Saturday, March 8, 2008

Real Life.......

Well I haven't trained for the past week ( letting the latic acid drain and strained muscles/ligaments rest.) . I've spent the past 7 days trying to get back into being a captialist minon/scholastic slave trying to catch up on the work I "forgot" to do on the flight back home. The jet lag is finally hitting in, I am up until 2 AM most nights for no apparent reason, that and I have suddenly become an email whore, checking it 20 times daily for replies from NZ contacts, USAT rankings in which I was ranked 227th Nationally in the men's 20-24 age group...Boo-yah!, and other random crap. Next week I begin to hit the pool again. I probably won't start running until after Easter, just to give myself an "offseason" so I can begin training for my plethora of halves, with a fresh set of legs and a fresh mind, oh yes and after some weight room time, I figure the Angry Runner's explosive power sets might not be permanent parts of the summer routine, but some harcore training pre-season with general strength training through out should help improve my splits. I have thrown my credit cards on ice until early April so I can re-register for IM NZ 09....also I am avoiding the temptation to upgrade the Bitch Stomper or worse custom build Stomper 2.0 ( I scoped out the Specialized, pro frame and have been comparing componets packages at various shops, one day I will have a real job that pays more than 20k a year and I will be able to throw some cash this way. Either that or I will go pro and get my crap for free.)
I just signed up for RI 70.3 I will most likely throw down on the Patriot in a month, since it probably won't fill until May. My parents have already stated Eagleman will be a family road trip ( There goes my explative filled speech if I qualify for Kona, but on the plus side it will be good to have a massive cheering section, consider my sisters,Mike, Parents, the Schultz's ( Pete and Bill not Ken's family unless of course you want to come down Ken I would welcome it.)Team Zoot GU ,HEAT , Team Blazeman, my fellow bloggers and the random people I meet along the way.
So for now I am going crazy with the free time that my limited to non-existent training has opened up.

About the Blogger Reunion in Jan. I don't know if I'll make it, granted I will have limited classes because if all goes well I will be done with a majority of my classes, this and next semester. So I'll just be finishing the minor, and possibly a lab., but I am also planning on two weeks in the land of the Kiwis come March, I figure on my second go round I want to explore a little bit more of the country..we'll see.

Well it's now about 4AM stupid Daylight savings time, I've gone on a little too much for one day.
I'll probably sleep in tomorrow ( and go to Late Mass, the joy of being Catholic in Lent.)

Trying to get back to the grind.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ironman New Zealand: The Aftermath.

