Going into this race I have to admit that I was more nervous then I've been for a race in a long time. Without a doubt, it because I've struggled a bit this season with my own results. Season started great with Salty Dog, but quickly got challenged. With a DNS at Oliver, then a DNF at IMCdA, I was feeling less like a finely tuned machine and more like a UFC fighter fighting up a weight class. That makes my season sound kind of crappy, when actually this season has been one of the most rewarding to date! As a coach, I was rolling all six's! Watching my athletes crush race after race was such an incredibly cool thing! Trust me when I say, I could go on and on about my athletes this year! Just awesome!
So I was nervous! In choosing this race, I was looking for a race that happened after most of the big coaching hurtles (Badwater, IMC, IM Kona, etc). I had never raced a flat lapped course before. I actually thought that would be a big challenge for me and that I needed hills to break up the ride. Nothing like proving yourself wrong and proof that you should always keep challenging your abilities. Sometimes, you have no idea what you can accomplish.
I arrived in Arizona 6 days before the race. Ema and Dalton were nice enough to let me invade their Fountain Hills house. This was so awesome! It's basically right at the end of the bike course but well far enough away from the venue that I dodged all the collective nervous energy that comes with an Ironman. The next major ace in my corner was my mom decided to come down and support me. She is like my lucky charm! I pride myself of being low maintenance, so I've gotten used to needing little moral support. When my mom came down, it was crazy nice. Then, about two days before the race, Ema and Dalton surprised me by coming down to catch the race. I was a bit overwhelmed at the support, but I will never take it for granted. Having wicked friends is... Well, wicked!
Race morning came after a killer 8hr sleep thanks to a top notch pre race meal by Ema. I was in transition by about 5:15. This gave me just over an hour to finish my tradition set up, complete my warm up routine provided my Majo and Dr. Snow, as well as some lung activating Spiro Tiger.
Swim: I'm glad I had a comprehensive dry land warm up, because they didn't allow much of a swim warm up. In fact my swim warm up consisted of about 150m swim under the bridge and to the starting bouy. It was a huge field of pro men to start with. I will never complain about congestion, compared to the AG start, but it was kind of nice to have lots of feet to swim on. I guess this had its draw back too. It seemed like the entire way, as soon as I'd get on someone's feet, they'd would completely loose direction and head like 90degrees in the wrong direction. I was kind of chuckling to myself about it by the end. My goal was to swim sub 60mins, I swam 59! Check!!
Bike: Like I said before, I had no real idea how my body would like being in aero for so long on such a pancake flat course, but I wanted to see if I could put in a good effort early and bridge up to anyone ahead of me. As I approached the far turn around I saw the lead group of men. In standard formation, meaning about 8-10 guys all flirting with drafting and certainly hauling butt! As a pack, they were simply moving much faster then me. But I was still happy because I kept catching people and passing them. I really felt like I could attack the bike in a way I didn't know I was capable. I nailed my nutrition! Two 1400cal bottles (one on the bike and one in special needs). The jet fuel for me consisted of 7 scoops of efly, 4 scoops of eload, and about 1500 additional mg of sodium from a home made salt brine. Sounds gross, but it was magic! Every ten minutes I'd take a big swing of jet fuel and be constantly nursing my straight water bottle that I switched out at every other aid station. My goal was to ride 4:50, I road 4:41! Check!!
Run: I got off the bike with my good bud Jordan. He took off like some sort of ITU World Cup racer. I had my plan! The Guardian and I set up a solid plan to go out at 4:30k's and build for there. And that's what I set out to do. At about the 13mile mark I was like, ok time to pick it up. And for all intensive purposes, it really did feel like I was moving well. Sure enough the Garmin gods don't lie. I was still running about the same pace. LOL! So I just tried to stay strong and positive. When negative thoughts crept into my psyche, I was pretty good at flipping it and cracking out some serious positive self talk. It seemed like at every key part of the race I'd see my mom, Ema and Dalton. Rose Serpico from Tri It in Calgary was freak'n hilarious out there. She must have ran most of the course just spectating. One minute I'd see her on one side of the lake and the next she was cheering me on the opposite side of the course. Love that lady! Ultimate Ironman goal was was to finish sub 9hrs... CHECK~~~ if the race was exactly one mile shorter. In the end I finished 9:07:forty something.
This was still a huge personal best for me and a great cherry on an epic season. I'm going into the winter with a clear view of what my next move is and looking forward to a killer snowshoe and xc ski season. Huge thanks goes out to Ema and Dalton for their unprecedented support. The Guardian for being the best mentor ever. All my teammates and athletes for constantly inspiring me! Trek bikes and Eload, for if I was without I'd be up the creek without a paddle... And boat! John at Compressport, those really are the best short in the world! The staff at Fresh Air, best pit crew a guy could ask for. And my family! It was all too apparent this year that we never know how long we have with them! They are my touch stone and I give thanks for them everyday! Special thanks to my mom, you know what you did!