Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ironman Florida Report

Yes, this is a long report, but it’s a long race.

I had a great day, I never stopped smiling, and I am an Ironman.  I learned that you don’t offer your time; you’re an Ironman; that's enough.  Yes, it's kind of a cult, but now I'm part of it.

Things could have been much, much worse.  My foot issues started to clear up in October, and I could run, but it was too late to do much run training.  I also managed to get sick Tuesday night before the race, making my first chore in Panama City Beach Thursday morning going to an urgent care clinic to get checked out and see if there was anything they could do.  I didn’t sleep well all week, not just the night before, and I think I had a slight fever the entire time.  The weather wasn’t perfect – but then the next two days, the weather was terrible, so we still lucked out.

But never mind the problems, or potential problems.  It was great, and I had a ball.  When you cross the finish line after 14-and-a-half hours, the announcer calls your name, and says, “You are an Ironman,” and for a couple minutes, you’re a rock star.

I had a very good swim, especially considering the surf, waves 1-2 feet and maybe more by the end.  The picture may make the waves look worse due to foreshortening by the camera, but we had to duck under the waves until we swam past the breakers to the main course.  The race was wetsuit optional; water temperature exceeded the level where you could wear a wetsuit and have an official time.  Everybody else with TriScottsdale wore a wetsuit, but I was fine without (and in fact next time, won’t wear a tri top, even a pre-worn top and Glide didn’t stop all the chafing in salt water.)

The bike course was flat, and I had to stop a few times for supplies (the Gatorade the volunteers were handing out just didn’t taste good to me, and I thought I had a mechanical but it was just a leaf stuck to my tire, making a very loud noise due to the tight clearance with the frame), but I was very pleased with my time and enjoyed the first 100 miles, singing to myself for much of the time; the last 12 miles, however, the wind shifted into our face and the songs went away.  For the run, I tried to jog at the start, but got concerned that I wouldn’t have enough left for the finish – and a stiff walking pace kept me up with people my speed who were running, then walking, so I walked all but 2, maybe 3, miles and still finished ahead of my projections.  I took my sweet time in transition, including a wonderful 5 minutes in a port-a-john, so there’s clearly room for improvement – if I ever do one again.  For now, I’m happy with a great day.


Here are the numbers:

Overall 14:32:19
Swim 1:29:12
T1 15:55
Bike 6:24:02
T2 13:35
Run 6:09:37

That put me overall 1174/1636 non-wetsuit; men 902/1180 non-wetsuit; 26/41 division (M60-64) non-wetsuit; overall 1566th, men 1223rd, and division 31/50 both wetsuit and non-wetsuit.  About a third of the competitors wore wetsuits, and a slightly higher percentage of non-wetsuit competitors finished: wetsuit started 782, finished 687; non-wetsuit started 1636, finished 1513.

And, of course, there are pictures; and full results.  And if you go to the finish line video, and cue it up to 4:00:01, you can see me cross the line.  Not that I haven’t watched it a couple of times myself.

None of the other TS people said they were interested in doing another IM.  I won’t for a while, but I could see signing up again in 5 years, when I graduate to M65-69.  It’s good to be the youngest guy in an older guy division.

I said that when I turned 60, I would shave my beard and do an Ironman.  And now I have.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

AZ Open Water Masters State Championships

The event (4000 and 2000 meter open water swim at Lake Pleasant) was called the state championships, but it was a pretty low-key and not-very-crowded event.  Scheduling it the day before a major half Ironman in Tempe probably kept turnout down.  But if only 2 people show up to swim in your category, finish and you podium!  (I finished 11 minutes behind the winner, so even that felt good; it's not like there was anything I should have done differently).  My TriScottsdale group used this as a IM FL training opportunity, riding our bicycles 40+ miles to the swim, then swimming the 4000m distance (most in wetsuits, but I went without in 77-degree water).  I'm pretty pleased with my 1:28 time for a distance slightly longer (by 0.1 mi) than the IM distance with the 40 mi on the bike beforehand, and IM FL should be wetsuit-legal.  Getting pretty psyched.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lifetime Tempe Triathlon

So: 90 percent of life is just showing up (at the finish line, anyway).  There were only 5 entries in my age group, but I finished third, and got "a podium" and a medal the size of a salad plate.  3:17:15 isn't a very good time, and I've done basically this course in 30 minutes less, but not when it was that warm or when I was more worried about recovery from an injury than my time.  So good!

