About IMRoycer81

Richmond, Virginia, United States
Thanks for visiting! I'm a civil litigator at KPMLaw. I attended Cornell where I swam IM and Breastroke. In 2007 I filled the void of swimming retirement with triathlon. In my first tri I thought, "holy sh*t this is painful" and "when can I do it again?" Things escalated quickly and my first half was Augusta 2009 and my first full was Louisville 2011. Since 2007 I've been chasing my dream of qualifying for Kona. Prior to September 2017 this blog focused on attempts (and failures) to achieve an elusive KQ. I got the monkey off my back in my 10th Ironman at Chattanooga. There is still much room to improve and I look forward to putting in the work to become a consistent podium finisher. In 2018 I have the privilege of racing for Team Every Man Jack and look forward to learning from a great group of guys while giving back to the triathlon community. I couldn't do any of this without my amazing family. They lift me up. I am lucky to train in a fantastic triathlon town with inspirational athletes. My job, training, and daughter keep me busy, but I update as often as I can. I'm always willing to share the knowledge I've picked up along the way. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monument Avenue Race Report


Today was my second race of the season and my goal was to break 40 minutes.  This was my fifth Monument 10k and every year my goal has to been break 40 minutes.  Looking back, this was probably not a realistic goal because I wasn't putting in the appropriate level of training to get there. My previous best was two years ago when I ran 40:47.  Today my stretch goal was to run 38:59 but I told myself I would be pleased with sub 40.  After running a strong half marathon a few weeks ago, I felt primed for a good race. My only concern was that Ironman training is not exactly conducive to short high intensity races, but I am confident in the early season work I have put in.

My goal for this race was to take it out fast and hold on.  However, I don't have nearly as much experience with shorter races and I have a difficult time with pacing.  I know it sounds crazy, but I would much rather run a half or full marathon where I can lock in at a much more aerobic pace.  I am much more mentally adept at zoning out and getting locked in for the long haul rather than throttling myself for 40 minutes.

I started the day by meeting at John's house.  We decided we would run to the start line for warm up and then run back for cool down.  I figured that not having a car would keep my warm up and cool down honest.  John lives about 3 miles from the start line and we set off from his house at about 7:45 for the 8:30 a.m. start.  I took the run to the start line pretty easy and ran a nice comfortable 8:15 pace.  When we got down near the start line I did a few short high intensity intervals to get my heart rate up.  After a few minutes of stretching I was ready to go.

The beginning of the race was typical of most running races, cluttered and hectic.  I find that it is generally difficult to keep your pace under control at running races because inevitably everyone hammers out of the box and the atmosphere is pretty exciting.  Normally I find this annoying, but today it was helpful to my race plan of getting out fast.  The first mile was busy and I had to do a fair amount of weaving through the crowds.  The crowd thinned out at about the first mile marker.

My first mile felt fast but under control, and I clicked through the mile marker at 6:11 which was right on target.  Mile 2 also felt relaxed but fast.  Unfortunately, I wasn't paying much attention to my real time pacing during mile 2 and when my auto lap clicked off at 6:08 I was surprised.  I was definitely not expecting to see a faster second mile.  I knew immediately that 6:08 is at the edge of my capabilities, and was taken off guard that my second mile was faster than the first.  Ultimately, this was a tactical error and this second mile would ultimately lead to me falling apart a bit in the latter stages of the race.

