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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Ironman USA
Date: Sunday, July 25, 2004
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 10:29:18
Overall Place: 132
Age Group Place: 33
Comment: Surprisingly few surprises: s/53:43 b/5:38:49 r/3:49:35

Race Report:

Short Version
Well, I busted my IM cherry with no fanfare and some typical failures. Well, maybe just a wee bit of fanfare since I lost my timing chip for serveral hours. I hit my goals for the the swim (53) and bike (5:40) and missed my goal for the run (3:50, not 3:20). Typical first IM I guess.

Going Long wasn't a spiritual test of my endurance, it wasn't a euphoric, crushing or uplifting moment of multisport. It was a long day of pursuing my passions. It was a day with many low moments, many boring moments, many joyous moments. It hurt, even racing conservative hurt, no doubt about it. Let me emphaisize this: yes, a 10:30 is fast, pretty darn fast, but I can race faster, I know it. But a 10:30 hurt and that puts into perspective the solid training a *fast* Ironman requires and, more importantly, it puts into perspective the mental strength and energy *racing* an Ironman require, even with elite fitness. But I've been hanging with some of the area's most experienced (both fast and less fast) IM athletes for almost three years, I knew what to expect and through their guidance, inspiration, and leadership, I was able to set the appropriate goals and finish the day satisfied.

And curious ... Immediately after Lake Placid I was much more focused on my next Ironman (Florida) than I was on my short-course season. So while going long wasn't some transformational experience, it definitely got me excited about triathlon in a different way. Now with a few weeks of rest in my legs, with a few hard speed sessions in the last week, and a solid short-course win in the bag, I'm focused in on my short-course season. But Florida lurks in my mind, keeping me on my toes.

Absolutely without doubt, the best part of Ironman USA 2004 was the people. Lake Placid was veritable refugee town for NoVa triathletes. It seems like there were three times as many people spectating & cheering than racing. To all of 'em, thanks. I know many of you were there cheering for other people, but it made the day so much fun. Secondly, volunteers are the best. Race management varies from race to race, but volunteers are have always provided a friendly smile in the best and worst conditions. Always thank a volunteer and try do give back to a race some day, it's fun.

A special thanks to the training doods: Brady Dehoust & David Glover. It's been a great year (hell, it's been a great three years) so far, and I'll miss their company as I disappear into the short-course season. Next year, Hawaii, right guys? :) Congrats to the other athletes: Mike Guzek, Gary Euliss, Julie Opligner, Bill Davis, Dana, Kyle Yost, Olwen Huxley, Mike Tine, Scott Baldwin, Kirstin Ward, Paul & Bret. And big kudos to all the spectators, y'all rock: Jen, Pete & Michaela, (Bailey), Tom & V, Donna, Phillip B, Mark F, Dottie, Katie, Melanie, Diedre & Little Kyle and a very special thanks to my good friends Mark & Jen, who journeyed down from Boston.

The Whole Enchilada

(This is a very rough first draft ...)


Two moments, both quite brief yet powerful, define this race for me.

Moment 1: I'm in Mirror Lake. I'm treading water, killing time. I think, "Hey, I should get my watch ready to go." I go to change the Polar's mode from Time (6:53) to Record. In Stopwatch/Record mode, the Polar blinks some useful information as it awaits Go Time: Auto Start/Stop for the bike is disabled, bike mode is on, it's 6:54, I'm recording data every 5s, I have ... 8h56m of recording time.

And then it hits me, really hits me for the first time: In six minutes I'm doing something COMPLETELY different than I've done for the last three years.

I reconfigure the watch to record every 15s, giving me a little more than 24 hours of recording. Simultaneously two thoughts go through my brain: 1) someday 2) that should cover it.

Moment 2: About 10 days before the race, putzing around in the kitchen after a bike ride, Aaron casually asks me, "So how's your run training been?"

