Ironman Arizona 2007; Mike Ricci’s Race Report

Ironman Arizona 2007; Mike Ricci’s Race Report

We traveled down to AZ on Wednesday – we stayed with Mel’s parents and it was a pretty easy travel day. I had dropped my bike off with Tri Bike Transport and that was a great deal. No fussing with the bike – just drop it off at the bike shop, it gets picked up and I pick it up in AZ. Same thing on the way back. I walked 200 yards with my bike and dropped it off and I’ll pick it up in Boulder this week. Very cool and I highly recommend it. Big props to my man Pat for telling me about this.

Thursday was some last minute shopping for the D3 get together – and then I picked up my registration stuff and my bike and rode home from the race expo into a full on head wind – pretty knarly out there! We had a nice get together with the D3 crew at my in-laws’ – there were about 8 of us racing – so lots to people to cheer for out there on Sunday.

Friday was on off day and I watched some movies and set up my bike. On Saturday I rode and swam and with Mike and Ed and then we had a big breakfast at the Mission Palms.

Race day: I was up at 0245 – and I ate oatmeal and 2 bananas. We left for the race at 4:50 or so. Once I got there I put my bottles on the bike, pumped up tires, and the usual stuff. I sat alone, listened to my iPod and thought about my race plan:
My goals were:
Swim 57:30
Bike: 5:20
Run 3:25

I didn’t care about qualifying as much as I care about going under 10:00 – that’s been a long term goal of mine. Kind of like getting under 3:00 in the marathon – I came close a few times, before I actually did it. It takes time to figure out all the nuances to IM. But the secret is – there are no secrets. It’s about hard work and persistence. That pretty much sums it up.

Swimming has been going real well lately. Based on my times in the pool, sub 58 was within reach. I lined up in the 2nd row – about the middle of the field. I took off at the start – and within 2 minutes I had clean water. My goggles were filling with water, but I wasn’t worried, and I kept swimming hard. Turns out, I was going way right – off course and I couldn’t see out of my left eye and since I breathe to that side and the buoys are to that side, it was tough to stay on course. I think it was more about pulling too hard on my right side than my sighting though. After the race was over, I realized I had lost a contact – so spotting was tough not b/c of water in my goggles, but b/c I couldn’t actually see. I stopped 3 times to clear my goggles, but they kept filling up. I felt like I was out there forever. I did feel very strong in the swim like I was swimming fast – just off course. I threw in a few surges to catch some groups when I kept going off to the right – but other than that I was swimming steady – no watch or anything and I had no idea of my time when I stood up – I don’t think anything in the swim affected the rest of my race. I swam off course a little, but we all do it and it’s a long day, so I didn’t think twice about it. 1:01:53 swim

Ran through T1 – grabbed shoes and ran on grass in bare feet to save my shoes from collecting grass in them. Everything was fine here.

Onto the bike:
First lap was cruisey – actually first 56-60 miles were cruisey – no problems – low HR / low watts – aerodynamics on that bike are awesome – @189 watts I was averaging 22.1 at half way or 2:32 – that is better then my SOMA Half Iron time from October on less wattage and less effort. I was right on for 5:20 even with the wind – but that wasn’t the issue. I have been trying solid foods on my longer rides for two years now – so I sit up and eat – I did this in IMNZ and IMLP – and it worked well for the run in IMLP – but on a flat course like IMAZ, its tough to eat while being aero all the time – and I needed more water to digest the solid foods – and my downfall was missing water at a few aid stations – I got behind on calories by mile 70 or so – and had a tough time eating solids at that point. I finished my liquid fuel – but that was only about 860 calories – in IMLP, I carried two bottles and had 2 bottles in special needs and that worked out much better. Anyway – I was still averaging 21 mph at 99 miles, right on pace for 5:20, but the turn off the Bee Line was tough – right into the wind and for the last 13 miles I couldn’t get my watts over 150 and that is a telling sign I didn’t have enough calories – I struggled in at 15.5 mph for the last 13 miles – falling way off pace, but even worse, my legs were pretty empty – no cramping issues, but not enough fuel. I knew I was in trouble the last hour or so. Taking something positive from all of this, I am very excited about my bike fitness – its probably at a lifetime best. I am close to the magic number of a 300 watt threshold and I can’t wait to race shorter races this season. Things I can do getter department: Use an aero bottle up front – the reason I didn’t was b/c of my ergomo bike computer, I’ll need to find another place to put that thing. Having an aero bottle up front would have helped me a lot – but going to 100% liquid calories would be even better. Next time…
Bike time: 5:35:48 (3rd fastest IM bike split for me. #1 was IMC, 5:30:50, #2 was IMFL 5:34).

Bike data:
Lap 1: 1:44/21.5 mph/195 watts AP
Lap 2: 1:50/19.9 mph/175 watts AP
Lap 3: 1:59/18.9 mph/146 watts AP
Total ride was: 171 AP/182 NP – 82 avg. cadence

I rolled into T2 – then I walked to get my gear bag and sat in the tent for a bit to collect myself. Decided that I couldn’t quit – my only thought was could I tell my kid someday that I quit? No. That was that!

Can you say worse run ever? It was more like a walk/run but still….
I started out of the tent, slowly jogging and then I walked the first hill, as I was still not sure I could make the entire run. Got to the bottom of the hill – and took a pee stop. Then I had an internal conversation with myself and after a few choice words decided to see if I could run 1 mile. I ran to the first mile marker in 10:23 – not bad considering the walking and the pee stop. Then I ran the next mile in about 9:10, and then I ran an 8:30, then a 7:50 and I hit 4 miles at 43:xx. I was taking in coke, water and taking 2 sponges – by the next 5 miles I was once again at 43:xx so 10 miles was 1:26 or so – not that bad actually – all I had to do was keep moving. Somewhere in there I lost my run discipline and walked quite a bit. I didn’t take any splits after that, I just kept moving forward. It was ugly. But the most disappointing thing was not being able to use my run fitness – like the swim and bike lately, I have been seeing some real nice improvement in my running – so I am anxious to rest up and see what this race season will be like. :-)
Run Time: 4:29:24
Overall: 11:15. 271st overall/63rd AG
Last Hawaii slot went to 9:58. One guy missed it by about 20 seconds.

Closing thoughts:
Anytime you finish an IM, you have to be happy! Although it was my slowest IM and my worst run, I still finished the dang thing. ;-) I’ll be back to see what I can do next year on that course. It’s a great venue and a good course for me – under any conditions – wind or no wind – that’s just part of racing – I should have adjusted for the wind and I didn’t – no one to blame but myself on that one – but it’s a great course and a great venue – looking forward to doing it again!

Thanks for the support!
Mike

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