Friday, November 1, 2013

Shawn's Beach 2 Battleship IM Race Report 2013 - Top Ten Edition

Beach 2 Battleship IM
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Wilmington, NC
29th Men 35-39 12:02.0

Instead of a long race report that drones on about the minutia of a really long day, I have decided to condense it into a top ten list. (i.e. David Letterman Style. )

North Wind
10. Headwinds. This was the story of the day. There was at least 70 miles of headwinds on the course this year. When we would turn into a tailwind, the road would turn, and the wind would become a cross. This made for a mental struggle. When you are putting out power that would normally net you 22 mph, and you look down and see 19.5 mph it gets down right discouraging.

9. Cold Start. The temp when we were waiting at the swim start was around 38F. There were a bunch of people huddled around a couple of heaters. I pulled up some curb, and chatted with a few fellow athletes. The first 45 minutes, I was ok, but then I started shivering. By then, it was time to start. Once we dove into the warm water, everything was alright.

8. Good Swim - No Current. Last year we had a great incoming tide to push us in. This year the current didn't materialize, and a light headwind made some chop. My form was much better this year, and overall I was happy with my swim. Even if it was 13 minutes slower.

T1 6am
7. Shrinkage (aka T1). The friendly volunteer stripped my wetsuit in one quick motion. I thought, its not too cold right now. That only lasted for about 30 secs as I was running to the T1 bags. That changing tent was like an oasis of warmth in the distance. That is until you get in the tent, and it is a sea of humid, stinky, and naked men. I changed quickly, and was off.

6. What to wear? I'll just bring everything. I went back and forth on what to wear on the bike, the whole week before. The temps at the start would be in the 40's, warming up to the 60's slowly. I ended up wear tights, jersey, vest, and arm warmers. My selections worked out, I was comfortable the whole time, took my arm warmers off for the last 30 miles.

5. Downtown Wilmington. The run course through downtown Wilmington is awesome. Along Front St, there are restaurants and bars lining the course. All afternoon through and the night people line the course, and they are the most supportive crowd I have seen. The race puts your name on the number, and I must have heard people shout my name in encouragement 100 times. Also, the downtown race makes it easy for your family to hang out during the day, while you drag your slow self around for 140.6 miles.

4.  Run Course Miles 11- 13 (My Pain Cave). As I started the run, I was feeling great. I was happy to be off the bike, and keeping my effort level steady. All of a sudden my stomach went south at mile 11. If I tired to increase my effort my heart rate would rise, and my stomach started doing backflips. This meant I had to walk the one mile false flat going back to the finish line. My strategy changed to a walk/run for a couple of miles, until special needs. I downed couple cups of broth, put on a fresh long sleeve shirt, and was a new man. I ran the second lap much stronger than the first.

3. Fantastic volunteers. The volunteers on the course were fantastic. On the bike course, I stopped twice. A volunteer grabbed my bike, another one filled my bottles, and a third one grabbed my food order. First class service.

2. Goals - Smoals. My goal for this race was to break 11 hrs. I may have been too ambitious. My fitness was good, but everything would have had to line up perfectly to meet that goal. The 70 miles of headwind on the bike crushed those dreams. At mile 40 on the bike, I knew my goal was gone. Mentally, I think I shut it down a bit. I was still pushing, but not with the same urgency and intensity.

The Kiddos and I at the finish

1. Finishing. Finishing is always the overall goal going into an IM. The journey through training and the race is filled with challenges. Meeting those challenges and continuing to move forward is my biggest take away from an IM. I'm proud to be a two time IM finisher, and look forward to doing more.

Final Thoughts.

My overall experience with B2B this year was fantastic. The weather made things challenging. Setup puts on a great event. The local community really embraces the event, and make us triathletes feel welcomed. My family really enjoys being downtown, and walking around to the shops, and cafes. They were already talking about what they wanted to do next year, so I guess I have the green light to race again. I still have that sub-11 hour goal, so we will see. I hear the tide push will be better in 2014.

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