This was my first Ironman as well. I felt really under trained (ok, I was really under trained). I swam in distance free in college so I was only worried about the coldness of the water. HOWEVER, what I should have been worried about was the other athletes. I was stuck in a big hoard of guys that beat me up. If you happen to be the one that actually used my ankle to propel yourself forward-SHAME ON YOU! I never had open water and had to pace behind slower swimmers the whole way. This sucked since the swim is the only part I'm competent in during the day. I held back on the bike and just spun those gears without much effort and then was able to run almost the whole run (ok, jog with aide station walking). Met a nice guy named Lorne and we kept each other from walking the last 7 miles. Finished in 13:23 and 30 seconds. Not fast but way faster than expected. Even with the swim and head wind on that bike it was one of the best days of my life. Congrats to you all for finishing!
Shannon - Great job, congratulations!! Looking at some swim photos from the race there was some close quarters combat going on for sure.
Shannon, agree... I hope Karma got the guy in the end. Totally unnecessary. I think the larger number of athletes made things tighter than ever for the swim. Open water swimming for sure requirers some different skills (I was a swimmer too, but also did some rough water swims).
Congrats on a successful race, you Ironman! Will you do another?
My report is far too long to post here so it's a blog post on the iamtri blog.
It took me about a week to figure out how I could re-cap this awesome day. Ironman Arizona 2011 Race Report. I apologize in advance. It's long.
Nice going Jen. You did it! Commented on your blog post.
thanks for all the help along the way. Whether you knew you were helping or not. Every so often during the race I would see people who I thought I recognized from here but these profile pics are just too darn small :o)
Awesome job, Jen! Great writing and you'll have the Ironman badge of honor FOREVER!
A year ago I could not quite wrap my brain around putting all three distances together in one day. Swim 2.4 mi, Ride 112 mi, Run 26.2 mi. As I went through the year training, eventually about 10 months into it, I actually could wrap my brain around the day. It did became less overwhelming as I trained and raced throughout the year. It was with each workout...each interval, each day of not getting injured that I focused on. I worked a lot on my nutrition as well, which is key to a strong run off the bike. You gotta keep your legs strong, and your body fueled.
Morning...wanted to get out of bed at 4:00am, but stayed in bed until 5:00. I slept like a rock. Ate a plain dry bagel for carbs. Was a bit nervous, of course, but I was actually pretty amazed overall how calm I was. The most nerves came from the thought of the mass swim start. Me and 2,799 other of my closest athlete friends. I never did water polo so fighting in the water is not my strength. I jumped in the 61 degree water at 6:50 am, and swam to the swim start, just as the sun was coming up. I positioned myself just behind the mass of fast swimmers, and treading water waiting for the 7:00am start. Water temp was 61. I wore my 5mil full wetsuit, two swim caps and booties. I had plenty of room around me. Didn't seem as crammed in as anticipated. National Anthem, a cheer from the spectators to the athletes in support of our day, a cheer from the athletes to our families and friends for putting up with us the past year. Then the gun went off! I never got pummeled, kicked or swam over! WOW! I had expected the worse and it wasn't bad. I got in my groove but about 2/3 down to the turnaround (about mile 1) I briefly thought to myself, "I am getting cold"..I immediately told myself to STOP thinking that way and just swim! Stay in your groove one stroke at a time. "I am doing the Ironman!" WOW! It's here! I'm actually doing it right now!". Then about mile 2 I could not feel my hands anymore. It was the weirdest feeling swimming with completely numb hands. I could only feel my arms, so it felt like I was swimming with stubs...no hands. But I knew I was going to make it because I could see the huge red buoy which meant "you are almost at the swim finish!" I got out of the water, looked at my Garmin....1:25. I was aiming for 1:20, however it did not even phase me. I thought, "thank God I'm out....f$(%* I'm really cold!" There were wetsuit strippers to literally strip our wetsuits off our bodies...no small feat for frozen hands, so it was very welcomed! Off to T1 (Transition one). I saw the family and later the kids told me I looked like crap and my mouth and tongue were purple. Post race I found out many people were pulled for hypothermia and my coach said she saw a lot of people just abandon the swim not even half way through. Certainly glad I did not know about this during the swim. It would have freaked me out.
I spent longer than I would have liked in T1, however there was nothing I could do about it. I was freezing...shaking like I've never shaken before...funny how the coldest I've ever felt (or it seemed like it) was in AZ..in the desert! A nice volunteer lady helped me get my cycling gloves, helmet and gear on and said, "don't worry, you'll warm up in no time on the bike"...easy for her to say! But it did help and she was right! 11 min later I was on my way out the T1 tent on the road. 112 miles!
You can't think of the whole number...just one at a time. It's funny how your mind slices and dices the distances to make it manageable mentally. It's truly a mind game when you're out there. You just get to certain milestones and feel like you accomplished a goal, then onto the next one. Whether it be a turn, an aid station, catching someone, a certain mile marker, each small milestone is huge, mentally.