When we sat at dinner on Friday Teri, who won her age group, warned us that the memories of just finishing the Ironman can be quite fleeting, indeed from the moment I got my finisher's medal, to stepping out of the shower to Simon and Catherine at my door, most of the post race is quite a blur. I remember the post race massage, getting my blistered heels taken care of and, chugging some tomato soup, but any major points I don't really remember. I did try to find Catherine and Simon post race but after not seeing them by the police baracades made my way into the med tent for post race thearpy. I met up with Justin saw Leo cross the line in 12:09, and actually BSed with Jo Lawn out side the med tent, but the most definiate thing I remember was going to the bike pick up with Justin and Joe Glah. I remember getting my bike and gear bags back, cramming into the van and dropping my crap in Justin's room before heading to Tui Oaks to shower and grab a quick bite to eat. I hobbled into the breakfast room looking at Dave ( the owner ) his family and some of the EST support crew looking out at the steady stream of runners continuing to battle with the worsening conditions. " How'd you do?" Asked Michelle one of the competitors ( who sadly DNFed due to being too hypothermic to move after finishing the bike.) "11:13." I replied wearily. " Did Mickey run by yet?" ( Mickey being Mickey Shappiro the oldest female starter at age 71) " DNFed Mate. " Dave replied, "she didn't make the bike cutoff." Damn..I really wanted to see her finish it would have been her 21st complete Ironman. Patti Paul's wife chimed in. " Did anyone see Jonathan?" " I did as I was heading past the turnaround." I answered. " I saw him out there and he must have torn up his feet pretty bad, because the toes of his shoes were blood red." That's how you know you're messed up if the white mesh on your sneakers is pink you are going to be needing some quality help from Dr. Scholls. I made my way up to the room the finish not sinking in ( Hell it's been almost a week and it still hasn't sunk in I'm in perpetual Faris Al Sultan mode:" Hey you really did that!" ) All that was on my mind, shower, change, finish line, Jonathan had been one of my closest friends this trip and I wanted to be at the line when he crossed. I hoped into to the shower and began spraying the layers of salt, sweat, coke, road grime, that icy hot the massage chick rubbed me down with. There was a knock at the door. I threw on a towel and answered it. It was Simon and Catherine, " We've been looking all over for you. Medical, the Massage area, the finish line Transition..." "Sorry guys I tried to find you but when I didn't see you by the barricade I had to high tail it into medical or the volunteers were going to drag me there." I said trying to make sure my towel would not blow off. " Well good stuff mate." Simon said, " we're heading back to the finish." " Sounds like a plan one of my mates is still out there in this. I'm just going to finish showering and I should be down there until midnight." I replied. " Well good job..we'll see you down there". Catherine said. Now the words and phrases may not be verbatum but I had just run a PR marathon in the Ironman for crying out Simon, Cat, for the record if I misquoted either of you it was because I was still out of it/hypoxic/ functioning on toast, powerbars, sports drink, some soup and about 3 liters of flat Pepsi/4 hours sleep. They left the room and I finished my shower. I got dressed, threw on my rain jacket and met up with Justin. Joe drove us back to the finish. I grabbed myself a thing of Fries/Chips, the salty greasy goodness reward for 11+ hours of exercise. and set myself up next to the baracade by the med tent. The party at the finish was in full swing. A bunch of drunk Kiwis had taken control of the left grandstand, and were going nuts. Mike ever the show man came down from the gantry and started doing paces down the carpet, as more finishers came in despite the pouring rain. 13:30, 13:35, 13:40, 13:45, still no sign of Jonathan I looked across, Simon and Catherine were standing directly across from me. I went over and hung out with them, still checking the clock..13:50, 13:55, 13:59:59 still no Jonathan. Met Luke Bell and got a rather good snap shot. Still no Jonathan. 14:05 then suddenly out of the distance...some Kiwi kid appeared some dude tossed him a rugby ball and he dove over the line like he was scoring a try...I think that's the right term....That got Simon laughing......still looking at the clock, then I heard Mike start saying something about a 3 time Ironman, I heard Jonathan and the butchery of his last name....I darted for the finish line, and in he came, the pride of USC, I believe it was 14:15 but you have to check his blog ( which I have linked as USC Jonathan to make sure)" Yeah Man!" I screamed out he gave me the look of my feet are going to fall off, and if I don't get into some warm dry clothes I am going to start convulsing right here on the carpet look. ( Like I said from finish line to med tent, you go from being a God to a mortal again.)I went back over to my perch. Simon and Catherine had to take off ( Catherine had to go become a slave to the almighty editing room.)...the next two hours seriously became part sporting event, part carnival, part side show. Pete and Bill showed up with a case of Tui we each had a celebratory beer. Ken came back down and started to catch up with the race directors, Ironman live guys, pros...guys who remembered The Sprint in Auckland 1990. The rain lightened up, but the wind kept howling. Dave came in, followed by Paul. Mike Ramsay made his way to the finish continuing his streak of finishing every single Ironman New Zealand. Then the most remarkable finishers of the night hobbled in. Tony Jackson and his wife. Tony like Mike had started and finished every Ironman race in New Zealand from 1984 on. Unlike Mike he had a much harder fight, shortly before Christmas he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Docs gave him 13 weeks to live. His response " Shit that doesn't leave enough time to train for an Ironman." He battled through just enough Chemo to make it to the start line and did the entire race side by side with his wife. He got a standing ovation as he crossed the line, a hand shake from Mike Ramsay, a few moments to address the crowd, he plans on being at the start line next year, with an attitude like that he most certainly will be. Slowly but surely the rest of the finishers trickled in. One guy came in at 16:51 Mike R. Shouted out " You are an Ironman" to him about a meter from the line. He hugged him then ran back along the barricades high fiving each person on ground level...." Dude you might want to cross." Mike shouted..." Well it makes no difference 16:51 16:56 when you cross you cross." Finally after high fiving the other side on the way back in. He had his moment , granted five people passed him as he thanked the crowd but hey, a finish is a finish. Finally the clock reached 16:58 " We've got one more about a k out." Greg screamed from the booth. The chants of stop the clock went up as it approached 16:59 The race director shook his head.....17:00 .......then she came into sight, hobbling beaten by wind and rain, a 60 year old woman stopping every 20 feet, her kids and a group of townspeople walking her in. Some of us left the stands and got in the mob behind her, Mike up infront of her egging her on. 20 feet stop breath, You can do this, another 20 feet, then another, and another, finally the finish chute. The mob stopped at the carpet and she crossed the line. 17:16 after it had begun she was an Ironman. They gave her her medal and shirt but she was kept off the official list, We still argue they should have stopped the clock, but the paper doesn't matter, she was an Ironman.

