Vineman Ironman July 30, 2016 Brian Skehan
Ironman Vineman 2016
Leading up to this race my confidence was broken a bit from Vineman ironman70.3, three weeks prior. That race was supposed to be an “A” race and I was hoping to PR. That particular day turned into a training day. Feeling run down, Tired and mentally not wanting to train leading up to the big day. I consulted a few friends and coaches I’ve had in the past, all recommended to just rest and take it easy. I listen and took all advice to heart and it all paid off. Two days prior to race day I started to get excited and pumped up for the challenge of 140.6 miles. I knew this was a good sign for me, I had enough rest between races, to perform.
Race day Morning
I woke around 0400 to eat my nutrition, and on the road at 0430 hrs to drive to the swim location (Johnson beach in Guerneville) but mainly to be beat the traffic into Guerneville. I like to give myself at least a 1.5 hours of extra time prior to the start of the swim. Believe me it goes fast when you dial the bike in, Mother Nature calls you to the porta Potty, and a short swim to warm up. 30 min prior to swim start I take 3 Clif Shot Block with caffeine for a little jump start.
Ironman had all competitors self-seeded by swim time to finish. I seeded with 1:20-1:30 min time group. Athletes were released in small groups at a time into the river, with over 2000 athletes this worked out pretty good, since the Russian river is narrow throughout the swim course. As I slowly pushed through the crowed and into the water I started off slow, and picked up the pace like I normally would swim. I have to mention, the river was very shallow around ¾ of a mile into the swim, some athletes walked to deeper waters, including myself. The water was dirty and hard to see in front of you most of the time. I finally reached the turnaround or halfway point, and the swimming was a lot easier and it felt like I was moving pretty fast down river. I finally reached the swim finish and looked at my watch and i swam 5100 yards @ 1:22 min.700 yards more than I needed to swim!! I’ll take that any day. My fastest swim ever; and a nice PR heading into T1. I knew today was going to be a good day. Swim time 1:22:48
Smooth transition nothing exciting to report, lots of mud accumulated on the bike cleats heading out of T1- 5:40
My goal on the bike was to ride around 18.5 -19 miles an hour or around 6:00 hours without crushing my legs and blowing up on the run. While exciting transition and starting the course the biggest problem I had was finding a comfortable group of people with the same speed on the bike. The first 20 miles I had to pass a ton of people and thus I pushed pretty hard on the bike to do so. Not part of the game plan. After finding a nice pocket where I could settle into a comfortable speed, I really needed focus on eating as much as I could about every 30 min. I had three Bonk Breaker bars on the bike that I needed to eat to stay on track with my nutrition plan. I executed this plan for first 60 miles. I stopped at the bike special needs to restock and I was off again. Around mile 80 on the bike I was too full to eat any more or drink anything. I managed to eat 5 Bonk breaker Bars and one full Gatorade, along with water. The winds also started to pick up on the course too, this made it difficult to push hard on the bike and maintain the speed I wanted. Also, I started to fade a bit, around mile 90. There is one hill called Chalk Hill, it’s a small hill in my book, not to steep, but it can be a pain after 90-95 miles on the bike. I pushed up Chalk Hill and some downhill relief, as I rested the legs for a few miles coasting downhill. The final 12 miles were tough heading back into town as winds were very persistent. I was happy to see T2 to get off the bike that’s for sure. Bike time 6:15:33
T2- 5:36 : Smooth transition from bike, to run. Took a shot of “Hot Shot” for cramp prevention put the shoes and visor on and off I went.
I felt pretty good getting off the bike in transition; I wasn’t thirsty or hungry at all. That’s a big plus for me. Previous races I haven’t felt that way. My biggest concern on the run was my cramping issues that I have around mile 6 or 7 on the run. I wanted to see if “Hot Shot” would cure this problem. I took one on the bike, one shot in T2 and I had one shot ready to go in my back pocket of my jersey. My game plan for the run was to run the first 6 miles nonstop to see how I felt with cramping issues, stop at every aid station and for water and to cool my head. I started the run around 2 o’clock, it happened to be a warm day but not too hot. The run course was a three loop course that you had to climb the same hill three times. Not a huge hill but long enough to take the wind out of your sails. I had to re-adjust my game plan on mile 8 because my legs were getting pretty tired. The new game was to walk the hills and run the rest as much as I could. This plan worked out perfectly. Also, I started to set goals of finishing before dark and possibly under thirteen hours. 2.5 laps into the run I started to pick up the pace to finish before dark. Last mile into the run I could hear everyone cheer and hear that famous “You are an Ironman” that always gives me the chills. I slowed down on the red carpet to give high fives to the kids and enjoy the moment of hearing my name “Brian, You, are, an, Ironman.” I have to say I had a good day of racing, everything came together and I feel I had a solid race. I finished before dark, missed my goal of finishing under 13 hours though.
Run time 5:25
I really enjoyed every moment of this race; sadly I was disappointed to finish so soon, Good problem to have, I guess. This was my 5th Triathlon of the year meeting my race requirements for my team “Folsom Bike Triathlon Team”. I want to thank Folsom Bike, and Karyn Hoffman for allowing me to represent The Folsom bike name and Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. It’s truly an honor to help represent my favorite bike shop, racing up and down the state of California. Hopefully I’m welcomed back next year to represent Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. I already have my race season planned for 2017. I can say Folsom Bike is very well known! I’m sad my racing season is over but, now it’s time fight fires throughout the state of California.