2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 3

I woke up on day 3 with pretty sore legs, not exactly how you want to feel before a double marathon! I had a light breakfast of rice pudding, and a packet of UCAN just before the run start.

With a 5 minute deficit to Inaki, and only 40 minutes ahead of Tony, I had to decide on a race strategy. I had trained for 2 possible options: the conservative option would be if I had a big lead going into day 2 – I’d start super easy around 8:00 min/mile down from Hawi, and then settle into an easy/steady pace along the Queen K. The aggressive option would be to run at my “non suicidal” sustained limit down from Hawi (around 7:15 pace) and then settle into 8:00 pace once on the Queen K.

The decision between the 2 strategies really came down to my goal. If I wanted to win, I should adopt the all-or-nothing approach. If I wanted a safe podium, I should adopt the conservative approach. To be honest, in my mind Tony was the real threat. If we each had our best day, he would run close to 6:30 and I would run close to 7:00. I knew Inaki’s best day would be around the 7:00 mark too. To be honest, I really thought Inaki’s big performance on day 2 would hurt his day 3 run. So, knowing my own limits well, I opted to start at around 7:15 pace and see how things unfolded over the first half marathon. I was there to win, and I would rather give it everything I had, blow up and come 10th, than be conservative and come 2nd or 3rd.

To my surprise, my legs started feeling really good after the first 5k. Jochen and I were running exactly the same pace, on target for my planned 7:15 / mile effort. We went through the first half marathon in around 1:40, Tony was about 2 minutes ahead, and Inaki was 7 minutes behind. This gave me a lot of confidence that I had chosen the right plan. It seemed like I was keeping Tony at bay, and that Inaki was paying for his day 2 effort.

Down from Hawi - feeling good!

Down from Hawi – feeling good!

Jochen and I passed through the marathon mark together in 3:29 and I was still feeling good. I was on the Queen K, and I was mostly a little faster than planned (about 7:45 instead of the planned 8:00 pace). My legs were still sore, but they were not getting any worse, so I just kept going. My nutrition was on track at 300 calories per hour and I was feeling strong. It was also apparently up to 85 degrees now out in the lava fields, but I still felt cool. I was just drinking normally and everything felt good.

Still feeling strong

Still feeling strong

Jochen started slowing down around mile 28, so I went off solo for a while. Then at mile 38, it was like I was suddenly hit with a sledgehammer. Every single step felt like someone was chiseling away at my quads. I could not help but slow down to manage the pain. A short while after cresting the scenic point hill, Inaki passed me. I knew I was only going to get slower from then on, so I knew the win was now out of reach unless he completely blew up. I also knew he would be spurred on after taking the lead, and that blowing up was not likely.  It then became all about pain management for me. I would get to the finish line, I just needed to make sure I could actually still move forward in order to get there. The final 12 miles was mostly spent walking, with a bit of running thrown in. It was the most painful 12 miles of my life, but eventually I got to the “99 mile marker” which is the turn off the Queen K onto Makala drive. I stopped to let Ian take a picture of this momentous milestone, before jogging to the finish line. To my surprise, I crossed the finish line to finish 2nd overall, with just 4 minutes to spare over Tony.

Finally done!

Finally done! Ian and Chris managed to get me there in one piece!

I have no regrets over my decision to race hard. To be honest, I’m sure my quads would have also died with the conservative strategy, probably just a few miles later. I gave it everything I had in me over 3 days, but on this weekend Inaki just executed a really superb race.

Instead, it has given me significant insights into how I can better prepare for this race. I did do a lot of downhill running in training, but I don’t think it was enough. So over the winter I’m going to do a big run block to lay the foundation for some epic run training next summer. Then, I’m going to do very frequent long downhill runs in order to prepare my quads for the stress of this race. Plus, I’m going to spend a lot more time in the gym over winter working on strength (both for the run, and to prevent those post-swim glute cramps).