I could continue to ramble on about other things that happended in Taupo, but right now it's mute point. The Ironman is a one day journey, a journey to a finish line, a journey into the self to see what you're really made of. For me it seems to early to tell if the person who left Taupo an Ironman finisher is all that different from the person who was griping abut snow delaying his flight at JFK two weeks ago. Life goes on work, classes, eventually training, local races, but all I know is the following while on this Ironman journey:

I made some pretty good friends
discovered that most of the friends I have are amazing
Even the most trival accidents make us stronger.


Ok now all the Ironman New Zealand Posts are done, except for the photo wrap up. ...Next on the agenda recovery and strength training.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ironman New Zealand Race Report

3:30AM My alarm went off I looked at it looked out side and hit snooze. My body was going to be going through 10+ hours of sheer Hell the least I could do was give it 30 more min. of Rest. 4:00AM and I was awakened by some crappy oldies station I shut the alarm off and went to the loo. Slapped on my War on ALS tattoos and began my pre- race ritual of wondering around my hotel room with my i-pod blaring clad in nothing but my tri shorts.

Wet suit...check

Body Glide....check

Slathered myself with enough Hawaiian Tropic to protect me from a supernova....check

Post race clothes...check

Threw on my tri top and my HEAT T -shirt and warm up pants and went down for breakfast, a bowl of cereal and toast with honey I wasn't eatting heavy today.You could definiately tell the Iron-vets from the rookies USC Jonathan had been through this all before, it was his 3rd time, but even he had jitters , hoping his back would survive, Paul had done at least 5 and was just looking forward to another day at the office. Justin a fellow Iron rookie sat there silent ready to go. Pete and I were the nervous guys with big yaps, I tend to ramble when I'm nervous, but I was starting to settle down. I looked out at the sun coming up. " Looks like the weather guys were full of shit." I said fairly confidently " I wouldn't say that mate.", said Blair with a semi prophetic tone. " At least we're expecting a tailwind on the way back on the bike." Pete chimed in. The eire silence over the breakfast table was broken. Breakfast flew by in a blur, before I knew it Jonathan and I were on the first shuttle to transition. The i-pod went in the music went up. " Just another day at the office" I tried to tell myself, " Just another race like any other." We arrived at transition. Got my special needs bags and body marked. BSed with this Aussie chick Naomi, she was hardcore doing this race with a cracked vertebrae. I checked my bike tires, 80 PSI, grabbed a pump from Blair and inflated to the recommended 110psi ( the chip seal makes stiffer tires bounce.) Johnathan wanted a picture in Transition. Tried to snap one but the stupid light blurred it out, finally after 5 takes I got a keeper for him. I looked accross the rack at the pros setting up, one young Aussie chick Kate was set up across from me, we shook hands made a little chit chat but that was about it. Talked to Dan Cochrane the last Kona qualifer from my age group last year, told him I owed him a beer if he beat Shannon Barnett, we laughed at that one. Bella Cumberford was snapping her shoes into the pedals.I had thought about doing that but I had accidently packed them in my T-1 bag at drop off. Too late now. A bunch of Maorui Warriors were doing the Huka on the beach, I tried to imitate hoping in the words of one of the warriors, it would scare the piss out of anyone in ear shot. Instead it made for a hysterical snap shot. Jonathan then snapped a more legit one. 6:30AM a half and hour went by that fast. I lubed up with as much body glide as I had left. Killed the water bottle I took with me and filled my aero drink with Gu2O, started to put on the wet suit and made one last trip to the portoloo. Had Bill zip me up and made my way down to the water. Started talking to Matt yet another Iron virgin: "Just treating this like one really long brick. I've got an hour swim, 6 hour bike, hopefully less than a 4 hour run." Just a training day with 1200 of your closest friends. I handed in my pre swim bag, and swam out tho the swim start. the bottom of the start area was shallow and rocky. It didn't matter now I was in my element. The 3 min. light came on Mike's voice boomed on the loud speaker, as the Warriors brought their boat along side the mass of swimmers in the water. 2 min. light. The pros made their way to their start 15 meters ahead of the age groupers. Mike was spouting some shit over the PA. the 1 min. light came on then the cannon.........

