Congratulations on a race well done! I will try to highlight a few things but hopefully everyone else will read Jon’s race recap as there is a lot of very good feedback and advise in here! The more you know (especially for the Ironman distance)…
Yes, Ironman week is it’s own Ironman. Nice work sticking to your workout plan and your race plan! It’s very easy to second guess yourself with all of the compression socks and race wheels present 🙂
Swim: Every IM race is different and some races continually change their swim start process. So be sure you are aware of the specifics of YOUR race swim start. It’s hard to place your self completely right in a self seeding swim start. However I would recommend being more conservative than more aggressive. Remember that the swim is all about swim efficiency NOT swim speed. Thus the reason to be more conservative. Nice work making your placement work for you as best as you could. It set you up for a very strong bike and run!
T1: Your story of the fellow athlete forgetting his bike helmet. If you don’t have a helmet, they won’t let you ride. So this could be a race ender. When you check in, take each bag, lay in on the floor and think though each item that you put in each bag and ensure you have everything you need. Ironman takes an enormous amount of logistics and you must get them perfect.
I don’t remember any bathroom options in the transition tents so I can’t help here. But I think all of our IMP participants are males so Jon’s feedback is helpful 🙂
Bike: Great lessons learned! Instead of repeating them, read Jon’s excellent feedback on proper cadence, nutrition, considerations for what to wear, etc. Because you were so organized, Jon, you likely saved your race. SOLID work here!
Run: Isn’t the chicken broth, magical!? It does sound like you were deficient in electrolytes. This happens even in cooler weather. So be sure to focusing on at least 400 mg (up to 800+ mg) per hour to minimize any cramping. Neck cramping is a first but as you can see, cramping can hit us all anywhere!
Nice work executing your run/walk as best as you did. It’s easy to let the crowds and momentum deviate from your plan. You are not alone! However, as you can see, it really is the fastest strategy for the IM marathon. For everyone else out there, if you are not practicing a run/walk strategy from the beginning of each mile of your long runs, you must start doing so asap. Please read Jon’s feedback if you don’t believe me!
Finish: You are an Ironman! You will never forget this moment. And you shouldn’t!
Final Thoughts: Please read Jon’s feedback! First time bracelets were never a thing when I raced. This is brilliant. So pick one up! The process for special need bags is different for every race so please be sure to read your specific Athlete’s Guide. Bottomline, never leave anything valuable in them because you either don’t get them back or someone else can visit them after the race and take what they want when they are unattended.
Awesome work out there Jon! YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!