June 26, 2011
|Number of Participants Starting:||2,614|
|Number that Did Not Finish (DNFs):||556 (21%)|
|Water Consumed:||~512 ounces (4.3 gallons)|
|Bike||13 x 24oz bottles|
|Run||40 x 5oz cups|
|4 x Cliff Bar (Peanut Butter)||1,000|
|9 x Cliff Shot Blocks (Margarita)||270|
|Salt Pills Consumed||20|
|Kicked in the Face||1|
|Fecal Urgency Episodes (FUEs)||2|
Every Ironman race report that I have ever read (including my own race reports) first apologizes for its length. I can safely say that I will never apologize for my length. But I will say that while I do want to give the people that followed me through this entire process adequate detail about the experience, my memory is awful – so this report is as much for me as anything else.
Before I get into the race, the most frequent question I get is about how much I had to train for this and what that was like. Basically, the official training program I followed was 24 weeks long. But that was all based on having trained for a solid year just to be ready to train for those 24 weeks. I had successfully completed a half-Ironman last August and it was at that point I knew I both really wanted to do a full Ironman and that I could finish it.
The 24-week program follows a pretty standard routine. Tough week followed by a recovery week – repeat 12 times. Within those weeks, it was always the same basic schedule with increasing times and distances throughout (especially on the weekends). Monday mornings I would do strength training with Olivier (my trainer). Tuesday morning was a swim (typically for 1 to 1.5 hours). Tuesday night I would be on the bike (typically for 1 – 2 hours). Wednesday morning was a run – usually less than an hour and typically focused on hills or sprints. Wednesday night was sometimes off, sometimes on the bike for an hour. Thursday morning was a swim (for 1-1.5 hours) and again on the bike for an hour at night. Friday morning was a run for 1 hour, or sometimes a “brick workout” which was a combined bike and run workout – those typically lasted a solid 2 hours. I would also squeeze a swim into Fridays of less than an hour – these were typically time trials of a certain distance of 1 – 2 miles. Saturday was always the long bike ride day where you really focus on building endurance. Early in the program these would be 2 hour rides – by the end they were 6-8 hour rides (for me, anyway). Sundays were long run days. Early in the program these were an hour, eventually working up to 20 mile runs that would take up to 3 hours or so. There was some variation in there, but that was my basic routine. My peak hours of training in a week were around 17 which really wasn’t TOO bad. There are other programs out there that have you doing well over 20 hours a week (or 30+), so this was very manageable all things considered. Where it became extremely difficult was when work got busy or stressful and things otherwise got hectic in my personal life (like changing jobs or moving, for instance). Mary Lynn was very patient through this entire process and dealt with me being overly anal about making sure I hit all my training sessions … and me being grouchy/stressed if I missed one. I can’t really thank her enough for all the support she provided through the entire process. It was definitely more difficult for her than it was for me. But she continued to help cook me very large and very healthy meals and was always there supporting me at every race. Thanks, Mary Lynn.
June 22 – June 25
We arrived in Nice on Wednesday morning after a long night of flying from Boston through Paris and quickly settled into our apartment just outside of Nice in a town called Saint Laurent du Var. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful as we got ourselves oriented and downed a bunch of espresso in attempts to stay awake for the day. The only workout I did was a 20-minute swim with Olivier in the afternoon. I forgot to put BodyGlide on my neck and got some chaffing from the salt water on the wetsuit – not exactly what I wanted with the race coming up. But the swim felt easy and really nice to start getting comfortable with the Mediterranean.
Thursday morning was our drive of the bike course. Olivier, Ryan, Max (a friend of Olivier’s) and I jumped in a car and headed out. In short, the drive took us almost 5 hours and all I could think was, if this took 5 hours in a car, how in the world was I going to finish in less than 8 hours?? In a car, the course seemed extremely narrow without a single stretch of straight road – very much like a billygoat trail. Add some psycho French driving by Olivier and I thought I was going to puke by the end. Once we got back, we headed off to the race expo to pick up our packets. The expo was fun and nice to see that my seemingly crazy-expensive bike is actually cheap compared to the other options out there. Ryan and I then raced back to the apartment so we could squeeze in a 30-minute run and a quick swim (I actually just soaked my legs while Ryan swam).
