Racine 70.3…I mean 69.1

I signed up for Racine at the start of the year because I knew this race would be a very competitive one. I wanted to really test myself with some of the best AG athletes around to see where I stood. Things did not all go to plan but the competitive field did not disappoint.

I was very excited when I heard that it would be a rolling swim start. This would mean that I could start off up front and swim with people instead of going off solo most of the swim. This would also, hopefully, allow me to find some other athletes to legally ride with for the bike. But come race weekend the water was cold. Like REALLY cold. It was 53 on Saturday and there was talk of shortening the swim if the water was too cold. Throw beach hazard warnings with high winds and riptides and I figured the swim would be short. But when we showed up on race morning the temperature was 51 and the swim was cancelled.

That meant no rolling start, no finding feet to swim with, no riding with a group to help pace the 56 mile ride, but it still meant I was starting in front! One of the benefits of the All World Athlete program is a low number. The start of the bike was a time trial start where 2 athletes started every 5 seconds. I was very happy to start early because I know how sketchy this course is when trying to pass a lot of people.

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So off I went up the hill outside of transition and on to one of the worst roads I have ridden on! But I was prepared for that so it wasn’t too bad. My goal now was to push my watts and hopefully find someone to ride with. But the TT start spread things out early and I was alone pretty much the whole ride. I was hitting my watts for the most part but the cross winds were causing me to get out of aero because I am a big baby when going fast and worrying about a cross wind blowing me over. I tried to settle and just relax but I just wasn’t comfortable staying in aero worrying about a cross wind going 30+ MPH. (I NEED to work on this!)

The roads weren’t great but for the most part the course was in good shape. I got into a rhythm for a while but then was unsettled by the winds then got into a rhythm, then the winds, rinse and repeat. I was pushing a solid 24-26 MPH so was thinking I would come in with a 2:14ish bike split which I would have been happy with. But getting back to transition I saw 2:18 and was pretty upset. I would not know how upset I should be until the end of the race when I saw that I gave up 5-10 minutes to the other top AG athletes. I am used to giving up some time on the bike but that much time is way too much since the other top athletes can also run fast. This is the time I wish we swam because I can usually get a few minutes on some people so I wouldn’t have so much time to make up on the run.

On the run I knew I had a lot of work to do. I got out of transition and Matt Hanson was starting his second loop. I started to run with him for a bit but I didn’t want to push too hard at mile 1 but I was feeling comfortable so I stayed with him for a mile before he left me. I was running 5:50 miles and feeling good so tried to keep the pressure on and see what my legs had in the tank.

Miles kept ticking off and ran lap one in around 39 minutes which meant around a 1:17-18 which would be a few minutes faster than my best time, 1:20, so I was happy. But I wasn’t happy knowing that the leader in my AG was ahead of me and the guy who I knew would win the AG was starting later. My dad told me I was gaining on him but every time I saw him he seemed a decent way ahead of me and was looking solid. But I wanted to catch him so I could at least get 2nd in the AG but wasn’t sure it was happening.

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I was starting to feel it and I started to see a few 6 minute miles but wanted to make sure I had enough left for a last push starting at mile 10. I saw the AG leader at one of the turns and had it in my mind I was not going to catch him. I still wanted to push as hard as I could since I was still trying to see where I would place overall in the amateur race so I did not want to let up. With about a mile and a half to go I caught a glimpse of the leader ahead of me and put it in my last gear to see if I could make the catch. I was able to make the pass in the last mile and I left it all out there. Crossed the finish line with a lot of pain on my face.

I ended up with a 1:17:41 run split which was a big PR for me. Finished 2nd AG, 5th amateur, and 21st Overall. Still disappointed with my bike split and how I rode it but happy with the run split so overall feel pretty good about the race. But now time to get back to training and hope that I can ride better at 70.3 Steelhead in a few weeks!

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As always a huge thanks to my wife for putting up with my crazy training! I know life will be much different next summer with a baby but I am so excited for it! Thanks to my dad for coming to the race and giving me splits and carrying around my bags.

