Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Race Report - sorry it is a little long

Note: There are no pictures yet but I will post them when it is done....

Race Report:

Pre Race morning:
I set the alarm for 4:15AM and met my buddy Mike for breakfast at 4:30 in the hotel. They opened extra early for the athletes which was nice. We stayed at a hotel that was 1 block from the Ironman village so it was very convenient for the athletes. We ate breakfast, went back to our rooms and got our special needs bags and race nutrition. My nutrition consisted of 5 gel flasks of EFS and 80 ounces of Gatorade that I picked up the night before. The morning was fairly warm and the pre dawn winds were calm. We loaded our transition bags (that we dropped off the day before) with our nutrition, turned on our GPS tracking devices, put our drinks and bike computer on our bikes and got ready to swim. The water temp was between 59 and 60 degrees, since it was a little on the cold side and the swim was going to be over an hour I decided to wear my neoprene swim socks and neoprene cap (wise choice). We said good bye to our families, they took a couple of pictures and it was time to watch the pros start. The morning went really quick and was very busy getting ready so there was no time to get really nervy about what I was about to do. Before we got into the water I got my picture taken with Justin and Mike in addition to Rene and the kids. I could see that my daughter was worried. 2 years ago when I decided to do this Kathyrn and I were watching the IM World Championships on TV. They were showing the people wrecked, bodies not working right, collapses at the finish line, stretchers and IVs everywhere. I look down at Kathryn and she is crying. She looks up at me and says “Daddy, I don’t want you to do that, I don’t want you to hurt like they do. I don’t want you to be in pain” It was so heartbreaking. Before I got into the water I looked at Kathryn and could see she was about to break down again. I told her, “I will be all right Kathryn, you don’t have to worry about me… I promise you I will be fine” Those were the last words to my family before I jumped in the water.

The Swim:
The pros went off at 6:50 and as soon as their cannon sounded everyone made their way to the water. Justin, Mike and I agreed to get on the inside buoy line about 40 yards behind the start line. With 2700 athletes and over 1,000 first timers we thought that it would be a lot busier near the shore line so we took the inside. As soon as I got in the water my goggles lost seal so I swam to a kayak on the inside and adjusted the best I could and then I just tried to relax and not think too much. I have trained sooo much I told myself that when in doubt don’t think and just do. There are many cliché’s in this sport but one of the things that I have heard over and over is that I have trained my body to know what to do through the over 180 miles of swimming, over 5,500 miles over biking and over 1500 miles of running so let it do what it is trained to do and just do it. I talked to a couple of athletes around me and wished them luck. I had my ear plugs in so I couldn’t hear the music and Mike Reilly very well. At this point, I was getting a little nervy, there were swimmers all around me and I was in the middle of it all. Then I heard it… through the noise and the cow bells and spectators and buzz I heard the beginning of the song Ironman by Black Sabbath and this rush of adrenaline came over me and everything focused and my body seemed to “snap to it”. At my half Ironman it was during the pledge of allegiance, this year it was the beginning riffs of Ironman. I will never forget that moment. Then they played Colplay’s Viva la Vida just like last year. Mike Reilly instructed the Kayaks to get out of the way and told the athletes “I WILL SEE YOU AT THE FINISH LINE” and as soon as those words were out of his mouth I heard the faint muffled cannon and the 2010 Ironman was on the clock.

