Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Got the FEVER!

It hits me every year about this time. We get the mix of hot days and cool nights. Baseball is plodding into the playoffs. Football is winding it up. The fall classic of triathlon, the Ironman Triathlon World Championship is only four weeks away. Tapers have started. Trash talk and media hype has begun. Flexing and fake bake tanning has started for 'Dig Me' Beach.
...and I am all twitchy. No, I didn't qualify this year (or any year...I 'won' the lottery in 2000 finishing in 12:53:28; more on this in a bit) my focus has been the athletes I'm helping to finish this year. You see...I first saw the Ironman on ABC watching Julie Moss crawl across the finish line. Watching Dave Scott and Mark Allen in subsequent years and thinking, "Man, why don't they coach people? I'd want them to coach me." Both now have coaching businesses and no...they don't coach me. The varsity girls swimming coach at my high school, Nancy Wentink, was a top five finisher in Kona in the mid-1980s. Nancy (successfully) got me into triathlon and thinking Ironman. Nancy was always cool to me - she let me swim my own workouts during girls season in the morning starting in September and come November - I was ready for boys season. In a way, she helped me pay for college.

This fall - like any other fall - I'm twitchy with the sense of urgency to train. My only race...the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon coming up where I have an outside shot at Boston but if you are headed to Vegas...get big odds on me. It's not that I'm questioning my training...just realistic. No championships to go to in October or November. I'll be living vicariously thru Chris, Liz, Jay, Nicole, Brad, Darian and others. The stress between studying for my MBA, PMP, client obligations and fall home repair drawing and quartering me like a medieval king.

I've got the fever...and the cure is more Ironman. When...we aren't so sure. Fast forward to about 4:20 - I've got a fever.

PS: First Ironman....Kona 2000

Swim: 1:00 - came out of the water behind Lori Bowden - when they cut to commercial...I'm the big toe on the left of the screen. Even my own mother didn't recognize my toe's big NBC moment.

T1: Held my own private wrestling match with a dry singlet; didn't stop for sun screen because I was "racing": 2:39

Bike: 6:21 - rode a bad bike position...11 x 50 mph winds and 75 mph gusts (Cat. 1 hurricane)...and badly done new cables and ill shifting - brilliant! This shot is just before reality hit in the winds of the day...this is not your momma's Ironman. Earth/Pele doesn't care how much you prepared for this, you aren't an Ironman until you cross the line.
T2: 3:05; just a sock sun screen...again, dude...I'm racing.

Run: 5:23:05...yeah, I know...wait it gets better...first 18 miles...2:20...mile 19 (by itself) 1 hr 7 minutes 58 seconds... I went from seeing Troy Jacobson and Troy double checking his watch (my coach back then) as I was 400m into the Energy Lab and he was 400m from the "Where is Bob?" at the finish line. Where Tim & Nikki Hola started to walk out onto the Queen K again to see if I was still out there trying to make it back. (I saw them at Mile 25 - top of Palani Hill as I was now running again into Kona.)

Total Time: 12:54:28 (beat 47 qualifiers in my AG and 586 qualifiers overall)...and never once did I doubt I was going to finish I had obeyed my Polar Coach Heart Rate Monitor all day. The times I was shooting for changed (dramatically) as I was getting sick in the lava fields but I never had a doubt. I apologized to Pele for defacing her lava in 2005 pouring Bombay Saphire Gin over my lava power pyramid. More of that in another entry.

My claim to fame in 2000? During my fits of vomiting (and other GI issues) I was able to harness my desire to finish. I pulled myself together to be able to jog/walk aid stations from mile 20 to 23 with a new found friend Al from Austin...we leaned on each other splashing vomit all over our shoes. (How we didn't fall over is a miracle.) the video shown at the Ironman the mile 23 aid station I can be seen handing Al a sponge. We were so out of it we didn't see the camera in the darkness. I said, "Come on Al. We didn't fly 9,000 miles to f*cking walk the last three miles." The banquet went up for grabs! Aussies slapping me on the medium rare back and instantly I had about 24 Kona Brewing Company beers in front of me. GOOD ON YOU MATE! THAT'S THE SPIRIT! More post race another entry.

Number 1016 can still be seen on both my arms to this day. Burned into my skin. Forever to be known as an Ironman Hawaii Finisher...and some day...two time finisher.

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