Of course thanks to EGO for their continued support and for making the best lawn care products out there! Now that I have a house and a yard I understand the struggle of keeping a yard looking nice! SLF Motion and ICE Friction for making my drivetrain smooth and efficient and Greater Than Sports Drink for keeping me hydrated and looking cool in the nice gear they have given me!

Winter Training Woes

Chicago winters are dark, dreary, cold, windy, LONG, icy, boring, and did I mention long?! The winters around here can do a few things to training. They can kick start the mental toughness that comes along with endurance sports, and/or it can start a process that saps you mentally so you might not want to train! For me it does both. But if I can keep coming back and waking up to train when I am mentally drained I know that I will be ready to go when the season comes along.

I don’t mind riding on the trainer as long as I have some good music of TV to watch. I don’t mind running outside in the cold. What really gets me is waking up early to go swim and it is pitch black outside! I then have to drive to the pool, get in the “cold” water and swim. But once I am in the water things change, well usually. There are times when I am swimming and I think “man I wish I was a duathlete!” But I feel like this is all a part of the process of becoming mentally strong. Winter training separates the weak from the strong and it is the building block to a solid season.

I do get a bit worn down around this time because I want to get outside and ride my bike! Even during the season when the weather is nice I don’t ride outside all of the time. That is mostly because I live in the city and riding, or driving, to an area that is good to ride take a bit of time. But it is also because I know I can get a lot of great quality training done on the trainer since there are no stop lights, no coasting, nothing but me and the numbers!

I am VERY excited for this upcoming year. There are a lot of things that will be going on and triathlon is only a small portion. 2016 is going to be a great year!

Hard Work is King

Before I get to my actual blog post I wanted to give a super short race report of the Chicago Marathon. Wanted around 2:40. Started off at about 2:45 pace. Felt good until mile 14. Then it hurt. And hurt some more. And then really hurt. Why am I doing this? I will never do another marathon again. Finish race. Disappointed with a PR of 2:44:46. Take a few days to realize I only had a month of true marathon prep. So now not as disappointed. The end.

Now to start the real blog post. In the 4ish years I have been training/racing I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot about nutrition, fueling, injuries, bikes, running, aerodynamics. But one of the things that I have come to realize is that there is no one workout that will get you ready for a race. What gets you ready for a race is A LOT of hard work and consistency. I have thought back to what I did the last two years to get to where I am today and realized that it has all been a progression of smart, hard training year after year to get me in this position.

I have had different coaches over the last 4 years and I have been with my current coach for the last 2 years. What have we done differently? Honestly, I am not exactly sure if we have done much differently we have just attacked training with a different mindset. We have changed my swim sets to work on my weaknesses but distances are still around the same. We have focused on the bike a lot to allow me to run better off the bike. We are still doing good volume, like in the past, but we are also working on A LOT of quality, and it is painful, but rewarding quality.

There is no magic to training. Waking up at 5 AM to swim then cycling/running after work when you are tired day after day then again on the weekends is no secret. But it works. It might take 2 years, 4 years, 5 years to get to your potential but it is worth it. I don’t think I have hit my top end yet and I know I can still improve. It is now time to keep up the hard work and consistency to ensure that I keep getting faster. I am looking forward to the 2016, not only for racing, but also because I am getting married in June! I will have a lot going on this year and my life is changing but I will go after it like I have been the last 5 years; with passion and dedication!

70.3 Racine Report

I wanted to try to get this report out while things were still fresh in my mind. But I didn’t want to write it so fast that I had some jaded thoughts about the race. I needed time to think about the race, my effort, and what I wish happened before I really wrote it. Before I get into the report I will give a bit of background on Racine. I decided on Racine over Steelhead because Racine is driving distance from my apartment so not hotel needed, and also because I wanted to do USAT AG Nationals which is the day before Steelhead. Some people do both back to back and if they were closer I would be very tempted. The roads on the Racine bike course are, to be nice, crappy. But the big issue with those roads are there are stretches that have expansion cracks every 10-15 meters. So you just have to deal with it and it is very easy to let it mentally break you down, which it did to me at the start.

