Finally getting a few things caught up so I can afford time to sit down and type out my IMTX race report. All-in-all, it was a GREAT day. I learned a lot, stayed safe, and had a 46ish minute PR!
Overall- 9:03:57- 14th overall, 3rd Amateur, and 2nd in 25-29 AG
I woke up around 4:00 to have my typical pre-race breakfast (2 Naked fruit smoothies), then went back to bed for an hour. For some reason, I typically have no trouble sleeping the night before a race! I arrived in transition at around 5:30 to get my bike and nutrition set up. I was a little earlier than I normally am before a race, but it turned out to be a good thing being they decided to close down transition 15 minutes earlier than they had posted. I was able to take my time, make 2 bathroom trips, and walk the half mile down to the race start.
I got in the water shortly after the pros left. Unfortunately, all of the buoys were pretty packed, so I had to tread. I got unexpectedly dunked and sucked in a bunch of that murky, dirty water. This gave me a pretty bad upset stomach, but I thought I'd be fine (more on that later). I positioned myself to the front line right in the middle with a clear view of the turn around point and just waited for the countdown.
I had a great start to the swim. I got out hard and found some clear water early so I quickly into a rhythm. I was sighting well (for a change) and was in a pretty good pack through the first two turns. My upset stomach kept getting worse and worse as the swim went on. Just after the half way point, I started to throw up. It was a very difficult stretch for me. I would start swimming again just in time to throw up again. I tried to back stroke for a minute or two just to keep my face out of water so when I threw up, I didn't swallow more water...and it didn't work. I nearly broke mentally. I am still satisfied with where I got out of the water. I went 1:03 in a wet suit swim two years ago at IMCDA, so to come in at 1:04 was okay. I was hoping to be under 60 minutes, but considering I got really sick, I'll take it.
I got out of the water and immediately threw up again (I had to apologize to one of the volunteers for their shoes...). I ran around and grabbed my bag, and threw up again. I tried to hold it in as well as I could being it was on the path where everyone would run barefoot. That resulted in me getting a lot of it on my face and hands. An awesome volunteer was there to help throw some water on me to help me clean up a bit. They definitely went above and beyond all day! Afterwards, I had a pretty smooth transition and out the shoot I went.
I started trying to ride at my target watt output right away and it just wasn't clicking. My legs just didn't have any juice in them. I am guessing it is because I kicked a little harder than I usually would in a wet suit swim, but definitely could be related to the GI issues as well. Thankfully, I was able to get fluids in and hold them down right away. I got a bottle of my custom Infinit blend in before the first aid station. After that, I took down one bottle of Perform between every aid station, drank a little water and dumped a lot on myself as I rode through each station, sipped on two more bottles of Infinit throughout the ride, and took in an ounce of Infinit Highly Caffeinated Napalm every 45 minutes. I followed my pre-race plan to the letter with no real issues. The course was great. It was pretty flat with a few rollers which is exactly what I have here in Iowa. Iowa is also pretty windy so I was ready for the return trip. My legs started feeling pretty good the second half of the ride, so I bumped the power up 10 watts above my pre-race goal for the ride back. In hind site, I think this helped me maintain speed pretty well being I was pedaling a little harder into the wind. I averaged 240 watts (237np) which is exactly where I wanted to be. I jumped off of the bike with a smile on my face, I have never executed a plan that well during the bike. I usually get behind on nutrition, have a flat, etc. The only thing I could complain about is the dead bugs that I was caked with!
Volunteers were awesome here as well. I passed my bike to a waiting group and ran to the bag pick up. They showed me exactly where it is. The cement around the bags was smoking hot! I had blisters immediately on the balls of me feet when I got into the changing tent. Otherwise, I threw on my shoes and visor and ran out the tent. I grabbed some sunscreen from a volunteer and was on my way.
My legs felt great at the start of the run. I settled into a good pace until I got to the portion of the run where we went past the swim start. As soon as I got on the sidewalk and rounded the first curve, there were two ducks on the path. I actually tripped over the female and awkwardly stumbled a little. I made a joke of it with the spectators and was able to get back into a good rhythm. If this would have been later in the race, it could have been a big problem. I probably should have paid a little more attention during the first 5 miles. I hit mile 5 at 29:15...a little faster than I had planned to say the least. I forced myself to slow down a bit because I new I'd pay later. The first lap was awesome. The aid stations were pretty empty so I was able to quickly get what I needed. On the second and third lap, there were quite a few more people but the volunteers were working hard! I don't think I ever really had to slow down to get everything I wanted/needed going in. The crowd at the end/start of each lap was awesome. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had during a race. There was just so much energy running through the crowd of people. I love seeing all of the families at the races cheering people on. At the end of the second lap, I was still feeling decent. I was a little worried about how that little grass ditch would feel on the third lap, but I got through that well. My first 18 miles were all under 6:50. I moved into the second overall amateur around mile 16. I decided then that I wanted to try to go for the first age grouper as well. I picked it up a little bit for three miles, which turned out to be a mistake. At mile 21, I knew I was in trouble and I dropped down to an 8 minute pace for mile 22 and 9 minutes for 23. I had to walk through the aid station because I was cramping so bad. Everything started to get fuzzy between mile 22 and 23 and I just couldn't cool myself down at all. My focus/attention was drifting in and out pretty bad. I took in about 10 Cokes at the aid station at mile 23, then tried to pick it back up. I was still cramping really badly, but my focus came back and I was able to run with the pain at an 8 minute pace again. The guy I passed earlier passed me again at mile 24 and there was nothing I could do to keep up. Honestly, I don't remember much of the last mile. I remember thinking the finish chute would never end, and coming to the line and seeing 9:13 on the clock. I was very excited, the pictures almost look like I am smiling, but I think it is more of a wince from the cramps!
My wife and college friends who came to watch found me right after I crossed the line. It was great to have them there! I went to the massage tent right away and kept cramping up any time I tried to move. The guy giving the massage was awesome. I didn't have any cramping issues until hours after the race after the massage. Overall, I am thrilled to have a slot for Kona and even more thrilled to have earned a pro card. I definitely got all that I wanted to out of IMTX!