Why are they smiling?!

Posted in Races on September 2, 2011 by eeodim

 

 

My 2011 Ironman Louisville Race Report

Do you ever walk down the street and notice a passing pedestrian and for whatever reason they’re smiling?  They’re walking alone and not listening to any music, so what could they possibly be smiling about?  Did they remember a funny story?  Ahhhhhh, maybe they saw someone trip over their shoelaces.  That would be pretty funny, right?  I’ve honestly looked down at my fly before as I thought maybe it was open and the joke was on me.  I’m not sure why, but for some reason this has always bothered me.  Why are these people smiling?!  After crossing the finish line of Ironman Louisville this past Sunday I can now safely say I understand why those people are smiling.  They MUST be an Ironman.  As a matter of fact I’m sitting here right now writing this with a big dopey smile on my face.  I’m guessing it’ll be around Christmas time when my face starts to mold into a perma-grin a la the Joker.

Thursday – Sunday

I packed up the car along with Wifey and our youngest, Jossy, and we headed out for the 12+ hour trek down to Louisville.  It was a looooonnnnnggg drive especially with traffic out the wazzoo and a very pregnant wife.  We eventually settled in and spent the next few days enjoying family and friends.

Friday morning Team ReserveAid was featured briefly on the local Louisville Channel 11 newscast.  Pretty cool if I do say so myself!

On Saturday there was even more to do:

Practice swim

zman, jess, jw, and lou

Team RA brunch

Bike check-in

Meet up with family and friends

I can’t express enough what a difference it makes to do races with friends.  The folks on Team ReserveAid are amazing and made the experience all that more enjoyable.

Team ReserveAid

Pre Race

Zman, JW, Me, and LT

A lot of folks mention the nerves and the butterflies keep them from a good nights sleep the night before an IM.  I had no such problem and was knocked out by 9:30pm on Saturday.  I begrudgingly woke up at 2am for my middle of the night snack (Pop tarts and 20 oz. of Gatorade) and was back to counting sheep within minutes.  At 4am I was up for good and ready to start my day – still no nerves though.  I shoveled down two bananas, some Powerbar Energy Blasts and 20 more ounces of Gatorade and was off along with my Team RA cohorts to begin what would be a very long day.

Swim

The swim is easily the most uncomfortable of the three disciplines for me to really get a handle on.  I’m not uncomfortable being in the water, I just don’t like swimming.  I’ve worked hard over the past two months to get myself to the point where breathing easy and staying relaxed would allow me an efficient swim.  I honestly didn’t care how long it took me to complete the 2.4 miles only that I would step out of the water with energy and the confidence to know I could continue on the bike with some enthusiasm.  Using my July IM Rhode Island 70.3 swim time of around 47 mins (1.2 miles), I expected to complete IMLOU in around 1:30.  I figured the work I had put in since Rhode Island should afford me some improvement in my time.

Swim time: 1:22:27


T1

I emerged from the Ohio River with a surge of confidence and huge smile on my face.  I jogged past my beautiful family and saw my good friend, Jesse, as he snapped away on his camera.  I grabbed my bike gear and headed into the changing tent.  Shortly after I started to put my things on Team RA member, Brian Lee (BLee), plopped down next to me and began his transition.  Little did we both know that we’d see a whole lot more of each other later in the day.

T1 time: 8:18

I have no idea why this time was so slow – it’s not like I had a picnic and a massage.  Will have to work on this if there ever is a next time.

Bike

Starting out on the bike was a bit rough.  My neck and upper body were already a bit sore from the constant breathing rotations on the swim.  Getting down into my aero bars took a few miles to get used to.  Keep in mind the bike I was riding has been in my possesion for less than a month as my old bike was still in the shop.  I had one 4+ hour ride and a few smaller rides, but nothing close to 112 miles.  I settled in tried to purge from my mind how long of a day this really could be.  Thankfully, the site of all the other riders and countless spectators were enough to keep my legs rotating forward.

I had been informed the course was hillier than people would expect, so I wasn’t shocked when I felt myself going slower up the countless inclines.  The strategy was to relax and take my time going up (conserving energy) and then giggle like a little school girl as I bombed passed the suckas who were too tired to pedal because they had huffed and puffed their way as fast as they could going up that same hill.  Now I wasn’t breaking any land speed records, but I also wasn’t a riding like my four year old with her training wheels.  I stuck to my conservative power numbers ensuring I would have enough juice left for the ensuing marathon.