I went into this race knowing I had very good fitness. My coach and I have been working on my bike A LOT, and it has been painful, but I really wanted to show my new bike fitness and not lose as much time to the other top age groupers. For some reason I am not overly confident going into some bigger races. I KNOW that I have the ability to execute a top 10 race and I KNOW I should be in the top 5 of my AG but I also don’t think I act like it. Maybe it’s because racing is still a “new” and I am improving every race, maybe it’s I am just not as confident in my racing, and maybe it’s because I KNOW that I am going to give up 5 minutes, at least, on the bike to the other top amateurs. Running people down is fun and I LOVE it but I need to improve my bike so I can ride within a few minutes of their time so that I can run fast but just gain more time and not worry about chasing everyone down.

Swim exit

Swim exit

Swim: 26:19 (1:16 min/100) 4th AG: My new AG is pretty big so our wave was split into two waves and I was in the second wave and we were the 3rd to last wave to go off so I had a LONG wait from setting up transition to when my wave went off. Thankfully my parents came to the race to keep me company, and get me water since I forgot I would need more than one bottle during the 3 hour wait time! The water was like 60 degrees so pretty chilly but it felt really good compared to the air temperature which was close to 80 and sunny at the start. I have been doing a good job at pushing the swim this season and results have paid off. I have seen results in the pool but riding in open water is a very different beast! Thankfully Lake Michigan was very calm, unlike Saturday when it was very choppy and had a good current going the opposite direction. I got a good start off of the line and I was off. There was one other person who left everyone after about 100 yards, he ended up swimming a 23, so I had no chance of swimming with him. I didn’t find anyone else to swim with which kind of sucked but I had an eventful time passing people from other waves. I got out of the water and heard my dad yell “26 minutes”. I looked at my watch because he had to be lying, but he wasn’t. This is my fastest swim by like 2 minutes so I was very happy with how the day started! I got to the wetsuit strippers to get my wetsuit off. I already had my sleeved Louis Garneau pulled up. I LOVE this suit because, not only is it more aerodynamic than a non sleeved suit, but it also protects my shoulders and upper arms from the sun!

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Bike: 2:22:50 (23.9 MPH/232 NP) 3rd AG: I was really happy when I got on my bike because of my swim time. I wanted to really push the bike and show the bike fitness that I worked so hard on. I wanted to start off at around 235 watts then after an hour adjust and, hopefully, push it to 240. I thought that should get me a 2:15-2:20 which would put me in a great position. But that didn’t go according to plan. My right glute started to seize up at the start so I had to stop and stretch twice which cost me about 2 minutes of just stopping and probably another minute or so of soft pedaling and coasting. I wonder if that good swim ended up hurting me because I kicked a lot more and that caused my glute to lock up. I was VERY annoyed and disappointed because I did not want to struggle through this ride like I did at Ironman Wisconsin in 2012. But after about 15 minutes it relaxed and let me ride. But it still hurt and I couldn’t really push the way I wanted to.

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The roads were not great but they were not horrible. The worst part of the ride was having to pass thousands of other riders. Normally that wouldn’t be so bad but some of the roads were so narrow and riders were passing others but going too wide and left no room for me to pass. It got very frustrating because some people were riding on the left all the time or riding and talking to others. I do not want to seem elitist or anything because I LOVE that so many people challenge themselves with events like this but I just wish everyone was aware of others on the course because things can get very dangerous with so many people on the course. Other than the roads and not being able to push too much I felt like I had a good ride, I got passed by two or three people but that’s about it so I figured I was going to be in good position after the bike.

