Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

IMWI 2007 Race Report

So I figured after a week it's time to get my IMWI thoughts down in a race report.

This was my first IM, and my first ever marathon. In March of 2006 I was overweight (about 185lbs at 5'10" tall and about 23% body fat). I decided to get my ass back into shape and bought a road bike and signed up for a local 2 day 150 mile MS charity ride. I then, as a long time ago former swimmer and cyclist, decided to enter a local YMCA sprint tri in June of 06 and was hooked after that. Did 3-4 sprints and one HIM last year, signed up for IMWI 07in fact 3 weeks before ever trying the first HIM last year. I had also never run more than 3 miles in my life before last year's sprint as I always hated running. It's been a long, strenous, expensive and time consuming journey but it's been worth it in the long run!

My main plan was to focus on running over last winter as that was by far my main limiter. Unfortunately I suffered a minor tear in my right achilles back in December and didn't run for Jan-Feb and only lightly started again in March and worked my way up to 35 miles a week peak running. However the achilles was always sore to the touch at the insertion and has never been properly rested to the point it should have probably been. Additionally, the birth of my son August 9th meant the months of July/August were spent dealing with a pregnant wife and then sleepless nights with the new baby, this resulted in less than optimal training conditions over some key weeks. So I decided to make having fun and soaking up the IM experience my main goal and to just get one under my belt before trying to 'race' an IM so I didn't have any real expectations.

I showed up in Madison with about 420 hours of training under my belt and at 160+/- lbs and about 9-10% BF, the best shape I've probably been in in 17 years. My wife couldn't come with me dealing with the newborn and all so my Dad decided to come and we brought my 2 year old daughter and 10 year old stepson.

Thursday-Saturday were spent soaking up the experience. Had a minor issue Saturday when I saw a 1/4" gash in my front tire as I was taking my bike off the car and heading to check in. Fixed it but I missed the Trifuel lunch. Slept OK Saturday night and got up around 3 and ate a bagel and banana with peanut butter. Up again at 4:30 and had 2 slimfasts and loaded up and headed out.

Nothing really exciting about the morning until we headed out of the Terrace and down the helix to the swim. When I saw the crowd I was like holy cow, there are a LOT of people here for this thing.

Swim, 1:03+/-, Grade C-:
I gave myself a C- because I should have easily been under 1hr. I didn't swim agressively enough and the swim is my best event. Seeded myself in the front row by the ski jump and it was a slugfest the entire way. Everytime I got on someone's feet I would only be on them a few seconds before it seemed like someone else would come by and try to wipe me out. In retrospect I should have started more on the inside near the buoys and still up towards the first row or 2 as from the pictures that seemed to be the faster line. I was suprised that there was that much contact all throughout the swim, even as we headed to shore after the 2nd loop.

T-1, 6:30+/-.
T-1 was a riot, running up the helix lined with fans and into the bag room. It was crazy and guys were acting like they were in the local sprint tri's and every second counted. There was yelling and screaming for people to get out of the way and so on. Got my helmet, shoes and sunglasses on, headed out to the sunscreen people then on the bike with no problems.

Bike, 5:53, Grade B-.
Gave myself a B- for the bike only because I think I went too easy. Plan was to go easy for the first hour, then steady for the remainder. Rich S and Pat M said at the pre-race talk that people would be flying by you on the first 20-30 miles of the bike and they weren't kidding. Guys were standing and sprinting out of every turn and up every little rise in the road again like they were in a sprint tri. I distinctly remember one point early on at one of the early hills going out to the loop getting passed by 3 guys, drafting of course, standing and pounding on the hill. There was sweat dripping off their faces, they were sucking air and all three of their HR monitors were beeping like crazy. I just kind of did my own thing, spinning up the hills and working on pacing and nutrition. Took one 900 calorie bottle of Infinit with me and picked up a second one waiting at special needs. The crowds in Verona and going up the two big hills before Verona were amazing and really the bike leg seemed to go fast. I did notice a LOT of drafting. I really thought this course was too rolling with too many turns to result in big packs, but I saw several of 10-20 rider packs. And I know it wasn't unintentional drafting because the guys in the rear would sprint out of every turn to catch back up to the pack and then settle in. At one time it looked like a mini road race on some of the roads. I think I rode a very conservative bike and feel I could have easily gone 10 minutes faster without much more effort.

T-2, 4:XX (4 something).
Only comment is, remember the bike catchers! I approached the dismount with my feet on my shoes and did a smooth dismount. I stopped before the line so I couldn't figure out what the deal was with this woman running trying to grab my bike. I saw my rack and was focused on it but she just kept coming at me! Only a split second before she got to me did I remember that there were bike catchers here and it was OK for her to take my bike! T-2 was a complete opposite of T-1. For all the energy, excitement and rushing going on in T-1, T-2 was like the march of the dead. One guy across from me looked like he had no desire to get up. Debated, for a second, changing into running shorts then decided against it, threw on my shoes, more sunscreen and out the door.

Run, 4:35 +/-, Grade Sastisfactory ;).
Nothing like trying to run your first ever marathon after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 bike, but hey, why not!
Plan was to run the first 5 miles very easy, 10bpm below zone 2, walk the END of each aid station. Then, run the next 13 miles right at low end of zone 2 then hopefully be able to give it what I had left after 18 miles to finish. A funny thing happened however in the first mile, my achilles didn't hurt at all. This hasn't happened since March and whether it's a run, brick after short bike or transition run after long bike I knew that my right achilles was always very tight for the first 5-10 minutes then it would be fine. But for whatever reason I had no discomfort at all the first couple of miles. Mile 1 was at 8:30, I was happy. Mile 2, 8:31, again feeling good. Mile 3 however the top of my right foot started to hurt and it took me closer to 9 minutes, but HR was still good. After the aid station around mile 3 and at the first big hill through campus however my foot really started to hurt. New pain, not sure why, never felt it before. Walked the big hill and part of the bike path out to State street to see if that helped but every time I would run it would hurt. Decided then just to trot as best I could from aid station to aid station, again walking just the end of each station to get my water/nutrition then run again as well as I could to the next. Legs felt ok, stomache felt ok, just only had one speed due to my foot hurting. I pretty much did this jfor the next 22 miles. No slow down, no bonking, just steady trotting trying to manage the pain/discomfort in the foot. In all, it actually seemed to go by pretty fast, and again the crowds were great, especially along State Street.

Finished in 11:45, felt fine and only had my 'catcher' hold on to me for a few seconds and they were gone once I got my picture taken.

The aftermath: Got a massage and headed back to the hotel. One big mac and chocolate shake for the hotel then showered and went back to the finish to watch the last 2-1/2 hours worth of finishers. Woke up feeling a little stiff monday and foot was a little sore. Funny thing is/was I've had no pain or discomfort in my achilles at all since IMWI. Not sure why. Wife had a blast watching it online and in a moment of weaknes she told me I could sign up again for 2008, so did that Monday morning. Got home Monday night around 11pm after a 9+ hour ride and was pretty stiff after being in the car that long. Got a pretty good cold/sore throat that lasted until Friday, but other than that felt pretty good all week. The top of the foot is still a little sore but that is about all. Oh, one blister and one black and blue toenail too!

Now I'll take a couple of weeks off then it will be some run-focused time this winter and back at it for 2008!