I am very impressed with Ironman Louisville. The entire race is well run and the volunteers were great. Although, we really got lucky with the weather. Temperatures started in the low 70s and probably only hit the mid 80s late in the day. Humidity was very low too making it feel very comfortable for late August. I can imagine how much harder the course is in the 90s with high humidity.
It was a tough day on the run for me. I did PR by 12+ minutes, however I was hoping to go sub-11, but I just couldn't hold my run pace. Still I am happy with my time and lowering my PR. My bike and run splits were the fastest of my four Ironmans.
The swim was much better than I expected and much more civilized than Lake Placid. The time trial start really spaces out the swimmers and I experienced only minimal contact. On the inward two thirds of the swim there is a strong current that helped me swim "faster". I hoped to swim sub 1:30 and I got out of the water in 1:26:53. Great for me in a non-wetsuit swim!
The bike course had some rollers but I only dropped down to the small ring twice. Then the inward 30+ miles were down wind and downhill giving me an added boost when I needed it most. However we did have to contend with a head wind and gusts on the second loop of the bike, which made me work a little harder than I would have liked. Perhaps the wind took a little out of me that I needed for the run. I also could tell that I was salt coated (and thus dehydrated) due to the sun and low humidity. I was targeting 19.5 mph (5:45) and ended up riding 19.6 for a 5:42:53 bike split.
The run course is flat and a straight out and back. Thankfully there was a little shade later in the day that made the second loop bearable. I tried to run sub-8 minute miles with a goal of 3:30. By mile 6, I could tell that it wasn't to be and just focused on one mile to the next. I could tell that I was very dehydrated and my stomach was shutting down. Still perhaps in hindsight I could of pushed the pace harder as I did pick it up a little over the final three miles. Ended up with a 3:49:33 marathon split.
My finish time was 11:08:09 with transition times added (T1 = 4:44 and T2 = 4:06). I still need to figure out how to run faster in an Ironman. Perhaps a different nutrition plan would give me more strength for the run.
It was great too seeing all the DC Tri racers on the course. It provided me an energy boost when I needed it most!
Great job Kevin. A PR is a PR is a PR.
Nice work, sounds good to me all around!
No its kinda late but here is my Louisville report from a first time Ironmaner
I finally got my race report out as well:
IM Lou Race Report
The Ironman adventure began a few years ago, after I had completed more than a dozen marathons, including several Boston. As much as I loved the marathon, I wanted another challenge and also had a milestone birthday looming. Many of my running friends had “gone over to the dark side,” but I was not there yet. I didn’t really like riding a bike or putting on a swim suit unless it was the beach. Fast forward several years to cross training due to running injuries and a speedy track group with encouraging triathletes. Maybe I should do triathlons? What about an Ironman? And so I began triathlons…
My first tri season was on borrowed bikes, second-hand wet suits and still not a lot of bike riding. For my second year of triathlons, I bought a tri bike but still had a lot of learning moments such as nutrition and bike handling which became evident during a half ironman. I turned forty in 2000, bit the bullet and signed up for Ironman Louisville 2011. Given my experiences so far with triathlon I hired a coach to put together a plan that also included Disney “fun marathon” in January, Boston in April, Eagleman 70.3 in June and Ironman Louisville 140.6 in August.
We began 2011 with working on my core – strengthening those muscles to get me through all these endurance events. I had a fun Disney with lots of pictures and decent pace considering all the character photos. Boston did not turn out so well, but that was due to some pre-race GI issues and a massive blood blister. Still, I qualified with 3:41:15 so I could not be too upset. The summer was a challenge with long rides on Saturdays and muggy runs on Sundays. I also joined a master’s swim program when the local pool got too crowded for swimming 3500-4000 meters. My training went well, but I was still so nervous going into the Ironman. I was scared the 2.4 mile swim would be terrible and the 112 mile bike would be so slow I would not make the bike cut-off. I knew once I got off the bike, I would be fine for the 26.2 mile marathon.
Heading to Kentucky, I over packed every bit of race gear and nutrition and set off for Louisville. I spent Wednesday and Thursday with a running friend sister’s in-laws—very nice people. They fed and drove the bike course with me. This was extremely helpful as I had missed a turn during a race earlier this year and gotten a flat tire after hitting a pothole. Some DC Tri friends also gave me course notes which really helped give me an idea on how to manage the hills and rollers. On Friday, I checked into the race hotel and went to the banquet. I met some really nice people and tried not to be intimidated with the thought of 140.6!
