I arrived in Cambridge Friday afternoon for packet pickup and bike racking. I was really happy I had already thought through what to put in my T1, T2, and special needs bags, so that made getting organized a lot easier. I went to dinner with some folks from my tri club, headed back to the hotel, and actually got a pretty good (Ambien assisted) night of sleep. Woke up around 4, got all my bags to the right locations, and headed to the swim start. Getting started early helped, I didn't feel at all rushed.
Swim (2.4 miles swim - Completed in 1 hour, 42 minutes)
Comments: Well, I had done swims in rough water before, but I don't think it was ever anything this bad. Things were fine on the outbound leg, but quickly got worse at the turn. With the waves coming in and breaking over your side, it got pretty disruptive, not to mention the lovely side effect of nausea. Fortunately the "side-wave" action was short lived, the reward being another turn to swim directly into the waves. Ugh. Couldn't sight worth a damn on the inbound leg, but was actually pleased coming around on the first lap, hearing that I was at about 43 minutes. The second lap was all the same sensations, just worse because my stomach was feeling worse and worse. I almost lost it about 200M from the finish, started to dry heave. Stopping didn't help, because the bouncing up and down wasn't exactly a yack reliever. So, suck it up move number one of the day was just shutting it out, since there was no way I was going to bail on the swim with the end in sight. I was VERY happy to get out of the water.
What would you do differently?: I could have used more swim volume in training, but really the conditions and resulting inability to sight well had a lot to do with the result.
T1 (transition 1, swim to bike)
Comments: I always pride myself on being pretty quick in transitions. I had been telling myself that I just had to take it easy in an iron distance rate. Happily, the condition I was in getting out of the water guaranteed that I would take all the time I needed in T1. Very helpful volunteers in the tent getting my suit off and packed up. I already had my bike shorts on under the wetsuit, so it was just a matter of putting on my jersey, shoes, and helmet before heading out of the tent.
What would you do differently?: Nothing. I just needed to sit for a few minutes to get my bearings back.
Bike (112 miles - Completed in 6 hours, 51 minutes)
Comments: I knew this was going to be rough when I saw the wind forecast for Cambridge was 10-13 MPH, because once you get outside of town the winds are almost always stronger than the forecast. Sure enough, the first outbound section things felt great, but I could see everyone coming back going significantly slower. Even going (slower) back into the wind, I was feeling pretty good.
What would you do differently?: I guess work on mental focus, but it's already hard on a ride this long, much less with the winds involved.
T2 (transition 2, bike to run )
Comments: Pretty uneventful, but the valet service for the bike was nice. With the water we rode through, I was really happy to have a dry pair of socks to put on, and also put my IT band brace on my right leg (which is the one that has always flared up). In prepping for this, I really thought I was going to have a hard time getting up and leaving the changing tent, but it was just kind of happened without me really thinking about it.
What would you do differently?: Nothing.
Run (26.2 miles - Completed in 6 hours, 9 minutes)
Comments: I actually felt really good leaving transition, and for the first four miles I was actually clicking off 10 minute miles without much effort. I slowed a little on the return leg, but was still back from the first loop in about 1.5 hours. I got to see my wife and daughter again, which was great. I actually thought for a little while that I might be done by 9PM, but, of course, my body had other plans.
What would you do differently?: Nothing, it was about survival.
Warm down: As I mentioned, I was just spent in every way, shape, and form. My wife really wanted to help me get packed up, but I convinced her to just get back to the hotel and out of the rain. I packed my bike up, went to collect my bags, and when I saw that there was no wait for a massage (duh, it took you 15 hours), got one, which I think is one of the reasons I was mobile on Sunday.
What limited your ability to perform faster: Same as in my Eagleman report, I wouldn't change anything. I trained as much as I could while maintaining a somewhat normal family life. I would have loved to finish closer to 13 hours, and I never had any serious doubts about finishing, but the mental aspect of doing something this long is something you can't (in my opinion) completely prepare for, especially your first time. People can say having a child is a wonderful thing, but you don't really "get it" until you do it. It's the same thing here. Anyone who even tries an iron distance event is amazing (and crazy), but you you don't really "get it" until you do it.
Event comments: I will say that packet pickup, etc. seemed a little disorganized, but other than that I can't say enough about the race and the volunteers. The time they put in, and the encouragement they provide, is amazing!