Well folks, its been a long time since I've updated the blog, but considering the events of the last weekend, I figured it's time to let everyone know what I've been up to. This last Saturday I had the "pleasure" of competing in Ironman St. George, Utah. When I signed up for this race, I knew it would be difficult....I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of, if not the most difficult course on the IM circuit. This diabolical course featured over 5000 feet of climbing on the bike ride and about 1800 feet of climbing on the run....good times!
Swim - 59:13 - New PR
I knew going into this race that, even though this was only my second Ironman and I've improved a great deal since my first, chances were slim to none that I would be setting a new PR, as this course is much more difficult than Arizona. The one chance I had to set a new personal best was in the swim.
The swim, just like the rest of the course in St. George, takes place in a beautiful spot, Sand Hollow State Park. While the scenery was breathtaking, so, unfortunately, was the water. On the morning of the race, the temperature measured a balmy 57 degrees, brrrrrrrrr. Thankfully, adrenaline kept me from feeling too much of the cold, and aside from an initial chill as I entered the water, I was never bothered too much by the temperature. I knew that the day ahead of me was a long one, so I tried to keep my pace moderate and not push too hard. The only hiccup in my swim occurred about 3/4 of the way through when I lifted my head to find the next buoy and saw a father and daughter in their kayak headed straight towards me!! I had to stop completely and push the nose of the kayak away to keep from being completely run over. After a few choice words to the duo reminding them that a race was going on, I put my head down and finished my swim. With my moderate pace and kayak run-in, I was shocked when I got to shore and saw my time was still under an hour. I sprinted to the timing mat and recorded a new personal best time for 2.4 miles - two big races so far this year, and two swim pr's....thank you TYR for making such a sweet wetsuit!!
Bike - 6:14:06 - Ugh!
The bike was....in a word.... BRUTAL. The ride stars with about 20 miles of rolling hills and a couple big ups and downs before going into two 44 mile loops that really put any rider to the test.
These photos show the "Beauty and the Beast" character of the bike course, although the second does no justice to the "Veyo Wall" that you get to climb at about 3/4 of the way through each lap. From the start of the first lap, the wind was a major factor. I was immediately struggling with the head-on and crosswinds, and before too long, my back was cramping up in a major way. By the time I got to the top of the Veyo Wall on lap 1, I had serious doubts about whether I would even be able to finish the bike portion of the race, let alone the marathon. The voices in my head began telling me to just hang it up at the end of the first lap and spare myself the suffering that I knew would come with the second lap. As I rode the long descent back into St. George, however, I made a deal with myself. I was not going to quit just because I didn't WANT to go on. If something happened that made me physically unable to go on, that would be one thing, but I was NOT going to quit.... I had put too much into this race to give up because the going got rough. That is what Ironman racing is all about, reaching that point where you don't think you can continue, and pushing through to see what you're made of. I did carry on, and even though I had to stop a few times to stretch out the cramps in my back, I made it through the bike ride. I did it slowly....but I did it, and I even managed a smile at the end.
Run - 4:12:54 - Double Ugh!
Coming in from the bike ride, I was thrilled to have made it through, but I knew I was not out of the woods yet. St. George features probably the most difficult run course of any Ironman race out there. I don't think there was one flat section of road the entire way. It was all up and down, yet somehow there seemed to be much more up than down.
Here I am going out on the course....happy to be off my bike, but that smile would not be there the whole time.This shot reflects how a lot of us felt out there at many points of the run....or walk, as it was here. But thankfully for me, I had the best cheerleader a guy could ask for giving me constant support and positive feedback. A HUGE thank you to Kindra for supporting me so well. No matter how tired I was, no matter how bad I felt or how much pain I was feeling, she was always there to tell me how great I was doing and encourage me to just keep moving forward, one step at a time. THANK YOU KK!!! I don't know if I could have made it through without you!! I'm happy to say that I did make it through the run, and crossed the finish line with a total time of 11:32:50. While this race did not turn out the way I had imagined it would, it was still a huge victory for me in another sense. I have never had to dig so deep just to make it to the end of a race. I reached lows that I had never experienced before and still pushed through to the end. I'm glad I did not give in to the negative thoughts and doubts in my mind. I consider it a victory to just have made it to the finish line, and I will take that with me in all future races that I compete in.Mom and Dad once again made the trip to see me race, and as always, I was thrilled to have them there to share the experience with me. They continue to be two of my biggest fans and best supporters.Me and my KK at the finish...Thanks again Kindra, YOU'RE THE BEST!!
Well folks, thats about all I have to say about IM St. George. It was a long and brutal day, but I'm a stronger person for it. Thanks for taking the time to read about my race.... Now go out and find your next challenge!