Headed out of Madison for Kansas Thursday morning about 6:30, arrived after a largely uneventful trip at roughly 3:30 in the afternoon and set up camp. One of the first things that struck me was this sign on the doors of the bathroom / shower buildings in the campground.
Turns out there were spigots with drinking water at all the pit toilets. So now instead of washing my bike in a pit toilet, I'm getting my drinking water from a spigot adjacent to one, much better.
Friday morning I got up and went for a run along portions of the run course with Patrick in tow on his bike. Nothing to exciting. After breakfast we headed down to the lake for a practice swim. Other than a small water snake causing some excitement among some other swimmers and families, the swim was fine. Water was comfortably warm, visibility sucked, but I'm used to swimming in murky water, so no big deal.
Headed into town and ate a good portion of a pig at Arthur Bryant's for lunch. Yum. If you ever get into Kansas City it is well worth a trip into the inner city for their pig. There is a reason this restaurant is world famous. I'm sure there are other restaurants in KC with equally good barbecue, but I have a hard time not going back to AB's.
The rest of Friday was spent visiting friends in KC, generally relaxing and having a good time.
Saturday morning G was planning on going out for a run and I mentioned that a 5k/10k race was going right through the campground (starting in less than 45 minutes). So we marched down to registration and got her signed up for the 5k.
G had a great race, finishing I believe 2nd in her age group (losing by less than a minute), 9th among women, and maybe 35th overall out of 200+. I could be wrong on the numbers, but I think I'm pretty close, as I've heard the details repeatedly since, along with constant complaints about how sore her feet are. I've been largely unsympathetic on the latter.
Later Saturday morning I went and got registered and checked out expo. Went back to the campground and got Wilson prepped for the race, including one last ride through the campground and out and about enough to know that everything was working right. Bikes needed to be in transition Saturday afternoon so Patrick and I rode down and dropped it off.
A short run back up to the campsite from transition ended my prerace workouts. Half way back Patrick and I stopped to walk through a big ass military helicopter that landed near expo while I was out on the bike. Cool bird.
The rest of Saturday was pretty low key. I made a considerable effort to eat and drink more than normal. Including our last big meal mid-afternoon. We headed into Lawrence for some shopping and wandering before heading back to camp for a relatively early night to bed.
Sunday morning came damn early. I actually slept fairly well, but was still up prior to the alarm going off at 4:45. Woke, made myself a PB&J sandwich, and headed to transition 2. This race had two separate transition areas, one for swim to bike, and a second, totally separated, for bike to run. This was a bit of pain prerace, but I actually really liked it once race came.
So all the run stuff came with me to transition 2. Once there I organized it all in my race bag, made sure nothing I needed in transition 1 was left behind, then zipped up the bag and put it all in a garbage bag. I had been watching the radar rather closely, and was convinced at some point we were going to get hammered with rain. If that were the case, I at least wanted dry shoes and socks to put on for the run.
Headed back to camp for my swim bag and everything I needed for the bike and made my way to transition 1 to set all that up. Back to camp one last time (we were just up the hill from t1, really nice in that regard) for I don't remember what. Family was up and getting ready for the day.
The kids and I at the campsite prior to heading down to the start. Look at all that energy. And yes, my future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.
Me waiting for my swim wave to go off. I think this look is half asleep mixed with cautiously optimistic, a hint of excitement, and maybe a pinch of scared shitless. I'm not real sure, I don't recognize it.
I believe I'm stepping out of my wetsuit (grey shirt, black shorts). This is where I really like the separate transition areas. I had a long walk from my rack location to the mount line so I put the shoes on the bike before hand. My helmet and sunglasses were on the aerobars. The only thing under the bike was an empty gatorade bag for my wetsuit, goggles, etc.
So stuff the wetsuit in the bag, helmet and glasses on and we're on our way. Despite my bathroom break and temporary memory loss, transition 1 was my best event relative to the field.
Transition time - 3:04 Overall place - 462/1449
Men - 338/1079
Age group - 76/231
I've mounted my bike plenty of times with the shoes already in the pedals, but this was the first time I've done it in a race. Fortunately it went off without issue.
Let me preface this portion of the report by saying I have no idea where this ride came from. In training this year I've had one 17 mph training ride (a one way ride with a tailwind) Everything else has hovered in the upper 15 range, maybe lower 16's if everything was perfect. So to pull off an 18.5 mph pace is amazing to me.
First, loved the course. I'd ride it any day of the week and twice on Sundays over the IM Wisconsin course under similar weather conditions. It wasn't flat by any stretch of the imagination, but none of the hills were terribly difficult, and the rode surface was as nice as anything I've ridden. Anyone that tells you it is as hard as Wisconsin is full of shit. End of story.
