Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ironman Canada

Let me start by saying that both Jayne and Tony(the Hobbit) did great. Jayne set a PR by over 20 minutes and actually beat the Hobbit in the run. The Hobbit actually beat Jayne on the bike, he was sick of seeing her butt I guess. I digress.

Let me just say I love Canada! I was really looking forward to this race. I felt like I was pretty fit. I thought I had thought of all possible scenarios and planned for them. I did make 1 pre race mistake in that I left my arm warmers at home, I payed for that. Race morning started at 0230, which was about an hour earlier than I wanted to wake up. We stayed in Osoyoos which is about 50 min. south of Pentictin so we had to get up a little earlier to make the drive into town. We won't stay there next time, to much driving back and forth. All the other race day morning rituals went as planned. I actually wasn't to nervous and was able to eat a whole bowl of oatmeal. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. Dropped of the special needs bags and right to body marking. My friend Vicki did Canada a few years ago and told me to be prepared to do our own body marking because their system was a big cluster. She was right and we did our own. We actually had about 10 people line up around us to use our marker. The rest of the prep went fine except I lost Jayne and Tony and never found them. As I had planned I got right to the front of the swim start and right in the middle. My thinking is that I will go hard for the 1st 200, those that are faster will blow by me or over me. And those slower folks will stay behind me. This strategy worked pretty well. I could/should have gone a little harder at the beginning. For the most part though my swim went great. I swam very straight always within 5-10 feet of the buoys. I did get punched in the mouth once, but that was all. Tony actually had his goggles knocked off at about 1 mile and went the rest of the way without. The swim finish is weird. Instead of a nice sandy bottom, like the start, the bottom is covered in rocks for 50-75 feet yet the water was only 2 foot deep. I was actually grabbing the rocks and pulling myself along the bottom. When I was finally able to stand up I asked a guy next to me what our time was he said 1:11, I was thrilled. It was really 1:12:41 a PR for me by about 5 minutes so I was happy. Into the change tent and mass chaos. There were no chairs so I had to change standing up. The temperature that morning was a brisk ~55 so I did not want to swim in my bike gear and start out wet and cold on the bike so I had to dry off and completely change. This cost me 10 minutes which was fine, I was warm and dry. The bike started great because just as I mounted my bike I saw Jayne right next to me. This was great for 2 reasons, 1. I got to see her and wish her well and 2. She didn't kick my ass to bad in the swim. So off we go tearing through town. I felt great! But here is were things started to work against me. About 3 days before we left for Canada my bike computer quit displaying cadence. I tried a 1000 adjustments but couldn't get to work. I think a wire is broken. At any rate all of my training was done using cadence. So now I was flying blind. Oh well after all the miles I put in preparing for this race I should know what 95 RPM's feels like, right. As we head out of town I feel great I'm passing people constantly. Then comes the days 1st surprise we turned left on Mclean Creek rd. I thought we went straight, I thought I knew the course. I rode it a few years ago, wrong!! Up Mclean Creek we go this got the HR up a little. Everything was still going well I was eating and drinking and felt great. I cruised all the way to Osoyoos not to hard but felt like I was right were I needed to be just before Richter, but I needed to pee. Richter was fine, until I got to the aid station and got to pee. 2 porta pots and 2800 riders, I did get to stand in line with Laura, another Spokane person, total pee time ~10 min. ridiculous. Back on the bike an up and over Richter. Here is were my day turned to shit. As I started down the backside of Richter I knew I was not completely over my downhill anxiety. I was on the brakes and getting passed by everyone. This was demoralizing. As we started the rollers the wind started blowing, hard! At one point on flat ground I was going 9 mph. Next pee break another 10 min. Then the out and back. This was, I thought, the only part of the course I did not know. I was under the impression that this was a fairly flat benign part of the course. Wrong!! I made 2 big mistakes on this section. 