In conclusion, this race is simply amazing. I’ve been to Kona 3 times before this, but my experience those times was just a sliver of what the island has to offer. The Ironman takes place on the most boring part of the island, whereas Ultraman takes you on a crazy whirlwind tour of everything this spectacular place has to throw at you. Even if I had come last, I would have been so happy to be a part of this experience. May it be the first of many to come!

Here is the strava flyby for day 3


 

2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 2

We left Hilo at 5am, all the way up to Volcano for the 6:30 start. After a bit of circling around we found the start line. Basically, the whole downhill section is a no-feed zone, so crews just drop off their athletes and then drive back down the mountain. It was pretty cold, and fortunately for me, my crew member Ian Hersey had come prepared with a rain jacket and gloves for me. Given that all my previous trips to Hawaii were for the Ironman, the thought of cold weather never even entered my mind. Anyway, that’s what a good crew does!

Being the first finisher on day 1 meant I got to start right at the front. My race plan for the day was to start at a moderately hard pace, mainly to prevent anyone making a kamikaze break off the front and forcing me to chase on a wet & sketchy downhill. That tactic worked, with only Tony O’ Keefe making a pass in the first few minutes. This was really good for me, since he has ridden these roads many times before, and it was my first time ever seeing them. So I just followed Tony all the way to the bottom of the hill. It started raining pretty hard on the way down, so once again I thanked Ian (in my head) for bringing the rain jacket and gloves. As we neared the bottom of the hill, Tony and I were approaching a green light. I put in a surge to draw up alongside him in case it turned on us. My prediction came true, and we just scraped through as it was turning orange. Next we made a right turn at the Ace Hardware, and were met with a red light where I stopped to remove my camelbak and rain gear. Chris was standing at the light, so I just dropped my camelbak with him. Next thing Inaki came through and didn’t see the red light. He was almost taken out by a large pickup truck, but fortunately it saw him and stopped before squashing him. I was so amazed by what had just happened that I forgot to remove my rain jacket and gloves, then the light went green so I just rode on. I’d just have to try and undress on the fly over the next few miles! They say never try anything new on race day, and I realized now that I had not practiced undressing while riding my tri bike. I can easily ride my road bike with no hands, but the tri bike is a different story completely. I resorted to riding one handed, and pulling the clothes off with a combination of contortionism and using my teeth as a temporary hand. I managed to get one sleeve off the rain jacket, and then Ian ran next to me performing an excellent “sleeve yank” to get the other one off. Success! Next was my tight long sleeve Fusion aero top, which I had underneath the rain jacket. That was a bit more difficult but we managed to use the same technique to remove it a few miles later. Lastly, the gloves came off (literally and figuratively) pretty easily and then I was fully undressed for the day.

Tony, Inaki and I were all riding together at the front for most of the next section.  My plan was to just stay with those guys all the way into Hilo, where there is a series of traffic lights. My only goal was to not get left behind at a red light while someone else got through in front of me. As it turned out, I unintentionally made a break and created a small lead of around 2 minutes.

Just before the red road section there is a long descent; I rode it in an aero tuck without using the brakes at all, and by the time I got to the bottom Tony and Inaki were nowhere in sight behind me. So I entered the red road section (which is also a no feed / no crew zone) completely alone, with a gap ahead of the other guys that I had not intended to create.

The red road is just gorgeous. It’s a rollercoaster road under a canopy of tropical foliage, running right next to the ocean with virtually no traffic.

