, January 13, 2014

Xterra World's

XTERRA World Championship/Race Report(28th AG/11th American)
Ritz-Carlton Kapalua-Maui, Hawaii – October 27, 2013
Swim – 27:43/Bike - 2:10:02/Run - 58:05/OA - 3:39:47


Swim course distance: 1,500-meters(0.93 miles)Rough Water Pacific Ocean Swim
Water temperature:  78 Degrees(Non-Wetsuit Swim)
Air Temperature:  Upper 80’s w/light winds & full sun
Mountain bike course distance: 20 miles
Total climbing on bike: 3,300-feet
Trail Run course distance:  10K
Total climbing on run: 1,000-feet
Total climbing on course: 4,300-feet

Qualifying for & competing in the Xterra World Championship has been the “Outcome Goal” that I have been chasing for the past 2 years.  All other goals that I have chased since then, were my “Process Goals”, the small steps needed to make this outcome goal a reality.   Needless to say, this was my ultimate “A” Race & the biggest race of my Triathlon Career! 

Lead in…
I blew off some fun local late season races that I normally like to do so that I would be able to focus entirely on the demands of this course.  I did have a 4 day training disruption do to an illness in the family during the peak weekend of my training just 3 weeks before the race.  While this was not idea, my lead in to this otherwise went about as good as it could.  Several great training blocks followed by nice recovery.  Most importantly, since breaking a collarbone back last winter, I was able to recover quickly & stay health for the entire season.  I felt like I was peaking at the right time! 

Swim - 27:43…
I grew up on the Ocean & Lifeguarded throughout High School & College, so the rough water ocean swim in Maui was an advantage for me.  However, we didn’t have the heavy surf I was hoping for on race day.  Nonetheless, I was quite happy with my swim.  I felt amazing & was aggressive trying to stay on feet when I could without blowing myself out. I was able to draft for about about 50% of the swim. Not as much as would have liked for a race like this, but enough to certainly help me save some energy & boast my swim split. I did banana a little on my swim out to the first "long" buoy, because the long-shore current was a little more than I calculated further out, but I still had a much more direct route than the vast majority of the field. I knew that if I had a strong swim, I could come out of the water with my friend Marcus Barton & that's exactly what I did.  In addition to being a good friend, Marcus has been having a spectacular 2013 season that has included AG wins at the Xterra Southeast Championship & USAT Off-Road Nationals.  He also earned this year’s Xterra Southeast Regional Champion title while I was a very distant 2nd.  So by coming out of Swim/T2 together with him, I was feeling pretty good! 

Bike - 2:10:02…
I was exactly where I wanted to be going into the bike.  I exited T2 with Marcus & we rode together for the first 30 minutes. We leap frogged a bit, but I settled in riding his wheel which is exactly where I wanted to be. He's a strong & smart rider & the pace of his wheel seemed comfortable for me. Part of me wanted to pass him, but with such a long race ahead, this was where I needed to be. Up until this point, my race was going exactly how I pictured my "Perfect Race" to be going. Then, my chain started making horrible noises & wouldn't lock into gear. I found a gear that worked, but every time I tried to shift out of that, it wouldn't lock. I stopped a couple of times to quickly look at it, but I was unable to do any field repairs. After the race, I realized that half of my rear cassette had shattered & that I lost my entire lower range of gears! It is actually amazing that it held up for the race! Still, I was able to keep Marcus in sight for a while, until steeper hills forced me to get off the bike and push because I did not have the gear to ride them. For the remaining 15 miles of the bike, I had to get out of the saddle & push all the climbs in big gears &/or walk them. While I did worry that pushing those big gears & was going to lead to cramping & hurt my run, I was overcome with determination to overcome any obstacle and get to the finish line with a race that I could be proud of. These obstacles also included 2 wrecks & running out of water during that last 40 minutes of the bike. Surprisingly, my bike leg actually has the highest overall split rank!  Still, the mechanicals cost me at least 10 minutes on my bike split & probably more.

