The Becker Buzz...

“A Step In The Right Direction”

2007 Ironman Arizona Race Report

Swim: 54:58 Bike: 5:13:25 Run: 3:38:38 Finish 9:53:12
19th Professional Male

After the race this year I was chatting with my good friend Graham Partain. He and his wife have put up with me training out of their house for the last 3 months and both of them are some of the most giving people that I have ever met. I was going over the race with him and told him that there were a few things that I was happy with, but that overall I was a bit disappointed. He simply said; look at the positives, “it is a step in the right direction and this is just the beginning.”

My last build going into the race was not ideal, but I was optimistic heading into the race. I had some soft tissue stuff going on that compromised my run training. As a result I swam and cycled more, hoping it would help to make up for the lost miles.

Then Tuesday of race week came around and I developed what started out as mild tooth pain…nothing that a few Ibuprofen couldn’t take care of, or so I thought. By Wednesday night, I knew something was definitely wrong. I called my dentist and she pulled out my x-rays to see if she could see what the problem might be. The films revealed that during a root canal that I had done several years ago, a piece of the dental tool had broken off in my root cavity and now looked to be infected. The pain was unreal and actually brought tears to my eyes on Thursday. I was given some antibiotics and told to take a lot of Ibuprofen to help ease the pain. “HOW was I going to race, when I couldn’t do more than just sit in a chair and stare at the wall?

Another day passed and after getting no reprieve, I decided to take my own action. I will spare you MOST of the details, but my tooth was raised up probably ¼” above the others. I decided that I needed to level my teeth back out….skipping ahead a bit, I took care of the fluid build up under my tooth. After an hour or so, things got MUCH better.

Hoping that the worst was past, I tried to once again focus on the race. I was told to stay on the Penicillin and that it hopefully wouldn’t have any side effects come race day.

Race morning arrived and I felt ready to go. A small group of us started on the buoy line, while a larger group started further out. The cannon sounded and we were off. All of the swimming that I have been doing was finally starting to pay off.

Our group had 4 in front and 3 of us were in back. After about 300-400m, I swapped positions with the swimmer to my right and made a small mistake. I moved too far to the right and moved right off the side of the group. Once you are off, you are S.O.L. and on your own.

No worries at all, I had done many long TT’s in the pool and was confident in my ability. In the past, all of my wetsuits have really tired out my shoulders, but the new Blue Seventy Helix was awesome! I found a strong, but steady rhythm; breathing 2 strokes right, 2 strokes left and sighting every 2-3 cycles. Before I knew it, I was getting ready to climb the stairs out of the water (a bit tricky). I glanced at the clock as I was cruising past the wetsuit strippers and saw 54:53. FINALLY, I seem to have made some progress from my 58min IM times.

I got onto the bike and was excited to be out in the top 20. For this race I was unable to race with a Powertap, because of production issues. I had to let my HR and perceived exertion guide me through the cactus and tumble weeds.

After a few miles I developed a very tight left quad and I am still not sure why, but I hoped that it would go away as I got into a rhythm. By the first turn around I was right where I wanted to be and my new TTX was rolling, as Dave Harju would day, “frickin’ awesome! With my HR floating around 145, I ended the first loop at 1:36, right on track.

As I started the 2nd loop, the winds started to pick up and my cramping was not getting any better. I missed special needs and as a result I stopped at an aid station to make up for things. No biggie. For the remainder of the second loop I was fighting head winds that were gusting over 40mph. I did all I could to ride strong into the wind and take advantage when there was a tail wind. I will say that my Bontrager disk makes for a great sail and is VERY fast. The only problem was that when we got the tail wind, we were riding uphill, so I continued to work fairly hard.

I was really missing my Powertap, but was making it through the highs and lows and trying to keep my moral high. I knew my targeted ride time of 4:45-4:50 was out of the question and just didn’t want to fade to bad late in the ride. I tried to stay positive as I battled through the third loop and thought about all of the riding that I had done into the wind down in Clermont.

I arrived back in transition after a ride of 5hrs 13min. I saw a few people that I knew which helped lift my spirits and after a brief “stop,” I headed out onto the run.

I didn’t have the legs that I had at the start of IMFL last year, but I focused with hopes that they would come around later on. I stayed smooth and took in the coke and water that I needed.

By mile seven I knew that it would be a “best effort” type of day, so I tried to enjoy the atmosphere of the race and soak it up. I even tried, jokingly; to get a sorority girl at the special needs run station to run the third loop with me. I was unsuccessfulJ I am guessing that the crust of Power Gel, coke, sweat and a few other things probably pushed her away!??!?!?

The good news was that all of my fatigue was muscular, and not in my joints like past races. I stayed steady at around 7:30-5/miles through 20miles and then at about mile 21 I had a big blister pop on my right foot. “Oh Crap,” this was going to hurt and it caused me to slow quite a bit as I got close to the finish.

Eventually I crossed in 9:53:12 as the 19th pro male. I am seeing progress and I am not far off from nailing an IM in the near future.

I am now recovering on my way back to Wisconsin for the summer. In the next few months, I will race Ironman Florida 70.3, the Rockman Half Ironman, the Apple Duathlon, a few running races and then peak for Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 24 where I hope to get a Hawaii slot and go under 9hrs.

I want to thank Russ Brandt and Julie Holt for putting up with me. I couldn’t ask for better hosts. They put up with me for 2 weeks!! I want to thank everyone that believes in and supports me. I also want to thank Timex, Blue Seventy, Bontrager, Trigger Point Therapy, Trek, Powerbar and the Trek Bike Store of Madison.


Jon said…

great race buddy. Liked the read. I wish you the best in the recovery and look forward to seeing you at IM-CDA. Hope that tooth is healing and shoot me an email at and i can send over your wetsuit images.

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