Right out of the transition I saw someone I met at one of the Carmichael camps...he had a flat 1/4 mile into the ride. Bummer. Please God, no flat. I like FAT TIRE...not FLAT TIRE! The first 37 mile loop was awesome. Not a lot of wind and coming back even a nice tail wind! My average speed was 20 mph on the first loop! I love being down in my aero bars on an open road, with no cars! This was sweet, but I knew it would not last as the wind on the Beeline Highway is known to shift and be not-so-friendly later in the day! I knew what was coming in loop two. Was going for sub 6:00 on the bike. At the CTS IMAZ training camp, I averaged 19.2 mph which would put me around 5:50 min total bike time. I saw the family each turnaround. At the first turnaround I weaved not keeping my line (which is a no-no) to go give the family a high five right. Turns out I weaved in front of a pro and he yelled something and slowed down to give me the stink eye like there was no tomorrow! I thought, "is he looking at me?" I didn't realize what I had done in my excitement to give my family a high five...oops! I felt incredibly stupid, and hoped he wasn't going to have a penalty issued on me! I don't want to go in the penalty tent, which is identical to a kid's "time out". On the second loop the wind had shifted, as expected. It felt like we had wind in both directions. How can that be? I got tired of hearing the wind in my ears. It was loud. A couple times I had to hold on tight to my tri bars as my bike was swaying. I saw, Alyssa, a friend of mine, who goes to ASU recognize me on the bike course. That ROCKED! I also was playing bike tag with another friend I met at camp, Brad. I eventually ended up beating him...by 7 seconds, which we were laughing about after! It was fun to see familiar faces out on the course. Again, you just take moment by moment...mile by mile, aid station by aid station. It is very important to keep hydrated and nurished, or you'll pay for it on the run...big time! That is why you see people cramping. They didn't take in enough electrolytes, and proper nutrition. I used Hammer nutrition product, called Perpetuem... one bottle had about 700 calories in it. I needed to take in between 1200-1800 calories during the bike. I had the Perpetuem, 2 Power Gels, 1.5 Power Bars, and a peanut butter and jelly Bonk bar along the way. That equaled about 1450 calories. Plenty of water. Small sips and small bites are key. I also made sure I took my electrolyte tablets every 30-45 minutes which contained sodium, potassium and magnesium. I felt really strong. My legs never burned and I kept a steady cadance the entire ride. I kept hearing in the back of my mind, Nick White and Chris Carmichael from CTS (trainright.com) say, "save your legs for the run!" It was fun to pass those funny looking pointed aero helmets and fancy tri bikes! My family said, "Mom, don't laugh, we know you'll probably be wearing one of those helmets someday!" :-) I ride with a Trek Madone 5.2 road bike with added aero bars...not a tri bike. Many had tri bikes which are a different fit. You sit more forward. Whatevah! I loved it every time I passed a pointed helmet and tri bike! I love my bike! Hitting mile 100 I let out a huge loud "Woo Hoo!" I felt like the ride was over. I was almost there! Pedal back into Tempe and I'm there! OMG, I feel great!
T2: Well, well, well....I have to do what....now? My legs were wobbly and felt rubbery and heavy. "Oh my", I said, as they hit the ground! Thank goodness there were volunteers to take my bike...can you carry me too? Come on, Sue, you can do this! Everyone else is, and you're strong! About 5 min and I was out the T2 tent on my way. Again, a very nice lady helped me get my running shoes on, and said, 'have a GREAT run!" Every bit of encouragement helps.
