Ironman Maryland 2015 Race Report
Why did I choose IMMD 2015? I wanted to try another Ironman before I get too old. I haven’t done one since 2009 in Wisconsin and I absolute hated the hills, so I wanted to try a flat course. IM number 4 for me since Florida in 2006, Brazil in 2008 and Wisconsin in 2009.
Since I was just having fun since 2009 and not training for any serious race, I felt the need to hire a coach. My friends recommended coach Val and I hired her in October 2014. My main goal was to find the balance between work and doing all the workouts and staying injury free. Lots of frustration and challenges to get all the equipment and gadgets working. Mission accomplished. No injuries. I felt ready to embrace another Ironman. Before I knew it I was in taper mode. I was counting down each work out. I was looking forward to not having to train. Finally it was race week and time to pack up and drive to Maryland.
Wednesday the 30th we were just driving into West Virginia on the way to Maryland when we got the text that the race was cancelled. I kept looking and hoping it wasn’t true. But a check of the Ironman website confirmed that due to the expected rain, high winds, and high tides from a stalled weather pattern the race was cancelled/postponed. Wait, postponed? They were going to wait to see what damage if any, Joaquin (a Hurricane off the coast) and the weather front would cause. We would know something by Tuesday the 6th. So we “my husband Rich and a great friend Beth Haynes” immediately stopped the car on the side of the road and started cancelling hotel reservations before the 4:00pm cut off. We touched basis with JoAn Grane who has been my training partners all along and her Sherpa Bob Corbett. After have driving about 10 hours, the frustration began but we were able to cancel everything and made reservation in Columbus Ohio to go back and spend the night before heading back home to Illinois the next day.
I was numb, but safety first. All of the training. All of that time and $$$. Would it be for nothing?
The drive back home on Thursday was rough. So were the next several days. The weather in Maryland that weekend of the 3rd was horrible. 20 inches of rain and flooded roads. So, the race has been postponed to October 17thand we had to keep training. Sunday we had 4 hours and 30 minutes ride. Rich, JoAn, Beth and Bob started the ride from my house in Oakrun around 10am. Rich just wanted to ride about 20 miles, so he turned around and went back home. The headwind was rough all the way until we turned around at about 2 hour into the ride at Duncan road off Laura road.
We were moving pretty good with winds on our back, maybe 19mph or so when JoAn hit a small hole on the ground and fell face down. We were terrified for her as she was not moving and she was bleeding heavily. She had lost her short memory. Thanks to Beth, Bob, and a good Samaritan “Diane Guiles” for helping with first aid kit. We called Rich Breaux and he came as quickly as possible to take her home. Well, we knew that unfortunately the race was over for JoAn. I struggled to make myself motivated as I was too afraid to get on my bike, so I decided not to go to Maryland at this time. In the midst of all that, I was in the process of making a major decision to take an “early retirement package” of my 30-year career at Caterpillar.
We cancelled all the hotel reservations and I told coach Val that I was done for the year. Wow… too much at one time, so many ups and downs so I started thinking that I would need to start the training over again next year as Rich could not go with me on the 17th. In the meantime coach Val was trying to convince me to go when my friend and training partner Stephany Yocum called me up and said she would go with me to Maryland. I started re thinking all the pros and cons of getting it done now. With all the encouragement of my husband, coach and friends, I made decision to go with Stephany. She was a God sent. I still could not get myself riding my bike on the roads, so did a few indoor rides, ran a couple times and swam a little. I felt ready for it.
As the race day grew closer I finally started getting back the excitement of doing another “Ironman”. I also started getting worried about the weather for Cambridge, MD. Cold and windy. I like cold for the run but not so much for biking 112 miles. Then there are the 10-15 mph winds they were calling for. The cold weather also dropped the Choptank River temperature to the mid 60’s. I had a lot of trouble deciding what to wear for the race. I finally decided that a complete change in each transition was the only way I could make sure I had options to stay warm or peel off layers. I knew this would add time to my race, but I had already decided that with the added 2 week taper this would not be my “perfect” race. I finally convinced myself that I just wanted to finish happy and healthy.
Stephany and I drove up on Wednesday the 14th and got into Cambridge next day with plenty of time to go to Athlete Check-in. The long line gave the indication that a lot of athletes were able to come back for the rescheduled race. The Ironman store was packed because all of the IMMD merchandise was 40% off.We stayed in Salisbury which is about 40 minutes from Cambridge. I spent Thursday night preparing all of my transition bags. Friday morning we went to the bike/bag check in. T1 and T2 bags got dropped off next. We eat at Olive Garden Friday night and went to bed early.
We got up at 3:30am race morning, ate a bowl of Oatmeal and prepared 2 chocolate flavor GenUcan protein shake, packed up, and left around 4:20am to drive the 40 minutes from Salisbury to Cambridge.
We parked at the high school around 5:00 and took a shuttle to the start. Air temp was 45 and there wasn’t much wind. I went into transition and added hydration and food to the bike, placed toe warmers into my bike shoes in my T1 bag, and hand warmers in my gloves and dropped off my special needs bags. I marked my bike and special need bags row with bright pink ribbon for easy access.
My Fuel & Hydration Plan:
Morning of the Race: Oatmeal
1 hour before: GenUCAN shake with double shots Starbucks on it
½ hour before: 1 Antifatique and 2 electrolytes
Race got delayed 30 minutes, so I drank my other protein shake
Before the swim: 1 gel with water
Applied butt cream on my tri shorts the night before and put it in the bike bag
I wore a swimsuit under my wetsuit so I would have dry clothes for the bike
Note: some people were asked to remove their “rash guard” they were wearing under a sleeveless wetsuit. The officials said it was illegal…. Not sure why it this was a wetsuit legal race…
Next was a bathroom stop and body marking and put last minute stuff in my bags… soon it was time to get my wetsuit on. They announced that the water was 63 degrees and neoprene footies were allowed. This time heading into the transition area was different. The wind was now blowing hard. Probably 15 to 20 mph. We were just a few minutes from the expected start time of 6:50 when thenational anthem played and they made the announcement.
