Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report

2008 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report
10th Professional
9:26:30


I thought I should write a race report before I forget more of the details from this last weekend. Each Ironman that I race, I find another piece or two to "the puzzle" of having a great race. This time was no exception. Improvement is ALWAYS good and this race was just that. It was my first top 10 professional finish, it was a PR on a tough course and it is the first time that I have qualified to race in Kona as an elite.

All week everyone worried about the water temperature being too cold, but when we arrived at the start line on Sunday morning, it was back up to 59*F...perfect temp to me. The swim started off pretty well considering it was a beach start...I don't do well with those. I missed the front group of guys that broke away, but ended up in the second pack about 4:45 behind. There was a wicked current that seemed to push us all over the place, so everyone came out a bit slow. I exited the water in 9th and hustled through T1 to make it out onto the bike in 7th.

Onto the bike I felt pretty good. I was really looking forward to the ride, as it is similar to what I have been training in. I let a few guys go, who were HAMMERING the first section, and just stayed steady. Having my Power Tap is a HUGE key to doing this. I stuck to my plan and rode along in 9th or 10th spot for most of the ride. I started to bring back time on a few guys up the road, but at about mile 70 I started to get tired. I just tried to take advantage of the downhills, stay aero where I could and keep on top of my nutrition. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I just stayed positive and in the moment. The last 20mi were back into the wind and this section was pretty tough for me.

I got off the bike in 10th and was soon out on the run with Olly Piggin. We chatted a bit in the first few miles and had similar paces. The effort and pace seemed good, but I didn't have the rhythm that I wanted. I hoped that I would find my groove and could settle in. I was pulling back time on the guys up the road, but then the wheels started to come off a bit. I knew I was in 9th or 10th, so I just focused on running as strong as I could. I was happy with my ability to not back off mentally when it got tough, this is easy to do. Soon, I was in the last mile (a looooooong downhill that feels awesome on the legs) and before I knew it, I was done.

I want to thank all my family, friends and sponsors who support and believe in me and my future in the sport. Timex, The Trek Store Madison, Blue Seventy, Coffee's of Hawaii, Twin Six, SaltStick, Berkeley Running Company in Madison and my coach, Kurt Perham, for all his guidance.

I want to give a huge shout out to the Fortis family for hosting me. You guys are awesome!! I also want to thank Sue Hutter and her family for setting everything up and always making sure that I had everything that I needed.

One more fun fact: Tom Evans, who won, is 14yrs my senior :) Needless to stay I am just beginning!!!

Next up is Ironman Wisconsin on Sept 7 and Kona on Oct 11!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Night Before

Well, everything is done and it is raining outside...I am glad that I covered my bike up and removed the front wheel (the Bontrager wheels have holes around the spokes and can fill up with water). Today I took care of all the usuals and am now just waiting until tomorrow. At least I can follow Ironman Japan which just started.

Very excited for tomorrow. Many people have asked about goals and my only goal is to have a good race. Yes there are 5 Kona slots for the men and yes two of the faster guys have their slots, but that means nothing unless I execute. So I will stay in the moment and be patient.

Thank you to everyone who supports and believes in me. Family and friends have been awesome, as well as my sponsors. Please check out their links over on the side of the blog.

Again, tomorrow the race will be broadcast over on http://www.ironman.com/ and starts at 6:25am Pacific Time. ~BB

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Day Closer...

Well, I have been in CDA since Monday and everything has gone really well. I woke up today and felt "normal" for the first time in a long time. No niggles, no soreness, no tightness, just felt good. The best part is that I have 3 more days to rest. I have just about everything taken care of as far as bike maintenance, errands, etc. I just have to register later today, hit the grocery store again and then finish up a little coaching work.

This morning I headed down to the Gatorade Swim and it was pretty entertaining. Usually you see athletes in wetsuits with one logo of whatever brand they are rollin'. But today, because of the water there were people with branding everywhere. Neoprene caps with a logo, wetsuits with a logo, booties with a logo...pretty damn funny actually.

The water temp has dropped a bit in the last few days. It has been windy, which has churned up the lake. I also think that the warmer temps have cause more snow to melt and run into the lake. I am not wearing booties and seem to be fine in just a neoprene cap. The only issue is that after about 25-30min of swimming, I can't keep my fingers together. I'll manage.

