::2012 Ironman St Goerge Recap::
Nothing like a 3:45 wake up to start an ironman race. From 4:30-5:30 the buses line up downtown St George to take us down to the pretty amazing setting of Sand Hollow. This race has two different transitions for the swim and bike. This is a first for me and I was a little worried about it just because I wasn’t sure if I was able to access the bags in the morning. (it ended up being not being an issue.) You get picked up at the bike transition and obviously the swim transition is right were you start the race.
The morning was amazing, calm, almost warm and clear. I wasn’t ready at 4am but after being up for 3 hours, I was ready and fairly calm. My approach to the swim was going to be start on the outside and move towards the middle. I am so use to Ironman Canada were they have a rope across the front to keep everyone even, this race…when everyone was all over the freaking place ahead of the start. Once the gun went, it was go time. I was out unchallenged and feeling great, until 15 minutes. The craziness started, I have never swam in something like this in my life. I was swimming in 3-4 foot white caps. I kept swimming til I go sea sick and stopped to see if anyone else was having a hard time. After about ten minutes and not knowing were the markers were, I started to think if I was even getting to the finish. I just sat there, watched and tried to calm myself down. At about 35 minutes I just decided that I would try and find the markers and once on land everything would workout. When I got out at 1:08, I knew 10 hours was out of the question, especially when the winds would continue on this very hilly bike straight into my face.
After wondering what the hell happened after I heard it was amazing day and 11 mph winds, I jumped on my bike and knew I needed a conservative ride to make sure I have a strong marathon. Through out the bike I’ve never been a part of so much banter about the race and how crazy things have unfolded.
Once off my bike and actually having had passed a lot of people on the downhill, I was very ready to put my shoes on and see how the legs would feel. After my Ironman Canada last year, I still had worries about concrete legs. I think my bike was a little slower then I think it should have been, even in the wind. I threw my shoes on and was so happy to be in town where I could actually hear something other then waves crashing or wind in my ear. I felt great coming out on to the course with my first mile at about 6:40 pace and then tried to settle in on my 7:20 goal for the first loop. Not much to report on the run, I broke this down into two 8 miles sections, (the three loops) and had pace times of 7:20 first, 7:40 second, 8 on the last. I was pretty close to that, put had the obvious pain on the last 4 miles which were around 9′s. I did find it a little frustrating after the first loop to catch anyone because by the second loop the rest of the field starting to mesh in, and with that also comes with more probablems getting aid as well.
I finally trucked in just over 11hrs, way over what I wanted but was suprisily happy with how I felt at the end. Everything was smooth. After the 30 minute check on my watch in the wave hammered swim I just wanted to focus on things that needed work, fueling, transitions and the marathon. All three were pretty good and finished the race without out being really pissed off at myself.
I have to stay with all the issues with the weather, this had to be my most enjoyable ironman race to date. St George did an amazing job and loved the fact that I never had to line up for anything. Huge contrast to Penticton, when even body marking has a pretty good line up. You park anywhere no problem, get gear bags right away, bike checked in right away, straight into the expo, and buy some ironman gear without standing in a line for 2 hours. So much more laid back and was less of a “show” like atmosphere then Penticton. I feel a little honored to have completed the last 140.6 distance in St George, but also glad that they won’t have it anymore to tempted me to do it again. I can see why they have issues selling out simply for the fact that the bike is just insane…