The Swim: 3.8k (2.4 miles) Arms and elbows: kicking and screaming.

I had started wide as usual but for once was actually regretting it. I was in clear water but falling toward the back of the back. I started to cut in. I ended up dueling with this chick in blue swedes for about 200 meters. I lifted to sight a sea of orange and green caps I was still with the age groupers. My competitive swimming prowess started to take hold. Go harder, keep sighting, still orange and green caps. For the first 1000 meters it felt like I was going no where, either I was really sucking or everyone else was really good. Suddenly a white cap then another, a pack of us had caught the slower pros, that got me motivated. passed 3 or 4 white caps before I found a draft pack at the turn around. tried to go around , couldn't. Tried to go inside couldn't . I kept wide and drifted along side, losing some ground for 25 meters gaining back for another 50 meters, Satyed wide on the return leg to try to catch the current from the river back to the beach. Passed some more Orange and green caps but I was still stuck in the draft pack. I could see the beach now, the carpet to transition. the water was shallow. My hand hit bottom butterflied past the rocks then sprung to my feet. Cap and goggles came off, pulled the wet suit to half way. I looked at the clock as I left the beach on a 400 meter run to transition

53:36 Heard Catherine and some of the EST group shout my name as I ran past. One leg down, two to go.

T-1: [wetsuit] Strippers wanted!

the 400 meter run to t-1 was a head game up the steps across the parking lot, up the hill. passed some guys got passed by others. Came into the chute and shouted out "114" a woman grabbed my T-1 bag and handed it off to me. Ran into the tent. Two guy grabbed the legs of my wet suit and yanked it off. Shit I forgot a towel volunteer got me one,I dried my feet and threw on my socks and shoes. Then off to the bike rack, threw on my helmet and sunglasses and off I went on a 180km (112 mi.) ride, the second place pro woman at my side. Total T-1 time I believe was 5:38 not bad for a quarter mile run in a wetsuit.

The Bike: 180k (112 mi) Kick it in the big ring and pray nothing gets in the way.

I figured I would go conservative on the first loop of the bike so when I strated getting passed like it was my job I didn't panic. The roads were dry, once we got out of town ( and all the technical corners) the road was closed to traffic and went down hill in a hurry. I grabbed a Gu off the top tube only to see the wind had blown my other four off.....those aid stations every 18k were a blessing. PowerBar drink replaced the Gu2O as I consumed it in a desperate battle to keep hydrated, and every two stations I was grabbing a power bar to boost my sugar. At one point Justin and Canadian super stud went by, I made an effort to repass and it worked but was repassed by them about 2k up the road I decided at that point it wasn't worth burning the energy to try to keep their pace. ( Justin did a 10:57 I have no idea how super stud did.) By the time we hit the turn around at Repora the winds were in full force. As I approached a sudden gust made me feel like I was going to be dismounting over the left handlebar. also on the way some joker would run along side with a bottle of Tui beer and fake like he was handing it off aid station style. We hit the sharp turn around and the wind suddenly shot you out like a rocket. As I flew back up the road it dawned I me I had to pee, got ready to try the whole let if fly thing but I just couldn't make it work. I stopped at one of the aid stations instead. Topped off my aero drink with Sports drink and grabbed an extra bottle for the road, after hitting the loo.

