IM Moo 2013 – Redemption Race
Before I get into this year’s race, a little preamble is in order so that you know where my head was with respect to this course. On September 9th of 2010, Gen and I received the no-kidding, here’s the result of the biopsy, diagnosis that at the age of 40 she had Breast Cancer. And I raced IMMoo three days later…… It was only weeks prior that I had learned about Endurance Nation, so I had not been training the EN way, and only had the wisdom of the Four Keys videos to help guide my execution. The results were less than I had hoped for:
Run: 5:03:xx [I worked way too hard on the bike and ended mostly walking for last 12 miles of the run]
I joined the Team later that year knowing that I would be back to IMMoo and was looking for a little redemption. Since then I have been training and racing with power and competed in two more Ironman® races. I knew I could do better…a lot better….on this course and I was intent on doing so.
Now, since that is out of the way, let’s get to this year’s race……
I started my IM-specific training plan at the 12-week out point. During that time, I did almost every single one of the bike workouts, 90ish percent of the run workouts, and only 35-40% (TOPS!!) of the swim workouts. I didn’t have any breakthrough events other than having an awesome final bike test where I actually improved a few watts from the test 8 weeks prior. So that was nice.
As part of a family vacation, we visited Madison in early July. I got to ride the loop three times so I felt very familiar with the course. The only thing I wasn’t really sure of was what to expect for a pace as my bike was in “Training Mode” as well: Gatorskin tires, butyl tubes, extra bottle-cages and bottles, and a Garmin 800 on the base bars in addition to my Joule 2.0 between my arms.
I did my best to follow the last three weeks of the training plan almost to the letter with one exception – I changed some of the swim workouts to more “RaceRehearsal” types. I also worked very hard on keeping my body composition where it was. It is so, so easy to add on a number of pounds the last three weeks as the duration and intensity goes down. I am glad to say that I kept myself right where I had been after the last Race Rehearsal day.
My “stats” going into this race were:
– FTP: 271 (but still using 269 for all race-day calculations)
– Vdot: 49
– T-pace of 1:55/100yd (SC) <–note: no flip-turns for this kid
WEEK OF RACE
I departed for Wisconsin late Tuesday morning after doing the bike ride scheduled for that day. I drove a little more than halfway from where we live in middle-Georgia. In the realm of weird coincidences, I ended up staying in the exact same Hampton Inn (Marion, IL) that I wound up in three years ago. Totally not planned. Serious.
The next day, I finished up the drive and arrived at our friend’s house where I stayed for the rest of the week. I registered mid-morning on Thursday, strolled through the expo without buying a thing, went to the Athlete Briefing (figured it was my 5th IM and I might as well go to one at some point) and then went to the airport to pick up Gen. I drove, she flew. That evening, we went to the Team Dinner.
Again, what a great experience getting to put faces to names and just enjoy the whole “Team Vibe.” [NOTE – This is one of the biggest ‘intangible’ benefits of being on the Team]
The whole week was following my checklists and STAYING AWAY from the Venue.
Friday was the swim with some EN teammates – 30 minutes pretty easy just getting used to being in a wetsuit for the first time in a year. Later was the Four Keys talk, then back to the house to start getting bags together.
Later that afternoon, Gen and I drove the bike course for a final recon and also to show her where I would be biking. Like someone else on the Team, she loves barns and cows. So we stopped a couple of times to take pictures, especially the farm that has been there since 1855.
I got to bed early that night after a normal dinner and got 8+ quality hours of sleep.
Saturday was again following the checklist. Get bike ready, go to the venue and drop bike/bags off, go home and chilllllll. All day long I was sipping “sports drink” – in this case 16oz servings of Lemon-Lime EFS. I didn’t keep count, but I probably had somewhere between 6 and 8 over the course of the day, starting late morning.
My troubles started right around dinner time. I began to get a low-grade headache. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had my normal pre-race meal that I have been using for a dozen races or more over the past three years: chicken breast cooked in cream of mushroom soup on a small bed of rice.
I went to lay down around 8:45 or so. My head was getting progressively worse and I only slept in fits and starts until about midnight. I woke up to my headache and then had a quality burp emerge. The only problem – it tasted like dinner. What? Dinner is still in my stomach? This is not good. Well, that issue resolved itself as I got up to go to the bathroom. Standing up and walking initiated the first of many attempts by my stomach to void itself of anything and everything that was within. This continued pretty much on the hour, every hour. I did get up at 0200 and have my 2 Cups of Applesauce with a scoop of protein. That stayed in until 0300. Final wakeup at 0400 and had my 2nd breakfast of 1 serving plain oatmeal, coffee with MUD, and a small banana. That stayed down until 0445 or so….