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I just rode steady through this section, and then eased off on the way back into Hilo, seeing if the guys would catch up and ride with me for a bit. I made it through most of the Hilo lights, and got caught at 3 reds, which I thought was a good result. I steadily made my way out of Hilo and started the rolling section towards the Hakalau bridge, where there is a one-way closure for bridge repairs. I was still 1.5-2 minutes ahead of Inaki at this stage, but then got stuck at the red light. I was at the light for a few minutes, and Inaki drew up alongside me just before it turned green. After that we rode together for a bit, at a pretty decent effort. I could tell he was trying to drop me since he was riding harder than we had ridden up the Volcano yesterday (when I’d put 7 minutes into him). I just kept it steady and let him stay in front of me. I knew I could ride a long way at that power, and I thought he would struggle to sustain it (based on the previous day). We rode together for over 40 minutes, and then he put in some big surges. I was riding over 300 watts to stay with him (350+ on the surges), which I knew for me would be too much to sustain, so eventually I just let him go, thinking that he would blow up further down the line. I clearly underestimated him, but I have no regrets about my decision; I had to ride within my own capability, stick to my own race, and chasing him would have been a mistake for me.

That next section, from the 3 gulches (wow, much beauty!) all the way up to Waimea, was a tough section for me. It took 1:41 and I only averaged 211 watts (about 25 watts lower than my typical Ironman power). I knew I needed to save something for the tough Kohala mountain climb, so it felt like I was riding at the limit of what was sensible for me at that point. During that section Inaki put 17 minutes into me. I thought it was suicidal, but it turns out that it was a great move on his part. He obviously was very familiar with that section and knew exactly what his limits were.

Mile 125 heading to Waimea

Mile 125 heading to Waimea

As I passed through Waimea, I readied myself for the big climb. I felt good, my nutrition was on track and I was ready to put in a final big effort. I had trained to hit this hill close to 300 watts, but the most I could muster was around 240 watts for the 30 minute effort. Although this was below target, I managed to claw back about a minute from Inaki on the climb.

Climbing the Kohalas

Climbing the Kohalas

Then came the most exhilarating section of the entire course – a 13.5 mile descent down into Hawi – it’s a super fast descent with some gusty winds in some parts. I hit 50 mph down there, once again very thankful that I was riding a 303 up front. I managed to make up another 60 seconds on this section, but still ended 15 minutes behind Inaki, making his overall lead around 5 minutes.

day2-finish

 Chris washed the bike while I showered and refueled. I ate a whole tub of rice pudding, a snickers, 2 marmite sandwiches, a bottle of pomegranate juice and I was still famished! We drove down the mountain and ate some lunch at Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae, before checking into the Mauna Lani for the night. I had a good recovery session in the hot tub overlooking the beach, before heading up to the room for a good night’s sleep.

Strava Flyby for day 2 lets you see how great Inaki’s move was

2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 3

2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 1

In my previous post, I talked about how I prepared for this race. Now, race day was upon us!

I was happy to wake up feeling good. I had felt nauseous and bloated since my flight on Monday, but I felt ok now and could stomach a bowl of oatmeal and some toast. We drove the 10 minutes to Kona pier and I got out to get ready. Then I realized that I’d already made my first mistake and left all my swim nutrition at the house. No problem, Chris “The Transporter” Blick spun the tires, did a few handbrake turns, and was back with my bottles in a flash. I talked to John my swim escort for a bit and then put on my wetsuit, had a drink of water and headed down the steps and into the water. I made my way to the front and then did some deep breathing to fully relax and get totally calm before the start. I don’t warm up at all for a 10k swim, since you can just do that during the first km! Steve King counted us down and then we were off!

Ready to roll in my Roka sleeveless

Ready to roll in my Roka sleeveless suit

You basically swim the first 6 miles of the Ironman run course; from the pier down to the Kona Surf Hotel at Keauhou. My plan was to swim nice and easy, and keep the leaders somewhere within sight. There can be some fast swimmers at this race, and I didn’t want to let them get too much of a lead. However, with 5 minutes I noticed that it was in fact ME that was in the lead. I double checked my effort to make sure I was going easy enough, but I still continued to build a lead.