Run - 58:05(Rank 259)...
I was so happy to have made it through the bike that I was fired up with adrenaline in T2. I was clapping, hooting, & hollering coming out to T2!   
However, it didn't take long out of transition for the reality of how brutal hard & steep that run was to kick in. The climbing just kept on coming with no breaks. Each section seemed steeper than the next. I did something that I have never done in a race & walked a few sections. I took advantage of this time to down nutrition & down as much fluid as possible. Once I hit the high point of the course, I was able to find my legs & make up for some lost time. I passed several folks on the last 2 miles of the run just by having my legs & still being able to bomb the down hills. As hard of a time as I was having on this run course, I don't think that I was passed more than twice on the run while passing many more. I've never seen so many people bonk on a run like that! To put the icing on the cake, I had a sprint finish with a German Guy from my age group. The guy was gaining on me during the beach run section, but once we hit the last hundred yards solid ground to the finishing chute, I did a 100 yard dash to the finish. The German had out run split me by nearly 7 minutes, but wasn't able to out sprint me :). So I am quite proud of that 28th AG place! My run did not feel great, but surprisingly it ranks as my best splits. I think that is mostly just because so many people bonked in the heat on that.

Overall - 3:39:47(Rank 239/28th in AG)...
While a major mechanical on my bike may have prevented this from being my "Perfect Race" & probably cost me 10 minutes on my bike split(who knows what it cost me on my run?) I still couldn't be happier with my race & my fitness. In the grand scheme of things, 10 minutes would have only brought me up about 3 spots in my AG.   However, finishing STRONG in the hardest race that I have ever done, in that brutal heat, & with a respectable time vs. the best in the world even more of an accomplishment for me. After putting in so much getting there, I had more shear will & determination to make that a great race than I have ever had for any race. While this may not have been my "Perfect Race" & my time certainly could have been better without that major mechanical, this was my "Best Race". I used every once of my fitness, mental toughness, & race experience to combat adversity & still cross the finish line with a solid race. Podiums are nice, but this is why I got hooked on racing. This experience is something that I can draw from & will help me in my future races & life experience. Whenever I need to dig deep & things are not going as planned, I will know that I can feed from that adversity.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Race Report 
Jeff Caplan 
Ironman Florida, 11/2/13

I went into Ironman Florida with a feeling of cautious optimism. The 2013 race season had gone fairly well for me at the short-course and half ironman levels. The only race that left me disappointed was Ironman Louisville where I didn’t respond well in the heat. Training before and after Louisville had gone extremely well with strong numbers and pacing across the board – my coach Gerry Halphen and I were seeing exactly what we wanted to see in terms of bike watts, run pacing and other markers. I also was extremely hungry for a good result, as the last time I felt like I had really nailed an Ironman was Florida in 2011.

This fellow was at the Florida visitor center on the Flora-Bama border -- those are tri-bikes painted on it!

The couple of days before the race were produced significant nerves among all the triathletes in Panama City due to some rough weather. The two days leading into the race saw very strong winds, rough waters, and some heavy rain. The forecast for race day was excellent however with a favorable wind, mild temps, and low humidity. I spent most of the few days leading into the race hanging out with Jeff Brandenberg and a number of other folks from his Columbia, SC tri group. I was also fortunate enough to have Ben and Traci Holliday as my sherpas for the race. They were great folks to spend time with – very relaxed and easy-going.

Having a high-tech sherpa provided a strategic advantage! 

One thing that’s really nice about doing a race for the ninth time is that you have a set routine (to put it mildly). I started off race day with a bagel with peanut butter, banana and honey, an Ensure, and a Starbucks canned Double-Shot. I always like to run a bit early because I have had situations where I’ve been greeted by a flat tire when arriving at transition. I got down to body marking about 4:45, got my tires pumped, set up my bike, and then chilled with Ben until it was time to head to the beach.

Surfing, anyone?

