Ironman Austin 70.3 2012 – His Perspective

Photo purchased from official race day photogs

So let me preface this by saying that I am SOOOOO proud of Eric.. not only for all that he has accomplished… but for allowing me to share his side of the story… This is a bit outside of his comfort zone.. but that being said.. if you are reading this and training.. I would think this side of the story is even more helpful to you…

That being said.. I REALLY wanted to title this “So… you want to be an Ironman? Are you ready to pee on yourself in public?”… LOL… I heard something along these lines in the early stages of this training and I remember giggling… but it’s really not funny because it really is true… as an athlete – you always want to be faster and knock more time off… and because of the mental challenges of this race… things that may have once seemed like something you would never do.. become part of the normal conversation… but I stand by my take that these races do not involve ANYTHING normal about them… this entails a day that is as long, and sometimes longer than a normal work day for the average person.. but this is fun and done for fun (unless you are a pro.. then it is your office).. pushing your body and mind to places that you never figured you would or could go.

I applaud all of you Ironman, Half Ironman – Finishers, and those training for these endeavors.. you are all awesome…

Ironman Austin 70.3 2012 – Eric’s Perspective

His recap email to his coach.

“I got up at 4:45 and had my normal one bowl of Kashi cereal with low fat milk, and two pieces of whole wheat toast with peanut butter.  Additionally I had a cup of coffee to help get me going.  I slept better than I have for my past events.  I felt like I had trained the way it was laid out for me so I had that going for me.  Due to the cold weather I dressed in layers, so as we got closer to the swim I could start peeling them off.  We left the hotel and headed for the convention center at 5:45.  I was a little stressed as we got closer as there was a lot more traffic, and there was a detour.  Lesson learned from this is that when transitions are open that will be the time we will arrive.  I got my run gear dropped off in T-2 and headed for the shuttle to T-1, on the way I realized I had left the bottles I had prepared for my bike as well as my fuel belt for the run.  I was stressed but figured I would just have to make the best of the situation.  Once we got to T-1 I stopped in with the SAG Monkey and he graciously let me borrow two water bottles.  One I filled with Gatorade, the second with water, and headed to T-1 to drop the bottles and the rest of my bike gear.  By this time it was around 7:10, I started to get my wetsuit on, and prepped the rest of my swim gear and headed down to the swim start area.  At this point I was nervous but still feeling good!  I watched as the pros went out and then started jumping around a bit to get a sweat going as I was down to 30 minutes before my swim start.  At about 7:50 I gave the girls kisses and headed down to the swim start.  Once my wave was up I got in the water to get acclimated, at this point I was feeling much more nervous and slightly overwhelmed at how long the swim course looked.

At 8:00 am the gun went off and we were off, I knew I wanted to swim hard to the first buoy and then see how I was feeling and get into a good rhythm.  After about 4:30 minutes of hard swimming, I felt like I was tired and couldn’t catch my breath, I started out at the front of the pack and as I slowed down I was even more overwhelmed with the amount of people around.  I tried to get it together, but the more I swam the more I felt like I needed to stop, at this point the voices in my head were telling me that this was to much and I needed to just give up.  I knew this was not an option but it was tough fighting the voices in my head.  I got to the inside and just stopped to tread water, I knew that if I didn’t get my head right that my day would be ruined.  I got refocused on my task at hand, I focused on my swim stroke breathing and sighting every 6th stroke as I knew this would occupy my mind.  I felt as though the next ten minutes were still a struggle getting into a rhythm.  After that point I was going, and was feeling good, but I was still fighting the emotions as I was very disappointed in myself as I had lost valuable minutes.  I went over the race plan in my head and just swam from that moment.  The further down the course I went and with each turn I felt better.  I got to the end stood up and was on my feet, the first thing I did was look at my watch to see my time, 44:29.  I was disappointed but knew my day was far from over and couldn’t let it affect my entire race.  I headed up to T-1, got some assistance with getting my wetsuit off and off to the transition area.

Got  to my bike, and started the process, got my socks and shoes on, my race belt, and got my watch on my bike.  My coach had told me to put my arm warmers on under my wetsuit, for some reason I did not listen to that advice and spent the next 45 sec to a minute getting them on.  I grabbed my bike and headed out.

Got on my bike and was feeling good, I knew my heart rate would be up and just kept steady pressure on the pedals, nothing to crazy, but go into a decent groove.  As I look back at my splits, the first split was the slowest of the day and I wonder if I went out to easy.  Anyway moving on at about the 6 mile mark I was about half way up a hill, and as I went to change from the large to small sprocket  my chain fell off.  I almost fell off the bike trying to dismount to fix my chain.  It was an easy fix, but my next thought was what the hell can happen next.  As I got back on my bike I of course was still not in the right gear, and it was harder than hell to get going on top of it I couldn’t get my left foot snapped in, I got to the top off the hill and yet again regained my composure, got my foot in and told myself to just keep digging.  Over the next 50 miles for the most part I felt really good.  I had set my watch to alarm every 15 minutes to help remind me to eat and drink.  So every time it went off I drank, and every other time ate some of the granola bar I brought along.  I felt like I was  in a groove and I was passing a lot of people which really made me feel good, I knew I had to race my race but it felt good all the same.  I was a little surprised by the amount of rolling hills I encountered but just kept pushing forward.  I felt like I was on pace to meet the goal established prior but at the end of the day I was about ten minutes slower than I had hoped for.  Overall I took in 380 calories in my bars, and another 160 in the 20 ounces of Gatorade I took in, plus another 16 ounces of water.  I maintained a disciplined mid Z3 heart rate through out the ride with the exception of the hills.  There were several time during the course that I felt I could go harder, but with a run still to do, I wanted to make sure that I did remain disciplined.  I got to the dismount line, got off my bike and headed to T-2, at this point I looked at my watch and realized that I was again about 10 minutes slower than my goal.  Bike was completed in 2:56:25.

