Preface

Each Ironman presents its own set of unique challenges and in order to race well, you have to exercise patience throughout the entire day.

There are times during the race when you question your decisions and there are dark moments when you ask yourself -- "Why do I keep doing this sh*t?"

The answer is simple and it lies in one of the first comments to come out of the mouth of my wife as she crossed the finish of her very first Ironman last Sunday -- "That was the hardest thing I've ever done!"

I just started laughing because that's why I keep doing it.

Ironman CdA Finisher Medal

Rewind

Somehow I've managed to write four paragraphs and I ended up at 8pm on the eve of the race.

It seems only fitting to start at the beginning...

We've made this journey four times and it's pretty much like clockwork. We pack the stuff, leave the car at Park N Fly, fly Southwest to Spokane and drive the rental car to CdA.

The only real difference this year was the additional bike and we stayed at a different hotel.

This routine is why I continue to come back because it usually ends with a PR on the course and a Kona slot.

Dream Big

My goals this year were aggressive --

1. Win the age group.
2. Qualify for Kona.
3. Get as close to 9:30 as possible.

Killing Time

In the days leading up to the race, I tried to stay away from the action because the Iron-people like to stare angrily at me.

Apparently that's the thing you do -- you need to scare your competitors with your thousand yard stare.

And I am scared. With all of that pressure in their heads and their eyes opened so wide, I'm afraid an eyeball is going to pop out and hit me in the melon.

Seriously people -- learn to smile a little, it's not only good for the soul, it'll keep the hemorrhoids away.

Smile often or use this...

Preparation H

... the choice is yours.

Chaos

No trip would be complete without something going wrong and this trip was no different.

It started with a mechanical for the Mrs. which was eventually resolved by Sag Monkey but it took some time and there were a couple of moments when I felt like I needed to shout "BREATHE!" to the Mrs.

Even More Chaos

The night prior to the race, I had a work issue which seemed completely hopeless. I finally decided it was out of my hands, I put all of my devices in "airplane mode" and I put my sanity in the hands of Beaulieu Vineyards.

Technically, I put my hands around a plastic cup filled with BV but the outcome was still the same -- the problem seemed less important.

Race Morning

We woke up at the crack of dawn and while I'm always excited to race, it seemed criminal to get up at 4am on a Sunday morning when I didn't have to work.

With the two of us racing, we wanted to get out of the hotel quickly and down to transition. We jammed! By 6am, we had everything setup, had gone back to the car to drop things off, hit the porto potties and we donned our wetsuits.

After saying our goodbyes and good lucks, we went to opposite ends of the beach and awaited the start of the race.

Ironman CdA Mass Swim Start

It's Go Time!

Since 2008, I've done Ironman nine times. Every once in a while I'll do a blow by blow race recap but to be honest, they all start with swimming, have biking in the middle and end with running (and on the bad days... walking).

There are moments within the race where something might have gone wrong and in the end it gets really hard to stay focused.

This race was no different.

Rather than writing volumes which will sound similar to the last race, the one before that and the one before that, let me just give you the...

Highlights

- This was the first race where I stood on the beach and the desire to win outweighed my anxiety.

- The second loop of the swim was extra choppy but the bigger impact to me was the temperature of the water.

My pre-swim a few days prior clued me into the water temp being a problem but when I exited the water on race day, I was showing signs of hypothermia -- mental confusion being the most obvious.

CdA Swim Exit

I managed to get my head in order enough to get on the bike but I spent the next couple of hours warming and cooling until the sun came out which eventually brought my core temp up.

- The bike course -- what can I say? I was fairly certain it would slow folks down. Coupled with the wind, it made for an interesting and slower bike split.

I dropped the effort on the second loop in order to secure a solid run but I questioned my decision as I watched my bike split near the 5:30 mark.

- The run course was familiar and when I left transition, I was on target. And then I wasn't. And then I was. And then I wasn't again.

The short version -- I had issues. But I seemed to get things straightened out mostly and I was able to secure a spot on the podium as well as qualifying for Kona once again.

Ironman CdA Podium

Friends and Family

After crossing the finish of what was one of the hardest races I've completed to date, I watched my friends come across the finish one by one.

We chatted endlessly as we described our own battles throughout the day and we greeted others as they crossed.

As I sat there watching the clock, I reflected back to where I saw my wife on the course and I wondered when she would make her Ironman finish debut.

Around the time I felt like she would cross, I worked my way near the finish and I patiently waited.

I don't know how much time passed and I'm sure I was premature in my arrival but the excitement of her finishing brought me close to the line because I didn't want to miss it.

And then it happened -- I heard Mike Reilly call her name, I looked through the crowd and I saw her smiling face as she crossed the finish. That alone was worth all of the suffering I endured throughout the day.

She eventually found me, hugged me and now we're an Iron-family.

Insanity is contagious. :)

Iron Family

Check Your Head

We fixate on the numbers but when the gun goes off, we have to let go of all of that and focus on racing with our current level of fitness in the conditions that Mother Nature presents to us.

This day did not go as planned but that's the case for many races and the internal dialogue is what makes the day good or bad.

In the midst of the race, I thought I was off the podium and my shot at racing Kona for 2012 had slipped away but I continued to focus on doing my best. It turns out my best was good enough and this is why I stay focused on the task at hand until the very end.

And now for some random photos...