Our race numbers had our first names on them big enough so the crowd could yell your name as you ran by....let me tell you how much that helped. "Sue, you're looking strong!" "Nice pace, Sue!" "Awesome job, Sue"....every bit helps....again, it's the small bits and pieces...not the entire race at this point. Enjoy the moment. Swim...check!. Bike...check! Now, run, Sue, run! My goal was 4:00 if I was really quick, but realistically 4:20, not over 4:30! My first two miles, ironically were my fastest, and I had a horrible side ache. I cramped up, but kept running. Another personal goal was I did not want to walk. The only time I "allowed" myself to stop was briefly at the aid stations to get water and some food...my son, ironically named "Ford" would love this...they had Coca Cola, potato chips, pretzels and chocolate chip cookies..his favorite foods! Oranges tasted amazingly yummy. I tried to eat and/or drink something every aid station. A rule of thumb is about 200-300 calories per hour. Easier to do on the bike for me than run. About this time in the day, GI tracts are know to start shutting down, or back firing, so I took it easy eating only very small amounts at each station and having a Power Gel about every other aid station, along with water. I don't normally drink Coca Cola but it never tasted so damn good! Some of the aid stations were super fun. Disco theme, where I did the Saturday night fever dance that got big cheers from the crowd...and a police aid station where the guys were dressed up like female cops with big boobs and the girls were dressed up in fish-net stocking police uniforms and hitting the guys on the butts with their batons as they ran by....again, every little bit of entertainment or diversion helps immensely! We had three 8.73 mile loops to run through Tempe, my ole ASU stompin' grounds! I've run these roads so many times, but years ago! Brought back so many memories, especially the 80's aid station! Woo-hoo! Curry Road hill, bring it on! I ran up it every loop. Actually the uphills felt strangely good on my legs. The few slight downhills, not so much. They had mile markers along the way, with three loops you saw numbers like MILE 10, but you were only at mile 1.5...sucked, but I thought I can't want to get back here and see that number and claim it as mine! And I did. Then mile 12...almost half way there. Saw the family along the course on the bridge and along Tempe Town lake. At one point Ford and Lucy had packs of Peanut M&M's they bought and offered me as I passed. How sweet, I thought! However, the thought of Peanut M&M's...my favorite candy, made me want to throw up. One time on the bridge I saw them all sitting down. I yelled, why are you sitting down? And they jumped up to cheer me on. It was a long day for them. It's harder to watch than participate, I think! I was grateful they enjoyed not only my race, but the entire experience of seeing what can be done if you put your mind to it. My sister had shirts made that said, "Team Rigler #750 with the graphics swim 2.4 mi, Ride 112 mi and run 26.2 mi...and at the bottom, ""Follow Your Folly"...the slogan for my favorite beverage, Fat Tire! They were awesome. MIle 20, I thought, I'm there! Each mile after that seemed short. I was there! I was there! Only a short time more...looking at my Garmin, I knew I was going not only going to accomplish my goal time of 12 hours, but be sub 12:00 by several minutes! I was stoked...keep running this pace and you've got it in the bag! Mile 25...I'm finished, I thought..one more mile is NOTHING. Plus the roar of the spectators was unbelievable. As I got closer and I was inside the corals along Tempe Town Lake, I pumped up my arms and the crowd went wild. I'm such a dork, but dammit I've worked for this and was enjoying the moment...something I told myself to do today...enjoy the experience. Don't focus on the pain, but what you've worked so hard for and wanted for 25 years. Focus on the moment...you are doing the freakin' Ironman! I was within two minutes of the finish and saw my CTS coach Natalie. (who I had seen along the way several times, with her huge smile assuring me I'm on target and looking strong!) She jumped out of the crowd and I gave her a big stinky hug. I'm sure she really appreciated that! :-) Then about 100 yards ahead I saw, Monica, a gal that comes to my spin class. She also jumped out and received one of my stinky hugs! Then the last left turn into the finishing chute. Again, pumping my arms and the crowd goes wild. I saw the family on my left in their grey t-shirts cheering me on! I was home! 140.6 miles...check! 11 hours, 48 minutes and 15 seconds, the announcer yelled, "Sue Rigler, you are an Ironman!" Words I've dreamt of for 25 years! Typing this brings tears to my eyes...something I thought I'd do as I crossed the line, but was so pumped I never shed a tear. My sister did that for me! As I finished, I received a shiny medal, a space blanket to keep me warm and got my photo taken...then Ford asked me again if I wanted the peanut M&M's. He held them the entire time, no small feat for him! I think he ended up eating them at that point. The thought of any food or even a FAT TIRE was gross. Finishers were eating pepperoni pizza and fries. YUCK!
A young 24 year old female finisher, Lauren, came up to me after and said, "thank you so much for encouraging me out there, I really needed it and you kept me going". I had NO IDEA I did that! I cheered people as they passed me looking strong, just as other athletes cheered me. Again, it's the small things that keep you going. Also a few minutes after another woman came up behind me and said, "Are you Sue Rigler?" She happened to be Tracy Tucker Georges, an athlete featured in a book I am reading, "You Want to Be an Ironman" by Jacques Steinberg, about 6 average Joe's journeys to do Ironman Arizona. A mutual friend had introduced us via email and she heard my name on the load speaker and introduced herself. She did not compete this year because of a recent knee surgery but plans to again next year. It was great to meet her. She's a hoot with a foul mouth (you should have heard what she whispered in my ear), same age as me, and rides a Trek Madone! Much in common!
Sunday evening, I was toast...mentally and physically. I took a hot shower, put my compression socks on, downed some Advil, and ordered room service. I slept like a baby that night. I was worried about walking the next day. My legs hurt and the tiny bones in my feet were very sore. I woke up the next day and wasn't too sure about getting out of bed...would I say, "I've fallen and I can't get up?" WOW! I could actually walk and it didn't hurt as much as I thought!
It is now starting to sink in...the training journey, the experience of the entire 11:48:15 of just keep moving forward, the feeling of not only accomplishing this, but exceeding my goal time without any major issues race day. I'm crazy enough right now to be thinking about my next one...and very blessed with a year of no major injuries, a knowledgeable coach who kept me on track, my family who put up with me, and great friends who encouraged me to be strong and not terrified....It's a day, a year, an experience I will never forget. It's mine forever! Praise God for an amazing experience.
The Ironman is about ....ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Oops...it's a bit long! :-) But so is Ironman!