As we made our way back up toward Taupo I saw three cyclists had gotten together, one of them ( a girl, who until I double checked, I thought was Naomi) had gone down pretty hard and was being stablized by course officials as the support cars stopped and an Ambulance from St. John's was racing to the scene. We got to the lovely turn by the racetrack and as I crossed the white lines the clouds opened . We were now on the descents back into town, I was sitting up in the bullhorns for some of the descents, especially one sweeping left hander...I didn't want Catherine to earn a pulitzer for caputuring the spirit of the Ironman by snapping a picture of me riding by in bandages and torn cycling shorts. For those who don't know me too well, my bike, sharp turns and wet chipseal don't usually make for a good combo. Anyway it was down another long down hill on Spa Rd., just letting it coast as competitiors flew by, before the sharp left back through the Center of Taupo. I was going 25 everyone else was going 30 before all of us slammed on the binders for the left hander and then accelrated through the flat fast smooth roads of Taupo. Heading back out for the second loop I decided to be conservative on the rain slickened corners and white lines in town, saving my efforts for the fast, yet rough straight shot to the turn around on Broadlands road. It seemed a few other of the "mid-packers" were following this strategy, either that or they were the ones who went too hard on lap one because I managed to get about 5 positions back as well as a nice neon green arm band for completing loop one. Once again it was back on to Broadlands with that every so lovely head wind. the rain began to lighten up but even so I kept my sun glasses in my back pocket ( I had taken them off at the beginning of lap 2.), it was too much of a hassle to keep wiping the spray off of them. The lead up to the turn around wasn't too bad, down hill and flat, got out of the saddle occasionally to warm up the legs. I lost some time, when my attempts to let it fly were continuing to fail, and I had to use a more scenic method ( ie stopping in some poor farmer's field.) Which cost me most of the spots I had regained. On the way to the turn around again the wind got brutal, I got in the bullhorns put my head down and gritted through to the turn around. At Repora I made it through the hairpin with relative ease ( trouble spots in the wet 1&2 were out of the way.) I had some trouble getting my sexy neon orange armband from one of the volunteers, it took one fairly tall and muscular dude to push it about half way down my arm. I shot out of Repora with a nice tail wind and began to make up ground. Unfortutnately I had a comical little incident at one of the aid stations, as I tossed the bottle I had just emptied into my friend the areo drink...I noticed there were suddenly alot more guys at the "last ditch" table than at the previous stations. "Watch out!" I screamed as the bottle hurttled toward a volunteer holding out a powerbar, it missed thank god, but it scarred the shit out of both of us. " Sorry!" I screamed as I rode out of sight from one very pissed off volunteer.

As we approached the climbs the fatigue of 160k (100 miles) in the saddle became real, a hill that I had taken semi effotlessly in the Small Ring 15 was now causing me grief as I crawled up it at 12 mph, I was bonking hard core, I reached for some shot bloks that I had been nimbling on as "bail out" food. I finished the bag but the sugar was just not kicking in. I longed for my running shoes because quite frankly I was getting sick of pedaling. After what seemed like an eternity the downhill to the race track appeared I didn't care if it was going to be the death of me I got into the aero bars and descended at a stupidly fast rate of speed. I wanted off the bike Damn it and I was only 10k away from my second strength. I went through the left hander back toward town. As we descened past the Town pool and civic center some Swim Mum had apparently had enough of the Police road blocks and us psycho cyclists owning the road. In an effort to save two minutes and get little Johnny to his swim lesson on time her minivan blew the road block and sped across the road infront of me. Now maybe it was my fatigue at the time but it was like what gives, she was about 4 meters infront of me but on a wet road 4 meters is not enough to safely go from almost 30 mph to 0 on a bicycle ( apparently Specialized, Avanti, Cervelo, Trek, etc all forgot to put anti lock breaks on the damn things.) Thankfully she pulled into the pool's parkinglot and I sped by without incident but this is the 5th or 6th NDE ( near death experience) I had in Taupo in as many days (the first 4 or 5 were courtsey of the big rigs on Route1 and Broadlands on my training ride.) Rant about bad drivers over.Needless to say this was at the end of the ride. I slowed up for the sharp left turn on to Route 1 and as I hit the flat pulled my feet out of my soaked bike shoes like a pro. I think I heard Simon shout out "good stuff mate!" I pedaled the remaining 1k to the Transition area and dismounted like a pro dismounting on the left as I slipped my bike to the volunteer on the right.

