The Kansas Ironman 70.3 is in the books. What an experience! It was a great weather day. Temperatures were about ten degrees cooler than the day before and the water temperature dropped as well overnight. The lake was calm as there were no real winds to contend with. Following is a look at just how the pre-race day and race day went for me.
On Saturday it was Packet Pick-up, Expo time, and bike check-in time. Packet pick-up was well run but the lines were a little long but moved quickly. Something I didn't know that was a "rookie" thing was that I needed to have my USAT Member card with me. None of the literature that I saw suggested that. You could not check in without it. You had to buy a temp one ($10) if you didn't have it. After filling out and checking forms, it ws goodie bag time. Nothing special there but the important things like bike, swim, and run numbers were in the packet as well as timing chip and cap. My swim cap was pink because they ran out of the ones that I should have had. Also, mine says Ironman Florida. Not excited I didn't get a Kansas one. it was a hot day and I never ran into one negative person in the packet tent. Great volunteers! The Expo featured several vendors but not a large number. I found that if you needed something it was there though and that was important. Also, there were several places top get your bike worked on if you needed that service. There were several course meeting times that you could go to and find out particulars and also ask questions. That was nice that there were multiple times so you could pick and chose when you wanted to be there. Bike check-in went well and there were plenty of volunteers there to help you and get you through fast. I found my spot and marked it with a landmark so I could find it fast. A very helpful hint that I picked up. My spot was not hard to find since it was on the first row.
It was then on to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Iron Prayer meeting that I helped host. We had a great turnout and had a great pre-race worship and fellowship time. After the meeting we went out for the before race meal with some great friends from Colorade Springs.
Then it was home to set up the swim bag and transition 1 and 2 items. My transition 1 items included: Bike helmet, bike gloves, bike shoes, socks with baby powder in them for fast foot entry, Body Glide, two towels, 2 24oz. bike bottles and a 48oz CamelBak filled with my special mix of energy drink, sunscreen, GU Chomps and Hammer Supplements for my Bike Bento. Transition 2 items included my running shoes, another pair of socks just in case, cap, Body Glide, Amphipod 20oz bottle pack, GU Chomps and Hammer Supplements. Everything was now ready. With all of that done it was time for bed.
Race day started with a wak-up alarm of 4:00AM. Had Peanut Butter and Cracjers and my energy drink mix and then headed out to the race site which was a little more than 2 miles from my house. By the way, that was nice! We got to the site and they had the athletes parking very far from the main race site. It was not good. They provided shuttle buses and all and they were very quick but it was really a long way away. We got to the race site around 5:30 (my wife and me) and went to set up the transition areas. I had a very bright blue striped towel so it was easy to see. I set up Transition 2 first and then we walked down to the swim start and I set up Transition 2. When we got to the start they said that we could wear wetsuits because the water temperture had dropped enough. The day before they had said no wetsuits unless you wanted to go in the last wave. That would have meant that I would have had to go from wave 4 to 19. Glad that didn't happen and I was real glad to wear the wetsuit. All transition areas were well marked and very well organized with plenty of volunteer help. Again, they were all first class!
The race started late because they were waiting for medical staff to get into place. Then after the first waves were called, wave 4 was called and off I went. We swam out to the start and then we were off. I placed myself towards the side and at the back to avoid the major rush of the start. That was a great piece of advice. I had a clear start and soon started making time up on those who went out too fast. Stayed wide of the buoy line at first to have some open water to swim the 1.2 miles. Did a good job of keeping my direction fairly straight and also avoided most body contact until I rounded the halfway mark and then got greedy and started swimming closer to the buoy line. Got kicked in the head, swam over, elbowed, you name it. Finished the swim much better than I expected though. My swim training had me very well prepared and I had paced myself well to not be completely out of gas after the first leg of the race.
On to the bike portion of the race (56 miles). My swim to bike transition was not fast. But I was pleased how I had everything set out. Getting the wetsuit off was the most time consuming. There were no people to help like I had heard there are at some races. Got everything on and in the right order to avoid penalty and went up to the bike mount area. I had placed my gears in an easy gear the day before because it was an uphill start. That was really effective. Got a good start and was off. Started hydrating at mile 5 (letting my body get adjusted) and then continued to hydrate often during the ride. We had a light headwind at times and also a good tailwind at times. The course was hilly but since I had been on it before I knew what was coming. At first it seemed like everyone was passing me but I kept my pacing strategy and didn't get into that gane. I had a good even pace the entire route and felt great the entire time. Continued to hydrate along the way. There was a huge oil spill from something on the course close to mile 30 and we had to dismount and walk around it carrying our bikes. Aid startions along the course were great but I didn't need to stop. Plenty of volunteers on the course and everything was marked very well.
The bike to run transition went well and I got out of there about two minutes faster. The run was a two loop course around the campgrounds with one significant hill on each loop. By the time the run part started it had warmed up a bit. Hydration was important (Again, waited a couple of miles to start hydration to let body adjust) and my Amphipod worked well though I had to adjust it tighter from the day before when I tried it on. It didn't flop around and was much easier than a hand help I thought. Ususally I have done the hand held bottle but this has changed my mind. Had a great pace during the run and kept it even and steady. Had very good energy and felt fine. Put ice down the front of my tri suit and back to keep the core cool and it worked fantastic. There were multiple aid stations along the run course with so many volunteers at each station. It was great. They had everything ready and knew what they were doing just like on the bike route. Many thanks to them.
As I ran through the finish area, it was a great moment. I had finished my first Ironman (tri) and was so happy that I felt so good and had accomplished a major goal of mine. My training plan was fantastic and my coaching team really kept me on target over the past few months. The success of this race for me was not a one day thing. It was months of training, proper nutrition, hydration and mental focus. I felt well prepared and can't wait until the next one.
After the race I met up with my wife, went through the food tent, then went to the transition areas to pick up my gear, and then met our friends from Colorado and carried things back to the cars. The hardest part was the long trek back to the cars with all of the gear and the bikes. Wow, something needs to be done here. Athletes should not have been the ones parking the farthest away from the Race Complex. But that quickly faded from my mind as I enjoyed the success of a good experience and great support from family and friends! I will be back for more next year!
Swim (1.2 miles): 46:35 Bike (56 miles): 3:22:13 Run (13.1 miles): 1:59:35 Overall: 6:21:41
18th in a division of 47
Total Swim: 2:27/100m Total Bike: 16.62mph Total Run 9:07/mile
T1: Swim-to-Bike 7:47 T2: Bike-to-Run 5:31
Forward we go! May your roads, trails, lakes, and pools be happy and safe and may they bring you peace of mind!