Ok I’m finally writing this race report. It’s only a week late so I guess it’s not too bad.

Let’s start with how I ended up doing two full Ironman distance events this year. My first event, Rev3 Cedar Point, was planned as my goal event this year and was supposed to be the end of the season for me. Well some where along the way I found out I won a contest with Xterra wetsuits that included a trip and entry to IMAZ so of course I was going to go, it’s only an Ironman I can fit that into the end of the year…..

The trip;
We left Thursday from Ithaca airport and our first flight was late by about 1.5 hrs so we started our trip off by missing our connecting flight and ultimately getting to AZ 6hrs late, but we made it and Shiva was still in one piece so all was well.
Dave they have a Heineken bar in Newark!

Endurance sports travel had us hooked up from the get go with transport and our hotel setups and everything. That was a freaking fantastic service and I would HIGHLY recommend using that option if you ever wanted to race an IM somewhere. Travis, Ty, Randy, Ken and Stacey were all great and made life really easy.

Before the race on Friday we hit up the expo and checked out all the stupidly overprice Ironman gear that I refuse to purchase, and picked up my packet. Later that night we went to a Slowtwitch.com gathering at Tribe Multisport in close by Scottsdale. Whoa, Nice shop! Kelly and I drank some (many) of the free beer and ate some food while talking with pros, reps, slowtwitchers and others while waiting for the raffle (that was rigged :) ) for a crap ton of amazing stuff, including carbon wheels, bikes, and much more. After that a drunken Kelly and I hit up the hot tub with our bottle of wine and had a good time talking with the girlfriend of eventual race winner Eneko Llanos from Spain.
The next day we spent shopping and hiking up this big ‘mountain’ that is right in town. That was cool to have in a flat surrounding landscape.

Ok race report now;
Race morning was easy peasy to get up for thanks to the two hour time difference that made waking up at 3:39am on my own feel pretty normal(5:39am home time).
Check out the video for a tour on race morning.

The swim:
The water was a brisk, 61* and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Good stuff. Everyone was corralled into the water with about 10-15 minutes before the start as the pros were still on the starting line. This was a deep water start so that means you tread water while you are waiting for the cannon to go off. The crowd was deep and it’s really quite funny the amount of people that think they are going to be swimming an hour or less and think lining up on the front of the 2450 person is a good idea. BOOM, the cannon sounds and we are off. Since I know how to swim I lined up on the front, as close as I could anyways since people that shouldn’t have been there were busy pushing their way through to get up there… Oh well. So the first half of the swim was VERY crowded and even though I was very capable I was scared for my safety. I would NOT recommend this start for those that can’t swim! After the turn bout at just about half way the water started to become less packed. The finish leg of the swim was a lot less eventful after I found a set of feet to ride. I only had one person on the way back try and push me off those feet, but a strong shoulder and my unwillingness to move over had them drop back and assume their position inline behind me. The climb out of the water was up some stairs that didn’t start on the bottom of the water, so we all looked like fat seals trying to get out of the water. Shortly after exit they had strippers! I was bummed to see they weren’t the strippers I was hoping for as they just ripped my wetsuit off and they remained clothed the whole time. A short run up the shoot and they tossed me my bike bag and I was into the transition tent.
Time: 1:00:48

What can I say, I’ve done enough of these now, as I know how to do it. Volunteers are great and the changing tent is full of them. Early on in the race they are still ‘new’ and not sure what to do. So I grabbed one guy and said “you are mine”, he got all excited. I dumped the contents of my bike bag and yelled for him to pack up my wetsuit and put my EFS gel flask,3 total, in my back pockets of my skin suit. He did so as I through on my shoes and helmet I grabbed my number belt and headed out. I had to pee so I stopped in the porta John but realized I had my suit on so I opted to forgo and just find time on the bike. Continued on and grabbed Shiva off the rack myself as I was moving faster than the volunteer at that moment. Out the gate and mounted cleanly.
Time: 3:51 (should be faster)

