The Woodlands, TX - May 19, 2012
1:20:35 Swim (2:05 / 100 M)
6:50:33 (16.37 MPH)
6:04:51 (13:55 min/Mi)
This was another interesting race. I did not start training for it until the beginning of April, which left me with 7 weeks to try and get through an Ironman. And to make matters worse, at that time i was 3 months removed from any exercise, and i gained 20 lbs in that period. I thought about pulling out of the race, but I had committed to race this race in order to raise funds to a great organization that helps abandoned and abused dogs, called Lucky Dog Rescue. There was no way I was going to pull out. I would race, and cross that finish line, even if it took me 16:59:59 to complete it.
The 7 weeks were good, and it helped me lose almost all the extra weight I had put on. I thought I would be able to get through the race at around the same time I did last year, my very first Ironman. This year, they decided to make all the people who would be wearing a wetsuit to wait 10 min after the gun, before being allowed to start the race. I didnt like that. So I decided to swim without my wetsuit.
The swim itself was crowded. The water was very rough, wavy. A lot more than I remember from last year. After the commotion of the start, I found some room and got on a rhythm. Things were ok until pretty much 2/3 of the distance. That’s when I realized I got real tired. I noticeably slowed down. At this point, I was just trying to get to the swim exit. I finally get out of the water. The clock showed about 1 hr 20 min. I was a bit disappointed with that time. Last year I did the swim in 1 hr 13 min (but I had a wetsuit). I was hoping to be around 1 hr 15 min. On the other hand, maybe I just wasnt trained well enough for a 1 hr 15 min time. T1 was fine. Got my bag. Put on my shoes and there I went.
The bike was an adventure. I have not had my Look 596 since January due to a warranty issue with the frame. Look decided that there was no way to fix my frame, and that they would replace it with a brand new 2012 Look 596 frame. GREAT !!! I just upgraded my bike by 3 years. Yeah !!! Problem was, it was going to take 4-5 months before they built and shipped a new frame to me. It was supposed to arrive 2 weeks before this race, but as it turned out, it arrived the Monday after !!! Thank God for great friends, who allowed me to use a Cervelo P2. I was able to fit and train on this bike for 2 weeks before the race. The bike was not the right size for me, and even with a great fit, it still wasnt perfect. But it was way better than racing in a road bike.
The bike started well. The bike was working nicely and I was actually keeping a higher average than I expected for the first half of the race. It was getting really hot, and it was getting difficult to drink my Infinit (my nutrition). The aid stations kept handing lukewarm water and gatorade. That was not helping. I did finish my first bottle of Infinit during the first half of the ride. Then, the second half... and the wind !!! There were major winds coming from the South, and the second half of the race was all against the wind. My average started to fall rapidly. I noticed that, as I had to push harder on the bike, my body (back especially) started getting a bit sore.
Then came Mile 71, and its rail road tracks. BAM !!! This loud noise came from my front wheel as I went through the tracks. I immediately stopped to check, and noticed that my hub had broken and three spokes were loose. I was so upset. My first thought was “I’m done. There’s no way to ride on this wheel. It’s over”. Luckily for me, there was a Sheriff’s Officer at that intersection, and she saw me pull over, and came to see if I was ok. I asked her if she had a way to get in touch with support. She did. I asked her if she could ask for them to send me a replacement wheel. She did and they said they were on their way. Awesome. So I get to rest for 15-20 min, finish the bike leg, and will be fresh for the run.
15 min came and went. So did 30, 45, 1 hr... finally after over an hour, the guy shows up. He exchanged my wheel and I continued on my way. Problem was, after sitting around all that time, my body was not only cold, but stiff. I also did not have any water for this whole time, only my hot Infinit and gatorade. I didnt drink anything during the entire wait. I also had not touched my second bottle of Infinit. I got back on the road, but could not get my rhythm again. My body was very sore, especially my back (I think not having the right bike fit really came to haunt me here). But that wasnt all. Something just wasnt right. I was dying for some cold water, so on the next aid station, i stopped and made sure to find some ice. I did that on all three aid stations i found from there on. I still couldnt get myself to drink my Infinit though. The last 10 miles were hell. I was so sore, I couldnt wait to get off the bike. Finally, there it was. T2. As I handed my bike off to the volunteers, I knew something still wasnt right. I walked to entire way into the tent (never walked a transition before in any race). Once inside, I had to sit down. I was kinda dizzy. At that point, I only had consumed half of my nutrition - maybe thats a big part of what was happening to me. I didnt feel good. As a matter of fact, I felt really bad. The medics came to speak with me a couple times. I actually thought of pulling out of the race. But I sat just there. I finally started feeling a little better, and decided to go on. As it turned out, I was at T2 for 37 min !!! I started the run very easy. I basically walked the entire first loop. I met a Brazilian guy who was also walking. We talked for a long part of the first loop. One thing i regret though, i spent a long time speaking with him, even though i started feeling good and wanted to run. But i stayed with him for about 20-30 min more, because i felt bad leaving him (stupid thing to do. Never again !!!)
A bit later, I saw Hermann, who also was having issues, and we walked together. On the second loop, I started feeling better and started running. Hermann still didnt feel good, so he kept walking. I ran a good part of the second loop, and was feeling better. On the third loop, my knees once again started hurting me, which made me start walking again. Hermann eventually caught up to me, and from then on, we ran/walked most of the way to the finish. About 2 miles from the end, my knees were hurting so much, i couldnt keep up, so Hermann went ahead and finished a few minutes ahead of me. It was nice to see the shoot and the finish line. It was my slowest IM so far, but i was glad to have persevered through the many adversities.