IronMan Germany 2011 David R.
Race Report Ironman Germany 2011
I was 19th in my age group. One third of my age group did not even finish. It was a wet and windy day, so it was the biggest challenge I have faced for an Ironman. I PR’d the swim, then fought rain and wind to finish the bike, albeit on a very scenic course. I almost quit a couple times after getting drenched on the run, but somehow I hung on, and finished, of which I am quite proud. Yet it was also the support and encouragement of many people which enabled me to keep going. Altogether, an amazing and deeply memorable experience.
MONDAY, July 18, 2011
I took my last bike ride on the weekend, and packed my bike on Monday. Rob King, Road and Tri Sports, helped me. Neil Fraser graciously lent me his bike box. I wrote up the details for the packing process in as a separate document. I also documented the details of the rest of my packing, so I can use it as a guide for next time (if there is a next time). It helped a lot having my log of the Arizona Ironman in 2009 in order to pack for Germany. I also had chiropractic and acupuncture appointments on Monday, and a haircut.
TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY July 19-20, 2011
We got to the airport about 2 hrs early on Tuesday for a 2pm non-stop flight to Frankfurt. Nancy Russell (thanks, Nancy) drove us to airport. She has a minivan, so it was easy to load my bike box. There was not much of a line, and check-in was easy. I used frequent flier miles for the ticket, but it was $200 for the bike box. We time to relax at Red Carpet club, which is open to United Premier Execs for international flights.
A 10.5 HR flight. 3 movies, all enjoyable, The Adjustment Bureau, Happy Thank You More Please, The Lincoln Lawyer. (Beastly also, but I had seen on another flight, so didn’t watch except for beginning which I had missed on the previous flight.). A bit of a relief, though to finally be on vacation, and on my way to Germany. It was quite stressful just trying to get everything ready.
We arrived at 9am Wednesday, about 20 minutes earlier than scheduled. It was easy to get through customs. I used my German passport but got no stamp (Makes sense, though, that I would not get a stamp for “returning” to Germany). Duh. But at least I got to use it for the first time. It took two carts to handle all the luggage, including the bike box, large suitcase with my triathlon gear, 2 carry-on size suitcases, and 2 backpacks.
I got €200 cash at a teller machine at airport. We took a taxi from the airport to the Hilton. €34 (plus tip), needed a large taxi due to bike box!
The Hilton was great. I highly recommend the hotel to anyone doing this race. The staff was so nice. The pool and fitness center are unsurpassed. Treadmills, other cardio equipment, weights, a 25 meter pool (!), plus steam room and sauna (which were behind a door signed “Nude Zone” meaning you are not supposed to wear any clothes in that area. Which is co-ed), the hotel room was spacious and well appointed. It probably helped that I have Hilton Honors gold status, but I was paying for my room with points, not Euros, and still got top notch service. They included my wife and daughter for the free breakfast buffet, which was incredible. They also made egg-white omelets for us every day, and the Maitre’D remembered our order from the day before. I inquired about a breakfast for race day, and they offered a box lunch, at no charge. And took my special request for a banana. There were two in the box, and they added an additional one when I picked up the box on race morning.
There is an Executive lounge on the 11th floor for Hilton Honors members (we were on the 10th) which has snacks and beverages most of the day, and a great view of the city. With water costing upwards of $4 a bottle, this was a valuable service, too.
On top of all this the hotel was close to the IM registration, shuttle and finish area. In fact it is considerably closer than the “official” race hotel, the Intercontinental.
We walked around Frankfurt a bit, got some food, took a nap, and got in a swim and sauna shortly before the pool closed at 11pm.
THURSDAY, July 21
Thursday morning I walked to the Römer City Hall to get my packet. Just a 10 minute walk from the Hilton. I first needed to get an ID (“license”) check. My USAT ID was sufficient. Then I went to the next table to get my packet. Number 2355. A day-glow orange plastic bracelet was placed on my right wrist. (Over the next few days I found myself looking at other people’s wrists. Exchanging knowing glances. Kind of a badge of honor.) I also got a free public transit pass for use during the week. I used it mainly to get to the Friday briefing which was a distance away at the Eissportshalle.
