Heading out on the bike was a bit tricky. There was about a mile of cobblestone streets to get past before you got out to the course. I actually lost a water bottle because it bounced out of my bottle cage. It was a good thing it was only water, because my other one had all my nutrition in it. My nutrition plan consisted of a bottle full of Perpetuem (about 1,200 calories), three packs of Cliff Shot Blocks, one gel with caffeine in it, and a tube of 12 tablets of Nuun (electrolytes). However, when I lost that bottle at the start of the bike that meant I did not have any water until the first aid station. Riding out on the couse was pretty amazing, Florianopolis is such a beautiful island and I could not help but to gaze at all the cool scenery I was passing. I actually missed the water bottles they offered at the aid station because I was too busy looking at the beach haha. So I think I went about an hour and ten minutes without drinking any fluids, whoops. The course was mostly flat with only two major climbs. I sipped on my Perpetuem every thirty minutes, and ate a Shot Block every so often when I was bored. As you could see by my bike time, I was not the speediest guy on the course, I think I may have got passed by the majority of the field, including about 30 guys named Pablo, 20 Juans, 15 Henrich's, and a plethora of other foreigners with similar generic national names. I felt great riding though, I never let my heart rate get above 140 even going up the hills, my strategy was to go super conservative throughout the entire 112 miles. Up until about mile 90 I felt amazing, still going slow, but I could feel fatigue starting to set in. Those last twenty-two miles were brutal for some reason. I was keeping up with my nutrition but my legs started to feel really tight and I could tell I was losing some speed and time. That was also the first time I started to feel really uncomfortable in my bike seat, it felt like it was digging into my pelvis, and in all honesty I just wanted off that damn bike. The last couple hours of the bike the wind started to pick up so I had a pretty good headwind heading back into the expo. I think the difference between my first 56 miles and my last 56 was almost 30 minutes. I think I can attribute that to a lack of 100-mile training rides, wind, and just general fatigue. I knew my bike split was slow, but I figured I would start picking people off quickly into the run.
Boy was I glad to get into transition. Once I got off the bike I could not really run, so I half-walked into the tents to get my running gear. Again there was a guy there to hand me my bags and help take off all my stuff. He was trying to talk to me but the most I could get out was mumbling. I think I was a little disoriented and dehydrated. I slammed a Gatorade in the tent and a gel and headed out on the marathon. After I passed my girlfriend and some of the families at the hospitality house (a house that all the people that went with the Endurance Sports Travel could hang out at during the race), I had a huge cramp in my left leg. I stopped and stretched a bit, re-tied my shoes and went off again. For nutrition I had two flasks of Crank Sports E-Gels each containing about four gels each so about 600 calories in each flask. After I grabbed some water at the first aid station the first loop was a blur. I do remember this huge hill that I had to walk up. The hill was enormous, and I noticed everybody taking their time walking up it, I think running it would have been a huge waste of energy. The run course consisted of one large 22-kilometer loop, and two 10-kilometer loops. The first looped seemed like it flew by, like I said I do not really remember it much. I do know that it probably took me about three miles to get my legs back from the bike course. After that I increased my pace and started to pass some of the people who passed me on the bike. After the first loop I noticed my hamstrings tightening and my knees starting to feel sore. I figured that was pretty normal so I did not pay too much attention to it. On the second loop I stopped and talked to my girlfriend for a bit (because I could use the rest), she said I looked better than most of the people that were coming past. I think she was just being nice, because I knew I probably looked like crap ha ha. On the second loop it started to get dark and I picked up my friend Grant and we pretty much ran with each other till the last mile of the race. He beat me by over an hour on the bike, but he said his shins were killing him but I convinced him to run with me. We kept each other company and the small talk helped the time go by a little easier. During the third loop it was pretty much completely dark. I noticed my speech was pretty slurred and I was starting to cramp again. I did not have any salt tablets or anything, but I knew I had some salt packets in my special needs bag. So when I got the special needs station I dumped about five salt packets into my water and slammed it down. It made me feel better for about twenty minutes then the cramping was back. My buddy handed me some Hammer Endurolytes which are a much better product for getting rid of cramping. Almost instantly I felt better. It was really funny, but I was starting to get emotional for some reason. I would think of finishing and it would make me tear up. My buddy Grant and I picked up another runner on that last loop and he confirmed the emotional thing too. That made me feel like less of a sissy ha ha. But honestly, it happened every twenty minutes or so, I would think about finishing and almost start to cry. Weird. I think at that point it was just my body trying to submit to all the pain or something. I saw the a sign saying only three kilometers left. I felt like I still had something left in the tank and I told Grant ,"Want to sprint to the finish?" He was cool with it so we took off. I assume we were running somewhere around a 7:30 mile pace those last couple miles. It felt great. My leg pain vanished and I could start to hear the crowds cheering, and of course I got emotional again. I could see the lights that lit up the finishing shoot and quickened the pace. Once I got up to the carpet and crossed the finished line I kind of lost it. The emotional thing was pretty new to me so I did not know what to think of it. I walked around for about ten seconds then my girlfriend came up and gave me a huge hug. She was trying to talk to me but I was so out of it I do not think I got one single recognizable word out. I was mumbling again. Finishing was such a surreal experience. I just kept replaying all my training, and all the tough times I had throughout the year and to finally be done flooded me with a bunch of mixed emotions. I cannot even really describe what was going through my head at that point, I think my brain was a little cloudy at the moment and at one point when I was trying to exit the finishing stage I almost fell over. Again, volunteers were there to catch me. (Ironman Brazil had the most amazing volunteers!)
I headed into the food tent but I did not have an appetite. All the pizza looked great, but food was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted a hot shower and a cold beer! I skipped the medical tent and the free massage because the wait was nearly thirty minutes. After I signed the waiver saying I was ok the volunteers handed me my medal and finishers t-shirt. It was official; I was an Ironman! I headed out to the expo so I could watch some of friends finish, but I really just wanted to get the heck back to the hotel. I could barely walk, and lost pretty much all my flexibility. I dropped my shirt and could not even bend over to pick it up. I could not even get up stairs my legs were so tight. I was sore in places that I did not even know I had. My biceps were sore from keeping my arms at a 45-degree angle the entire marathon, and my feet were throbbing (turns out my shoes were a size to small so my big toe nails turned purple). Basically I was being a huge baby. But I really was a mess, I could barely walk, could not get a complete sentence out, started to the get the shakes, and desperately wanted a hot shower and to get out of my stinky, salty, clothes. We headed back to the hotel and sure enough, no hot water. I quickly rinsed off and got in bed to warm up. About an hour later I finally got hungry. My girlfriend and I headed to the local pizza shop to celebrate. They day before the race I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate, but I figured it would not go down very well so we just settled for some beers. Sorry to say, it only took two glasses to fill inebriated ha ha. But still it was a nice way to finish my Ironman journey.
I will go into some analysis of my race sometime mid-week and go over all the things I took away from the whole experience.