+++++++++++++

Thank you to everyone that has sent good luck texts, calls and emails. I apologize for not returning them, but I am just focusing on getting done what needs to be done. I will have plenty of time to discuss the race, course, etc in the few weeks following the race.

I will try to post again before the race, but if not I will write up a brief summary on Sunday night or Monday. The race begins in Sunday at 6:25am Pacific Time. You can follow at http://www.ironman.com/ It is very easy, just go to the site and you will be able to figure it out.

Blake

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CDA could be....

...the most beautiful, awesome place in the country. But don't tell anyone. That is what everyone, who lives here, tells me about this place. Ironman has put this place on the map and it is expanding everywhere you look.

I am not surprised though. There are million dollar views in every direction and the summer weather here is beautiful right now. 45-55* at night and 70-80* during the day...not too many bugs and no humidity(it is at ~2200ft).

I am now settled and have a great homestay right on the run course. A huge thanks to Sue for #1 Picking me up from the airport. #2 Hooking me up with a great homestay.

Onto my homestay, I don't think I need to say more than "everything is great." Bill, Rebecca, Jessica and Sam have made me feel right at home. Tonight we are having a Salmon BBQ, with Salmon from the Columbia....I love the salmon...and grilling it, so maybe I'll pick up some tips!

The water here is cold, but not bad. No booties needed...just a neoprene cap. I think it is about 56* right now. The bike course is most beautiful I have seen...seriously and then is very spectator friendly. Most info to come on the course as the race gets closer.

Gotta run for my massage!

BB

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Hay Is In The Barn

This last week following the Rockman Half Ironman went very well. I have finished all key workouts and now it is time to put the feet up and stay sharp with shorter workouts with a few hard efforts.

I will fly out on Monday to CDA and have a little less than a week to get familiar with the course. I can't wait to get out there. I haven't been this motivated and excited to race in long time.

If I get time, I will post again before I fly out.

BB

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Old Position...New Position

Getting Better - Getting Lower
-
Old position at California 70.3
-
New position going into IM CDA
-
I still think I can get lower...infact I have a new stem that I am going to try after June 22nd.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rockman Race Report

This last weekend I headed down to Rockford, IL for the second straight year for my final tune-up before Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2 weeks. Chip, the race director, is turning this race into one that is going to be around for a long time. It is a very well run event and this year, there was a pro field, as well as a $10,000 prize purse.

"The boss," Kurt, and I decided to go into this race with a little less rest than California 70.3 earlier in the year. The idea would be to get a little more quality training in before Ironman Coeur d'Alene in a few weeks. As last week rolled along, I was tired and didn't start to feel better until Friday night before the race.

The weather forecast looked sketchy and did not disappoint. Hot temps, humidity and high winds were forecast, along with severe weather. The day before race, there were winds gusting to 60-70mph, humid temps in the high 80's and storms with tornadoes in the area.

Our plan was to dial back the watts on the bike and pay close attention to electrolyte intake. It is one thing to have someone else beat you, but it is another thing to beat yourself.

Race morning came around and it looked like we might be able to get the race in without incident. With about 30min to go until the start, I checked over everything and started to head down to the water. I took about 10 steps, stopped and decided to go back and look at the tires on my bike, just to make sure I was ready to roll. A little OCD I think :), but I was glad that I did!! The front looked good, but as I looked at the rear I noticed a tiny lump in the rubber. I poked around and found a nail stuck all the way into the tire....WOW, this would have given me a flat for sure. The little things do matter.

I quickly headed down to the start and got in a very solid 15-20min of swimming. I really wanted to make sure I started the day off well. The gun sounded and I swam HARD. There were 15, 10, then 5, then 4 of us. I was determined to stay in the group and drilled myself. My HR monitor told me that my HR was between 180-186 for the first 12+ minutes of the race. BUT, I did make the group. With about 200m to go, the sprint began for the swim prime, which I didn't want any part of. I was 4th out of the water and 2nd out of T1.