Friday was the final day to put my bike together and I finally got that done with some help from Olivier and a local bike shop. We all then took a quick ride into downtown Nice to test the bikes out and have some adjustments made by the mechanics at the expo. Ryan and I also got a quick run in. That afternoon, Ryan, Kim, Dianne, Mary Lynn and I headed off to Monaco and Monte Carlo to check out the scene and just relax a bit. We saw lots of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and even a Bugatti (has 1,200 horsepower, gets 7 mpg, and costs over $2M). We had an amazing dinner near an old church and then headed back home. THAT’s where we had problems… our train didn’t go all the way back to our town, so we got stuck in Nice without a cheap way back. So we jumped on a bus that didn’t take us where we thought it would. Long story short, we got home close to 2am. Now, anyone that does these things knows that 2 nights before the race is your most critical night for sleeping. So much for that plan.
Saturday – day before the race. I slept until 9:30am and then Mary Lynn and I headed to the only relatively large grocery store in the area to FINALLY find some oatmeal and peanut butter that I could use for my pre-race meal. This brings up a pretty important point. My standard meal plan was completely thrown off by being in France. No oatmeal. No bagels. No yogurt. No healthy bowel movements. I had been suffering from some pretty severe diarrhea for a few months heading to France. I had been trying to compensate by drinking lots of electrolytes, but I couldn’t help but think I was going to have some serious hydration issues during the race. So for the last 48 hours, I cut out my multi-vitamins in case that was causing the problem and I focused on eating breads, meats and other binders – no ruffage or milk products. And as if by some miracle, the god of solid turds graced me with his presence on Saturday night.
On Saturday afternoon we had to place our bikes in the transition area and hand in our transition bags. Transitions in an Ironman are very different than what most people experience in any shorter races. You place your bike in the transition the night before (the same is typical of half-ironman distances), but instead of placing your bike and run items next to your bike on a transition mat, you hand in bags with those items the night before. So, I had to hand in one bag with everything that I would need for the bike (helmet, bike shorts, shoes) and another with everything I would need for the run (running shoes, visor, more socks). It means transition times are very slow, but it makes the morning of the race SO much less stressful since you just need to bring your wetsuit, goggles and cap.
Later that evening Mary Lynn gave me a gift that was actually an Ironman shirt signed by entire family with messages of good luck and well wishes. I can’t even express how much it meant to me… and shocking that Mary Lynn pulled off the logistics of it all given that everyone lives all over the country. Amazing!
Anyway, an early dinner of pasta and chicken and I was in bed by around 10:30 – probably fell to sleep by around 11:30.
Up at 3:30am. Showered to loosen up the muscles and ate a big bowl of oatmeal, a couple of peanut butter sandwiches on pieces of baguette (as they say, “When in Nice…”), coffee, and electrolyte drink. We all met in the lobby at 4:45 to head out. The drive and trying to find parking took a little longer than I expected, so we didn’t get to the transition area until close to 5:30 (race start was 6:30). I quickly filled up my water aero water bottle, filled up my nutrition bottle of Perpetuem, and found a pump to fill up the tires. Now it was time to get one last bowel movement in before putting on the wetsuit and getting down to the start line. The line at the porta-potty was a bit long, but I eventually got the job done only to hear that we had 5 minutes until the transition area would close. Crap. My next step was to take my magical Chia Seeds – they were stored in a tube that opened up and promptly dumped all over the ground. No Chia Seeds. So I slapped on the wetsuit and headed down to the start… too late for a warm-up. The walk to the start was incredibly cramped and slow and I started to freak out that I wasn’t going to be able to get there before the gun went off. And I was definitely not finding Olivier or Ryan before the start. But I eventually made it down to the rocky beach, found someone to zip me up, and listened to the DJ trying to pump everyone up. As all 2,500 competitors clapped their hands to the music and got their adrenaline flowing, I stood there peeing into my dry wetsuit. I would normally do it in the water, but no warm-up means peeing into a dry wetsuit. I can promise you that everyone around me was doing the exact same thing, so I wasn’t worried about it.
T-1 minute until the swim start.
|3.8 km (1:21:01)||2:07/100m||1,564/2,614||336|
If anyone has been to Nice, you know that the beaches are hardly made from the smooth sand we are used to here in the US. The beaches in Nice are all rock, so 2,500 of my closest friends and I were standing on these rock waiting for the official gun to go off for the start. This was a single wave start, so everyone would be running into the water at the same time. My first goal was to make it into the water without breaking some toes or falling and breaking my face on the rocks.
