Ok, so I need to write all this down to memorialize everything that went RIGHT with this race day…….. here goes.

We’ll start off with the week leading up to the race. Swam 5days in a row (a record I think) in an attempt to make up for not swimming for MONTHS before this. Felt good on Saturday in the water. Rode the bike, not Shiva, twice. One day hard(ish) one day, Thursday, easy. Ran on Monday I think, nothing crazy.

Friday was 6hours in the van and some French fries from BK followed by an argument over where to get some pizza when we got into town.

Saturday we went to the swim start location for a ‘practice’ swim. GROSS, 15-20yards of sludge that came up to my knees. It was this thick black sandy…..well… sludge. Didn’t smell and didn’t slow my roll. Swam out to the first turn bouy and back. Couldn’t see my hand in front of me the whole way, but the swim felt great and I was confident I could cruise through the swim with no issues on Sunday.

After the swim we went over and picked up my packet and checked out the expo. I needed some nutrition since I seemingly left mine home on the kitchen counter. Nothing new on race day right? Well, since I was lazy/cheap and the EFS gel came in a flask, I figured I’ll grab two of these that I’ve never tried before and just use them on race day on the bike. Also since I didn’t plan on carrying a spare tubie I grabbed a pitstop and a Co2also. Plan was to just throw this stuff in the jersey pocket in T1.

After the Expo I made the family call to do the park on Saturday instead of sending my wife and kids into the park on Sunday while I raced. Heck, I wanted to ride the coasters and figured after 140.6miles of good times on Sunday it would likely not have been high on my list of to do’s.

We spent 5hrs running from ride to ride and had a great time. Who needs rest?

Cut the park short so I could get to the athlete meeting and check my bike in. Dropped off Shiva and gave her pat on the back and asked her to be good to me on game day.

We left and went to the Thirsty Pony for some food. I had the best HUGE burger with bacon and shrooms and cheese……I’m salivating right now. I figured I had 12 hours to digest it and this machine runs on this kind of fuel. I did forgo the beers as I thought it might make the early rise the next morning a little more challenging. We were in bed by 8:15 as everyone was beat from the park.

4:30am! 2 cups COFFEE! Rise and shine buckaroo’s we got a party to get to! Ok, I let the kids sleep in until 5:00am but then it was go time! Like the troopers they are, they were up and dressed in full Rogue attire by 5:10am and we were out the door before the 5:30 cutoff time I had set. (a good omen I suspect as we were ahead of schedule already)

Tried to stop by the Mc’d’s across the street to get a Coffee for the wife and some breakfast for the kids……. Closed?!? Ugh. So much for that idea, good thing we had some left overs from Saturday’s trip to Mc’ds. We drove the 2miles to the venue and got a good parking spot and walked into transition. My setup took a couple minutes (pump tires, put water bottle on bike, hang up transition bags) then I sat down with the family and had ‘breakfast’. I had ONE HALF of a biscuit……. Not hungry. Polished off a Gatorade, two total for the morning, as I knew I would be needing as much fluid in my body as possible later.

Wetsuit on after a potty break. Let’s just say I was hydrated……

Start for amateurs was supposed to be 7:05am so I told my wife I would see her at 5:00pm (9:55 race time, sand castle dream)
Well….. I looked at my watch just before the start and it was 7:12, uh oh, I’m going to be ‘late’. Bang…… off we go.

SWIM:

It was a pretty nice swim. I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face…..but a nice swim. Thankfully I went to the athlete meeting the day before and heard the RD say several times that the YELLOW bouys are just sighting bouys and you are free to go on either side of them. You only need to go to the left of the RED corner bouys. Well, I used this to my advantage as I noticed while waiting for the start that the yellow bouys were zigzagged along the way. I spotted off the police boat that was parked at the Red bouy and had it’s lights on. I was able to watch the ‘faster’ swimmers go out and around the yellow bouys as I continued on my dead straight shot to the turn. They would come in to me and go out swimming farther. I didn’t have a draft, but I wasn’t getting beat up or swimming ‘extra’ either, so I considered it a bonus of energy saved. First ‘loop’ I check my watch at was around 31minutes. Felt strong the rest of the swim, never digging too deep. Finished feeling fresh and ready to roll in 1:03:xx. 18th place

