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Ironman Frankfurt

As most of you can remember, I completed Ironman Florida in 2014. After the raceThe swim was cancelled for that race. Ever since then, I have wanted to take another stab at doing a full distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run). I never felt like a completed a full Ironman without doing the swim.

During Summer of 2015, I decided I wanted to experience a triathlon in Germany. Germans are known for being very supportive of triathlons. I first tried to register for Challenge Roth, which is the largest long distance triathlon in the world. After not getting into that race, I registered for Ironman Frankfurt. IMG_0243Looking back, I am glad things worked out the way they did. Challenge Roth was a hotter race (I do better in cold weather) and training was already difficult enough since I had to do my long bike rides and runs in May and June in the humid Florida weather. There were times I couldn’t even complete my training runs in Florida.

Swim:

The swim was held in an old rock quarry. The water was in the mid 70s, which made the race wetsuit legal for the amateur athletes but not professionals. I expected the water to be much 23_m-100743026-digital_highres-1316_044492-4907741colder than it was. The swim was 3800 meters. After swimming a 1500 meter loop, there was a short beach run, then a  2300 meter loop.

I felt pretty good the entire swim. It was uneventful. My watch measured the course at 4200 meters, but maybe I did a little drifting out of the lane. I remember thinking several times “where is the finish?” In training, I never swam that long of a block non-stop. I completed the swim in 1:15.29. This was in the neighborhood of what I expected my time to be.

Bike:

39_m-100743026-digital_highres-1316_068196-4907757The bike course was amazing. We left the rock quarry (which was south of Frankfurt), headed
through Frankfurt, then went through several villages north of Frankfurt. Each village had its own personality. Many people would come out and make a day our of cheering us on. Unlike Ironman Florida, Ironman Frankfurt had several decent size hills. I found that I enjoyed the hills as it broke up the monotony of being on a bike for almost five hours. It started raining hard toward the end of the bike ride. My goal was to complete the bike course in under six hours. I finished in 5:58.48!

Run:

IMG_0256The bike portion of the race is what I was most nervous about. I was scared to death of having a mechanical issue and not be able to complete the race. I had a huge sigh of relief heading into transition two. I had a little more than seven hours to make it to the finish line. For some reasons Ironman races in Germany end after 15 hours (they are 17 hours in the U.S.). The run course was a four loop course that was along the Main River. There were tons of people everywhere cheering us on! I passed by the condo we stayed at eight times. Several times I saw people out having a beer and envied them. Maria, Susan, and Aaron were able to see me quite a bit. My goal for the run was 4:30. I knew this was aggressive, but isn’t that what goals are for?

I was on pace for my goal until about mile 18. Then the wheels fell off….lol. At that point, I went45_m-100743026-digital_highres-1316_078190-4907763 to a run/walk strategy. I would jog to each aid station, which were about a mile apart. Then I would walk through each of the aid stations. To make matters worse, my watch died around mile 22. I finished the marathon in 5:01.24. This gave me a total time of 12:26.18. Not too far off from my goal of 12 hours.

This by far was the most amazing triathlon I have done. The finish area was huge. In fact, I never was able to find Susan and Aaron after the race. I ended up riding my bike back to the condo and calling them from my iPad (Susan had my phone) to let them know I was okay. I think this will be my last iron distance triathlon. I still want to do some half ironmans or shorter distance races. It just takes so much time to train for the longer distances.

Click on any of the photographs to view the entire album.

Jazz Fest 2014

On May 3, 2014, Susan and I attended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the firstDSCN0204 time. We went with three friends: Maria, Julie and Jon. Maria asked us to go because she wanted to see Bruce Springsteen. Although we are not Springsteen fans, we knew the festival would be fun.

We arrived in New Orleans on the Friday before. We just hung around the French Quarter for the first night. Maria and Julie had a tarot card reading.

The next morning, we got an early start and headed to the festival. To the right, is Susan and I as we entered the festival. The festival opened at 11. We got there about 12:30, just in time to sample some of the traditional New Orleans food.

The festival is the largest one we have ever attended. We might have seen half of it in the one DSCN0222day we were there. Susan was excited to see a pow wow that was hosted by several different Indian nations. The photograph to the left is Susan with the Indians after the pow wow.

We were not able to see Springsteen. We got to the stage too late. It was packed. We did get to see Better than Ezra and Foster the People. We enjoyed both concerts.

Click either photograph to view the entire album.

Ironman 70.3 Augusta

On 09/29/13, I completed my first Ironman event. The triathlon was held in Augusta, GA. This was the first time I had been back to Augusta, since my Army training in 1995.

We arrived on Friday and went to the Expo and athlete briefing. I purchased a few last minute IMG_1641items for my bike. I was paranoid of not being able to complete the race because of some bike issue. I actually had three spare tires with me. Overkill, I know.

On Saturday, I woke up early and completed a short bike ride and run. The local YMCA let Ironman athletes use their facilities for free, so Aaron and I went for a quick swim at the Y. I walked around swim start and the transition area to get a feel for the race. The swim looked so much longer than I was expecting. I had swam 1.5 miles before. Just never straight out. To the left is a pic of Mike checking out the swim course.DSCN0013

A Sunday morning, we arrived at the transition area around 5:45. I didn’t start to the swim until 8:48, but I had to be out of transition by 7:15. After I setup my gear, there was a long wait. We were enjoying watching the swimmers though. Boy, there were some non-swimmers out there. There were people running into buoys and boats. The water temperature was 69. When I started the race the air temperature was about 60. I started the swim right on time. There was a stiff current. The race officials decided to not let us start from in the water. We DSCN0024jumped in from a dock. I expected the water to feel cooler than it did. I really enjoyed the swim. I found my rhythm and plucked along. I swam close to shore so I could see Susan and Aaron. I found them in the crowd and waved to them as I passed. It took me 30:13 to complete the swim. In the picture on the right, I am the one center, closest to the pier. I am creating a splash from kicking at that moment.

After the swim, I headed out on my 56 mile bike ride. The majority of the ride was through rural South Carolina. About mile 30 my thighs started to DSCN0034ache. I knew the run was going to be painful by this point. I finished the bike in 2:52. I was hoping to have an average pace of 20mph or better. I averaged 19.4. So I was pretty close.

Towards the end of the bike ride, I had to pee. I waited until I got to transition, because I didn’t want to stop my momentum. It was a good sign that I had to use the bathroom. I knew I wouldn’t cramp from dehydration during the run.

My goal on the run was run nine minute miles. I maintained my goal pace until mile eight. By this DSCN0043point my thighs hurt so bad I couldn’t maintain my pace. I fell back to a ten something pace. I ended the half marathon run (13.1 miles) at 2:07. My average pace was 9:43. I saw Susan and Aaron about three times on the course. That really lifted my spirits.

I finished the Ironman 70.3 in 5:39. My goal was 5:30. I was close. Guess I have something to work toward in the future.

Click on any of the photographs to view the entire album. Aaron used my GoPro and made a short video of the race. Watch it below.