For this year, Ironman has been experimenting with a number of different formats for its race starts as part of its “Safe Swim” initiative. I know there are a number of folks in the sport who aren’t fans, but I’m a huge fan – anything you can do to make the sport safer, all the better. I wasn’t a fan, however, of the particular format they used at Ironman Florida. The concept was that athletes would self-seed themselves once they crossed the timing mat and entered the swim corral. The self-seeding was to have been done horizontally going length of the beach, with faster swimmers closest to the buoy line for the counter-clockwise swim and slower swimmers at the far end. Signs were posted with estimated swim finish times to assist people in correctly seeding themselves. While it made sense on paper, the start line resembled a bell curve with a huge bulge in the middle. I was in the middle with the 1:10 – 1:20 group, and just got wailed on once the race started. This wasn’t helped by the fact that there were some pretty sizable breakers at the start that shoved everyone on top of each other. It was so bad that I actually had a mini-panic attack about 5-6 minutes into the race. I tried to stay calm and just swim to the right to get to some clean water. After a while I was able to do so and to find my stroke. I wound up doing around 40 min on the first loop and 37 the second loop. Given the start, I wasn’t unhappy.

Transitions in Florida aren’t known for being the quickest in the sport, but I moved through T1 pretty well. It felt good to get on the bike and get rolling. I did a gel in transition to recover from the swim, and then my plan on the bike was to take in a 600 calorie bottle of Infinit during the first 2 ½ hours. After that I did one gel every 20 minutes with a gulp of EFS liquid on the 10 minutes between the gels. The only solid I did was a Clif Bar at the 3 hour mark. For hydration I tried to go through at least one bottle of water per hour. In terms of effort level on the bike, the plan was to average 175 watts for the first half of the bike and then either hold or slightly increase watts the second half. It was kind of funny because I can’t say that I felt that great on the bike, but I was totally nailing it – my watts the first half were 175 and the second half were 181 (note: body weight for the race was 69.5 kg). Thanks to the awesome weather, my heart rate was low zone 2 for the majority of the ride. I wound up finishing in 5:21.

Although I started off as a runner, my Achilles heel in triathlon is definitely running. When I left T2, however, my legs felt great and like I had a lot of zip. I was pretty pumped from the ride and also in knowing that I’d be seeing so many friends alongside the course – there were a ton of ATL folks who had come down to PCB to spectate and provide support. The first ten miles of the run when pretty well, but I felt like I was starting to hit a trough around mile 11. My primary nutrition plan was to do gels every 3 miles, salt every 5 miles, coke every two miles, and lots of water. By that point in the race, however, I was really starting to get sick of gels and was not getting enough nutrition. After a few miles of a slower run-walk, I switched over to potato chips at the aid stations – the salt tasted great, and a couple of handfuls seemed to get me enough carbs. Once I got back out to St. Andrews Park on the 2nd lap I was moving with more purpose.

Oooof.  That is all.

The last 10K of any Ironman is always a challenging stretch. On the one hand, you are buoyed by the emotions of knowing that you are almost done. On the other hand, you’ve still got a ways to go and you’re hurting! This might have been the most I’ve hurt during any of the 18 Ironmans that I’ve done. I saw Ben Holliday with about two miles left, and that gave me a boost. With a mile left, both legs were cramping and I had a really bad side stitch. Near the finish, I saw my friend Harvey Gayer – he looked at me and yelled “RUN!” If I needed any motivation, that was it. A couple of minutes later I finished with an 11:53, my second fastest Ironman (and the fastest in five years).

I'd worked every single day for five years to see this result.  Happy!

There are many amazing things about triathlon – it’s a wonderful lifestyle and a great way to test yourself and your limits. My favorite thing about the sport is the people with whom you get to train, race, and work. This race was notable for all the support I got from Gerry Halphen (my coach), Ben and Traci Holliday, everyone at and my teammates, Dynamo Multisport (thanks Shanks and Matthew!), Dan Arnett and the Endurance Concepts team, and everyone who provided words of encouragement and support both before and after the race. As always the biggest thanks is reserved for my wife Lucye and my sons, for their patience and support – this wouldn’t be any fun without them.