At 0500 we are in the car and on the way to the venue. I sipped on another cup of coffee with MUD as we drove…probably got about ½ of it down. After we parked, Gen went and dropped off my Special Needs bags. Feeling marginal, I went to my bike, ran the final checklist there (load bento, pump up tires, turn on athlete tracker and leave race belt on bars, etc). I went to my T2 bag and loaded it with my Run Nutrition (two 8oz FuelBelt bottles with Infinit NAPALM).
At 0615, we rendezvoused for the EN Team Picture:
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Those that know me, know I looked like crap. I was sipping a bottle of Perform and my stomach was not rebelling. So I had that going for me, which was nice.
At this point, I am pretty sure I am going to start the race, but I have started to modify my expectations enormously. Given my training results, I was thinking I would be in the ballpark of:
SWIM: 1:18ish, BIKE: 5:45, RUN: 4:15, T-times of 10-11 minutes total; I figured an 11:30 or so was possible……
I *KNEW* that wasn’t going to happen, so I purged any thought of a finish time out of my head. Instead, I just reminded myself of the Four Keys. This race was going to be about Executing with what I had.
So I just had to get through the swim so I could get to my bike.
During the last weeks of training, I did a 4200yd Race Rehearsal swim. The time was 1:21:37 in a 25-yd pool. Remember, I don’t do flip turns, so I figured this was a worst-case time for my Ironman® swim since I would be in a wetsuit and I am getting much better about swimming in straight line.
At 6:30ish, I found the porta-pot right by the swim start and availed myself of it one last time before the race started. Right before going in the water, I gave Gen a final kiss, downed a gel, and got in line.
Total caloric intake to this point was roughly 250-300cal since lunch the day before.
I lined up right at the ski-ramp, along with teammate Bruce Thompson. We chatted for a few minutes and then I spent a couple minutes floating on my back just chillin’ waiting for the gun. Still no response from my stomach. My plan was to just go NICE and EASY and get to T1.
The swim was largely uneventful until the mid-way point. Yes, there was some contact. Yes, some people can’t swim in a straight line, but I didn’t let any of that in my box. I just swam super-EASY, counting strokes, paying attention to how many bubbles my hands were making on entry, and just moving forward.
Right when the buoy color changed, I started feeling some “pressure”. Was it flatulence? Or was it something else entirely? I didn’t know and I didn’t trust my body. Swimming with that kind of pressure is a challenge. Finally, I could not take it any more. I had to risk it. And the verdict — flatulence. Thank Goodness!!
I finished up the swim and glanced at the clock as I went through the arch: 1:22:xx. Better than I could have hoped for. And, oh yes, my stomach was still cooperating.
I let the wetsuit strippers help me and then I was off to The Helix. I jogged up it NICE and EASY and headed into the bag room. The volunteers were slow to pass on my number, but as I put pink duct tape all around my bag, it is very easy to spot. I grab it and head into the change room.
This transition only consisted of putting on my deSoto beanie, my glasses, and my helmet. Grab the shoes. And go. And then I had to find a volunteer to please put away my wetsuit (I intentionally left my cap and goggles in the arm while it was being peeled off my body).
Out to my bike. Again, the volunteers were lagging. I get to my bike, put on my shoes, put on my race belt, and then run to the mount line.
At the mount line is EVERY SINGLE PERSON. So I walk about 10 feet beyond the line before getting on my bike.
And down the helix I go.
Total T1 time: 6:59. About in line with modified expectations…..but I didn’t know it at the time as I was intentionally *not* looking at my watch.
My plan, again, was to go NICE and EASY. Before the morning adventures, my race plan was to target:
– 170 watts for 1st thrity minutes
– 175 watts for next thirty minutes
– Then target .70 IF (188 watts), expecting it to end up at .68 IF (182 watts).
– I would check TSS at the 56 mile point with a target of not greater than 143.
– Total TSS expected for the ride was 270-286
That was probably not going to happen. I still had those “targets” but I was very chill in trying to hit them. Also, I modified my targets to essentially not use 4th Gear (207 watts) on the short climbs. After my warmup I was going to shoot for no more than 3rd Gear (198 watts).
