Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin 2012

Ironman Wisconsin 2012 had my smallest contingent of athletes in three years, however, they made up for it with quality.  Ironman Canada had a lot of friends and one of my athletes for the first time in some time.  My next blog will be dedicated to him.

I worked as a marshal for the pro race.  So my day started by chasing the back of the pro men's pack and the front of the pro women's pack.  My athletes in the race are age groupers, so no conflict of interest.  Not that it would matter in my case - if "my guys" did earn a penalty - they KNOW I wouldn't hesitate to give them a red or yellow card.  Nobody gets a break. A foul is a foul.  I would never do that and I never will.  Ask my friend Jeremy last year who got two penalties from me in Kona last year.  He would also tell you - he earned them both.  1) pinned inside in a group and made no effort to get out = drafting; 2) launched a water bottle = abandoned equipment.  You get the idea.  

Overall, marshaling the race was fairly easy this year.  Very clean in general.  

I had two men who I coached this year.  Both are great guys and were referred from clients.  

The Rookie
He really planned his training like a project.  He had to.  To say he has had a rough year (similar to my own) is an understatement.  He has persevered through a great deal in his first Ironman effort.  (100 hour work weeks with transcontinental flights is less than optimal for training.)

Race week - he had what seemed to be a dislocated shoulder.  We actually experimented with different wetsuits to see which one held his shoulder in place best.  I was sad for him, because he worked his ass off to improve his swimming this off season and season.  He swam a 1:31 in a great deal of pain.

On the bike, he passed 618 people overall on the bike.  The power work we did really paid off.  He was crushing people and very much in control.  The power file looks perfect for his current fitness.  

During the run, Kokua athletes "go to work".  "The Rook" started off under control and running well.  We set a goal of running 4:35 as a realistic definition of a "good race".  He took it out smartly.  Then ran 2:30 seconds FASTER on the second loop!  THAT is getting it done.  Passed another 242 people on the run, coming all the way up to the top 33% of the field.  

Being there at the finish for him was extra special given the year we have shared.  Look for him at the pointy end of the field soon.

The Veteran
This athlete did Ironman last year and was injured for much of the time he was supposed to be training.  He asked me to coach him for this year in October.  This athlete and I have both lost loved ones to lymphoma (cancer); his brother and my dad suffered the same illness and fate - death.  To say that we have become close from those experiences is an understatement.  He is like a brother to me.

Race week he was calm and business like.  Ready to explode with energy like a coiled spring.

His swim was 12:00 faster than last year and still swam a respectable time last year and this year - and we only swim two times a week.

On the bike, we did very focused power sessions all year.  It came out in raw strength while very much in control.  He passed 536 people on the bike and from what I have been told... demolished people on the hills.

For the Vet's run we had ONE definition of success on the marathon - RUN the entire way.  No walking.  Even if it looked like the "Kona shuffle".  Now his best is 2:00 for a 1/2 Marathon... so when I went online and saw he ran the first 1/2 in 2:20... I was a bit concerned.  "Either he is having a magical race or he went out too hard."  The former was the case.  He came back in just over 2:24!  Absolutely MOWING people down on the run.  Finishing an astounding 2 hrs and 5 minutes faster than his previous race.

The absolute best part - both guys were pretty close to each other at the finish AND two of my other athletes were there to be part of their finish and our "team" result.  I'm most proud of their execution on race day - especially on the run.  "Bike for show.  Run for dough."  This has been one of our sayings all year.  

Driving home from Madison that night, I got word that another athlete had WON his division at the full REV3 with a great all-around race.  I nearly had to pull over.  I felt like dancing.

Coaching folks to an Ironman finish is a great deal of effort.  To have the guys work so hard and put it all together on race day really meant a great deal to me this year with my dad's death.  I felt these finishes.

You better believe... your gonna fly with me.