You know I had a bad day when the swim was the highlight of my race.
Got in early to get a little time in open water, having not worn my wetsuit in ... well, a few years.
My goal was just to be calm, rotate well, and have a smooth swim. It went great for the most part. The only trouble I had was on the first lap, the sun was right in our eyes and I couldn't spot the course markings. I followed the swimmers in front of me, who went rather wildly off course... so that cost me some time, but no worries. Subtracting the run from the lake to transition, I was pretty close to the ~45 minute mark, which is where I wanted to be. Consistent with my previous Ironman - slow and steady. Slow, mostly.
I had some massive hamstring lock-ups in transition... so I ended up doing this:
|How not to do transition. Where all the bikes at?|
For those not familiar with transition technique - this is pretty bad technique. I'm just glad the race official (*ahem*) was there to snap this photo. The jerk.
I didn't really feel comfortable on the bike at any point, not totally sure why. The way out we had a tailwind, I picked off a few stragglers early on, but wasn't passing as many people as I had hoped. It was a pretty small field, though, so might have just felt that way.
The hills were pretty tough, but way worse was the wind - holllly! It killed me on the way back. In my infinite wisdom I neglected to put my aero bars on the bike - mistake!!! I managed to pass a bunch of people on hills, but I was already feeling a lot of fatigue and just not that "on". My average speed was something in the 29's km/h, not what I had hoped for.
This transition was equally bad, although less comical (and nobody took a picture).
I started out feeling surprisingly OK. I looked at the watch and realized I only needed to maintain about a 6:00/km pace or so and I'd be in under 6 hours. I figured I'd kill that and end up with an OK time.
Except within a few kilometers my early 5:12/km pace went from feeling easy to hard to not even remotely possible.
I wasn't alone - misery loves company, and I had a fair bit of it. And these weren't couch-surfers overreaching - lots of Ironman tattoos and gear back there, some fit looking people who were just getting beat up. Some people can deal with the heat, some can't. I can't.
I was taking 3 Gatorades and pepsi at ever aid station - whatever my stomach would hold down. Every so often I'd have a flicker of pace, things would feel OK, but I couldn't sustain it. Walked hills, it was just brutal. I'm actually surprised that I ended up anywhere near 6:00/km - it was awful.
I managed to find a little something for the finish - it was net downhill and there were a bunch of guys behind me motivating me by their very presence. But it felt bad.
I didn't give this distance anywhere near the respect it deserves and I paid the price.
Figured I'd wing it without aero-bars - mistake. Had a few drinks last night - mistake.
The one thing I did get right was nutrition - I don't think I could have consumed any more than I did, I really hit the Gatorade / Heed hard, and took in as much as I could stomach. 5 bottles on the bike plus a whole bunch on the run.
Also the one good thing about hitting the wall is knowing you can push through it. If I can get anywhere near a 6:00/km pace at Ironman I'll be pretty darned happy. I think it's possible.