So I come out of transition with the plan to go easy, heartrate was high, pace was fast, but by pure feel I didn't feel like I was pushing hard at all. So I kept at it and didn't worry about it much. Kept an eye on heartrate trying to get it down, the other eye on cadence, trying to keep it in a reasonable range.
Nutrition was going to be the biggest obstacle from this point forward. I made the stupid mistake of running out of Infinit in the weeks prior to the race and my new supply didn't arrive before we left town. I had hoped to pick some up at race expo, but didn't have any luck. So now I have none of the only nutrition I've ever used for longer rides, great.
Found some other stuff at expo, Accelerade I think. Mixed up two bottles of it, and planned to use it plus whatever I could from the aid stations. At the first I grabbed a Gu, chocolate, kind of gross, at the second aid station vanilla Gu found it's way to my hand, better. By the last aid station I was through my Accelerade, so I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade and another Gu, tangerine I think, not bad. Love grabbing stuff on the go from volunteers, didn't miss a single hand off and didn't really slow down either.
Bike itself was going well, somewhere between the 10 and 20 mile marks we hit the first out and back portion of the course, it was great having the distraction of oncoming riders to watch while going out. I didn't pass a lot of people, but the majority of those I did I passed going up hills. Riding hills has paid off, felt like a mountain goat compared to some out there. I'm sure HHH next week will eliminate that feeling.
Around the 45-mile mark my stomach started to cramp. I'm guessing because of the Gatorade, never really gotten along with the Endurance formula, but I can't really say for sure. Leg's still felt good and I was having fun, talking to other riders along the way, ringing my bell at spectators and volunteers whenever I could remember. I didn't use it on any other competitors, just didn't have the heart to. But the kids along the route seemed to really get a kick out of it.
At the 50 or 51 mile mark we hit the last major climb of the ride, one that took us up to the damn for the reservoir we swam in. I've read about this hill for months now and had it in the back of mind for the entire ride. I was very relieved to find it wasn't that bad or that long.
Easy 5 miles back into the park and I'm ready to run. Bike had other ideas, just after the 55-mile mark was one last downhill followed immediately by a short climb. Three quarters of the way up my chain falls off. I may have let a few expletives fly, but it was my only trouble on the whole ride so I'll take it.
Chain back on, finish the climb, feet out of shoes, coast to the dismount line standing on one pedal and almost entirely ready to run.
Bike time - 3:02:03 (18.5 mph)
Overall place - 919/1449
Men - 775/1079
Age group - 167/231
What I failed to mention so far, the rain I expected never came. And maybe 20-minutes prior to getting off the bike the clouds parted and the sun made it's presence known. It was now hot, full sun, and I was looking at 13.1 miles with little if any shade. Joy.
Anyway, ran to my spot and racked my bike. Sat down an pulled my race bag out of the garbage bag, on go the socks, shoes, running shorts, and shirt. Pull the garmin off the bike, visor on, walked to transition exit.
Transition time - 2:46
Overall place - 869/1449
Men - 674/1079
Age group - 153/231
Run turned into a suffer fest for me. Headed out of T2 at an easy pace and my stomach cramps
immediately amplified to a point that made running very uncomfortable. Walked all the aid stations and many points in between. Ran when I could. This is the only picture I actually like.
Must have been the first time past our campsite, as I actually still look like I'm doing ok. Between the stomach and the sun I went downhill fairly quickly. Lots of water went over my head. Drank some water, one cup of coke (the only time I found it), ate a couple of pretzels. But was scared to consume anything else for fear of it coming back out.
So I ran when I could, walked when I had to, talked to and encouraged others as I went. As much as I hurt, it was still relatively enjoyable. Amazing thing was the time went by relatively quickly. Sad thing is my legs and feet felt really good throughout, even through the last couple of miles. If it hadn't been for the stomach issues I feel I could have cranked out a really nice run. I'm starting to have a lot more respect for those of you who can put together a decent run at the end of these longer races.
Run time - 2:20:14 (10:42/mile)
Overall place - 1104/1449
Men - 839/1079
Age group - 183/231
Coming into the finish was a huge relief, I started 40 minutes after the pros, thus the discrepancy on the clock.
How tired was I? Didn't even register that none other than Chrissie Wellington (IM champion, female winner of today's race, and seemingly all around good person) placed the medal over my head. I'm such a tool.
Total time - 6:14:27
Overall - 1061/1449Men - 834/1079
Age group - 181/231
I have absolutely no complaints about this race at all. Course was great, volunteers were awesome, etc, etc. To top it off, it's now two days later and I feel great. The stomach took a good 24-36 hours to really get back to normal. Legs were a bit stiff after periods of sitting in the car yesterday, but nothing bad at all.
I put almost 17 miles on the bike after work today and then another 2 running. There was a little soreness at the start of the run, but nothing unusual and it went away pretty quick. I'll take it as a good sign that I'm doing something right. Need to get the nutrition back on track.