See you in 2015!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IM AZ Blog Post

I try to be brief in my race reports because I frankly have a short attention span and expect that you do too. You really want to give everyone a shout out but it's impossible. I literally had hundreds of little efforts on my behalf and messages in various forms and formats and each one meant a lot to me. That is not BS. I was moved to tears several times (yes, Slayer has feelings) by little notes, the poster some of the TCGa team made,
and the little things people did for me. I think I may be getting sappy in my old age. I think that by giving a lot to others this year it came back to me in spades!
I kind of want to start by saying thanks to everyone that played a role in getting me there and through the day from my family, friends, teammates and athletes, sponsors, shops, triathlon community, etc. Some did more like my sherpas
, my coach , my inner circle, my mechanic, and others did less, but it all helped me. I can't say thank you enough. I don't do these Ironmen but once a year or so for a reason. They are logistical and practical nightmares fraught with anxiety, but this year, less so.

My race was a solid one, but not my best. I know I am capable of close to an hour less time on that course. However, I did make the most of what I had to deal with so for that I am pleased. I learned a bit more about the distance and the front group of racers and will make some tweaks before taking Ironman on again in hopes that I get the elusive perfect race. 

Everything about Tempe, Az rocks. It's a scenic, warm college town and there was an ASU game so it was buzzing more than usual. We ate and drank well and the hotel was close and perfect with a rooftop pool and hard pressure hot tub. There even was a lady that came in wearing a SLAYER shirt who lifted it up so I could click a photo of her completely covered SLAYER tattooed back! Coach Spartacus of TCGa and DocSlay and I had top floor rooms with full kitchenettes.

Several bike issues pre-race took my time up but we got it all sorted, except one detail that came back to bite me. Even though we checked the green light a few times, I did not fully charge my di2 shifters, which died 50 miles into the 112 mile bike. User error! The poster the team made imploring me to DYJ was just stellar as I walked out the door to do battle. 

Into the water Spartacus and I marched, arms locked 

after saying hey to Peak's Coach Tony and Beatriz

My PR was 1:18 at IMFL in 2010 and I hoped to beat that with a long winter of swimming lessons and masters, which tapered off as the race approached so I could focus on my run and bike. I seeded myself way up front and that was the best call I could make. Ultimately, I PR'd the swim due to getting a draft from the better swimmers and avoided the normal melee much better this year. My spirit was high when I looked down at my watch (2 mins PR at 1:16) yanking myself up the hard to climb stairs. I was off in a flash and T1 was very quick without going into the changing tent or changing.
The one thing that was off was bloating post-swim that I never had to deal with in training. I think it was the bloating that led to my ultimate problems on the run in that my stomach never really settled until very late in the bike so I got way behind on hydration. This was compounded by a mechanical/electrical issue (see below) on the bike that caused me to force things on the back half. Overworking a body that is dehydrated in the increasingly hot and windy unshaded desert is unwise.   

Even with a few problems I rode the course in about 5 hours flat barring the 4 mins in the penalty box (see below). That probably could've been 15-20 mins faster. The plan was to ride a controlled bike for the 3 x 37 mile loops of the 112 mile bike course. My watts were supposed to be 230-245ish tops which would leave me ready for a strong run, which was the goal for the day. My watts ended up being only 205ish. However, I rode the course about a half hour faster than in 2009. This means I theoretically worked less to travel much faster. I attribute the improvement to a lighter weight and more aero position from the wind tunnel trip. But the average watts don't tell the story.
The reason the average watts don't tell the story is because of the aforementioned user error.  Around mile 50 or so, my electrical shifters lost power and I was stuck in the big ring and middle of the back cog. This was great for the flats but no bueno for the slight climb and descent on the 8 miles or so of Beeline. Working too hard with wrong gearing on an Ironman is like dancing with the devil. Working too hard when you are dehydrated is just plain stupid and I was stupid for not dialing it back and catching up on my hydration when my stomach settled later in the ride.
Other things of note were my first penalty ever at around mile 88 for either drafting or blocking. I own it if the referee says I did it. However, anybody that rides with me will tell you I never draft so in my view it was not drafting per se on this very crowded course, where I basically pulled upwards of 20 riders for the entire race. Some folks should rejoice because they saved a shit ton of energy riding my wheel all day allowing them top 10 performances. 

