Green Member: Jason Ross
Event: Ironman Arizona
Class (yours): M 35-39
Results: 12:03:31; 123/334 AG; 673/2700 overall
Local Knowledge and Conditions: This was my first attempt at an Ironman. I had some general intel from teammates (Mason, Jeff, and Brian) who raced here a couple times before, but the run course was a little different this year. Conditions were decent IMHO. Yes, the water was cold (low 60s), but I had no problems swimming in a sleeveless wetsuit with prosoap kit underneath and with a borrowed insulated swim cap from Barry. Temps were 50s & low 60s on the bike, but I never felt cold and only rode in my wet prosoap kit without any toe/arm/leg/other warmers. The bike got VERY windy on the 2d/3d laps out in the desert--as in 30+ mph in your face windy for the return leg of each lap.
Pre-Race Strategy & Warm Up: D1 at 4:00 am. Had about 850 cals for breakfast at 4:30 am, 1 gel at 6:30 and 1 gel at 6:50, with sips of Amino Vital Pro Endurance in between. Completed D2 at 6:35. No warm up…waited as long as possible to get in the cold water for the open water mass start. Probably waited too long to get in the water, as I didn't make it quite to the starting position I wanted to be in by the time the cannon fired.
Psychology: The main goal was to finish and "check the box." I don't mean to cheapen the IM, but I mentally wanted to complete the IM and didn't want to focus too much on having the best or fastest time splits I could possibly have. As strange is it sounds, the IM was really an after-thought on my race calendar this year. As recently as January 2010, I was on record as saying, "the only way I'd ever do an IM was if I got a Kona lottery spot." And since I knew I'd pretty much never get a Kona lottery spot, I felt safe in knowing I'd never "have" to do an IM—which is good, because I was no where near qualified in my mind of doing an IM and frankly loathed the thought of the training commitment it would require. Alas, the Leadville 100 lottery entry came along…something else I was not qualified to do. But Dawdy got me ready for that, and I brought home the coveted 12 hour belt buckle from Leadville. After Leadville, my mental make up totally changed…I no longer believed "I can't do that" but instead thought "what can't I do." So when I was fortunate to get the chance at a late entry into IM Arizona just 13 weeks before the race, I jumped on the opportunity to go ahead and tackle the IM, especially while my base fitness was high after Leadville 100 in August (even though I was exhausted). Also, I would be able to experience an IM with our teammates (Mason, Jeff, and Brian) and some other Rockwall folks who were racing this year.
Race break down:
Swim- 1:15:45 (150/334 AG; 939/2400+ overall) Oddly, the swim seemed to go by really fast—it was literally over before you knew it. I swam this distance in 1:10:00 in the pool several times, and guess I got off course some and slowed by the mass of humanity.
Bike- 5:37:03 (56/334 AG; 332/2400+ overall) (let's call it 20 mph on the nose)
Run- 4:47:23 (179/334 AG; 1141/2400+ overall) (11:22/mile – thanks to plenty of potty time and walking thru EVERY aid station)
Lessons Learned (Or Re-Learned): There's so many. I'll list three: 1. Have a coach. I did, and can't fathom doing this without a coach. 2. Actually follow the coach's training plan. I did, and was 100% confident I could finish the race thanks to having a good plan and actually following it in training. 3. Have a nutrition plan and train with your race nutrition plan. Despite doing this, I got behind on my nutrition intake late in the bike and tried to get back on track but took on too many cals too quickly resulting in immediate GI problems on the run.
Future Goals (include skills executed well and skills needing improvement): I don't know yet. I'm just trying to stay in the moment and take in the whole IM experience. I do know that I will never forget the cannon blast at the start, coming out of the water, the last mile of the run, and the finish line. I also know that I am so thankful for the blessing and opportunity to have been able to do two incredible and life changing events (Leadville and IM) this year. For those out there who have not attempted an IM, I assure you if I can do it, you can do it. Go find out…
Fitness (endurance, nutrition, hydration): My fitness and endurance were spot on thanks to Coach Dawdy. We had a good nutrition/hydration schedule, and if I would have stayed on it (and not tried to catch back up on it so quickly the last 45 minutes of the bike), I would have had a much better run.
Something funny that happened: Um, how about a 4:57 marathon? That's funny, right? But you know what, I was so stinking happy when I crossed that finish line that breaking 5:00 seemed like the best accomplishment I'd ever done and was a motivator for finishing in 12:03 instead of 12:06+.