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I went through the Kona Ironman turnaround in about 27 minutes, which is about the same I do there (for some reason I’m always a bit slower on the return leg), so I knew I was going at a decent pace, even though the effort was moderate. I went through the first Ironman distance (3.8km) in 54:49 which was faster than I expected. This is about the same pace I swim “moderately easy” in a pool with a wetsuit or sim shorts, so I knew that we at least had neutral current, or perhaps even a slightly favorable current.  I took a feed at that point (Glukos Energy Drink) and noticed that there were about 3 or 4 swimmers about 50-100m behind me. At the same time, I got stung in the face by some jellyfish, which gave me a bit of extra energy! The jellyfish sting also resulted in a more tucked chin i.e. I was looking directly down with my chin tucked into my neck, to shield my face from direct contact. That also most likely resulted in a good body position. Ok, so fueled by venom, I upped the tempo a bit, and by the 6km mark the chasers had dropped off quite a bit further. I went through the second Ironman mark in 54:54, so pace was still very consistent. For the final 2.5km I really gave it all I had left in the tank. We must have had a slight head current since the pace slowed a bit, even though I was swimming as hard as possible.

I was super happy to be first out the water in 2:29, and also to have dipped under the 2:30 mark, which is a big milestone for me in 10km race time.


Kate was not far behind, I could see her getting out of the water as I was getting on my bike. I opted to swim in bike shorts under the wetsuit, and put on a Castelli T1 aero top in T1, with one of the main reasons being that I could tape my number on prior to the race and not get it wet during the swim. I also chose to wear socks and my regular bike shoes, mainly for comfort, plus I had done most of my long rides with those.  I did take a bit too long to get the top on, but I guess that happens if you’re my size and trying to get into a size “S”!!! One thing I would do differently next time, is spend some time putting some more chamois cream on. The water there is super salty, and it got pretty abrasive later on in the ride.

Since I’ve had previous issues with a cramping glute when getting out of the water, I had a vial of HotShots waiting with my crew. Chris asked if I wanted it, and I said no because I felt ok. Boy, did things change fast about 200m into the bike! BOTH glutes just seized up completely, and I was hardly able to pedal at all. To give you an idea, in training I was comfortably hitting about 280 watts up the first hill, and now I could only manage 188 watts (whilst screaming out in pain!). Fortunately, I’ve experienced this several times in other races, so I knew that it would eventually come right.

I still don’t know what causes these cramps. The only thing I can think of is that during the swim my core is very engaged, and since all my swimming is in a pool, my muscles are used to getting short rests when I flip turn. I’m thinking I should figure out some yoga poses that can strengthen these muscles in the right way (cobra, upward plank etc.)

As you can see, this swim position engages a fair amount of "core"

As you can see, this swim position engages a fair amount of “core”

So, I’m weaving up the climb at 180 watts, shouting out in pain, when fortunately my crew drove past and I waved them down. Chris gave me the HotShots (a freebie with most Ironman swag bags these days) and within about 10 minutes the severe pain had subsided. At least I could pedal now, but still not able to get into the aero position. Near the crest of the hill, Kate caught up to me and passed me. She’s a pretty strong rider and took the lead for a while. As she rode past, I noticed that she was riding a deep wheel on the front. I’m not sure if she checked the forecast, but we were due to be hit by SUPER WINDS later in the day. Personally I had opted for a Zipp 303 NSW, which I’m confident in riding in any conditions. Right now, conditions felt perfect for an 808, so I hoped that I had been accurate in my weather assessment.

After about 30 minutes I could finally get my glutes stretched out and was able to get into aero. As soon as we hit the first series of downhills, I dropped Kate pretty quickly. I’m probably 20kg heavier than her, plus I was a lot more aero, so it did not require a ton of effort to make up time on the descents. I was mostly at around 35 mph which is not that fast, but the conditions of the roads didn’t really allow much faster on that. Day 2 would be a different story, with many occasions for 50mph+ on the descents.

