Friday, September 10, 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010 Race Recap

Ironman Louisville 2010

There is no doubt that the single biggest fan of this blog is my mom…

In fact, she may be my only fan but no matter - I will continue to post these as she seems to find them interesting…

Also, in keeping with the race report / recap rule that the afterglow and subsequent telling of race stories can only be as long as the race itself, I will try to keep this short, but it is a long race and a longer build up to the event than I have ever done.

Ironman Louisville was a big focus for me this year and I am very happy with the way it turned out – the end - the rest of this is just for you Mom :)

The Plan

At the end of last year, I was not planning on doing an Ironman in 2010, but I ran in January for 3 days in a row and I got the bug


For many years, I have had a focus, a single goal race for the year and this year without that I just felt lost.

After picking a race and starting to plan, everything seemed to feel “normal” again.

I also needed someone who I could count on to train with and who would be as committed or more to doing the work I knew we would need. For years I have trained with Shawn “Hercules” Francis but he hurt his shoulder and had to have surgery so he was out.

In going through the mental rolodex of possible enablers, I wanted that person to have the best chance as pulling off a great time, podium finish and potentially a Hawaii spot as the work would be hard and I wanted them to reap the rewards.

I had one person in mind having trained with him for Arizona last year and I asked him to train with me. When he said he was in, I knew I was on track for a good season. I train with a lot of great partners but for this course, this year, I really wanted to train with Kerry “Mate” Mowlam. Quite simply, he is faster than me in all three sports, trains just as consistent and has only been grumpy about training twice in the 2 years we have been training together. He is also not afraid of doing the work and we did an amazing amount of work getting ready.

The Training

Since January, we logged 567 hours of training with 218,900 yards of swimming, 6096 miles of cycling, 1043 miles of running. That is a LOT!!!

We did more work than I have ever done to get ready for a race. We did camps, big blocks, massive weekends and much more.

We actually drove to Clermont at 5am on a Friday to ride 80 miles of hills and a t-run grab a burrito before we came home for the long “usual” weekend grind (8 more hours of training...

did 3H descending trainer rides and still got to work by 9:30...

met at 5am at Brooks for 20 mile run before work (and it was his birthday), swam in the kiddy section of UNF (which was VERY salty for some reason), learned EVERY pothole on A1A on a 120 mile out and back ride, tried and failed at an 8H ironday in 100+ temps but in the process really adapted to training in the heat.

We did a LOT!!!

All of this got me more fit than I have EVER been – I know the same was true for Kerry.

With all of the fitness in the bank - the only thing left to do was stay healthy, not get injured and execute.


The logistics of getting ready to race are not easy…there is a LOT of gear...

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

But once we are finally there and settled in…unpacked...things start to take shape.

Ironman Louisville 2010

This year my coach used a really flat taper and it was much different and worked awesome.

Even with this - I still had the normal race week tweaks and to make sure things were 100% - I did my least favorite thing a few times…OUCH!!!

Ironman Louisville 2010

According to Accuweather, race day was shaping up exactly what we had hoped for, VERY HOT which meant very hard.

Kerry and I figured that we would have better chances the harder the course as we were used to the heat.

A few days before the race I had the usual mental meltdown which I can never avoid. I know that I am ready, I know that I will race hard but I just can’t seem to connect the dots until race morning.

Louisville was different and I became focused on Saturday thanks to a video I did back in May. It also helped that Andi was coming in to town and I would have my security blanket of my family there in case things went to crap.

I went through the usual rituals…bags checked…checked again…unpacked and rechecked then turned in…after checking them again :)

Ironman Louisville 2010

With all the gear stowed away - there was nothing to do but chill...

After a great pre-race dinner at Bistro 301 with Kerry and Rene and a little last minute stress trying to find oatmeal at 8:45pm, we settled back into the hotel, checked the morning bags one last time and went to sleep.

Race Day

I slept awesome with some help from pharmaceuticals and woke up refreshed but really relaxed at 4am. 7 hours sleep is a great way to race.

I drank a few cups of coffee, forced down my Oatmeal, sipped a Gatorade Pro Pre drink and double checked all my gear for a final time.

I gave Andi a kiss, told her to have fun and headed down to T1 at 4:50am as the announcement that it would open at 5am was way off…it was almost empty of people by the time I rolled in at 5:05.

It seemed like everyone had a BIG push to get tp the front of the swim line as soon as possible.

I linked up with Kerry and we walked the 15 minutes to the start where we had people holding a place for us in line.

I flopped down, put on my iPod and just chilled like never before. I was so relaxed for the race and the day that it felt great. I think I pissed off a few people as they were all stressed out and I was just really mellow – hell I was half asleep :)

The venue is really beautiful...

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

The Swim

We did our final checks, wished everyone a good day and started the traverse to the dock and the TT swim start.

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

The swim was pretty straight forward, pretty hot water and more or less “nasty” but it was not the usually Ironman scrum for the 1st 200 yards so that was nice.

I felt smooth and tried to stay comfortable for the most part and was really happy to get out at 58:46 feeling like I didn’t burn any matches.

Ironman Louisville 2010

The Bike

T1 was pretty smooth and I was out on the bike and getting dialed in for the day.

Ironman Louisville 2010

The course for Louisville is a flat 10 miles then 92 miles of rollers, never ending rollers and then 10 miles of flat back into T2.

I found a group of guys to pace off and I tried to make sure I stayed with them figuring I would dial it down later if I needed.

The first set of climbs, big climbs, these guys went off like cannons. I could not believe how hard they were riding and I was pretty sure they must be doing a relay as I can’t picture how anyone could ride that hard and hope to run.

I let them go and then the second wave came by and I figured – ok – maybe it’s me and I need to ride harder. So, I did.