I found out why the time limit for finishing Ironman Germany is 10pm. Apparently a woman who lives near the finish line successfully sued because of the noise. Although the limit WAS originally 11pm, not midnight–I didn’t find out where that came from. In any case, now it is 10.
I went to the IM store, and bought a hat, stickers for the bike box, a cup and 2 shirts (a golf shirt and, a nice looking T-shirt which included the names of every entrant in the race. What a great marketing gimmick. How could I resist!). The Finisher shirts and jackets were already on display; usually they are only out on Monday. I met Jennifer Mocerine from Tampa, who is the head of their marketing (VP of Global Merchandise). They are just starting to ‘train’ the European sites to expect the finisher clothing on the day after the race.
I checked about the bike familiarization tour which was listed in the schedule for 11am to 3pm on Wednesday and Thursday. It was not explained in the race info how this tour was organized. It was actually a guided BIKE ride (not in a car or bus). My bike was not put back together yet anyway, but I do not think I would have wanted to ride for four hours, 3 days before the competition. It probably would have been good idea to at least to see the beginning part of course. But as it turned out, I was able to view the course on Saturday.
Coincidentally, I met the other two Americans in my age group. Peter Blume, and wife Joy from NY and Brian Fredericks from Chicago with his daughter Lisa who was also doing the race. Brian was planning on 6 IM’s in 6 countries for his 60th year. Brazil, Germany, China (if it happens), and 3 others I can’t remember. He had a T-shirt with all the locations listed. I also talked with 4 young women, all with a triathlon club in Florida, and an Israeli, who told me about the Israeman in Eilat (Swim in the Red Sea, bike in the Negev).
I took a walk along the Main (pronounced “mine”) and checked out the run course, or at least part of it, and a few of the bridges. There are lots of bridges, two of which are pedestrian only. There is a beautiful garden path, too, which parallels the concrete path along the river. The run course is mostly flat, just the rise as you cross the bridges, which is twice for each of the four loops.
Then I just walked around Frankfurt in a round-about fashion on the way back to the hotel. I kind of lost myself in the city, heading in the general direction of the Hilton, but not sure exactly where I was. I was enjoying being “lost” and exploring the sites and shops of Frankfurt. Quite a nice city, really.
I swam again tonight. Such a great pool.
FRIDAY, July 22
I got up early and took my iPad to the 11th floor. I met another triathlete from Boca Raton, Florida, Maria Price, who needed some schedule information. The booklet in our packets was all in German. It so happened that I had printed that information out from the English web site. It also so happened that Maria had a pump in her room (#911, an easy number to remember), and I needed a pump to re-assemble my bike, since I had deflated the tires for shipping.
I put my bike back together. It took me a little over an hour. It was not such a fun job, which is probably why I put it off until this morning, but I was successful. I used Maria’s pump to inflate the tires and went for a ride to make sure everything worked ok. It did. Thankfully. Next time I need to measure or take better pictures of the positions of the handlebar and aerobars. And I was not sure exactly where the tape went to on seat post, but close enough. Next time pack a pedal wrench and hand pump.
I went by the Expo to get my pedals tightened. It took a while to find the bike service vendor (not well marked or referenced in the information guide). Then I had to make an appointment–just to borrow a pedal wrench for 2 minutes. So I had to wait over an hour. I saw Maria, who was also trying to get her Cervelo fixed. She had the same Giro areo helmet as I did. I met her 15 year old daughter. It was her first time in Europe.
The guy who was getting his bike serviced immediately before me, a big dour guy from Spain, had top of the line SRAM but the mechanic was cursing at it..very noisy..he could not adjust it to be quieter…he kept trying anyway…while I waited…but he smiled at my Shimano. His expression was priceless. He told me, in broken English (he was Italian) that Shimano Dura-ace is much quieter than the SRAM Red. Since I had had to wait so long anyway, I went ahead and had the mechanic check my shifting. It cost me €5. I thought it was a service of the IM but I did not complain. The experience was worth it :-).
The free transportation pass came in handy for going to the briefing on Friday late afternoon. The briefing, and the pasta dinner were at the Eissportshalle, the Ice hockey arena. (Take the U7 train.)