Racine Finish 2

Run: 1:22:15 (6:18 min/mile) 1st AG: I knew I would have some work to do after the bike but still figured I was top 5 in my wave, I wasn’t sure about the wave before me so I was a little bit nervous of what I might have to overcome. I heard my dad scream “4th place, 1 minute behind” so I knew I had some work to do but hopefully I could put out a good run and at least catch one of two of the others. The run was a bit hot and not very shady. It starts off with two short “hills” which aren’t very fun since you start off the run braking rhythm rather than working yourself into a rhythm. I was trying to look for the others in my AG. I remembered one had a red sleeved jersey and another had a white and blue kit so I was looking out for them. I got into a good feeling between severe pain and discomfort and the right amount of pain. I tried to hit every aid station to get in something but it got difficult at times because there were so many people on the road and the aid stations didn’t seem to be prepared for the mass amounts of people hitting the aid stations at the same time, it was not the fault of the amazing volunteers though you were all great!

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I made my first AG pass at about mile 6 so I thought I was in 3rd at that point. What I didn’t realize is that I either passed someone without knowing or the other person was in the other wave. I finished the first lap and saw the other person in my AG about 45 seconds ahead of me. I also saw some friends which was great. It is a nice boost to see people you know on the course! I was slowly catching up and was confident I would make the pass but I wanted to make the pass with authority and leave no doubt that I was feeling good. But that was tough because I was in the hurt locker. I ended up making the pass at an aid station. He had to slow down to get coke and I moved to the end of the aid station. It was a bit of a gamble because I wanted coke but also wanted to make the pass. Thankfully it worked out! I kept the pace hot and kept pushing. Finally I hit the last mile and tried to give it one last kick to get as much time as I could. It was very painful and the way I felt at the finish was on the verge of me just falling over because of how tired I was. But I stayed on my feet and my parents told me I won my AG!

Racine Finish

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Finish: 4:15:53 1st AG, 28th Overall, and 11th Amateur: I am very happy with the end result of the day. Every race throws different curve balls at you and I am happy I kept my head during the bike when things got hard. But still disappointed because I know I have more to show! But now time to recover a bit then get back to training and get ready for the USAT AG Nationals in August! Thanks to my parents for coming to see the race, thanks to my fiancé for watching the race online and making AMAZING smores cookies for me to devour when I got home! And thanks everyone out there for following me and supporting my racing and training! And of course thanks to Snapple Triathlon and our amazing sponsors!

Motivation

It has been way too long since I have posted, and I know it has been since my best friend who isn’t a triathlete commented about it! I have been kind of busy but also just wasn’t sure what to write about. But last week I started to think about my motivation to train then today during my cool down I started to think about what I would write about motivation. So here goes!

Everyone has to motivate themselves on a daily basis. Do I wake up 10 minutes earlier to make breakfast or grab a pop tart (my pre race breakfast!) on the go? Do I eat the donut in the kitchen at work or just drink some water and eat an apple? Do I go out to eat with coworkers even though I made my healthy lunch? Do I order pizza or Chinese instead of cook at home?

These are all questions everyone has on a daily basis. Okay maybe not those exact questions but ones that are very similar. I go through those questions everyday as well too but because of the amount of training I do I have added questions that come up. Do I wake up at 5 to go for this swim? Do I take a nap after work and push back my run? Do I do 5×1 mile repeats or 4? Do I push as hard as I know I should even though I am tired? These questions happen sometime but sometimes training is just, well training. I get through it and I enjoy it. But on other days those early wake ups are really annoying and on days like today I just want to relax with my fiancé and watch Fixer Upper.

Then I get to thinking…why am I doing all of this training? What do I get out of it? Do I enjoy it because it is fun? Do I enjoy it because I am pretty good? Am I just scared to suck so I make myself train? I think at different times I train because I love it, because I am scared, because it is fun, because I am good at it, and because I want to get better.

The tough times are when I REALLY think about it. I do a lot of thinking on long swims, rides, or runs. So I get to go through many different things everyday. I really do enjoy training and racing a lot. Like A LOT. I LOVE pushing my body to see how far it can go and how well I can do. But then part of my knows that I also train so much because I am scared to fail. I train so much that when I fail I not only feel bad for myself but I feel bad for my family and friends that I take time away from to train. I know they are all happy with whatever place I come in and no matter how I feel but I want to do well FOR them almost more than me.

