Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chile 2009

Well I am back from my business trip in Chile, and I have to say it was interesting. My training sufferred immensely since I was not able to get in the training necessary for the Toughman Half IM due to long days at work.

The weekends however were different. Myself and Co-worker did quit a bit of exploring in the one full weekend we had and let me tell you exploring in Chile where some towns are not truly Tourist driven can be exciting.

The best of these was our visit to Valparaiso. This is a quirky town that has some real character. It sits on a bay and is dominated by hills that each have beautiful views of the Bay. At the turn of the century (ie 1900) they had built a number of trams (or Furniculares) that they call "ascensores" ie ascenders, to help the local population get up the hills. These same "Ascensores" are still around and it was our mission on this trip to see them. This was a far bigger task than we could have expected. You see each ascensor is known by its name ( yes they each have a name much like my old bike is known as "Dusty") and it is almost expected that you know what you are looking for.

Anyhow more to come on this later on.....I have to go back to working on fixing my damned Kitchen sink. But come back soon... you will learn of the secrets to quality wine making in Chile by playing music to the grapes! and that a GPS device can in fact tell you one thing and point you in another direction! So exciting!

Problem with the Domain name

Sorry folks, over the last few days it seems my Domain had been on the fritz. It seems I had an old credit card on file with Google, on the 15th the domain expired and they could not renew because the expiration had expired on that card. While in Chile my internet access was limited so I missed the email.

Anyhow its been straightened out and Operation Ironman is back in Business.

Monday, August 3, 2009

IMLP 09 Race Report

So up until the day before the race I truly did not know if I would be able to race. My Father-in-Law was at the time in truly dire conditions and it was expected he could pass-on at any moment. I had decided that if he passed the day before I would have to go home to be with my Wife. Up until Saturday all seemed good until Saturday afternoon that My Wife called me that they were taking Moel(F-I-Law) off Life support and he would probably pass on soon after. At which point I was planning to leave if the word came. But later that evening I called my wife to get a status and explained I was waiting to see if I had to leave. her response was "Who said you were coming home? I did not ask you to do that?" She told me I have been waiting for 2 years for this, and her dada was in bad shape for the past 3 months, its bad timing but there is nothing to do about that. Besides her dad would want me too. She said "Javier go flatten some hills" then come home as soon as you can.

So with that, I decided to stay and finish this journey. I decided I would dedicate the race to my Awesome wife, Retno, and her dad.

I put it on my arm so I would be reminded why I was doing this whenever I was in the Aero bars.

So that evening had a light meal and went to bed around 9:30 ish. I slept pretty well and got up around 4AM. The Tom and Phil were already up and getting their breakfast together. I had my usual two slices of toast with peanut butter, added a bagel with butter for good measure. Preparing breakfast I saw there were some inspirational notes left around by Guru (that crazy kid!):

This is the kind of thing one should expect when sharing a house with a bunch of creative, fun, slightly deranged and yet awesome folks.

Anyhow the Iron-Sherpas also got up to join us during breakfast at 4AM to see us all off.

Thats Guru in the front, clearly not happy to have been photo's in an unprepared state, yet trying to work in a smile anyhow ( I think she gripped that fork much tighter almost instinctively).

After Breakfast, Chem-lab began ( its that moment that you have 3-4 athletes in one kitchen preparing all sorts of drinks with powders and such you end up with a cloud of powder at one point). For me I was going with Heed and Perpetuom. I knew that the course was going to be well stocked I was not too stressed. My goal was to put in about 300 calories and hour, which according to many USAT coaches is the estimate that is needed to keep the body moving in a long course race. In my special needs I put extra powder in baggies so that I could prepare 2 more bottles during the second loop. With the Perpetuom each bottle had 280 calories. I also had some energy bars and such to make up the difference. My strategy was that on the bike I would stop ad aid stations only for water when the Perpetuom started to feel stagnant or I got tired of it. I also had made the decision to stop at every single aid station during the marathon. As such I would not need to worry about building a surplus of calories for the run.

After breakfast we packed up the gear and headed out with the crew. The house was only a few blocks away from the start which is perfect. dropped everything off and headed to the water.

So now maybe I should say something about my strategy for this race. I did not train for this race as I would have loved. There were so many issues and distractions such as a large workload that required me to get home late and such, that I missed many workouts. However I did make the KEY workouts so I knew I had the base necessary to get through it so long as I played my cards right. My plan was to be conservative the whole way through. In the past I had suffered severe leg cramps on the run and I had discovered that if I pace myself on the bike and not push more than at the level I train I am OK. Nutrition wise I was shooting for 300 calories an hour, which is teh estimate on what is needed to keep moving forward.