Immediately I feel like a 10th grader sitting in trig class, working on my history paper. BUSTED! I cannot explain it any other way. I honestly cannot answer Aaron's question. Usually I can tell you my weekly run average for the last three to six weeks, but I honestly didn't know. I pass off some vague statement about some 70 mile weeks earlier in the year, followed by a couple of weeks of several 12-mile weekday runs. But I have to force myself to wait for a few minutes, drinking my chocolate soy milk, before I run (stealthily) upstairs and look at my logs. Starting May 31: 71, 41, 41, 42, 27, 52, 23, 29. Uh oh. I scan back a few months, starting Mar 29: 50, 42, 64, 66, 59. Hmmm. I seemed to have mistimed my run training :( I look with satisfaction at my bike mileage and then choose to avoid Aaron & his darn questions for the next week or so.

The Plan

In my usual parlance, Lake Placid would have been a C-race for me: I'm going for the fun, & the people, and I'll figure out my goals/effort on the course, but I'll probably go slow. But I respect the distance too much to approach an Ironman like that. Despite my short-course goals this season, I arranged my workout schedule very much with Lake Placid in mind. I even set race goals: push the swim, relax on the bike, and see what the run would give me if I tried to give it a good shot. Specifically, for the run, anything that didn't involve three hours would be quite a surpirse for me. I had an outside hope for a marathon PR (3:09) but fully realized that I could be out there for nearly 4 hours or longer. Aaron reminded me that a meltdown in an Ironman could mean a five-hour marathon. Or more. That's exactly what I needed to hear in order to behave myself on the bike. You see, I wasn't sure if I was more concerned about the running too slow or riding too fast. I have no patience in a short-course bike. If I get passed, I get very, very ... competitive? no, that's not the word. I think the phrase I'm looking for is anaerobically furious. It's been a long, long time since I've been passed (for longer than 30s) on the bike leg of a short-course triathlon ... like, uh, once in the last three years, by Troy Jacobstrong. There's probably another time, but I'm just in denial. And that includes Nationals, where I road without the use of my 53 chainring (note: I've been beaten on the bike, just not by lesser swimmers who are in my age group). Anyway, I was worried about getting caught up in the bike, especially since my swim goal would put me in front of the pack.

Pre Race

Not much here, Friday: good dinner at the Cliffhanger Cafe, right next door to the *sweet* house that Jen lined up ... Saturday: one loop of the swim I previewed the run loop on my bike, which is quickly becoming a favorite pre-race ritual for me. No running. Drive the bike course (very good idea since I'd never seen it before) and dinner at the Carribean Cowboy. I had the Two Bean Enchilada, and I ate the whole damn thing. Yummy! Probably not the best pre-race meal, but after looking at my run logs 10 days earlier, I was looking for excuses wherever I could find them. Sunday morning: 4 Pop Tarts, coffee, one bottle of Accelerade, maybe something else, I don't remember. Get into town, putz around a bit (there had been some confusion about my rack spot on Saturday ... it seems that I wasn't doing this race. There was no number on the racks for me, there was no number on the transition bag racks for me. But some patience & volunteers got it all straightened out). Hop in the water at 6:45 (way too early). Tread water. Get cold. Water jog, feel better. Look at watch. Reconfigure watch. Helicopters overhead. Boom.

