IM Canada Race Report 2013

Ironman Canada  2013 Race Report (eh)

Another adventure for Jessie and I focused around another epic race. The original plan was to leave on Thursday morning and drive all day arriving in Whistler, BC by dinner. We ended up getting too anxious and left Wednesday night. We drove up to Portland and cut three hours off the drive off. Good thing we did because that drive took a lot longer then Google Maps says.  Once we got north of Vancouver, BC the drive was spectacular, one of the prettiest drives we have ever seen on our many many road trips.

We were able to throw our wetsuits on a have a quick swim in Alta Lake on Friday with other members of the Endurance Nation team and then we were off to drive the course.  Another beautiful ride but then I began to realize how tough this bike course could be if not ridden properly.  Oh well. It’s supposed to be tough, it’s Ironman.

Saturday was a relaxing day, dropping of bikes and gear bags and lots of hanging out.  Watched some crappy movies and went to bed by 9pm.

Sunday morning showed up fast.  2am alarm for Jessie to chug a smoothie like she was in college again. This time I was able to fall back asleep before the 3:45 alarm. After rolling out of bed it was the standard bagel and PB choked down with some Powerade. Out the door before 4:30 to hop on the bus to T1. About a 10min bus ride full of anxious type-A triathletes.  Not many words were exchanged as athletes were beginning to focus or maybe just wake up because it was still so damn early.  When we got to T1, I aired up the tires and got gels and bottles on the bike. Hang out, eat a powerbar, drink a Gatorade, and watch the beautiful sunrise over the massive mountains to kick off a great start to an even better day.

20130830-200309.jpg

20130830-200227.jpg 20130830-200252.jpg

Swim: We were all funneled into the water through transition about 10min before the start. Jessie and I found a photographer for an Ironsmootch photo while still standing in knee deep pee-filled water.  Water temp was in the high 60’s, just about perfect. Positioned myself about 50meters from the buoy line about 4-5 people deep. The gun went off at 7am and the race was on. The first 400m of this race was the most ruthless I have ever been involved in. I was pushed under, had a leg grabbed, my arm held, and on several occasions I was punched in the back of the head.  That being said, I made a decision at the start of the race to be aggressive in the swim and be the pusher not the pushee. So I am sorry if I dunked, grabbed or swam over you, I was the guy in the black wetsuit and green swimcap.  The two loop course was fairly wide open after the initial mayhem. Not exiting the water after the first loop was nice, decreasing the chance of any cramping. Still need to work on swimming in a straight line but fairly happy with the finish. Swim Time- 1:11:50

T1: Got stripped by strangers again, at least this time it was a girl.  Grabbed my gear bag and I ate shit, haha, on the wet grass.  Vollies were great in helping me back to my feet.  Decided on arm warmers for the bike and I’m happy with the choice. On the way out of T1, the guy in front of me dropped his GU flask so I picked it up and race it to him hoping for some good race karma. T1 time-5:13

Bike: Holy shit, this was Epic, both in scenery and how difficult it was. I really pulled my foot off the gas for the first 30 miles or so. Ehhh in retrospect I wish I didn’t because there was plenty of downhill to recover, but I’m not unhappy about it either.  The climb to the top of Callahan was awesome, great climb with a few flat spots to recover.  Got chicked several times but that’s okay. After making it to Olympic park, we started to cruise downhill at speeds over 40 mph before climbing back up to whistler village and descending down to Pemberton for about 20 miles. Now this was fun. Hit a top speed on my bike at 45 mph, only to get chicked by my wife who managed 45.6 mph at one point. Personally the hardest part of this bike course was staying aero for about 1.5 hours on the 30 mile out and back after Pemberton. My neck, back, quads, feet, everything hurt. The first climb on the way back to whistler was welcomed with open arms.  I managed to have to pee three times on the bike, all in porta-potties, likely because I was drinking so much and not sweating because of the cooler air.  Made the final right turn through Pemberton ready to hurt. I knew the last 20 miles were uphill and I knew I was in for a hurt. From what I remember there were three brutal sections with about a 10% grade and I would have been going backwards on them had there been any wind. We were very fortunate to have ideal weather on race day. No wind and about 70degrees all day.  Before I knew it the massive climb back to whistler was over. I could see people on the run course and the cheering crowds started to appear. I was a nice boost of confidence knowing the race is about 2/3rds over.  Looking at my watch I was happy with my time. Only 6min slower then CDA and no drafting penalty this time around! Bike time- 6:06:03.

