Ironman 70.3 New Orleans – 7 hours 37 minutes
In the last year I have posted very short reports from my races. Maybe taking them for granted because they have become just a normal part of my life or maybe I forgot how much races mean to me?
But, this day will be different.
This is my recount of my first finish of a half ironman.
I met a great crew from our club at 3am to set everything up. It was a fairly smooth process thanks to some great club members.
I went back to the hotel about 4:45am laid down till 5:15 with my eyes WIDE OPEN waiting for the alarm. Got up showered and began the pre-race regiment I always follow. Recheck transition bag for the 714th time, rub on some sun block, rub on a little bodygluide in the important areas, and put on the race uni.
We were out of the door by 5:40a to meet Janice and Luke down stairs. When we arrived in the lobby some poor dude from Houston was stranded without a ride to the race site. We squeezed him in and got him there.
We hung around the sea wall watching the first 9 waves go by. I saw one person not 800m into the swim – swim over to the sea wall climb out of the water, throw his goggles and have a mental breakdown. This was NOT what I needed to see before I began my Half Iron Man journey. Then there were more . . . None that had mental meltdowns as the first guy did, but swam to shore and were done . . . Hmmmmm?
As my wave entered the water an hour and fifteen minutes after the first group started I was delighted at the water temp. It was very brisk but nor real cold. I like that since I tend to overheat in a wetsuit.
I WAS PUMPED at swim exit!!!!
I ran down the chute of the exit hollering and slapping high 5’s with everyone! I d not recommend this. Save your energy!!!! It was not smart. When I got to transition I was a little winded, but I was pumped. I exited the 1.2 mile swim in 42 minutes, about 3 minutes better than my goal.
At transition 1 I talked to Paul a little and headed out on the bike.
The bike. Hot and windy. WINDY. FREAKING WINDY!
On the bike, the first 3 miles are along the lake where we ride out to the right and come right back by transition and the spectators. I felt great and was MOVING through here. As we got out on the main road we began to hit a little cross wind about mile 4. At mile 6-11 it was cross but a little at our back which was nice. Then we made a sharp right and the wind was with us and it was GREAT!!!!
The racecourse was completely closed. BIKE AND RUN. This was one of the safest most organized courses I’ve EVER raced on and I was a little worried about that. EVERY road had an officer at it blocking traffic. PEM deserves a A+++ for their logistics in planning this race and supporting it with cops at EVERY road crossing. THANK YOU Premier Event management.
Back to the bike:
We had tailwind for about 3 miles and it was a joy. I was averaging about 23 mph up till this point, then we hit Chef blvd where we had more of that cross wind and I still managed to keep my average about 22.5 mph. My goal was to not push real hard on the bike so I would be able to run the entire run course and not have to walk. I felt really good doing my usual hellos to everyone as I passed and when I was passed I would give my “Go Get Em!” hollar out. Then at mile 24 we turned around. What in the world happened?????
It was as if I hit a wall. The wind was head on and it was intense. I was at about 19 mph for the next 8 miles with about 80% effort. I was at about 60% up until this point.
Then we turned off Chef Blvd and headed back to the slight tail cross wind and I felt great again. Then the party was over. The last 20 miles was all headwind and it was brutal. The sun was out in full force but the wind was too and I was struggling at about 80% effort to hold 17mph at most points. The overpasses were the worst. On the second pass coming in I dropped down to 12mph. I had not front derailleur so I was in the big ring the whole day and that didn’t help out there today. My friend Llew loaned me his bike to ride, which is the exact same bike as mine, but I rode the over passes on Thursday and I had no issues with the big ring and just felt more comfortable on my bike. Bad Idea.
I went through a lot of water and gel on the bike and threw up once.
As I came into transition I landed my second successful flying dismount. Now, this was not necessary since I knew I would be in transition 2 for a while catching my breath, but it just feels so damn cool!!!!!!!