Ironman Louisville 2010

I rode so hard for 40 miles that I was 100% sure that I would pop if I kept going at that pace.

Kerry came up to me at and said “WTF Mate? These guys are flying!!!”

I told him that I was red line and I couldn’t go with them and hope to run.

Right then I heard him say “Ohhh F” – he had flatted. He said I will be back with you in a few minutes…

This 1st flat turned into 3 and 1 hour and 30 minute wait for tech support

Kerry in typical Kerry fashion just dealt with it like he always does…make the best of everything.

His day ended up differently than what he wanted but as always – he made the best of it;search_string=kmowlam;#2970326

I would end up not finding him until mile 20.5 on the run…

I didn’t know what was going on with Kerry but everytime I saw Andi I asked where he was and how he was doing…unfortunately no one knew

Ironman Louisville 2010

I was bummed for him as he should have been 10 minutes or more up the road on me at the finish and as he was WAY MORE fit and ready than I was for the race.

The loops and hills continued for the next 46 miles and then at mile 86 the terrain started to get back to Florida flat and I felt more comfortable.

At mile 106 I was thinking my ride was good and I would be close to my goal of 5:20 and ended up coming in at 5:19 and change…things were really starting to look pretty good.

T2 was uneventful and I opted for compression socks which I have sworn I would never race in becuase they look so bad…ok…I was wrong and they are great – they also help you stay cool in the heat - they still don't look so great :)

The Run

I headed out on the run and immediately had to check my pace a LOT the 1st few miles as I was running 7:45’s and 7:50 and I kept slowing myself down to run 8:00 as I was affraid the heat would smack the crap out of me on the back half.

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

I started ice and sponges at Mile 1 and got really ticked at myself when I missed ice at one aid station.

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

I rolled steady 8’s through mile 4 or 5 and then started to see the carnage that was the pro’s returning from the 1st loop and it did NOT look good.

I checked my pace down even more to 8:30 and made sure that I was icing every aid station to keep cool.

At mile 13.5 I hit special needs and grabbed a Red Bull and some more salt and went through the turn around in town for the 2nd loop. I saw Andi and I was going through a tough patch but it helped to see friends and family.

Mile 14-16 were really pretty tough and at mile 16 I gave myself a good old fashioned a$$ chewing – took 1 minute to get my crap together and decided to run 10 miles hard. I set off and was back at 8:10’s and felt much more in control of the race.

Mile 20 was right before the turn around for the last leg back to town and I saw Kerry for the 1st time since the bike.

He yelled at me, “Come on Mate, I will run you in”. I said I was fine and he should keep going.

He said “Mate, I have been on the side of the road for 1 and ½ hours, this is NOT gonna matter.”

We ran in like we had run so many miles in training – him yapping away and cheering for people and keeping me focused which I can tell you was starting to fade.

At one point I did actually ask him to “Tell me a story”…he did :)

With 1 mile to go we ran into another of "Kerry’s team" that he created on the day and it was a guy in the 40-44 AG named Jimi Young…Kerry had done the same for him from mile 14-20.

We passed Jimi with Kerry doing his best Coach Ditka impersonation and he kept yelling at him all the way to the finish.

I was able to pick it up the last mile to chase down a guy in AG and pass him within the last mile but he started some 15 minutes after me due to the time trial start. It was still good to “race” into the chute.

The Finish

At the finish I was really happy to see Andi and ended up feeling pretty good all things considered.

I came in at 10:04 which was 3rd in 45-49 AG and 32nd overall – my highest ever finish in the overall results.

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

Jimi Young went on to finish in 35th overall and 4th in 40-44 AG – we will be in Kona together and fulfilling a promise to our pacer as we both owe Kerry a beer.

There were a bunch of people on the course from Jacksonville and it was awesome to see them all. I have to say that this was one of the hardest IM courses/ conditions I have raced in and the DNF rate was 15.9%.

Kerry went on to finish in 12:15 by running in another friend from mile 20-26 – not yelling this time – talking instead about how soft and squishy the finish line was and how good it would feel…the guy was hurting pretty bad.

The After Party

Andi and I did our usual, Chicken sandwich, fries and diet coke and hung out at the finish line until midnight…I really love that part of the race.

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

Only one toenail casualty this year…

Ironman Louisville 2010


It was really cool to finally make it on the podium at an Ironman race…Mike Reilly could make a spelling bee exciting…he is like the Ironman version of Snoop, just that cool.

Ironman Louisville 2010


This year is the highest results I have ever achieved and I credit all of my success to the plan that was created by the mad scientist of fitness, my coach, Alan Couzens. He is just incredible at pushing the load and keeping me healthy and focused on paces and goals…I could not have asked for a better Coach.

Without my training partners, the race and the training would be brutal and boring. There are only a few days when I truly did not want to train and that is due to the company I am lucky enough to have. Thanks very much to Kerry for all the help and for making the last 6 miles enjoyable…I will be on the course in Florida and I can guarantee you have a LOT of great karma coming your way.

To Hercules and Lisa, thanks for watching Bone - with you two it was really nice to not have to worry (yes - I would worry if it was just Shawn :)

Last but definitely not least, to Andi, Shane, Josh, Coen and Kava – it is really great to have your support in doing this…I could not do any of this without you – especially you Andi…you make training very easy.

Ok – that is the limit…race recap is as long as the race…time to sign off…

Ironman Louisville 2010

Here’s to Kona, Shave ice with Bone and a cold beer for Kerry!!!



it's all about pace said...

helluva lead-up and race. Nice report too.

Mike said...

The reason why mom is your biggest fan is because she has know you the longest.

Marni said...

LOVED the race report!! Pics were awesome!! You had an AMAZING race!! You should be so proud! can't wait to watch you in Kona!