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I use a 2-mile lap as my “box” while on the bike. When I hear the beep for a lap, I start a new interval on the Joule so that I am not working too hard to hit a particular number. When a new lap starts, now it is time to concentrate on that lap and that lap only.
My HR/RPE/Power were pretty much in line for the 1st half of the bike. A huge disconnect occurred during the second-half however. That is easily seen in the Bike chart from WKO at the end of this.
I had great success not doing what everyone else was doing. Heck, there were people HAMMERING up the overpass at Mile 1. I just kept my power right where *I* wanted it. Let everyone else try to ‘get that cheeseburger’.
Very early into the bike, I had to pee. So I did. And I did again. And again. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was getting diabetic. 20/20 hindsight tells me my body was finally expelling all the fluids it had retained from the day prior.
It was great seeing Gen and Becky on Old Sauk. I got a huge smile on my face as Gen continued an IMMoo tradition that she started in 2010….let’s just say that what happened is normally associated with Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the throwing of beads…..
My bike was pre-loaded with Perform (from powder) so my first experience with the Ready-To-Drink stuff was after the first aid station. Holy cow! They don’t taste anything alike. The bottled stuff is much, much sweeter and tangier.
At the 56-mile point, I was 2:57:xx into my bike ride. I checked my Joule to see how things were going. I saw an IF of .60x and a TSS of 108 or so.. Well under target. But well within my modified expectations. So far, so good.
I stopped at Bike Special Needs to get my 2nd half nutrition of cut-up Powerbars and 3 more Powergels. Again the volunteers were slow to pass my number up the line. I just stopped at the section with my bag and yelled, “It’s the one with PINK TAPE”. They found it immediately. Inside, my lovely wife had put in some surprises; one of which was my favorite type of cookie bar. I passed on them. The other is between her, me, and the volunteer who saw me take it out of the bag. Suffice it to say that I had a HUGE grin on my face.
As alluded to earlier, I had a disconnect between HeartRate, Rate of Perceived Exertion, and Power on the second lap. It was what it was. I just kept it NICE and EASY (noticing a trend perhaps??) and went about my second loop.
The second loop was much like the first. The only change being that I was having trouble keeping up with my 2-bottle per hour plan.
The other portion of my nutrition/hydration plan was 1 Powergel per hour and a complete Powerbar per Loop (2 bars total for the day), and then one S!Cap per hour to keep my sodium intake well north of 1000mg/hr. At the five-hour point, I was planning on having a 2nd_Surge gel in lieu of the PowerGel so I could get some caffeine in me for the last hour of the bike.
That 2nd_Surge gel did not go down easy. For whatever reason, my taste buds rebelled …thankfully my stomach did not.
My bike nutrition ended up being like this:
Perform 40oz/hr (12 bottles total) 36 oz/hr (11 bottles total, I think)
PowerBar 2 bars total 1 ¾ total
Powergel 5 total 3 total
2nd Surge 1 1
S!Cap 6 5
Calories 3220 (537/hr) 2765 (461/hr)
Sodium 9261 (1544/hr) 7995 (1332/hr)
Honestly, I must say I ended up closer to plan than I expected I would. My plan was tested in training. The only modification I had to make in anticipation of race day was to reduce the Perform intake. Normally in mid-80s with 75%+ humidity, I sweat at a rate of 50 oz/hr or more. With the expected temp/humidity of 75deg and <75%, I knew my sweat rate would be closer to 40-45 oz/hr.
At mile 80 or so, my Joule decided it was done for the day. Kaput. Finished. No Mas! No panic here as I still had my 310 on my wrist. I still had my 2-mile boxes. What I didn’t have was the number staring me in the face. I had to twist my wrist a bit, but I don’t feel that it hindered my execution in any way. I kept executing EN-style.
I did stop once to empty my bladder. I had been peeing almost constantly (which I think led to my worst case of Ironman® chafing yet!), but I wanted to not have to deal with it for the last hour of the bike. So I stopped at the Verona aid station, did my thing, and was back on the bike in a minute or two. I was slightly delayed as I had to put my Speedfil A2 back together after the volunteers disassembled it while filling it up. Oh well.
The ride back into town was smooth and I was feeling pretty good.