My heart was pumping so hard I mentally tried to calm myself down. I was in the thick of swimmers all trying to do the same thing….find some water and not drown. People getting hit, kicked and just trying to find a place to swim. None of it was malicious but it was still rough. I was “water polo” swimming to start just because it was so hard to find an open spot and I needed to see. I swam this way for probably 50-100 yards and because this is horribly inefficient my heart rate went through the roof just because this is the most difficult way to swim. I kept thinking to myself calm down it will thin out but I was very anaerobic while getting hit and hitting people. At the beginning of the day I knew there were three things that would keep me from going to bed an Ironman. 1) Panic and DNF on the swim (a lot of people do) 2) have a major mechanical problem on the bike that could not be fixed on the course 3) major stomach problems that would keep me from running. At this point in the swim, I had to fight back the panic and keep my head . No major contact until about 300 yards in and I could a full force elbow in the right goggle and it shoved the nose piece of my goggle into the bridge of my nose. I thought for sure I would have a black eye, my right goggle lost seal and the water flooded in. I was seeing stars and it really took a lot to maintain composure. I tried to get a few more strokes in because I knew if I stopped I was going to get run over from behind so I swam like this for a little while until I found some clean water. After several unsuccessful attempts to get my right eye to seal I just dealt with it and swam. After about 500 yards I was able to get into a nice, calm study rhythm and swam up on the group ahead of me and started weaving through them. Although I found a rhythm I was working to keep it and avoid as much contact as possible but there was still a lot of people. I would spot open water and swim to it but unfortunately there were so many people they would see the same water and do the same thing. Finally about 1500 yards in it really opened up and I was able to just swim at my pace, long and smooth. At this point I had totally given up trying to get the water out of my right goggle, my left was still clear so I just sighted with my left eye. I could see the second bridge and sited on the 2nd span and swam to it. I could tell by how fast I was moving through the bridge piers it seemed like I was making pretty good time but really it had already felt like I had been out there for awhile. I rounded the turn buoys and it got really crowded again. I navigated through some people and focused on being long and efficient as possible. My temperature was good and with the exception of my goggle I was doing well. I passed under the farthest bridge from the start on my way back in and spotted on (what I thought) was a buoy ahead. It was getting more difficult to see but I kept swimming. I swam like this for a good 20 minutes only to realize there was NO ONE around me. I sat up and realized I was about 100 yards off course to the inside of the return buoy line… I was sighting on the wrong buoy so I sat up, looked at what bridge span everyone was swimming for in the distance and started sighting on the opening and instead of swimming at 90 degrees I just started swimming towards the pier in the distance. After I got my bearings my calves started to cramp up. Nothing major just a little cramping when I would point my toes, nothing bad enough where I had to stop and stretch them, I just kept swimming. Once I made the piers, I was in the final couple hundred yards, rounded the last turn buoy and got to the stairs, a volunteer told me to put my foot on the step and he pulled me up. As I came out of the water, Mike Reilly said into the microphone Tracy Butler finished the Ironman swim in 1:21. A wetsuit stripper helped me get my suit off and off to T1. I saw the family, they yelled, I gave a fist pump and a big smile and WOOOT and now to get on the bike.

T1: T1 was a mad house, there what seemed to be 500 people all changing for the bike. I couldn’t get near the changing tent so I changed outside along with many others. Got everything on, threw my swim stuff in my T1 bag, borrowed a towel from another athlete to get all of the grass and mud off my feet, threw my bag in a pile and was off. Grabbed my bike and made the long run to the mount line.

The Bike:
The day was pretty overcast but by this time I would guess the temp was in the mid 50s. The arm warmers and cycling gloves felt good and I wasn’t super cold. I headed out past Arizona State University and purposely held back on the bike. There was a lot of bike traffic so as Doug Bristow told me, bike like you are bored and I tried to do so the best I could. With a tail wind that was easy to do and for the first 18 miles it was take in a lot of water and start my nutrition. I get to the turn around and the wind was really picking up. My speed on the way out was over 22 MPH but as soon as I turned around my speed dropped to 15-17. The weather still wasn’t bad but the wind was picking up. On my way back into town I saw something amazing on the bike. There was a guy wearing an Army cycling jersey and as I rode up on him I realized that he only had 1 leg. His right leg was amputated at the hip and I am assuming there wasn’t enough leg to attach a prosthetic so he had nothing. He had his left leg clipped in the pedals and was balancing on his seat with nothing on the right side to keep him steady. I have no idea how he kept his balance in that wind with only one leg. As I passed him I told him to “keep it up Army” and he gave me a thumbs up. Throughout the day I was constantly amazed by the fellow athletes. I saw a 61 year old woman with no leg below her knee DOING AND IRONAMAN. I was constantly amazed what some people can do. The second loop the wind was blowing constant and it started to rain. As I made it to the turn around for the second time the wind was really bad. About 5 minutes after that, the wind really picked up and it started hailing. The hail was coming in directly on the line I was riding so I could see it coming up the road. It was hard to tell what it was at first but I could see cyclists in front of me “hunker down” as the hail got to them. It came like a wave and the next thing I knew is that it was on me. Bikes were getting blown all around and the head wind was so strong I was lucky to be doing 10 MPH. Hail was coming in between my sun glasses and my forehead hitting me in the eyes and I was just focusing on keeping my bike straight. When the hail passed it was raining all the way into town. I couldn’t wait for the turn around so I could get a break from the wind. The third loop was more of the same and I focused on just getting through it. If I made it through the bike I knew I would make it through the run. As I rode into the bike finish chute I looked down to see that I was able to finish in roughly 6 hours and 25 minutes, only about 10-15 minutes behind my goal time. With the wind and the number of crashes because of the wet pavement and wind I was very pleased to have it done. My nutrition was good and I was able to get it all in without any major stomach problems. I was feeling as good as I could have after the first 2 disciplines.

