IMLP: The Return to IRONMAN
This is way overdue, but thought there were a lot of great takeaways from my first IM in 1,240 days. I had lasted completed an IM in March of 2016 down in Taupo, at IM New Zealand. I had become a bit burned out from IM distance, investing a lot of time in training and hoping that the stars aligned for that perfect race over an 8hr day. Racing IM was taking its toll on me, both mentally and physically at that time and we were a few months away from expecting our first child. I made the decision to focus on 70.3 distance, as I was able to race more, which is what I love to do, race! And from the business side of things I found that racing more seemed to be the better move at that time.
But last year, just before the accident, I started to get the itch to do another IRONMAN. I missed the distance, I missed the challenge, and I was mentally ready to get back to one. Once things got back on track and recovery from the accident was going well, I looked at the calendar and IMLP looked like a good fit at the time. It ended up not being the greatest timing wise, it was a bit risky, but I made the most out of the situation and back to the IM distance I went.
Why was it not great timing wise? My wife ended up being scheduled for her military reserve duty quite a bit in the weeks leading up to the race, which meant I was home "single parenting" with the kids. Not nearly as bad as it sounds, as we have an au pair and they attend a local nursery, but everyday of ~530am wake ups w/ two toddlers becomes quite exhausting and wearing over time. And then the night time routine was a bit stressful as well, as let's be honest, I'm far from a great cook. For example, I'm so horrible at cooking that I ended up with first degree burns from some hot oil on the stove top that splashed all over my arm, 4 days out from 70.3 Mont-Tremblant.....Oh, and we were expecting our third child in mid-August, so I was cutting it quite close, but my wife had always gone overdue, and that ended up being the case, but still a stressful 6 days of being gone!
But the motto continued to be "make the most of the situation, and focus on what we CAN do". So with that in mind, here is what the final 9 weeks leading into IMLP looked like.
(12 to 10 weeks out I raced 70.3 Gulf Coast, did 3 days of Haute Route Asheville, and then a week in Disney World with the family. So 9 weeks onwards is a better "uninterrupted build into the race).
(27 May - 28 July)
Swimming- 131km / 39h17m / 14.5km/wk (24% of training duration)
Cycling- 1,520mi / 82hrs / 9h7m/wk (50% of training duration) (figured with amount of time on trainer, time is better than distance here)
Running- 320mi / 40hrs / 35.6mi/wk (26% of training duration)
Total- 161hrs / ~18hrs/wk
Races: 1x 70.3 Mont-Tremblant (time in Canada ~46hrs)
"Single Parent Days/Nights" = 22
So with all of the above "craziness", I showed up to Lake Placid feeling pretty dang good, surprisingly. Pre-race workouts went well, the body and mind were in a good place and was ready to have a great day.
Was actually really happy with my swim, even more so considering I had only been back in the water since mid-February. Time wise it doesn't look great, but it was a "slow" swim, with the leaders just under 50mins, putting me less than 8mins down to the lead group. I got out to a good start, was on someone's feet and then they got gapped ~400m in. I crushed myself for a few minutes to close the gap to that next group and had a pretty comfortable first loop. The second loop got a bit chaotic as we were weaving in and out of all the age group athletes still on their first lap. That ended up breaking up the group a bit and left me at the back of our pack, which was the 3rd group, and ended up out of the water 15th.
The first bike in an IM event that I can remember not being completely solo for 180k and on my own. It was quite a nice change to have guys to work with on occasion and made the ride a bit more tactical and interesting. I pushed a bit harder than I should have in the first 3hrs of the bike, and I paid for it pretty badly on the last climb into town on the course, but I felt, at the time, they were smart times to ride a bit harder. I just lacked miles in the legs to ride strong for ~5hrs on a tough course, but still pretty happy with how the ride went.
Run- 3:15 I came into the race hitting some of the best run splits in training that I had ever hit. I knew my run form was up to a new level and I believed I could have a breakthrough run. Things were going pretty well for the first hour and then slowly started to come apart. I had previously had some hot spots when running, only in races though, but thought I had solved those issues. With those I can somewhat fix them by removing my shoes and briefly massaging my feet, and it will resolve the issue for ~30mins. So I ended up doing this 3-4x. Then came the last 10k and it was just a struggle. The course hits you pretty hard by that point with some decent hills and the last 10k of and IM is always tough anyways, so it became a struggle, but luckily the course had plenty of people on it by that point to run with, which made it slightly easier to get to the finish line.
Not the run that I felt I had in me, but considering the course and the issues I had, still happy with how it went looking back on it. Given the fastest run of the day was 2:56, I'm ok with a 3:15.
One of the biggest questions I got after the race was "Why run shorts and a run top over a tri kit for the run?". It's something that I did for the first time, and after experimenting with it I was able to get what I wore on the bike off quite quickly, and into run shorts and singlet quickly as well. The main reason behind this was when in the wind tunnel a two piece Kiwami kit tested slightly faster than the one piece suit, and for 26.2 miles I would rather be in run shorts than tri shorts. So that is what drove that decision, and probably something I will continue to do moving forward as well, for IM distance.
Swim- 57:28 // Strava
Total- 9:14:02 // 10th Pro (stats via www.obstri.com)
Prize Money- $750
Overall I'm happy with how this race went. From the beginning I knew this race was going to be tough and I looked at it more to set me up for a late season race, IMFL than to be the big race of the year. I have found that IM's can boost your fitness quite well and get you prepped for something bigger in the near future. So all things considered, I'm happy to be back to the IM distance, and looking forward to do another come November. A lot of lessons learned on the day and looking forward to taking those into IMFL and executing a solid race down there.
A big thanks to the Anderson family who took me in as one of their own while I was in Lake Placid. Homestays are not a thing in Lake Placid, but a friend had connected me to them as they were renting a friend of a friend's house for race week and they had space for me to stay. As "crazy" as the house may have seemed with 6 kids and 6 adults, and 3 of us doing the race, it was actually quite nice to be surrounded by people rather than holed up in a hotel room solo leading up to the race. So thanks again for letting me stay with you, and for making me feel like part of the family.
As always, thanks to everyone that continues to support this journey, I would like to think the bad luck of 2018 is behind us and 2019 is headed in the right direction. If you are a triathlete and wanting to support those that support me, scroll down just a bit further and support those companies.
Until next time......