Race Report…at last!

24 10 2008

Well, so many of you all were with me in spirit, and supported/prayed me through the Half-Ironman.  I wanted to first of all say thank you to all of you.  I ran this race to raise awareness for Lou Gerighs Disease, ALS.  My father has ALS, and I ran with him in my mind all the way through.  What I am going to do here, is give you guys a race report of what the event was like, step by step.  I hope you enjoy.  

We arrived in Killeen at Vanessa’s cousins house, late Friday night.  Saturday, we loaded up the bike and headed to Austin to check in and get set up in transition.  When we arrived at the Austin Sheraton (the place to register) there were $6,000 bikes everywhere!  It was amazing!  I had, bike envy.  We met up with a long-time, and one of my best friends, Wade Collier.  This was his first triathlon, and he chose a half-ironman!  Nuts!

Well, we got checked in, and went to lake to drop off our bike.

It was VERY windy, and I thought we’d be in for it on the bike the next day.  Below is a picture of what transition looked like that day.  

There were over 2400 athletes running in this race, and many pro’s. Simon Lessing, Richie Cunningham, Lisa Bentley…all running this race. Transition was alive with tension.  So, we dropped off our bikes, and went out to eat with Wade and friends.  It was a great time at Vinny’s carbo loading.

After that, home for a night of tossing and turning, and pretending to sleep.  The nerves were alive and well.  The really nervous thing was when we were dropping off our bikes, we went down to look at the lake, and the bouys were way out there.  It looked like we were swimming the English Channel or something.  It gave me some serious doubts.  But, that next morning on my way to Austin (after getting up at 3:00am) I decided that the lake was my monster, and I was going to slay it that day.  It really helped.  

So, we parked about 1 mile from transition, and took a bus over.  It was chilly outside, little did we know how stinking hot it was going to be that day.  We get over to transition, and get set up, and then we wait.  We wait, and wait, and wait.  Wade and I were both so nervous.  Transition was supposed to close at 7:45am, but the busing system they had set up was running way behind, and athletes were still parking, and waiting for the bus.  

So, they pushed back the start 30 mins.  More waiting.  Wade and I headed down to the lake after waited for our wives (who were stuck in the bus line) because the race was starting.  

Down at the lake, the tunes were jamming and the nerves were rising.  I had someone come up to me and thank me for wearing my Blazeman gear.  Through tears he told me that he lost his Uncle to ALS.  Through tears, I told him it was my Dad I was running for.  

Then…it was go time.  The pro’s took off first.  

They were finished before I even got in the water.  Wade took off before me.  Then it was my turn.  The swim was okay, but there was contact in the water the whole way.  I really zig zagged my way around the course.  And I got passed by just about everyone.  Swimming is definitely not my strongest.  In the beginning, I got water in my goggles, and never had time to empty it out.  So, I swam the whole way with one eye closed.  Maybe that is why i zig zagged so much.  Anyways…43 minutes, and 1.2 miles later and I was done.  This is me off to the right.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And another picture on may up to the transition area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to the bike.  I put on socks, shoes, gloves, glasses and helmet, and I am off.  The first few miles were very hilly, then for the bulk of the ride it was mostly smaller rolling hills.  It was very windy for alot of the bike, and I was really pushing hard.  Then, towards the end of the ride, the hills came back with a vengeance.  I knew I was in trouble when I was wishing I had another gear to switch to.  The last hill on the bike was almost a mile long, and it was a doozy.  Very steep, and very demoralizing as I looked off to the right to see athletes running up the hill.  ….athletes running up the hill?  Nooooooo!  Well the run consisted of 2 loops, and 2 times up that hill.  They called the hill “Quadzilla”.  Oh, it definitely lived up to it’s name.  But…here is a picture of me coming off the bike.

  Yeah, I was all smiles at this point.  But just 200 meters into my run, and things would change.  But not here.  I got back to my spot, racked my bike, changed shoes, took off gloves, took off helmet, put on visor, took a drink, and I was off.  So…200 meters into my run, my legs, seized up with cramps.  Not good!  After about 2 miles, I found my legs, and was running a little better.  It was still very rough, but at least I wasn’t cramping so much.  On the run, I saw another guy running for team Blazeman.  Many people saw me and asked if I was going to roll across the finish.  Of course I was.  🙂  I also saw one girl who called me out from the side.  She told me that she had run for John Blais in Kona (the full ironman in hawaii).  She really encouraged me as I was feeling terrible right then.  That was about mile 6.  Here are some pictures of me on the run.

 feeling good here.

 and here.

 not so much here.  

 talking to my wife around mile 10.  Feeling very bad here.  It was hot.  There was no shade on the course at all.  It was really getting to me.  Only 2 more miles though!

It was a great race guys…thank you all for supporting me through it.  Thank you Vanessa!  Your encouragement, and cheering me on, got me through this race.  I could not have done it without you!  I love you!  Look how cheery she looks here.  How can that NOT cheer you up and make you want to finish strong?

  You are my everything!  

So…here I am finishing the Ironman Longhorn 70.3.  In true Blazeman fashion, I rolled across the line.  It was great.

  Here I am getting ready to roll.

 Felt good to lay down.  Didn’t want to get up!

Thank you all!  God bless you guys.

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One response

12 11 2008
Emily

Hey John and Vaness!
Great blog! I came across it while looking at someone else’s!!! I hope all is well with you guys! My mom has been keeping us updated on your dad, we think of your family often!!! Way to go on your ironman race!!!! Keep in touch!!!
Emily

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