T2: Smooth and easy no crashing this time.  Dad got a pic of me running out from his computer at home in Florida. No sherpas this time but I knew they were there in spirit cheering me on from home. T2 time-4:46

20130830-195402.jpg

Run: This is it, the final leg. All you have to do at this point is run a frickin marathon. 2 loops of up and down and up and down it was only 700ish feet of climbing the whole time but it seemed like we were climbing Everest at points.  I was able to run the entire first lap. Slow running with walking the aid stations. I don’t know why, but I decided to try coke for the first time ever in a race. It worked great! I didn’t have to suck as many gels down or choke down any bars. Stopped to chat with Jessie twice on the run course, which is always a nice boost and makes all the pain go away for a few minutes. The wheels started to fall off about mile 13 with the worst of it at mile 19. The run walks became more like walk runs. I kept peaking at my watch hoping a sub 12 hr was possible. And with about 4 miles to go I did some quick math in my head and made a decision to beat the 12 hour mark. I knew I would have to run and I knew it would have to hurt. It was time to HTFU. So I picked my head up kept my lungs filled with good air and made it hurt. I found the other gear, the one you never realize is there until you have used every other trick in the book. It felt like I was running 8min/mile’s again around the airport loop in Roseburg. Wrong! Looking back at my Garmin it was more like 10min/miles but I don’t care. The race organizers played an evil trick on us making us run right past the finish line in the last 0.5 miles and do a loop through the village. It was at this point I could hear the announcer say “1 min to the 12 hr mark.” At this point I knew I could do it and every ache, every pain, all the fatigue I had accumulated over the last 140 miles was gone. Sprinting down the shoot there was no time to high five anyone, my eyes were on the finish line. I DID IT! SUB 12 HOURS! By a whole 23 seconds! 2 Ironmans, 1 summer, 8 weeks apart, BOO YA! D-O-N-E! Run time- 4:31:45.

Final Time- 11:59:37

20130830-195525.jpg

20130830-200319.jpg 20130830-200551.jpg

What a great race. Harder than CDA and Faster then CDA. Jessie and I both had PRs, we got to adventure to a new country, see beautiful places, and meet some great people. Drinking beer on Monday at the bar we ran into a Kona qualifier. He had dedicated the last 6 years of his life to making it to Kona. Jessie is ready to commit. I don’t think I’m ready for that. But I will support her all the way if that’s the road she wants to go down.

I can’t believe that’s it for triathlon in 2013. But no worries. Our crazy asses have signed up for a 24 hr mountain bike race in 6 weeks. Adios until next time!

Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove 2013 Race Report

Image

Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove – Race Report

July 27, 2013 Cottage Grove, OR

This was my first time racing this event, and I have to say it was a great day all around. Jessie and I were fortunate enough to have a team of Sherpa with us thanks to Dave, Jackie, Mark, and Myah who came up to support us.

The day started off with a 4:10 wake up call for the 4:30 departure and the one hour drive to the race. Maybe a little early but it helps calm the nerves in the end. I once again ate a peanut butter bagel, powerbar, and Gatorade for breakfast. There was a lot of just hanging out before the race started and it was chilly, low 50s, was not at all expecting that. Good thing about being early is the primetime spot in transition. It was nice to go old school and have everything I need for the race right at my bike and not have to worry about bags or two separate transitions.

Swim: The men’s Olympic swim began at 8:25 right on time. From the shore the 1500m looked more like a mile and a half but turns out the race organizers had it right. Water temp was 76degrees, too warm! I swam in my full sleeve wetsuit, which was awesome for buoyancy, but I was boiling by the time I was done. Nice and wide open, didn’t get kicked or punched and I think I did a better job of swimming in a straight line. Key word is better, not good. Swim Time: 27:09

T1: Went very smooth, had to sit down for dizziness and to get my wesuit off . Only mistake was having my bike in too big of a gear to go up the hill right out of T1 causing a severe cramp in my left calf. It went away and off on the bike I go. T1 Time: 1:10

Bike: Very flat, Very Fast, Very Fun. I felt great all day on the bike. Just kept myself as aero as possible and pushed as hard as my legs would let me. Finished 2 GU’s and a NUUN on the bike for nutrition and to hold off any further cramping. I made up a lot of ground on the bike. At one point I think I made it to top 10 overall, and at that point I made it my goal to keep top 10. Rode most of the bike by myself without other racers around, but that’s okay because it allowed me to focus on my race. Almost did an all out endo into T2, but I stuck it! No crashing. Bike Time: 1:05:26strava bike link

expman-1.pl

T2: Smooth once again, outside of the massive bilateral hamstring cramp that decided it wanted to show up and I was trying to put my running shoes on. I thought it was going to be a major issue on the run but they never came back, WHEWW! T2 time: 1:01

