Updated: Dec 4, 2018
1. Line up earlier for the swim start to get a better location
2. Bike was perfect
3. Run was honest. It’s exposed, tho, so the elements could’ve changed this one either way.
Signing up for IMLP 2018 was a leap of faith. For those who've looked at my race reports, I've had a problem coming back from an MCL tear and deciding to do an IM was ambitious. I wasn't able to run outside for 6-8 weeks prior to the IM due to plantar fasciitis I was dealing with as well. I compensated by pool running, but the run was untested and I was planning on DNF'ing after T2. I decided to pack my T2 bag anyway with hopes that it would work out.
It did start out with a wonderful support team which included two good friends (one of them Coach Craig) and their families who were supportive of my quirks and allowed me the freedom to maintain my nutritional and pre-race plan. I'm a firm believer in having a professionally calibrated pre-race carbo-load plan for the Ironman distance because I've never bonked with this type of pre-race planning (and using on-course 6x concentrated 6-hr Infinit bottle.) For my pre-race carbo-load plan, I cannot speak more highly of Abby VanLuvanee of Contemporary Nutrition in New Bern, NC. Over the course of several months, she fine tuned my nutrition and my pre-race plan went perfectly!!
Swim: The swim was the fastest swim I can recall. The presence of clear water and an underwater cable turned an open water swim into a long pool swim with several thousand friends! Head down and swim. I seeded myself too late and was passing swimmer after swimmer. It was hard to find fast feet that way. Kept the pace steady and swam 1:49/100 the first half and 1:56 the second. Overall, one of the best swims I’ve ever had the opportunity to be in and I wish it was an extra lap. Time: 1:11:48 85TH AG, 425th Gender, 533th OA
T1: At LP, this is tough. Running 800 meters from the lake, on a downhill road covered with astroturf, and then around a concrete oval to your bike will take you anaerobic and tear up your bare feet. I kept the HR low and was trying to pay attention to the plantar fascia. T1 bags were well placed on racks (a first for me…they’re usually spread out on the ground) and I found a corner in the tent where I could toss on my helmet and run out fast. This was one of my slowest T1 times, but the transition area was huge. Time: 7:35
Bike: My nutrition on the bike went well. I firmly believe in the Infinit Go-Long option. I took a single 6x bottle. I have a special blend that dials down the flavor but keeps the calories and electrolytes the same. I put the concentrated bottle in the BTA cage (so I can keep my eye on it,) and I pick up water bottles at the aid stations for my behind the seat water cage.
The bike setup was challenging as well. The course is highly regarded as one of the most technically challenging IM courses, and for good reason. We started in the rain and wind, and were barreling down the mountain, loosing almost 2000 feet over a few miles, with wind gusts that would push your bike over…it was surreal! The hilly course made gearing options tough (I took my flatlander cassette and paid the price.) But my concern about the wheel set was for naught. The Zipp 858 NSW carbon clincher really is a game changer. How else could I bomb down those slick descent in the cross winds? I wasn't thinking of my wheels, just the riders in front of me, and that allowed me to keep my focus.
The 0.6 mile section on Whiteface was crazy coming through a potholed parking lot that threw plenty of water bottles and reminded me of a Water Bottle Graveyard. I kept the the 6hr Infinit bottle in the BTA water cage, and pushed the on-course water bottle into my jersey instead of trusting the behind the seat cage. Lots of on-course support meant you didn’t need to worry about running out of water, but I was worried about losing the 6-hr bottle.
After the half way point, the field really broke apart and you had the opportunity to get into a grove. I had to pee several times because it wasn’t hot enough to sweat. It wasn’t a fast day. More about survival, honestly. Time: 5:49:12 (5:40 without the pee breaks) 27th AG, 124th Gender, 135th OA
T2: After dodging some dude who decided the best way to make up for lost time was to go sprinting into the dismount area, I grabbed by TI bag by mistake, circled back for the T2 bag, and put my running shoes on outside the tent (I hate the tents…you lose time going into those things.) I decided to give the run and try. And, next time I’d probably just pull on my running shoes in the bag section. Time 6:49
Run: Sometime when you mess with the bull you get the horns, and after thinking I wasn’t going to do the run, the foot felt pretty good running barefoot on the crazy concrete oval during my T1, so I decided to push and roll the dice. The run was exposed and would’ve been different if it was hot. On-course support was great. I hadn’t run for about 8 weeks because of some plantar fasciitis on the left foot, and I spent the the time pool running. So I wanted to focus on HR and not pace for this marathon. I knew that running in zone 2 was the easiest (but not fastest) way to finish this run, and I really had to pull back the pace to keep it there. I was planning to hit Z3 at mile 20, but at mile 15, my right IT band of all things started to flare up (overcompensated for the foot?) I was able to stretch and then ultimately did the run/walk routine to finish up slower than I wanted but faster than I deserved. Time 4:32:18 84th AG, 408th Gender, 517 OA
Overall it’s a tough and fair course that favors the fit. I’d do it again.