T1
I ran up the beach with my family running also. It was pretty neat, I yelled GO ROGUES! I go to the wetsuit strippers and one of them said “want help?” I stopped and said “sure, why not” down and off the suit came. Did it save me time? Maybe, but I know if was cool for them as they were all excited to be helping. Ran through the line, grabbed my bag off the hook, went in to the tent and put on my helmet, shoes, glasses, put two gel flasks and my pitstop and co2 in my pocket* and yelled to the other guys in the tent I’d see them later.
*I wore my one piece crit suit planning on switching out later to running shorts, so the rear pockets worked out fantastic.
2:44 Came out of T1 in 13th place…….. an ‘easy’ 5 spots gained.

Bike
On the bike I went with out a computer mostly because I haven’t figured out where I want to mount it yet, lazy I know. So I clicked the ‘lap’ button on my watch and set out on the ride. I quickly ended up swapping back and forth with #67, Tom. Before long <10miles Tom goes by and says “I don’t want to jinks it, but I think you are my new best friend”. From then on we kept each other legit and for the first time during a race I had someone the same speed as me to gauge off from. It was great really. Just when either of us would start to get relaxed the other guy would come flying by and give you a reminder to keep on racing. About 30miles into the ride on the way by I asked for an update on our speed. A few minutes later I found out it was 23+, YIKES. I felt like I was taking it easy so I just kept the effort the same. By this time we had already worked our way up to the pointy end of the field. Top 3-4ish according to the splits. I assure you there was no illegal drafting as I was CONSTANTLY counting bike lengths and comparing distances with the dashed line in the roadway. In fact a couple occasions I heard a marshal drive up to us and check us out. All good! After 50miles of slim pickin’s for people to see on the bike we came into the part of the course where we intertwined with the racers doing the Half distance. It was pretty full for a few miles and one aid station. Tom and I managed to make it through the mess pretty clean, a couple close calls but nothing to get worked up over. After mile 60 or so after clearing all that I asked Tom about our pace again (we were at roughly the same spot I asked him before) he said we were still going the same. I told him I was going to back it down a notch, he agreed. Just after that short exchange Tom drifted just off the edge of the road and into the gravel. Then into the grass. Then on the way down into the ditch. Mind you I didn’t have a computer to verify our speed, but I know enough that we were close to 25mph in that section. I had long enough to say to him “keep it up!” he managed to get almost back on to the road, and then it happened. He went off high side into the ditch. Honestly, I was a little nervous for him. I got it slowed down and turned around and went back to check on him, fearing I was going to be heading back down the course to get medical help for him. When I got back to him he was already getting up and on his bike! I talked to him and told him to chill out for a minute and do a ‘self check’ and make sure all was well. Adrenaline will do some crazy stuff. He turned out fine and his bike was all good. So onwards we went as if nothing happened. The next miles just clicked by (ok no they didn’t). by mile 80 or so Tom had backed off and I was alone for the most part. We had been starting to pick off the back half of the field of Full racers as well as a handful of women pro’s. after getting passed at lightning speed by someone at the second time through the special needs area (mile 85 maybe?). I was shocked. Who was that? Where did he come from? And what an Attack! Good on him! I sped up to match, he attacked me again. I let him travel off into the distance as I reminded myself I have a marathon to run still. A short while later I caught another racer that was up the road and was my last victim of the ride. He did pass me back as I pulled over and took a ‘nature break’. I got him a little while later. I went by the sign that said 90miles and looked at my watch, did some quick math in my head (I didn’t have a pencil or paper handy) and realized if I did the next 22miles in an hour I would break 5hrs! I debated for a second about smokin’ the bike leg and then crashing the run, but figured it’s cool enough to break 5hrs to justify the pain of the run. So onward I pushed. Not to hard to cook myself but at a speed I knew was fast enough to work. I came in and looked at my running time…….. it was under 5hrs!!! I didn’t know by how much, but who cares. To top it off, I had told Kelly that I would be done with the bike in 5hrs…… or 1hr on the swim 8:05, 5hrs on the bike so a little after 1:10…. I was dead nuts on time at 1:12pm!
*fuel consisted of those two EFS flasks (one berry, one vanilla 800cals total) and two gu gels from an aid station chocolate flavored, two bottles of orange Gatorade a ¼ of a banana because it looked yummy and about 5-6 bottles of water.