Also, it was great seeing my sherpas (DocSlay, IronHorse,  Terminator), Mary Ann (TCGa Team Mom), Coach Tony of Peak, Brent Pease ( and Betty (Dynamo) on course along with my racing amigos, Lester, Spartacus and BAMF . T2 was another breeze but as I emerged I knew I was not myself. 

You are doing 2 x 13.1 mile laps on an unshaded hot cement course with lots of long stretches lake side at IMAZ. My goal was to get as close to 3:30 as possible. The lower the better obviously. My legs and feet had come back from a season of challenges and long training runs were phenomenal so I was ready. However, that was not meant to be.
The first lap was relatively easy but I was unraveling. Things were starting to get painful and I was dizzy and lightheaded seeing wavy lines. The coke at mile 8 didn't help much. Around mile 14 I slowed to a slog and hoped that I would get some kind of respite but it never came. Everyone hollered at me to keep pushing, and I am glad I did even though I was still dizzy and wobbling a bit.
I would walk so many steps and run so many steps never stopping but never getting very far running. A few women checked to see if I was ok, but most of my AG just ran past smiling to themselves. However, I did keep moving forward with everything I had left at the moment taking cokes on board every aid station. By mile 22 I figured it was time to look at my watch again and I saw that I had about 40 minutes to finish off before the race clock moved to 11 hours. I decided to see if I could hack running again to grab the 10 hour finish. It was pretty amazing that my legs starting turning back over and I made it in at 10:55 on a sub par 4:26 marathon. 

I got my medal, roared at the catchers, and smashed a water bottle much to the chagrin on the finish line photographers who I soaked. Then I headed for the VIP tent to get some brews by twos and to cheer everyone else in and lick my wounds.  14 hours or so after the swim I had my next pee. I think it was brown haha.

IMAZ 2013
Result 10:55 (50 AG, 382 OA) -2nd fastest IM of 4
Swim - 1:16 (PR)
t1 - 4:46 (PR)
Bike - 5:05 (PR and blocking penalty of 4 mins)
t2 - 2:37  (PR)
Run - 4:26
Normally I would feel like crap. This time I felt bad but ok. My fitness was better. Mike Reilly, voice of Ironman, and the DJ there got everyone so whooped up that it turned out to be a special night unlike any other.  Lester, BAMF then Spartacus made their way in and we all hobbled and celebrated like we were Kings. The sherpas all ensured our every need was met. What a wonderful way to end the year.
I had an extra day in Tempe, where we ate PF Changs and did a pub crawl.

The flight home on Tuesday was quick and we stopped at my favorite shop to get my Sherpa some gifts. I was so glad to be home and see and hug my kids. Special shout out to DocSlay's parents for caring for them while we were away. Now onto Panama 70.3 in February!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Augusta 70.3 Recap

After hanging out with 70.3 World Champ Melissa and her husband Jared Hauschildt and the real TYR Freak of Nature, Haley Chura of Dynamo, during their visit to Athens to train the All3Sports sponsored DreamTeam Youth Triathlon squad the week before the race, I made a last minute decision to race. I wasn't tapered having rode over 240 and ran 40+ tough miles this week. I was lacking run fitness that I like due to a recent calf strain that hampered the better part of the month of pre-race training. However, these athletes' enthusiasm was infectious and the kids/parents were going to be at the race so I wanted to be a role model if my body would hold up. Hold up it did!

Overall I was 67th and in AG 8th. I missed top 3 AG by hairs. I believe that I easily could've went to worlds IMO with the aforementioned taper and a proper run build
. However, I can't say I was too disappointed.

Marching out on the dock I felt somewhat more confident than usual, perhaps because I had low expectations. Plus we had a great pre-race swim the day before in my TYR Freak of Nature.  The gun went off and we fell in. My swim was my fastest ever here with not too much more current than the prior races I did here. My transitions were nothing special but didn't suck.