There are times where I do think that I need to cut back a bit on training to just let loose a bit. Not worry too much about what I am eating or drinking but that will come. I think I have come a long way with being so structured and regimented. I still am that but just a few years ago I was so paranoid that if I had one bad meal, or one bad part of a meal I would regret it. Like I would get mad at myself and be very frustrated. But now I know that if I have a piece of cake, or two, if I have fries, or a beer (which I am enjoying now!), I won’t automatically gain a pound or two.

I am very happy that I have a race coming up in two weeks so I will be able to have all of this hard work and dedication pay off! I might post before then since I need to get back into the swing of it. I am not sure what other races I am doing this year but right now the ones that I have signed up for are Challenge/Rev3 Knoxville, Pleasant Prairie Olympic, and the Chicago Marathon. I will add a mock schedule to the site and add the races I think I am going to do. Well, as always, thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions on what to write about let me know! I am always up for some reader feedback!

2014 Year in Review

This year had many ups and downs, like most people.  But my swings, in training and racing, were huge.  I started off the season self coached then realized that going into a season with an Ironman, and wanting to qualify for Kona, I wanted someone to take reigns of my training and hopefully get me to the start line ready for a big race (which he did, I just didn’t execute).  On Slowtwitch, a triathlon forum, I came across Jonny Caron and we hit it off and we made the decision to work together.  He looked at my past training to see what I had done then got started on my training.

We started working together in May and my first big result of the season came mid May at the Chicago Spring Half Marathon.  It was a perfect day for a PR and that is what came out of that race.  I lowered my half marathon time to 1:16:53 which is a 2.5 minute improvement from last year.  So far so good.

Then I moved into a new apartment in Chicago May 31st.  June 3rd came around and I had to sit at home and wait for the AC repairman and get my cable and internet set up.  I had a nice bike ride with some intervals planned and I wanted to get it done outside to test nutrition and all that but time was the big factor.  The install and repairs were done around lunch time so I quickly put my bike in my car, drove to my parents house, changed and rode.  My season, and life, changed that afternoon.  I was hit by a drunk driver on my ride.  Thankfully the injuries weren’t worse, very bad bruising and cuts and gashes, but no concussion (thank you Rudy Project helmets!).

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Then it was time to race my first big race of the season, Rev3 Wisconsin Dells and boy oh boy was that a tough race.  It was not only hot and sunny but it was hilly and hillier and getting hit by the car took a lot out of me and I just did not have the fitness.  I finished the race but was not happy with the result.  The following weekend I race ITU Chicago which was a BLAST!  It was a super fast race, and short, but it was cool to race in downtown Chicago and run around Buckingham Fountain and bike on lower Wacker.  I was satisfied with that race.

Time to ride!

Time to ride!

July brought a lot of training, which was much-needed after losing training in June.  I had one race, placed 2nd, but it was mostly about getting back the fitness I had lost in June then build on that fitness.  And it worked!  I went into my 2nd biggest race of the year, 70.3 Steelhead, ready to see what my fitness had in store for me.  And it did not disappoint.  I had my best race as a triathlete!  I finished 25th overall, 1st in my age group, and 10th amateur.  My run split, 1:20:59, was the 10th fastest on the day for all racers and my time, 4:18:27, was a 7 minute improvement on my previous fastest 70.3.  So coming out of that race I was excited and knew I was in great shape going into Ironman Wisconsin.  I just had to execute on race day.

