IMAZ 70.3 (I will always like Half-Ironman personally) is done. To get it out of the way I did not finish. I was about 15 minutes late for the lap 2 start of the run (they cut it off at 2:40AZ time, but I guess they were letting people through to about 2:45…I got there at about 3:10. I had a “good” race but far from a great race. I learned a ton and am more than ready to tackle training for the 70.3 at the Deuces Wild Triathlon Weekend coming in June. There’s also a local splash open water splash and dash in November which, weekend being free of family obligations, I will try to get in. As well as any other shorter races that are easy to get to between here and June. I think I’ve mentioned several times that I have already signed up to volunteer at the full Tempe IM in November and with that I have a full IM (which is a life long dream) to look forward to in November 2016. The comments on my last blog were so awesome that I am thinking of ways to do a more personal blog for the upcoming year.
So the race…
I opted to wear my wetsuit today which meant a much later starting time than I had anticipated. Not a huge deal but it did mean that my bike and swim would be pushed into the hotter portion of the afternoon. Swim started good but I was not feeling like I was getting enough air on my freestyle and panicked a bit. I though very seriously about swimming to the canal wall and getting out and calling it a day but I managed to get a hold of my breathing, switched to breast stroke and got myself together. I ended up doing a pretty even mix of breast and free through the swim which is not ideal but again my goal was to finish the race…according to my garmin swim time was 51:45. It’s not bad (I was shooting for 40) but has a lot of room for improvment and you can see how that 11:45 would have helped me later.
The bike course was much hillier than I expected in the last 6 miles of the loop which kind of threw me off a bit. Overall, my bike was pretty dismal as I realized that my plan of about 85-95% indoor trainer rides was just not cutting it for this long course. My shifting was way off in and out of hills and at the 36 mile point my shoes were giving me horrendous blisters which had never happened even on the longer training rides on my indoor trainer. I was cramping in my quads, the blisters were growing by the second and I thought very hard about calling it a day on the second lap. But again, I stopped and composed myself and actually rode with my feet on top of my shoes for a while which seemed to relieve some of the blister pain. My quads cooled off and I more or less struggled through the last lap. I think my average pace went from something like 17.5mph to about 12 on the last lap. I finished the bike in a dismally slow 4:19. As you can see this is setting me up to need a heroic performance on the run.
But heroics were not the name of the game today…because of the blisters I could barley move forward. I tried splitting my run into even 5min run/walk segments for the first 4ish miles but even with this I was averaging about about a thirteen minute mile when my normal running fun run pace is about 9:15. By the third or fourth aid station I just didn’t have anything left and my blistered feet were on absolute fire so I ran one minute, walked four, repeated for a while and eventually just walked. At the last turn around I asked a race volunteer how much time I had left and he said they were closing lap 2 at 2:40 and it was now 2:26 with about two miles to go. I made a decision that come hell or high water, pain or not I would make these last two miles the fastest I could and try to make the cut…I made it about…45 seconds and decided that maybe today just wasn’t to be but I pressed on with a small glimmer of hope that maybe they would extend the cut off time. No such luck and at the chute they guided me to a race course ref who, while being very polite and encouraging, pulled my ankle timer and highly suggested I go pack my stuff up in the transition area. According to Garmin, I did the 6.72 miles of the first lap in 1 hour 56 minutes which means I was going REALLY slow in that last few miles. I actually passed my family and my wife said I was very out of it so I really thought I was going at a 15 min/mile walking pace but apparently not.
So why was this “good?”
First of all, this was my first long course race and I was REALLY nervous going in. Finishing was a good goal but starting at all makes me happy.
Secondly, I got absolutely zero sleep on Saturday night. I am a terrible sleeper to begin with but when I’m stressed it gets REALLY bad. After tossing and turning all night long and realizing it was 4:30 and time to get up, nearly every fiber of my being wanted to say screw it and cuddle up with my wife for a day of room service and Cable TV. I forced myself to get up, get in the water and swim. I am very disappointed with the outcome today, but I am very happy with my choices.
Third, I knew I had not trained enough and my bad brain has been trying to talk me into an excuse for not racing for weeks. I didn’t listen when in a lot of situations, I might have.
How to improve?
Maybe hire a coach. My plan was really me reading internet sites and magnifying what I have done in the past for short course races. I don’t think this works as there is a whole level of discipline and knowledge required for long course that I was just not aware of.
Don’t neglect the bike. My bad bike lead to a bad run which lead to a DNF. Get the right shoes.
More open water practice. I was surprised out how much the feeling of sucking bad air led me to panic. I have been shot at, had rockets lobbed at my deployed base more times than I can count, been in car crashes, and attacked by a rutting moose in Alaska. In all those situations I’ve never been one to panic so I need to get over this feeling because it was a time and brain power killer.
Get ambien. If I can’t sleep, turn to Dr Feelgood.
Lose goddamn weight. I went into this race at 6’0 and 245. That is way to fat and it absolutely held me back on the bike. I know for certain I was generating more power than some of the smaller women who were zooming by me on the bike, but a significant portion of that power output was dedicated to getting and keeping me moving. I love food, maybe to the point of it being a problem (it is so fortunate that I also love running because I don’t even want to think about how much I would weigh if I didn’t burn 500-1000 calories running very regularly). Whatever it takes, I need to find a way to get this under control.
Now what everyone really wants to hear.
Yes I saw Ragen. I am going to be very honest, that had I not known who she was, she never would have stuck out to me. There are some heavier triathletes of both sexes and Ragen did not stand out from any of these people. But guess what none of these other people did that Ragen did to make her stand out? Have a fucking camera crew cause a goddamn menace in the swim corral. There was a camera crew following her and Julianne (who incidentally, seemed like a very sweet person and was constantly smiling at the strangers around her) around most of the morning and they were bumping into people and asking athletes to move so they could get better shots of Ragen looking pensive and deep in thought before the day of her big race. I thought maybe they were there for the larger race but they stayed right with Ragen the entire time I saw her. True to my word, I avoided her and separated myself as best I could but even with that, the sound guy bumped into me twice. I have not caught up on the drama but have heard from some people that Ragen missed her swim time, I can only wonder if it was because the camera crew forced her to be at the back of the start…and that if she focused on the race instead of making a statement or spectacle that she would have completed the swim.
I have also heard that Ragen is accusing her “stalkers of showing up in person.” Ragen..since we know your drones report back to you, if you DARE call me a stalker, know that I moved away from you and your circus as best I could. Call me a stalker? Lets compare race results and training RESULTS. Lets compare the number of people we knew and/or met at that race…you know, being social. To add further, my phone was in the transition area after it closed at 6:30 and have no pics of you, nor would I have taken any. Ragan’s film crew however, pointed the camera directly at me and other people several times. If any shot of me ends up in her ego stroking bullshit, she can count on the fact that I will hire a lawyer and start with a cease and desist and then take it as far as it needs to. I signed an agreement with WTC to be in any of thier promo shots, but I never, ever, ever gave her or her film crew permission to feature me in anything she or they produce. And to the drones reporting back to her, this was a live, first hand account of Ragen’s behavior, is it really so hard to see that this whole fiasco has nothing to do with promoting the rights of fat people and has everything to do with Ragen’s ego. There were fat people all over that course today, myself included…yet the camera was on the one who didn’t finish the swim.
Monday edit: The comments on this thread have been awesome (for the most part, a couple of you seem to think that I am Ragen…I guess thats what this site gets for being the number one google hit). But really and truly thank you very much for all the tips and advice…especially with the sleep stuff. It’s something I’ve just gotten used to but at this point I need to start trying something, not just for racing and training, but being sleep deprived sucks in general.