1st Ever Arizona Anti-Ironman
Monday, November 24th, 2008
Result = DNF
In protest of the high entry fee ($525) required to legitimately enter Ironman Arizona, I decided earlier this year that I would attempt the distances of swimming, biking, and running on or near the same day as the actual race. I hoped to use Arizona State's student recreation complex (IronmanSRC) as my home base for the swim and run. It turns out the pool is closed until 9am on Sundays, so I delayed my race until Monday. Leading up to this attempt I had been struggling with a foot neuroma that was so severe I couldn't walk on my foot normally about two months ago. On top of not running, I didn't specifically train for either the swim or bike (this was more or less an off the couch challenge). The only triathlon I have ever participated in was the Carlos O'Brian sprint at Lake Pleasant in 2004.
The Plan - A 2.4 mile swim in the lap pool is significantly different than open water, but I had planned to swim 169 lengths to cover the full distance. I would then transition in the locker room and hop on the bike for 3 loops (approx 37 miles each) similar in nature to the Arizona course, up the 87 highway to Shea Blvd. I would finish off the day with 59 laps around the .44444 mile dirt loop outside the IronmanSRC.
The Swim - I was making some final adjustments to my road bike on "race morning" and fumbled my pedals a bit, delaying my start until 7:10am. I have not had much experience with long swims - my furthest being a mile swim at a scout camp on Catalina Island over 5 years ago. I planned to swim 10 laps and then take a 30 second breather to mark off my progress on a tracking sheet and take a sip of Gatorade. This worked well and soon the laps were flying by. Without any training, I could only use the front crawl for 25 to 50 yards at a time and I would then get very tired. I mostly stuck with breast stroke, side stroke and the elementary backstroke. As I passed the halfway mark and soon found myself upwards of 70 and 80 laps, I swam faster in anticipation of the finish. Swim time was 1:36:14 including the small pauses.
The Bike - I transitioned in about 10 minutes which seemed like a long time, but I had to gather all of my nutrition for the whole day. After locking my gear up in the locker, I "jogged" out the building and unlocked my bike. I took along two one gallon jugs filled with water and Gatorade that I was planning to use as a resupply. I hid these in some bushes off University and took off towards the beeline highway. I soon noticed that my rear wheel was wobbling back and forth so bad that it was rubbing against the frame! I guess all that fiddling the night before was a bad idea. I felt frustrated that my day might end right here. Fortunately, I just passed by Tempe Bicycle and decided to stop off for a quick tune up. They put the bike up on a stand and had the wheel correctly aligned in 20 minutes. So $10 later I was back on the road worried how close this would put me to the "cut-offs". The ride out to Shea was slightly but noticeably uphill and there was just enough of a headwind to keep any records from being broken. That coupled with my 30 year old steel road bike and I felt like I was crawling! As I left the city behind me I started to enjoy myself and felt good until I hit the hills climbing up towards Fountain hills. My knee really started to ache and I basically decided that I would call it a day after the first loop. Being signed up for the Thanksgiving Day 10 miler on Thursday, I decided I would have more fun running that race than incurring another injury. I'm convinced the knee issue was from all of the frog kicking during the swim. After hitting the turnaround point at Shea, the course becomes a lot more fun. Riding downhill with a tailwind suddenly makes for renewed spirits. Bike time was 2:58:54 including the 20 plus minutes in Tempe Bicycle.
The Run - Not like my knee wanted to run, but I figured I might as well put in a few laps to unofficially call it an anti-triathlon. I managed to run about 1.7 miles before calling it a day. Run time was 12:24. Total time including transitions was 5:05:10.
I have a definite respect for these Ironman athletes (Including Kirk - congrats!) and will consider a rematch next year (hopefully with some specific training). If not, it was still a fun day. After about 20 minutes of ice on the knee it feels back to normal too.