Here are some pictures that Carolynn took. She forgot to change the settings on the camera so they are low resolution. Yea it rained and now I know why they call it the Redman. You swim in red cloudy water, you bike on roads that are covered in red mud, and you walk around all day in red mud j
Record turnout for this years event. The volunteers and organization were great. Report coming after I get done applying RICE to my knees and right hamstring.....
Morning of the race....so Carolynn and I arrive to park and just as I expected, the parking lot is already full with everyone driving around in circles trying to find a place to park. We decide to go to the volunteer parking, but a guard says the road is closed so we can't. End up parking a mile or so away and having to walk. During the walk we meet this local guy who says "going to be a perfect day today with no rain, 5 mph wind and 70's"......30 min later the sky opens up and it starts to rain and the winds pick up. This is actually good for me because I usually to well in the rain. After body marking and final check in I start to prepare for the 2.4 mile swim. I am going off in the first wave at 0715. As we line up in the swim corral it is still raining and I am freezing as the temps were in the 60's. There were some nervous looking freezing athletes around as most were either worried about the wet roads or that $4K bikes were getting all wet. One lady was all upset because here shoes were completely filled with water and she had left them clipped into her bike for a quicker transition. As the start time approached, an announcement was made that the event was going to be postponed because of "unsafe" conditions and some flooding on the roads. Then an announcement came about 30 min later that they may cancel the bike leg because of water on the road. I about freaked. Same thing happened at the National Triathlon Championships when they were supposed to be held at Smithville Lake. The event was cancelled due to a little rain and the roads were wet. I understand about safety issues, but come on. The elements are all part of life and we have to deal with them everyday.......45 min later it was announced the race was going to happen but there was a flooded section of roadway that we would have to dismount. Sweet, I get to practice my dismounts for cross season.
The swim....A 2.4 mile swim in Lake Hefner awaited us full distance athletes. BTW, Lake Hefner is not really open to swimming as we found out in the morning presentation when the Mayor informed us that 5 years ago the first swimmer swam in Lake Hefner at the Redman #1. Once I got into the water to warm-up I realized why. I could not see anything but red cloudy water. It was like swimming in a Laurel Hill swimming hole back at the family farm......... The swim course was a large 1.2 mile rectangle so we would have to swim it twice. If you are having a good swim then when you come around to start that second 1.2 mile loop it is no problem. However, sometimes a loop swim can be kind of hard mentally if you are tired. You see that finish line banner and the shore is right there but you are only 1/2 way done. Luckily I was having a good swim and actually did the first 1.2 miles in 30 min flat. My goal was around a 1:05 for the full distance so I was pumped. I bridged up to a large group of swimmers that appeared to be tiring. I was working my way through them when some guy came out of no where and blind sided me. I guess he was off course and was swimming at a 45 degree angle to the course. It actually scared the crap out of me more than anything. I think he messed up everyone in our pack because after that it seemed like everyone was zig zaging all over the place. This really messed me up and it took me awhile to work my way away from them and regain my form. I went really wide on the return buoys and lost even more time, but I was glad to be away from those crazy swimmers. The last stretch was good and I made up some lost ground to finish in 1:08. I was a little mad about the lost time, but quickly put it behind me and focused on a quick transition.
The transition....Usually the transition is my strongest part of a triathlon. A place to make up some time and/or distance myself from other racers. Well, this might have been my slowest transition ever. Getting wetsuit off was easy thanks to the "strip crew". The volunteers handing off our bike gear bags were super fast. I had my bibs (including applying a handful of Chamois Butt'r) and jersey on w/shocks and shoes in about a minute. The problem was I had to make a quick pit stop to pee. 2 minutes later I am still in the port-a-john going. I guess it was the cooler temps and I just over drank. (Hopefully not too much of the red lake water :-)) Then when I get out I notice something wrong. My bib straps were just a dangling by my waist. It appears I put on my jersey a little too quickly. Well I cannot be seen over the next 112 miles with my bib straps a flying in the wind so off comes the jersey with all my food. By the time I got going 5:43 had passed. That pit stop and another one later in the race cost me 2nd overall.
The Bike....Time to hit the road for a 112 mile bike ride. That is how I was going to treat the bike leg of the Redman. If I just performed like I did in training and my IT band injury did not flare it's ugly head, I expected to finish in about 5:20....Just as they had advertised earlier, the course was very wet and flooded in sections. Not a real issue except for there was a lot of traffic out there. With the event delayed an hour traffic flow was a lot higher as folks were heading to breakfast and such. We had to dismount and run about 50 yards around a flooded section of road. Actually felt good to get off the bike some. After a quick dismount I set a good pace for the first 56 miles with just about a 22 mph average. I passed riders all morning long on that first lap. The Half Ironman participants were out in force and because they only swam 1.2 miles they were of course in front of me - all 575 of them. I stayed on my food intake plan for the most part. Only problem was that at one of the rest stop I got warm Gatorade. That stuff did not sit well in my stomach at the pace I was going. This put me behind a little because it made me a little nauseous and I had to stop eating for about 30 min. At the turnout I saw my little wife Carolynn all bundled up in a jacket freezing. Kind of felt sorry for her having to be out in the rain all day. Well her misery became mine at about mile 80. I hit the wall and had a horrible stretch and my IT band really started to hurt. I kept telling myself to "just pedal" and ate some more food. For about an hour I was really flat, but as I approached the 98 mile sign I got a little second wind. Stopping to go the bathroom helped also but cost me more time. Only 14 more miles I said to myself. On the final stretch I passed several participants that were doing the full distance but were only on their 1st lap. I felt really bad for them because they were hardly moving. I had some quick flashbacks of my first Ironman - The Great Floridian. On that day it took me nearly 16 hours to complete my first Ironman. I was new to the sport of cycling/triathlon and knew nothing about training, nutrition or the like. I just knew I was going to finish no mater how long it took me. As I passed this one gentleman that was still on his first lap, I could see that same drive in his eyes that I had many years ago. As I went by, I gave him a quick shout of encouragement and told him that he could do it and wished him luck. He did finish by the way in a little over 18 hours. The athletes that are out there all day and most of the night are the real heroes if you ask me. I have been on both sides of the fence and let me tell you it takes a lot more heart and courage to suffer all day and finish an Ironman than to finish up front.
After a quick transition I ran to the finish in 6:58. 2nd in my age-group and 5th Overall Male. A little disappointed in my time, but not much. I was hoping for a sub 6:30 finish time, but all in all not a bad performance given my recent injuries and the amount of time that I had to prepare for this distance. I don't want to even talk about losing all the time going to the bathroom. Just think, I pissed away 2nd place overall in the Redman......