The start was organized by expected start times. Corrals were setup with the slowest swimmers on the far sides and the pros in the middle. I was on the far left, Ryan started on the far right, and Olivier started somewhere near the middle.
Gun goes off and we’re started. I am standing about 10 deep, so it was about 15 seconds or so before my feet were in the water and I am still standing – success #1. A few seconds later, I dive in and feel the water seeping into the wetsuit and create a good seal… and I am swimming. To my surprise, I am not getting kicked, nobody is punching me, and I can actually move my arms. Sure I bump into people, but I have dealt with MUCH worse in MUCH smaller races. So far so good.
The swim course was setup as 2 separate loops with the first being 2.4 km going clockwise. At that point, you get out of the water to cross a timing mat, then get back in to do a smaller 1.4 km counter clockwise back to the start area.
The first kilometer or so was ridiculously easy and downright pleasant. Between the saltwater and wetsuit, I felt like the swim was effortless and I was cruising along. After 20 minutes or so I reached the first buoy and ran into a complete cluster of people. The 100m wide starting area all merged into a hard right turn and it was impossible to swim. So I stopped. I sat up vertical in the water with everyone else and the current caused by all the swimmers in front of us dragged us all (very quickly) around the buoy until I could get going again. It was really freaky and made me realize just how much drafting you could hang onto in big swims like this. But since everyone was vertical in the water, once we started swimming again, it was every man for himself trying to find some room… I got punched in the face and kicked many times. But my goggles were still on and I eventually found some space. A few minutes later we hit another hard right turn and we were heading back towards land. It was on this stretch that I started to feel a bit sick. The boats that were monitoring us were kicking out some hefty fumes that I was sucking in and it started to make me nauseated. I kept burping underwater and I was just waiting for the puke to come out, but nothing… I just couldn’t wait to get to land so I could take a break and breath in some clean air.
When I reached land, I climbed out of the water (ungracefully), thought about resting, but then just decided to go back in and see how I felt. Surprisingly, I felt fine once I was back in and off I went on the second lap. Nothing notable on the second lap other than there some long stretches where I found myself completely on my own. I could see people on either side of me, so I knew I wasn’t off course, but there was nobody real close in front of me. So I wasn’t catching a nice draft. At one point though, a guy on a canoe did have to tell me I was too far off course, so I guess I probably lost some time from that.
Regardless, I still felt fine as I made the final turn into shore for the last time. When I finished, I could see that my watch said 1:19 which was exactly what I was shooting for, so I was very happy. A few feet after exiting the water they had a bunch of showers going so you could rinse off the salt water before heading to the transition area. I stood there for a bit to enjoy the cold water and I tried to pee while I was there, but nothing was coming – I think the water was just too cold.
Time – 7:30
The first transition went as planned. I quickly found my T1 bag on the rack and found an empty chair to use for changing. I was already wearing a tri suit, but I also put on some bike shorts on top to make the long right a bit more comfortable. I threw on my helmet, socks and shoes and headed out. My time says 7:30 for the first transition and I am honestly not sure why it says I took that long – it certainly felt much quicker than that. Actually, I did go to the bathroom real quick before heading out – maybe that’s what slowed me down.
|180 km (6:29:06)||17:16 mph||1,400/2,614||308/517|
Going into the race, the bike course was the biggest concern for me. I knew there were some significant hills and I really didn’t know how I would handle that. The first 12 miles or so of the bike course is pancake flat. You start out along the beach for several miles which was a nice way to start adjusting to being on the saddle after the long swim. I was cruising along over 20mph for many of the first miles of the course which felt great. I was actually trying to take it easy to conserve energy, so I was very happy that my speed was holding where it was. The biggest thing I noticed as the bike ride started were the names of people I saw on the course. There was no Steve, Mike, or Brian… they were all Pierre, Sven, Olivier and other names with double-Ls and names I couldn’t pronounce. Such an international race is very neat.
Then we hit mile 12 and the first and steepest climb of the race. It was strange because for the first 12 miles, there were relatively few cyclists around me. But once I hit the hill at mile 12, it was a complete cluster. The hill is a 12% gradient which means most people were out of their saddle and everyone was in their lowest gear possible. I had switched to a 32 rear cassette a few months before the race and boy was I glad to have it. I expected to be wowed by the European climbing abilities, but I was cruising past people the entire way up. The only reason I didn’t pass more was because of how crowded it was. And because people were moving so slowly, a lot of people were randomly moving left and right to keep their balance – not an easy place to try passing people. Luckily the hill was only about 500 yards and then it flattened out to a relatively easy climb for the next several miles.