A few notes from the briefing:
They the German session first, then English, followed by French, then pasta for all.
There were 2400 athletes from 55 countries.
Langener Waldsee, the lake for the swim, is 12K from the finish area. The parking lot is 800 meters away from the lake, but the shuttle goes right up to T1. Spectators can take the shuttle race in the morning on a space available basis (did not seem to be a problem on Sunday. I saw a few families, but not many. Could be partly due to the weather). The shuttle leaves from Berliner (pronounced ‘burr-leaner’) Strasse near the finish area. The first shuttles BACK to finish area would start at 9:30am.
Yellow buoys left on first swim loop, second loop red buoys on right.
Blue bag: swim2bike gear, race number, etc. Keep helmet separate. Can set up gear by bike or keep in bag (change in tent)
They will provide bike covers for protection overnight from rain.
After the first hill on the bike be careful of construction. West Frankfurt. Narrow. Look for yellow flags. There is about 20k between aid stations. Heartbreak Hill is 10k before finish. Lots of people. Experience like Tour de France (it was)
Lemon and orange flavors of sport drink. At Aid station #1 for bike, can get “special needs” (from spouse or friend…NO special needs bags from the IM organization for the race, though!)
Run: be sure to collect wrist bands for each run loop. (This turned out to be very easy.)
Finisher shirts, medals, and certificate at end of race.
The Arena gave me a runny nose and a generally bad reaction. Not sure why, but I didn’t stay for the pasta dinner, although the food looked pretty good.
SATURDAY, July 23
I went for an early morning stroll in the park by the hotel. A bit chilly, with a slight breeze, but sunny. Then I ate a good breakfast at the restaurant with Randee on the main floor of the Hilton. I met some other triathletes (wrist bands). One, Matthew Evans, was the director of the Wales Ironman. It’s in September, and, according to Matthew, much harder than Germany. I got his card. May come in handy if I decide to do that triathlon, but harder than Germany? Somehow I doubt it.
Saturday at 11am I met my friend Georg Bertsch who drove me along the bike route. I am SO glad I had the opportunity to go over the course. It was invaluable. The course itself is extraordinarily scenic. We stopped a few times, to sightsee, and take some pictures. And Georg’s knowledge is encyclopedic, so I learned a lot about the area, and he could translate all the German for me. (I should probably point out, though, that my minimal understanding of German was rarely a problem. Most people in Frankfurt speak at least a little English). One town had created two 10 foot ‘Ironman’, statues, seemingly covered in aluminum foil. Other towns had welcoming banners, and signs on the road. I was concerned that the course would not be very fast since it passed through a lot of small towns. But on race day there were no obstructions, and the turns were easy to take. The rain and wind were another matter, but I’ll get to that later.
In the meantime my daughter, Tamara, arrived in to Frankfurt. She had trouble finding the hotel, but was there when I got back with Georg. We walked to the coffee shop where Georg’s older daughter was working. We had some delicious pastries and Tamara had a Latte. I would have also gotten a Latte, but wanted to limit my caffeine right before the race (in order to maximize the effect of the caffeine I ingest DURING the race.) Georg then started showing us around Frankfurt. I soon had to leave Randee and Tamara with Georg, however, and get back to the Hilton.
When I got there I prepared my bike and gear for check-in. Instructions for placement of all the numbers, printed on the outside of the envelope, was very clear (and in English). I finished loading the blue and red bags and stuffed them in my Tri-backpack.
At 4pm I took off for the shuttle meeting point. I put the backpack on my pack, strapped on my helmet and got on my bike. I’d only gone for a short distance, when I realized something was wrong. The front tire was flat! So I walked the bike the rest of the way and tried to find out if I would be able to change the tube at the lake. No one at the shuttle location seemed to know for sure, but I went ahead and got on the bus. I changed the tube on the bus (one of the spares from my saddle bag), and was able to use their pump at the Shimano tent at the lake. I was also able to buy a new tube (€5) although they had only a 60mm stem (my rear tire uses an 80mm).