T2: I found my T2 bag quickly and was able to get into the tent. I grabbed a chair and a lot of people were talking and in good spirits to have the bike over. I really nice volunteer grabbed my bag and dumped It on the ground in front of me. I grabbed everything I needed but I couldn’t find my glide (skin lube) for my toes to keep from blistering. He asked me if I wanted any Vaseline and I told him I would be fine but his response was (it is a long day out there, you better take some) so I did and boy was I glad. The worst pain I had all day was the blisters that I got on the bike due to my wet feet that I didn’t realize that I had them until the run. Without his advice it would have been horrible. I left T2 and was running out when I realized I still had my cycling shorts on I pulled them off and as I ran by Rene I tossed them to her to keep for me. The look on her face was priceless. She told me after the race that the spectators around told her to hide them because I would be penalized if race officials saw me discard clothes to a spectator. I didn’t care, I wasn’t running a marathon in cycling shorts….

The run:
The run consisted of 3 loop course around Tempe Town lake. Per my coaches advice I was running with “least effort”. I was feeling really good and for the first loop I was running between 9/9.5 minute miles. I knew it was fast but I figured I would do this as long as I could. I still had my arm warmers from the bike and when the wind was at my back I would pull them down because I got warm. When the wind was in my face I pulled them up. This went on for the entire first loop. The second loop I was starting to slow down a bit and at about 12 miles I found myself running at about the same pace as a guy name Chance. We started talking, it too was his first IM and he asked me my time goal. I told him I would like to finish between 12 and 13 hours. That was his goal too. He and I both were in good spirits so we decided to run the course together, walk through the aid stations to take in nutrition and fluids and run to the next one. He asked me why I was doing this and I told him about Deborah Olney’s battle with Cancer. I asked him the same question and he told me he was doing a fund raiser for a Phoenix Homeless Shelter. In addition, he had 3 of his vertebrae fused together in January. When I asked what his doctor thought about him doing an Ironman he shared with me his Dr. was a triathlete as well so I guess the goal is to find the right doctor . As we ran through Tempe town park I saw Rene, Jes (my buddies wife) and the kids. They yelled to me (1 more loop, you got this) and that is when it really started to hit me that I was going to bed and IRONMAN. The last loop flew by. Chance and I talked the entire time, walking the aid stops and running between them. My left toes were pretty raw and my legs were sore but I was feeling pretty good. We come up on the three miles to go mark and this surge of adrenalin came over me and it was almost overwhelming. I pictured what it would feel like running down the chute knowing I had just reached my goal and if it would be everything that I had pictured countless times. We skipped the last two stops and just ran like it was the start of the race. As we entered the park where all of the spectators were everyone could tell we were on the home stretch. We got several “great pace” or “you guys look strong” As we approached the turn for the finishers chute, I told Chance to “go get his pay day, I would catch up with him on the other side of the finish line once I talked to my family”. As I rounded the final corner I hear from my left TRACY and turned to see my family. I stopped and ran back to them, hugged and kissed Rene, bent down and looked Kathryn and Nathan in the eyes. I looked at Kathryn and told her “I told you I would be all right, you don’t have to worry anymore” I looked at both and told them and yelled “YOUR DAD IS AN IRONMAN. Then I turned and started a slow, purposeful jog down the finishing chute. The chute was probably 75 - 100 yards long and the crowd was enormous. Everyone was going crazy, I was pumping my fist and high fiving everyone that had a hand out. I didn’t even look at the clock, I knew I was well under 13 hours. As I crossed the finish line I heard Mike Reilly say my name and saw the two cameras click capturing the moment. I got my finishing medal, finishing hat and shirt. Got my finisher picture taken and immediately saw Rene and the kids. Hugged them, then went to find my buddy Mike and his family. Rene and Jes went to pickup my bike and transition bags while Mike and I just sat and tried to stay warm. Unfortunately, I never saw Chance to bid him well.