On the bike, I was ballistic like usual. Only one guy in my wave beat me and I took great pleasure seeing my All3Sports teammate and fellow TriCoachGeorgia coach Mike Buteau on the bike course. Of course, he was kind of shocked to see me as he was on a lonely stretch and I snuck up on him and startled him with some choice wake up words.


My run was much better than I anticipated but I probably lost the most time here trying to save for the final 5k just in case I blew up. My long time Dynamo and All3Sports Coach Andrew Shanks gave me some good words of wisdom as I passed him a few times.
I was in tears as I came round Broad St several times to see my kids and wife, DocSlay, cheering me on but there was no time for getting weepy as I had to finish this race off strong.
As I look back, it was awesome to see so many DreamTeam Youth Triathlon Club,, Athens-Area Triathletes, and TriAugusta Triathlon Club on course. My results show how far I have come since my early Clydesdale days. My last time racing this I went 4:44. This one was 12 mins faster at 4:32. I believe my race would have even been better had I intended to race it haha.

There were so many great performances on the day that I can't even start to mention all of them. Needless to say, I was so proud to be a part of another brilliant Augusta 70.3 and thank all3sports for all the gear and support over the years. I couldn't do it without them. Now onto IM Arizona. Wish me luck as it may be my last IM for awhile. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ironman Louisville Report: Fred S

Leading up to this race, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be for such an event.  This was in fact my 2nd full IM, in the last 12 months.  It was definitely a different feeling altogether without my family and such a large group of training partners participating in this race.  And, after having come back from a broken neck last year to race IM Florida, this was a chance to go hard and fast and uh, qualify for Kona?  J 

Expectations were tapered however, when I severely sprained an ankle 6 weeks out from the race and had to take 4 weeks off of running completely, easing back into it when I returned.  In addition, I couldn’t seem to get my nutrition dialed in over the past 2 months and had switched from Skratch Labs to Cliff Bars, Uncrustables, and Gatorade with CarboPro.  This seemed to be working better, and I’ve only had GI issues in one race, and that was St. Anthony’s in 2010.   All in all, however, I felt very optimistic for a good race at Louisville.  The weather had cooled in recent weeks, and I had spent a good time on some long rides and swims.

Fellow team member and 4-time full Ironman finisher, Rob Truckenmiller and I set out for Louisville on Thursday afternoon.  During the lengthy and delayed by a torrential downpour drive, we had already encountered a couple of “interesting” folks on the roads.  The experience was already creating memories.  That day was Rob’s Birthday so we decided to head out and enjoy the downtown area.  We were fortunate to meet some Amy Layo and John Southey from Atlanta and had a great evening at a couple of the local establishments, Ri Ra and Gameroom?

I had originally booked a room at the Sheraton for the 4 nights, but we decided to move to the Hampton Inn and be closer to 4th Street the next morning.  Good choice, and I highly recommend staying at The Galt House, Marriott, Hilton, or the Hampton for ease of access to everything.  From there we were able to walk over to the registration and expo at the Galt House and stand in the hour long line to get registered, and then on to the 30-minute line at the Ironman Store.  Luckily, we were able to get time on the massage table to loosen up the muscles and reduce the swelling in the ankle.  That night, we took it easy and grabbed a terrific burger at a place called Sidebar at Whiskey Row, and were in bed by 10pm.

Saturday morning we got up at 7:30 and headed off to the swim practice.  The swim lasted 10 minutes and there was indeed a current.  I need all the help I can get in the swim, so this was very refreshing…pun intended, provided that I could use it to my advantage.  After the swim, we headed out for a 45-minute pre-race brick to prime the legs.  I was starting to feel the nerves at this point and the heat was cranking up.  So much for the cooler temperatures!  We went back to the Galt House to get a few more things for the race, including pre done tubes with extenders.  Then it was off to finish packing the transition and special needs bags and to bike drop.  My pre-race meal is typically pizza and so we decided to play it low-key and order a couple of large pies from Papa Johns and eat in the lobby area of the hotel, while watching some football.  It was lights out at 9:30, but since I don’t typically go to bed until 12:30, I tossed and turned while Truck snored.  I checked the alarm over and over, I read a number of pages in a book, and I finally drifted off around midnight.  UGH!


