I just posted this on the IM-USA Onelist sitw, but thought maybe you RSTers
would be interested too ...
Here's my race report, having just returned from LP. It's a bit long: my
apologies in advance.
First, a bit of a background about my summer. My wife, the most supportive
person in the world, is seven months pregnant. Because of the heat in Chicago
this past summer and the fact that she's having a relatively tough time
getting around, it was tough on me to train in the manner I had originally
Second, I have an exceptionally demanding job (70 plus hour weeks) that
requires my flying upwards of two times a week.
These two elements added up to the fact that I really, genuinely was
undertrained going into LP: I had done one century, one 20 mile run and that
was truly about it. While this newsgroup without question was immensely
helpful, it was also at times relatively intimidating, a reason why I kept
such a low profile.
Anyway, the week leading up to LP was a great one; my in-laws have a
wonderful vacation house in Lake George (about 1 1/2 hours from LP), so I was
able to get some much needed R&R before heading into town Friday morning.
The Swim: Boy, that mass start freaked me out. Typically when swimming, my HR
is somewhere in the area of 130-134. After the first 500 meters I glanced at
it and it read 174! Fortunately, I realized it was nerves and worked to calm
myself down. After the pack shook out, I found myself in a groove -- it was
really quite a nice swim (I loved waving to the scuba guys on the bottom of
the lake!). My only problem is that I tend to get real cold in water (I'm 6
feet, 138 pounds!) below 70 degrees, and the last half mile I really started
to freeze. Nevertheless, I came out of the water in 1:14, a very good time
for a very mediocre swimmer.
Having biked the course in May, I was clearly a hell of a lot fitter: I
wasn't struggling up the hills nearly as bad as my first go round. In fact,
my first loop, aftr I finally warmed up from the swim, I found myself having
to hold back. I decided at the beginning of the race to stick to my game
plan, which was a 7:00 bike (hey, mediocre swimmer, mediocre biker. What can
I say?). So, the second loop I forced myself to go slower. The second loop
another weird thing happend: I found myself having to stop to pee nearly
every 20 minutes (did anyone else experience this? I must have peed 20 times
on the bike!). But what really saved me on the bike I think I owe to Iron
Pete: I remember someone posting on RST how much boiled potatos helped out on
an Ironman course (Iron Peter, was it you who posted this? Rolf maybe?).
Anyway, this came to mind as I was walking through a supermarket Friday
afternoon so I figured what the heck. I boiled up about six of these, mixed
em up with some salt and threw them in my bike jersey and run special needs.
Bottom line: I cannot tell you how much they helped on the bike,. Man, they
were an immediate lift. And I think the salt (I ate potato chip s and
pretzels too) really saved me from cramping up.
Cool thing on the bike: I came into town just as Thomas was finishing up the
marathon. I rode right next to him, yelled "Bring it home Thomas. He looked
right up at me and cracked a huge smile. Very cool moment).
Run: Now I admitted I was a lousy swimmer and lousy biker, but I am a pretty
decent runner, with a 3:20 marathon to my credit. With that under my belt and
as an iron***, I thought I would "cruise' the marathon. Well, the best way
I could describe the run was "Death March of Bataan." The first ten miles
were relatively ok -- I wasn't kicking dust, but I was moving along at a nice
9:30 mile pace. And then I hit mile 11. I literally had to stop. I simply
could not run. It was the oddest feeling -- I could walk at a decent clip,
but I simply couldn't run. I knew my parents, in-laws, wife and brother would
be waiting for me at mile 13, so I sucked it up like I never have before and
did my best to "run" past them. They weren't fooled: even my wife, who knew
it would take a bullet between the eyes for me to DNF, was worried. My
brother said he didn't recognize me. My moms description was most succinct:
"You looked like a cadaver."
The next 7 miles were a walk. They were withouth question the hardest portion
of the race. While I knew I could walk it in and easily beat the clock, I
wasn't feeling much like an Ironman during these tenuous monments. At the
same time, in retrospect, these were also some of the most awe inspiring
moments of the race. The comraderie among us back of the packers was just
incredible: people were literally willing one another to finish, stopping to
help people iron out cramps. I don't want to sound overdramatic here, but to
me, it defined and typified all that is good about mankind. At times, I was
almost moved to tears, though I'm certainthat the glucose deprivation played
a role in my emotions.
At around mile 15, I remembered Iron Pete's other sage words "Don't be afraid
to eat new things." Up until that point I had avoided the defizzed coke, but
I figured out what the hell - I had virtually nothing to lose. The next three
aid stations I drank copius amounts of coke, but still I felt bonked and
couldn't really muster the energy to run.
Until I hit mile 19 or 20 Then the coke kicked in and it was one of the
strangest things ever to happen to me in my "athletic" career. I immediately
felt like an entirely new person. I told my walking partners "I think my legs
just came back to life" and ended up not only running the last 7 miles or so,
but running them at a very respectable clip. My best words of advice coming
out of this -- drink the Coke and drink it early.
At mile 24 I ran into my brother (a marathoner himself who followed me
throughout muh of the course, providing incredible inspiration), who screamed
at me "You are an Ironman. Bring it home, we're all waiting for you." Man, at
that moment I got goosebumps like I never have before. I cracked my first
smile of the day, told him to gather up the family in the oval because I was
The next mile and a half I was on cloud nine. I ran into the stadium, one of
the volunteers patted me onthe ***and said "welcome home Ironman". I turned
the corner and saw my pregnant wife jumping up and down with tears in her
eyes, my mother crying, my father and father-in-law high fiving each other. My
eyes started welling up, and I'm not much of a crier.
Man, what a feeling.
I did some sort of crazy dance coming through the finish line: I have no idea
where it came from. I crossed the finish line. An Ironman (albeit in 13:52, a
time I'm not totally wild about and well behind where I thought I'd finish).
Post Race Thoughts:
To the people of LP: you're the biggest. Race organizers. You're even
biggger. What an event, what memories I take away from this weekend.
Regrets: One: that I didn't get to meet any of the good people of this news
group. I don't get to see my parents or in-laws that often at all, and since
they made the trip, I figured I owed them the respect of time. That said, may
me meet soon. I feel indebted to all of you for your wisdom and support.