Post Race:

We walked back to the hotel, I sat in an Epsom salt bath, made a few phone calls and ordered a big fat cheeseburger and fries from room service. I could barely eat 1/3rd of it. Then went to bed.
General interesting things about the weekend:

Justin Drummond:
My other buddy Justin was trying to qualify for Kona. He is super fast and on his drive in from Albuquerque he hears a loud thump from the roof of his car during a wind gust only to look in his rear view mirror to see his bike fly off the roof of his car and land in the interstate. He swerved off the side of the side of the road, ran out in traffic and almost gets hit by a car to grab his bike. His carbon frame was cracked and the only thing holding it together was his drink cage. Mike and I got word and started calling around to local bike shops. Tribe in Scottsdale said they were open til 7pm and to have him come by and “they would take care of him”. For a couple hundred dollars that build him a new bike using whatever spare parts they could from his mangled Isaac. He picked up his bike with literally less than an hour to get it checked in on Saturday. He rode 1 mile on this bike before posting a 5:04 bike split (really fast). He missed a Kona slot by 3 people but had a PR by over a 1 hour and 10 minutes.

I don’t even know where to begin. I had no idea so many people were interested or even cared but the outpouring of support was unbelievable. So many people watched me cross the finish line live on the web. Rene tells me as soon as I did her phone went crazy with facebook updates, emails, phone calls etc… I read every message that night before going to bed and it was very humbling to find out how many people really cared. I can’t put it into words how much it meant to not only me but my family. I have to believe that I had such a great race because of the support, prayers, and good Mojo from back home. You all are Truly unbelievable.

I bought each of my kids Ironman watches a few weeks ago and after the race I presented them to them with the message of thanks for being so great with me being gone so much over the past several months. In addition, I told them that the watches signify that they can do anything they put their mind to if they want it bad enough.

As most of you know, a major part of my inspiration was and is Deborah Olney. During the tough times of the race I just kept telling myself that Deborah couldn’t stop fighting her recovery from cancer and what I was facing was insignificant to what she has faced and was facing. The progress she has made and the determination that she shows every day is exponentially more than my Ironman. On the Saturday before the race, I spoke to my best friend Matt who called to wish me luck but also to tell me his son Tyson was in the hospital with a staph infection and a heart valve problem. He was very weak due to the infection, to the point of having to use a wheelchair. They are going to get the infection under control and after the first of the year he is going to have to have surgery on his heart. He sounded more down than I have ever heard him and he said Tyson’s “light was pretty dim” right now and his spirits were down in the dumps. I told him to tell his son I would dedicate the last 6 miles to him and those miles I would think of him for my inspiration to finish. The Ironman may have been dedicated to Deborah but the last 6 were to him. As I pushed the last 6 in the home stretch I thought of what he was going through and what I once thought was a big deal is again, really insignificant. Tysen’s prognosis is good and the antibiotics are helping the infection but the holidays are going to be rough and he may be in the hospital for awhile.

What I personally take away from this is challenges are relative but how you choose to deal with them are not. You can complain or feel sorry for the situation or you can raise your chin, see the silver lining and do your best just like Deborah, Barton’s, and countless other families who don’t choose to take on challenges but who take on challenges because they get dealt a blow that THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH. There were people out there complaining about the wind or the suffering or there were those of us that smiled and knew that we were lucky because we could compete that day. As one racer put it, we earned our M-dot that day with a day. The thing I will always remind myself of is that it was miserable at times but the pain and suffering was by choice and insignificant by those standards that really matter.
BTW…. I looked up Chance’s blog later that night because I couldn’t find him after the race. He told me about his surgery but what he didn’t tell me was that it was actually his 3rd surgery and he was told he would never walk again. Not only did he overcome major surgery, not only was he and Ironman and did his Ironman for a great cause but he was a humble one at that. Everyone out there has a story and every single person I met this weekend was more inspirational than the next. I will do this again if for no other reason than as a reminder of what is possible and it was very inspirational for me.

Lastly, the same message that I started with, that I have shared with my kids is the same message I will share with you. I didn’t start this as a super fit person. I was in HORRIBLE shape. When other triathletes ask me “what discipline did you bring to the sport, swimming, biking, or running” I laugh and say none of them… my gift is “Hard Headedness”. That has not changed. I once heard someone say that “if you want to see what you’re made of, commit to an Ironman. You will know if you are a fighter or not.” Those words are true. It is hard but everything worthwhile is. What is even harder is committing to something that you are not sure you can do and then telling people you are going to do it with the hope you have what it takes to live up to your words. I will be changed forever by this experience not unlike marrying the man or woman of your dreams, graduating college, or having your children. This has been a life altering experience and it is one you can choose to undertake but the first step is choosing to undertake it. Anyone can do anything if you want it bad enough. Find something you want bad enough and go for it. I PROMISE YOU, YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID!

Thanks for reading and the support

Friday, November 19, 2010

Check in

Found a small problem with the bike it is being fixed now and then check in. It is awesome being here.

