Race Day

Race Day

We got up around 4AM and the weather was perfect. I was feeling good and ready for a long day on the course. I know a lot of people don’t think that i will be running, but I have had it in my head that I am going to try to run/walk the marathon. I even pre-ordered the shadow box for my pictures (you do these little things to keep you heading for the finish line).

The Swim:
My goal is to swim in the 1:10 – 1:15 range. This is a do able goal if the ocean swim isn’t to difficult. I lined up on the front row to the right side of the pack and will use the current to my advantage. I know that Tom, Doug and Peter were close by. The cannon goes off and It’s smooth sailing (nothing like the start at Placid). I had a great first lap and ran along the shore with DeLuca and jumped back in for the final lap. I didn’t have a great 2nd lap, but it wasn’t terrible. I haven’t swum much lately and I was starting to lose power coming down the final stretch. I finally finish the swim and start the run up the beach. I check the clock and it reads 1:12. This is a good sign. As Im running I see Peter just up ahead and he seems pumped also. I grab my bag and run to the tent. Not a chair in sight and I decide to stand and change instead of waiting. As I start to put on my cycling shoes I notice that John M. is already suited up and ready to grab his bike. I fill my pocket and off I go.

The Bike:
This course has had me worried for several months. It is pancake flat and nothing like New England. I tend to ride the early miles way to hard and end up paying for it in the later miles.   I know that some have told me to give it my all and go for a sick bike time and drop out. It would be fun, but I want to do this whole thing and not end up in the med tent.

So I came up with a plan and I stuck with it. I took the first 3-5 miles to sit up and spin. Then got into a faster cadence and didn’t try to push a bigger gear than I could spin efficiently. I felt real good and I was passing a lot of people. A few times I wanted to pick up the pace, but i kept thinking about “THE MARATHON”. That was enough to make me lay low. The Marathon has me scared to death and Im going to need a full tank of fuel to get through it. The first 50 miles went by quick. mile 50 – 70 it kept a little work to stay focused and then we hit the out and back. This is a lot more exciting, it’s col to see the riders who are ahead of you. The first Cyclonaut that i saw was Doug (Ron wasn’t in the colors, so I never noticed him). On this stretch you could see groups of Pelotons (drafting). I rounded the turn around cone and continued on. A few minutes later I get passed by a group of 40. The thing that sucks about this, I have to wait till they all pass. Then drop back before attempting to pass them back. So i drop back, then i pass. This pass only lasts for about a mile. They are all sitting on my wheel and now they are fresh and start the pass again. This time I drop back and decide to rest and make a pass at higher rate of speed to hopefully drop the group. NOT ! It’s easy to suck wheel at any speed on a flat course. This time I just let them go and I  drop back. A few mies up the road I see the turn and then I can hear all the Scooter nauts. It was hard to tell who was there because they were everywhere. That was cool. A few minutes later, here comes the motorcycle with the official. It slows behind the Peloton and just watches. Im not sure if they all got penalties or were forced to separate. As they separated they all started to loose the advantage of the draft and It was cool to pass them for the final time. Around mile 100 we get to the bridge. This is the bridge that is about the only climb on the whole course. It was short but it felt great to stretch out for a minute or so. Now we have to deal with a fairly stiff headwind back to the city. At this point Im not in the mood to push it. I just spin and before you know it Im back onto the homestretch and life is good. I was never so happy to see the Waffle House sign! I finish the bike and my legs feel great and Im ready to attempt to run.

The Run:
At this point I don’t know what to expect. I don’t think that I will do any long term damage to the foot. So off I go and there is no pain in the foot. Understand that 112 miles of biking will warm up the area and will minimize the inflammation that would cause me discomfort. As I approach the water stops I shut it down and walk through the aid station, get my fluids down and douse my head with cold water. Then off I go 1 mile at a time. Every mile started to become more difficult than the last. By mile 10 Im not sure I can pull this off. If it wasn’t for the other Cyclonauts on the course it would be easy to pack it in. Then I start to think that everyone is fighting there own battle and if I can prove that I won’t quit, then this might help someone else when they are feeling down. The high fives started to become mid fives, then low fives (but I could still five). At mile-12 I cross path’s with Kelly. I’m amazed to see that she looks a good as she does and I think she’s amazed to see me running. This helps me with my decision to continue onto lap 2 of the run. It was difficult to head out knowing that my legs were trashed and I got a feeling that Im going to be walking a lot. The water stop walks are getting longer and my pace is slightly faster then the guy who is power walking ahead of me. I did muster up a decent pace for the camera at the turn around in the park. The shadow box idea was great to keep me heading for the finish line. Now I got 6.5 miles to go and I look at the sun. It is starting to set and my goal is to finish while it is still light. The next 4 miles I can only plot along and life is not good. Then at mile 24 aid station as Im downing a Gatoraid, a fellow runs by me at a good clip. I decide at this point on I am going to run the last 2 without stopping. I settle into a 7 minute pace and it actually felt good to use a different muscle group. This would have been a death wish if i tried this in the early miles. I see Kelly again with a mile to go. We huge and Im back on the gas. The last mile is all adrenaline and I am pumped. I have no clue how I have done and I was psyched just to finish. then I find out that i had broken 11 hours. WOW! I will take it. It wasn’t my fastest or slowest, but it was my most special for several reasons. Kelly and I had done our first ironman together and I proved to myself that against all odds that I could do it!

Thanks to all who came down to watch, watch online and all the teammates who had an exceptional day.

Remember: If you can run 3 miles, you can run a marathon