My second year of dedication, busting my ass when most people sleep, always with my eye on the ball, culminated with a full Ironman in Coeur d’Alene Idaho August 2017. This is my journey.
The 12 months prior too, I managed to participate in 4 events - Miami Man - Olympic, St Anthony's - Olympic, Eagleman - Half Ironman, Age Group Nationals Omaha - Olympic. Then on August 27th, my first full - Coeur d’Alene.
I'll try and keep it short, but how can one truncate his thoughts when experiencing a life changing moment.
My family and I arrived in Coeur d’Alene two days prior to the event so that I could acclimate. I was feeling good, high in spirits and confident, thanks to my masseuse, chiropractor and acupuncturist for keeping me relatively pain free. Though excited to visit Ironman Village, I decided not to because of the complexities of moving in, finding dinner and tending to motion sick kids. Before I knew it, it was time to hit the rack.
While in bed, I decided to take the time and read all the rules of my event. BAM! I was hit by a ton of bricks! What? I was supposed to sign in today??? Before 5 pm!!! How could this be??? I’ve participated in two half Ironman’s and I never had to do that before. Signing in on Saturday was always the norm. Ugh, I was out! I continued reading and discovered a possible way out, or should I say, a way back in. So, I wrote an email to the officials stating my case; then tried to sleep.
The next morning, I received an email back telling me to report to an indiscriminate building at 9 a.m, to tell no one of its location and bring no one along. These guys were serious! I followed my orders and reported for duty. There were about 30 other unfortunate souls that were all in the same boat awaiting their plight. They say misery loves company – well, I can tell you it’s true. The good thing was, I met some great folks that helped me to relax and convinced me that if we could get through this, the rest would be okay.
We were called three at a time and asked to go in to a private room. There it looked like we were to stand before a tribunal. As it turned out, it wasn’t anything of the sort. They were quite understanding and pleasant. In no time, I was officially back in the race – NOW, I could finally relax!
But not really, there was still too much to do. I then needed to pick up my bike, go for a ride, run and swim, organize my gear and drop off my bike and my gear. All new processes for me. A complete learning experience. Finished! Now I could relax!
The Morning Of
The next morning it was D Day. The alarm rang at 0:400, but I was already awake. Who could sleep!
I sprang out of bed and threw my oatmeal breakfast that had been soaking all night in the microwave. The wife and kids were all on point and everyone knew their tasks. In the car at 4:20 and drove 15 minutes to the event. Pretty smooth.
As the day began to lighten, I could tell this was going to be a hot one. In fact, the forecast called for clear skies, no clouds, and a temp of 95. Ugh! But no time to think on that.
All the participants found their place in the coral and waited for the bell. The moment I had been training for these past 12 months was here. Was I ready? In that moment of reflection, it hit me, I had never swam 2.4 miles before, I had never biked 112 miles before and surely have never ran 26.2 miles before; and now I was about to do it all in the same day! Yikes! Take it smooth, I told myself. Thanks, Kranny!
The bell rang and I was in the water. Immediately I found myself. I was under control. My pace was perfect and I swam into the day! As I swam, I thought how lucky I was to be in the water, that the rest of the day was not gong to be so pleasant. The day brightened and the sun grew brilliant. By my second lap, targeting was difficult, which added some minutes to my time, but still I was under control enjoying every stroke!
Time 1:22:36, Pace 2:08, Div Rank 23/52. Overall 482
And then, I was out of the water and running to transition. My family was there and my spirits skyrocketed! I found myself in a tent noticing other athletes taking their time, so I did too. I just wanted to make sure everything was in place and my nutrition was good. No mistakes!
I felt great jumping on my Felt, but in my haste, the left arm of my glasses completely snapped off! Ugh! My first mistake! Keep it smooth! So, for the entire ride, I found myself repositioning my glasses which continued to slide of my nose. Knucklehead!
As the sun rose higher so did the temp, and as the temp rose so did the elevation - 7000’ in all. I felt good on my bike; but the penetrating sun and mountains were a formidable pair. It slowed me a bit, hard to tell how much cause I wanted to pace myself anyway. Fortunately, I had my nutrition dialed in and never did I falter. I told myself, I was NOT going to stop no matter what, but then Mother Nature called. My bladder had other ideas. I thought of Hanlon pissing his pants while peddling. If he could do it so could I – no I couldn’t. No way! If I was gonna spend the day in pain and agony, at least I was gonna be comfortable. And then, there it was – like a sign, a Porta John calling my name. Mile 90, I stopped, very briefly and relieved myself. It was clear! Back on my bike. Ten miles to go, coasting down hill and bam! Cramp in left foot, what? I don’t cramp! – I saw another guy up in front of me experiencing the same thing and he clipped out and stretched his leg while coasting. Did the same and it worked!
Time 7:19:02, Pace 15:31, Div Rank 36/52. Overall 611
My family was there in transition and ran along side of me till I left the village – what a moment! That’s why I was there. Their cheers were my inspiration and timely, for this piece of my day I met with most trepidation.
I made my mind up, I would not stop for anything and I didn’t. The road I ran looped back to town 3 times and each time I left town it seemed that this race would never end. But, again I had my nutrition dialed in and I felt good. As I closed in on mile 22, I felt my strength climb and my pace quicken. I decided not to grab any water at the remaining aid stations. Then, the finish line was in site and I heard the announcer broadcast my name - I was an ironman!
One of the happiest moments in my life.
Instantly my family was around me and all I could do was smile and hold each of them. They all commented that they had never seen me so high; I was euphoric!
Time 5:09:22, Pace 11:48, Div Rank 17/52. Overall 343
Total time: 14:09:34, Div 23/52. I’m pretty happy about that. However, the next time, I am going to clobber this time!
Morning - 4 am
Steel cut oats with walnuts, dates and protein. Banana.
Before swim - 5:30
Drank PreCovery drink with maple syrup and protein
Before bike - 7:30
Ate a Energy Ball, drank Precovery drink with maple syrup and protein
Bike - 7:30 - 2:30
Drank a total of 6 bottles, one each hour - 3 bottles of water, 3 bottles of PreCovery. Ate 1 Energy Ball every 30 minutes. Took a Salt Stick 1 per hour and just 2 gel's (honey stinger) for whole ride.
Run 2:45 - 8:00
Only consumed liquids at Aid's Stations. Ran between each one and walked quickly through station. Heart rate 129. Drank two cups of water at each station. Every third I would have chicken broth. I did have a coke twice and 3-4 gels (honey stinger) I carried in gel flask.
The last 3 miles I powered through all stations and got heart rate up. Finished very strong.
I only stopped once in the entire day. It was on the bike to relieve myself. Urine was clear.
Woke up 4 times in night after event and relieved myself always clear! My body must have been storing water!
A day later, felt amazing and ready to do another! Guess I was still on a big high!