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The Iron distance triathlon, 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run, is a puzzle piece.  One can go into that race on a perfect taper, with the best fitness they’ve ever had but one little thing can go wrong and it can throw your day off.  But the good thing with a race that long is that if one thing goes wrong you have the chance to fix that and still end up with a good race.  Ironman Wisconsin was a tough race for me right when I got out of the water.  My glutes started cramping so the first few miles of the ride I was taking in nutrition and stretching a lot which made my ride slower than I wanted but I knew that if I had a good run I would put myself back into contention.  I think I wanted to run so fast I did not let the race come to me.  I felt good coming off the bike so it was tough to slow down and I think that hurt me in the long run.  After a few miles taking in nutrition became very tough.  Nothing tasted good and I felt sick.  Now if it was a stand alone marathon that wouldn’t be good but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  But after 6.5 hours of racing my body was depleted so it needed those calories and liquid that I just could not give it.  It became a death march to the finish but I finished with my head up but wondering what if.

Running down Observatory Hill.

Running down Observatory Hill.

2015 will be another great year and I am excited to get started with it!  I am not sure of my schedule yet but I know I will be racing more than last season.  But now I will give my 2014 training totals!  Here are my totals from 2013 for reference.

Swim: 380,961 yards (216.5 miles) in about 100 hours (20 hours more than 2013)

Bike: 4840 miles in 261.5 hours (about 50 more than 2013)

Run: 1534 miles in about 188 hours (about 40 less than last year where I did two marathons)

Total: 558.5 hours total training which is 37 more than 2013!

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

I am still not sure how I want to write this report since I did not have the race I wanted but it still wasn’t a total loss.  But first I wanted to give thanks to those who supported me during this Ironman ride.  First, I want to thank my girlfriend who had to put up with all of the early morning and early nights and me not being able to go out ever and not wanting eat anything but salads.  I also want to thank my parents for coming to all of my races and supporting me.  And my friends who have looked the other way at all the times I have not been able to go out because of training and racing.

I also want to thank the Snapple Triathlon team for selecting me this year and I apologize for not crushing dreams at Ironman Wisconsin!  And also a HUGE thanks to all of our great sponsors!  All of the gear, nutrition products, and support made this all possible!

Lastly, I want to thank my coach JonnyO for getting me to the start line with the fitness needed to put on a good show just couldn’t get it done on the day.  But I know that the future will bring some good results!

Now I guess I should get to the report…

First I will give some thoughts that went through my mind during my walking during the marathon.  “Well this feels good, looks like if I run a good marathon I have a chance.”  “This perform is warm and this water is too.”  “Well let’s just walk this one aid station and get some calories in.”  “Well I am NEVER going to do another Ironman, what’s the point?!”  “I think I can run it in to the finish so let’s book it and if I collapse so be it.”

So as you can see I had a wide range of thoughts, as most do, during the marathon.  I came off of a pretty good swim, a not so good bike, so I had some time to make up if I wanted to qualify for Kona.  I want to make this short and sweet because I don’t want to relive the race too much.

Swim: 59:49 (1:32 min/100 meters 17th AG/85th Overall)

Swim start

Swim start

I was expecting to swim about an hour based on my half swim times and my training.  I started off all the way on the inside about 15 yards from the buoy line.  I was the furthest person so the left so I knew I would have a pretty clean start.  Got going and got into a good rhythm and just kept swimming.  It was pretty nice that I didn’t really think,”wow this is a long swim!”  I tried to stay on some feet but it didn’t seem like anyone was swimming straight, or maybe I wasn’t.  My calf started to cramp a bit so every now and then I would flex my ankles to try to stretch it out.  Got out of the water and saw my time and thought “right on schedule”.  Got to the wetsuit strippers then started up the helix when I felt my right glute start to lock up, “oh sh*t!”  I was hopeful it would release and let me ride but I was not that positive.  Love my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit!  I have had my best times this season wearing it and would not wear anything else!

Bike: 5:43:47 189 NP (19.55 MPH, 25th AG/182rd Overall)

Got to my bike and the glute was not releasing so I had to stop and stretch a few times.  I did have some thoughts about dropping out right then because I did not want to have the same struggle of a race I did in 2012 but quickly told myself I would give myself an hour and if I was still hurting by then we would revisit that thought.  But thankfully after about 10 miles it released but it still didn’t go away completely so I just couldn’t generate the power I wanted.  I knew my chance of finishing top 3 in my AG would depend on my run so I kept riding conservatively and letting people pass me.

