Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ironman Arizona – 2008

The longest entry of the year – I promise :)

Ironman Arizona 2008 042

It was really incredible to be a part of one of the most challenging days in IM history. This race had the 3rd highest DNF rate of all previous IM’s. The combination of the winds and the heat made it an incredibly tough day.



1st the results:

Kevin Neal dominated the dojo and took a 4th in the 45-49 age group and scored a Kona slot with a 9:56. He was 51st overall. His bike time of 5:08 was amazing (38th overall with thirty something male pros). The winds were between 20-25 MPH and pacing was almost impossible. On the outbound headwind leg – speeds were between 14-18 mph and downwind – 32-34…really incredible.

Ironman Arizona 2008 1259

1st time Ironman Tony Maniatis was a little disappointed with his 11:06 31st in AG finish. I thought – are you kidding? OK – you have to reset the scale - the guy had a 4.0 from Harvard so he sets his standards pretty high :)

Ironman Arizona 2008 722

Paul Cantin from CA hit his 2nd IM finish with a 6 minute PR finishing in 12:37. He was happy with his finish but looking at the numbers closer he should be ecstatic. He jumped over 300 total finisher places from last June and 110 AG places – nice work Paul!!!

David Mariotti brought it home for his 2nd IM in 13:39. This also moved him up 218 places overall and 45 in his AG. Congrats David and enjoy the time with the family.

James Sweeny took the expression HTFU to a whole new level. He is a fantastic athlete and cyclist and was really set up for a fantastic day. Towards the end of the bike, James’ legs started to cramp and at mile 1 ½ his legs were literally LOCKED up on the side of the run course. I saw him and he was still trying to move forward with locked knees. I thought – oh man – there is no way he is going to be able to finish as he can’t even walk. I was wrong. The guy made it to the next aid station, took in some rehab and ran, walked and locked up over and over again until he finished. He showed INCREDIBLE physical toughness but the mental side of that performance will be in the rolodex for times when I am feeling sorry for myself – DUDE – you are hard like Chinese arithmetic :)

On the course for medical, technical, photographic and comedic support where the three amigo’s – Saswata Roy, Shawn Francis and Kendall White.

Hercules said he was tired after the day of spectating - it is hard work:)

Ironman Arizona 2008 423

(All photos in this entry are copyrighted by Action Exposures and Kendall White – I promised him I would write that :))

Thanks for being out there and for all the support…you guys are great friends.

To the geeks behinds the scenes with the spreadsheets and phone calls - thanks very much - you made all the difference.

To all of our families who put up with us not being there even when we are - we are back :) (at least for the week :))

Now for the stories – BS, tall tales and exaggerations :)

I am Howard Hughes…I probably have undiagnosed OCD and I think through everything three, four, five hundred times :)

Hell – I brought two of everything to the race with me – yes – even race wheels 

And yes – this is my nutrition and supplements and NO - Hercules – none of these came from Balco.

Ironman Arizona 2008 1119

Having it all with me leaves less to chance – so there it all is…

Quick plug. Last week I emailed a number of people asking how to best handle the heat as it was supposed to be 97. (It only got to 94 – much better) I got responses from everyone – thank you very much.

I was really impressed to get an email back from Chris Lieto and how to best use his Base Performance product. He is really knowledgeable and his products absolutely ROCKS!!! Check out www.baseperformance.com or you can get some at ABC or Trek store of Jacksonville – this stuff works.

Ok – back to the story.

It’s amazing to me how so many of life’s outcomes are affected by the decisions that are made in only 5-10 seconds.

You take into consideration everything you know about the situation, plot your potential courses of action and then decide and execute.

The really crazy part is a week ago I visualized having to make this decision.

My coach asked me to do a pre-race plan and I sent it to him and it included this decision matrix.

I had no idea I would ever enact it.

The portion of the plan was what I was planning on doing if I was “racing” for a place and after 10 hours on the course - it played out exactly like that.

With 1 ½ miles to go I was shoulder to shoulder with a guy who kept pressing the pace.

I thought it was strange so I slid back to see his age…oh sh!t…he’s 43…this is going to hurt.

What I planned to do (last week when I was thinking straight) was allow the guy to pass me and then with 1/4 mile to go just hammer it – that was the plan.

At ½ mile to go, Saswata Roy screamed at me “Your on the bubble….hammer it now.”

I thought - oh crap – the guy next to me just heard that too…

I am not sure if I just got an acute case of “throw the ball syndrome” or I just wanted to get the inevitable started but I took off with ½ mile to go and hit it so hard I couldn’t believe it...we were under 6:00min/mile after 10+ hours of racing.

Ironman Arizona 2008 1028

There is a great quote about cycling that says something like “If you decide to break away, you commit 100%. You execute it without regard for the consequences.”

I went so hard that my only hope was that the guy couldn’t answer and luckily it worked.

Had he gone with me…I am not sure I could have answered back…

The verdict...there were 9 slots; I got 9th and the guy I was shoulder to shoulder with finished 19 seconds behind me in 10th.

It was cool to actually "race" an Ironman...finally – ALOHA :)

I emailed my coach to tell him how much I appreciated all of his planning and guidance. I have never been so well prepared. These guys have a great team and they are all really talented. Check out http://alancouzens.blogspot.com/ and www.gordoworld.com

This ends the longest blog entry of the year…here are some pix to give you a feel for the day… http://www.flickr.com/photos/24127889@N03/

Ironman Arizona 2008 1304

Remember – these are copyrighted property of – whatever dude – I paid for the hotel room and you ate most of the cookies from Anjna :)



Marni said...

congrats Shawn and all the VMS athletes!!! YOu Are an IRONMAN!!! (just reminding you :)

Anonymous said...

The verdict...there were 9 slots; I got 9th and the guy I was shoulder to shoulder with finished 19 seconds behind me in 10th.

That is racing! You knew it was going to be very painful, but you did it anyway. Congratulations.

Neil said...

Shawn. Having sent a note to the wrong shawn burke, I now know I have the right guy. Our paths crossed in IMAZ. Specfically about 14Km from the finish. I had a bad bike but a storming first 26K on the run in 2 hours flat. Actually I had started about 11 minutes down on you and I had obviously gone past you at some point. Don't feel bad, I blew past Michellie Jones and she never caught me. Unfortunately I skipped a few aid stations and started to feel it at this point. The FIRST runner to go past me was a Pro just finishing up. YOU were the second. I remember we got our ice cold sponges from that lady. As you drew level we both checked each other's number and age, and confirmed that we both had one lap to go. Yep I was kinda chasing Kona too, but I thought I had blown it on the bike. When you went ahead I knew you were on a mission. My God you must have put yourself in a world of hurt on that last lap. And you made it. WOW. We were probably in 14/15th place at that point and you made up 6/7 places on the last lap. Also you ran a very smart marathon and I think you even did a positive split. All I can say is you thoroughly deserve your place and I wish you a wonderful time in Kona. I was lucky enough to get there last year, it was awesome. My advice, forget about the time for the first year, just make sure you enjoy the race and the experience. You can start to set records in future years. I'll try to qualify in Nice and hopefully join you in Kona. I might not let you run away from me next time :-)

All the best and again. WHAT A RUN!!

Neil Hammond