For a variety of personal reasons, which I will not put the reader through, my training for Ironman Arizona was not where I wanted. As the race approached, I had to face the realization that I was undertrained and overweight; even by my own pudgy standards.
There is no cramming for the Ironman exam. It takes months of consistent training to be properly ready. I trained, just not to the level I would have liked.
I left San Diego for Tempe on Thursday, and took a nice easy drive out. Checked into my room, which was actually in Mesa, as I went cheap and stayed eight miles away to save $45 a night.
Friday I went over to the Ironman Village and picked up my packet. Having done two full Ironman races, I knew what to expect, I strolled through the vendors, talked to one of the recovery boot vendors, and did a 10-minute demo. They felt pretty darn good, but they are out of my budget right now.
I picked up my bib, timing chip, and goodies, and took a stroll through the Ironman store. I always get an M-dot shirt with the names of the participants on it. I have one from every half and full I’ve done. And I liked the IMAZ coffee mug, so I got one of those. I don’t need to buy out the store anymore though, I’ve done this!
Got my stuff, time to put my feet up for a bit. As I drove back to my motel, I passed the spring training facility for the World Champion Chicago Cubs! What a facility, and the cool part is they got the streets around the park named Addison, Clark, Waveland, Sheffield.
My routine for the day before a race is to get a short, 30-minute shakeout ride, then rack my bike and rest. The shakeout ride went fine, but I thought my rear brake was soft. I gave my bike to bike tech to check it out. They were swamped and had a 3.5 hour wait, so I went and had some lunch. Came back and still had to wait an hour. Ugh. Finally got my bike, racked it, and went into rest mode. Social media off, calm the mind, visualize a successful race.
I slept GREAT! Woke up 10 minutes before the alarm. Had my breakfast as I drove in. Got parked, made my final preparations and now nothing to do but wait. I found a place to sit and get off my feet. Pros start at 6:40. Age groupers start at 6:50 in a controlled self-seeded start.
About 6:20 I start putting the wetsuit on, take my morning dry bag down, and got in the queue for the Roka swim course with the 1:20 swimmers.
BOOM! There goes the cannon and the pro men are off.
BOOM! There goes the cannon and the pro women are off.
BOOM! There goes the cannon and the age-groupers start! And now, we are moving. It didn’t take long and into the water, my race starts. Swim, swim, I can’t see. Roll over, rinse goggles, go. Swim, smash, smash, goggles and cap knocked off. Grabbed the goggles, lost the cap. Swim, swim, can’t see. Goggle fix. I could not get the goggles to stay clear. Finally got far enough as we approached a bridge, and I could sight off it, so I wasn’t worried about the limited vision. I felt strong swimming at this point, and this continued throughout the swim. I figured I had dropped back to the 1:30-1:35 swimmers with the goggle issues, and had some negative self - talk, and doubt going on here. So I gave myself a butt-chewing and got to it. Then good positive self – talk as I got in a groove! Here comes the final red buoy, left turn, I can here cheering, and announcing, and can see the exit stairs, and volunteers, and I’m out of the water! In 1:23:17! My second best swim at this distance, which is three Ironman races, and one Tiki Swim. But it feels like a PR with the start being so bad. I really thought it was about 1:30 so I was stoked. Off to Transition one.
To be continued…