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Race Result

Racer: David Glover
Race: Duke Blue Devil
Date: Saturday, October 11, 2003
Location: Durham, NC
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 9:17:26
Overall Place: 1
Age Group Place: 1
Comment: My favorite Ironman!

Race Report:

Race: Duke Blue Devil (Ironman distance)
Date: October 11, 2003
Location: Falls Lake near Durham, NC and Duke University

Result: 9:17:26 (1st OA)
- 2.4-mile swim: 57:48
- 112-mile bike: 4:58:59
- 26.2-mile run: 3:16:43

Press release: http://dukemednews.duke.edu/news/article.php?id=7060


The Duke Blue Devil Triathlon benefits the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and takes place at Beaver Dam Park on Falls Lake about 12 miles east of Durham, NC. The weather was perfect reaching only the low 70’s under cloud cover. The volunteers were awesome and the 5 loops of the run made for a very spectator friendly race. This was my 13th race at this distance.

This is an incredible race and I will do it again next year! (I also highly recommend for first-timers)

Now the details….


In the days leading up to the race, temperatures were typically 50’s in the morning warming up to mid-70’s with rain showers. Race day forecast called for similar temperatures with showers in the morning.

Jen had traveled done to High Point, NC, earlier in the week to “power shop” for furniture. I missed out on that experience due to work and a need to stay off my feet as much as possible.

At race registration, I found out that I was racing as “1” because of my win last year. This was kind of cool but it also meant that I was an easy to spot target.

My biggest stress pre-race was trying to decide what pedals to use. I had recently switched from Speedplay to SPD-SL for less float and a more supportive platform. I decided to switch back to the Speedplays for the race even though I had not ridden on them for four weeks as I was worried that recent aggravation of a tendon in my right leg was being caused by my new pedals. In hindsight, I think this was the right thing to do.
Pasta dinner was great. Like last year, the food was not your typical “out of the aluminum pan” pasta or lasagna. We had a good representation of local RATS (Reston Area Triathletes) consisting of myself, Jen, Mike, Michael, Brady, Mark and significant others.


The ~3 hours from wake up to swim start are probably the most stressful for me. There’s a lot of things to do race morning. I had had a very rough night sleeping…I honestly don’t think I slept at all because it seemed like I was just laying there and looking at the clock every half hour.


Lake temperature was 68 degrees on racing morning…perfect temperature for a long sleeve wetsuit!

Because it’s so late in the year and before DST, the sunrise is pretty late. The race was supposed to start at 7am but it was still relatively dark making it difficult to sight the buoys. Fortunately, the organizers delayed the race start by 10 minutes to allow for adequate light.

I seeded myself at the front near Mike Guzek aka “Train”. My goal was to stay behind and leverage his locomotive Clydesdale frame (i.e. locomotive) for drafting.

When the horn went off, I went straight for the back of Train’s feet. We swam parallel to another group of 8-10 swimmers then merged near the first buoy. A few times Train veered to the left and would break away to try swim a straighter line. This did not really help me much because I lost the benefit of the draft. I felt great and was able to keep pace. At the end of the first loop, I exited the water on the his heels. I felt like Arnold must have felt in “Pumping Iron” with all the blood in my upper body being constrained by a wetsuit; I was pumped! The second loop was uneventful except I was working harder to keep on pace with Train.

I finished 7th overall, 5 minutes slower than last year a few seconds behind Train. I think he must of surged the last length because I saw him pulling away toward the end. The course was longer this year plus my relative placing improved so I was very happy with my time and my DeSoto T1 wetsuit. Why do I use the T1 by DeSoto? I do not have to worry about a zipper pulling apart mid swim because there is none!

I had two volunteers help yank off my wetsuit bottoms. I grabbed my transition bag off the rack and ran into the transition tent.

I went through the transition area quickly having opted to wear my race jersey underneath my wetsuit and not changing into dry clothes. This was somewhat risky as it was cool in the morning but turned out to be the right thing to do as I dried off quickly and was warmed up from the swim. Plus it gave me incentive to start working hard right away on the bike.


My goal was to take the lead by the end of the first loop. Last year, I lagged the leader by 10 minutes at the start of the bike and never took the lead until mile 4 on the run. This year, there were only 5 people ahead of me at the start with about a 5 minute lag from the leader. I quickly passed 3 of them within the first 10 miles.

The course is a lollipop shape: out 10 miles then a 46 mile loop twice then return 10 miles the same way. It’s somewhat hilly with lots rollers any without any serious extended climbs (my HRM read 4,640 feet of climbing over the 112-mile bike course and 26.2-mile run course).

There are three aid stations on the bike course, all of which are on the loop. I did not hit the first aid station until about mile 25. I carried plenty of fluid (Cytomax) and food (Hammer Gel, Carb-boom, gummi bears [the best!], and fig newtons) so the distance was not an issue. I also carried Tums to settle my stomach and salt tables to protect against low electrolyte levels. At the first aid station, I picked up some Gatorade, tossing one of my empty bottles.

I caught the 2nd place rider just before the 2nd aid station. As we approached the aid station, I noticed there were no volunteers…the food and drink was sitting on a table near the side of the road. I opted to keep going as I did not want to lose time while hoping the guy behind me would either stop or run out of food/drink later on. At one point, the rider behind me passed me to take the lead. I dropped back. My heart rate dropped as he slowed down. I retook the front and picked up the pace.

We caught the first rider just before special needs / 3rd aid station. At this time, I had two riders in tow so I passed on the special needs as it would have required pulling off the road into the parking lot. I was passed by the 1st rider as I slowed down to take a drink bottle. Whatever.