Location:N Mill Ave,Tempe,United States

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tracking Info Update and final race prep

Update for the tracking link - This is specifically for me:

Browswer and Iphones go here:

Handheld PDA and Blackberry/Palm go here

The race is 4 days out and putting the finishing touches on any race prep. I contacted the owner of Maplewood Bike (best bike shop in St. Louis in my opinion) and he got back to me immediately. Stewart used to be a very accomplished mountain bike racer so he understands pre race psychosis. I asked in "if you were doing the biggest race of your life this weekend, which of your bike techs would you want to look at your bike" He told me Jim and that Jim puts the hyphen in anal-retentive. That is good news because I know Jim and he built my bike in the first place. I picked it up last night and after checking everything, replacing the chain and some adjustments it is ready to go.

Today is pre packing all of my special needs and T1 bags so I don't have to spend all day Saturday doing it. Today is taking my bike apart and marking everything so when I put it back together it is exactly as it is now. For those of you that have never done this, being on a bike for 6 plus hours is (by itself) difficult. It is critical that you bike balances your body's ability to produce power while at the same time being comfortable. The more "aggressive" your layout on the bike the faster the setup but also the more uncomfortable. The more "conservative" your layout, the more wind resistance but more comfortable. I have had my bike fitted by maplewood early in the year using the Retul system to find that balance as scientifically as possible so it is very important I get everything exactly as it is now. Even the difference of an inch in a critcal area can turn a great day into a much more difficult one. Soo... that is what I will be doing today.

This will probably be my last big post before the race. I will be sending smaller ones via my phone with some video and pics throughout Saturday.

Lastly I want to thank everyone that contributed with thoughts, posts, emails, well wishes to the Olney's, financially, and even the silent prayers. The support in all aspects have been felt and personally I want to thank you. My last count I estimate that over 50 people will be tracking me the day of the race and those are only the ones that I know about. Although I will be the one where the "rubber meets the road" this has truly been a team effort. From my management team at Acropolis understanding the couple of times that I have had to leave a bit early or come in a bit late to get a key cycle of training in or just random people that have asked and wished me well. I know it is just polite conversation for most but really makes a big difference.

Lastly, Lastly I want to send a note to my kids when they read this one day. KGB, you will not remember this years from now but I will never forget it. We were watching the IRONMAN world championships one night and they were showing the people melting down being carried away on stretchers and as jazzed as I was for the challenge I looked down at you and you were crying. When I asked you why you looked up at me and said you didn't want to see me get hurt. That day I decided to not skip a workout, to do everything in my power to prepare the best that I could because I don't know what I would do if I saw the look on your face if that was me. Kathryn, I have prepared and now what happens happens.

NBB, you telling me that one day you want to do an Ironman with me is enough. No I am not going to win as you hope....but if the day comes that you want to do one of these, I will train with you and if my body is able (please don't wait too long) you have a training partner. I you wait until you are 40 like I have, I will definatley support you just as you have supported me.

What I want both of you to know is that the random pictures wishing me luck that I find that you have drawn me the night before a really long or really tough workout have inspired me. Walking in the back door from a 15 mile run and KGB meeting me with a glass of water has meant more than you know. However, one of the best pictures that I found that I don't think was even meant for me to see that says "my dad can do anything" with a picture of a stick figure swimming, biking and running is the one that I will have in my head in the toughest hours. I have wondered if the time away from the family these past 2 years has been worth the short term sacrifice for long term lesson and only time will tell that. However, so far, it looks like my kids have gotten the message during these impressionable years that 1) they can do anything with enough will and focus 2) you have to have the support and help of others to accomplish worthwhile things 3) Nerves are your mind's way of preparing for a challenge.

That is all for the mushy stuff and thanks for allowing my message in this semi public forum.

The time to get serious us upon me.... It is gametime!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I work with some of the coolest people

Brad takes me out of the office today only to come back to this!!! I truly was speechless. The company decorated the office and catered lunch in! I am truly honored.

- read about my inspiration Deborah ...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real time tracking during the race.

At the risk of even adding more pressure I have rented a device that will allow my family (and all of you) to track me during the race if you want. It is a GPS device that I will wear during the bike and run (no swim) that will allow real time tracking, current speed, elevation etc... during the race.