Most of the bikes had already been checked in. I heard from Maria that earlier in the day there was a two hour wait, so this was a good time. There were virtually no lines, and I got lots of attention (many volunteers still working), they helped me rack my bike, cover it with a plastic cover, and put my blue bag by the bike, under a rectangular plastic tub. I would have the option in the morning of leaving my gear by the bike, or putting the bag on a wooden rack by the changing tent. Then the volunteer gave me a tour of T1, pointed out the swim exit, bike exit, porta-potties, etc. Then he pointed out how to get down to the water’s edge to look over the swim course. (I could not get there earlier in the week due to lack of transportation. I had heard of people riding their bikes, but the road is dangerous for cyclists. For race day the road is closed to car traffic.)
I looked over the swim course, looking for sight lines, exit from the water, etc. I was careful to find landmarks for the return legs, too, not just the outbound. I put my hand in..cool but comfortable temperature. I heard last year was really hot, and the lake was too warm for wetsuit legal, but this year was plenty cool. I stood there for a while, just trying to take it in. By that time in the afternoon, there were not many other people. It was already raining a bit; not a good omen for Sunday. The forecast was for rain, high temp of 58. (Turns out this was the coldest day in all of July for Frankfurt.)
After getting the shuttle back I went to the expo to look for a better rain jacket. First I went to the IM store. They were just closed, it was slightly after 7pm, but Jennifer helped me look; they didn’t have anything. I walked across to the Expo, which was open until 8. At this point the skies just opened up–it was absolutely pouring! I had gotten to the Expo right as the deluge started and I ducked into the Skinfit booth. I ended up buying a jacket which I used the next day. Expensive, €99, but it worked well. There was a more waterproof jacket, which costs twice as much, and didn’t fit me quite as well, but it would have come in handy for the run. It was still pouring, the salespeople had to keep pressing a pole against the canvas roof of the tent to drain the water and keep the tent from collapsing. They gave me poncho for free, so I could get home. The rain actually stopped about 5 minutes later, so I was able to walk back to the hotel without the poncho.
I was hungry and stopped at a Subway. Yep, Subway. As much as I enjoyed the food in Frankfurt, it was different than my normal diet and had thrown off my intestinal track. Something to consider if I do another international triathlon. At least Subway was familiar food to my stomach. I do think it helped.
When I finally got back to the Hilton I started getting everything ready for Sunday. I loaded the white bag, and laid out everything for the morning. Almost forgot to use the Foggle cloth on my goggles and sunglasses. I did have a separate bag inside the white bag for everything I needed to add at the bike transition, like the sunglasses and nutrition which I had not left on Saturday. I finally got to bed about midnight, set my alarm for 4am. I went to bed dressed in my jersey, tri-shorts, heart strap and socks, with my chip strapped around my left ankle. It was a fitful 4 hours, and I ended up removing the heart strap, but I felt ok when I finally got up.
SUNDAY, July 24, 2011, RACE DAY
I shaved, brushed and flossed my teeth, put in a new set of contact lenses, added my heart strap, Garmin watch, sweat pants, jacket and shoes, and headed out the door carrying my white bag. Tamara and Randee were still sleeping. I got to the front desk at the Hilton slightly before 4:30, as planned, asked for my box lunch which included THREE bananas (I gave one to someone else on the bus), then walked to the shuttle bus. The walk was only about 5 minutes, and even though it was still dark, there were plenty of street lights. Sunrise was about 5:30, so I never needed a flashlight. There were busses lined up on the street, so I was able to get right on to a shuttle.
Arriving at the lake
It was currently cloudy, but not raining. Cool but not uncomfortable with my long pants and light jacket. The plastic cover over my bike was wet, of course, but it had kept the bike dry. My blue bag was still under the plastic tub, and had also stayed dry.
Since I had had the flat the day before, I was worried about my front tire. I held my breath and felt the tire. It had held pressure! Yeah!
There was an extra space next to me; apparently number 2357 was a no-show. So I was able to spread out a little bit, and I decided to lay out my gear beside my bike. In retrospect it would have been better to put my stuff back in the bag so I could have grabbed it from the rack after the swim and changed in the tent (which was on the way to my bike anyway).
