Ironman World Championships
October 12, 2013
I went into this race quite relaxed. It has taken me five years to return to the Big Island. I am beyond excited about being here. So the race on Saturday is just about getting out there and enjoying it. Sure, I certainly want to give it all I got, but there is no pressure, no need to hit a certain time or certain place. There are no expectations except crossing that line on Ali’i.
Jeff, Dave and I headed down to transition at 4:45(ish). First order of business was body marking and weigh in. Then I hit my bike, transition bag and then back for some sun block.
We started to swim out to the buoys at 6:52 and lined up around the middle of the group toward the front. It was an absolute beat down. Worse than any race I have done in the past. There was just nowhere to go but getting hit from every direction. I did not pick my head up all that often but the few times that I did I realized I was swimming just on the inside line of the orange buoys. So basically in one of the most crowded areas of the course. I looked up found a hole and came across some open water, it felt great and lasted about 8 strokes and then was gone. I set my watch swim alert for 32min expecting to be just short of the turn-around as it went off. But instead, I was on the back side of the boat when it went off. I was psyched to think I was now swimming roughly a 1:05 without putting out a huge effort. I kept more or less the same pace in, slightly less crowded but still surrounded by folks. Reached the shore around 1:07. Very happy with this time.
All was fast and smooth. Into the tent, dipped my hand in a massive VAT of Vaseline and slathered it on my triceps and arms, and had the volunteer slather sunblock on my back. I left the men’s changing tent with swim cap and goggles on my head. If this was LP I would have thrown them on the ground and kept running, but I was fine with losing 20 seconds to keep my IMWC swim cap and brand new goggles. I ran back and handed them to a volunteer and yelled out 1234 and a please to them. As I left the tent another volunteer yelled to me “Your lens…Your Lens”. I looked at her with a confused look and then grabbed my Sunglasses and noticed the right lens was missing. So I snatched the lens out of her hand yelled Thank You! And ran off trying to wedge the lens back into the sunglasses. I managed to get the lens back into the frames, but while manhandling the lens it was now covered in Vaseline and made for a very blurry 112 mile bike ride. J
Ok, I had a simple strategy for the bike. Patience. I did not have a certain split that I needed to hit. So, my focus was all about hitting my watts, but more importantly watching my HR very closely as it correlates to my wattage. If I am hitting my target watts and my HR is starting to climb then I will back off. I have done several workouts over the past two weeks with heat and once my HR gets away from me, it does not come back down and it’s game over. So, my goal was to keep my HR under 150 and my watts 10 less than LP. The first mile or two of the bike, I just sat there like little old Mary and passed No One. But I just kept watching my meter and keeping things in check. At the turnaround on Kuakini Hwy I pushed it a bit on the decent again keeping goal watts, but now that I was descending I started passing a bunch of folks. I lapped my Garmin once on the Queen K and that was more or less the start of the bike for me, mentally at least. I was shocked to see I was averaging right around 185W and HR in the low 140s. I opted to keep it like this for the entire way out. Playing in my mind was my LP race, I crushed the first 100 miles and then spent the last 12 miles about 25 watts below that and legs burning. So, once again PATIENCE. I have no bike split to hit, so stay conservative, there will be plenty of time on the way back to push the pace if I feel like it. I was very conscious of my hydration and nutrition taking on a ton of water, drinking my Infinit and having a few waffles. Just before the turn to Hawi, I saw Dave. Then within a minute or so I saw the cone. This had me a bit worried. Was I pushing the bike too hard? I felt great and kept a solid tempo up through the decent and back out on the Queen K. Although a long ass way back and quite boring, I felt fine, I kept waiting for my AVG speed to drop, but it did not. Slowly started to come down, but still at 21+MPH on the way back. Patience I kept telling myself. Somewhere around the 90-100mi mark, I saw Dave and yelled to him and as he was going into an aid station. I thought he heard me, but learned later that he did not. I kept a lookout for the Airport tower and Radar. It took a while but then off in the far distance to my right I saw it. Amen less than 10 miles to go. I looked down just before the turn off Queen K and I was around 4:56. Holy Sh&T. I am going to be just under 5 hours for this bike! Bike Split 5:01. VI 1.03. Cadence 93 rpm, 185 Watts (190 NP) – 5W lower than LP. I don’t think I burned a single match out there. Steady Eddie.
Nothing eventful to report here.
Ok, here is where the rubber hits the road. Strategy, Patience. Looking to go out at a 7:30 which is about at 3:17. That lasted for the first 3-4 miles and then I felt the fatigue setting in, so no problem HR was still in check under 150 so I just eased up a bit and told myself 7:40-7:45 was still decent. I did my best to hold this pace through 10 miles out to the Queen K. I felt ok going out on the Queen K, soaking in everything at every aid station and quickly moving through them. I hit the turn for the energy station and still felt ok, noticing my pace was slowing a bit, but still ok. Heading out of the energy station is when my pace slowed even more and I needed to start to dig deep. It was a slight up hill. Again, my focus was keeping my HR in check and staying in control of this race (not having this race control me). I made the right and got back out onto the Queen K saw Jeff just prior to making the turn at that aid station on the corner. OK about 1 hour left of this misery. I can do this. I started to now fight and keep my legs moving until the next aid station and tell myself “I will not walk until the next aid station… I will not walk until the next aid station… I will not walk until the next aid station..” Oddly enough, I found a couple people to pace off of and just hung at their feet, but as soon as I hit the aid station and dumped water on myself, drank some water and grabbed ice I was off again and running another mile and this cycle just repeated, I did a slow shuffle into the final few aid stations, but them immediate found my legs running through them and not walking at all. My most memorable moment on the Queen K was when I was pacing just behind some guy for about .5-.75 of a mile. We approached the aid station and I came up next to him and said thank you, thanks for pulling me along. He looked at me and said in a French accent “Yes, we both go under 10 hours”. I looked back and said “That would be awesome”. He started to drop back a bit and I said “Come on.. We got this”. Once I hit the crest of the final roller on the Queen K I knew it was all downhill from here. But I had to be careful as my legs started cramping up bad around mile 22 and I found myself hopping and skipping trying to move forward. If I pushed the pace on this downhill, it could easily be game over. So, I accelerated a bit, but not into a sprint. Took the left on Kuikini and just need the right on Halahuli. Ahh, this is it.. Nope, next street, ahhh, nope next one….ahh, nope. WTF where is this goddam right. Finally I see it, take the right then another immediate right and then the final home stretch. This is the moment I had envisioned for years, and it was finally upon me, I started looking left and right for Keri for the gang and was glowing when I saw them and overwhelmed with emotion. At this point I was still hoping to round the corner and see 9:XX:XX on the clock, hoping to make it in under 10 hours. I gave the boys high fives, but didn’t want to stop for fear of not easily starting back up, but Charlie and Teddy both jumped in my direct line just as I envisioned it and almost tripped over both of them but then put a final kick into it and sprinted for the line to see 9:42:XX. Holy Shi^t! Did that just happen?
AWESOME Marc! Just amazing. So glad to be joining the BPC team! 9:42.. unreal. And I laughed out loud at your experience looking for that GD RIGHT Turn at the end! I know JUST what you mean!! Congrats!