The address is here and if you click on Ironman Arizona my name should appear once I get my device. My buddy Mike Montoya is getting one also so track and send him good MoJo as well. Just as a heads up, if they have a beta site like they did for IM Florida it will not work on the Iphone or Ipad. You will need a device that recognizes flash or you will have to go to their regular site on the Iphone. Here is a screenshot of a random race I picked at the New York Marathon. I will say if you have a computer, the BETA site is much much better but both are very good. If you want to see what my pace has been throughout the race click on the history check box on the left hand side. The speed it shows is in MPH rounded to the nearest whole MPH. This is okay on the bike but the run it isn't great. The Beta site looks like it gives much better statistics.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

T-Minus 12 Days

Good Morning, I hope this finds you all well.

First, I want to thank all of the well wishers who have sent email, phone calls, notes of encouragement. One of the greatest things about triathlon and the community as a whole is that we all pull for each other. There have been triathletes that I have only spoken to a few times send me email of enocuragement and it means a lot. Thanks

My taper is on track. I did miss a run last week just due to really bad scheduling on my part. It was only a 45 minute run so it will not be a blip of an impact in the large scheme of things. I had a 4 hour brick on Sunday (3 hour ride at race pace and a quick transition to a 7 mile run). The cycling portion went perfect and as planned, high energy, very low stress and all of my numbers were as expected. However, I transitioned to the run and I immediately started cramping in my stomach. At the risk of being too graphic, it was like my insides liquified and it was bad. I had to make 4 "emergency" stops on my run and when I was able to run my stomach was cramping horribly. I have never had this happen so I am marking it up as an abnormality and moving past it. I can only pin it on 1/2 things: 1) We went out for KGB's birthday the night before and I ate some foods that I don't typically eat or 2) my speedfill waterbottle has a long drink tube. The speedfill holds 40 oz of fluid and has a long drink tube that snakes up through my aero bars so I can drink while riding without having to change positions. I started my ride only to realize that I cleaned my bottle but not the drink tube so it sat in my garage since my last ride. I very well might have ingested some bad stuff that took the entire bike ride to affect me. I WILL NEVER MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN! I am still not 100% but with a week 1/2 half out I will be fine. Unless I am missing something, the only things that will threaten my finish is a mechanical break down on the bike or severe problems like I had on Sunday. It was pretty debilitating. I guess the good news is that when I was able to run I was able to easily maintain my pace.

I picked up my bike coffin travel case last night from the Tri-Club for me to use with the only stipulation is that I have to put an IRONMAN ARIZONA sticker on it when I finish. This case will make it much easier to travel with my bike and keep my ride much safer that the flat style of case.

This week I am going to be out of town for two days in Phoenix for work. Come home late Friday, pack and go back out for Ironman next Thursday. It is getting close.

Lastly, I know that I posted about water temperatures and the concern that it may be cold since Tempe Town Lake Dam burst in the summer and they had to fix it, and refill it from Lake Roosevelt at a higher elevation. That will not be a problem. There is a fellow Triathlete that has taken it on himself to measure the water temp ever few days and post it online. He isn't even doing the race! See what I mean about triathletes! It is a great group. Last readings the water temp was 70 degress and will probably be in the 66ish range come race time - Perfect. The long range forecast for Tempe has the lows at 53 and the highs of 75ish. It will actually be a bit warm but with low himidity it will be nice. It is shaping up to be a great day!

Now to finish with a quote from one of the tri and Ironman Doug Bristow. I actually met Doug last year at the local pool. He was swimming in the lane next to me and I was trying on my wetsuit for the first time. I asked him to help me fix the collar and it came out that he was training for his first IM - Ironman Louisville. He sent me a message yesterday and after I asked him for any last minute advice this is what he said: "I thought to myself during the race....swim like your warming up, bike like your bored and run like your obsessed" Now if I only have the mental control to do it.

Thanks for the support. I will post more when I get back from my trip!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Transition, Special Needs, Morning Clothes bags defined

Good Morning,

First I want to give a special thanks to my buddy and Ironman Veteran Mike Montoya. He talked to me for about an hour last night telling me all that I need to know regarding equipment managment for the race. Keeping in mind I can be out there on the course for as much as 17 hours with no help (other than what the race provides) it take a bit of thought to figure out what you might need race day.

So, aside from nutrion (a totally seperate topic itself) I am going to recap some of the great tips that Mike gave me and share them with you.