1st came while trying to eat a GU in a big gear going down a small hill which then turned rapidly into a fairly steep uphill. Instead of dropping the GU and shifting gears I muscled my way up the hill. I knew at the top that I had made a huge mistake. But because I'm an idiot I made a similar mistake about 5 minutes later with another smaller yet taxing hill. When I got to special needs I took a little time to pound a protein drink and a V8 splash and took my PBJ and took off. Now it gets miserable. Just before I made the turn onto the Yellow Lake road it started raining and the temp dropped about 10 degrees. This is when I missed my arm warmers. As I headed up to Yellow Lake the wind was whipping the rain was pouring and it was COLD. About 1/2 way up I even got a little hale. Now comes the part I've been dreading ever since I realized that I'm now a pussy on downhills. The long sweeping turns back to HWY 97. And just to make it interesting lets do it on wet roads. I was making my way down getting passed by everyone except one guy he too was a pussy. About 1/2 way down I was reminded why I was a pussy when a guy that had just screamed passed me got a speed wobble going into a big sweeping left hander and as I watch he smacked the concrete barrier that separated him from the edge of the earth. He was fortunate in that he was able turn enough to match the angle of the curve and side wide the barrier. He then did a Fosberry flop over the barrier with his bike. I stop to make sure the guy is ok he bounced up, missing 1 lens from his glasses, and proclaims to be "good". Not sure about good, but lucky for sure. The weird thing for me now is that I'm coming to the realization that my race is fucked. I'm about an 1 hour behind were I felt I would. I'm finally starting to let the bike run a little more. By the time I hit 97 I was going full on even down the hills. The sun came back out I warmed up and I started eating everything I had. The problem I discovered later was that I had to much stuff left at the end. I started the bike with 3x 20oz bottles of gatorade and an aero bottle of water. I finished the ride with 2 full bottles of gatorade and I only refilled the aero bottle once during the ride. I also only ate 3 Gu's and 1 cliff bar and 3/4 pkt of shot roks and Lara bar. Basically I completely blew my nutrition plan on the bike. No wonder I posted my worst IM bike split ever. So now I'm an 1 hour behind and about 2000 calories in the hole. Sounds like a good time to run a marathon. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how this turns out. But just to make it fun when we get to ~12 miles lets cover to bottom of the toe next to the little piggy with a giant blister. I've never had a blister anywhere on my foot running, and now I've got one on the bottom of a toe with 14 miles to run. My pace had already slowed from a blistering, pun intended, 9:03/mi pace to 10:30 pace. Now with the blister and the hardest part of the course I was screaming along right at 12 min pace. At ~14 miles I saw Tony, Janine, then Jayne going the other direction, I was about 2 miles ahead of them. The Hobbit was walking, Janine was running well and so was Jayne. I thought shit they are all going to catch me. Tony said his knee hurt so I thought I could hold him off but Janine looked strong and so did Jayne. But Jayne has not been able to run that much so I thought she might fade as the race wore on. But I was worried about Janine, not that I could do much about it, just keep plugging along in 1st gear. The folks watching us torture ourselves were great. Everyone trying to encourage you but there were two people in particular that really did help me. 1st was that old man that looked like Alfred Hitchcock he said "Bryan, do you think you can look a little deeper inside yourself" That tells you how slow I was going at that point, he had time to say all of that. But it helped some how. I focused on that until my next psudocoach got my attention. This guy was on Main street in a tent and he simply said "relax your shoulders Bryan". Wow! that really helped. I didn't even realize I wasn't. As I neared the end of this journey my pace picked up as it always does. My last mile was a scorching 10:30 and with 1km to go I saw Janine coming the other direction I was about 500 meters ahead of her. I picked it up a little more, at least it felt like it. And finished as strong as I could. The run through the finish shoot of an Ironman is unlike anything else. For 5-10 seconds you're a rock star, even if you suck.
Bottom line I'm very disappointed in my performance. The pisser is that you can't just do another one right away to fix your mistakes. It will probably be 2 years before I get a chance to vindicate myself, in my own mind. Nobody else gives a shit. Most of the world says you finished that's more than most. But I want more. I at least want my race to reflect my capabilities. This was 45 min. slower than my last CDA IM in 08 and only 20 min faster than my 1st CDA IM in 07. And I know I'm in much better shape now. The only area in which I knew I was weaker was in my ability to descend on the bike, and that did hurt me. But not an hour maybe 10 minutes tops. The nutrition mistake was huge. Hell I didn't even figure that out until Tues. when I had to unload my bike and thought why is this so heavy, 2 full bottles that's why.
Not sure what's next.
Congrats to all of my friends that raced as well. Kathi Best and Jeff Blackwell, going to Kona. Erica, Craig, Matt, Laura, Martin and Janine solid races as well.
Special thanks to Mrs. Hobbit for being our gopher and pit crew, one day she too will be an Ironman. Next time you see the Hobbit ask him about Lumby.
It was 10 years ago that Jayne beat her cancer. This race was to be, in part, a celebration of that for her. She did so good. I have never been prouder of anybody ever. She is one tough chick, and I love her.