Total Bike Split: 6:19.16

T-2: A Comedy of Errors ( cue Benny Hill music here)

I got my bag and made my way past the loos into the transition tent. The bike had taken its toll on me as a volunteer dumped my bag. I pulled off my soaked bike socks, the volunteer got me a towel as I tried in vain to dry my feey and pull my running socks on. I couldn't find my blister blocks, until I felt something in my right racing flat sure enough there they were I dumped them out, switched my race belts, threw my glasses back on and took off toward the water table. "Where's the loo? I asked one of the volunteers, "other side of the tent mate." Damn it, ran back through the transition tent/mash unit to the first empty portolet, then had to dart back through the transition tent and onto the run course total T-2 was about 4min and change.
( End Benny Hill Music here.)

Run: 42.2k (26.2 miles) This time it truly was Macca Time.

As I approached the 1k mark the rain decided it's time for mercy was over, the rain picked up the wind kicked up and in one of my race photos it shows me with my head down like "ok it's windy tough shit." I hit the first aid station and followed the advice of Marty Cashman ( a former pro who spoke to us at Central) I began to take coke at every aid station. This was the first time I had tried the flat cola routine, but if I had anymore sports drink I was going to gag. I grabbed a banana half and continued around the Great Lake Centre. I passed the finisher chute, the music was blaring, and Mike was screaming something about Cameron Brown taking the lead. ( Kiernan Doe had a pretty big advantage on the bike but as usual Cam ran him down.) I ran past New Zealand's biggest block party to the more subdued park surrounding the yacht club. I got my white wrist band for my first loop and got another cup of flat coke. And began to make my way out of town. I ran past Blair and our die hard group of EST supporters. I thought I heard a couple of Shouts of " Go Rob!" but I was zoning out going into a mantra: keep it steady..don't blow up, aid station to aid station, long race, little pieces, worry about the clock on the second loop...coke....keep it aerobic.....
I came out of my zone at the 5k mark as I watched Ken Glah run past, no sprint finish for him this year, he was in no man's land, and comfortably so he had at least a 1k lead on the guy behind him.

As I headed up the hill out of town I began to reel in some of the faster cyclists, one fell back then another then 3 more than one guy from Colorado. I saw Bill run by and wish me luck How the Hell did he pass me I thought? ( foundout later that he was the 3rd guy out of the water, don't you just love it when they don't start the pros 15 min. ahead and age groupers can be right in the mix. I know I do.) by the first little "lollipop" I was needing the rest room. ( damn fiber filled solid nutrition: guys at Gu please make an energy bar low in fiber you will make a killing.). I held it as long as I could but at the 7k mark I had to stop at the aid station. I re-entered the race about a minute later and shocked the dude from Colorado again.

CD: didn't you pass me like 2 min. ago?
Me: Yeah but I had to use the loo.
CD: Well I guess I can let it go this time, you're a newbie.

That lit the fire under my ass I reached the 10k turn @ 5 mile bay, this massive residential area. All the volunteers here were locals and it was like a giant block party, complete with Kiwis talgating. I looked at my watch 53 min. that with a 2 min bathroom break. I was right on pace, for a sub 4 hour marathon. As we reached the 12k point after turning around the cul du sac, I looked over and saw Jo Lawn and that Aussie Chick Kate going head to head ( they were on their second loop coming around to lap us.) I took my mind off the pro drama unfolding behind me, back to the game plan, water and coke at the aid station, feet blistering, don't think about it, sub 4 hour marathon...keep the pace....the rain began to let up but I could bearly feel it, the wind was the main problem, going out we had a tail wind now it was in your face. Keep the pace, Shannon Barnett came by me he was lapping me and he was holding a faster pace than the pro women. I looked back no sign of Jo Lawn, no sign of Kate, their race wasn't my problem now but I didn't want to be the moron that accidently blocked Jo Lawn and cost her 6th straight Ironman New Zealand Win, although it could have gotten me a date with young the Aussie.......and a lifetime ban from ever entering New Zealand again..... back to the race report..... Made it through thhe lollipop most of the Times employees were set up here, got a lot of support to carry me back down that hill into town. Went down the hill looking at guys struggling up saw Jonathan running by he looked like he was in pain, saw Vin ( another EST guy) going up the hill in spiderman togs, then some older guy decided to go anaerobic and pass me, I passed him back he passed again and pulled away, looked at the watch, 10:45 was out the window, sub 11 possible, sub 12 would happen unless I did some thing start running at 10k pace. Keep the pace. Took the turn back on to route one and we were routed on to the beach side path. Seperated by a grassy median and in some cases houses and shrubs from the guys running up. Went by a beach club and watched the flags being blown over by the wind. " I thought they were calling for wind today." I said through the gale. That got a few laughs.... We hit a slight down hill and I saw a dude in a beanie on a mountain bike stop he looked up dead at me I looked over my shoulder, there clad in her signature black and red bathing suit was Jo Lawn bearing down on me , he started shouting instructions to her to take it easy on this descent and work it on the up coming up hill. She ran by her grimace hidden by the sun glasses I could help but give he a cheer, looked back behind me the female leader guide bike rode past, no sign of Kate, she had broken free. I got back into my pace, the mantra, coke, water over the head, rinse the mouth, the path got close to the road again I saw Justin run by gave him a high 5 he was about 5 to 6 k ahead, the turn for the second loop was close Ran around the Great Lake Centre, past the finish line where the crowd was going nuts over Lawn's win in the women's race. Pass the Yacht Club got my blue arm band and started the second loop, 22k down and I was still under 2 hours, a sub 4 marathon was possible as long as I:
1.Did not stop for anything
2. Start walking for any reason
3. Did not go into cardiac arrest.
Got the game face on start to psyche myself up, this was like a typical 10 mile training run now, Hell I could do this a 9:00 pace with my eyes closed, and even if I blew up I would still be in before 17 hours, the party had just begun.