After seeing my mile 2 split I realized that the back half was going to be painful and had unwittingly pot committed to the strategy of "fly and die".  I decided to keep up the intensity for mile 3 and hope for the best.  Mile 3 was definitely more painful but manageable.  I was still moving through the field well and maintaining optimism.  Mile 3 was slightly slower than mile 2 but still a strong split of 6:16.  The turnaround was shortly after the mile 3 marker and after making the turn I immediately knew I was going to hurt.  I got through 5K at 19:27 (which was also happens to be a PR) and my focus immediately changed to holding on for dear life.  Through mile 4 the pain level started to ramp up significantly and I was giving it everything I had to keep my pace under 6:20.  The fourth mile was 6:20.  I remember thinking, "not great, but I'll take it".  The fifth mile is where the wheels really started to fall off and I had to pay the piper for my overly ambitious second mile.  I was in big time pain, my heart rate was spiking, and I started moving backwards through the field.  Mile 5 was my worst, and my split spiked significantly to 6:38.  My focus immediately shifted to limiting the damage and trying to keep mile 6 under 6:38.  After seeing my 5th mile split, I knew sub 40 was going to be a close call.  Mile 6 was all about gritting my teeth and embracing the suffer.  I put my head down and ran as fast as I could.  I was somewhat encouraged to see that my 6th mile was a bit faster at 6:34 which is a good sign for my overall fitness given the significant level of discomfort I was in.  I could see the finish line with about 3 tenths of a mile to go and went for broke.  As I got closer, I could see the clock ticking dangerously close to 40 minutes and I put on a final surge.  I crossed the line at 39:44....Mission accomplished.

I have mixed feelings about the race.  I am super stoked that I broke 40 minutes after four years of unsuccessful attempts.  However, I probably could have been slightly faster with a better executed pacing plan.  The day was an overall success and it is always good to PR but still feel there is room for improvement.  I finished out the day with an easy 3 mile run back to the car and then had a nice 2500 yard swim to work out some of the lactate.  The season is off to a great start.  Two races with two PR's.  Next up, TryCharleston half....can't wait.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

I hate the trainer

This weekend's workouts call for a 3 hour bike ride today and a 90 minute ride tomorrow.  Unfortunately, this is what our radar looks like.  I was hoping that we would get a clearing this afternoon so I could sneak outside but it is not looking good.  I have been spoiled with recent warm weather and outdoor riding and the thought of sitting on the trainer is making it tough to get motivated.   Time to suck it up and mentally prepare myself for a really long weekend on the trainer.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shamrock Half Marathon Race Report

The 2012 race season is officially underway and it feels great to race again.  I struggle with winter training and up until recently have been in a training funk.  Darkness at 5 p.m., cold days, and endless trainer sessions/treadmill runs really get me down.  I am stoked that daylight savings is back and I am able to do my workouts outside after work.  The recent warm temperatures and longer days have helped me get back into a great training groove.  I had a great week of training sessions leading into this weekend and I felt pretty confident about my early season fitness.  My previous PR in the half marathon was the second half of the Richmond Marathon last November.  I don't remember the exact time but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:35 or 1:36.  My goal was to get under 1:30.  This breaks down to 6:52/mile average pace.  This is way faster than I have ever run and I was definitely nervous about how much it was going to hurt.  Fortunately, Saturday steel hammer core runs have conditioned me to be able to suffer mightily.  Moose Herring and Rob Green often tell me that winter "core" runs really pay off when race season starts.  They were 100% right.  My buddy posted on his Facebook wall that our race strategy should be "go balls out in the first 5k to give yourself a chance".  This was essentially my strategy going into the race.  I knew I was going to have to be aggressive but controlled in the first few miles and not put myself into a hole I couldn't dig out of.  This was going to require jumping out of the box quick and holding on for the next 90 minutes.

