Monday, November 15, 2010

Beach To Battleship Iron Distance Tri Race Report

Warning, this is going to be long, very long. For those with short attention spans you might want to print this out and take it in short bursts. What do you expect? I trained for 10 months and it took me almost 14 hours to complete, of course it's going to be a long race report.

First the numbers:
Calories burned - 13742 or 981 / hour
Calories consumed - 3560 or 254 / hour
Endurolytes consumed - 15
hornet juice - 5 packets
rank Men / Master Clydesdales
Swim 1:17:44 113 / 2
T1 10:57
Bike 7:00:37 358 / 10
T2 9:44
Run 5:17:35 237 / 3
Total 13:56:34 272 / 5

I've decided to do a separate blog entry entirely devoted to nutrition so you won't see much in here about it unless it directly relates to the situation at hand.

The Lead up:
For 10 months and two weeks I trained for this event. The first 6 were mostly fun just stay in shape and get ready for the last 4 months of hell. Truthfully it was really only the last month that was hell. I was faithful to my schedule, stayed healthy, rested when my body needed it, and pushed through when I was supposed to. I did 3 rides of 100+ miles, and 2 runs of 20+ miles so I was ready. I injured my knee on the 145 mile ride to the beach but have been on anti-inflammatories and they have been working great, I did a 100 mile ride and 20 mile run weekend on them so I wasn't worried about it. Then of course the Monday before the race I get a cold. I took the week off from exercise, I rested, I took Zircon and was hoping it would get better in time. The day before I did an easy 10 mile ride and 1 mile run just to see how I would feel and I felt great, even with the lingering symptoms from the cold so I gained some confidence for race day.

Actually slept fairly well until midnight and then it was toss and turn until 3:30 when I got up to eat breakfast. Got dressed and packed my special needs bags up and headed to the bus. The hard part about this race is the logistics so staying at the host hotel where the buses ran to and from and which is right on the run course was really the smartest thing to do for me. The wife and girl could just hang out downtown and shop, they went to the kids museum, 10 min walk, and then rest at the hotel and wait for me to get to miles 2,9,16 of the run and then take a water taxi, which my daughter loved, to the finish. Really recommend the Hilton for those with families.

Times below will be from my watch and not the same as official as I didn't hit lap when going over the mats, but rather when I felt the leg was ending/starting. They are fairly close though.

Swim: 1:15:48
The swim was advertised that it would be with a strong current. They did warn us at the pre-race meeting that the low tide was scheduled for 6:50 and it would end up being a slack tide. I am thinking I might do some analysis to compare the times from this year with last but that would only be if I have the time. Let's just say the fastest time from last year was 41:16 and slowest was 1:45 this year the fastest was 54:35 and slowest was 2:19. When we lined up to swim I could see the stand up paddle boarders where actively working to not be pushed out to sea, so the tide was still against us at the start. The First buoy was only about 50 yards out, so I waited one minute until the majority of people had started and then picked a line that would take me wide left of the buoy to avoid the huge log jam that would be forming. It was still crowded when I got there and I got my first kick in the chest from a breast stroker, it wasn't that bad and I just kept on going. I'm more of a right side breather so the plan was to move to the left so I could see the mass while breathing and thus avoid having to sight as often. This ended up being a bad decision as we were swimming north and the sun was just peeking over the hotels that we were swimming by so when I would take a breath on the right it was all glare. I didn't panic, instead I just altered to breath every third stroke and as fortune would have it there were boats and stand up boarders following us the whole way so I could stay just to the left of the mix and still sight well. There was a water tower that I was advised by Dave on the bus that would be good to sight off of so I picked it up and used it well. I quickly got into a comfortable pace and started passing people. Every so often a "left drifter" would start to push me out so I would have to speed up and get in front of them, or in the case with on particularly stubborn guy who really wanted to go off course, slow down and swim over their back to stay straight. One guy punched me in the mouth, I'm sure by accident, and probably got a bloody knuckle from it. There were a few spots on course where the water got rough and I actually got dizzy from it, but my experience with the bay bridge 4.4 mile swim saved me and I knew if I just kept going it would be ok. Finally we got to the left turn that was just passed half way. Now we would be doing the same course as the Wilmington sprint tri and I went back and read my race report from them to remind me how to navigate best to the marina where we would be getting out. The trick is to swim in the middle and not get too close to the turns since it is similar to an S curve getting there. Once again I saw a ton of people cutting corners which actually adds distance so I was happy I did my homework. When we got close I started using my legs in hopes to warm them up and get some blood into them. I hit the dock and tried to get up the ladder, but the legs were useless. Fortunately there were two volunteers helping people get out. When I finally got on the dock and stood up straight I got a big case of the dizzies and started wobbling towards the strippers. Wetsuit strippers that is. They were wonderful, at this point better than actual strippers as they undid my zipper and then pulled it down, instructed me to lay on my back and ripped it off, all in less than 15 seconds. I then hit the fresh water warm shower to get some salt off before starting towards T1. I guess it took about 2 minutes to hit the timing mat as my watch said 1:15 but official was 1:17. I heard a ton of people in the changing tent, and after the race complaining about the swim but I thought it was great.