I started to make my way back through the Center of town there was a look of determination on my face with a hint at a smile. The cheers started to hit home, Blair gave me a "looking good Rob, now pick up the pace." I could hear a load of guys start saying "Good stuff mate." kids reading my name off the bib, claps and cheers that I had ingnored on the first lap were now carrying me through the second. The k markers began to go down, 22, 23, 24k and the turn out of town, 26k At the aid stations I was still taking coke, and even at this late stage I was not walking through, I started passing more and more people, most were first lappers just getting their land legs back. Others we guys that had gone out too hard like the guy that passed me at about 18k, keep it steady and aerobic continued to be the mantra, Nashville began to flash in my mind the agony at mile 23 where my calves said "no mas" and I was forced to walk and stretch. I came up on some Aussie guy, he was starting to bonk and was walking his way up the hill. " Come on mate, don't start walking man you're almost done." ( I noticed the blue band on his arm as well.) " I feel like shit mate" He said as he started to run along side. " grab some coke at the next aid station man it will help fire you up, It's been working for me." I ran ahead and he was still going at a pretty steady jog when I last saw him. Into the lollipop, Jude from the Times was egging me on, back out onto the road toward the turn around, the k's were still dropping off 28k, 29k past the portoloos and the aid station at 30k more coke, but now it was starting to get nasty, but the thought of sports drink was still too difficult to bear. 31k the final turn around, grabbed water only for the first time during the race, one went over the head the other into my mouth. Back into the fray and the head wind, the i-pod in my mind started going with that cheezy insprirational music ( the Rocky theme, the Rudy music, eminem, you know that crap.) Pass some more people, man all those first loopers and I thought I had a hard day on the bike.....into the lollipop, the Times staff going nuts. hear Jude on the radio " He just went by and he looks strong." Man I have to piss...what now at this point in the game, hold it damn it....I can't ....there's less than 10k to go I'm on PR marathon pace I'm not stopping and letting my legs seize up. 8k left, Simon drives by with Catherine hanging out the window, She gets a couple shots. " How are you feeling?" She shouts " Pretty good!" I said ignoring my aching calves and buldging bladder, and the skin being torn from my heel with each step. " See you at the finish." she said with a smile then disappeared back into the car, man that momment alone was worth the last 2k of personal Hell. Back to the battle, the turn back to town 7k to go. Past the beach club, get some cheers, get back to the point where the runners going out can see the runners coming in. Blair's standing there so is Ken fresh from the med tent. " Come on Bob looking strong bring it home" he shouts out. 5 k to go 20 min. if that. The bladder is getting heavy as I approach another aid station, a cola and an orange, I just grab them off the table as the staff is trying to attend to the outbound runners. The cheers get louder, kids give me high 5's I'm getting closer. Back into the center of town 3k left, pass the last aid station, coke only I swear that I never want to drink another cup of flat pepsi again as long as I live,( can't be held to that, we all start thinking crazy at the end of the end of the ironman.) 2k left the 40 k marker then I see the town's only traffic light, I see the 41k marker, the flemge rouge the last k. I dig deep start the gut check and use what's left in the tank. I'm going to be an Ironman barring clamity in the finish chute I'm going to be an Ironman. I pass the Great Lake Centre the crowd noise gets loud I see a kid in a wheel chair I know what I've got to do.....I make the turn show my arm band and enter the finish chute grass, some of The CF girls start screaming my name, high 5 a group of kids at the start of the carpet I see the finish tape... I see the blue memory flashes back, 2005 Ironman @ Kona Jon Blais, 2006 Kona Brian Breen, I approach thhe tape look sky ward, " This one's for you Blazeman!" I get on the ground and roll under the tape then get up fist pump as I hear the sweetest words I've every heard Mike Rielly say, " Rob Duguay 23 Years old from the United States YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" One of the "catchers" gets me a towel I get the medal drapped around my neck. I finished it with a PR in the marathon to boot.
Run: 3:50:09
Total Time: 11:13:43