My trusty Argon 18 --

Argon 18 E-112

The age written on the back of my leg and transferred onto the inside of my Blue Seventy Helix.  I thought it looked more like art.  I will sell this suit for $1,000,000 on Ebay.  Or I might just wear it a few more times because people no longer appreciate real art --

Inside of Blue Seventy Helix

Riding my trusty Argon 18 --

Ironman CdA Argon 18

Catching air out on the run course --

CdA Run Course

Heading into the finish chute --

Ironman CdA Finisher Chute

The finish --

2012 Ironman CdA Finish

Fourth place hardware --

2012 Ironman CdA Hardware

Kicking back after the race --

Post Race

Preface

Each Ironman presents its own set of unique challenges and in order to race well, you have to exercise patience throughout the entire day.

There are times during the race when you question your decisions and there are dark moments when you ask yourself -- "Why do I keep doing this sh*t?"

The answer is simple and it lies in one of the first comments to come out of the mouth of my wife as she crossed the finish of her very first Ironman last Sunday -- "That was the hardest thing I've ever done!"

I just started laughing because that's why I keep doing it.

Rewind

Somehow I've managed to write four paragraphs and I ended up at 8pm on the eve of the race.

It seems only fitting to start at the beginning...

We've made this journey four times and it's pretty much like clockwork. We pack the stuff, leave the car at Park N Fly, fly Southwest to Spokane and drive the rental car to CdA.

The only real difference this year was the additional bike and we stayed at a different hotel.

This routine is why I continue to come back because it usually ends with a PR on the course and a Kona slot.

Dream Big

My goals this year were aggressive --

1. Win the age group.
2. Qualify for Kona.
3. Get as close to 9:30 as possible.

Killing Time

In the days leading up to the race, I tried to stay away from the action because the Iron-people like to stare angrily at me.

Apparently that's the thing you do -- you need to scare your competitors with your thousand yard stare.

And I am scared. With all of that pressure in their heads and their eyes opened so wide, I'm afraid an eyeball is going to pop out and hit me in the melon.

Seriously people -- learn to smile a little, it's not only good for the soul, it'll keep the hemorrhoids away.

Smile often or use this...



... the choice is yours.

Chaos

No trip would be complete without something going wrong and this trip was no different.

It started with a mechanical for the Mrs. which was eventually resolved by Sag Monkey but it took some time and there were a couple of moments when I felt like I needed to shout "BREATHE!" to the Mrs.

Even More Chaos

The night prior to the race, I had a work issue which seemed completely hopeless. I finally decided it was out of my hands, I put all of my devices in "airplane mode" and I put my sanity in the hands of Beaulieu Vineyards.

Technically, I put my hands around a plastic cup filled with BV but the outcome was still the same -- the problem seemed less important.

Race Morning

We woke up at the crack of dawn and while I'm always excited to race, it seemed criminal to get up at 4am on a Sunday morning when I didn't have to work.

With the two of us racing, we wanted to get out of the hotel quickly and down to transition. We jammed! By 6am, we had everything setup, had gone back to the car to drop things off, hit the porto potties and we donned our wetsuits.

After saying our goodbyes and good lucks, we went to opposite ends of the beach and awaited the start of the race.

It's Go Time!

Since 2008, I've done Ironman nine times. Every once in a while I'll do a blow by blow race recap but to be honest, they all start with swimming, have biking in the middle and end with running (and on the bad days... walking).

There are moments within the race where something might have gone wrong and in the end it gets really hard to stay focused.

This race was no different.

Rather than writing volumes which will sound similar to the last race, the one before that and the one before that, let me just give you the...

Highlights

- This was the first race where I stood on the beach and the desire to win outweighed my anxiety.

- The second loop of the swim was extra choppy but the bigger impact to me was the temperature of the water.

My pre-swim a few days prior clued me into the water temp being a problem but when I exited the water on race day, I was showing signs of hypothermia -- mental confusion being the most obvious.

I managed to get my head in order enough to get on the bike but I spent the next couple of hours warming and cooling until the sun came out which eventually brought my core temp up.

- The bike course -- what can I say? I was fairly certain it would slow folks down. Coupled with the wind, it made for an interesting and slower bike split.

I dropped the effort on the second loop in order to secure a solid run but I questioned my decision as I watched my bike split near the 5:30 mark.

- The run course was familiar and when I left transition, I was on target. And then I wasn't. And then I was. And then I wasn't again.

The short version -- I had issues. But I seemed to get things straightened out mostly and I was able to secure a spot on the podium as well as qualifying for Kona once again.

Friends and Family

After crossing the finish of what was one of the hardest races I've completed to date, I watched my friends come across the finish one by one.

We chatted endlessly as we described our own battles throughout the day and we greeted others as they crossed.

As I sat there watching the clock, I reflected back to where I saw my wife on the course and I wondered when she would make her Ironman finish debut.

 

Around the time I felt like she would cross, I worked my way near the finish and I patiently waited.

I don't know how much time passed and I'm sure I was premature in my arrival but the excitement of her finishing brought me close to the line because I didn't want to miss it.

And then it happened -- I heard Mike Reilly call her name, I looked through the crowd and I saw her smiling face as she crossed the finish. That alone was worth all of the suffering I endured throughout the day.

She eventually found me, hugged me and now we're an Iron-family.

Insanity is contagious. :)

Check Your Head

We fixate on the numbers but when the gun goes off, we have to let go of all of that and focus on racing with our current level of fitness in the conditions that Mother Nature presents to us.

This day did not go as planned but that's the case for many races and the internal dialogue is what makes the day good or bad.

In the midst of the race, I thought I was off the podium and my shot at racing Kona for 2012 had slipped away but I continued to focus on doing my best. It turns out my best was good enough and this is why I stay focused on the task at hand until the very end.