May 07, 2019 - Having done this race last year, the obvious goal was to be better this time. Not only was I looking to improve my time, but most importantly to have a good run. For this I needed to get stronger on the bike and needed my nutrition to be in check.
My usual race morning meal consist of an oatmeal bowl, half banana and some gatorade. eventhough I'm a huge coffee drinker, I have never tried coffee before a race, until this day. I had about 3oz of black coffee with no sugar. Wasn't bad. After this we drove to T1, set up the bike (pump tires etc) , a quick trip to the porta potty and made the long and lonely walk to the swim start. I actually enjoy this walk as it gives me time to give myself a 'pep talk'. I arrived at the swim start just in time for the US national anthem. Of course I stopped whatever I was doing and paid respect. Meanwhile looking at the long waiting lines at the porta pottys I was glad I went at T1 (much fewer crowd). After the anthem I dropped my special needs bag at the drop site and quickly applied the AMP PR lotion to my legs (also a first time thing), got in my wetsuit (75.3F) and walked to the swim corral. In the meantime the pro's already got underway. I stood at the 1:20-1:30 line.
Last year which was also wetsuit I swam 1:17. For this time around I haven't swam a whole lot other than an occasional open water swim. I thought if I could at least keep my time under 1:20 I would be happy. When it was time to enter the water I avoided swimming towards to bouys as there's where most people would go. Instead I opted to stay a little outside and try to swim as straight as possible. Other than an occasional bump the swim was pretty uneventfull. I was delighted when I exited the water and saw 1:16 on my watch. My race was off to a great start.
About 75% of my training has been on my bike. So this is the part I was looking forward to the most. I had practiced my nutrition and pacing. So all I had to do was execute it. Not so easy. About 20K in, I heard wind like sound coming from the front tire. My first thought was a FLAT....F*ck..... Turns out it was a piece of paper that got stuck in between my front brakes and it was rubbing against the front tire. pffeww...I still had to stop to remove it, cause it was kind of annoying. On to the Hardy things went pretty smoothly. Stayed within myself, drank, don't overdo it. Things we're going good, untill a motorbike pulls besides me and showed me a blue card..."next penalty box"...wtf ?? While I don't agree with it, I knew I was in a bad position with nowhere to go, but I wasn't seeking an unfair advantage. I'm slow and can't draft to save my life. Anyhow what you gonna do, so I stopped at the next penalty box.. which was full (now I'm starting to think that since last year draft fest they just want to send a message to everybody). So obviously after this event, I was much more aware of where I was riding. On the 2nd loop the wind really picked up and I had a nagging upper back pain. getting aero was sort of painfull. I battled it out for another 30K and than turn around and rode to T2. By now I knew I wouldn't have a better bike split than last year, but since I still kept my nutrition to the point I had a feeling I could still run well. I rode into T2 in 6:24, which is 15 minutes slower than last year.
For the run I had a simple plan; just keep moving and have some electrolyte at every aid station. I ran the first 14K loop pretty steady non stop. At some point I felt energy levels starting to drop and even felt a bit dizzy...I knew I just had to get to the next station and get something in. After what felt to be an eternity I finally reached an aid station and had some oranges, coke, gatorade, and pretzels. This suddenly gave me the boost to run the next 10K flawless, just pausing at every aid sation to refuel and keep going. After this 10K stretch I had to walk and let my HR drop a bit, but I was able to pick the pace a few minutes later. By now it's well into the later part of the marathon and it looks like I'm on my way to a PR if I'm able to keep this momentum going. Last year I threw up at the 20mile marker and had to walk the rest of the 6miles, So I'm well aware of what could happen. Thankfully I passed by the 20mile marker with no incident. By the time I saw my family on the last lap I knew I had about 4k to go, and the PR was all but secured. I just kept moving at a steady pace and was just trying to avoid finishing with a group of people (you know for the finisher pictures) Lol. Finally crossed the line in 13:21 which is 23minutes faster than last. Deep down I wanted to go under 13hours. But I'm happy with any improvement. overall had a good run, and nutrition wise I think I did pretty good.