T1: 12:37
having to jog 400 yards to the changing tent with numb toes was not fun. Luckily I had on the wetsuit booties to keep my feet warm but even with them on my toes were still cold. Finally made it to the tent and got my bag to change. Tried to dry off as best I could and change, after I got off my booties my toes really started to freeze, because I was so cold I probably put on too much. I had an undershirt/long sleeve cycling jersey and a vest on top, just shorts on the bottom and gloves. Then jogged over to the bike where my socks and shoes awaited.

Bike: 7:01:36
My bike computer says 6:40:38, so all the stops you get to read about took about 20 minutes off my time. Average speed while riding was 16.8, including the stops it was 16 mph which is exactly what I thought it would be. This leg was the toughest for me, mentally and physically. As mentioned above I injured my knee on a 145 mile ride to the beach but ironically it wasn't my knee that bothered me during the race. I hate the bike, ok I don't actually hate the bike, but after 3 hours I am not happy. Looking back at it I think I was in that mindset from at least August on. If I could pinpoint one thing I would have changed it would be my mental attitude towards the long bike rides. The bike started off ok. The wind was out of the North at about 10 mph and by the beach there isn't much to break it up so if you are going north you get a head wind so we started off going north into the headwind that would suck they life out of me for the next 80 miles. We did get one break when we hit the section that went on I140. That was actually quite nice to be just riding with a cross wind. It was cool to enter on the interstate on the bike, the cops had traffic stopped while you went from the on-ramp and over to the far left lane. When there was a break in the bike line they would let the cars go and they had to stay in the right lane. There was a line of cones to the left of the line separator so we had some room between us and the cars doing 70+ mph just 4 feet away. At one point I was riding two feet from the cones with at least 5 feet to my left before the painted line when I heard someone yell "on your left", I looked to my left and saw there was plenty of room for him to pass so I just nodded my head and said come on by, but the dufus yells "on your left" again. Whatever bonehead there's plenty of room for you to go by I ain't moving over any closer to those crazy pissed off bastards in their death machines who were late getting home to watch all their recorded shows. Finally he went by and made a point of shaking his head like I did something wrong, yeah one if every crowd. After the fun on the interstate we turned onto hwy 421 and started going North again, right into the wind. It was relentless, not gusting, but a constant break applied to your forward progress. Finally we got to turn off and it eased a bit, but then around mile 45 we turned onto 210 and started going, you guessed it, FUCKING NORTH. Luckily the special needs hand-off was at mile 51 so we got a break. I got off, stretched, bathroom break, filled my water bottles found an angel to let me borrow some Shammy butter and started back into the wind again. As I was heading out of transition I saw I guy going out without his helmet. I yelled up ahead, stop that guy without the helmet! some of the volunteers looked at me so I yelled it again, they just turned around and kept handing out the water and heed. luckily another biker heard me and alerted the guy who stopped and went back. Luckily the bike ref was not there or he would have been DQ'd. So back into the wind I went. I kept telling myself that when we turned off 210 we would get a tailwind and everything would be alright. Alas this was not come true for another 20 miles. Somewhere around mile 70, I just lost it. I was swearing up a storm and saying I wanted off this bike and was ready to call my wife to tell her to come pick me up I was quitting. I pulled out my phone in a last ditch effort to call her to get some support and I looked at it and it said "no service". I can't tell you how long the list of swear words was that I had for AT&T at that moment because it was just too long. I did notice that I had received 2 txt msg's while I had service so I went to look at them. The first one from my wife saved my race, it read "please let me know you are ok. Text me whenever you can. I LOVE YOU very much". Well that was just what I needed to hear, I mean how could I possible quit now? After all the sacrifices she had to make all hear to help me get here, it wasn't just about me anymore. I typed out a message to her "Honey that was exactly what I needed to hear right now. you saved me. I LOVE YOU" hit send. but "no service" mother fucking AT&T you suck. Anyway I told her later, and I know you are not supposed to txt and cycle, but that was not going to stop me. Finally we turned out of the wind and into a strong tailwind. It felt so much better and then I saw the 80 mile marker and just stopped. I had to get off, use the facilities, tree, and stretch out my back, neck, it bands, and mostly my hip flexors. After about a 5 minute break I got back on and felt refreshed. I decided I would stop at the next 10 mile markers and do the same. It really helped my mental attitude and I think it definitely helped set up my run. At the mile 100 marker I was relieving myself, tree again, and I hear someone yell out "Bill Reid". It was Karyn, my partner in crime for all these long months of training. I was beginning to wonder what happened to her as I expected her to pass me much sooner on the bike so I was happy it was this late in the race as I wouldn't have to run so fast to catch her on the run. The next 12 miles went by too quickly and soon I was approaching the traffic and two bridges that needed to be climbed to get to the battleship. It actually felt good to get out of the saddle so I stood and climbed both. I rolled into T2 still not feeling great, but determined to at least run to the Hilton at mile 2.5 so I could see the family. I just have to say this one more time. I HATE THE BIKE

