I swam, I biked, I ran - I had fun, and now I'm Kona bound!! ;-)
Thanks to everybody who helped make it possible: Cathy and Emma, Murphy the Wonder Dog, Mom and Dad (couldn't you guys have paid a little extra for some swim genes for me? ;-), my family and friends, the ST crew: Dev P, Tetsuoni, Yoda, SwordFish, Tyler_Durden, WVarta, Ted Mc at al for cheerleading, plus all the other great ST'ers I met before, during, and after the race, Rappstar for some great info over the past year, DougStern (although w/ my swim split, maybe he doesn't wanna be associated w/ me! ;-), Tom Demerly, the EpicMan gang (Rick Hellard in particular), the AWESOME HVTC crew, Rich Strauss and Crucible Fitness, Rich at Wheelbuilder.com, Gordo and his gang at GordoWorld, InfinIT nutrition, and my G.com gang: Sam, Bob, Dennis, Mike, Ed. And anybody else I may have forgotten....
Special thanks to Bill at Placid Planet, who literally saved my race by taking the brand new Ouzo Pro fork off his bike so I could replace my ruined Easton aero fork and use my own bike to ride. You are my hero. (Honorable mention to Cid and Cid Jr. from InsideOut Sports, who searched dilligently for a replacement fork for me - you guys are awesome!! I truly appreciated Sid Sr's words when he said "we will get you a fork, or we will get you a bike, you WILL be racing on Sunday." Thank you.)
And a HUGE thanks to all the AMAZING VOLUNTEERS and spectators for this race. I felt like a rock star, it was just an awe inspiring and humbling experience.
The full report (LONG, sorry):
The Prologue - drving up on Friday am, on the Northway going 80 mph, my bike blows off the Thule roof rack of my wife's car, and slams into the side, hanging by the accessory cord I used to secure the rear (since I had the disc cover on, I couldn't use the normal Thule strap). Take a look at the fork, and one of the CF dropouts is bent, the other is sheared off entirely. <loud expletive deleted> Great, now I'm out a $400+ fork, and I hafta scramble to get a replacement.... just what I need to start my first IM weekend.
Arrive in LP, go to High Peaks Cyclery. They have no forks. I go to Placid Planet, and they have an Ouzo Pro, sweet! I bring the bike in, but oh-oh, turns out the B2 has a 1" steerer tube, and the only forks they have are all 1 1/8". I'm buggered. So, I say I'm heading over to InsideOut at the expo to see if they have anything.... just as I'm about to leave, Bill comes out and tells me that if I strike out at IO, to come back because he has an old Litespeed that he just put a new Ouzo Pro onto earlier this month, and he'd be willing to let me have that (and they'd order him a new one which I would pay for). OK, thx!!! I go to InsideOut, see the above mention.
Sat am, get up early, head over to LP to swim and run (since I can't bike), and decide to swing by Placid Planet beforehand (it's 7am), and lo and behold, Bill and Kenny are there, and they get me in right away to get the new fork on my bike. Once again, you guys are my heros.
Race Day. Get up at 3:40, slug down 4 Ensures, and start gathering my schtuff and pack the car. Wake Cathy and Emma, drive over, take the shuttle bus into town. Go to the TA, borrow a pump, lube the chain, find some water to fill the aero bottle, put the fuel bottle on the bike, I think I'm good to go. (more on this later)
The swim: 39:30, 39:52, total 1:19:22. Position 1493. (Yes, I suck at swimming, but either of these split would be a HIM PB for me, so I was psyched w/ my splits). Amazingly I am calm and steady when the gun goes off, and in spite of being violated in ways that should have been preceeded by dinner and a movie and followed by a cigarette, I feel great. Never got out of breath, just swam easy and enjoyed the vortex-like draft, in spite of the rugby-like scrum for the majority of it By far the best o/w swim I've ever had. Exit the water fresh and very psyched that I beat my goal swim split time. Good mojo.
T1: 7:56. I get some assistance from a very enthusiastic stripper, and jog to the TA. I had no idea what to expect, but it was a zoo, I sat on the ground and geared and lubed up. Not as quick as I had hoped (goal was 5-6 mins, oh well), but I grab my bike and get ready to mount up. WTF?? Where is my f'n PT computer?? Uh, it's in my running pants, back in the dry clothes bag (I didn't want it to get wet). D'OH!!!! Split second decision - do I go get it, or ride without? I say F it, and get going. We're racing Old School today, RPE baby.