I didn’t see anyone else for the rest of day 1 (besides  my crew, and my Mom and Dad who had come over all the way from SA). As we turned west along the southern end of the island, we were hit with brutal headwinds. I say headwinds, but any slight turn in the road meant an effective change of wind direction. So it was actually difficult to predict where the wind was going to hit you, making handling very tough on the descents. I would be weighting my body in one direction and suddenly the wind would hit from the other direction.

A little bit of wind!

A little bit of wind!

Here is a video of Bob Babbitt trying to say something without much success!



The wind was so strong that I got hit by a tree branch that was being blown across the road like tumbleweed. It was unlike any conditions I’ve ridden in before!

 

Mile 71

Mile 71

 

Once the climb to Volcano started, I suddenly saw Inaki’s crew pull up alongside me. I knew then he must be close. A bit later I saw my crew and they told me he was 3 minutes back. It was time to dig a bit deeper! I went out of cruise mode and into “Ironman race pace mode”. I could only sustain that for about 30 minutes, before I eased off a bit, back to “long ride moderate pace” for the remainder of the day. I was opening up the gap every time I got a new split, so I just continued the same effort up to the end. By the time I crossed the line, I’d rebuilt a bit of a lead, back to 10 minutes. I was very happy with my effort, as well as the fact that I now had a sense for my opponent’s efforts and what they could sustain for long periods (or so I thought!).

Upon crossing the line, I did a short interview with slowtwitch and a short video interview with Bob Babbitt (unfortunately poncho man was left behind in Kona, presumably having more pressing ukelele-playing commitments).

 


Strava Flyby for day 1 let’s you see how things unfolded between Inaki and me

 

I spent a few minutes getting is some recovery fuel (half a bottle of tart cherry juice, 2 marmite sandwiches that my Mum had made, and a rice pudding),  then had a quick shower and jumped into the car for the trip down to Hilo where we were staying. In retrospect, I should have stopped at McDonalds for a few burgers on the way. If I analyze my post-race fueling, I did just fine on calories and carbs, but I could probably have upped the protein a bit, since when I got to day 3 my legs were sore; something that is not very common during training. Also, if you’re eating a high % of carbohydrate it’s actually pretty difficult to get in enough calories, so you need to get in some fat and protein once that initial 2 hour fueling window is done. A good refueling plan would be high carb for about 2 hours, then add in some more normal foods including a decent amount of fat and protein, then a dinner with a good amount of fat and protein, with a high carb meal just before bed.

Recovery session

Recovery session

We had a crew recovery session in the hot tub and then got an early night, ready for day 2.


2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 2
2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 3

2016 Ultraman World Champs – Preparation

This is how I trained during race week!

This is how I trained during race week!

I’ve had Ultraman Hawaii as my goal A race for a few years now. The reason I did Ultraman Florida was to guarantee my entry into the race. There is a wildcard/waitlist option, but with that you only find out in August if you’re racing in November. Since I knew that more prep would be required, I went down the traditional route of doing a qualifying race.

The added benefit of having done Ultraman Florida is that I had a very tangible idea of what was involved in the dynamics of such a race, the training required, and logistics of a 3 day event with a support crew.

My training for Florida and Hawaii were vastly different. For Florida, I had to train over the cold Colorado winter, so I got by on the absolute minimum, averaging just under 15 hours per week in the 3 months prior to race day. For Hawaii I could prepare during the Boulder summer, and got the double benefit of many sunlight hours, as well as pretty hot conditions throughout.

Final 3 months Florida Hawaii
Peak CTL 126.8 167.1
Hours per week (avg/max) 15/24 21/28
Run miles per week (avg/max) 30/55 41/91
Swim yard per week (avg/max) 9000 12000/25000
Bike hours per week (avg/max) 8/17 12/23
Training load for UMFL vs UMWC

Training load for UMFL vs UMWC

Training structure
Swim: 
I didn’t really do much different to regular Ironman swim training, except for a single 11k swim. Everything was 5k or less, usually about 4k. I did place a big focus on strength (lots of paddles, plus work on the vasa indoor trainer). In the final 3 weeks, many workouts were only 2-3k but high intensity and lots of paddles. In most races this year my swim has been pretty good, so I didn’t see the need to spend a lot of time on it.