The race start was pretty typical.  I was in the first wave and most people started out way too fast.  The pace of the first mile was aggressive all around.  In my past run races, my adrenaline typically makes my first mile speedy and today was no exception.  I glanced down at my Garmin a few times to make sure that I wasn't going to blow myself up by going too deep the first mile.  The first mile ended up a pretty comfortable 6:39 and I felt that I was holding myself back a bit.  The second and third miles I was able to stay comfortable and clocked a 6:46 and 6:44.  At this point my confidence was building that 1:30 was realistic.  My first three miles were under pace and I felt relaxed.  About this time a guy ran by me and was running slightly faster than my goal pace.  I decided I was going to ride his coat tails and see what would happen.  This ended up being fortuitous as I was able to use him as my pace rabbit for the next 5 miles.  I stayed focused on keeping my heart rate controlled and staying on his shoulder.  The next 5 miles were 6:39, 6:40, 6:34, 6:45 and 6:46.  About this time my pacer sped up and I knew that I couldn't match his acceleration.  I had to race within myself and let him go.  I was thankful that he gave me five miles of great pacemaking.  This was about the time things started to get painful.  Holding 6:45's is freaking hard and I was feeling it.  Mentally I kept telling myself to make it to mile ten and I could gut through the last 5k.  Miles 9 and 10 were 6:46 and 6:43.  During this stretch I thought I would have enough in the tank to drop it back into the 6:30's for the last three miles.  Unfortunately mile 11 ended up being my slowest at 6:49.  Mentally I was getting drained but I was able to drop the pace back down on mile 12 to 6:47.  Just before the mile 12 marker a guy ran up to my side and thanked me for pacing him the whole race.  I hadn't realized he was right behind me until he mentioned something.  I told him it was no problem and told him I was in the hurt locker.  He ran by me and told me to get on his shoulder and he would help get me home.  We ended up chatting for the next few minutes which helped take my mind off the pain.  It turns out that he was an ultra marathoner that was also trying to get under 1:30 for the first time.  I definitely appreciated him helping me get back on track on mile 13 and we clocked a 6:33.  At the 13 mile mark he took off and I couldn't keep up.  I went for broke and sprinted for the finish.  I knew I was going to get under 1:30 it was just a matter of by how much.  I sprinted for the finish and heard my wife and parents yell for me.  Crossed the finish line in 1:28:18!!!!  I am really excited about my time and obliterated my goal.  This was definitely a great way to start my season.

I feel great about where I am with my training and I am very pleased with my coach Bob Flanigan of CVE (who ran 1:18 today....badass!!!) .  I am believing in the training, and am gaining confidence with each week.  I think this is going to be a great season.

I want to congratulate my fellow CVE teammate Jeff Tunstall who had a great race.  I am also a proud big brother of my two sisters who ran the half marathon today.  Lummy went a PR of 1:48 and Jacko finished her first half marathon ten minutes faster than we all expected....amazing.  I also want to congratulate Kristan Hawkins and Meredith Deckert on their first marathons.  They both did unbelievable!!!  Most of all I want to thank my wife who is always my best and biggest supporter.  I couldn't ask for a better partner and she always makes everyone of my races easier and more enjoyable.

I wasn't a huge fan of the race course.  It is completely flat which is nice, but it is pretty isolated in terms of fan support.  I thought the course was mentally draining and it was a bit of a mental struggle to keep my focus.  Overall I am very pleased with this result and believe this is going to be a great season.  Next up Monument Avenue 10K where I hope to finally break 40 minutes for the first time.  Race file is below...Thanks for reading

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Look what the Aero Fairy Delivered

My latest bike upgrade arrived today.  My Zipp 808 Firecrest Carbon Clincher front wheel came in.  I am really looking forward to pairing this with the Zipp 900 Disc that my sponsors (mom and dad) got me for Christmas and getting it out on the road. I also ordered the Zipp Beyond Black Decal Kit for a more stealth look on the wheels.  I will post pictures of the new race setup on my Speed Concept when I transfer over the new decals.


I will post a review on the wheels after I race on them in my first race of the season in late April.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oakley Jawbone Review

Oakley Jawbones have been out for a few years now and are about to be discontinued/re-named.  Apparently the frame shape is being modified and re-branded under a new name.  I've heard Oakley got sued for copyright infringement over the name Jawbone as there is some blue tooth cell phone ear piece that also goes by the name.  These glasses are old and about to be discontinued so it feels timely(not) for my thoughts on my favorite sunglasses.

Jawbones are the most functional glasses for both cycling and running.  I think that Radars are probably better for those that are strictly roadies but the Jawbone takes top prize for cycling/running/triathlon.  I remember first seeing them on Tour de France riders in either 2008 or 2009.  I remember thinking immediately that they looked garish and ridiculous... perfect for triathlon.  Triathlons are like a really bad fashion show riddled with 80's type hyper colors and copious amounts of lycra (sounds awesome right).  Personally, half the fun of racing is having a loud kit (bold tri-shorts/top, bright sneakers, big bright sunglasses, aero helmets, etc.)  There is just something about wearing loud gear that makes you feel faster.  Jawbones fit this mold perfectly and are highly functional for multi-sport.