T2: 8:43
Pulling into T2 someone grabbed my bike and helmet and pointed me towards the changing tent. There weren't a lot of volunteers here and I was a bit confused at this point so it took me a while to find my bag and get into the tent. Both the mens and ladies tents were small and didn't have doors that could close so while they were covered, they didn't provide much cover, but at this point who really cared. I got those stupid ass bike shorts off and put on my tri running shorts with a ton of shammy butter and then applied some body glide to the nipples and around the waist were my race belt sits to avoid chaffing. Changed my shirt and shoes and headed on out. I had to txt the wife to let her know I was 25 minutes away and then tried to find some water to fill up the bottles on my race belt, but no luck. Karyn said the ladies tent had them stacked up on the table, but the mens side was out. But it wasn't long till I got to an aid station so it wasn't too bad, but at the time it was the end of the world. Finally time for the run.

Run: 5:17:43
I crossed the timing mat and said out loud and now I start my second marathon ever. Those first two miles sucked bad, after a short jog I came upon my favorite bridge, it was steep and long, I still felt like crap so once again out loud I said "I am making an executive decision that I will be walking this bridge both times", you can just assume from now on that when ever I say "I said" or "said to myself" that is was out loud, I was in my own little world. So my first mile was 12:35, not good, but not bad either and my legs were not adverse to running so the downhill felt fine but then bridge number two appeared. Holy shit do I have to do this again on the second lap? Yes you do dumb-ass, I said to myself, in face you have to do over those bridges 4 times. On the second half of the first bridge I started imagining that if I pretend to trip I could just all off right here and then I wouldn't have to run the other 24.5 miles and I wouldn't have to deal with having quit. But the easy way out did not win over and I kept going. Mile two was 11:20, hey, I picked it up! woo hoo! those two miles are the only two splits I remember, in fact I have no clue about any other mile splits and I don't care to know. Good lord has anyone else noticed this race report is really long? and I still have 24 miles to go... I made the right hand turn at mile two and everything was about to change. I saw my coach, Brennan Liming, and she came up and asked how I was doing, I gave her the not so good, but I'm still moving forward answer and she said, "ok, just keep going" not much help there, but seconds later I here "GO BILL" and she keeps yelling that for the next 300 yards, that put a huge smile on my face and just then I hear the volunteer up ahead say to the lady in front of me at the turn "Good job number 202" wait, Karyn is 202, could that possible be her? and just like that she turns around and sees me 20 yards behind.

she slowed a bit and I caught her and we would end up running together until the 13.1 mark. On top of that good news it was now only 300 yards until I got to see the family. I came up and saw the wife and girl with camera ready, posed for a couple pics,

