Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Report...

I arrived in Florida with a bit of a cold. This was the first thing that had gone wrong in my Ironman build but I figured when it arrived I had 10 days for it to clear. I was looking forward to leaving the cold of New Jersey and heading down to some warmer weather to dry out my sinuses and get me healthy. I had no doubt in my mind that race day I would be 100% ready!

Well as some of you know the days leading up to Ironman were cold and rainy and I spent most of my time resting.
Not a bad thing. The day before race day I was finally feeling better and I was really hungry. I felt like I was eating so much food and by nighttime my tummy was feeling a little upset. I shrugged it off and got a decent nights sleep.

Morning came quickly and I got up at 4.30 to eat. My stomach was still feeling full and I was not very hungry and ate a very small bowl of oatmeal and a few scoops of apple sauce.
Scottie, James and I headed down to the start at 5.30. We did not want to spend too much time waiting in the 30 degree weather so instead it ended up being a bit of a rushed morning. Before I knew it we had 20 minutes to start and I was still out of wetsuit looking for a bathroom. With 10 minutes to go I finally begged someone to let me go to the front of the line, got my wetsuit on, dropped off my morning bag and got onto the beach with minutes to spare.
I got a 2 minute warmup swim and then lined up for the day.

The swim was pretty uneventful. I stayed with a small group pulling the first loop coming in around 29 minutes. The run on the beach was quite tiring and I decided to sit in for the second half. The pace seemed so slow so I eventually just swam off on my own and zig zagged around the age groupers.
I ran in around 1.01, a minute slower than the last time I swam this course. It was ok though as the water was a little rougher.

Running into T1 the volunteers were awesome. So many clothes dropped out of my bag and it was so hard to put them all on with my wet body. First was a long sleeved shirt. I just could not get than on...so I opted for just a bike jersey and arm warmers...knee warmers and thick Saucony compression socks. I too had toe caps on my shoes so I figured I would be reasonably warm. Once on the bike the camera guys were filming me and that kept my focus on catching up to Tamara in front of me and not on the cold. By mile 7 I had passed her and had my sights on a girl in front of her. We were riding into a head wind and I was feeling strong and pushing comfortably hard. A few guys came by in a tight group. I was amazed how blatant the drafting was. I stayed 100m back until I was dropped. Another pro girl then came by in a pack and I once again thought I should go with them. It was significantly easier in the pack but instead I went to the back and stayed too far off the back that I lost the draft and biked on my own. My stomach was starting at this point around mile 35/40 to really feel very bloated and crampy. When I got to the turnaround I saw a bunch of the guys that had been riding in packs that had received drafting penalties and I was happy I did not go with them because I had failed to put my race belt on and I was worried if they pulled me over I would get DQ'd.

The next section of road was super bumpy and back into a headwind. My stomach was feeling so upset by this time that I was holding back throwing up. A mile of bumps and I started vommiting uncontrollably. I pulled off the road and lent over with my stomach in pain.
I continued on pushing into the wind trying to keep my watts up. Every time I thought I was starting to feel better, it kept coming back. I could not consume any fluids. The cramps were strong and I started looking for a short cut back. I knew we had an out and back and I was thinking I would just ride straight back. Instead I headed out on the loop once again throwing up halfway through. I was so dissapointed as I was so ready for this race and I could not believe I was feeling so bad. I tried to just drink a few sips of water and basically just cruised home pushing 140 watts to the finish. I was riding so much slower with a big tailwind than with the wind in my face and I just wanted to cry! My friend Danielle and many others rode by and asked me what was wrong...

Once in T2 I sat down on a chair bent over while the girls yelled can we help, can we help? They were basically putting my shoes on and pushing me out the door. So I figured let me stop at the bathroom where I can have a private moment to contemplate what I really should do.
I stood in there hating the thought of a DNF. But my body was so completely drained. But in the end I decided to head out and push for a bit and see what happened. My stomach was so sore but I ran hard and surprisingly my legs felt so much better than what they did when I first got out on the run at the Rev3 full distance 6 weeks ago.
I stopped again at mile 3 to use the porto...as I had gone from throwing up to a complete upset tummy. I tried to drink lots at the water stops and even stopped at the paramedics at around mile 6. I gave them my symptoms and they suggested I should stop. I told them that I would run the out and back and then see them at mile 9. They insisted I stop at every aid station and hydrate well and to check in with them. So off I went and I was surprised at mile 7 to see that I was running pretty well.
But the reality was that I was really dehydrated and depleted and I could feel my heart rate rising. So I just ran comfortably and stopped and drank at every station and stopped every few miles at the bathroom. My lower stomach was still so crampy and it was really a struggle the whole way. At the turn around I was prepared to just go back out and try my best to just keep trying to pass people and get to the finish.

The crowds cheers kept me going and seeing my buddy James out front was so inspiring. Scottie D too was having a great race and I was so happy for them.
So I jogged into the finish and was proud of myself for my perseverance. I came across in 10.09 a few minutes faster than my Rev 3 full distance.

So while I was terribly disappointed I understood that what I accomplished was good!

Back in medical I continued to throw up after a nice cup of soup and I stayed there for a few hours recovering with some well needed IV fluid.

After a lazy day spent trying to recover Sunday I had fun celebrating with so many friends at the awards and Spinnakers the next night. I am truly happy and fortunate to beable to do what I love!

Thank you to coach Paulo who always gets me ready to race. I hope one day I will beable to put together the race that we both know I am capable of!
Thanks to to Trakkers for all their support this year and Kestrel, Saucony and First Endurance, the best Nutriton ever!

Me, James Cunnama (Ironman FL Champ), Scott D, Arland M