First off, the day before the race. There are going to be 2,000 people doing this event so all of the checkin has to be done on Saturday before the race. On Saturday you have to rack you bike and drop of the following:

- What is already on the bike
- Transition 1 (T1) from swim to the bike
- Transition 2 (T2) from the bike to the run
- Morning Clothes bag
- Bike Special Needs Bag
- Run Special Needs Bag

I will describe them in the order that I will use them. The first bag is Morning Clothes. I had no idea such a bag existed until I volunteered last year. In the morning befor ethe swim the temperatures will be in the 40's most probably. It will be dark and it will be cold. We will have to go down to the swim and be in the water probably 15 to 20 minutes til 7:00am. Once I get my wetsuit on (or even before) I will have on a sweatshirt, flipflops, probably a hat etc... and right before I get in the water I have to put this "stuff" somewhere and that is where the morning clothes bags come in. Every bag is marked with a race number. I take my stuff, put in this bag and hand it to a "morning clothes" volunteer and get in the water.

Already on the Bike:
- Bike Computer
- my 40 ounce speedfill with my sports drink
- 2-24 ounce bottles - 1 with sports drink, the other with water
- My bento box (think a little box that I can access while riding) a nutriion bottle filled with salt capsules
- 2- Co2 Cannisters and adapter (in case of a flat)
- 1 - tightly taped and wrapped tubular tire
- Vittoria pit stop fix a flat taped to my bike somewhere (or I will carry it in my bike jersey)

T1: Because there are 2,000 funneling into and out of transition there is no way Transition can be handled like a typical triathlon, there is just not enough room. So, what the smart people at Ironman have done is require us to put everything in a T1 bag. As we exit the water and enter transition area, all of the bags will be sorted and either on racks on on the ground. As swimmers enter transition, volunteers hand you the bag and you run into the transition tent. It is my understanding that if it is not too busy, a volunteer will help you by dumping all of your stuff out of the bag at your feet, you grab what you need, the volunteer (or you) put you swim stuff in the bag along with anything else you do not want to take on the 112 mile bike ride. You leave the tent, jump on your bike and go.

Here is what I am putting in my T1 Bag:
- Bike Helmet
- Socks
- Cycling Shoes
- Cycling Gloves
- Arm sleeves for the bike (for the cold morning)
- Sun Glasses
- Race Belt
- Bike Shorts
- Cycling Jersey
- 5 bottles of liquid nutrition
- 1 bottle of tire sealant
- GPS tracking device (more on that in a future post)
One thing that I read that I am going to do is put hand warmers in my cycling shoes if I can so that when I put my cold feet into the shoes they will be at least a little warm. I have heard horror stories that it takes many many miles before your feet warm up. I would like to avoid that if possible

Bike Special Needs: A special nees bag is just that. It is a contingency bag in case something goes wrong or you can't carry everything that you need. You get one chance to access your special needs bag half way through the bike. There are volunteers at the spot with spotters. As you approach you announce you are stopping, they call out your number. A volunteer grabs your bag with your racer number on it, you get what you need, leave what you don't and head out. Total time at special needs should be less than a minute.

Here is what I am going to pack in mine:
- Skin Lubricant
- Sun Screen
- Extra Tubular Tire
- Extra CO2 cannisters
- Extra bottle of nutrion

T2: Transition between bike and Run: This works just like T1 and this is what I plan on packing:
- Running Shoes
- Fresh Socks
- Run Watch for pacing and time
- Skin Lubricant for my feet
- Sun Screen
- More Salt tabs
- Fuel Belt so I can carry water and nutrition with me

Lastly is my Run Special needs bag. I will be able to access this halfway through the run:
- More nutrition for my fuel belt
- Skin Lube
- Arm warmers (for after dark)

That is about it. I am sure I will add to this as the race approaches. Mike gave me some great advice last night and recommended that I pre-pack all of this up at home prior to travelling to Tempe. The reason being, I will have plenty of time to think about it now vs. Saturday before the race when it will be the most stressful. This was great advice. Then when I check in and get all of the bags above, I just fill them with the predescribed contents and go.

That is the plan, Mike, if you read this what am I missing???

Have a great day


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Good Morning

This post is a little different than most. My training is going to get pretty boring (for both of us) from here on out so I figured I would change it up a little bit. For those of you that run/bike/swim/golf/etc... and compete (against your own PR or others) you will totally understand. For those of you that don't in adult life I challenge you to pick an event and Go For It! You will quickly understand why.

Most of us competed in sports as a kid or in high school and although that touches on the feeling that I am going to attempt to describe, in my opinion, it doesn't do it justice. I don't know if it is because as a kid, I didn't appreciate it or fitness was a part of everyday through practice so it was less of a goal? Whatever the reason, competing (against myself) as an adult is really a big part as to what drives this silly behavor. Very few times in adult life have I been presented with an opporutnity to measure progress towards a goal. I have work but there are very few, very clearly defined thresholds of success. We look at numbers all of the time or we can look at a large sale but success is more "fuzzy" than a race so it isn't quite the same.