I ran through transition barefoot and my right foot was throbbing and I realized I didn’t take any Aleve out on the bike. I popped 2 in transition along with some Enduraliytes (s/p) and headed out on the run. My bike average was 19.7mph.
My foot was struggling, but I was still feeling pretty good mentally and pushed the pain to the back of my mind.
Run course was great. HOT but, great. The wind on the first 4 miles rocked; funny how I hated it on the bike and LOVED it on the run. The sun was out in FULL force! The forecasts called for isolated thunderstorms throughout the day – NOT!
I saw so many www.batonrougetri.com club members out there. I slapped hands with all of them and cheered them on. I also cheered on everyone who passed me – until I couldn’t anymore!!! Don’t worry, I’ll get to that later!
My goal was – run the entire course. No walking except water stations. I was feeling great the first 6 miles. I stopped and took off my socks and donated them to a very nice group of people who were cheering on a family member.
The sun became too much for me and I was POURING sweat out of my body faster than I could get fluids back in. I had taken another 2 Aleve at about mile 6 but their effect was not working anymore.
At mile 7 I was mentally destroyed.
I had already died a little inside twice to this point and at mile 7 I had a moment. I decided to quit. I was at a water station and I leaned on the table and decided to quit. I was in so much pain and not just my foot, my body was in so much pain and my mind was wavering.
Somehow my legs just started going. I cursed at myself a little and got pissed off and this took me the next 2 miles and then I hit the mutha of all walls.
I assume I was favoring my right leg because of my foot because my left leg decided it had enough and the hamstring and calve muscle decided to begin a rotating cramp system. Nice . . . I would get the hammy un-cramped and then the calve would lock up and this repeated itself for the next mile until I had to just walk and be happy I was doing that.
I was miserable the last 3 miles but, I was thankful it was only three miles. If it had been 3.4 miles, I may have quit, but I KNEW I could survive the leg problem for three miles.
As I entered the edge of the quarter I began to trot. I could go about 20 feet and BOOM the left leg would lock up.
When I hit Decatur I was NOT going to walk. I know I looked like a real piece of work since my left leg was literally straight as a board and I was kinda dragging it along in some sort of hunch back from notre dame spin off, but I was NOT going to walk into the finish.
That last ¼ mile was agony and pure bliss all folded into one. There were SO MANY EPOPLE at the finish and in the last ¼ mile! I had to stop a couple times and rub out my calve but as I got closer I said screw it and pushed into the finish.
I was so happy.
I saw my wife and then I saw my buds Brian, Neal, and Sean waiting at the finish. I was so freaking happy. I am not sure what I was saying to them and I am sure it was stupid and incoherent but, I was on cloud 9 (if cloud 9 means so happy the fact that your right foot and left leg are about to explode and I didn’t even know it!)
I made my way back to the club finish party tents and went directly to the ice bath and it felt SO SO SO SO GOOD!!!!!! I stayed in there for 20 minutes, then had an awesome massage.
I got to see my friend Elizabeth who is amazing. She finished her first half IM. She is battling the weight issue and kicking ass at it.
After a long day we cleaned up and loaded all the finish party stuff and I went to pick up my transition stuff and bike.
I found out the my buddy Sean Schnur and Brian Lejune and Debbie Ellington qualified for Clearwater. Geaux BRtri!!!!!!
I am sure my friend John Fell did too, I haven’t checked yet.
Today was a nice wake up call to my first IM in November. I have a lot of work to do, but I am committed and I will do what it takes to cross that finish line at Ironman Florida.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this fight. Thanks to all of my friends who came out to cheer. Thanks to my Momma who spent the whole day out there waiting for me and a SPECIAL thanks to my wife and father in law for everything they do to support me and the club, I love you guys.
I finished in 7:37. My goal was sub 7. Oh well – I finished.
My goal for IM Florida – sub 15 hours. I have a lot of work to do!!!!!!!!!!!