I stood in line to pee, and chatted with someone who had done this race 5 times. He had a roll of TP with him, but there was plenty in the outhouses. We heard a ‘bang’ as someone’s tire tube burst. I think the whole crowd sighed a silent, collective groan.
I went around looking for body markers–No marking, or rather just for the pros. So much for knowing what was the age of my competitors. That proved fateful for me since I likely could have beat out the 60 year-old who placed 82 seconds ahead of me. It would have at least provided added motivation!
I had a colorful, long piece of cloth in my bag, which I hung over the sign by our section. Not legal, but no one seemed to notice, so hopefully it would help me find my spot when I returned from the swim.
I put on my wetsuit and green swim cap, and grabbed my ear plugs and goggles (chose the dark lenses, although the clear would have worked also. It was bright, but still overcast). I walked to the swim start barefoot, though I did have sandals. I got there right as the pros, and some pre-selected age groupers, took off at 6:45 am. I started with the main pack at 7.
The swim was a great start to the day. The water was comfortable upon entry. Mid 60’s I think. The swim is a water start, with two loops. The loops are separate from each other, so you start along the East side of the lake (to the left, parallel to the beach) and the yellow buoys are always on your left, then run up onto the beach for a few yards and plunge back into the water on the North side of the lake, this time keeping the red buoys on your right. The first loop is the longest. They put a big yellow blow-up thingy as a sighting aid for the first loop. The mine building served for sighting on the second loop (there is some sort of mining operation right by the lake).
The start was pretty crowded, and I got smacked in the right eye. I thought it might be black and blue after the race, but it seems ok. And it didn’t really affect my swim, the goggles stayed watertight. At one point I got kicked, and saw it was from a guy using the breast stroke. He was pretty much keeping pace with me. Must be a college breast-stroker or something. After he kicked me, though, (breast stroke kicks hurt!) I sped up so I could get ahead of him.
After 10 years of doing triathlons, I am finally starting to feel comfortable with my swimming. I concentrate on different aspects of my stroke as I go along, stretch as far as I can with my hand, catch the water, pull with my forearm, keep my thumbs in, glide, use my hips, stay relaxed, get into rhythm (as best I can anyway, competing with 2000 other swimmers). I hadn’t gotten in as much swim training as I would have liked before the race but still managed a PR.
Swim time: 1:28:16.
I walked the 30 meters of sand-covered hill coming out of the water, then jogged to my bike once on the grass and pavement, passing by the rack with a few blue bags left, and the changing tents. The colored cloth was still there.
It was raining now, so it would have been faster I think, to change in the changing tent, but oh well. Luckily it wasn’t raining hard at that point, so I didn’t get too wet as I changed. It was good that I had an extra shirt (TRIMORE bike shirt) and arm warmers. I left the leg warmers and dry Tri shorts. (I didn’t change my shorts because: 1) no nudity is allowed outside the changing tent and 2) the shorts I had on were better quality and I was planning on wearing them the whole time and 3) wet shorts were not uncomfortable.) I had to wipe sand off my feet so it was helpful that I had packed an extra small towel. So I put on the dry jersey, arm warmers, gloves, jacket, beanie, photochromic sunglasses (I had both dark and photo glasses in my bag so I could decide that morning which to wear), socks, bike shoes (with toe warmers already inside) and my snazzy aero bike helmet. A volunteer offered to bag all my stuff, but I did still take extra time due the rain. And transition time apparently started as soon as I exited the water, although I did not see any timing mats. We had to run up that sandy beach to the transition area. Still an awfully long transition.
T1 Time: 14:51.
The 12 kilometers from the lake to the river were straight, smooth and comfortable. I was on my aerobars most of the way. The jacket I bought the evening before worked perfectly. It was rain resistant and wind proof, and it fit snugly against my body and arms. It rained most of that first leg, but not too heavily, at least not for long stretches, and my jacket kept me dry. The toe warmers kept my feet warm, although my feet got wet due to the holes in my bike shoes. It might be a good idea to pack some shoe covers for the next triathlon with a threat of rain.