At around mile 30 began the longest climb of the course – a 12 miler up 3,000 feet to the top of the Col de L’Ecre. For most of this climb, I felt very good. The only people that passed me did so very quickly, so I can only assume they were terrible swimmers and phenomenal cyclists – but for the most part, I was doing the passing. I didn’t stand off the saddle once during this climb and for the most part, stayed in my lowest gears. The biggest problem I had on the climb was the heat. It was already in the 80s at that point and because my speed was so slow on the climb, there was no wind to cool me off. So the sweat was pouring off of me. There were times that I would adjust my head and streams of water would flow from under my helmet and over my sunglasses – I have never seen so much sweat come off my body. Luckily they had water bottle hand-offs every 20k and I grabbed a bottle at every single one. When you take into account the bottles that I started with, that means I drank about 13 bottles of water during the bike ride alone. The scary part is that I didn’t pee once – didn’t even feel the need to.
I should also point out how my stomach was feeling. At some point during the climb, I started to feel my stomach ringing some alarm bells. The amount of sugar I was taking in from my slurry of Perpetuade and the Cliff Bars I was eating started to take its toll… but it wasn’t awful. I was never at the point where I felt like I had to stop or anything. Once we reached the top of Col de L’Ecre there was a food stop and our special needs bags. Special needs bags are bags that you fill with whatever you think you might need halfway through the race. In mine I had placed some Perpetuade, some Cliff Bars, a Snickers bar and some bread. When I reached the special needs stop, I grabbed some Cliff Bars (that I never ate) and some bread. Once I ate the bread, I felt AWESOME. I also drank some cola-flavored electrolyte drink with caffeine and now also had more energy.
At some point along the climb I saw one of the most amazing things. It must have been about halfway through that 12-mile climb that I passed a guy with only one leg. He was pumping away on his bike with one leg which I was completely blown away by. I can’t imagine doing an Ironman with one leg. I really can’t imagine doing a hilly Ironman with one leg. I later found out that Mary Lynn saw him climbing out of the water. There were no crutches waiting for him, no walker, no assistant. Instead, another athlete saw him struggling and helped him all the way from the water exit to his bike. Gotta love the sportsmanship. See? Triathletes are all good people.
I had expected to see Ryan at some point during the climb and was thinking about what smart-ass comment I would make as he passed me. But that opportunity never came. I started to really worry that he never made it out of the water. He had a crash on the bike only a week before the race and a previous fracture in his collarbone had been seriously irritated. Little did I know that the bastard beat me out of the water. I am happy with my swim time, so no worries, but I am really glad I didn’t see him early on the bike ride or worse, in the transition area. That would have blown my confidence a bit. Instead, I spent the entire bike ride thinking I was kicking his ass. Maybe that’s why I had such a fun bike ride. I guess I should thank Ryan for beating me on the swim – I was basking in the glory of kicking Ryan’s ass. I guess you can only kick someone’s ass if they are in front of you.
The rest of the ride after the long climb is a bit of a blur. There was more climbing and a lot of downhills, but none of it seemed to be killing me. The coolest part of the ride came somewhere around mile 70 of the course. We rode through a small village on a road barely wide enough for cars. As we road through, the locals were hanging out their windows ringing bells, singing, and waving flags at us. It was without a doubt the coolest thing to experience on that ride and I actually found myself getting pretty emotional at it all. Very cool.
The last 45 miles of the course were for the most part downhill, and I was feeling awesome. In fact, I actually found myself singing out loud for much of it. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I was singing – I just know that I was. I was having the time of my life – by far the most enjoyable bike ride I have ever had and it was during an Ironman. My Garmin data shows that many of the miles during that stretch averaged in the upper 20s, but I know that my speed was in the 30s for much of it. Lots of hairpin turns as we traversed down the windy mountain road – it was so much fun. And surprisingly, I found myself passing tons of people. I am kind of a wuss when it comes to speed, but I felt so comfortable that I had no problem keeping my speed going during all the turns.
The final 12 miles of the bike course were on the same flat stretch we started on, so this was a good time to just focus on getting ready for the run. I stopped taking in any nutrition at that point so I wouldn’t have much sloshing around at the beginning of the run and I only sipped on my water. The biggest issue I had at that point was that my feet were KILLING me. I honestly felt like both big toes were broken and was a bit concerned about how this would feel on the run. Not sure what was making that happen – something about the hilly bike course, I suppose. Both Olivier and Ryan apparently had the same issue, so it must have been that.