Run: Out and back along the lake, 3.1out/3.1 back. For the first half of the run I tried to stay at a consistent 7min/mi pace and was fairly successful. My hope was to turn and burn for the second half, and I did up until about mile 5. Then I looked behind me and no one was in sight, so I took my foot off the gas. I’ll blame it on strategy and not the fact my legs were about cooked. At one point on the run, I was passed by someone in my AG, and I did my best to keep up, nope. He was a machine and I realized I had to run my race. Run Time: 43:38
strava run link
I ended up finishing 14th overall, third in my AG, PR the Olympic distance. Overall was a great day. When we were done with the race, we all (Me, Jessie, Dave, Jackie, Mark, and Myah) went for an easy conversational spin around the lake about another 8miles or so. Then we all hung out at the lake and went swimming and crushed the impromptu picnic Jackie arranged. This race will absolutely be on my race calendar in the future. Hats off to Rolf Prima and Dark 30 sports for putting on a great event.

Finish time: 2:18:21

Next up is IM Canada. Oh Crap! Anyone have an extra set of legs for my SN bag?

20130804-071156.jpg

IM CDA 2013 Race Report

After a year of preparation, race morning finally came (at 2am). Jessie woke up to start her IM nutrition plan and I woke up to her alarm. Then I couldn’t fall back to sleep, my mind was racing. I pretended to sleep until 3:30 when the real alarm went off. After pretending to be tired for about 10min to keep my nerves in check, I rolled out of bed and made my standard pre-race meal, plain bagel with peanut butter. Crushed it with a bottle of Gatorade, got dressed and out the door we went. My dad (one of 3 iron-sherpas we had) dropped us off at transition at 4:45 so we didn’t have to worry about parking. In transition, I made some final preparations to my bike (tires, bottles, nutrition) and added arm warmers to my bike gear bag. The arm warmers were an irrational decision I made while pretending to sleep after the 2am alarm. Then it was time to hang out, eat a powerbar, drink 1 more Gatorade, and meet up with our parents to anxiously await the start.

One more gel before the swim start and down to the beach we went for the swim warm up, quick pee in the wetsuit (along with everyone else and I am pretty sure the swim warm-up section was about 5degrees warmer then the rest of the lake), and more waiting around for the start. Kara found us in the 1:00-1:15 starting corral and it was nice to see another familiar face. Mike Reilly was screaming something, as he always does, a cannon went off and the age-groupers started to flow into the water. Quick kiss good-bye/good-luck to Jessie and IMCDA was underway.

Swim: I think the swim start was very fair, there was plenty of open water, got kicked as usual, almost lost my goggles once to an errant elbow, and swallowed a bunch of water as usual. The most fun I had in the swim was at the first turn around when a boat came by threw a huge wake and tossed every athlete in the area up and down about 3 feet (kinda of fun, to break up the monotony of swimming, but a little disorienting as well). On the way back from the first lap the sun came out and all of the sudden clear goggles was a bad choice. Lap two took forever but there was more open water to swim in and I even found a lawn chair under water. I also need to learn how to swim straighter in open water as I ran into 2 buoys and a resting platform, oh well. Swim finish time 1:10:07, right on point. Off to T1.

T1: Followed the direction of the GREAT volunteers, swim cap/goggle in the sleeve, laid down, some dude ripped my clothes off (wetsuit), some chick handed me a bag of new clothes, into the madness which is a changing tent, bike gear on (should have left the stupid arm warmers off), grabbed my bike and out of transition I go. T1 time 5:35.