The Swim

Since my plan centered around showing up for the marathon as fresh as possible, I would have 5-6 hours to relax and recover from the swim. Given that, I decided to hammer the swim as hard as I could. The only problem with this is that no matter how hard I hammer the swim, it's stil a 50-mimute effort and I can only hammer for about 12 minutes. Oh well. You get the picture. Just to be sure I got a fast start, I got right up in the front of the pack, about 10m off the cable. Incentive, I thought, to really push the first 3-4 minutes and then settle in behind some fish. Go figure, that actually worked out; it wasn't too bumpy (no where near as bad as Nationals last year) and I settled in after about 5 minutes. Only I was too settled, so I started sighting the scene ahead of me. About 15m up was another group of swimmers. So I bridged. I repated this for most of the first loop, exiting in just under 26:00. Yippee! I thought. Running back into the water I felt good. After swimming about 200m into the second loop, I found myself with a rather large gap to the next pair of feet, maybe a good 25m. I think I had a few people on my feet, but I pushed it hard for the next 5 minutes (ah, those 10x500 repeats come in handy) and finally bridged up before the left-turn buoy. As I caught the group ahead of me, I saw their caps. Wow! I thought, I'm in with all the pros. I was feeling Phelpsian for the next 5 minutes or so until I remembered that I too was wearing a purple cap :( It was then I realized that I was putting at a good strong effort on the swim. I laughed, swallowed some water, and decided that I should try and bridge up to the next group. I was about half-way done with the last leg of the swim when I made this decision. I pulled left, into the center of the swim course, and pushed. Nothing. I don't know if I was slowing down or if I'd pulled my draft's chain by trying to pass him, but we swam side-by-side for a good 3 minutes. Finally I decided if he wanted to lead that badly, he could have it, so I tucked back behind him. A few minutes later, about 200m from the finish (I was thinking we were going a little slow) The Pack catches us. Go figure! fifty minutes of relatively low-contact swimming only to get caught in a fist fight 200m from the finish.

I finished the swim 53:46 ... My best case scenario was just under 53, so I was stoked. I can say this: it's a long, long day on the Ironman course. While a fast swim is pretty much meaningless in the day's events, a proper swim goal and achievement of that swim goal is huge. So my advice, as a one-time IM finisher, is this: Do NOT overestimate your swim fitness. Choose a realistic goal and do the work for that goal. Personally, starting out the day having bagged my first race goal was a great feeling.

I ran down the streets of Lake Placid to the screaming fanaticism of the crowds ... they were 8 people deep and it was amazing. I got in the changing tent, sat down, and exhaled. "Well," I said aloud, "My racing is done!" I looked around and started to relax. A volunteer rushed over to me like my feet were on fire and raced to strip off my wetsuit. I figured he was accustomed to the first couple dozen of people being in a Big Hurry to get on the bike, so I tried to explain that I wasn't in a particular rush and that I could tend to my own stuff. Swish ... he pulled off the wetsuit. Okay, that was helpful.

It was cool on race morning, one reason I kept the wetsuit on until the changing tent, and I was worried about the air temps on my wet body. With this in mind, I made a last minute decision to cange into a dry cycling jersey instead of racing in some wet triathlon racing gear. I also grabbed some arm warmers. I changed into my cycling gear and wandered out onto the bike course. The clock read 59 and change, and I was grateful for the easy math that would allow later in the day.

The Bike

Immediately I had no problem taking it easy on the bike. Well, not quite true. Perhaps the biggest mistake I made all day was in the first 200m of the bike course. As you leave the high school you go down a sharp hill, turn, down a sharp hill that flattens out briefly for the crossing street, and then continues downhill to a sharp turn. I knew it was a sharp turn because I could see the hay bails. Anyway, I'm going down the hill, crossing the flat cross-street when I realize the hill is quite steep. Sorta from habit (I was a BMXer as a kid) and sorta for my own amusement, I bunny-hopped the lip of the cross-street and caugh 4 inches of air for a good 3-4 feet down the hill. I heard a few gasps behind me and smiled. Okay, now it was time to chill out :)

I'd been telling people about my Bike Slow plan for several monhts. I didn't want to explain, ad nauseum, why my bike split would be so slow BEFORE I put in an average split (for me). Many many people scoffed at my plan. "You cannot do it, you'll go 5:10." Just what I needed to hear, a challenge. Thanks Kyle :). In discussing this plan with one IM vet, he mentioned that I should latch on to one of the pro women and let them pace me. This, I thought, was BRILLIANT. Of course, it might mean cycling a little faster than I anticipated, but I looked at Heather Fuhr's splits over the years and decided that, if I felt really good, and the opportunity arose, I might pace off of her and see how it goes. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I could hang with her in the run (Heather is known for her average bike and smoking run). But, more importantly, sitting behind the posterior of a professional female triathlete would make for an enjoyable 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Lo & behold, as I made it up the first climb (holy COW! I don't remember all those UP hills on the way out of town!!! Cripes), there's a motorbike jamming a camera up some young lady's left nostril. I figure this to be Heather, and wonder if I want to risk my conservative plan for a day of booty goggling. I come up behind her and hang there for a minute. I give the motorcylce some space and hear in the mix of things ... "I just need to race my race" or something to that affect. To be honest, I don't remember the words very well, but the tone of her voice was absolutely clear: "Go the F*&# away and bother the future winner of this race 'cuz it ain't gonna be me."