By the swim start everyone was gathering in basically 2 places, in the front treading water or in the back hanging out on shore. I lost Phil by this point and I found out later he was in the Front. I was hanging with Tom in the back. For this race we were not eager to get into water combat when we knew we had long days ahead of us. I was a bit excited at the though that the day was finally here.

After waiting awhile, the canon went off and sure enough the pandemonium began, but it was not out of control. I felt I went through the swim nice and relaxed with little trouble at all. I wa snot pushing myself. Sighting was not an issue one bit, they mark the course so clearly that Its hard to go off track by much. As I said the swim went easy I finished in 1 hr 23 mins.

Transition was a non event, saw Guru as I was headed out, she was a traffic cop atthe womens transition it seemed.

On the Bike my goal was to do 15 mph average. This was a pace I had figured out at Rev3 that I could maintain and NOT suffer leg cramps. The first loop was great, Lake Placid is Hilly but not so hilly that there is any one hill that you feel you would rather get off and walk on. They are just long gradual hills. Much of my first loop I spent exchanging places with people named Michelle, Jerry and Lynne. I also had the chain drop 3 times whenever I wanted to shift to the smaller ring. Overall, I was feeling good, in fact after the first loop my average was above 16mph and I started to feel a leg cramp coming on so I dialed it back for the second loop.

By the second loop I had started to exchange my water bottles out with the bottle of Gatorade they were handing out. So I went to special needs where I had put 2 baggies with Perpetuom so that I could add to whatever I received at bottle exchanges. This proved to be tricky. The Gatorade bottles were not large mouth bottles like water bottles so filling it with Powder was not so simple or fast. The result was I got 75% in the bottles, and 25% all over me lol

Having accomplished that I was onto the second loop.

Second time was NOT a charm, this time those long inclines seemed much harder. By mile 90, the miles just seemed to take forever. and I was real glad to get the bike portion over. All in all despite being tired I felt good, my nutrition was just right. So I was actually looking forward to doing a marathon now. kinda sick ain't it?

SO in transition I decided to take it easy, my legs were feeling it and I was still concerned about that Cramp I felt earlier in the bike. I wanted to make sure to give it time to pass. I went to the sunscreen latherer dude who proceded to just practically pourthe stuff on me like I was a cake and he just had to put icing on me it was that thick! No artform or style whatsoever, but it worked! I did not get burned! lol

Once I got started I felt pretty good. I was not going to Rock the run, I was sticking to my plan till the end. The whole run I stayed at a base pace trot, about 10-11 min/mile. I walked the aid stations and took in everything they had every other station. At this relatively slow pace I was passing without exaggerating hundreds. Soo many people that pushed on the bike only to end up walking the marathon. I was able to maintain this pace constant throughout the run. The crowd support was simple awesome. I think this was my favorite part of the race simply because there was much more interaction with the crowds. At this slow pace I moved up almost 700 positions in ranking from the bike to the run, thats how many people I passed that were walking after a pushing on the bike. On the run I saw basically everyone and saw Phil as he was about to enter the stadium, he was just rocking the race on his way to beating the sun ( finishing before nightfall). Tom was looking good also taking his time as he had planned prior to the race start. I saw triBoomer on the road he looked beat but determined (he finished of course after all he IS an Ironman). Turns out he was having stomach issues.

I saw Jackie V out on the run, she was there just to cheer me on and she nearly tackled me as I was getting water haha it turns out she was cheering much of the time from the local bar lol Some people they know what they are doing :)

Finally entering the stadium was simply surreal. They just make you feel that you are a star. In teh stands I saw Christine and Michelle waving at me. Then I heard "Javier Gomez ..You are an IRONMAN!" WOW!! FINALLY!!!

I stumbled into a pile of "catchers" who walked me to everything after. They were great.

Christine ( Guru) and Michelle then escorted me back up to the house. The plan was to get back down to cheer others but somehow the tiredness settled in at that point and I never made it back. Guru and Michelle missed Rambonies finish cuz they were helping me and they figured they would have tiome to get back down. But we underestimated the Rambonie machine. Who knew that in the spot where everyone else "Hits the Wall", Rambonie would choose to Tackle it! He picked it up at that point and finishedbefore they could get back down! Way to GO!

In the end, everyone in the house finished. Which was totally awesome.

My finish time was 14:37, not a time I would say was awesome but its still an IRONMAN finishing time :)