T2
I hopped off the bike leaving the shoes on. There were supposed to be bike catchers for us, but since I was the 3rd person to be coming in to utilize that service, they weren’t exactly ready for it. As I’m running with my bike a ‘catcher’ was trying to take my bike. They were lagging behind me as I was running to my rack. I yelled to them they needed to hurry up if they were going to take it from me as I wasn’t slowing down. They finally caught up to me and grabbed my bike just as I was at the end of my rack. I continued over to the bag rack and grabbed my run bag. Ran into the tent and had a volunteer help me start pulling down my suit. I went for the full clothing change. Crit suit off, anti chafe on, running shorts on, no shirt. I had the dude slap some sunscreen on my back while I put on some socks and shoes, grabbed my visor asked how I was in the standing (he said top ten pro’s included, I said ‘cool’). I hopped up, said thanks, tried to run over to the porta potties and had to go out the other end of the tent. One volunteer says “there’s a john 1mile out at the first aid station” Yeah right, like I could make it that far. Stopped in the john and pee’d for an eternity! The relief was fantastic. I ran out of T2 following right behind Hilary Biscay, a female pro. Slapped the family some high fives and said I’d see them again in a little while.
3:37 I guess taking the time to switch clothes really wasn’t that big of a time constraint.

Run
Shortly into the run I decided to keep my head together and slow my pace down. It’s too easy to get all worked up and take off like a madman. The first 13miles really did seem to go by fairly ‘easy’ as I just stayed in my own race. I got passed by a handful of folks, but I figured they were either faster than me and I wasn’t going to match their pace, or I would see them later after their epic implosion. (I didn’t see them later by the way). I just monitored my fluid, taking in only water with the occasional sip of soda for flavor. A couple salt tabs for good measure and before I knew it I was back at the finish line/turnaround. One more lap. Kelly and the kids gave me a boost with a couple high fives and some lookin’ good’s followed by a ‘you’re right on schedule’ (to be back at 5:00pm). I kept waiting for the low spot to come, I knew it would. And when it did I was ready for it this time. It came around mile 15 or so when it started to get ‘bad’. The heat went up a little bit, the pace started coming down, the stomach started locking up. I made the game day call to stop putting fuel in the tank, start cooling off with as much water as I could get my hands on, and keep the pace as consistent as I could. I knew the speed at which I was traveling wasn’t a great undertaking to ask of my body and expect it to continue processing the contents of my stomach, so I chose to keep pushing the same pace. 3-4 aid stations went by at things started to come around again. My stomach felt better and I was able to get a handful of pretzels in and a couple swigs of some water and pepsi. By now I had started to look at the running clock on my wrist and start calculating in my head the minimum pace I could run the remaining 10 miles and still come in under the 10hr mark. At this time it was 10minute miles, and during this low time, I was concerned that was going to be pushing it. So I kept going as best I could, putting what little I could in the ‘bank’ so to speak waiting for an epic implosion of my own. With 5miles to go and an hour to do it in (12minute miles) I was starting to feel confident. It wasn’t until the 24mile marker and having 35minutes of buffer that I finally relaxed and stopped stressing out. I knew I could at least walk to the finish line and break the 10hr mark. I topped off my water at that aid station and made the final 2mile trek in. at some point I made the accounting mistake of realizing I could perhaps get to the line by 9:45 and I started gunning for that mark instead of simply ‘breaking 10hrs’. I swear the last mile was at a 5min/mile pace EFFORT only to be ‘rewarded’ with maybe an 8:30/mile pace. I was pushing. I came down the long straight just before the loop around the end of the course. I saw my family waiting for me. They were running down the shoot with me. I came up to them, they started running, I had to tell them to slow down. We finished together, all six of us. Hands up and proud 9:45:45!

Phew……. Glad that’s over!

Grabbed some water, did an interview, got a monster of a blood blister lanced, and called it a day!

Finished up the night back at the Thirsty Pony with another of the same burgers only this time followed up nicely with about a half dozen Michelob Ultra’s!

Good times!