Ironman Arizona 2007

This is the second time I’ve tried to write this (the IE window got closed on the first try).

Fortunately for you that means all the boring garbage I wrote about the days before the race will get surmised into this:

  • Mary swam with me in the lake without a wetsuit, she’s tough!
  • The desert botanical gardens are beautiful!
  • I forgot to bring most of the tools to move my cassette from my training wheel to the disc I rented.
  • I did my best to avoid getting sun burn on my pasty white Wisconsin winter tan.
  • I had a panic attack on Saturday when I thought I lost my goggles.
  • Breakfast with the TNO folks was fun
  • Left my wetsuit at the race sight after the Saturday swim.


On to the Race:

I woke up at 4:00 am on race day – it didn’t seem as early as it was since my system was still mostly on Wisconsin time, so it was more like 6:00 to me. Over the course of the next 30 minutes I had my usual pre-race two cups of coffee and 3 yogurt smoothies. At about 4:40 Mary and I went down to the hotel lobby to meet my parents and head off to the race. From there on I did the usual stuff.

General Note:

I had decided earlier this winter that IMAZ was going to be extremely fast or an extremely spectacular blowup, so I was going to ride the bike fairly agressively and then have faith in my legs for the run.


The plan was to simply get out of the water as fast as possible (50-55 min), but with as little energy expenditure as possible.

I entered the water a couple of minutes before the pros started and swam over to the start bouy. Some of the kayekers were nice enough to let us hang on the kayaks before the start – which was good because fighting for my space was difficult. It always surprises me how agressive people are at the start before the race even starts.

My original plan was to swim from the start bouy to the third leg of the Rual Road bride trying to swim as straight a course as possible (since the course actually snakes along the lake/channel). Oce at the bouy I quickly decided that with the sun as bright as it was I’d follow the bouy line other swimmers out, and then cut in on the way back.

When the cannon fired I took off swimming hard trying to get out of the mess that’s the Ironman Swim. After things settled abit I was surprised to see a fairly large group of what looked to be 6-10 swimmers about a hundred yards in front of me. I sensed a several people in the water behind/around me meaning that I was pulling the second group. Normally I don’t have a problem with pulling people on the swim, but a few times I had some “jerks” try to slip into the water in my armpits which just happens to be the best drag but also happens to be the area of the draft that actually slows the lead swimming down. So around the 1/2 way mark between the bridges on the way out I decided to try to bridge the hundred meters or so to the lead group.

Everybody but one person fell off me at that point – and he must have had the same idea about bridging to the next group because we spent the rest of the way out swimming a couple meters to my right even with me. We continued that way until sometime after the turn around when he dropped to my feet.

From that point the swim was uneventful until I got right around the Mill Ave bridge when I was struck by a huge cramp in my right calf. It didn’t worry me to much though as this has happened in both of my previous Ironman races. Ended up being my second fastest IM swim, but my lowest IM swim placing!

Time: 0:52:48

AG/OA: 2nd/28th


Nothing to see here, was great to not have to run up the helix!



I had no idea what to expect on the bike. Almost all of my bike rides this winter were on the trainer or in terrible weather conditions so I had very little reference to how fast I could ride. I was confident I could ride hard and fast – partly due to the grinding “flat” miles on the trainer, and partly because of the 4 months or so of dedicated powercrank usage.

The plan for the bike was to ride the first hour (or until my HR settled) at a pretty easy RPE, and then ride above 135ish HR, but not going over 140. 119 – 125ish is my typical Ironman HR range, but given my overall race plan I was going to bring it up a little bit.

I got out of town and onto the Beeline highway quickly – I was surprised by the first aid station at around 5 miles, I wasn’t expecting it until mile 10 so it caught me unprepared for it. The ride out to turn around went really quickly, and the ride back into town went quickly as well – the wind was there, but it wasn’t bad.

The beginning of the second loop was spectacular, the tailwind just threw me down the road. I was riding with my bike computer on cadence only (no magnet on the disk) so I have no idea how fast I was going, but I hit the half way point at 2:28 – 3 minutes faster then my fastest half Ironman split. I was really stoked at this point – turning around into the headwind put a little bit of a damper on that, but I don’t know what it was, but I passed a lot (and I mean a lot) of people on the way back in on the second lap who had passed me on the way out. The headwind was just hammering them. For some reason it was hitting me hard, but I was flying by them quickly at my 135ish HR.