A small craft advisory had been issued by the Coast Guard. The swim start would be delayed and the swim would be shortened to 1.2 miles. I was happy but getting cold from the 20 mph wind and 35 degree wind chill. They could have cancelled the swim like IMFL 2014. Then came another announcement. The swim would now be a 3000 meter 2 loop triangle and start at 7:30.
The water was cold (63). So I had neoprene swim cap under my regular swim cap and long sleeved wetsuit and footies. IMMD is a rolling start. Similar to a typical Marathon start where your time starts when you cross the timing mat. I got in line about mid pack between (1:20 and 1:30 predicted time) and we got herded through the Swim Start arch. As soon as I got waist deep in the water I started swimming and get acclimated to the cold. There was lots of bodies bumping into me. I had to try hard to get into a rhythm and not to panic. I stopped at one of the kayaks to fix my goggles and kept going. The triangle course had 2 longer sides. The side swimming away from the start was an easy swim but coming back towards the start was very choppy. I completed the first loop and lots of people were walking before starting the second one since it was very shallow. That gave me some time to recompose myself for the 2nd loop. It was a lot choppier but I made it to thru the swim:
3000 meter swim – 1:08:31
The wetsuit strippers were great. Grab my T1 bag and ran into the changing tent which was packed with wet shivering women everywhere.
Strip down and put tri shorts (Coeur brand is the best), compression tights over tri shorts, compression long sleeved shirt, arm warmers, bike jersey, socks, bike shoes(which were toasty warm thanks to the toe warmers I put in there before), hat, gloves and helmet. The lady at T1 helped me to put swim stuff into bag and she took care of the bag. Ran to bike and ran with bike out of transition. Long run out of transition. They did not have bike handlers due to shortage of volunteers.
T1 – 17:20
Front hydration with UCAN & and another one with HEED
Back of bike: Another bottle with UCAN & another with HEED.
Front Bento Box: 1 flask of GEL, 2 Waffle Stinger (I only eat one)
Pouch: Electrolytes, Antifatigue, Advil, Salt Tablet and biofreeze and extra butt cream
Back pocket I had an extra package of DRY UCAN powder and Pretzels filled with Peanut Butter
The bike ride started out very well. I had dressed correctly for the weather. Being able to stay in the aero position for long periods of time is a big advantage when riding in the wind. The wind on the first loop was probably 15-20. By the second loop it was 20-25. I knew that the last 10 miles of the loop and 10 miles back into town would be right into the wind so I “saved” a little in the tank. I was kind of hoping for around 6 hours on the bike until I received a 5 minutes drafting penalty from the race official. At least I got to rest a little and I was able to take care of my nutrition and other business at the penalty tent. I saw Stephany and we talked a little before I took off. Second loop was worst as predicted.
112 mile bike – 6:39:18
Running in bike shoes isn’t fun or easy after biking 112 miles. Racked the bike and ran (sort of) to pick up my T2 bag. Into the changing tent again. This time there was more room. Strip down tri shorts, put in a fresh pair of compression tights, kept everything else on, put fresh pair of socks, lube my feet with “real stuff cream”, shoes, hat, race belt and gloves.
Race pack with 2 8oz of water with UCAN hydration.
Electrolytes and Antifatigue, Advil, salt, biofreeze and foot cream.
I took gels from aid stations, sports drink of the day, water, chicken broth, coke, fruit, cookies, etc
Brick training works good, but not at race day for me. I started out running 11:00min at first mile. I got a little worried because I didn’t feel like eating anything.
I took a gel from the station and started drinking water and gatorade. I realized that my legs were not going to cooperate… I could not run another half mile without having to walk. Stephany tried so hard to get me running but my body just did not want to. I was running a little and walking and stopping at every station to get something different to see if helped. Well, the chicken broth helped keep me warm and the salt helped a little. I knew that I had a long way to go and decided to walk faster. I hocked up with 2 other people, Monika and Jay that were determined to finish their first Ironman, so we just went one mile at the time and finished. It was impossible not to smile when I heard my name called:
Ana Breaux, you are an Ironman!
26.2 mile run – 6:19:42
Total time including penalty: 14:34:56
The race being postponed sucked. The swim being delayed, the cold and the wind sucked but Ironman Maryland 2015 was AWESOME! The event was professional and organized. The race director went through hell and back to get the event rescheduled. The volunteers were amazing. The entire town supported the race. Locals were out on their front porch cheering us on. Take away the wind and it would have been near perfect conditions. Weather is unpredictable. But this race venue is great. I think IMMD will turn into one of Ironman’s premier races.
The swag we got is great too; backpack, flag, poster, finisher’s shirt, finisher’s hat, finisher’s medal, timing chip strap, and a bike seat cover.
With all of that being said, I could not have made this journey without my husband Rich. He has been my rock through this entire year. His encouragement, strength, wisdom, patience, and love were unrelenting. I also want to thank Stephany for taking time away from her family to go with me to this journey. My training could not have been better without JoAn and Bob and with the guidance of coach Val. It was such a pleasure to meet her for lunch the day after the race.
I don’t know about Stephany, but I had a blast!
you don’t know what you can accomplish until you TRI.