After getting sick I debated racing Arizona or Cozumel. I am happy I made the decision I did.
We got into the somewhat chilly waters of Tempe Town Lake at about 6:35. I did a little warm up, and found a place in the line up towards the right and near the feet of Brandon Marsh as I knew he would be pulling quite a wake with his swim speed. For the most part the rest of the swim was uneventful. I found myself towards the front of the first chase pack and found the pace comfortable for most of the swim. There were a few surges and I was able to hold the feet and close the gaps in front of me. When I came out of the water I saw Maik and he gave me a "Good swim!" I checked my watch and saw 51:2x and was stoked.
The bike started off with a bang. Literally. The pathway out of T1 at Arizona is pretty narrow. There was an athlete just a bit ahead of me to the right so I was on the left of the chute. Unfortunately, in a show of great wisdom someone had seen fit to park a rather large motorcycle on the left side of the chute about 10ft or so after the mount line. When I jumped aboard my Blue Triad SL, I looked down briefly to find the top of my shoe and before I knew it I smashed headlong into the back of the moto. I knocked it over, and it knocked the fencing over. My fingers on my left hand got smashed and were bleeding, and my knees suffered the same fate. Fortunately Blue and Reynolds make some tough bikes and wheels. My front wheel was jacked to the left but a quick wrestle job while holding it between my knees and I was back on the road just slightly worse for the wear.
Unfortunately, this little escapade did give up some of the time I gained on the swim. The rest of the bike was rolling along pretty well. We had some rough wind, some rain and even hail, but it wasn't as bad as the weathermen had been saying and what I had prepared myself for. The second mishap on the bike came when they did not have my special needs bag and I therefore missed the calories and boost that 2 Powerbars and a 12oz Red Bull would have given me. Because of this, the third lap of the bike was a struggle and my power suffered.
I had a goal of riding 4:45 so I was happy when the final lap came to an end. I felt OK and knew I had some calories and Red Bull waiting for me in my Fuel Belt and I was ready to run.
At Ironman Wisconsin I used a Fuel Belt for the first time and liked it despite my crap (literally) run. However, I only wore it for the second half of the run. For IM AZ I decided to use it for the entire run. This decision might be the one decision that MADE my race. I had missed about 700 of the calories I planned to take in on the bike and thus starting the run with 550 readily accessible calories was HUGE! I was not feeling so great in the beginning of the run, but my pace was solid. In fact it was faster than I wanted to run and I knew I could not sustain it. I tried to slow it down, but it hurt more to run in that mode. So I just decided to let my legs roll and find a rhythm. About 5mi in I was still in the same mode, but I now knew why I wasn't feeling so good. A bathroom stop took care of that problem and I was running well and happy for the next several miles.
For the remainder of the run I just focused on running controlled and sticking to my nutrition plan. At Special needs I picked up my second two Fuel Belt flasks and continued with the same mantra: "Run controlled and stick to the nutrition plan."
Nothing really eventful took place on the run, which s to say no more bathroom stops like Wisconsin or catastrophic blow ups like in Lake Placid. I think this is due to the mantra mentioned above. There was however, one memorable moment in the run. About mile 14 I noticed a big increase in the media motos around me (couldn't pick out the one I crashed into). I knew this could only mean one thing. Chrissie Wellington was gaining on me. She passed me and I knew there was no hope of staying with her (she went on to run a 2:52). I stuck to my plan and plodded along.
In my eyes I have yet to put together a reasonable Ironman marathon and my dream goal was to run under 3hrs. My realistic goal however, was to go sub 3:05. With a bathroom visit, I was happy with a 3:03 and a new Ironman Marathon run PR. Still lots of work to be done there though. I know I can run faster.
In the end I was very happy to finally break the 9hr mark and end with a good run. Getting a hug from quite possibly one of the greatest athletes to ever walk the face of the earth was a pretty nice capper!
A HUGE thanks to ZOOT for once again providing the BEST wetsuit, apparel and shoes I could ever ask for. The new Phrophet wetsuit is INSANE and my vastly improved swim PR shows it. I ran in the Alli'i shoes, sockless, and came away totally unscathed, no blisters, and all toenails in tact. Comfy the whole way. I cant say just how much it means to head into a marathon fully confident that I will have no problems with my feet. Not to mention doing so with the 2nd fastest transition in the race.
BLUE Competition Cycles makes some great machines and stands behind their bikes like nobody else in the industry. They are quality, fast and as my altercation with a BMW moto evidences... TOUGH!!
Reynolds Wheels likewise makes some of the best quality and fastest wheels on the market. And like Blue Bikes, they take a beating and keep on ticking. Not a scratch or anything after plowing into a 600lb BMW moto!
TriSports.com calls Arizona home and I was fortunate to have some awesome support out on the course at their aid station. But getting me to the race in proper form was even more important and TriSports kept me stocked with easy and FAST access to everything I could need.
PowerBar gave me the power to push all day and I had no concern with my stomach all day.
PV Bicycle Center is my local shop in Palos Verdes and has helped me all year with EXPERT maintenance and advice. If you are in the South Bay area, there is no better shop.