Time – 7:26
I jumped off the bike and ran to hand my bike off and get my transition bag. My toes were still killing me, so I couldn’t wait to change shoes. I pulled off my bike shorts, changed socks, put on my running shoes, threw on my visor and my race number and I was off. Again, this transition time was 7:26 and I am not sure why it took so long. I put on sunscreen which may be what slowed me down? Not sure.
|42.2 km (4:24:47)||10:06 min/mile||1,043/2,614||233/517|
The run course was setup as a 4-loop course of about 6.5 miles per loop. The good news was that it was pancake flat along the beach. The bad news is that 4 loops means the finish line teased you three times before finishing… very painful. At the end of each loop they would give you a hair band that you placed around your wrist. Once you had 3 bands, you were on your final loop and allowed to go into the finisher chute. The bands would taunt me the entire race.
By the time I started by run, the temperature was sitting at around 31 degrees Celsius which translates to about 88 degrees. This is not ideal for running a marathon – not even close. Combine that with absolutely no shade, it meant that the run would be a heat fest. When I started, I was shocked how great I felt. My legs felt light, I had lots of energy – I seriously felt great. My first mile was at a 7:26 pace which I knew was too fast, but I was just going with what felt easy, so no worries.
By mile 2, I started to slow down a bit and started to use the water stops. There were stops every mile of the course and I quickly settled into a routine at each stop. Walk, chug 2 cups of water, eat an orange, and walk through the showers. Every water stop had 4 shower heads that you could go through to cool off. It was definitely cold water and it would take your breath away each time you went through, but when it’s about 90 degrees out, it was perfect. Every other mile I would take in a Cliff Shot block and a salt pill.
My goal for the run was to break 4 hours which meant average about a 9-minute mile. For the most part, I was doing fine for the first 10 miles. The water stops definitely slowed me down, but I was doing fine to break 4 hours. I finally saw Ryan and Olivier on my first lap of the run. Saw Olivier first as he was walking through a water stop on the return side of my first lap. I saw Ryan as he was into his second lap and I was finishing my first lap. Based on my calculations, Ryan was a little more than 30 minutes ahead of me at that point and he looked to be chugging along nicely.
By the time I got to lap 3, I was starting to feel the pain a bit and it was no longer a matter of running, but a matter of slogging through and making it to the finish. I saw people with their 3 bands around their wrist heading to the finish – maybe I could projectile vomit at them to adequately express my jealousy. Each mile would come… chug 2 cups, eat an orange, walk through the showers… listen to your feet sloshing around in your water logged shoes and hope blisters wouldn’t form. Very early in lap 3 (around mile 14), the bomb dropped in my stomach and I had to make a stop. The problem was, I hadn’t seen any port-a-johns, so I wasn’t sure where I could stop. I saw some bushes that looked awfully tempting, but this was downtown Nice, so while it might seem private, I knew it wasn’t… this could get ugly. Around mile 15 I found one. I approached the potty to find an old man hosing down the inside – what the heck did the person before me do in there to require a hose?? I asked the man to let me in and off I went. This was the first time I realized I was getting sunburned… as I pulled my suit off, I could feel the burn. Anyway, I did my business as quickly as I could and went on my way. I left and the old man promptly entered to wash away the homemade bust of Jabba the Hut that I had left for him. As I ran away, all I could think was how this was a seriously well run race if they had someone hosing down the toilets after each use. I mean, anyone that has used a mid-race toilet after someone else knows that things tend to spray everywhere in the rush of doing your business… to go into a clean one was like a miracle. Soon after that I came across the run special needs area and found my bag. I pulled out some extra salt tablets and some bread… the bread seemed to calm my stomach down again which was a very good thing.