Specifically for triathlon, it isn't somethin you can cram for (like many other tests I have taken). You put in the time and when race day comes your body just does what you have been training it to do. I have to monitor what is going on and constantly adapt to changing conditions but you put the time in and all should go well. If things outside of your control change you deal with them but there really isn't much more to it than that.

Now race day is a special time, especially for the really personally stretching events. What I mean by that is any event that is a first time event. If you just starting running it may be your first 5K or if you are new to triathlons it could be your first sprint distance or first open water swim. Whatever the event, if it is a goal the feelings are the same for me. I am going to feel the exact same butterflies on the 21st that I felt the first Calcutta golf tournament I played in or my first running race or my first open water swim.... To my mind, a challenge is a challenge.

Currently, the race is starting to morph from something in the distance to something much much closer. With that said, I am starting to think of the details, devloping race plans, looking at the weather and what I am going to wear to be most comfortable and of course, looking at and planning for contingencies. Once it gets to a week out I will really start to get nervy. Rene will avoid me :-) and remind me not to be grouchy. As each day passes, the race will move from a tertiary thought to all consuming culminating when I am in the water waiting for the cannon to sound starting the race. Once I get to Tempe with the other participants (I still can't call myself and athlete) and knowing that they are going through the same mental checklists, the wondering if they have done enough, wondering if they will respond to the challenge. The best part, everyone is nice, everyone understands, everyone is borderline sick to their stomach, everyone is sharing the experience and wish the best for everyone else.

So the morning of the race, the nervousness shifts to focus. Every race begins with the Star Spangled Banner. My pics to the right, it shows my buddy Mike and I getting ready to start my first 1/2IM and I remember a focus coming over me, IMAZ will be no different and I am really looking forward to it.

During the race itself, you have people that are quiet, chatty, struggling or even almost euphoric and I respond in kind. When you see someone struggling, you encourage and tell them to run with you and help them overcome. I encourage everyone because I know how big of a deal it is when you have hit the wall and you feel like hell and a complete stranger comes by and basically says "we will get through this, come with me". I guess to sum it up, I have included a link to the video of the swim start at last year's Ironman Arizona. I have been to a lot of fantastic sporting events, I have been fortunate enough to see a SuperBowl, the clincher when the Cardinals won the World Series against Detroit and many other events and I can say, I HAVE NEVER seen a more spectacular event than the IRONMAN swim start.

Enjoy the video here

Now, if you wonder why and are looking for inspiration, I have included two more vidoes for you to view. The first is what inpsires me and I hope I have what it takes. You can watch it by clicking here.

The second video is geared to inspire all of you. It will bring tears to your eyes and if you have ever been scared of failure or to try, keep the Hoyts in mind. You can do anything you put your mind to do. You may not do it the first time or even the second but if you want it bad enough, there is nothing you can't do. Click here

The last thing I will leave you with is set a goal and follow where it takes you. You just may surprise yourself with where you end up.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Bib number 1077

T-Minus 20 days and counting.

We received our bib numbers today. Mine is 1077, Mike M is 1093 and Justen D is 1088 They will rack our bikes in transition according to Bib numbers so when you think of 2,000 athletes doing this even and the total span between the three of us is 16 spots that is pretty amazing. I will be a lot slower than both of those guys so I won't see them during the day but will before the race.

My light week of training is over and I needed it. I was feeling fatigued all the way through Friday of last week. I was able to get all of my workouts in and my bikes are going to have to shift to indoors with the days getting shorter. Today is a pretty solid week of medium distance aerobic efforts. I have a swim tomorrow with a 9ish mile run. Tomorrow is KGB's birthday so I will have to get it in before we have people over or after she goes to bed. I ran with Lee Brousseau yesterday. He is a professional MMA fighter that we have become friends with over the last several months. He is one of the mellowist guys I have met. Hard to believe he fights as a hobby. He has a fight coming up at the Scottrade center in 5 weeks and is working on his cardio. He has to hate me, I asked him 1,000 questions about MMA and it is funny how the two sports parallel (except for punching of course). Speed, Power, Endurance and the balance between the three applies to both sports. It was interesting to see how he balances the three in what he does and compare it to what I am doing in Triathlon.

I have a full week again of 13 +/- hours of training with my load decreasing for the next 20 days. I am starting to shift my focus what I am going to pack and take with me.

All for now