I am on my third set of Jawbones which should tell you how much I like them.  Part of the reason I like them so much is because they are highly customizable and can be color matched to virtually any race kit.  My current pair consists of matte white frame, matte white jaws, gray nose piece/O emblem/ear socks, and three sets of lenses (Jade Iridium (green) vented/black iridium non-vented polarized/persimmon (orange) non-vented).

Almost every part of the sunglasses can be swapped out for a wide variety of colors.  The sunglasses have several parts which can be color customized.  The changeable parts are the upper frame, lower "jaws", ear socks, nose pieces, lenses, "through bolts" (which affix the jaws to the frame), and if you order them from Oakley you can even customize the color of the O logo.  You also have the option for polarized/non-polarized lenses and vented lenses.  The vented lenses are a really nice feature for early morning/foggy races and keep the lenses clear in weather conditions/temperatures where they would normally fog.  Every pair of Jawbones comes with two sets of lenses which is nice because you can have a set for bright sunny days and cloudy/night riding.  Another nice feature is that all Jawbones come with the soft Oakley cleaning bag and a hard vault case to keep them safe.  This is a nice touch since a custom pair of Jawbones can cost over 200 "bones".

I hope that the new re-branded version of these glasses stays substantially the same so I continue to color match my glasses to each years kit.  Gotta make sure I look good at the cross-colors fashion show!!!
Check out the photos below.

Vault Case
Layout of the whole package including
soft cleaning bag, replacement nose
pieces, glasses, and extra lenses.


Glasses from the front with vented
jade iridium (green) lenses
Side view including through bolt, O
emblem, and ear socks.


open jaws, this is how you swap
out the lenses.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Breakthrough Run

Today's plan called for a 90 minute run with a 30 minute half iron pace interval at the 45 minute mark.  I must say that this run was a bit of a break through.  My runs lately have been feeling pretty sluggish and I have been experiencing quite a bit a back pain originating in my SI joints.  In fact, I recently had to take a week off from running to try and get my back pain under control.  Today was a breakthrough in that I was able to run relatively pain free, and hold a really strong pace on my 30 minute interval (6:49/mile).  I'm excited about the shamrock half marathon next weekend and this run gives me confidence to think that I can achieve my goal of doing my first sub 1:30 half marathon.  Now off to a dinner date with my lovely wife.

Check out the garmin file from my run
Untitled by ivyswimmer23 at Garmin Connect - Details

Welcome to my 2012 Blog

Last year I embarked on my first Ironman journey and had an amazing experience.  The training was ridiculous/grueling but I got to the finish line at Ironman Louisville under my goal time and finished the race with my two best friends.  There is something about Ironman training that makes you feel like superman.  Even in the midst of my longest, hardest, and hottest training days, I felt like I could conquer anything.  I have always enjoyed pushing myself physically, and training for Ironman took this to the next level.  My best friends know me as someone who loves to suffer.  I love spending time in the "pain cave" and testing my absolute physical limits. My training buddy John always jokes that I like to do "extra credit" by doing a bit more on each workout than my training plan calls for.

I knew from the moment I crossed the finish line that I was coming back to Louisville (subject of course to the obligatory approval of my lovely wife).  Even though I nailed my performance and hit my "best case scenario" goal time, I knew that I could be faster with more and targeted training and guidance.  Louisville showed me that I have the ability to compete well in long course triathlon and hopefully one day qualify for Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  So I kept myself fit over the fall and winter, ran a PR at the Richmond marathon and decided to hire a coach beginning on January 1, 2012.

