Obviously this year has been a tough one for training and racing but I was determined to use triathlon and fitness as an outlet whenever possible. My year started with Rene and I doing Go! St. Louis 1/2 Marathon. The morning was hot but we both PR'd with a 1:49.xx and 1:51.xx respectivly. It was a great race and little did I now the last one I would have with what I thought to be a happy, healthy Dad. The following week I was supposed to do the River to River Relay with TriSmart but had to bow out. Several weeks passed and I did Quartermax (did well), Steelhead 1/2 Ironman in Aug., Lake St. Louis Olympic a week after Steelhead, then finished my season with SOMA 1/2 IRONMAN this last weekend with my good buddy Mike Montoya and family meeting us in Tempe. SOMA was my A race and I raced well. Sparing you the gory details of all of my races, I do want to review SOMA for future reference becuase I will do that one again.
As you all know, the Cardinals were in the World Series, with SOMA being in Tempe, AZ, all of the World Series Games stared at 5:05 local time so there was plenty of time to watch them all and get in bed at a decent hour. We arrived on Thursday in Fountain Hills, arrived at dinner time and went straight to a local sports bar for dinner and watch the Cardinals game. Then to the Condo and bed. On Friday, we woke up, I put my bike together, checked it out and went for a short run (30 minutes. We then met the Montoyas who were flying in at the CheesCake Factory for my usual 324 Cheese Pasta (the number of cheeses grow each time) for a late dineer then home.
Sherpa, not Racing????
I have to start this with some background on my good buddy Mike. He got me involed in this sport and there isn't a race that he hasn't or wouldn't do. Multi Ironman, Multi Marathon, Multi Half. This guy is a stud and you will never meet a nicer more giving person. We talked several times, emailed, text etc... several times this summer and imagine my surprise when he shows up without his bike!!!! He says he told me but I know he didn't. They showed up just to support me and visit. How cool is that. I missed racing with him but was happy they were there.
So now the race.
We picked up packets on Saturday, no practice swim for some reason so we were in/out in less than 30 minutes. I was assigned a prime spot on the end of a bike row, three rows from bike in/out. Literaly perfect transition position. We went back, I got my suff ready while the kids swam. Mellow day.
We ordered food in that night so we could watch the World Series, lights out by 10:00.
Mike is training for a December 4th Marathon and his training plan called for an 18 mile run sometime over the weekend. 18 miles at 9:30minutes / mile puts his time at 2:51 minutes. My 56 mile bike at 20 MPH puts my bike time at 2:48 minutes. We thought it would make a great race but he was concerned that he wouldn't be around to support me. The answer, just run on part of the race course!. The loser bought dinner with him starting when I left Transition on the bike. Whomever got back to transition first....won. Simple huh. We would see each other on the bike course (him running of course) so we would know how each other was doing. It was a great idea and really gave us both something to work towards. I did have a significant advantage because I had nutrition, etc... which he didn't.
Race day started at 4:00am. Normal Breakfast and off to the race. Prep was good and calm, had plenty of time.
I was the 4th wave and it was only the 40-44 year olds. I again learned something in this race I WILL NEVER NOT SPEND THE $20 DOLLARS FOR NEW GOGGLES BEFORE A RACE!!! EVER. The reason..... I was swimming into the sun and my googles fogged immediately so I was literally swimming blind. So blind in fact I was swimming when I hear this woman yelling at me SIR SIR SIR to tell me I was off course swimming towards the wrong buoy. I sat up, found the right buoy and corrected but not before I was way off course. Oh well, lesson learned. Other than that, the swim was uneventful which was great considering this was the longest swim I had done all year including training.... OOOPS. I was able to PR even with the course correction by a minute. You will see that I frequently swim off course, it isn't because I can't site, I practice it all of the time but for the last two races it has been primarily because I couldn't see. Fogged goggles this time, and flooded goggles in my Ironman. One day I will learn.
T1 was fast!, less than 2 minutes
CARNAGE ON THE BIKE
The bike was an 18 mile three loop course. I were a lot of wrecks... When you take 1,000 people and put them on a three loop course there is just a lot of traffic. At one point, there was a wreck on loop 1, the next time I passed that site there were two huge blood stains on the road... I hope and pray whomever it was is allright. Other than paying attention I had a good bike. I finished just at 2:50 and passed Mike on the final stretch (he literally has less than 400 yards to go) so I won the race eventhough I think he took it easy on me. As a side note, I rode the last 5 miles of the bike on a flat tubular tire. I did the quick math and figured it would cost me more time to address the flat than to finish so I was just very very careful. It probalby cost me 3 minutes or so but not a big deal in the grand scheme.
HOT HOT HOT - THE RUN
I knew the forecast going in was going to be a hot one. Highs in the upper 90's, full sun, no shade, but low humidity. I loaded up on salt the days leading up to the race and took 6 salt caps during the bike trying to prep for cramping on the run. As they say, an ounce of prevention etc.... No Cramps :-)..... But the run was brutal. Up until the run, I was on pace to finish close to what I did this race in 2009 (5:39:16) with only being a few minutes off that pace but the run was literally 10 degrees hotter this time around. When I finished it was 94 degrees and it was a scorcher. I finished the run in 2:03 versus my previous time of 1:55 two years ago. I felt I was in better run shape this time around it was just too hot. That 8 minutes plus my flat were enough to cost me a PR. Oh well! All good considering my training.
Okay, I am a bit of a freak and probably one of the only people on the planet that does not enjoy a massage. I can count on one hand the number of times I have gotten one 1) the day after my first marathon, 2) talked into it once on vacation 3) lastly experiencing back issue during IRONMAN training 4)after this event.
My hamstrings were so shredded I could hardly walk. For the first time I went for a massage right after the race. I have to say, I will do post race massages because it really did help. Dummy Me - second lesson of the day.
In closing, rested the rest of the day, the kids swam, went to a great dinner at the Four Peaks Pub House (we will go back every time) I highly suggest the Oatmeal Stout.... Best Stout I have ever had. Thanks to Mike and Jes for buying the Butler's dinner. This was a fantastic race and trip and one I will do as often as my schedule allows.