I take a reading of my body and decide that my understanding of her tone is right on. This is too slow and I pass Heather. I made my way up & down the hills into Keene, and make the turn toward Jay. By this time a few guys have passed me and its sooooo easy to let them go. It's easy because, by now, I'm horrified by the marathon. Somewhere in the first six miles of the bike it dawns on me that I haven't run a marathon since April of 2002. And that I haven't run 20 miles since ... March of 2002 (a few trail runs came close or hit 20, but there's something to be said for pounding 20 miles on asphalt). Don't get me wrong, I've done a lot of mileage, and a lot of 14-16 mile runs. Even a few 19 mile trail runs back in May.

Not long after turning toward Jay I notice the guy ahead of me. He's wearing his chip on his right leg and I think "Hmmm, I always put my chip on my LEFT leg, so it's not on the same side as my drive train. Boy, I have some weird habits." And I glance down at my left leg. No chip. Hmmm, I wonder ... hmmm. And that's about as far as the thought goes. I really don't care about my time in this race, but if it goes well ... well, a chip would be nice I think. Just then an official goes by on a motorcycle. I wave him down and ask him what to do (certainly freaking out all the guys around me as I road next to the motorcycle). They said deal with it in T2, and I left it at that.

About 5 minutes later Glover comes up behind me and asked if I was taking it easy. I said you bet and watched him chase down the pack ahead of me. A dozen minutes later he was on the front end of that pack. This stretch of road is one of my favorite in this race. It's scenic and fast and fun. But it may also be my favorite because the turn off of this road to head toward **** is the worst section, in my opinion. The hills aren't that bad at all, nearly false flats, but I just don't like they way they roll out. I was happy to get onto the road to Hamilton. I was there for 10 or so minutes before I saw Simon & Luke rolling down the road. About 10 minutes later I was stunned that I hadn't seen another athlete. These guys were crushing the field.

I'm not sure if it was my pace or what, but I was yawning all morning, to the point that I was getting self-concious about it. As I pulled up to the turn-around in Hamilton, I saw someone enjoying their hot coffee & wondered why they didn't give coffee out at aid stations. I *really* wanted some coffee ... of course, when I went to grab a water bottle and dropped it I realized that giving out Grande Drips on the race course could be a painful experience. On the way back to ****, some dork goes cruising by me. Okay, I'm fine with that, but then he starts working all the turns, staying to the inside of the lane for the inside/right bends and working the yellow line for the outside/left bends. What a complete tool I thought ... slowly the anaerobic fury bubbled up. If he'd been fast I would have let it go, but I was making myself mad sitting behind him and he wasn't pulling away. So I mustered up a little bit of effort and went by him. "Please stay to the right!" I said in a voice I can only describe as official: stern but not threatening. I cruised on by and he was a ways back when I hit the last climb before the turn onto XXXX. I suppose he passed me later, but I don't recollect it.

Once I turned out of XXXX, it was up, up, up to Lake Placid. The hills weren't so bad, and I sat up and peddled as easily as I could to maintain my HR. My goal was to keep the HR around 130. I was surprised how long my HR stayed in the 160s after the swim (well, if I'd remembered all those hill en route to Keene maybe I wouldn't have been that surprised) but by now I was riding at 135 or so, and pretty happy with that pace. It was just a hair higher than I thought proper, but I felt staying ahead of the packs, at least until I got to the hills into town, would be worth the few extra heart beats. For me the moderate riding was easy to peg: spin. If I could "feel" my quads engaging, I was definitely going to hard.