After getting to the river I proceeded to the first of two loops. There are three “major” climbs, although compared to Marin climbs, they were mostly benign. The first climb, called “the Beast” was a bit steep, but mainly it continued for a fairly long way. Then came “The Hell”, in Maintal-Hochstadt, which was about a quarter mile of cobblestone with a short hill at the end and passage through an archway. Normally I expect there would be a lot of spectators, but due to the inclement weather the crowds were sparse. The cobblestones did rattle me to the bone, and I was glad to be through them, but the town is quite picturesque, and it does make for a memorable route.
The second climb was called Hühnerberg, “Chicken Hill”, and was long, but so gradual that I hardly noticed it. Then there was a lot of fast riding through town after small town. Quite fast and yet very scenic. There were some long sections through meadows and fields of corn. We were going north, and the turnaround, in Friedberg. We passed by the salt works, “The Health”, which is a large wall over which they drip salt water, and the consequent salty air is used for respiratory cures. I had the opportunity to stop when surveying the course with Georg. There is a resort behind the long wall. Originally the wall was built in Roman times, and just to extract salt from water. Along the way someone discovered the health benefits of breathing the salty air.
The route south should have been a fast ride. The road is straighter and more open. But the openness must have been the reason it is also more susceptible to cross winds, which we got in abundance. Steady going, here, but slow. Then, at 10K before the end of the loop I hit the last grade, “Heartbreak Hill”, at Bad Vilbel (pronounced like ‘Bod Feel-bell’). This is a relatively short but steep hill with lots of people lining the course. I happened to pass on my first loop when the pros were getting there for their second, so the crowds were dense, and I sometimes barely had room for my bike between the lines of people cheering, and running alongside. Just like the Tour de France. Very cool. At this point the rain was stopped or very light, so it helped, I think, increase the size of the crowd. But I wonder how much more crowded it would be with sunny weather!
It rained on and off throughout the bike ride. I was careful on the wet turns, but my tires held the road well, and I gained more confidence as the race progressed. Good that I followed my coach’s advice to get new tires for the race. The worst effect on my time, however, was the wind, going south. I stopped to pee twice, at the same place, the outhouse at a penalty tent (no, I didn’t get penalty. It just so happened to be where the potty was located, and there was no line.) About 50 mi, then at about 90. The potty stops cost me about 10 minutes.
Back to the finish area, and the start of my second loop. Basically the same ride as the first, although a little faster since I was familiar with the course. Fewer spectators, too, and still on/off rain, although generally drier (until near the end). The winds on the south leg seemed stronger, however. Heartbreak Hill had a smaller crowd, but much more motivating for me as my daughter and wife met me there. Tamara ran alongside for quite a ways. That was a lot of fun, and energizing.
Bike time: 7:03:09
I pulled in to the finisher chute, and a volunteer valeted my bike. I looked for my red bag hanging on the wooden racks outside, with no covering (they were in order by race number). I feared my stuff would be wet, but it was ok. I was limping as I walked in to the changing tent. My left leg hurt, not excruciating, mainly I just couldn’t get it to move properly. It hurt and seemed stiff. I wasn’t TOO worried though. I had a similar experience in training, although not quite as bad. Once I started running, I expected the cramp to work itself out. Luckily it did. But I had other problems.
The rain had increased, so I took off my biking jersey, arm warmers and biking gloves, and changed into a dry shirt (my other TRIMORE racing jersey), although it did not stay dry for long! I tucked my running gloves into my pocket, along with a couple packages of shot blocks. I changed my shoes, but kept the same socks and shorts. I put my jacket back on; in retrospect, it would have been nice to have the more waterproof jacket for the run. As it was, I ended up grabbing a clear poncho later in the run, but not before getting soaked to the skin. I don’t even remember now who gave it to me. But it was a race-saver. I also felt a little chafing and applied some Vaseline. Luckily that worked. No residual chafing.
T2 time: 11:15
The run was the toughest part of the race. Not that this is atypical, of course, the run is the biggest challenge for most racers. But there was rain. And my stomach wouldn’t settle. And I used up a lot of energy fighting the wind on the bike course. And we had to do 4 loops. I seriously considered quitting several times.
