Here is a copy of the race report I sent out.
This past weekend marked the completion of my fifth
Ironman and my first as a professional. The 2006 race
season had a mixed bag of results, but I felt that my
preparation and form for Ironman Florida was right on.
I wanted to end the season on a high note.
All IMFL participants were greeted with cooler temps
and high winds on race morning. However, I was
prepared to deal with these conditions and I was
confident that it would not be a major issue. I got
everything in order for the day, put my wetsuit on,
and headed down to the beach. The winds had kicked up
the ocean considerably and it looked as though we
might be in for a rough ride. The winds were running
parallel to the shoreline so the swells would be felt
in every direction.
I had expected a high octane swim start, but it turned
out to be much more civil than I anticipated. The
conditions of the water created much more of a
challenge than the pace of the swimmers in close
proximity to me. I settled into a group halfway
through the first loop and did my best to stay relaxed
in the tough conditions. Everyone was getting tossed
around and I imagine they all swallowed nearly the
same amount of salt water as I did.
The group stayed somewhat organized for 50 percent of
loop two, but eventually everyone got split up. I
towed a few folks in from that point and tried to keep
the pace up. We crossed the timing mat in 58:xx and I
was not disappointed given the conditions. I just
wanted to get on the bike and get rolling.
The bike offered some challenges in the first few
miles since my Powertap computer kept popping out of
its harness. I fiddled with my aero drink bottle
position and I assumed I had everything in order.
Unfortunately I was wrong and my PT computer bounced
out of place around mile 20 forcing me to ride back
and pick it up. I lost some time, but I quickly
settled back into my ride.
I rode as strong as I could, but it really did not
appear to be enough for the day. I never had contact
with (many) other riders and it made for a LONG ride
as I grinded away hoping that others might be fading
up the road. Unfortunately my colleagues up the road
held their ground and my progress was limited.
I came into T2 feeling beat up and bit out of focus.
My lower back had given me a lot of problems on the
bike and the pain had been enough to let the dark
thoughts of quitting enter my mind as I changed into
my running gear. However, I had made a promise to my
coach (and myself) prior to race day to fight for
every position no matter how far out of the race I
was. My back hurt, but I hoped it might subside as I
settled into a rhythm on the run.
I took the the run out more moderately than I have in
the past three Ironmans. I had hoped to hold an even
pace throughout the first 20 miles and then run a 10K
as hard as possible. The pace fell off a bit in the
second loop, but at mile 25 I saw that I could
potentially break my IM marathon time from 2005. If I
ran under 4:00/kilometer for the final 2K of the run I
would get a 3:04:xx run split. I managed to run 7:35
in this section and that gave me something positive to
take away from the end of this race.
I made up seven places on the run to finish 16th
overall with a time of 9:05. I came into the race
hoping to improve upon my 8th place finish last year,
but sometimes a race provides different challenges. I
dealt with a large level of discomfort (probably the
most from any IM), but I managed to still do what I
could on the day. I like to think that managing pain
on a less-than-optimal day will make it much more easy
to tolerate it on a day when things are going my way.
Its been a long year and a break is in order. I will
be sure to let everyone know my 2007 race schedule as
it develops over the next couple months.
Many, many thanks are in order for my family, my
friends, my coach Joe Friel, and my sponsors: EAS,
Ultrafit, Oomph!, Javelin bikes, Fuelbelt, and
See you next year,