Allow me to start by saying I really don’t fear that much, well besides leading a “normal life” but that is about it. That being said the thought of doing the first Ironman kind of put fear in my heart for the simple fact that everyone that does them usually ends up looking like death and talking about the demons that they face etc. I have raced 15 70.3’s and I have saw some dark places on them for sure coming from pushing the bike to hard and lack of nutrition. The fact that I knew how bad that could hurt sometimes only led me to really respect the iron distance as I knew it could turn into a loooong day if something were to go wrong.
I picked Ironman Cozumel for the simple fact that I could train all year for the 70.3’s and shorter distances and then with a couple months to go kick up the miles and hopefully knock out a solid race in late November. I made the trip down with the lovely Kelli King which is always so supportive and awesome athlete herself only to find quite the opposite in temperature from Portland Oregon. 30’s to 80’s and high humidity so I was like this is going to be great.
We went straight into a run the day we arrived together nice and easy and it felt like death due to the high humidity. The next day I went out for a bike ride with David Hall and we completed one lap of the three loop course. This was only the 2nd ride on the bike I borrowed from my teammate due to avoid outrageous shipping cost from Portland. I felt pretty relaxed after this and was ready to start thinking about the race.
PRE RACE PREP
1. Stick to the plan that Rick Kattouf made for me
2. Get mentally prepared to eat loads of food on the bike
3. Remind myself to just have fun
I jumped in the crystal clear Cozumel waters 25 minutes before the start to get a spot near the front of the pack. Treading the water for the 25 minutes before the start was rather fun as I just floated around and joined a group of Germans who kept echoing a pretty cool sounding chant. The gun sounded and we were off 2400 athletes swimming for one buoy fun stuff. I was lucky enough to get a pretty clean start although I do remember getting smacked in the head a couple of times by this lady. I pretty much swam solo the whole time as I couldn’t find a pack I really “fit” with. The swim was amazing except for a few jellyfish stings which were to be expected. You could see the bottom the whole way and the scuba divers hovering underneath. I exited the swim in 1:02 which I was pretty happy with considering it was a non-wetsuit swim.
Tossed on a cycling jersey with all my nutrition already loaded into which believe was a lot. I will go ahead and list what I took in on the bike below in order to get that out of the way.
· 5 Cliff Bars
· 1 Powerbar
· 8 Gels
· 24 Endurolytes
· 1 Gu chomps
· 1 sport beans
· 2 bottles of Heed
· 6 Gatorades
· Countless bottles of water
· AND a chocolate chip muffin which I stopped and chomped and the special needs stop
If you were to add that up well let’s just say it is a lot of calories.
As I mentioned above the plan was to take in a lot of calories and as you can see on the list above that is exactly what I did in order to have a good run. I was getting passed the first 20 miles like I was standing still women extra heavy age groupers and all were flying past me. I just had to check the ego and let them go knowing that I would see them later.
I kept the heart rate in check knowing it could drift later this lead to a pretty uneventful bike it was all flat and the backside stretch of the island was completely open to the wind for 15 miles. Being that you were less than 50 yards off the beach it meant you were getting nailed with some crosswind/headwind action the whole time. The last loop of the bike I began to feel pretty tired of being in the aero bars and pretty much stayed out on the hoods for 50 percent of the time. I was really ready to get off the bike as I had already used up my special needs bag on the second loop by stopping and unclipping and munching down this amazing chocolate chip muffin Kelli and I found two days before. (5:26)
Hopped of the bike and the bottom of my foot was so tight I was like man this run is going to hurt well that thought lasted about 5 seconds and it magically got better after the first 10 steps. I switched into a tri top and running shorts for comfort. I started the run in high zone 1 knowing that I wanted to build into the run as the day went on. I did not know where I was in my age group at this time as I had reeled in a couple of my AG’s on the bike but had no clue where I was overall. I was running around a 7:30 pace and it felt incredibility easy at this time and I was just trying to keep it there knowing I still had about 20 miles to go. Being that this was my first ironman I wanted to make sure I had the goods to finish first but the HR did not vary a bit and I was already at mile 13 holding the same pace. The amount of people that I passed on the run was absolutely fantastic and never being passed myself was just icing on the cake. I even asked some fellow competitors had they seen another 18-24 year old and they replied you’re the first one mate. I hit mile 20 and felt awesome by this time still running through the over ankle dip water in some sections of the course due to the downpour halfway through the run which made it very humid. I decided to kick it up the last 5 miles and was able to average like a 7:05 pace for them (my fastest run splits of the day) to close out the Ironman. The finish line came up and I went through loving every second of it. This led me to break 10 hours and come in at 9:56 which I was absolutely astounded by for my first ironman. Big shout out to all those who have helped so much along the way I could not have done it without you all. (3:21)
Ironman is a long day that you have to be really patient with
I was 2nd in my AG a German with compression socks on beat me by 1:24 he out swam and out biked me but I put 9 minutes into him on the run.
One spot in my AG for Kona so didn’t nab it this time.
Ironman is a lot of fun
Did not hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would.
Next time don’t stop and unclip to eat a chocolate chip muffin
Eat it while riding :)