Once on the bike, I just used my Powertap to guide my effort. I dialed back the watts and focused on getting low/aero and just rode steady. It was windy, humid, but thankfully not sunny. I upped my electrolyte intake by about 50%, using Saltstick tabs. I got to the turn around, where I had about a 4:15 lead on the next athlete, Zach Ruble, who I know is very talented, so I still didn't feel very safe. I rolled along, taking advantage of free speed where I could and arrived back to T2.

A quick transition and I was out on the run. The run course went out for about a half mile on the bike course before turning off. I didn't see another cyclist, but anything can happen in long course racing. With 3 turn arounds on the run, the plan was to run hard, as long as I had to.

I turned after the half mile and all I could see was a black sky. I was HOT and actually rain didn't sound that bad. I went through the first 3 miles feeling good with a solid pace/HR. Then the sky opened up. You couldn't see anything!!! The path turned into a river and there was lightning everywhere.

I got to the first turn around and knew that I had a good gap, but still didn't know where everyone else was. Since it was early in the race I decided to push until the second turn around. I headed across a wide open field and over a hill and was literally scared for my life. There were lightning bolts everywhere and I couldn't see anything with the rain. At least I wasn't hot anymore, right???

I got to mile 7 and the second turn around where I would get a chance to see everyone else. I was very happy to find out that I had a 12min lead with 6 miles to go. I thought, "As long as I don't get struck by lightning or crushed by a tree, I am ok." I eased off the pace, thanked the volunteers who stuck it out all day in the horrible weather and enjoyed all of the hard work that I have put in over the last 6 weeks, as well as what would be my largest paycheck to date.

With 2 weeks to go, I still have a few key workouts left and have to stay healthy, but feel very confident for June 22. Thank you to all of the family, friends and companies that believe in me. Timex, Blue Seventy, Twin Six Clothing, The Trek Stores of Madison, Coffees of Hawaii, Salt Stick, Berkeley Running Co. and Personal Best Multisport.

I hope to report back soon with more good results.

Full results for Rockman can be found here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Resting???

What's that??? It has been over 6 weeks since I have rested to any degree...today starts the 3 easier days that I get before racing a Half Ironman on Sunday....of course an easy day is all relative...I still have a 3k swim, 2hr ride and short run, but it is a step down from what I am usually doing on Thursday!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some People Make Me Wonder.....

...what the hell they are thinking. Sorry to all those that are use to the PG13 entries, but today I almost got smoked by a car while running....and it wasn't an accident.

I was out for my run this morning and was in the middle of a tempo interval when came to a road crossing. I was on a bike path and decided to make a left hand turn onto the road. The road is wide enough to park on both sides and drive city buses down it in both directions, so you get the picture.

There is a section of about 1/4 mile where I have to run on the road, where the cars are normally parked(there weren't any), before the sidewalk begins on my side of the road. So, I am running down the road and there is one car that is coming toward me, with no other cars in sight. All of a sudden, he swerves toward the curb(and me) and starts to gun it. WTF!!!! He is pointing at the sidewalk on the other side of the street, yelling(obviously), and speeding in some beat up old Chevrolet Caprice. He narrowly goes by as I properly greeted him.

What the H E double hockey sticks is he thinking? What if I would have gotten confused and tried to cut across and been hit, paralyzed or axed all together....all because some morone woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

He is lucky I didn't turn around and catch him at the stop sign (which he probably rolled through:). I had so much adrenalen flowing, I don't know what would have happened.

This story has probably been quite amusing to some of you who know me. I don't really ever get angry...except when I almost meet my doom by either getting run off the road by an 18 wheeler(in Arizona) or am a target of someone behaving like this.

Please don't risk someone elses life in trying to make a point. If you kill yourself, that is one thing....but someone else is a completely different story.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Reflection and a 5 Week Summary

I think that after this week of training, I have proven a lot to myself. I will be sharing a few thoughts and reflections after Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I have realized a lot in these last 5 weeks...and not just about triathlon.

Here is my week 5 summary, which ended with my best big day and long run of this build. I am excited and looking forward to executing in a few weeks.

Total Hours: 27:02
Total Swim - 6:24 - 24,848 yds
Total Bike - 13:36 - 269 miles
Total Run - 6:12 - 55 miles
Total Strength - 1:00