At the southeast turnaround (about ¾ of the way through the loop) I collected the required wristbands. There was a lane for each loop (four lanes), and as I passed through the lane a volunteer stretched out a wristband so I could easily slip my hand through it, without having to stop.
About halfway through the second loop it started absolutely pouring. I got soaking wet before I could get to the nearest cover which was under a bridge. And I was cold. I stood and waited for a while, contemplating quitting at the bridge. I pulled out my gloves and put them on. Good thing there were not any race officials near by, or I might have handed in my chip. I was thinking of the reasons I should stop. I was drenched…no one would fault me for stopping..I had already done a lot..I would just finish half of the run and stop…on and on…The rain abated just a little and I left my cover and pushed on.
I am not really sure how I managed to keep going. I do what I usually do, I guess, and tell myself I will just go to the next aid station, then to the next bridge, then for just 10 more minutes. I think after doing so many 26 mile races that my body just knows what it takes, and somehow keeps going. I grabbed some pretzels, which had helped settle my stomach during Ironman Arizona. Water made my stomach ache worse, so I tried sipping some Coke. Later on, there was some soup broth at an aid station. That helped also. Someone on the course gave me a poncho, but I don’t remember who. That helped warm me up. I did keep my eye on my watch, because if I was going to complete the 26 miles, I was going to do it within the time limit!! I actually think I walked more than necessary, once I finally pushed myself to keep running (for fear of missing the deadline), I found that I could keep a steady running pace. It wasn’t easy, but it was doable. I just had to keep telling myself to keep running, don’t stop to walk..run…run.. steady..I can do it..and somehow I did. As I got near the finish of the 4th loop I saw my daughter and wife. That helped. It was a shot of adrenaline as I managed the last few hundred yards. It was not a run PR but probably the one I am most proud of because I did not quit.
Run time: 5:53:24
Tamara ran alongside me as I got close to the finish. Unfortunately they don’t let you go through the chute with anyone else. Too bad, because family members have sacrificed a lot to enable their respective athletes to train for and complete the race. Seems to me they should be able to share in the triumph. On the other hand, they could interfere with other athletes, so it is not a black and white issue. Anyway, I handed Tamara my jacket and gloves so I could then finish in my jersey.
I did seem a bit out of it at the finish, and laid down in the first aid tent with a space blanket draped over me. It so happens I was lying next to a friend of Maria’s whom I had met briefly on Friday when I borrowed the bike pump. She was getting an IV, and highly recommended it. So I got one, too. Tamara and Randee retrieved my bike and bags and got my finisher shirt. (thanks so much!) The shirt was large size, rather than medium, but they said the sizes ran small. They did. The shirt fit perfectly.
We walked back to the Hilton, at which point I was grateful how close it was. Again, thanks to Randee and Tamara for helping with the bike and gear. At least I was not limping, which I noticed was the case for a lot of other participants.
Total time: 14:50:55
We had reservations to go to Heathrow Monday evening. I do NOT recommend checking out of the hotel on Monday. I had to disassemble the bike, and pack it. I had to pack all my other stuff. It was not easy! But, then, what was?
I saw Matthew and Steve at breakfast, and got Matthew’s card. I saw Maria, and her Polish friend (with the IV, I can’t remember her name. Her husband is Mike) in the lobby. They were going out on the town, then going back to Florida on Tuesday. Which is what we should have done. (Left on Tuesday, that is.)
I tried taking my iPad, and leaving the MacBook at home. Although the iPad is smaller and more convenient, the keyboard is hard to use, there is no USB port, I can’t upload a picture to Facebook. I do like the maps, and the ability to use 3G.
I got a SIM for my iPad so I could connect to the Internet without Wi-Fi. Too bad the iPad will not take an Ethernet cable, several of the hotels where we stayed had only a cable connection in the rooms. I went by a number of stores before finding what I needed. Luckily they were all close to each other, which I found to be common in Germany and the UK. O2 (€1.5/day) TMo (€5/day), Saturn, Vodaphone (€50 w €40 credit) for iPad SIM. O2 had run out of sims for the day, so I just used TMo. The chip only worked in Germany, for the UK I had to do more searching. Most vendors wanted me to have a British bank account. A few had pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) cards; I got one from 3. (yes, there is a network called “3”).