As I say, the hills weren't all that bad given my chosen pace. A couple of guys went by me smartly, guy who looked like they knew what they were doing. But there was a good stretch of empty space behind me for much of the climbing.

While I had prepared myself to hold back, while I had prepared myself for a possibly crushing marathon time or for a searing pain in my feet, I was totally unprepared for downtown Lake Placid. Holy freaking freak town! Since the fast guys passed me on the hills and the mis-paced guys were struggling up the hill, I found myself with clear roads 500m in front of and behind me. I went through town (in something like 53rd place they told me) with not a single rider in sight. The crowds were just unbelievable, six and eight people deep screaming like I had just ascended l'Alp d'Huez. I was stunned, and I was smiling, from ear-to-ear. Truly something I will never forget.

The second loop was much more of the same. The only difference was that I had to pee. I've tried peeing on the bike in training, almost exclusively while it's raining, just because. But I could never get it right. I tried some on the second out-and-back section to Hamilton and it just wasn't working. Since I was chilling on the bike I decided today was not the day to worry about this and pulled over to relieve myself. Dave Cascio went cruising by me and asked if everything okay ... if I'd been witty I would have said, "It will be in about 10 seconds." But I was peeing and it's hard to pee and be witty at the same time.

The second climb up into Lake Placid concerned me. Every now and then I would get a jolt of pain from my left knee. It was only when I left "spin" for a slightly higher intensity, so it was a good governor of sorts. It never came back to haunt me, and I forgot about the issue on the run, when I had much bigger issues on the run. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back up the hill into Lake Placid. The crowds had dissipated some and, I have to admit, I was a little bummed. I was sooo loooking forward to that rock-star/ feeling again (anyone who has done the New York City marathon (or, I assume, Boston) knows what I'm talking about.

I handed my bike to the helpful volunteer (volunteers are the greatest, aren't they?) and said, "Who do I talk to about a missing chip?" Someone just ran off. I wasn't sure if he'd heard me or what, but I had 5 hours and 40 minutes to figure out the situation and I came up with this: my eager volunteer stripped my comfy, rubbery, custom chip band off with my wetsuit. So as I grabbed my bike-to-run transition bag, I also grabbed my swim-to-bike bag. One of the volunteers tried to set me straight, but I let them know that I needed something from that bag. Low 'n behold, there was my chip, just inside the left leg of my wetsuit. Just as I was finishing up, someon burst into the changing tent yelling "624! Are you here! At first I thought I'd been busted, again, for not running enough. "Yeah" I said weakly. I have a chip for you! "Oy! I'm fine, it was stripped off with my wetsuit." I have to admit, I was pretty impressed. When I came into transition I didn't tell this guy anything. I just said, who do I talk to and then sorta forgot about him. And then Presto!

Ah well, I suppose I've spent enough time avoiding the run

The Run

So, how did the plan shake out? Well, I left the tent, chip on ankle, and headed down the hill. I felt pretty good, glad to be off my bike (5:40 at a moderate pace is still 5:40 on a bike!) and ready for the marathon. I got into my stride and made a conscious effort to hold the pace back. I hit the first mile and took the split. 6:28. "Uh oh" I murmered and the guy I'd just passed chuckled. 6:28? I mean there was a downhill, but I was still 10 beats under my target run pace, and I felt very good. I chalked it up to taper and really pulled in the reigns. The next mile came in at 7:04. Not bad, but a tad faster was what I was aiming for. 6:36. Damn. Walking the next aid station, I clocked 7:21. Finally I eased into my target pace of just under seven. This is mile, what? Five? yeah. Somewhere around here I passed Cascio. Part of me worried about that ... Dave's a strong runner and I probably had no business passing him. But my HR was good, my effort seemed relaxed and good, and I figured maybe I had a shot at my run goals. Dave & I chatted a bit, we'd both seen Simon Lessing cruising through his first loop. Dave figure we were about to get lapped. Not long after we parted ways, I saw Simon cruising down Riverside Road. Oh dear, I thought, we're going to get lapped SOON. So I modified my run goals: don't get lapped. I was still feeling good around mile 8, and thought I may have had a shot at the upper end of my run goals (3:20 seemed doable). But not after first stopping to take another pee.

