Ironman Arizona, was a good opportunity for me to get a long course race in before winter.
The key to running and completing a full Ironman, in a reasonably good fashion, is by building a strong base. That base for me consisted of one duathlon, one Olympic distance triathlon and 4x 70.3 races.
My last half Ironman was World Championships in Australia, while a great trip and fun beyond belief, this was not my best effort.
I was grateful to have one final race, with a bit more time to prepare, and a chance to use my natural endurance. As I age my speed begins to slow so I need to use my experience to make progress.
Ironman Arizona is held in the city of Tempe. This is unbelievably warm and beautiful. We had a rainy and cold September and October in the Pacific Northwest so this was a great reprieve for me.
My bike transition was around seven minutes plus, pretty fast for me. I did all my changing out into my cycling gear outside on the grass. I have never found the tents to be conducive due to the darkness. Everybody sitting on chair, it just has a depressing atmosphere for me.
My ride went smoothly. I did not have any mechanical problems, and enjoyed the out and back in both cases. The officials were all over those competitors who were drafting. I've never seen so many people waiting at the penalty chance to complete their five-minute penalty phase. I understand by others that I was photographed a few times, I can't believe that he could have been drafting ha ha!
There are three loops for Ironman Arizona.. They are each about 37 miles. The air temperature was 72° and we had a 10 to 15 mph headwind going out and making a gentle climb. There was a wind at our back on the way down which made for incredibly fast times on the return of the three of the three loops the second was the most difficult for me primarily due to the mental aspect of heading out into that headwind. For reasons I can explain the third loop was much easier.
My transition from bike to run was less than five minutes. I felt like my transition was smooth. I had a good plan and definitely had motivation to not walk. Mentally it helped me to give myself permission to walk through the aid stations and hydrate myself. I mostly stuck with Gatorade and water. What I found my time slowing I transitioned over to Redbull. This proved to be a mistake since it acted as a diuretic. So my Redbull days are over.
My marathon was a little over five hours which makes me shutter a bit. I never thought I'd run that slow ever. However it is a long race after a very long bike ride. Early on I had delusions of running a four hour marathon. This is still a go for the future and I need some improvement in speed, so speed work is high in my agenda for 2017, next season and I hope to run 3×70.3 at least in one full Ironman race with the date still to be determined.I echo the sentiments of Trev Dakan, I agree that I am quite lucky at my age to continue to race and do something I love so much. Go RTB!