We were up and going at 4:30am.  Even before 5am, the Hampton Inn had the necessary ingredients necessary to make my Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey sandwich.  It tasted great and it was off to transition to set up nutrition and the bike.  After spending a little over 20 minutes waiting in line to get some air for the Zipps and setting up the bike, Truck and I walked the mile to the swim start.  We hooked up with some folks we knew in line and it waited with nervous energy.  It was nice to see the Dynamo gang at the start, including my swim coach, Maria Thrash.


We only had to wait about 5 minutes after the gun to jump into the water.  You start the swim with a ½ mile upstream crawl in traffic around an island out into the main portion of the river before, turning at the buoy and heading downstream.  My goal for the swim was to go out smooth and controlled and set myself up for a good day.  I had projected 1:15 for the swim.  It was tough sledding in the first 1800 meters and I had to stop a couple of times to relieve myself.  This isn’t usually a problem for me, but for some reason I had to completely stop in order to handle the business.  I didn’t really press myself too much and swam a little too wide into the middle of the river (2.6 vs. 2.4 miles), but overall I felt comfortable coming out of the water.


The transition took some time as I was trying to warm up the ankle and get changed into my bib shorts and tri-top.  I try to opt for comfort and the extra minute or two isn’t a problem for me.  Once I changed, lubed up, had the volunteers coat me in sunscreen, it was off on the bike I went.  Coach wanted me to maintain 185 watts for the ride and advised me not to start off to fast. 

Part of the problem with being a slow swimmer is the traffic that forms ahead on the bike course.  This was a great course with rolling hills and some great scenery.  Since I put the time in the saddle during training I started to pick people off one by one, without really working that hard.  About the time of the second loop heading into LaGrange, it got to be hot, my feet were rubbing in the shoes, and I had dropped a couple of Cliff Bars.  There is great fan support and I refocused my efforts, catching up to Truckenmiller.  We rode together for a while; I dropped him around mile 80, picking up Jeff Caplan for a little bit.  Having these guys around helped with some of the monotony of the bike, and eventually from mile 90 to the homestretch I lost both of them and was alone for a deserted stretch.  Unfortunately, I had eaten my Uncrutstable and dropped 2 Cliff Bars, so I needed to take some nutrition off the course.  I had used Perform in the past so I drank a bottle and a couple of GUs.  I did a great job of drinking a bottle of water every hour to stay hydrated.  They seemed to be ok…for now.  I eased off the throttle a little bit as well the last 10 miles and really spun out the legs, priming them for the run.  My goal for the course was 6:00 and I did an easy 5:42. 


I spent a long time in transition (11 minutes) as I changed into my tri kit and had to wrap the ankle with tape.  After I was ready to go with my shoes all tied, I realized I had forgotten to put on my ankle sleeve…so I had to start over.  I had good energy coming out of transition and felt I could do an easy sub 4 hour run.  The first 4 miles I ran on adrenaline and averaged an 8:00 mile pace.  Then I hit the wall and felt the heat.  Because of the ankle my run conditioning wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and there was a bit of nagging soreness as I lumbered on.  I ended up doing the first loop in a little over 2 hours.  The crowd was awesome and when I picked up my gummy bears at Special Needs, I felt revived.  I ran pretty well until mile 15 and then started cramping…and the death march began.  I couldn’t take in enough liquids to stay hydrated – honestly I didn’t have a good plan for the run not having done but one long run leading up to the race.  I did the Ironman shuffle until mile 19 where I caught up to Truck, who had passed me a little before.  He was feeling the effects of the 90 plus temps and no shade as well and we struggled together until mile 23.  I then realized that I could still do a sub 12 hour Ironman if I could finish the last 5k in under 25 minutes.   So I mustered up the determination to start a sub 8:00 pace again, and I somehow finished in 11:57.  I got my medal and they set me down on the folding chairs immediately.  I didn’t even get a Finisher Picture before I headed straight to the Med tent to take in 2 IVs.  I was overheated and in bad shape, but the medical staff and volunteers were incredible and within an hour, I was ready to go.