Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Well, it's been two and a half weeks since the Ironman and I suppose I have had plenty of time to decompress.  I have been putting off a blog post for awhile now because I realized right away that there is no way I can adequately describe my experience.  To say that it was life-changing, although cliche, doesn't really do it justice but that is how I can best describe it.  As it has gotten further away everything seems to have "blended together" in a way and I have a difficult time explaining everything... so I won't try to go into details regarding our time before and after the race but rather will stay focused on the race itself.  What you should know is that I had incredible, incredible support from my family and friends.  My Grandparents, brothers, Dad, and wife all made the trip down and it wouldn't have been the same without them.  My friends and family who weren't able to make the trip checked in with Gwen to see how I was doing and sent words of encouragement both before and after the race and I couldn't have asked for anymore.  I have truly been blessed over the last year to have the love, support, and encouragement of a such a great network of people.  I would also like to reiterate how much it has helped to have those of you who follow the blog checking in on me... I only hope that I can do the same for those who have supported me.

So, that being said... 

I'll start by saying, it was a long day.  13:11:07 to be exact.  Gwen and I were up at 4:30 a.m. on race day to head down to transition and then to get into the line for the time trial swim start.  I assumed that we would be there in plenty of time but as it turned out the line had started EARLY, EARLY, EARLY in the morning and I got into line towards the back 1/3.  Really, it wasn't that bad because by the time I heard the cannon fire and the line started to move it only took about 20 or 30 minutes for me to get into the water.  It was such a surreal feeling to walk under the inflatable swim start arch and then down the path to the docks where we all jumped in.  It almost didn't seem real and it was crazy because the music was blasting, everyone was sort of run/jogging to the docks, and there were tons of people yelling and cheering.  It was a really beautiful start to the day.  The minute I hit the water it became real for me.  I started churning away and was able to hit my stroke fairly quickly.  The water was 80+ degrees and felt absolutely great.  I was worried about the current prior to the race but I didn't notice it one bit.  I felt really comfortable throughout the swim and didn't have any issues with people swimming over top of me, getting in my way, etc.  The one thing about the swim that was difficult was when we made the turn and started to head towards the swim exit.  The turn was quite a ways away from the exit but every time you looked up you caught a glimpse of one of the bridges in the distance (there are several bridges in Louisville and the swim exit happens to be immediately after one).  By the time I got to the first bridge I thought I was free and clear only to realize that I still had at least 1/2 a mile to go.  It was discouraging but it was way early in the day, and I was really jacked up so I didn't focus on it too much.  Coming out of the water, once again, the barricades were absolutely jammed full of people screaming and cheering you on.  I caught sight of my family and was really excited to see them.  Gwen had made custom Josh is Ironman shirts which were really cool and made spotting everyone easier.  I made it out of the water in just around 01:30:00 (for some reason I can't pull up my official times right now and I can't remember off the top of my head anything other than my finish time).

The transition tent was an animal all its own.  There were dudes running all over the place naked, screaming, jockeying for chairs, etc. etc.  Again, I was able to make it through transition without too much of a problem.  I definitely took my time to make sure that I had everything with me and when I made my way out of the tent there were volunteers who smothered me in sunscreen.  The bike course was absolutely beautiful.  I don't know what else to say... there were a lot of rolling hills and maybe two or three climbs that were pretty challenging (where I had to get out of the saddle).  I was able to keep a relatively high RPM and stayed right around my goal of 19.5 MPH for nearly the entire way.  I was really staying up on eating (granola bars, GU, pretzels) and drinking and by the last 30 miles I really started to have to pee.  I must have stopped three times to go but was okay with this because I was confident that I was properly hydrated at this point.  As usual, I felt strongest on the bike.  The one difficulty I had was on the big downhills I lost a lot.  What kept happening was two lanes would form.  The right lane would be the slower, less confident bikers and the left was the faster, more confident bikers.  When you are hitting 45 MPH+ speeds you want to make sure you are in the right lane.  Unfortunately for me larger riders, who generate more speed downhill, kept coming behind me on the downhill and I would have to move to the right side and then hit my brake to avoid riding up on someone.  This happened all day and I wasn't really able to stay on top of it.  Frustrating, but not a big deal in the end.

Off the bike I started the marathon.  I absolutely blew up at mile 8 on the marathon and the story of the rest of my day was fighting the pain.  I won't go into detail because ultimately the only thing you need to know is that I had to walk a lot and my stomach hurt.  BUT, it worked out... and like I said before.... I did it.

So, what now you may ask?  Well... IMLP is on the books for next year as is Ironman Kansas 70.3.  As for everything else... I'm taking a couple of weeks to relax, enjoy Gwen's prep. for the Chicago Marathon, and then we'll see... keep checking back in when you get a chance.

For those who are interested here is the link to a Picasa Web Album with pictures from IMKY

So much to say, so little time to say it, so few words to describe it.  I realize that this post/blog will never do it justice so I am not even making an attempt.  IF anyone has any questions, wants to know more, etc. etc. let me know I'll try to give as good a picture/description as possible.

Later on... 


  1. awesome - I am so excited for you, Ironman ! no questions right now but as I get closer to race day I'll be picking your brain :)

  2. Congrats Josh, I track you all day, even had a finishing time picked out, but the Ironman site was late on their posting of times and I missed everyone I was following by 20 minutes.

    Your a rock star.

    Are you thinking of either race at Rev3 Cedar Point next year?

  3. I actually pulled up the registration page for Rev3 CP last night and was about half filled out before I decided to hold off. I am about 80-20 on it right now. I really want to do it, and it is close by. Are you thinking about it?

  4. I am thinking of the half, not ready for the full yet, HAHA not sure if ready for the half, but I am highly considering it. A big race close is the high draw for me.