Bike: My favorite part of triathlon. I always enjoy riding my bike. Course was very fair, hills were as I anticipated, and I was feeling fast. First lap of the bike I put down 3 gels, a powerbar, ½ banana, 1 Nuun bottle, ~1bottle water, and ~1bottle Perform. Now it’s time to get bitter. On the way back to town on the first lap I felt him lurking in my blind spot as I am heading up hill passing other athletes. At the top of the hill, I’m back in the aero bars and here comes the motorcycle. Normally he just continues on about his business, but this time was different. I look to my left only to see a big, bright, shaming RED CARD! Followed by a “Head to the next Penalty Tent”. I shake my head in disgust then stop to pee at the porta-potty. 10miles later I stop at the Penalty Tent, in other words a 4min break. When you get to the PT the first thing they do is hand you a stopwatch and start the timer, then it gets worse. They take a big fat sharpie and put the line of shame through the number on your helmet and your bike. Oh well, I made the best of the situation by eating a bonk-breaker, drinking a bottle and then pulling off the arm warmers shoving them in that bottle, so I didn’t have to ditch them. A quick 4 minutes go by and I head through town, looking for my sherpas, I never saw them, but among the massive cheering crowds I did hear my dad screaming words of encouragement. They were the same words in the same tone he used to scream during my many years of playing lacrosse. It was all I needed to drive me for another 56miles. My parents and Jessie’s mom flew across the country to the middle of no-where CDA, Idaho to watch us bury our bodies and turn ourselves into Ironmen. The second leg of the bike was slower, I decided to pull my foot off the gas and I was over-conscious of not drafting. There was no way I was going to get DQ’d in my first Ironman. It wasn’t until the first turn-around on the second lap that I saw Jessie. I was starting to get concerned, but she looked friggin’ strong when we finally locked eyes and crossed paths. The second lap was long, but legs still felt strong. I was happy there were so many hills because it gave me a chance to stretch my legs, back and neck. I felt my nutrition was on point, more gels, Perform, water, and bananas. Little did I know at this time there was one thing I was missing, and it was sitting my back pocket the whole time, SALT! Final bike time was 5:59:58. My goal was under 6hrs and I did it! Even with the stupid 4min penalty.

T2: After almost falling getting off my bike, I walked into T2 got my bag from a volunteer who came out of nowhere and directed me to the changing tent. Bike stuff off, run stuff on (not easy to tie my shoes at the point), I found a bag of chomps in my back pocket (JACKPOT! Felt like I was eating fruit snacks), adjusted my Garmin and onto the run course. T2 time was 5:10.

https://www.strava.com/activities/63087290

Run: Oh crap I have to run a marathon. I have only ever done this one other time, but I was confident in my training, the crowds were great, and I started off nice and slow, about 9min/mile. Feeling good I kept this pace, walking aid stations taking in Perform, gels, and water for the first 10miles. I even jogged up the big hill on the first lap. At the first turn around, I saw Kara. It didn’t take her long to pass me (yes, I got chicked), but she ran her face off and had a great race. A few miles later I saw Jessie, we stopped, had a hug, complained about how much we hurt, another kiss and off to more suffering. And little did I know the suffering was just to begin. Heading downhill back towards town, I started to cramp (oh shit, no big deal, I’ll slow down eat some salt, stretch, and this thing will go away, WRONG!) The rest of the race I was battling bilateral calf cramps and the occasional left hamstring cramp. I tried everything gels, salt, Perform, water, cola, food, bananas, and chicken broth. Nothing worked. I was even tempted to drink some beer fans put out with a lawn chair (I’m glad I didn’t). So my run was forced into a slow run/walk. I was able to run through town to the half way mark where I saw my sherpas. All the pain went away for a split second knowing they were there for support. Half way there I knew I would finish, but 12hrs was going to be out of the question. Oh well. I am still going to be an Ironman. Then it hit me, I can run slow until the cramps hit and then walk, or I could run fast until the cramps hit and then walk. I chose the run fast version. I think athletes around me were getting mad because I would go from running 8min/mi to a dead stop with locked up legs. A quick stretch then a walk and off I would go again. I saw Jessie again later in the race. We stopped again she had the “this sucks” look on her face, so I told her about my red card and she smiled. I was on my way home 3mi-2mi-1mi- 1/2mi. Now I’m on Sherman (OMG it’s happening). I thought to my self “I am going to run this whole final stretch”, WRONG! Hamstrings locked up half way down Sherman and I had to stop on the barriers and stretch. Off I go to the finish line, no one is around, I get to the grandstands and hamstrings locked up again, at this point I didn’t care. I changed my gait to a hobble and heard Mike Reilly “A physical therapist from Roseburg, OR. Danny Stevens, for the first time YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” I DID IT! One of the best feelings I have ever felt. No Pain, no cramps, no sunburn, no salty skin, no blisters only pure joy. I was corralled by some more amazing volunteers and found my parents at the finish line. No better way to celebrate then with my number one fans. They have always supported me with everything I have ever done from tee-ball to IRONMAN. This would all not be possible without them. THANK YOU!
Final run time was 4:57:11.https://www.strava.com/activities/63087256

First IM finish time was 12:18:01.

On to IMCanada, with a stop at the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove along the way.

20130626-155125.jpg

20130626-155221.jpg

20130626-155311.jpg