I quickly retook the front thinking that it was only a matter of time before the two riders would fall back. At the end of first loop, the 2nd guy was behind with the 1st guy no longer in sight. I pushed the next set of hills. Five minutes later, there was no one behind me. Cool. Now to build margin.

Being the lead cyclist, I now had an escort vehicle 100+ yards ahead of me with a flashing light. In the county we start and finish in, I also had a police escort on a motorcycle. No worries about angry motorists! Other than seeing the escort vehicle, the only riders I saw were the ones I passed who were on their first loop. It’s lonely at the front.

My pace was steady although my heart rate had fallen off on the second loop from what I hoped to maintain. I thought to myself, “I can win this,” but then had to tell myself, “Yes, but not if you blow up on the bike or run.”

About a 1/3 of the way through the 2nd loop, my stomach felt really queasy. I had coughed up stuff a few times earlier in the day (normal) but I then started heaving violently 4 or 5x on the bike, puking orange-colored liquid (Cytomax) all over the right side of my body. I probably coughed up the equivalent of two bottles of fluid which was the bulk of the fluid I had consumed since the start of the bike (poor absorption in my stomach?). I still wonder if the folks in the lead vehicle were watching this and laughing at me or if they were just oblivious. This was not a good sign as inadequate nutrition now would destroy me on the run later. I did feel better afterward and forced myself to start consuming more fluid, more calories and some TUMS.

I finished the bike in 4:58, 8 minutes slower than last year. My fitness on the bike was probably better this year but I was less driven to break 9 hours; I had taken the lead relatively early and built a gap; and I was concerned about loss of nutrition due to vomiting and the hills on the run. I pulled into the transition area, dismounted too early, straddled my bike to the dismount area, dismounted again, handed my bike to a volunteer, grabbed my transition bag, put on my running shoes and headed out on the run.


I was thinking I had at least a 5 minute lead on the bike. As I was leaving the next rider (original leader) was finishing the bike. I only had a 3 minute lead which isn’t much in a marathon. To give perspective, I race a ½ IM 5 weeks before at Lake Anna, VA. I started the run just ahead of the eventual winner and with a solid 5 minute lead on the next athlete. I ended up giving up 4 spaces to finish in 5th being caught by two athletes in the last mile.

The run is where the race begins. For some reason, I always feel good at the start of the run. At IM Canada in 1997, my first IM, I felt so good that I started running a 6:30 min/mile pace for about the first 6 miles…until reality caught up with me and I suffered through the next 20 miles giving up probably 50 places. I did not feel good at the start of this run.

The run course was 5 x 5.2 mile loops within the park. The course description says “rolling” with four “significant” hills. You can do the math: 5 loops x 4 hills = 20 “significant” hills. J Last year’s course was a point to point from the park to the chapel on Duke Campus which was also described as rolling. This year’s course was probably the toughest course I have done as there were very few flat sections. Thankfully, it was a relatively cool day with cloud cover so heat was not as big a factor (I was still very dehydrated at the end).

My initial pace was off my goal (hold sub-7 min miles). I opted to switch to Coke early to bring in the quick sugar and caffeine. I immediately felt better and picked up the pace. The downside is that too much Coke can upset your stomach. I think most people tend to hold off on Coke until much later in the race. Why wait? I needed the sugar now.

This course was great for a couple of reasons. Five loops breaks down the full 26.2 miles into more manageable “mini” goals. Because there were lots of out and backs plus overlap with other parts of the run course, there were lots of aid stations…about every ½ to ¾ mile. I never had to worry about getting to the next aid station because it was just around the corner. I could also check on my competition each lap to see whether or not I was moving up or back in relative time.

After finishing each loop, each athlete was given a colored stretchy band to keep track of what lap they were on. There were timing chips, too for real accountability.

I met a lot of friends out on the run course. “Good job, buddy, keep it up!” “You look strong.” “Hang in there, man.” “I’ll see you at the finish line.” “Man, she’s really smoking the run!” It helped break up the monotony of 3+ hours of running. Guzek, Brady and Mark looked great out on the run. Jen and her cheerleading gang were awesome!

My strategy was to build margin on the next runner but run smart: if I ran too hard, I’d blow up and have to start walking. I did not want to run too slow and give up margin as it might give the next guy the motivation to close the distance. At the start, I had a 3 minute lead. I built it up to 6 minutes over the first few miles and held that for quite a while. I picked up more minutes toward the end.

The final lap: this is where I hurt the most; this is where I suffered the most. At this point, everything pretty much hurts. My quads screamed on the down hills. My legs burned and my eyes would glaze over on the up hills as I was light-headed. My goal was the finish line. Keep moving.

As I approached the turn for the finish line, I pumped my hands up in the air with a big smile on my face. I was there!


1. Be prepared (Boy Scout Motto). There’s no guarantees you’ll get the food and drink (or bike support for that matter) you need during the race. It was worth carrying a little extra food/drink as I was able to skip an aid station and special needs completely.

2. Know the course. Why ride extra? This was not an issue for me but still something I thought about. Driving the course the day before helps.

3. It’s going to hurt….but it’s only a single day.

4. Wearing race number “1” is really pretty cool. People cheer for you by name. The downside is that you are “the one to beat.”
5. Always wear sunglasses and smile on the run. People think you’re feeling a lot better than you really are. Plus, you’ll get a lot more cheers and “thumbs up’s.”

6. Do the race with other friends! It helps the nerves plus makes the experience that much better!

7. Most importantly, always, always thank the volunteers and race staff. They make the race. Until you have volunteered at a triathlon, you will never have the appreciation for how much work goes into the event. (Hint: The Reston Triathlon is always looking for volunteers each year)