Monday, May 3, 2010

IM Utah 2010- race report

Ironman St. George, Utah.... you did not disappoint in the pain factor!

Pre-race- Coach comes back from having ridden one loop of the bike course and says, "well.. there will be no racing tomorrow.. it's going to be about survival!"

Race morning- Got up at 3:15am, had breakfast starting at 3:45am, headed down for the buses to take us to T1 at 4:30am and got to the start at around 5:15am for the 7am start!

Swim- 1:57:11- Oh the swim was cold!!! They kept saying it was 59F but it was not 59F. It was maybe 56F and more realistically 54F... it was later confirmed to be more like the latter. The swim here was tough- cold, very tough to sight as the swim caps were the same color as the buoys- wtf?! The helicopters did not makes things easier creating swells in the water but what are you going to do other than just keep swimming! Felt like the longest swim ever!!

T1- 8:59- fingers were frozen and so hard a tough time getting stuff off and on... thank goodness for the volunteers- all I had to do was tell them what i needed from the bag.

Bike- 8:16:56 - I am still in awe of my bike time. Seriously?! 8+ hours?! Bike was tough especially during the 2nd loop of the course when I really wanted to throw in the towel and call it a day!! The winds picked up and my body just didn't want my nutrition bottles anymore. The bike course here does not disappoint in to intimidation factor or the difficulty factor. At one point, I didn't think I was going to make the bike cut off and I think a part of me didn't want to because of what was going to come after that, the dreaded hike of a run! But towards the end of the ride, with about 3 miles to go, I looked at my bike computer and thoughts, "crap.. I am going to make the bike cut off. F*ck!" Now I am going to have to give that run a go!

T2- 5:56 crap crap crap I made the bike cut off.

Run- 6:04:18 - I PR'd my marathon by 17 minutes- go figure! The run profile on this course would make anyone want to puke! There were no flat sections, either up or down and the signs on the rode telling you that this hill is an 8% grade does not really help! I gave myself time goals for the first half of the run which I made and I was actually running "pretty well" during the 1st loop and then the second loop came and walking was the only thing my body wanted to do... I even had to make it run the downhills as all it wanted to do was lay down and curl up!

16:33:20 and I am giving Mike Reilly a high five!

Overall race thoughts- Holy sh*t of a course- never again in Utah! I've never seen so many walk the bike up the hills and I've never seen to many people walk the run!!

This course does a lot to screw with you! Aside from the swim caps being the same color as the buoys, the "screaming" downhill they claim to have at the end isn't really screaming because there's a headwind which essentially turns any downhill into a flat which means.. pedal pedal pedal. The downhill run at the end... well if every part of your body hurts towards the end.. it's almost more painful to go downhill than it is to go up!!

I feel like there's Ironman and then there's Ironman St. George. This course made me think that I couldn't do it and then I did it-- that was the very feeling I felt crossing the finish line. Having my finish time start with a 16 is something I could have done with out but I survived and that become the goal for the day!

2300 people signed up. 2100 registered for their packets. Just under 2000 decided to show up on race morning and 1600 finished which makes this the 2nd highest DNF rate in the history of Ironman!

Race course described by folks at

Can you say ... tough course?

A drive through the course today was an eye-opening experience - this is going to be a tough course! Starting at about 3,000 feet at the swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir (which, by the way, is rather cold - below 60 degrees F, last we heard), the course eventually reaches an altitude of just under 4,700 feet.

The course features a lot of long, steady climbs, along with a few really steep ones, too. At one point there's a steady stretch that features a grade that varies between 13 and 17 percent. And, just to add to the fun, the athletes get to do all of that climbing twice.

There are a few upsides to this challenging course: first, the athletes get to enjoy a simply spectacular course that offers some of the most incredible vistas you'll find in triathlon; then there's the payback after all the all that climbing which ends in a screaming descent back into town.

If the bike is tough, the run course here in St. George is every bit as much of a challenge. The long, steady climb to the turnaround features an eight percent grade at one point - and that's not for just a few seconds. No less a runner than Lisa Bentley took more than three minutes to get up that part of the climb when she was checking out the course the other day.

Like the ride, though, there's a definite upside to all this - both the incredible beauty of the countryside here, and all the downhill parts of this course, too.

So, as tough as this course might be, it's also likely to be lots of fun. Besides, it's an Ironman - it's not supposed to be easy.

1 comment:

Grove Street Journal said...

Yi, your comments about the bike course are the EXACT thoughts that went through my head at Ironman France. "CRAP, I made the bike cutoff."

You're amazing woman! Congratulations.