I got into to T2, got my bike squared away, run gear on and off I went, T-2 time was 2:48.

During the entire bike ride, I needed to urinate, on several occasions I tried while I was riding as I didn’t want to lose any time stopping.  I figured once inside T-2 I would use the bathroom there but much to my dismay, there was a line.  I decided that I would head out to the run and just deal with it on the run course.  Off the bike I felt really strong, legs felt good, and my first mile was a 7:38, I was feeling pretty good and knew that per the race plan I would push a little harder.  Again I was a little surprised by the amount of hills on the course, but just kept running.  I maintained a high Z4 effort for the entire run, my splits up to about the ten mile mark were all right around 8:15 to 8:30.  At this point I still had not been able to relax enough to run and urinate, and I was left with no choice but to stop, as I started to have discomfort in my abdomen I assume from holding it for 4+ hours.  I found an empty restroom and did my thing, it felt as though I was in there forever, but reality was probably 1:00-1:30, but an eternity, and I felt like the longer  I stood there I felt as if my feet were starting to swell.  I got back out on the course and focused on the last three miles.  My legs were sore but I knew I was getting close and remained focused.  As far as nutrition during the run, I got fluids at every aid station switching between water and the (nasty) power aid.  I had a gu at mile 5, and a half a banana and some cola at mile 10.  The last three miles went by pretty quick but I could feel my self slowing especially on the hills, but once I got to mile 12 I knew I was good to go, I still couldn’t muster much more speed, but it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line and completing my first 70.3.  My girls were waiting at the finish line and it was a great sight to see.  Overall run time 1:53:32, again about 10 minutes slower than my goal.

This race I almost felt was more difficult mentally than it was physically, now don’t get me wrong, it was tough physically but even more so on the mental side.  I felt like I pushed through the adversity, and kept a positive attitude.  Overall I felt it was a pretty good day, I was disappointed that my times were slower in all three disciplines than the goals that I had in mind.  I felt like I raced as smart as my experience allowed me and followed the race plan as closely as I could, additionally I knew that my lack of nutrition during my marathon hurt my overall performance so I was very focused to be sure that didn’t happen again.

I am ready for the next challenge of a full IM, looking forward in March of next year.  That being said I really need to focus on my swim starts, and feel like at some point as we get closer to March spending at least one day a week doing open water swims maybe helpful???or maybe just simply need more pool time!!  Also now that I have this first one under my belt, my focus is to gain as MUCH SPEED as possible.  I don’t just want to do……I want to do it faster!!!!!  With all that being said, make no mistake, the 70.3 was tough, and a full scares the shit out of me, but I have 5 months to get better, faster, stronger and smarter.

Swim (Laps are every 400 yds).
Lap 1   9:02 2:15 pace
Lap 2.  7:42 1:55 pace
Lap 3.  7:08 1:47 pace
Lap 4.  7:37 1:54 pace
Lap 5.  8:17 2:04 pace
Lap 6 (200 yds) 5:00 2:11 pace

Overall swim 44:29

Transition 1

Bike (Laps are every 5 miles)
Lap 1   16:29 hr 142
Lap 2.  15:01 hr 139
Lap 3.  17:01 hr 135
Lap 4.   15:20 hr 132
Lap 5.  14:48 hr 125
Lap 6.   16:48 hr 137
Lap 7.  14:28 hr 137
Lap 8.  13:48 hr 131
Lap 9.  15:12 hr 138
Lap 10.  16:43 hr 139
Lap 11.  9:41 hr 137

I have no way to measure power at the moment.

Average cadence 72
Overall 2:56:25
Overall pace 19.05 mph

Lap 1     7:38 hr 147
Lap 2     8:11 hr 147
Lap 3.    8:20 hr 145
Lap 4.    8:29 hr 149
Lap 5.    8:17 hr 150
Lap 6.    8:38 hr 149
Lap 7.    8:37 hr 147
Lap 8.    8:48 hr 148
Lap 9.    8:28 hr 150
Lap 10.  8:33 hr 145

Lap 11. 10:32 hr 142
Lap 12.  9:19 hr 147
Lap 13.   8:40 hr 150

Average cadence 87
Overall 1:53:32
Pace 8:40

Overall time 5:42:58

Now…….I need all the pointers I can get to get faster.  Are there things I can do nutritionally to help with progress.  Any suggestions on what to do on rest days that can help my body heal?  How about after races things to do to help the body heal?

Also it’s a continuing challenge for me to try and give you good feedback so you can help me achieve as much as I possibly can, that being said any pointers moving forward are greatly appreciated, not just with the things that I have mentioned but possibly anything I may be overlooking.  Thanks for all your help up to this point!!”

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