Ironman Italy Emilia-Romagna
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Cervia, Italy - September 18, 2021
1:11:03 Swim (1:51 / 100 Mtr)
5:33:45 (20.15 MPH)
5:57:08 (13:38 min/Mi)
Word of advice... do not do two Long Distance races in 6 days, after "touristing" around non-stop for 2 weeks. I was dead tired before the race even started!
Plus, I had no desire to race. I wasn't into it at all. Mentally, I was checked out. I was on vacation, and wanted to stay that way... not how it should be going into an Ironman! Unlike last week's race, this race had many COVID related peculiarities. It started with having to show proof of Vaccination in order to get in to the Ironman Village, Ironman Checkin, Ironman Store... each and every time! Masks had to be worn in transition at all times. Then, just before heading to transition to drop my bike & bags (can you tell I really wasn't into it?), I find out that there are no changing tents. We will leave our Bike & Run bags by our bikes, and will change there (like a 70.3). Later, while on the bike, I learned that the aid station volunteers were not handing out bottles, they were only setting the tables. We had to stop and get what we needed ourselves! Same with the run, but of course, there it doesnt really matter much.
Another interesting thing to note about this race... Transition is the longest I have ever seen. It 800 meters long (0.5 mile), and we had to go the whole distance each time!
My thought on race day was to just take it easy. Not worry about time at all. Just go easy Z2 the whole way, not force anything. I put myself in my usual 1:00 - 1:10 hr corral. We started at the beach, so we had some 20-30 yds in the sand, then probably another 50-70 yds in the water before it was deep enough to start swimming. This entire time, the only way to go was walking, so that definitely took away from my actual swim time! I felt better in this swim than I did in last week's race. I found some clear waters near the buoys, got a good rhythm and just went... I noticed I was touching something with my hands all the time... took me a while to realize that the water was filled with jelly fish. They were small ones. And they didnt sting. I was actually more worried about swallowing one than anything :). At times, depending on the direction we were going, it felt like a washing machine. To get out, it was the same thing... about 100 yds away, it was already to shallow to swim, and we basically had to walk the whole way. As I was not concerned with time, and having re-aggravated my Achilles injury as well as the knot in my calf last week, I wasn't about to run on the sand. And from there, I just walked the entire Transition (reason why it was such a long T1 time). I was thinking I would keep around 20 mph, staying in low/mid Z2 throughout, but as soon as I started the bike, I could tell I had no legs! I was barely pushing and my legs were already burning! However, the longer I went, the better I felt, and I was able to get that mph average up a bit. And the 2nd lap was much faster than the first. The course was 2 laps, mostly flat/rolling, with one hill that was about 1.5 miles long, with a couple areas getting above 10% grade for a couple hundred meters. Being a flatlander, I was definitely a bit worried about it, but once I did it, it wasn't that bad. Of course, the 2nd time through it was a bit harder, especially at that last 10% grade!
The weather started out really nice. Sunny, but not hot. The wind started picking up especially on the 2nd lap. And it was looking like rain at any minute. I was just hoping to get through the hill descent on the 2nd lap before the rain, and I got through it. The last 10-15 miles were mostly with a very strong head wind.
In the end, I finished just over 20 MPH, but I also believe I lost about 20 min to the self-serve aid stations, which would put me somewhere close to 21 MPH overall, which is about where I expected to be. Once again, I walked the entire transition, and took my time getting my run shoes on. Another long transition time ensued. But I didnt really care!
The run was 4 loops of 10k.
I began the run feeling pretty good, but also knowing this was the one discipline I had trained the least! I had not run more than 8 miles since Nov. 2019! And that was once, and it was a run/walk. Plus, I had not run at all in a month due to my Achilles injury.
I knew I had to do a long of run/walking, but as I was feeling good, I think I tried running more than I should in the first lap. But I figured I would keep going as long as I could. And that lasted until mile 10-11.
I was starting to tire then, and had to go to the bathroom. While on the potty, everything started spinning, and I felt I was going to pass out. I quickly got outside and held myself on a wall, for a few minutes until I regained my balance. I started walking, but it took a while to feel right again. By then, things had changed... I was no longer feeling good, my body started feeling tired, I was starting to feel exhausted. From then on, it was a struggle. A lot more walking than running, and just trying to keep moving and to get to the end. Oh, they didnt have Cola at this race... they had a disgusting Red Bull Organic Cola wannabe that was disgusting. I was glad to see Jenna at the 2nd lap, and made her buy me a Coke from a restaurant on the course. That was a life-saver!!!! Finally, the 4th lap came and went, and I crossed the Finish Line! One more Ironman done. Another amazing experience, this a bit different than the others, but no less special. I was glad to have pushed through and conquered my demons (mentally and physically this time) to get it done. At the end of the day, I did better than I had expected. I was hoping to be under 13:30 hrs... and I came so close to breaking 13 hours :) All in all, not too shabby!