Beginning in January, I started working with Bob Flanigan at Central Virginia Endurance with the hopes that he could push me to the next level and give me a fighting chance at a KQ(Kona Qualifier) at Louisville this summer.  So far I am very pleased and I am by far the most fit that I have ever been this early in the year.  I am training with my buddy John Hauserman and have started training with a new group of maniacs that may love to suffer even more than me.  I have to give credit and thanks to Moose "Steel Hammer" Herring, Rob Green, Bob Flanigan, Jeff Tunstall, and John Hauserman for really pushing me to my limits on some crazy early season workouts.  I also need to thank my wife and family in advance for embarking on this journey with me again.  I hope that I can reward their faith and patience with a trip to Hawaii in October.  I look forward to blogging about my training, racing, gear, inevitable injuries, highs and lows over the next few months.

My mantra for this year is :50, 5:15, 3:30....  9:45 at Louisville gives me a fighting chance to get to Kona, and I will be busting my butt for the next 5 months to give myself this opportunity.  Thanks for reading and please check back for updates.

Ironman Louisville Race Report (from 9/5/11- old blog)


Total Time: 10:30:05, 149th OA, 32nd AG (M30-34)
The night before the race I got into bed about 9:30 p.m. I didn't expect that I would be able to sleep and I definitely couldn't. As usual I was amped/terrified and way overhydrated. I just laid in bed staring at the ceiling and counting down the minutes until it was go time. I had to pee 3 times before I fell asleep. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was about 11:30 p.m. The alarm was set for 4 a.m.
When the alarm went off I hopped out of bed quickly. I definitely slept lightly the night before the race.  I quickly ran to the bathroomto try and do some business and then made my way into the kitchen area and started eating my breakfast. My goal was to be done with breakfast by 4:15-4:20 so I could be fully digested with optimal glycogen levels by swim start (7:15-7:20).  Breakfast consisted of one package of pop-tarts (400 cals), three packages of cinnamon raisin oatmeal (450 cals), banana (75 cals), and a bottle of gatorade (110 cals). At about 4:45 we started walking from the Galt House to the transition area. The atmosphere was awesome and I felt a combination of nervous excitement and anxiety.  The transition area opened at 4:45 a.m. and we weren't in any particular hurry to get down there. Because of the time trial format and our abilities as strong swimmers we figured we would head down to transition at a fairly leisurely pace and end up somewhere in the middle of the line. We arrived at transition at about 5:00 a.m. We did a final check of our bikes, checked our run and bike transition bags and dropped off our special needs bags. We handed the bike pump over to my dad and then started to make our way to the swim start. As you can see, I think me and the boys might have been a wee bit nervous....we all have serious deer in the headlight ghost faces.  Dad popped this picture right before we walked over to swim start.
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After leaving transition there was an 0.8 mile walk to the swim start.  The swim start area was pretty crowded and hectic.  There were lines everywhere for body marking and to get into the bathrooms.  We got body marked, hit the bathrooms, and then headed to the back of the swim line.  By the time we arrived, the swim line was loooonnng.  I would say that we were probably 75% of the way toward the end of the line.  The volunteers did an awesome job of keeping the line organized and making sure it consisted of athletes only.  Somehow they managed to create a snaking line through a park area without any dviders or caution tape, it was quite impressive.  After the line formed, we waited for the race to start and for the pros to go off.  We sat in the grass and didn't say much to each other.  I think we sat and waited for about 30 minutes before the line started moving.  The three of us basically just sat there contemplating what was about to take place.  There wasn't much conversation between us.  I know I was super nervous and I imagine the boys felt the same way.  One of the minor disappointments of the day was that we were not able to see the pro start from our position in the line.  At the Augusta 70.3, this was one of my favorite parts and got me super amped before the race.  After what seemed like an eternity, we finally heard the pros go off.  Ten minutes later we heard the cannon start and the age-groupers started entering the water.  The line began moving and started picking up steam.  We dropped off our morning clothes bags as we wound our way towards the water.  When we got to the final walkway down to the docks, the line suddenly stopped for several minutes.  We couldn't see what happened but we assumed that someone had some trouble in the water.  I later found out that someone passed away during the swim. My thoughts go out to this participant and his family.  The stop gave my dad a chance to pop some pictures of us right before the start.  You can see by the looks on our faces that we were ready to do this thing already.