<Yost booting & cramps>

Next time, I'll take the trees.

I don't know what happened, but soon after I got out of the loo, my run changed. And it changed fast. I went from running 6:50-7:10 miles to 8:00 miles in less than two miles. It doesn't surprise me that this happened around mile 8 since my typical aerobic run (probably more than 50% of my total yearly mileage) is 8 miles in something around an hour. I managed to run up the big hill after the bridge, and even managed to run up That Damn Hill in town, but as soon as I crested the hill, I knew my run goals were shot. My only concern right then was to get onto the second loop before Simon went by me like a bat out of hell. I did manage to grab my special needs bag and downed a very tasty V8. I left the Pay Day bar as I still had the first one with me <beeelch> :(

I ran and ran my 8 minute miles and managed to make my left turn onto the second loop in a little less than 1:36, just missing Simon's triumphant right-turn toward the finish line. BY this time I'd stopped taking splits. I knew my run was over, but I was still enjoying the day. I made my way to the RATS cheering on the top of That Damn Hill and smiled and shook hands and said something like, "Now the fun begins" or "This is where I die like a suffering wildabeast in the jaws of the lioness" or something like that. Down That Damn Hill and to V and Tom and Katie where I sighed, "This is gonna hurt." To which Tom responded, "It's gonna hurt a whole lot more." I figured he was right and decided that it wasn't that bad. Yet. Right now, pain wasn't part of the issue. Just slowness.
It would be a few more stops in the loo and around mile 18 where the pain would start. My IT bands, both sides, were screaming. There were fatigued. I had to start walking more than the aid stations. But all along, I was in very good spirits. For me, this was a day to toe the waters, see what this ultra stuff is all about. Well, its about doing the work, its about respecting the distance. While I certainly respect the distance, I realized, as I walked out of the aid station with an orange in my face, that I didn't do the work. Ya see, I was so sure, I am so sure, that the secret to a good Ironman run was a strong, reserved bike. I believe that through and through. And I have a pretty strong bike, not quite strong enough, but it'll get there. Unfortunately, while strong, reserved bike fitness will not detract from an Ironman run, it is not a garauntee. The run requires the miles, with a strong base on the bike, those run miles are not wasted away. with a reserved IM bike split, those run miles are not left on the bike course. But since I chose to show up at the race without the run miles, all that didn't matter. I was simply left with some very sore legs and 8 miles of walking/running.

I wasn't reduced to The Shuffle or The Slog, but I had to about 25 minutes of that second loop, the rest I managed to jog along at an 8-ish pace until my IT bands started screaming again. All along Riverside Road I dreamed of walking up post-bridge hill, and that was one of the most satisfying walks of my life. At the top of the hill I fantasized about running the remained of the course (excepting That Damn Hill, of course). No dice. More loos (overhydrated?), more walking, and more enjoyment of the day. It was kinda cool, as I was mixed in with a lot of people on their first loop. They would jog by me as I walked, then I wold pass them as I hit one my running spurts. One little oriental lady and leapfrogged like this for the last 6 miles, each in our own little world. I hit the bottom of That Damn Hill and prepared to walk. I got about 1/5 the way up and decided I just wanted to be done with, so I slogged my way up. Here, at the top of This Damn Hill, where my run goals disolved into nothing, I realized the job was pretty much done. I looked at my watch and did some math. I could break 10:30 if I didn't dally about, so I set about not dallying. Turning onto Lake Placid Drive, I struggled to keep running, and finally had to stop when I approached the special needs bags. My legs were just so sore. But the clock was still in my favor. I walked for about 2 minutes while the little oriental lady passed me one last time. When I started running again, I knew this was for good. Down to the turn around and then into the home stretch. When I passed the special needs bags again, I felt amazing. I was probably running 7-mid or something at this point. At least that's what it felt like. As I approached the last turn, I approached another 30-34 male. I looked at him and said, "We can break 10:30 if we don't dally about." He seemed to have been wondering just that and immediately asked, "What time do you have?" "10:28 by my watch, but I stated it about a minute before the cannon." He seemed intrigued and I lead out, feeling strong. He hung with me for a few minutes and then I lost the sound of his feet. I hit the circle, made the turn and saw the glorious 10:29:0something. Well now, it's always nice to avoid those big round numbers.