Total stats for the bike from WKO+:
Entire workout (148 watts):
Work: 3223 kJ
TSS: 211.6 (intensity factor 0.591)
Norm Power: 159
Distance: 111.649 mi
Elevation Gain: 2711 ft
Elevation Loss: 2755 ft
Grade: -0.0 % (-41 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 351 148 watts
Heart Rate: 85 149 121 bpm
Cadence: 26 225 79 rpm
Speed: 0 46.9 18.4 mph
I am overall happy with my bike execution:
1st 56 – 2:54, .60IF, 108 TSS NP 162
2nd 56 – 3:07, .58IF, 104 TSS NP 156
The only, and I mean only, thing I was surprised/disappointed with is my VI of 1.08. I honestly thought I rode smoother than that.
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Climb smooth up the helix, hand my bike to the catcher, and I am off to the bag room. I found my bag super easily, and then into the changing room. All I had to do was:
– Helmet off
– Socks on
– Slip shoes on
– Grab fuelbelt and put it on
– Grab hat with metronome already clipped on
When I got in the hallway, I realized I still had my gloves on. I stripped them off, and asked a volunteer to find my bag and put them in there. I am so thankful for wonderful volunteers that will do that. Just can’t say it enough…without the volunteers this would be a vastly different experience.
Hit the porta-pots real quick, and then out on the run.
Total T2 time – 3:57. NICE and EASY.
Part of my Saturday prep was to run the EN Heat-adjusted pace calculator and see how much I should slow down based on heat/humidity. The adjustment was roughly 30-45 seconds, depending on how the temperature played out. That made my targets roughly 10:00/mile for the first six miles, and then 9:30 or so for the remainder.
One thing I have done this season is really pay attention to my HR while running. Yes, I targeted paces, but I wanted to build a database in my mind of what HR vs. RPE vs Pace to see the interactions. Bottom line, if I keep my HR below 140 I can cruise along without too much problem; 135 is better. If it gets above 140, and especially 150, then my RPE goes way, way UP!
So my plan was to initially target the run by RPE, and cross-check Pace and HR. If my HR started drifting up, ease up. And vice versa.
I saw Gen right as I was starting out on the run. She asked me, “How ya feeling.” “Better than expected” was my response. I really felt good. And I was surprised as you could be.
My objective goal for the run was to RUN everything with the exception of 30 steps at every aid station. I knew there were more than 13 aid stations per loop, but I knew there was no way I could figure out which ones I would skip and which I wouldn’t….. One adjustment I made on the fly was power-walking up the road on Observatory.
The run course had changed since I last did the course and I was not aware of the magnitude of the change. When I saw the grade of the hill, I knew I could run up it at about the same pace as a power-walk. But the walk would be much ‘easier’ and would not spike my HR. So that’s what I did. I did let gravity assist me on the downhills (note – practice more downhill running next time) and I noticed paces that I didn’t expect to see.
My nutrition plan for the run was to carry my own NAPALM flasks and take an ounce of it every mile – non-caffeinated the first half, caffeinated the second. Supplementing that was one S!Cap per hour or so, and 3 ShotBloks every 3 miles (alternating Cran-Razz and Margarita). I usually sweat even more while running, so I planned on increasing my sodium above my rate on the bike. Also, during all my long runs, I took one shot of NAPALM every mile, and supplemented with ShotBloks and S!Caps, so these totals, while high, were something I have done in training.
I fully expected to under-shoot my Plan with respect to the ShotBloks, which is exactly what happened. As they were a minor portion of my sodium intake, I was not concerned about “missing” them.
Napalm 26 oz total 19 oz
ShotBlok 8 x 3-shot servings 3 1/3 servings
S!Cap 12 6
Calories 2020 (475/hr) 1249 (294/hr)
Sodium 8038 (1891/hr) 4678 (1100/hr)
Water 3-4 oz per Aid Station 3-4 oz per Aid Station, plus ice cups to eat between
I have been running with a metronome since late-spring or thereabouts. I have found it to be very helpful in keeping my cadence at 90 rpm. What I did not expect was that it would also be a motivator to start back running after my aid station walks. As it is beeping at 90 bpm, and I am walking at roughly 60 rpm, the difference was actually annoying. In order to get rid of the dissonance, I had to start back running. Makes sense, no? [yes, I am slightly OCD at times…]
I had to stop for four bathroom breaks. The only change I made to my running execution was that I would only walk as long as it took to drink the water and grab ice as I already had my easy stretch to lower my HR.