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Before I knew it, the line was moving again and suddenly I was running down the pier with my goggles on.  Oh sh*t this is really happening!!!
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Swim- 51:57, 4th AG/20th OA
My plan on the swim was to stay closest to the shore to the turn around and then swing wide on the way back in.  The time trial start was great.  I never felt crowded and didn't really have to run over anyone.  The time trial start gave the three of us the opportunity to swim together.  John, Travis and I stayed together out to the turn around.  I distinctly remember thinking how cool it was that I was swimming side by side with my two best friends at an Ironman.  It just felt right to be hammering through the crowd of swimmers side by side.  We did 6 months worth of  training together and now we were picking through the crowd as a team.  I couldn't help but smile underwater as we swam out to the turn around.  Although the swimmers were fairly spaced out, we did have to do a fair bit of weaving.  As a result, I lost contact with Travis somewhere near the turn around.  Fortunately, John and I maintained contact and were able to swim the entire swim right next to each other.  I led John out to the turn around and then he swung past me.  I swooped into his draft and we started picking our way through the crowd.  Sighting was easy and the buoys were huge.  It was a piece of cake keeping our lines and getting into a good rhythm.  I felt awesome in the swim.  Totally relaxed and smooth.  I never felt like I put excessive effort on it.  I definitely could have been faster but did not want to be overzealous in the early goings.  The water was warm but not uncomfortable.  After swimming in the 90 degree James River all summer, the Ohio felt crisp.  Although I have heard horror stories about how dirty the Ohio is, I didn't feel particularly grossed out by it.  The water is murky but so is the James.  It didn't feel especially gross, and it wasn't particularly smelly.  I did not mind the river at all and would have no qualms about doing this swim again.  Travis hit the swim finish somewhere out in front of us and John hit the finish right before me.  We ran up the steps right near each other and started the run to transition.  I glanced down at my watch and saw that I was under my well 55 minute goal.  This gave me a shot of energy and I couldn't help but smile.  The swim went by fast and I was stoked to get on the bike.  As I ran toward transition, my wife Brittany was standing right on the rail cheering.  The was the first of several highlights of the day.  She was wearing bright pink and easy to spot.  It was awesome having her right there when I got out of the water.  She was the greatest cheerleader all day long.  I heard someone else from our cheering squad call out my name to the right.  I gave my best smile and a fist pump as I headed toward transition.  Trav's sister popped this picture as I ran up the ramp toward transition.  (many of these awesome pictures were taken by Kristan throughout the day.  Thanks Kris!!!!)
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Transition 1- 6:45
Since it was my first Ironman, I think I probably took more time than I should have in the first transition.  I wanted to make sure that I was perfectly situated before I hit the bike course.  As I ran toward the transition area, I started calling out my number to the volunteers.    I had put neon green tape around my bag to help the spot it out of the crowd.  A volunteer handed me my T1 bag in stride and I ran into the changing tent.  The tent is pretty crazy, it is hot and sweaty with people in all stages of getting dressed and undressed.  It is definitely organized chaos.  Once in the tent, the volunteers were amazing. They wanted to help you in any way that they could.  I put on my heart rate monitor, tri top, helmet and glasses.  I drank half a bottle of propel and ate half a power bar.  I applied chamois cream and then wiped my hands off on a hand towel had put in my bag.  I grabbed my back up gel flask and zip lock bag of honey stinger waffles and put them in my back jersey pockets.  I grabbed my shoes and ran barefoot to my bike.  Once I hit my bike rack, I put on my shoes on un-racked my bike and headed out on the course.  John, Travis and I hit the the bike course at about the same time although I didn't really realize it at the time.  Things were so hectic I didn't even notice we were right near each other until we were out on the bikes.  It was awesome to still be together as a group as we hit the second phase of the race.