Other than being very long, there were really only a couple noteable things worth mentioning during my ride.  The first was my cramping that started around mile 48.  I was so pissed when this started as I had been following my nutrition plan to a T and there was no way I was exherting too much power on the bike.   I dreaded having to ride another 64 miles fighting through cramps with a 26.2 mile run to follow.

The second “thing” worth mentioning about my ride was how emotional I became.  Around mile 38 all participants ride though the small town of LaGrange.  Spectators line the streets as racers stream down the narrow corridor celebrated as if they were hero’s coming back from war.  It’s really a site to behold.  I first spotted Jesse (again, behind the lense of his camera), then my mom, followed by my step dad and then my gorgeous wife and youngest daughter.  The jolt of adreneline shot through my veins like a drug (not that I’d know what that feels like) – spotting them was exactly what I needed.  Shortly after seeing them I felt a few tears stream down my face.  I don’t know how I became so emotional – the powers of an IM are mysterious, but I knew right then and there that there was 0% chance I would not finish that race.  I continued on the two loop course counting the miles down until I headed through LaGrange again.  Again, there was Jesse, my mom/step-dad, and my two girls.  This time I slammed on my brakes and planted a big wet kiss on wifey and Jossy.  My time at this point was irrelevant.  The least I could do was show them how appreciative I was that they were there supporting me.  After the quick smooches, the surrounding  crowd errupted into a HUGE ovation.  It honestly felt like a movie.  As much pain as my legs may have been in I didn’t want the day to end.

Bike time: 6:30:02

T2

I was ready to get off that bike.  My ass was ready for me to get off that bike.  Having never ran a marathon before I was curious to see how I’d fair.  I quickly changed into my running gear and was on my way.  Again, there was my crew as I left the chute to head on to the course.  I have to be the luckiest man in the world.

T2 time:  6:20

Run

The legs felt heavy – extremely heavy.  It felt similar to having a charlie horse in both legs.  They were tight and just didn’t want to move.  The lactic acid began to flush it’s way through and finally I was on my way.  The details are boring: run to aid station, walk while intaking calories, water or ice, start running again until the next aid staion and then repeat.  The plan was to run a 9 min per mile pace for the first 6 miles, an 8:30 pace for the next 12 miles, and then push on running at whatever pace I could muster for the final 8.

While not the most exciting course, the run was easily the most enjoyable aspect of the race.  I saw every single Team ReserveAid member and everyone was looking strong: Zman, Pete, James, Withrow, LT, Thea, BLee, Geoff, Lou, Jess, Carolyn, and Jill … I saw all of ‘em.  I felt strong enough that I actually passed a few team members midway through the second loop: LT, Thea, and BLee.  I actually slapped Mr. Lee on the ass as I went by and I hear “damn, you caught up to me?”  At the next aid station I stop for my third porta potty break and he catches back up to me.  From there on out we decided to run the final 8 miles together.

I’m not gonna lie, he was exactly what I needed.  I needed someone there for accountability to make sure I kept on going.  The mind can be a very powerful de-motivator, so having another Team RA member there to push me was very helpful.  Could I have picked up the pace and ran harder?  Yes.  However, after we decided to run together I said screw the plan.  I knew I was going to finish and I knew it would be uber-cool to finish with a fellow teammate.  We chatted about everything from our kids, to our jobs, to other endurance races we’ve participated in.  After hitting the second to last aid station BLee says to me “Once we start running, we’re not stopping until we cross that finish line.”  From that point on we put our heads down and headed for the finish.  We made a left and then a right and finally we could see the bright lights ahead.  I don’t remember either of us saying anything those final few minutes.  We enjoyed the crowd, the limelight, and most importantly the thoughts of becoming an Ironman.

I vividly remember crossing the timing mat, belting out a loud scream / sigh of relief, and holding my hands in the air.  I did it.  I was an Ironman.  Immediately to my left was my tearful wife who looked at me and said “you did it!”  Kisses again for her and my munchkin, hugs for my mom and my step-dad, and tears flowing from everyone.  It took very little time for it to all sink in and for the realization to set in as to what I had just done.