Most cyclists don’t wear helmets in Frankfurt, though there are lots of bikes, and lots of bike lanes. Ziel shopping area is pedestrian only. Much more smokers than SF but less than when I was here last. Lots of salt on food.
At the race registration some college students were conducting a survey on sports activity and cognitive ability. Interesting question on drug use–they asked in such a way that no one could tell whether you were answering a question about drug use, or your mother’s birthday. But statistically they could evaluate the questions accurately.
They don’t make you take off your shoes for European airport security. But I did need to take off my belt. The people seem nicer than in the USA.
It worked that I took a couple of adapter plugs for the German outlets so I could charge several devices at once. Even though the Hilton had one American-style outlet. I needed the 2 pronged adapter for Germany, and the big three prong for England.
BIB AGE STATE/COUNTRY PROFESSION
2355 60 San Rafael USA (United States)
SWIM BIKE RUN OVERALL RANK DIV.POS.
1:28:16 7:03:09 5:53:24 14:50:55 2195 19
LEG DISTANCE PACE RANK DIV.POS.
SWIM SPLIT 1: 2.1 km 2.1 km (49:30)2:21/100m
SWIM SPLIT 2: 3.8 km 1.7 km (38:46)2:16/100m
TOTAL SWIM 3.8 km (1:28:16) 2:19/100m 2089 17 (2:07/100yd)
BIKE SPLIT 1: 12.9 km 12.9 km (25:02) 30.92 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 2: 24.3 km 11.4 km (25:39) 26.67 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 3: 30.3 km 6 km (10:38) 33.86 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 4: 44.6 km 14.3 km (33:30) 25.61 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 5: 61.2 km 16.6 km (34:34) 28.81 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 6: 86.1 km 24.9 km (1:04:12) 23.27 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 7: 97.2 km 11.1 km (23:40) 28.14 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 8: 108.6 km 11.4 km (28:50) 23.72 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 9: 114.7 km 6.1 km (11:17) 32.44 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 10: 129 km 14.3 km (35:45) 24.00 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 11: 145.6 km 16.6 km (35:45) 27.86 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 12: 170.7 km 25.1 km (1:08:39) 21.94 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 13: 179.5 km 8.8 km (24:23) 21.65 km/h
BIKE SPLIT 14: 180 km 0.5 km (1:15) 24.00 km/h
TOTAL BIKE 180 km (7:03:09) 25.52 km/h 2216 22
RUN SPLIT 1: 1.7 km 1.7 km (12:59) 7:38/km
RUN SPLIT 2: 3.0 km 1.3 km (9:29) 7:17/km
RUN SPLIT 3: 6.0 km 3 km (23:16) 7:45/km
RUN SPLIT 4: 7.7 km 1.7 km (11:48) 6:56/km
RUN SPLIT 5: 12.2 km 4.5 km (36:13)8:02/km
RUN SPLIT 6: 13.5 km 1.3 km (10:04) 7:44/km
RUN SPLIT 7: 16.5 km 3 km (33:44)11:14/km
RUN SPLIT 8: 18.2 km 1.7 km (11:51) 6:58/km
RUN SPLIT 9: 22.7 km 4.5 km (42:12)9:22/km
RUN SPLIT 10: 24.0 km 1.3 km (8:46) 6:44/km
RUN SPLIT 11: 27.0 km 3 km (24:01)8:00/km
RUN SPLIT 12: 28.7 km 1.7 km (12:21) 7:15/km
RUN SPLIT 13: 33.2 km 4.5 km (42:35)9:27/km
RUN SPLIT 14: 34.5 km 1.3 km (–:–) –/km
RUN SPLIT 15: 37.5 km 3 km (14:17:37) 45:52/km
RUN SPLIT 16: 39.2 km 1.7 km (11:41) 6:52/km
RUN SPLIT 17: 42.2 km 3 km (21:37) 7:12/km
TOTAL RUN 42.2 km (5:53:24)8:22/km 2195 21