Usually, when I finish a race, I'm not too emotional. But this was such a long day and I'd made so many goals and missed so many goals during the day ... it's a bit of a ride out there, isn't it? So I was glad to have made this last goal and really pumped my arms as I finished, holding up my race bib as it had fallen off at mile 8 or so (when I was still cogent enough to stuff it in my pocket. Final run time was 3:49:35 (1:35:50/2:13:45).

Post Race

I've always respected the IM distance, it's one of the reasons that I've put off my first IM race. I've always thought I could finish the race, finishing, eventually, was never a concern for me. It may have taken me more than one race, but I knew, one day, I would avoid enough mistakes to cross the Ironman finish line. So, since finishing wasn't a big unknown I was never in a rush to complete an Ironman. Ironman Lake Placid was an ideal situation for me. So many friends, a beautiful venue, no flying and packing the bike. It was a little close to my A-race season, but hey, this is about fun so who cares. I was glad to call myself an Ironman. And I was glad to not be running.

A volunteer approached and asked me if I was okay. Oh dear, I thought, do I look that bad (I later learned that they assign a volunteer to every finisher to make sure they don't keel over without a shoulder to lean on). I said I was fine and they asked me all kinds of questions, none of which involved food. I got the sense this person was waiting for me to keele over so I clarified the situation, "No really, I'm fine. I feel great. Where's the pizza?" Sensing that I had a firm grasp of reality, the nice volunteer pointed over to the tents and I was off.

Eyeing the pizza I grabbed my dry clothes bag to consume 32-ounces of delicious Endurox (fruit punch) and then finished an entire bag of salt 'n vinegar chips as I walked from the transition racks to the massage sign-up and then over to the pizza tables (what's that? like 100m? if that?). The only downside to the entire experience was the cold lame pizza offered at the finish. I mean, I finished in 10:30! What's a guy to do in order to get some warm food? Oh well, I grabbed three slices and joined the crowd on the hill. Not long after sitting down someone points and says, "Check out the guy with the Afro?" So I cast my eyes in that direction and see someone walking around with a pink bathrobe and a huge, fake Afro wig. Just then Aaron turns around and waves, and I'm instantly jealous of his finihser photos :)

Post Post Race

To say I was a bit shelled after the race is an understatement. My legs were sore and a few hours after I finished both of my knees were SCREAMING in pain. Going down stairs or a hill was impossibly hard and painful. I really wanted to see the finishers, Gary in particular as he was the only person I hadn't seen on the race course, but if I didn't get some hot, or even warm, pizza ... well, that wasn't an option. After grabbing dinner I ran into Aaron and tried to figure out how I could get back to our house in Keene Valley, given the roads were still closed. After about 12 minutes of conversation, of which, I'm pretty sure, pizza was only mentioned in the first two minutes, I realized even if I could find my car (no garauntee) that I was in no condition to drive. So it was decided to spend the night at Tom & V's, watching the last finishers on the live cable broadcast.

Post Post Post Race

Well a few weeks of easy workouts and then a few speed sessions this week and I feel okay. My right knee is still bothering me, but it's manageable, or so I think. Hope. I did hit the track last week and nailed a pretty good set, and I managed my first bike split above 25.x mph (barely) and a 5K PR (open or multisport) at Lums Pond on Sunday, so I seem to have retained some speed after a two week taper and two-three week rest.

Dear god, are you still reading? Really now, shouldn't you be training? Thanks for reading to the end.