Run time: 4:3:38

Final Thoughts

I only had a few goals heading into my first Ironman.  I wanted to finish first and foremost.  I wanted to finish while the sun was still out which meant under 13 hours.  I wanted to do this all with a smile on my face.  Finally, I wanted to raise awareness for ReserveAid.  Check, check, check, and check.  My legs were sore for the next couple days, but nothing compared to what I thought I was going to feel.  I had dreams of being plastered to the pavement with medical personel attending to my needs.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever contemplate finishing 140.6 miles with a smile on my face. Only now do I realize what people are thinking when they’re walking down the street smiling at nothing.  Yes, they must be an Ironman.

Final time:  12:30:44

Thank You

Posted in Random on August 24, 2011 by eeodim

I’d like to think I was raised pretty well.  I was taught to mind my P’s and Q’s, put the toilet seat down, use my best judgement when facing a difficult decision, and maybe most importantly, say please and thank you.

I am not about to pull out my list and give my “I’d like to thank God for none of this would be possible speech,” but I do want to take a minute to say thanks.

Almost 1 year ago to the day I started this blog as a way to document my life as I trained for IMLOU.  I think it’s safe to say that it would have been damn near impossible to continue the training regimen without the support of all my family and countless friends.  The gamut ranged from my wife to my dentist and even the guy I get coffee from in the morning.  The outpouring of love and well wishes has been absolutely overwhelming and I am humbled.  I feel extremely blessed to have so many people in my corner.  The list is too long to thank everyone by name here, but I hope to extend my gratitue to everyone individually at some point down the line here.

Former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli stated ever so eloquently:

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.”

Not sure there’s anything else more to be said.  Thank you and have a good night.

Turn your head and cough please

Posted in Random on August 24, 2011 by eeodim

I promised wifey I would get a physical before the big race.  So there I sat yesterday in the sterile doc’s office waiting to be poked and prodded.  I haven’t had a full physical in probably 2+ years, so I was actually curious myself if all the parts were still in working order.  After a series of tests I’m happy to report I’m good to go for IMLOU.  In fact, the doc reported that I have the lungs of a 20 year old – whoo hoo.  Whether or not this makes a difference on Sunday remains to be seen, but it’s still kinda cool nonetheless.

A day to forget

Posted in Random on August 22, 2011 by eeodim

With IMLOU only a few days away, this past Saturday was to be the last “lengthy” ride before the big race.  A moderate 2.5 hour ride at an easy pace – more to loosen up the legs and keep the bike skills sharp over gaining any type of fitness.  JW and I decided to do the ride together, so we met at 6 a.m. and headed out for a roughly 40 mile ride that we had done numerous times before.  We actually thought we had caught some luck rain hit our area the evening prior and more was scheduled for later that day.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful morning and we were happy to enjoy each others company.  Until …

Act I.  

I’m guessing half way through the ride and we were finally starting to hit our stride.  One thing most cyclists love to do is go fast – get in that crouch position, kick it into a higher gear and zoom past other cyclists as if they’re standing still.  After trudging through some moderate hills JW found an opportunity to kick it into 5th gear.  He sees another cyclist a few hundred yards ahead of us, looks at me and says “I’m blowing past that guy” and takes off.  Not being one to sit on my hands I take off after him and feel the rush as we both whiz by him like he was going backwards.  What JW and I quickly came to realize was this guy was going slow on purpose.  We were so wrapped up making this guy feel like a turtle that we blatantly missed that the road up ahead was being worked on and quickly turned from pavement to gravel.  In a heartbeat, I flew past JW over the gravel and on to the grass that ran next to the road.  Thankfully, I didn’t blow a tire/tube or more importantly fall.  I quickly looked back to make out the fate of JW and there I found him on the ground with a big ‘ol smile on his face.  He had tried to slow down and make a turn on the gravel only to fall at a slow speed.  Thank God it wasn’t worse.  We actually found it pretty funny in hindsight as he mentioned he had just finished cleaning his bike earlier in the week.  As a perfectionist, I knew he was steaming inside as he’d just have to clean the whole thing again – I couldn’t help but laugh.  To throw fuel on the fire, I made sure to bring up that every time he chooses the route we inevitably hit a road with gravel – every single time.  A little dirty and with our ego’s now firmly in check we shrugged off the incident and continued on our ride.

Act II.

We were almost home when I suggested we tag on this small section of hills that run through this beautiful wooded reservation.  It would take an extra 10 minutes and it would get us right at 2.5 hours for the day.  It’s a section that we had both rode countless times over the past year and a half.  You put in the work to go up and then are rewarded with a nice little downhill at the end for your efforts.  Usually a great way to end a workout.  Saturday was a bit different.