Run: In the final build I had at least 6 weeks of more than 55 miles per week, and a single big 91 mile week. I trained on similar terrain to Hawaii, but based on what happened on race day, I don’t feel that I did enough long downhill running at a fast pace. Next year I will be sure to do much more of that.

Bike: I did several long rides over 140 miles, and a lot of shorter riding at higher intensities. I’m happy with my bike prep and there is not much I would change at all.

Nutrition: I have my race nutrition pretty much dialed in, so the new focus was all around daily recovery. I spent a lot of time at CU Sports Medicine, experimenting with different refueling strategies and measuring glycogen levels for each one. The LCHF people will have a heart attack reading this, but I now know that I am able to eat 1000g of carbohydrate in the 18 hour window between stages and pretty much replenish my glycogen stores!

Equipment choices

Swim – Hawaii is wetsuit legal, and I went with a Roka Maverick Pro sleeveless suit, which is no longer in production but was kindly dug out of the warehouse by the Roka guys and given to me for this race. This was a superb choice – it was not too warm and without the sleeves I had plenty of mobility with zero shoulder fatigue.

For goggles I went with Aquasphere Kayenne which I find really comfy and have great visibility. I treated them with the new Sven Can See anti fog formula, which I chose because it’s durable and I knew would enable clear vision for the whole 10km swim.

Bike – of course I was riding the Dimond, with an identical spare bike provided by Chris (which happened to be the one I ended up riding in Florida). The main changes compared to Florida was no disc wheel (not allowed) so I used a Zipp 808 with a Zipp 303 NSW on the front. I also had a Zipp 808 NSW front wheel but I never ended up using it due to the insanely crazy winds we had. I also used Enve extensions instead of the original 3T extensions that I previously used. That allowed a slightly more controlled, albeit less aggressive position on the bike. Having now completed Hawaii, I’d say that stability and handling should always be the primary consideration. The conditions you experience are significantly worse that what you would have experienced in the Kona Ironman if you’ve done that. Bottle choice was an XLAB Torpedo for hydration and an aero bottle on the downtube for calories.

Run – I wore an Under Armour heatgear compression top (which was great), north face better than naked shorts, and 3 pairs of Hoka One One running shoes – Valor, Clifton and Clayton (not at the same time of course, that would be ridiculous). Oakley Jawbreaker PRIZM provided the eye protection (wow, amazing eyewear!) and socks were courtesy of Feetures.

2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 1
2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 2
2016 Ultraman World Champs – Day 3

Also, check out the Training Bible Podcast Interview

Ultraman Florida Win (The Executive Summary)

In business, we use the “Executive Summary” a fair amount. The goal is provide the reader (usually a busy exec with very little time) the pertinent facts without them having to read through reams of information. Now, my race reports end up being very detailed, which is useful to many people, but it’s a lot of reading! The purpose of this post is to provide a short summary of the race for the reader, but it also allows me to get something out there, and then spend more time on the detailed report.  Here goes!

Last weekend I won Ultraman Florida, a 3 day event that includes a 6.2 mile swim and 90 mile bike on day 1, a bike ride of 171 miles on day 2, and a double marathon (52.4 miles) on day 3. It was an exciting last day, where my 56 minute lead was whittled down to a narrow winning margin of 8 minutes. Half way through the run, the projected finish time had my winning margin down to only a minute!