I expected two challenges on the run. ONE: as I was working with my son’s soccer team the week prior to the race, I did some wind sprints with the boys. Bad idea. I felt a twinge in my glute/hamstring tie-in area. I was concerened that would rise up and let me know about it. TWO: during my race rehearsals, and ONLY my race rehearsals, the forward half of my right foot started to hurt after 3 miles or so.
The hamstring/glute problem did not arise. The foot pain started to express itself. And then I passed an athlete who had a blade in lieu of a right foot.
My foot never bothered me again.
As I neared Mile 18, I still felt good. “Better than expected” was still my response to any who asked how I was doing. As I got past Mile 18, I thought I might be able to kick it up a notch. Nope. Bad Idea! So, I just went back to the RPE that was working and kept at it. I did, however, start counting the people I passed.
Yep. My 9:30ish pace let me pass over 300 people from Mile 18 to the finish. Very happy with that.
I was intentionally not looking at my Garmin very often as I did not want to see what my elapsed time, nor run time, was. I can’t say that I was superstitious about it, but as I left T2, I knew I was having a much better race than I could reasonably expect. And I was afraid that knowing my time would just get in my head. Instead I concentrated on keeping good form, keeping my cadence to the metronome, and just letting the run …. happen. NICE and EASY was my mantra.
The turnaround came and went. And I still felt good. At Mile 16, I laughed after I heard me tell myself, “Only 10 miles to go.” And then I got another chuckle when I told myself, “Only a 10k left….” I got to see Gen a number of times on the run. My answer was still, “Better than expected.”
By mile 23, though, I could not take it anymore. I risked a look at the time. I did some math, and realized that if I could keep on pace, I was going to have a GREAT race. I told myself that I would hold back until Mile 24, and then let it all out. I knew I had 25 minutes of ‘5k feeling’ in me. I could make it hurt just a little bit more, not slow down, and make it to the finish line. I was going to skip the Mile 24 and 26 aid stations and, in the words of CoachRich, “Just Get It Done.”
So I did.
During this last stretch, Gen was on her bike and tried to give me encouragement and tell me some other things. I had put myself in a VERY dark place by this point, so I was less than pleased that she was trying to converse with me.
As I passed the Run Special Needs, they were trying to call out my number. I must say it felt good to wave them off as I was on the final stretch.
I stayed in the dark place until I turned the corner of the finisher chute. It was then that I saw the clock and KNEW that I was about to conclude a GREAT race. I let myself enjoy this chute…even high-fiving some of the spectators and grinning like you would not believe.
Final run time — 4:12:48. A personal best.
The splits were:
1 09:37.1 9:37
2 09:32.2 9:32
3 09:36.9 9:37
4 09:22.1 9:22
5 09:34.0 9:34
6 10:22.3 10:22
7 09:28.1 9:28
8 09:22.3 9:22
9 09:25.4 9:25
10 09:21.1 9:21
11 10:30.3 10:30
12 09:11.2 9:11
13 09:30.4 9:30
14 10:28.5 10:29
15 09:26.7 9:27
16 10:19.7 10:20
17 09:27.0 9:27
18 09:32.8 9:33
19 10:05.4 10:05
20 09:18.5 9:19
21 09:37.3 9:37
22 09:35.7 9:36
23 09:18.1 9:18
24 09:27.2 9:27
25 09:13.5 9:14
26 09:11.2 9:11
27 03:00.2 7:44
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Garmin Connect shows a time of 2:07:36 at the turnaround….Ironman.com tracker has 2:07:04 for 13.1 mile split….
Therefore –> Negative Split First ever negative split for IM Marathon.
Final time: 11:51:07. A better than 55-minute PR.
55th in Division, 477th Overall
Who would have thought it given the night I had???
My Haiku Race Reports:
Throwing up all night long.
Small Box, Low Expectations.
Five minute best. Wow!
Started Day Puking
Stayed in box all day long
Had run of my life
Hourly Splits (roughly)
Hour TSS IF NP VI
1 30.7 0.56 151 1.07
2 40.5 0.63 170 1.05
3 37.1 0.61 164 1.07
4 38.8 0.62 167 1.06
5 32 0.565 152 1.09
6 32.3 0.548 147 1.09
Please listen to Joe’s interview with Coach Rich below, full of GREAT lessons!
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