I like my bike position!  Thanks Jessica for the picture!  Loved my "homemade" Louis Garneau skin top.

I like my bike position! Thanks Jessica for the picture! Loved my “homemade” Louis Garneau skin top.

The hills weren’t as bad this year and I kept them nice and easy then hit the downhills like my coach told me to and it was a fun way to ride.  I did not have any jitters hitting top speed which was 42.5 but I think I could’ve gone faster if I wanted.  I kept ticking off miles and getting my Osmo nutrition in and felt ok coming off the bike.  I knew I was behind where I wanted to be time wise but figured if I rode decent and got my nutrition down I could run a good marathon to catch up.

Got off the bike, ran through transition, made a quick bathroom stop then headed out with the legs feeling pretty good.  I also used a “homemade” Louis Garneau skin suit top to get a bit more aerodynamic and get some more sun coverage and it worked.  I found an old cycling skin suit at a bike shop then cut the bottoms off.  It was a bit tough to put on when wet but it worked!  No sunburns!

Run: 3:54:29 (8:56 min/mile, 20th AG/154th Overall)

Coach told me to go on a nice easy run to start the race so that’s what I tried to do.  I kept having to slow myself down the first few miles but I was talking to myself to make sure I was going easy.  All was going well until about mile 9 when my stomach started to get unsettled.  That never happens to me so I got a bit worried.  Then at mile 12 I walked an aid station to get calories in since even though I tried to get in fluids everything was warm so it made it tough to drink or eat anything.  I had some miserable middle miles where dropping out came into my head again but I started to walk with someone who felt like me and we chatted a bit and both kind of said “if we have to walk it in we walk it in”.  So I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to think positive.

Running down Observatory Hill.

Running down Observatory Hill.

At some point I told myself to stop being negative Nancy and try to have some fun.  So I started to play the high 5 game and give everyone who wanted a high 5 a high 5.  That helped a bit then at about mile 20 a little girl had a sign that said “tough here and get a speed bust” (or something along those lines).  So I of course jokingly, or so I thought, hit it and started to run. I figured it would only last a little bit but I quickly realized that my stomach wasn’t hurting.  Well great!  My girlfriend and parents were waiting at like mile 21 and I knew they realized that something went wrong so I got to them and gave them the run down and told them I would be able to keep up at least 9 minute miles to the finish.

Letting the family know my plans for the last few miles.

Letting the family know my plans for the last few miles.

So with my legs hurting like hell but working and my stomach feeling better I started to run again.  And for the last 6 miles I kept a sub 8 minute pace and when I got to the last few miles I just took off.  I knew I was hurting but I just wanted to be done.  I got into the finishers chute with a woman in front of me so I slowed down to give her her own finish and I started to give out some high 5s.  I was looking for my girlfriend and parents but couldn’t find them.  I guess I looked right at them but didn’t realize.  Now it was my turn to cross the finish.  “Jeremy Rielley, a teacher from Chicago, Il you are an Ironman!”

Finish: 10:46:26 (20th AG/154th Overall)

Right after the race I was obviously VERY disappointed because I trained all year and pretty much put all of my eggs in one basket.  But after a few days of relaxing and thinking I realized all was not lost.  I had a good swim, a decent bike and a good finish to my race.  Now I am trying to figure out how I want to attack next season.  My coach and I have been talking about doing another Ironman but doing it later in the season and not making it the only big race of the year or we do an Ironman and make it just another race.  Now that race will never be “just another race” but having some other big races in the early part of the year and summer take some pressure off of the Ironman result.  My bike accident put a lot of pressure on Ironman Wisconsin because I lost a few races while recovering so I basically only had two big races in the year which can lead to a lot of disappointment if one does not get the desired result.

Now time to recover then get back into some loose training and find some running races and maybe bike races for the rest of the year then hit the winter hard with a good block of training on my weaknesses!