Next Post: The Aftermath.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thank You All!

As I write this from the Admiral's Club @ LAX ( my income tax came in and I didn't make Kona so I decided to spend $50 on comfort and Internet access for my 6 hour lay over in the city of "angels" ) As I had a lot of time to reflect on the flight back to the US and A I wanted to give some shout outs and props to everyone who made this Ironman Possible:

My Family: My mom had to deal with me leaving early in the AM and not returning until well after dark most days, my sisters had to deal with the lovely noise of my trainer most of Christmas Break, My dad had to deal with my weekly "if it keeps snowing like this I have to drop out" rants, for the emotional support and being understanding for my long days on the bike , road or at the pool , and despite everything that was happening not letting me quit I thank you.

Angry Runner: Whether it was keeping me company on a 20 mile training ride, talking common sense into me on the blog, or hauling my ass to JFK the day after a Nor' Easter, you have truly been there for me.

Speed Racer: If friendship is going the extra mile for someone then you went an extra 149 beyond that. Most people would not drive 3 hours to ride 50 miles on a warm day, let alone a cold, windy day in proved that you are beyond most people.

Bjoern: For the bike case, the banana shakes, and being the only psycho willing to run in the middle of the night in New Britain with me thank you.

Cranky, Pants, and Warrior Woman: For the motivation, inspiration Donations to the War on ALS ( Motor Neuron for my Kiwi readers)good humored stories and travel advice thank you.

Dave and Al: for putting up with the fact that I spend three hours in the store yet I tend to drop less than $100 on equipment. For the tubes the bike packing, and advice along the way.

Ken Glah for putting up with my plethora of nervous emails, the beer at the after party, picking up my dehydrated ass on the training ride to Repora, pretty much the entire trip....

Marty.....Coke all the way on the marathon actually works quite well although I don't know if I'll be able to look at flat soda the same way again....

Ken Schultz, Max Gary, Sean, Vin, Cristano, Jim, Raf, all the Guys and Gals at HEAT, for the advice and putting up with all the questions, thank you.

To the whole EST group: Good Job! Back next year?

To Dan, having expert bike knowlegde and a wonderful sense of humor.

To Blair, for giving me the course tour,the repairs, the training advice and helping me settle down two nights before, and being there with encouragement at the 40k marker. thank you. ( Also it wasn't windy, if it was windy there'd be surfers on the Lake. Good luck in China!)

To Dave D. The $50 was well spent and the $5 went to a post race beer...on Sunday....

To Stef Karas for giving me ass kicking swim workouts.

To the staff at the Taupo Times, you guys made me feel like a pro for a week.( Next year when I come back I'll try to shower and shave before I go into the office instead of walking in fresh off the bus from Auckland.)

To Simon, for the beers, the interviews, standing in the rain, getting me into the VIP area at the finish and trying to explain the in's and out's of Rugby to me. Also get into triathlon mate, the girls alone are worth it.

To Catherine, for putting up with my constant flirting with good humor, standing in the rain and getting soaked to the skin, the excellent photography and fun times along the way. Seeing you pop out of that car with 7k to go put a smile back on my face. Also if you're doing this race I want to be there!

To all my readers and the inmumerable others that sadly I don't have space to fit for all that you've done even it was simply putting up with my Ironman related posts for 7 months.

Those 11 hours 13 min. 43 sec. in Taupo were because of you.