tried to get a hug from the kid who wisely declined, then got a big kiss from the old lady and sprinted, sprint being relative, off to catch back up to Karyn. The crowds on the Riverwalk were awesome full of energy and cowbells and I was running with my training buddy and on top of world. We still took our scheduled walk breaks to eat/drink and at the steep sections, but mostly we were running our normal talk capable training pace. In fact when we got to the 1/4 mark at 6.5 miles we were 1:11, I did the math and if we kept that pace we could do a 4:44, of course both of us knew that wasn't going to happen, but 5 hours was in reach. The bridges would have the final say in that and since you already saw the final run time you know that didn't happen. The lake greenfield section was my favorite, slow steady ups and downs, just like the tobacco trail we had done our long runs on so I was really happy at this point and sent a txt to the wife at a walk break that we were 20 minutes away. Once again when we went by the hotel I got a high five from the girl and some more pics taken. Saw the coach and Karyn's husband and got pumped up from the crowds. Of course the bridges took some out of us and Karyn's stomach started to bug her so she told me at the special needs hand-off that she was taking a longer break and for me to just go on. I didn't want to leave her, but I also wanted her to be able to do what she had to do with feeling guilty about slowing me down and then not be able to take care of herself, so I got my crackers, arm warmers and head lamp out of my special needs bag and headed off solo. I think at this point I was at 2:25 for the run, so we slowed but not by much. Running solo for me is no big deal, especially 13.1 miles and with the volunteers, crowds, my family and coach to see again I was still feeling great. Such a difference from the bike. I did walk both the bridges again as an executive decision is an executive decision after all. I cruised by the family for the last time and told them I would finish in about an hour forty five, but then I looked at my watch and thought that would put me in under 5 hours for the marathon and there was no way that was going to happen so I turned to my daughter who was running with me on the sidewalk and said, "tell mommy I meant 2 hours" she said ok and went back to tell her. I love her. Then I saw my coach and told her I felt better starting this lap then the first one, she said great, keep going. Sage advise... After a few more "GO BILL" 's I was on my way to the final turn around. This lap was definitely harder, I had to force myself to keep going at points and to take advantage of downhill sections even when it was time to walk because I really felt breaking 14 was in reach but I needed to put some time in the bank for that last bridge. I have no idea what the time was at the 3/4 turn around this time, but I did see Karyn who was about I would guess 3-4 minutes behind me at this point and was looking good. A quick high five and passing and back to the grind. When I got to mile 20 I took a picture of the sign and posted to twitter/facebook with the caption "and then there were six" Yes, I am insane.

This time passing the Hilton there was no family, but coach B was there and she ran with me for about a mile and kept me company and focused. We parted just before the first of the bridges with just under 2 miles to go and 27 minutes to make it under 14 hours. I didn't know at the time but Karyn was only about 400 yards behind me at this point and would get even closer by the finish. The second bridge took it out of me, even walking up it was hard at this point, but at the top there was less than a mile to go, 15 minutes to break 14 hours and nothing was going to make me walk again until the finish. After getting passed by hundreds of people on the bike, I was steadily passing walkers and joggers the whole run. But for some reason in the final mile I got passed by 3 people. I had nothing left, no sprint, could not pick up the pace, just kept running. I didn't care that they passed me I was just amazed that they could pick it up like that after so long. They obviously didn't go hard enough during the race. I did txt the wife while walking up that I would be done in 10-15 minutes so they were there and ready for me when I came in. I came upon the mile 26 sign and still didn't see the finish shoot. what the hell is this? some cruel joke? I mean I can hear the announcer and crowds, but can't see a thing. One guy assured me it was just ahead after that turn, but I wasn't believing anyone I just needed to see it. and then finally there it was, I made the turn, heard my name, but nothing else that the announcer said, gave some high fives to the spectators and crossed the line with a big ass smile on my face. Just then all the tired hit and every muscle in my face went limp and I could feel the exhausted expression take over and POOF there goes the finish line picture. can't wait to see that one... So there ya have it, I'll try to get a couple more out with post race thoughts and of course the nutrition blog, but I think this one is long enough as is. If you made it this far, thanks for coming by and reading, please leave a comment so I know you were here. This one really meant a lot.


butcept said...

great write up. I crack up reading the cussing on the bike - just like the Frog.
really impressive taking this on and doing so well with the placing. nicely done.

butcept said...

that was Tim by the way. I just noticed I was signed in as Cindy.

stringbean said...

WOW. That is an amazing writeup. Like Tim, i couldn't help but laugh at your cussing at the bike. You really relayed well how frustrated you were. I love too that your daughter wouldn't hug you -- smart girl! What a huge accomplishment, Bill.

frank1russo said...

Awesome job Bill. That is an amazing accomplishment.

SPIC said...

Great job Bill!! Awesome race and awesome write up!

Harvey said...

Bill you have inspired me to reconsider my 'I will wait to do an Iron when I turn 50 comment'. . . that was a great story but an even greater accomplishment! (I always knew it was the BIKE that was Satan in the story. Thanks for confirming).


Brennan said...

Great, and very thorough report, Bill. I loved the bike comments, too! I guess I need to work on my during the race advice. I was just so nervous for you. We are so very proud of you!

Brian said...

WOW Bill you are a true inspiration! .. no iron man for me.. Congrats! seriously man that is AWESOME> bwatson

Colin said...

Thanks for the "inside the mind of a first timer" view. I'll try to remember how you persevered when I'm doing it myself in a little less than two months.

TP said...

fantastic accomplishment & great write up.