Thursday, November 27, 2008

Doctor Lundell’s Arizona Ironman report

I began this ironman with great trepidation; my first Ironman, having only considered triathlon two years ago, not being able to run or swim at that time, not feeling at peak fitness for cycling, only my second 2.4 mile swim, being undertrained for running because of a tibial stress fracture in the spring and multiple hamstring and foot issues.
That being said my few successes in life have been achieved more with determination than talent, so I was determined to finish with the goal of 16 hours 59 minutes.

Knowing that I am a slow swimmer in spite of Ann Wilson’s great instructions, I started near the back. The swim was comfortable and I thought I was doing OK until I saw Jeff and Shawn who were volunteers on the swim course. They said 1:23 had already passed and the Mill Ave Bridge was still in front of me, disappointed but still determined. I was out of the swim at 1:42:50. Happy to be done and feeling good, but with 2065 people in front of me.

The bike leg went well. I followed Bill Wilson’s instructions and took it easy, got in all the calories and electrolytes per the plan, and finished the bike segment in 5:48:02 having passed 847 faster swimmers.

The run was starting out poorly, running too fast then getting tired and walking. On the first Mill Ave Bridge crossing, to my humiliation Sharon caught me walking. Sharon is my sweetheart and training partner. When you run with Sharon there is no run-walk strategy it is all run. She encouraged me, so it was back to running and only walking at the aid stations. At the end of the first lap she told me that the internet spies said I was first in age group by 40 min coming off the bike, now the pressure was on. I kept a steady, but slow pace on the second loop. Sharon and her friend Jacque were at multiple locations on the course to encourage me; they may have covered more miles than I did. Sharon reported that I had lost time to my pursuer so my determination really kicked in. The last lap was my fastest segment, my legs felt OK so I picked up the pace. I saw Preston out on the course and his encouragement was vital in keeping me going for the last segment. What a beautiful sight that left turn arrow is at the bottom of the park to be followed by a more beautiful sight, the finish!
I am amazed that I finished, amazed that I was less than 13 hours and amazed to be first in age group, truly humbled to qualify for Kona.
I am extremely thankful for all support and encouragement from friends especially the TriScottsdale friends. To have children and grandchildren at the finish to celebrate was very special. I have much to be thankful for.
Special thanks to Ann and Bill from Camelback Coaching, Nate and the other pros at Endurance Rehab, Karyn Hendrickson at One Stop Fitness for getting this old carcass across the finish line.
Very special thanks to Sharon Johnston for her love, encouragement and all the great time we have spent training, she is the real Ironman.