Day 1: 10k Swim 2:48 (first out of the water), 90 mile bike 4:33 (after day 1, 36 min lead)
Day 2: 171 mile bike 8:06  (after day 2, 56 min lead)
Day 3: 52 mile run 7:53 (winning margin only 8 minutes)
Total time 23:22:12
 – Full results here

There was some good coverage around this race:
–  IMTalk episode 501 (my interview starts at 28:33) was before the race and episode 504 (starts 30:50) was after the race.
– Zen and The Art of Triathlon podcast episode 615
– I did an interview with slowtwitch after the race
– I also did an “ask me anything” thread on slowtwitch which is a great concept – basically any questions goes, and there are some interesting ones in there!

Rob Gray and the crew at the finish line of ultraman florida

Left to right: Kevin Coady, Ethan Davidson, Yours Truly, Chris Blick, and “The Postman” Brian Post. Photo Credit Michael Noonan and Bob Badalucco

– With the goal of racing the Ultraman World Championship this year in Hawaii, I decided to do Ultraman Florida in Feb 2016.
– Preparing over the Colorado winter was quite tough. Having last year’s winner Billy Edwards as my neighbor sure helped, since he had to go through a similar thing for 2015 and could give me sage advice along the way.
– It all came together, though, and I managed to win the race with a very narrow margin of 8 minutes
– I was first out of the water, and extended my lead on the day 1 and day 2 bike legs
– Day 1 conditions were very tough (very windy, mostly a cross headwind). My Dimond bike was a real advantage here, the beam design prevents most of the “shunting around” that happens in gusty wind conditions. The aerodynamics make a big difference. I rode about 10 minutes faster than anyone, at very low power (less than 180 watts average, which is the same effort as my easy recovery rides). The amazing Ice Friction Chain also helped to make sure I saved as many watts as possible!
– I was in a new wetsuit (Roka Maverick Pro) which was super comfy and enabled more range of movement than any other suit I’ve swum in
– Day 2 I started very strong. My aero pad came loose on the rough roads, and snapped off after 2.5 hours. Luckily my crew turned around a complete bike swap in just over 5 minutes. They were like an F1 pit crew!
– I went into day 3 with a 56 minute lead
– The guy in 2nd place was running 1 minute per mile faster than me. With a run of 52.4 miles, you do the math! It was destined to be very close!
– The gap after the first 26 miles was down to 27 minutes!
– I had to dig extremely deep to maintain focus and pace on the last 26 miles
– My crew really helped me to get it done, and in the end I negative split the double marathon to take the win (negative split is where you run the 2nd half faster than the 1st). My shoe of choice – the Hoka One-One Clifton 2. Hokas have opened a different dimension of training and racing for me. On a double marathon, the high degree of cushioning really saves your legs, and helps you to finish strong, when going long!
– Nutrition was a combination of home-made fuel on the bike, and Glukos Energy products (my favorite is the tabs on the run)
– I had an amazing crew. Coach Kevin Coady from California, Ethan Davidson and Chris Blick from Dimond Bikes in Des Moines, Iowa. I can honestly say that crew selection is a critical  part of success in a race like this! Oh, sorry Dimond Van, I almost forgot to mention you!

Full report is on it’s way. I’ve gotten many questions about equipment choice, nutrition strategy and about my goals for Ultraman Hawaii. I’ll aim to cover as much of that then.

In the meantime, enjoy some other pics from the race…

 

Pre-race tune up with the crew!

Pre-race tune up with the crew!

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Finish line day 1, the lava bike still looks clean and happy!

Recovery time!

Recovery time in the Dimond Van!

David: "don't worry about me, mate, I'm just here to finish"... he forgot the part about him coming here to put me through the hurt locker

David: “don’t worry about me, mate, I’m just here to finish”… he forgot the part about him coming here to put me through the hurt locker

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The day 2 start line – it’s like Noah’s ark you set off 2 x 2

Aero time, day 2

Aero time, day 2

The reserve bike also got a chance!

The reserve bike also got a chance!

 

Me with the women's champion Jessica Duree

Me with the women’s champion Jessica Deree. Her shirt says “you got chicked” which was true for many of the UMFL male athletes…