The bike is a three loop course with you coming back to nearly the transition are each time, so they are pretty close to equal distance. The first lap had me chasing the guys in front of me and heading into a slight headwind. I was pushing too hard and burning matches too early so I checked part of my ego at the side of the road and let them ride off into the distance. At the turnaround there was a slight tail wind and a long gradual downhill where I was able to a carry 34+ mph for a long time. This helped me get back up with those guys that dropped me early on with out digging too deep. Of course they left me later on. At the turn around back in town, I was able to see Kelly at the tent the Endurance Sports Travel guys had set up, she was there for each lap and that was nice. Lap two had me stop and finally use a porta John as there really isn’t a good place to ride and go on the course as it’s pedaling all the time. So a minute or two lost, but comfort gained. The second lap was lonely as even though there were 2450 of so athletes out there I was in a pace where I wasn’t catching or benign caught very often and the folks that were on their first lap when I did pass them were mostly traveling a lot slower so there was no conversation. Lap two ended as it began. Lap three is where things changed a little. The course was now full and there were an endless supply of people to pass. The wind however had picked up AND changed direction. It was now a tail wind out which was nice to help speed up the uphill grind that it is. The thing is, now when we turned around for that great downhill run to the finish we were met with a rather fierce headwind. It sounded like a jet plane, the spot where I was. Holding 34-38mph before I was working to get 22-24mph now. I said the first words since transition and they were to one of the female pros as I was slowly passing her just after the turn, “go figure”. We both laughed and hunkered down. An eternity later I was back at the finish of the bike course and happy to be getting off the bike.
Time: 4:57:51 (22.56mph av)

At the finish of the bike there are what are called “catchers”. I hopped off my bike and just let go of Shiva as it coasted to a catcher. It was a barefoot run through transition, grabbed my bag from a volunteer and head to the tent. Had some stranger dude in the tent strip me naked! Yikes! Took off the speed suit and through on the running splits and tri top, WTC makes your wear a shirt. Out the tent and back into the porta John, this time I was able to pee for what seemed like a life time, but comfort equals speed so all was well.
Time: 3:26

The Run:
Oh, the run…. What can I really say about 26.2 miles of running on concrete after what already transpired on this day?
The start of the run had me with a tank that seemed to be full. The issue that started my run was a back that wanted to be super tight. I made it to mile marker two before I broke down and had to stop for a minute in an attempt to stretch. It didn’t work, but it was too early in the run to call myself cracked so I manned up a little and suffered through it. The tight back went away in the next 5 miles so by the end of the first lap. The aid stations were clicking by and now I was onto the second lap and feeling fine. I made sure to not go crazy and kill myself so I concentrated on getting fuel in the tank. Gel here, handful of potato chips there, water and coke everywhere, sponges in my shirt never walking. I was cruising along at a comfortable pace and at the end of the 2nd lap I finally looked at my watch to see where I was. I did some quick Ironman math in my head and saw the potential to hit my random goal of 9:37. So I hit the gas as I started the last lap and went ‘all in’. I figured I could blow up and still have a respectable time at this point. The first four miles went flying by and I was feeling great. The aid stations were a little more populated now and it was tough to get all I needed as a result. I think this might have been the reason for my explosion, at least I’m blaming it on this at the moment. After missing a couple of hand offs and only getting minimal nutrition at most of those 4 aid stations I started to crack. At mile 22 things got bad and all of a sudden I stopped. Not walked, stopped. Got my head around and started going again. Now is when all the “demons of the pain cave” started having a party. Bad thoughts and bad feelings had me stopping a few more times. By the time I got to mile 24 I was concerned about finishing let alone the time. I made it though that spot and looked at my watch again and saw with about 1.75 miles or so to go the time of 4:37pm, or race time 9:37. Game over. From there it was just a matter of get to the line. I was able to trot the rest of the way in and enjoy the finish. This is officially the third time I have crossed an Ironman name brand finish line and NOT be called an Ironman.
Finish time: 9:55:47.

The food and massage after the race couldn’t come at a better time. It was great to be done.

Thanks to all those that cheered for me from a distance. And thanks to those that were there.

Many beers were had and I still competed in an Ironman. I see no reason to change now!