On Saturday, I had a great practice swim and met a fellow DC Tri athlete who kindly watched my bags as I did one last gear check before I racked my bike. My parents and brother came into town as well. Sunday had me up at 4:15am and clunked my way to transition with my bike pump, Special Needs bags, breakfast, and chair to sit in the swim line. I called my brother at 5 am and asked him to come help me with all my stuff. We made it to the swim start and began the wait.
Swim- Louisville has a time trial start instead of a mass start. This is nice to avoid the chaos of 2500 people swimming on top of each other, but creates a huge line. I was so nervous I could barely eat, but forced myself to keep the food down as “nutrition is not an option.” Before I knew it, I was running down the pier and starting my swim.
The race was 70 percent male, most of whom were bigger than me and I did not want to start the day kicked in the stomach. So I took my time, saying to myself “relax, reach and roll,” stopping to adjust my new goggles and avoid body contact. I broke the distance into a master’s workout and pretended I was swimming with my lane mates. I guessed the swim would be 1:30-1:40 so I was really surprised when I got out of the water and saw 1:17.
T1- I planned to change and take my time getting ready for the bike. I also wanted to make sure I had all my nutrition packed in my jersey pockets and a good layer of sunscreen on before I hit the road. Time 7:10
Bike- Well, I can’t hate biking when I ride “My Little Cutie.” My goal was to finish the bike in one piece. I kept to the program with cadence, speed and nutrition. I got through the hilly out and back and then made my way to the first loop. The speedies were riding in packs and I was afraid I got a penalty for not dropping back when I got passed. The referee rode by but did not flash any cards. I planned to see my family at mile 38 and 68. One of my neighbors is from LaGrange and had her relatives out there looking for me. I was so surprised to see a sign with my name and number. Then I heard my parents yell for me as I passed. I made it through the first loop as the speed demons passed me. I stuck to the plan and stopped for my Special Needs bag at mile 60 where I got my Infinit bottles and almond butter bagel. I gnawed on the bagel and sipped the Inifinit for the next loop.
Next thing I knew it was mile 80 and I was heading back to Louisville. The last few miles were tough as my feet really hurt and I was getting stiff. I stretched on my bike and made it into transition in one piece. Estimate 7-7:30- Time 7:05:21
T2- I gladly handed off my bike and walked through transition as my feet were really sore. I saw another DC Tri friend in the changing tent and gave a quick hug. Off to the run I went. Time 8:56
Run- This was my third marathon for the year and 17th overall. I had been strong on my training runs and expected that my legs would get a “second wind” after a few miles. I began the marathon and settled into a “pace.” The aid stations were like a race buffet. I thought I was moving along but it was more a shuffle. “Oh well”, I thought, just keep moving forward.
Around mile three I saw some DC Tri folks cheering and got a lift when I heard my name. The turnaround never seemed to get there for the first loop. I did not know what mile it was as I had not driven or familiarized myself with the route. I made my way back to downtown and stopped for my Special Needs bag at mile 13. I dried my feet and changed my socks. I got such bad blood blisters at Boston, that I was under strict orders from my coach not to let anyone spray me and to keep my feet as dry as possible. (I could not wear shoes for two weeks after Boston as my foot was so tender. I wore Birkenstocks and went through 10-15 band-aids a day!) After the first loop I tried to ignore the finish line as I turned for my second loop. I struggled on the second loop as I was hot and I wanted the sun to set. I was trying to keep myself cool but not get my feet wet. I didn’t pay attention to my nutrition and began to feel a little out of it. I ended up running next to a guy who admired my Lululemon shorts and then gave me a salt tablet. A sorority sister who lives in Louisville came and cheered me at mile 24. I thought of my track friends for the last two miles as I broke it down into eight laps around the track. Finally, I made my way to the finish chute. My dad and brother were there to cheer as I became an Ironman. It was an amazing journey which I am so thankful for all the help from friends, family, coaches, coworkers, triathletes, swimming and running friends who shared a high carb meal, mile or lane with me throughout. Run time 4:55:42 Total time 13:35:01
Awesome.job! Great having a large contingent at Louisville.