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Bike- 5:29:24, 29th AG/125th OA, Avg Speed 20.4 MPH,Avg Power- 200, Norm Power- 226, Avg Cadence- 86
My plan on the bike was to take it realllllly easy in the early stages.  I had a goal to ride between 210 and 225 watts for the whole course.  I planned to start a bit south of those numbers and build my effort.  My goal was to start with power numbers in the 190's and steadily build throughout the race.  When I hit the bike course it was hard to hold back.  I felt good and I really wanted to ride hard.  I ignored my urge to let it rip and kept my focus on my power numbers.  About 15 minutes into the ride, I noticed that Trav and House were right up the road ahead of me.  This gave me another jolt of energy knowing that we could ride in close proximity to each other.  At the 15 minute marker I started the nutrition plan that I had outlined in my previous blog post.  The first 10 miles of the ride were flat as a pancake and fast.  It was hard to keep my effort down.  I took the opportunity to let my heart rate stabilize and hydrate.  I felt like I was passing alot of people, but I tried to stay within myself.  The first ten miles clicked off fast and then we hit the first climb of the day.  This is where I really had to exercise caution in keeping my power numbers in check.  It is really easy to let your power numbers spike when riding up hill.  I shifted to my easiest gears and just spun up the hill. I had lots of opportunities to spin easy up hills on this course as the middle 90 miles of the course are non-stop rollers.  I had a plan to keep my power below 243 on long steady climbs and below 257 on the steeper stuff.  I definitely let lots of people pass me on the uphills.  My mantra was that I would see them in the late stages of the marathon when they were hurting from charging the hills.
Fortunately, the worst part of the bike course comes fairly early on.  There is an out and back section somewhere around mile 20 which had the steepest climbs and the sketchiest descents.  This part of the course was pretty crowded and descending was a bit sketchy at times.  There were definitely folks that did not look comfortable descending at extremely high speeds.  I played it safe on the steep descents to avoid any kind of accidents.  On the steep climbs, I shifted to my small ring and just spun at a high cadence.  I definitely could have been faster through this part of the course but I stuck to my power plan and made sure I was taking it easy every time we were going up hill.
After the out and back section, there is a huge chunk of the course consisting of rolling hills.  This includes two loops through the town of LaGrange.  Keeping power constant on rollers is tough.  The constant fluctuation in terrain makes it difficult to stay locked on your power goals.  My whole focus on the rollers was keeping my power in the appropriate range and staying dialed in to my nutrition plan.  Passing through LaGrange was awesome.  There are tons of people lining the streets and they are all going nuts cheering.  It was also cool that you could fly through the town at high speeds.  It was like a small scale Tour de France with spectators going nuts on all sides.  My parents snapped this picture of me as I rolled through LaGrange.  I'm not sure if they took the picture on lap 1 or 2 but it came out pretty well.
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 After LaGrange there is a pretty short section on a narrow country road.  I think it is called Ballard School Road, but I can't remember exactly.  This road was the second worst part of the course.  Very narrow and winding with steep rollers and probably the worst pavement of the ride.  Fortunately it is a pretty short section, and nothing I couldn't power through.  As we finished up the first loop and headed back toward LaGrange I looked back over my shoulder.  Travis was a few bike lengths back but I didn't see John.  I yelled back to Travis about John and he yelled that he didn't know what happened.  Up to this point, we had been riding close by each other.  I later found out that John had backed off somewhere before special needs because he got spooked at the packs of riders when a draft marshall came by.  As we entered LaGrange the second time, it was time for the special needs bag.  This transaction was shockingly fast and seamless.  I yelled my number to a volunteer who radioed it to the special needs station.  As I pulled up it was waiting for me.  An awesome volunteer held the bag open for me, I grabbed my second bottle of carbopro and took off.  The whole stop probably took less than 30 seconds.  Kudos to the volunteers for running such a tight ship.  T-Deck and I pulled out of special needs at about the same time and headed out to finish the last 40 miles of the ride.