The bike: 2:42:24, 2:44:08, total 5:26:32. Position 263 (I passed 1230 people on the bike, holy crap!) I try to keep it under wraps going up the hill out of town, but since I don't have my PT, I can only hope that I'm not pushing too hard. Passing tons of people, but my HR doesn't seem outta whack (not that I'd really know, since I don't go by HR on the bike), so I keep on keeping on. Mach Schnell down the Keene descent (which is wet), and thankfully don't hafta brake at all or avoid too many other riders. I went left of the yellow line (legally) and just inside the cones, it was like my own private lane. I'm pretty chilly, and rethinking the "PantyMan" wisecracks I had made about people wearing arm warmers. First loop goes by VERY quickly, and other than some pelotons on the Haselton out and back, it's pretty draft free. I catch up to Tyler_Durden, and all of a sudden we're at Poppa Bear, and it's like the Alpe Du Huez with the cheering going on. I come around into Special Needs, grab my other bottle, and see that I'm gonna be around 2:42 for the loop - uh oh, that's a good 5 mins faster than I planned, I hope I don't end up paying for it later.... Second loop, much more clear now, keep it rolling, catch and pass Yoda (and later on I pass R10C and RRoof, both moving along well), and then shut it down after the top of the Northwoods climb. I come across in 2:44 - again worried that it could be a very loooong run for me if I overcooked it on the bike. Can't do anything about that now.
T2: 2:59 Uneventful. Goal was 2-3 mins, so I'll take it.
The Run: 1:39:20, 1:44:44, total 3:24:04. Position 109 Time for my first-ever marathon. Head down the hill, and moving along decently, HR is relatively low, but some of these dudes are moooving, what are they thinking? What am *I* thinking?? First 3 miles are all in 7:15's or so, dude, you need to chill out here. I settle in on River Road, and take water at every aid station, GU every 3rd. The sponges are nice, and I use one to pad the massive chafing I had on my left armpit, it felt like I was running with a band saw under my arm. I see Dev, and I yell to him that I'm coming, I'm gaining on him!!! ;-) On the way back, I pass a dude in my AG, then he passes me back and I see his calf and I go with him. We motor up the Town Hill, and I'm on him like white on rice. He cracks on LP Club Drive and I pass him. Still clicking off some decent mile splits, HR is around 140 give or take, so I'm very comfy still. Pick it up down the hills on lap 2, then go steady on River Rd again, but now I'm taking a Gu every other aid station, and I have discovered the joy of ice in the Peaceful Tribe headsweats run cap. I get a bit of an ice cream headache, but it hurts so good. I see Dev again, only this time its only a few 100m from the turnaround. I yell out to him again, and a few minutes later I come up behind him, and say Hi. We chat a bit, and he tells me that if I can keep up that pace, I'm Kona bound. I motor off, and hit the hills again. Ski Jump hill, no problemo. Pass the HVTC crew again, who are cheering wildly - THX you guys, you totally rock!!!! Up the Town Hill, and I am in the hurt locker now, start feeling woozy, legs are burning, taking baby steps but still 'running'. Crowds are cheering massively, it really helps. Make the turn onto LP Club Drive, and I know that if I don't blow here, I'm definitely under 10:30, maybe even 10:25 (ok, so math wasn't my strong suit at this very moment ;-)
Hit the oval, and I feel like a rock star, the crowds are going insane. I come up on the line, and can't believe what I'm seeing, 10:20:52, you have gotta be kidding!!!! I was hoping that maybe I could break 10:45 if I played my cards right.... This is just unbelieveable.
I cross the line, and 2 lovely catchers grab my elbows (now I know why they have finish line catchers, I was pretty woozy and unstable), and walk me down for my picture and then to the finish area. I drink a ton of Gatorade (the pizza looked good, but I just couldn't do solid food at the moment), chatted w/ Dev and the other finishers, and then went to go find my wife and daughter.
Thanks again to all who contribute to SlowTwitch, your friendship, input, and motivation have been a treasure to me the last 2 years. Even though this was my first IM, I didn't feel like a rookie. I executed as well as I possibly could have, and then some.
float , hammer , and jog