I hit the turn around heading into the third lap figuring a 5:05-5:10 was looking like a very realistic split. I took advantage of the tail wind and put the pedal to the metal. The 5th straight away went really fast, I hit the turnaround and kept the pedal down reeling people in. I hit the 95 mile mark still condfident of a sub 5:10 spilt when I notice a chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk in my ride. Knowing without knowing that I had a flat tire I started to pull over while I looked at my tires to determine which it was.

It was pretty obvious that the back was flat. When I got off the bike I noticed that it still had some pressure so I did a quick pro/con of using my CO2 to add some pressure and then grabbing my extra CO2 at special needs to top it off again. Part of me though I’d be able to pull it off since I’d only be on the road for another 40 minutes or so. Surprisingly the conservative part of me won, and I pulled the wheel off to change the tire. By the time I got the wheel off and had my tire lever jabbed in the glue to rip the flat off – a tech support car pulled up. I was more then happy to let him come over to pull the flat off while I pulled my spare from under my seat. The guy pulled it quick enough pumped it with real air, and sent me on my way. I was pretty dismayed to discover that I had lost most of the fluid in my aero bottle, and had a mostly empty bottle of water in the bottle holder.

I went through the aid station by the landfill, and cheated a wee bit and grabbed my special needs bag and pulled my second spare out just in case.

The rest of the bike was uneventful.

Time: 5:19:02

AG/OA: 7th/74th


World’s longest pee. Spent a good 2 minutes in the porta potty. I was totally amazed at how empty the transition tent was. Turns out I was 40th overall at this point.



The plan for the run was to simply run as fast as I could until I couldn’t any more. (Target was 3:15)

I came out of T2 with a couple of other guys, one of them fell off pretty quickly the other one fell off around mile one. As I turned off the Rural Road bridge into the “4 mile loop” I saw a couple of the back end pros finishing up that lap. At mile 2 the urge for #2 came, so I ducked into the john, did my business. When I came out I noticed that at least 4 or 5 guys had passed me during the rest stop.

I got back into my rhythm and started to reel them back in. Rounding the corner after the second aid station I was slammed by something I least expected. A hill. A hill that was one mile long. One mile. I was expecting a course somewhere along the lines of the Chicago Marathon run – flat and fast. Guess not.

Unfortunately I don’t remember a whole lot of the run. Just that it hurt and it wasn’t really a lot of fun.

Time: 3:27:43

AG/OA: 4th/39th

Total: 9:46:33

AG/OA: 3rd/29th (10th Amatuer)

General Thoughts:

I “finally” accomplished my driving goal of earning a Kona slot. Now that that is done, I need to come up with a new goal to drive my training – what it will be I’m not sure, but it will be something out there, that will really force me to reach. Hopefully it will be another goal that will take 3-5 years to reach.

While I’m completely satisfied with the overall result of this race, I’m a little dissatisfied with my run. It was a great run, a IM PR by a minute or so, but I’m not thrilled with some of my behaviors that I had:

  • I ran well for the first 13 or so miles, but after that I didn’t fight to keep my focus up, it slowly dropped and I shifted from running to just getting through. I never stopped running, but you can tell by my splits – I stopped running.
  • Mentally I wasn’t fully in the run – my mind seemed very distracted by something. THis probably contributed to #1
  • I had a really hard time getting into the nutritional rhythm I’ve used on the run before (Water/Coke/Gel at 2 sucessisve aid stations and Water/Coke/Salt at the third). Perhaps the cause of #2?


What’s Next?

I am definately headed to Kona, no way am I missing out on that show. I need to figure out what to do for IMWI. Do I race it? Start and DNF at mile 6 of the run? Spectate? I have no idea. The focus of this summer will be shifted to Kona without a doubt, but I’m the type of person that just hates to throw an opportunity to race away. Fortunately I have the Desoto Triple T 6 weeks after IMAZ (Kona is 5 weeks after IMWI), so that will be a good indicator of what IMWI will do to me. In fact it will probably be a really good indicator considering I hike to the bottom of the grand Canyon to camp and hiked back up to the top 2 days after IMAZ!