First off: Let me thank all of the great people in the DC Tri Club. The accurate answers to questions on this forum really saved my bacon. Special thanks to Andy MacDonald, my NTP mentor from last year, and to my wife -- for putting up with all of this.
On race day I ate:
A bowl of spaghetti -- no sauce
2 Pop Tarts
1 Luna Bar
2 peanut butter and jellies (on hot dog buns)
8 Accel Gels
120 Ounces of Accelerade -- just shy of a gallon
40 Ounces of Gatorade (on the ride)
Unknown quantity of Gatorade on the run
About a gallon of chicken broth
and some water.
Also, 2 Guinnesses and some nachos, after the race.
It was a .75 mile walk to the swim start, which is done time-trial style. The upside of this is that you don't get kicked and punched too much while swimming. The downside is that you might only get 16 hours to finish if you are last into the water. The insidious part is that EVERYONE realizes this, and you end up walking another 1.25 miles to get to the end of the line. I got there at 0630. And dozed on the concrete for a half hour, looking at the stars. I got in the water at 7:25 or so...
Swim: Goal: Don't Drown. Actual Time: 1:24... six minutes faster than I figured.
You know that guy who can't swim straight and bumps into you at a 45 degree angle? That's me. The race starts off upstream behind an Island. The island protects you from the current, which is nice because I had nightmares about swimming backward. At one point I almost swam onto the island, then zigzagged my way out to sea.
Once I made the turn at the end of the island, about 25 minutes into the swim, it was pretty easy. I had gotten some unsolicited advice in the Crystal City Sport and Health from a guy who did Louisville last year. He said the current is stronger in the middle of the channel, which makes sense if you are in a pipe. Unfortunately, for this race, you are in the Ohio River and can't feel a thing. I got halfway to Indiana at one point, and then zigged back to the markers. Bounced off of a few people, drafted a few, passed a few, counted to '4' about 700 times, turned left and got pulled out of the water by a nice volunteer.
Not so bad. No dysentery or anything.
T1: Goal: remember helmet and glasses; Mission accomplished.
Bike: Goal: Don't blow a tire - finish in less than 8 hours; Actual: 6:59
The bike portion starts out easy. It's flat for about 8 miles. At the 8 mile mark, there is a volunteer. Her job was to yell, "This is the beginning of the rolling hills section of the course. WELCOME TO KENTUCKY!!" I saw her again exactly 96 miles later, and there was not a flat spot in between.
About 0.25 miles after I saw that volunteer at the bottom of the first hill, a guy 50 feet ahead of me blew a tire. I don't mean that he blew a tube. He had a hole in his tire the size of a quarter. My guess is that he was done for the day. I thought about that for the next 6 hours and 30 minutes, and was super paranoid every time I hit one of those buckle marks in the pavement, which, during one section, was every 25 feet for about 5 miles. Ugh.
During the bike portion, I was passed by about 1500 riders. 5 of them were from DC Tri. They all said, hi, as they went passed, which was nice. Also, the Kentucky fans were great -- as were the volunteers. The highlight was a guy in a full devil costume running up and down the steepest climb. Just like the Tour!!
Since the weather was so nice, I had virtually no problems on the bike, just a colossal boredom brought on by the knowledge that I was the slowest one and there was nothing I could do about it.
T2: Goal: Remember hat, remember to take off bike gloves; Actual: Got the hat. Luckily, I saw my family there cheering for me and handed them off. My wife was un-thrilled. The gloves had 7 hours of pain on them.
Run: Goal: Finish before midnight (about 7:45); Actual: 5:33
I'm no runner. I finished the Richmond Marathon in 5:35 one time. I have failed to break 5 hours in the Marine Corps Marathon twice, once as recently as a year ago.
But this run was dead easy. It came as advertised: flat. And again, it was 72 degrees and sunny, so you could just let it rip. And I did for about 4 miles until my calves turned to molten lead. Then it was run till the flames reached my knees, walk till the flames died down to my ankles, repeat.
The killer part of this run is that the first loop brings you to within sight of the finish -- a tantalizing quarter-mile away, and dead ahed. Then the slow-pokes turn right while the fast-pokes go straight. The second loop is mercifully only 12 miles. When the sun went down, they handed out those glowing loop things that kids get at the fair.
I ran into a college friend of mine on the inward 12. His legs were hurting. We talked for a while and he let me go. And I ran into my old NTP mentor, slugging it out. He had told me that the run was more 'social hour' than the grind you expect it to be... that was about right. I decided to live the 12 minutes between aid stations for the chicken broth. Sooooo good.
Run a little, walk a little, see the sights, look at the watch.
Wait for the turn to 4th street. Repeat.
And then there it was, just like a movie. The flood lights were so bright, I couldn't see a thing! I forgot about the pain in my feet and the stiffness in my legs and ran full speed toward the lights and the music, between the crushing sound of the crowd and into the popping flash bulbs... and the only thing I could hear was thing I had waited for all day,
"Bradford Jordan, from Virginia, and the United States Navy... You.Are. An. IRONMAN!!!"
Congratulations!! Excellent report! (I especially liked the pop tarts part.)
I'm such a sap...you had me tearing up at work.
Congratulations on your achievement....phenomenal.
The years sort of start to go together and I can't remember if you were NTP '08 or '07? Either way, you're growing up fast in triathlon!
Congrats on becoming an Ironman and thanks for the great report.
I was NTP '08. Mostly a website lurker, but the clinics and instruction payed off big time.
Great job. Was there myself and after a terrific swim and a smashing bike with all those hills....my legs decided to not work for the marathon. I'm sure we crossed paths out there on the run (or in my case a blister filled hurting chicken leg walk). Did you see the big "No Ironman" sign painted on the bike course? That was interesting. I got a good laugh out of the devil on the course as well.
Terrific job staying on task to complete this Ironman.
A big CONGRATS.
I have no idea who you are but you had me intermittently lol and choked up. I'm registered for my first full next year (Cd'A) and you made me wish it was closer. GREAT report and congrats!
I did see the 'No Ironman' sign. My wife also read an article that said there were some kids throwing sticks at the riders, and some people early on got tacks in their tires. Oh man, that's not the best.
I'd have to say though, that 99.999% of the crowd was positive. Even the fellows who sat drinking on their porch for the entire 5.5 hours of my marathon, alternately yelling at each other and commenting on how tired everybody looked. LOLOLOL.
Congrats on a great race!