This was a test race, to see if my foot would hold up on an Olympic run, and it did.  I took transitions very slowly, no running out of the swim or with my bike, and started walking before I felt comfortable enough to run.  OK swim (34 min; I think that includes walking from the water exit to transition, the swim felt faster than that); good bike (1:22 overall, with a slight negative split, 17.9 mph on the first loop and 18.1 on the second), and a 10K run-walk in 1:13, which is better than I thought it was (with the heat, it felt longer), and with a slight negative split as well.  All in all, a very satisfactory day, and a necessary-but-not-sufficient test for IM Florida in not quite 6 weeks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

New York City Triathlon 2015

I wasn't a competitor this year; instead, I volunteered so I could have automatic entry for the 2016 race.  I lugged around equipment for the TV crew, which meant getting to the swim start at 3:30 am, which meant leaving from Brooklyn an hour earlier, and stumbling around the Upper West Side looking for the streets in the upper 90's that let you cross under the Henry Hudson Parkway--something that would have been hazardous in the 1970's but worked out fine this year.  But I had amazing access to the start and finish with the pros.  (The amateurs, not so much; the TV production wasn't much interested in the amateurs.  They found the amateur athlete overcoming personal difficulty/tragedy or supporting a family member, taped that in advance, and that was pretty much it.)

I made Kristen Marchant, a Canadian rookie pro, my favorite athlete of the day.  I got a selfies with her at the start and at the finish, and she was incredibly gracious about it:

She finished 8th among the pro women; came out of the water 7th, having lost the lead group (the women started 11:37 ahead of the men to allow for a grand prize for the first finisher, either male or female) and basically held that place the entire race; her results are here, and her blog post on her race is here.  She's only 24, so I'm hoping she's a rising star and someday these photos are "I knew her when" items.  The men's pro race was unusually exciting, with 6 lead changes, which rarely happens, but which we never saw because it was happening out of the bike course; we'll get to see it when the TV show is on (only on SNY, which we don't really get here in Arizona), because the camera-person (who rode on back of a motorcycle on the bike and run course) reported how much fun he had watching the battle.

But for NYC, there were very few spectators.  It was a very hot and humid day, and during the race, organizers cut short the run for the last amateurs for safety reasons.  I only stayed at the finish for the pros and the first few elite amateurs as the TV crew didn't need me anymore, but when there are more competitors than spectators in New York City, you're clearly a niche sport (especially when compared to the absolutely packed NJ Transit train from Penn Station that afternoon, filled with fans headed to MetLife Stadium to watch Mexico-Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup match).

But I now have guaranteed entry for 2016--see you there, where I hope to do better than in 2009 in my two-steps-up age group.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two Found Items on the Internets

First, Anton Ego's restaurant review from Ratatouille (the great Peter O'Toole):

Thanks to Vulture. I'd forgotten this.

Next, courtesy of AdWeek, it's Wes Anderson and Claremont, California: two great tastes that taste great together:

Also much fun, even if you hadn't been to those places while visiting your kid in college.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

AMBBR 2015: The Gordon Invitational at Lake Tahoe

A wonderful day.  The weather report a few days out was not so good, but as we got closer to Sunday, it kept improving and was about as good as it gets.  The Brews Brothers acquitted themselves very well; almost 30 people finished, and I'm not aware of even one flat tire.  99 miles, 6:06 riding time, approximately 4,900 feet of climbing, about 8 hours total (you don't want to miss the rest stops, and one of our group said that the new red potatoes were as good as I had said).  A great day, considering that AMBBR was the first time I was able to get back on my bike since my crash last month.

We raised over $61K, making us (well, Andy) the #2 fundraiser nationally.  Non semper est rectus, sed nunquam in dubium!