Lap 3 was done and I saw Mary Lynn… just 1 lap to go – theoretically in an hour. I was still in good spirits and even able to smile and pose for some pictures (unheard of in my past races). But I quickly lost that pep and was facing the fact that I was slogging away at 10-minute miles and only getting slower. 2 cups of water… eat an orange… take a salt tablet… go through the showers… catch my breath… run again for a mile and repeat. At this point, the course had lost all the really good Ironman competitors and it was only the rest of us left. People were literally falling over. People were puking their guts out. People were being carried off in stretchers. I would say more than half the people I saw were walking and those that were running were slower than me, so it was pretty much like going through the land of the living dead. The heat was simply too much and was really taking its toll. But I carried on. By mile 24 a bomb dropped in my stomach again and I was approaching the same toilets and the same old man hosing them down. Should I do my business or struggle through to the end? I actually thought about pushing through, but memories of being 14 and shitting myself at the end of Fritzbees 10k came to mind, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to evacuate and entered the nice “clean” toilet. Now my stomach was so empty that it was cramping and made it very difficult to stand up straight. Mile 25 and I found Mary Lynn waiting for me. Mary Lynn has had 3 surgeries in the last year including ACL reconstruction and fixing a torn labrum in her hip. She decided to run next to me to help me along and was keeping up with me… that tells you something. The weird thing was that I was able to have a completely normal conversation – I would have expected to only grunt at that point. I told her to stop running since I knew it wasn’t good for her. She told me she would run as long as I was slower than her. So I pushed a bit and got in front of her. Eat my dust!
Finish line was now in site and I could hear the “You’re an Ironman” screams on the loudspeaker (most in French, however). I entered the final chute (which was surprisingly narrow) lined with blue carpet. Hundreds of people lined the walls and there were cheerleaders waving hands at me when I went by. Another racer was in front of me running with his wife and two kids. I thought about trying to sprint in front of him so he wouldn’t screw up my finisher photo, but I just couldn’t do it. I trotted up the ramp the finish line and I was done. I placed my hands on my head and quickly got completely overwhelmed and started crying like a baby. If you look at my finisher photo (taken on the other side of the ramp when I was out of the way of the family), you can see that I look a bit funny… it’s because I was crying. I think it also made my teeth look yellow.
As I wandered on the other side of the finish line, I was pretty confused about what I should be doing and where. I saw Mary Lynn and I quickly realized that I just needed to sit… I was feeling like crap. I knew I needed some food in me, but I was starting to shiver which just didn’t seem right to me when it was so hot out. After about 10 minutes of sitting, I told Mary Lynn that I was heading to the medical tent for some help. I went in to find about 40 people getting IVs and otherwise looking like death. They took my blood pressure and temperature… I was totally fine. So I got a thermal blanket and headed out to get my street clothes and some soup. I was apparently supposed to check out of the medical tent first – who knew? As a result, Mary Lynn had no idea I had left… and neither did the medical tent. For 3 hours, Mary Lynn was looking for me in the medical tent. For 2.5 hours, I was sitting about 20 feet away waiting for her. It made for a long and slightly distressing time for Mary Lynn and ironically gave me a good chance to pace around and make sure I didn’t tighten up. When we finally found each other it was about 11pm. We paid about $75 for a cab ride home and said hello to Olivier and his wife, Marie. Fortunately, they had some spare chicken, so I had some of that and baguette with jam… not enough food, but it’s all we had.
The next morning was all about getting packed up, picking up a rental car, and making our way to Lyon to start our real vacation.
The amazing part of my recovery is that I felt totally fine. The next day, I was tight, but my muscles weren’t sore. I had random cuts and sores (2 weeks later, I still do?), but no blisters or anything that made getting around difficult. I wasn’t particularly tired, but I was very hungry.
Since I finished, I have had some time to reflect. Now that I am back in Boston, the concept of training like I was seems a distant memory. I am so incredibly proud that I overcame my nagging leg injuries, learned how to swim, made it through a year and a half of training without an injury more serious than a blister or two, started a new job 2 months before the race, moved to Boston a month before the race, and travelled to France for my first Ironman and STILL finished 30 minutes under my goal time. If I could go back about 18 months ago when I started training for this, there is absolutely no way I would give myself much hope of doing what I did if I knew all that ahead of time. I do hope to keep competing in triathlons – I have made too much progress to let it all go now. But the fact is that training in Boston is completely different than training in North Carolina. Not just different… but much more difficult. But I will figure out a way. My focus for the next year or so will most likely be on getting better at running so I can hopefully break 3 hours in the marathon – ideally at the 2012 Boston. But I will join a master’s swim program, so hopefully my swimming will continue to improve. I just don’t know about the bike. Mary Lynn will be biking soon, so I am sure I will get out of the city to bike with her once she builds up to it.
Thanks again to everyone that supported me. And thanks for reading this.