Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ironman New York Race Report - 2012

Temperatures in the low 80s. Dew point around 73-75, very high humidity. Muggy.  The dew point was still 71 late in the evening when I finished.  Training in similar weather all summer really helped me during the race, as the weather didn't bother me much.

Up at 2am to eat, at ferry at 3:20am,  on the ferry at 4am, arrived at transition at 4:50am.
The race started in New Jersey so athletes were required to arrive early.

Athletes were taken to the swim start by boat around 6:30am. I was on the 4th boat, which meant that my race started at around 7:25am. I jumped off the barge into the water (only the pros were allowed to dive in).  My goggles stayed on (I was worried they would come off entering the water).  The water was around 75-76 degrees and I wore my wetsuit. Was comfortable. The water looked green and I couldn't see more than one foot in front of my face, so I couldn't draft off of other swimmers, which was my race plan. The water didn't seem dirty at this point (there was a massive sewage leak upstream earlier in the week that almost cancelled the swim) and tasted salty.  I bumped into other swimmers for the first few minutes and got kicked in the head once. I had to push one guy off me twice. I got into my groove and used the George Washington bridge south tower to sight. I really worked on my swimming this year and was hoping to do well (in 2010 I came in last or next to last in some races on the swim portion).  I noticed that I was swimming by myself at least 30-40 feet away from the pack. I think people were trying to swim as far out in the Hudson River to get the benefit of the current. I wanted to swim straight, so I stayed inland. The swim felt great and I definitely picked up a little of the current. The professional athletes typically swim around 50 minutes for a 2.4 mile swim. Today they did around 40 minutes. My best 2.4 mile swim last year was 1 hour 33 minutes, today I did 53 minutes. I pushed the swim the whole way. At the end of the swim, I noticed that the water was all brown, probably due to sand, but everybody wondered if it was sewage. I was very sad to hear after the race that a 43 year old male died during the swim.

Swim time = 53 minutes, 262st out of 405 people in my age group and 1350th out of 2146 overall

Transition 1 - 13:13

Out of the water, I didn't feel well. I took my time changing into my bike clothes, applied suntan lotion, went to the bathroom, and ate a little. My stomach was upset and I felt like vomiting. I drank too much water from the volunteers too.  It was super humid and the changing tent felt like it was 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. I walked to get my bike and was off. 

The bike ride starts with a very steep hill and I felt pretty good on it in the lowest gear. The start of the race is very hilly for the first 12 miles and after 2 miles my stomach was so upset that I wondered if I could continue for 112 miles and then run a marathon in the heat and humidity. I considered dropping out of the race. I told myself to go very easy and try to work through it. 30 miles later (about 2 hours), I felt a lithe better and decided to continue. I went easy, I figured the only way I would have any chance of not walking the entire Marathon. The bike course was very hilly and windy, with a portion of the road (about 20 miles) being very unpleasant to ride on (bumpy, 5 miles before and after the bike turnaround). I saw multiple bike crashes.  Near the end of the bike (miles 102-112), I couldn't see one cyclist in front of me for long stretches, that's how bad my bike ride was and how far behind I had fallen. My feet really, really hurt starting around mile 80.  I also had to go to the bathroom for over 4 hours.  Macho me, thinking I would lose more time off my already crappy bike time, didn't stop.  I should have and now realize that I might have had a better ride if I did.  I stuck with my plan of going easy as I rode into transition. My feet hurt so much when I got off the bike that I wondered if I would be able to walk, let alone run. I also didn't run any bricks (bike ride followed immediately  by a run) during my training.  The bike was super hot and humid when sunny, but thankfully the first 1/3 was cloudy and some of the bike was shaded, which really helped.

Bike time  = 7 hours 5 minutes (my goal was 6 hours 35 minutes). 334th place out of 405 in my age. 1597 out of 2146 overall (bottom 26%)

Garmin File

Average heart rate 133.

Transition 2 - 11:12

I took my time in transition, ate a little, put on my running clothes and visor, went to the bathroom, and was off.

The run course is brutal, and I knew that coming in. Super hilly for the first 17 miles. The run starts with a very steep hill. I went into run thinking that I would walk the hills up and run everything else given how poor my bike was.  Ideally, coming into the race, my goal was to run the first 14 miles, no matter how slow, but I knew that was unlikely given how tough the course was.  I knew my run fitness was  better than ever and my weight (180) was 25 pounds lighter than last year (205).  On the first steep hill, I felt surprisingly strong and noticed that my heart rate was only in the 140s, very low given the heat, humidity, and 8 hours of prior exercise.  So, I ran the entire hill (the only athlete to be running, every single other athlete, at least 100 people, was walking) then turned north and kept running, my pace in the high 8s, low 9s. My heart rate was still in the low 140s, even mid 130s, so I kept running and I ended up running the first 16 miles without walking (except to walk the aid stations to eat each mile and to pour water over my head). There were only a handful of other athletes running the hills, most were walking.  The run was mostly shaded and had a light breeze, which really helped. I climbed up and down the stairs on the GW Bridge, which was fine, and saw my family at mile 18, which was awesome. My kids ran next to me for about 25 meters, which gave me a huge boost.  My friend Jarrod took pictures of me around miles 20-21, when I felt the worst, which really helped. The course guide said that the last 9 miles of the run were flat, but the last 4 miles had some pretty big Rolling hills, and I enjoyed walking the steep ones. Then I got into the finishing chute, stopped to kiss my family, took my time to space myself for a good picture, high fived a bunch of kids, and finished the race in 12 hours and 48 minutes, 27 minutes better than my first Ironman last year.  It was great seeing my friends Nimesh, Clayton, Carolina, Jarrod, and Euginie at the finish line too.

Marathon time = 4 hours 24 minutes.  57th place out of 405 in my age group (top 14%), 352 overall out of 2146.  Average run heart rate 148, peak run heart rate 168. 

Garmin File

Overall I finished in 998th place out of 2146, above the middle

Here is a video of me meeting my kids during mile 18 of the marathon. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome work and great effort! I was volunteering on the run at mile 20. I know how hard it must have been. You should be very proud of your accomplishment. FYI-I do many open water swims in the Hudson. The brown water at the finish was most likely from people standing up early and stirring the silt on the bottom. No sewage, maybe some PCB's. You probably also got nauseous from swallowing the salt water. That always happens to me. Great job on your race. Congratulations!