As I mentioned earlier rain had come down the prior evening, so the roads were still a bit wet in certain places – especially in the shaded wooded reservation.  I had made a right turn to head down the last descent and soon enough JW had zipped past me.  With him a good 20-30 yards ahead of me I was confident my speed wasn’t an issue.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  With the roads still a bit damp I wasn’t confident of making any sharp turns, so I gradually drifted to the outside of the road (at approx. 25-30 mph) as I gently, but firmly applied the brakes.  I ended up drifting too wide and ran over a slew of tree branches that had fallen from the storm.  I had time to think “Oh Shit” before heading over the handlebars and onto the pavement.   I slid down the road managing to scrape up both shoulders, my back, my knees, and smacking my head against the pavement for good measure.  The good news out of all of this is my bike landed on me and then flipped up onto the grass shoulder, so it wasn’t damaged too badly.  The shifters were banged up, but the mechanic said at first glance things seemed to be okay.

Apparently feeling a bit left out as if he  didn’t get his fill of excitement for the day from his earlier spill, JW decided to run over a huge pot hole and damage his rear wheel.  He was able to ride home, but upon closer inspection he found a bulge in the wheel causing it to rub slightly on the brake pad.  It sounds like he should be able to take care of it via some overnight shipping to a wheelbuilder in California, but geez what a day.

All things considered the day could have been much worse.  I know way too many people who have been in cycling accidents only to come out far worse than we did.  Yes, I feel sore and have a bunch of bruises and scrapes, but it beats broken bones or any type of head trauma (thank God for my helmet!).  Thankfully, JW was able to control his bike or he could have had a nasty spill as well.  Good Lord to think what our wives would have said if we both came home banged up!!  The plan for the rest of the week will have to be adjusted a bit – I won’t be getting in any more swims as I don’t want the stretching to open up the wounds.  The bike is in the shop until Wednesday, so the only rides I can get in will be late in the week.  I will try to get in a jog or two here in the next few days just to see how sore I really am.

Thanks to all the friends and family who reached out and asked about my well being.  I’m lucky to have a great support crew.

Thanks to JW for being Johnny on the spot with the camera!

Oh, and yes Mom, I’m ok.  Please don’t worry about me  🙂

Happy Thoughts Library Review

Posted in Happy Thoughts Library on August 19, 2011 by eeodim

All good things must come to an end.  26 “Happy Thoughts” that I will plan to use as motivation to get me through the 26.2 miles of the run.  Here’s a recap:

 

 

A is for Alise

 

 

 

B is for Beer

C is for Chocolate Chip Pancakes

D is for Daddy!

E is for Exuma

 

 

F is for F it

 

 

 

G is for Gladiator

H is for Hip Hop

I is for Ice Cream

 

 

J is for Jamie

 

 

 

K is for Kool-Aid

 

L is for Lake City

 

 

M is for Mickey

N is for New York

O is for Odim

P is for Prayer

 

 

Q is for Quiet

 

 

 

R is for ReserveAid

S is for Sarah

T is for Too Legit

 

U is for Us

 

 

V is for Vino

W is for Withrow

 

X is for Xavier

 

 

Y is for You are …

Z is for Zzzzzzzzz

Z is for “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”

Posted in Happy Thoughts Library on August 17, 2011 by eeodim

I’m tired.  My body aches, I’m grouchy more often, and I don’t have the time to pursue some of my other passions in life.  It’s time to rest.  With the impending addition of our new baby I will have roughly 3 months to start sleeping in late on the weekends before the madness begins again.  Honestly, I can’t wait.  I love this sport.  I enjoy the early morning Saturday rides with my friends and the relaxing swims after a rough day of work, but I’m ready to veg and play the part of couch potato for a while.  I should add that I have this God given gift to be able to fall asleep within 3.7 seconds of shutting my eyes.  Some people are strong, others are really smart, I can sleep.  Not only can I fall asleep quick, but I can sleep hard.  Who am I to let such a talent go to waste?!

Paco and Robbie’s Excellent Adventure at Harriman

Posted in Races on August 15, 2011 by eeodim

Here are some pics from Paco and Robbie’s tri this weekend.  Hats off to both of them!

Paco and his #1 Fan - his wife, Marion

Paco and Robbie

What are we doing here?!

And so it begins!

Yes Sir!