Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ironman St. George - Mormon Waterloo?

So, after 3 weeks of tapering (yuk I hate tapering), a big trip through San Francisco, & Las Vegas we finally arrived in our mega SUV to our mega condo in St. George Wednesday before the race. Mood was high, we rested and hydrated well. Got kinda scared when we drove the race course and checked-in - got numbers painted on the arms.

I had good really sensations, and it appears that I finally got rid of the pains in the achilles & calves, so was anxious to get started on Saturday morning, though temperatures where rising towards 35 degrees in the blazing desert-sun!

The swim was in a big and beautiful water reservoir - water temp. 17 degrees, blue skies and 2000 athletes in the water. I actually like the water start and I must say that the Americans was amazing - some people even stopped to say "sorry" if they hit you during the swim. So quickly found a good rhythm just outside of the main front pack. Already after around 500m I started to feel a bit too exhausted, which was strange... my breath and stroke was controlled, though I was kinda cold. Shortly after the first cramps kicked in, but I discarded it, kept swimming. More exhaustion and much more cramps had me stop to stretch a few times - got a bit off track and felt very tired and unmotivated. Exited the water and got shocked realizing that I had spend a record 1h18m swimming, more than 15 minutes more than expected - got the mood a bit further down!

Good transition and nice start on the bike... for around 20km. Hurling down one of the first hills at around 80km/h I realize that my handlebar is loose!! But the support and organization around the race was amazing so quickyl found a allen-key and continued. Hydrated well in the extremely warm & dry conditions, but really felt no power coming from my legs. Kept around 35km/h for the first 50km and then more cramps entered before the first climbs. Had nausea all the way through the bike, with no appetite and couldn´t take any gels or bars, so stuck to bananas. Loads of people passing me on the hills of the scenic route - I couldn't even maintain the aero-position on the flat parts on the course. It was honestly a tough struggle to even get through the first 100km, where I met Anders & Monica(cheering), who let me know that Guillermo was as bad as myself. The last round was a joke - I had elderly, overweight women (sorry, no pun intended) overtaking me on even smaller climbs - almost throwing up when I hydrated or ate and cramped the most weird places (hips, lower arms). Tried to enjoy the show, but coming down the last hill I could see the runners and the thought of a marathon in 40 degrees and 700m climbs was unbearable. Anders told me that Guillermo had decided to drop out, which was somewhat a relief. Coming into T2 he greeted me with a smile and we brought the refs the bad news and picked up our bags.

Of course a huge disappointment, but one that I can live with. Today I am still as exhausted as after a full e.g. IM Lanzarote, so feel I did what I could. We trained well and rested and tapered, following the same recipes as any other IM. I can´t find one good explanation of the lack of power and really prefer to leave it behind as an experience and lesson learned! Could be the dry climate, the heat, maybe jetlag... who knows.

The race was won at a new male record 8h32m and my age group improved its Kona qualifying time by almost 30 minutes, which will probably be around 10h05m.

Now another week of vacation in Las Vegas & California road trip awaits, so the mood is all good! IM Zurich awaits the 10th of July. Take care and enjoy this weekend!