Monday, September 2, 2013

Ironman Louisville 2013 - Race Report

With a few days to think about my race at Ironman Louisville this past Sunday, my immediate thoughts haven't changed one bit.  "You get what you put in" is what I said straight after the race and on race day I got what I deserved.  No matter how many races you have competed in or how talented you are, you can't get away from the fact that for Ironman there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done.

As I stated in my pre-race post, this year has been tough from a training perspective, it was hard to get the consistency of training and I had a lack of long bike and runs in the bank.  At the shorter distance you can get away with that, for 140.6, you can't.....this is how the day unfolded!

The swim exit on the Ohio River

Alarm went off at 4:00am and the usual breakfast of granola, chia seeds, almond milk was had followed up by a blueberry muffin and a half cup of coffee (it would have been a full cup but I made the mistake of allowing Dad to purchase the coffee at the store while I was at the athlete's meeting...8 O'Clock just doesn't cut it). By 4:45am we were off down to transition, check over the bike, add the day's nutrition and then make the 1/2 mile walk to the swim start.  The IM Louisville is a time trial start so the queue was already long.  With a water temperature at over 80 degrees, it was a day for the swimskin and not the wetsuit.  The plan for the swim was to take it nice and easy, catch some feet to draft off and prepare for the day ahead.  I felt good in the water and just after the turn, yes the only turn!, a couple came by that were just a bit quicker than my pace.  I jumped on their feet and followed the bubbles all the way to T1.  Those last few strokes before getting out the water are always nervy, you want to see your swim time but then you don' was awesome to see 59mins 59secs, my fastest ironman yet!

Running through T1 and getting ready to hit the bike, all kinds of thoughts were going through my head. If I bike and run to what I "can" do, this could be a 9:35 kind of day, that would be lightening in a bottle........the first 10 miles or so are all flat and it was time to settle into the day's pacing plan, hit the power numbers and get comfortable.  All was still good and then we hit the nuts and bolts of the course, the relentless rollers that just never stop. The temperature gradually crept up as the average speed eased down.  Without a doubt the Louisville course is testing, no it hasn't got major hills or elevation, but it's either up or down and not much flat for about 70miles.  There wasn't too many people coming up from behind but if they did I just stuck to the power plan and let them go.  To be honest I didn't feel great on the bike despite the nutrition and hydration plan working....there was just no va-va voom! It was shame I couldn't take advantage of the speedy Guru and Mavic setup! The final 20 miles with some stretches of downhill and flat, although with some headwind, just took forever, I couldn't wait to get off the bike.  I was a little disappointed with 5hr 28mins (after a 5hr 17mins in 2009) but the overall clock showed 6hr 32mins as I headed off on the run.

Coming through La Grange on the 2nd loop of the bike at mile 70

Almost immediately I felt it wasn't going to be a great day on the run, I wasn't exactly skipping out of T2 but I hoped that the legs would freshen up and come round.  The first 3 miles were just a bit over 7:00min/miles but from then on it was a matter of hanging on.  It felt really hot on the streets of Louisville so I ran between aid stations and walked quickly through them to get hydrated as best I could.  I still hadn't "gone potty" since the swim.....that eventually happened at mile 10.  It was then at mile 15-16 that the wheels fell off, the left ITB started to really hurt and without a doubt that was partially due to the lack of long runs in training. Last year when I posted a 3:17 run I had managed 6-7 solid runs greater than 16 miles, this year it was just the one, not enough.  So the final 10 miles became about getting to the finish as quick as I could through a walk/run strategy. A 4hrs 4mins marathon and my slowest to date.  No it wasn't too much fun but as I have been reminded countless times, plenty of people would die for a sub 11-hour Ironman time. I do count myself lucky for that.

The 2nd loop of the run.....12 miles to go! The new Pactimo Mako tri kit is awesome.

I crossed the line in 10hr 39mins 49secs for 18th in age group and 151st the end of any Ironman race because of the length of the day you generally come to terms with how the day has gone before you cross the line.  I just can't help but look at the results, see that the 5th and final spot for the Ironman World Championships in my age group was at 9hrs 57mins (the time I did on this course in 2009).....if only I had run how I can! Just think how many people say that at the end of every race huh?  This has certainly motivated me for the years to come, I have said no Ironman for 2014, but I'll be back and I know what I need to do.  I have some hard work ahead of me...........

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