Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Excuses

That is what is written on the side of my Gatorade Rain bottles. It's a great saying and one that I implanted into my mind while racing the Kinetic Half Ironman on May 9th.

Nikki and Ansley made the trip up with me for this race. We left Logan at home with his Grandpa as his soccer team was playing his best friends team. We didn't want him to miss the game, being the only time he'd get a chance to play against his good friends this season. As usual, we were late leaving, with me waiting until the last minute to throw everything together. My
Xterra Wetsuits Tribag showed up as we were getting ready to pull out. Money!! Threw it in the X and we were off. Made the usual stop at Chick-Fil-A for my evening pre-race meal and we were on the road. The drive is only about 45 minutes, which put us at Lake Anna for check-in just a few minutes after 7pm. Picked up my race packet and walked around a bit with Nik and Ansley checking everything out.

I booked this place, the
Lake Anna Lodge, that had us envisioning a roach motel. It's about 10 minutes out from the State Park, so we arrived with lots of time to relax. It was a nice place. Very clean and not the dump that we thought. The first thing I did was open up my kick ass tri bag, begin to unpack my two smaller tri bags (i.e. small backpacks), and load up the new bag. This thing is GREAT! I got my wetsuit, both pair of shoes, helmet, and everything else I'd need during the race into it. Ansley was in typical form, couldn't stop talking or moving around in the bed, giving Nik a fit as I was pre-occupied. After pacing around and wasting time I was ready for bed. Gave my girls a goodnight kiss and hit the sheets. As usual, I didn't sleep well. No worries. I had a great nights sleep on Thursday, which two nights before, is the most important.

I wanted to get to transition no later than 6am to ensure that I get everything setup, hit the restroom, get my wetsuit on, and warmup. The alarm goes off about 5:15am so that I could get Nik and Ansley up so they could get ready. As we leave the motel about 6am, I'm stressing. We're the last vehicle left in the lot and I wanted to have already been there. As we get to the Lake, the main parking lot is full and they are directing us to another lot around back. Now, I'm really freaking out, having no idea where they are taking us and how far away it'll be. Turns out we end up right behind transition! MUCH better than at the very back of the main lot! It's 6:15am and after setting up most of my transition space, I head down to get body marked and get my chip. Back to transition to finish setting up my space. I then collect my wetsuit and swim gear and head to the start. It's 6:40am now and I still have to make one last restroom trip and get my wetsuit on. Great! Lots of athletes need one last "business" trip, so I'm forced to wait in line a few minutes. Finished up with 10 minutes left before race start. Donned my wetsuit using the plastic bag over the feet trick, which works awesome, and headed down to the Lake.

Getting into the water for a little warmup got me ready to start. A little chilly, was 68 at the start, but felt great! I was ready to roll.

As the gun went off, we ran into the water and I found myself dolphin diving! Just like Coach K has been teaching us. The first loop of the swim went really well. I ended up finding another athlete that was a very similar pace and we split time swimming in each others draft, literally in the armpit, stroke for stroke. This made for a fast start as we were pushing each other using the draft. I'm staying right on course, cutting the buoys really tight. As I swim up to the beach, we have a short jog and onto lap 2 of the swim. This lap went equally well, and I even found myself breathing every 3rd stroke for a while. Yes Coach K, I was breathing to my non comfortable side. I had an awesome swim! 34:28. Over 5 minutes improvement over my fastest Half time!

The bike proved to be a nice and difficult ride. It was really windy, hilly, and there was a lot of traffic heading to the lake. For most of the ride I was unable to really hit the downhills due to the 15-20 mph headwind. It was a rolling course with only one real long, slightly downhill section, where the wind was at my back and I could really get it. We even passed a group of horses on a bridge that I couldn't tell who was more spooked, the horses or the bikers! Throughout the bike I had Jaime Foxx's song "Blame It" stuck in my head. I know, I know, not the most upbeat song to race to, but proved to keep me amused throughout the ride. I kept making up my own lyrics, singing "Blame it on the wi-wi-wi-wi-wind, blame it on the hi-hi-hi-hi-hills" And to the little girl at the first water bottle handout, please practice handing off a bottle to a biker traveling at roughly 19mph. It's not as easy as just standing there and "hoping" we grab it. Needless to say, that bottle hit the ground and I was almost out of water. Luckily, there was another stop not too far away. The bad thing about the bike was it's 2 loops outside the park, so there were very few spectators out to cheer us on. Didn't get to see my girls until I was back to T2. Nutrition was on point and I wasn't feeling hungry or drained. 2:57:40. I was a couple minutes off my fastest bike split, but I felt pretty good about hitting the run

As I was approaching T2, I got concerned that my legs were going to buckle as soon as I got off the bike at the dismount line and I was gonna fall flat on my face in front of everyone! The line was on a decline, so I had to be careful that I didn't fly right on by! I had been pushing hard through the wind and hills. I started slowing down, unclipped my right foot and shook the leg out a bit. Around the back of the saddle it swung, right behind my left foot, which caused the left foot to unclip in a fluid motion. As both feet hit the pavement, there was no fall. Just an anxious excitement to begin the run. Today, I was gonna push myself HARD on the run.

My last 3 Half Iron's have all finished up with just over a 2 hour 13.1 mile run. I was determined to push myself past the uncomfortable point that I usually end up walking too much. I was also nailing my nutrition, salt tabs every 30 minutes and Gu's every 45. No GI issues this time around. I was running at a really good clip and only walked a couple of times to get fuel in and kept the walks very short. It was getting really hot out there and that was just fueling me as I love the heat. The run course was 3 laps and very nicely laid out. I got to see Nikki and Ansley on every lap and they proved to be great motivation for the tortuous hill climbing out of the lake area to start each lap. I was very pleased with my pace and feel like I can improve on it before the Patriot's Half this fall. I finished with a PR in the half marathon distance, 1:51:27!! 8:30 min/mile pace, which I know I can improve on.


A Half Ironman PR of 24 minutes!! 5:27:18!!

About a week before this race I mentioned that I had a lofty goal for this race, but didn't mention to anyone what it was. I wanted to break 5:30. Mission accomplished. I can't wait to see what I can push myself too this year!

So I'm so excited about my race and can't wait to check the results. Of course, Five Guys was calling my name and I wolfed down a Little Bacon Cheeseburger and Small Cajun Fry with a Sprite! I then go to look up my time. Wait, my name wasn't on the results! WTF! I busted my ass out there and I wasn't even on the results. I start looking through the finish times, as kept my splits on my watch, and found out that they had me under the wrong number. I was listed as ALVARO DE LA CUEVA. After a couple days, I was able to work with Set Up Events and get my name back in there. Glad to be Bryan Deal again!!

2 Comments:

Fave said...

Great race, Alvaro =)

TriGirl 40 Something said...

Love your race report, your spirit and your joy of the sport. Congrats on a huge PR! (Are you sure you don't want to do the Placid run for me, please?)