After special needs, I decided that I was going to try and negative split the bike.  I was feeling really good and had stayed to my plan perfectly.  I knew that I had juice in my legs, and I planned to put a greater effort forth from mile 80 to the bike finish.  At the end of lap 1, I realized that the way back to town would be fast.  It was definitely slightly downhill and I felt a slight tail wind.  I knew that once we got past the lap 2 turn off it would be smooth sailing all the way back in.  At mile 80 I started increasing my speed steadily and I was flying.  The best part was that I was able to keep my wattage down and keep it under control.  I haven't averaged it out, but I think I held 22+ mph on the last 30 miles.  You can see from the data below that the last laps were pretty quick.  At this point the crowds had really thinned out.  The last 30 miles were smooth and fast.  I started to back pedal every so often to start loosening my legs.  The data for my ride is below.  I took data points in 5 mile increments.  Sorry for the deluge of data, but I have become a bit of a numbers nerd.....
Lap 1- 14:55.01, 20.1 mph, Avg power-191, Cadence- 77 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 2- 14:01.43, 21.4 mph, Avg power-182, Cadence- 80 rpm, Avg HR- 133
Lap 3- 16:34.95, 18.1 mph, Avg power- 215, Cadence- 84 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 4- 14:35.17, 20.6 mph, Avg power- 199, Cadence- 82 rpm, Avg HR- 133
Lap 5- 16:51.25, 17.8 mph, Avg power- 242, Cadence- 87 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 6- 14:52.31, 20.2 mph, Avg power- 209, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR- 136
Lap 7- 15:04.66, 19.9 mph, Avg power- 230, Cadence- 90 rpm, Avg HR- 138
Lap 8- 14:41.39, 20.4 mph, Avg power- 220, Cadence - 88 rpm, Avg HR- 141
Lap 9- 15:04.18, 19.9 mph, Avg power- 212, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR - 134
Lap 10- 16:27.99, 18.2 mph, Avg power-231, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR- 138
Lap 11- 14:38.00, 20.5 mph, Avg power-207, Cadence- 87 rpm, Avg HR- 136
Lap 12- 13:33.32, 22.1 mph, Avg power- 202, Cadence- 87 rpm, Avg HR- 135
Lap 13- 14:29.41, 20.7 mph, Avg power- 223, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 14- 15:39.95, 19.1 mph, Avg power- 213, Cadence- 87 rpm, Avg HR- 138
Lap 15- 15:24.55, 19.5 mph, Avg power- 232, Cadence- 85 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 16- 15:33.43, 19.3 mph, Avg power- 232, Cadence- 86 rpm, Avg HR- 140
Lap 17- 14:39.03, 20.5 mph, Avg power- 227, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR- 141
Lap 18- 13:21.23, 22.5 mph, Avg power- 215, Cadence- 86 rpm, Avg HR- 135
Lap 19- 13:30.06, 22.2 mph, Avg power- 210, Cadence- 89 rpm, Avg HR- 135
Lap 20- 12:30.74, 24.0 mph, Avg power- 217, Cadence- 88 rpm, Avg HR- 137
Lap 21- 12:30.14, 24.0 mph, Avg power- 204, Cadence- 87 rpm, Avg HR- 134
Lap 22- 13:27.91, 22.3 mph, Avg power- 199, Cadence- 84 rpm, Avg HR- 136
Lap 23- _Lost data on time and avg speed_, Avg power- 197, Cadence 80 rpm, Avg HR- 134
The only hiccups on the bike ride were that I had to pee way too frequently and I had a bit of a sour stomach on the back side of the ride.  I probably ended up peeing about 6 times on the bike.  The first time was probably within the first twenty miles.  Honestly this should have been a sign that I was ingesting too much fluid, but I was paranoid that I would dehydrate and kept drinking water when I should have backed off.  The sour stomach hit me somewhere in the 50-60 mile range.  I don't know what caused it, but I suspect it was a bottle of Ironman Perform I took at one of the aid stations.  I had trained with Perform and Carbopro mixed but the stuff they serve on course is way stronger (and I like strong sports drink).  I think this is what made me queasy and it caused me to bail on my nutrition plan for about an hour of the bike.  I stopped ingesting solid calories for about 60 minutes to give my stomach a chance to settle.  I held off on the stinger waffles and gel but kept drinking my carbopro.  I ditched the bottle of perform at the first opportunity.  I ended up finishing my stinger waffles on schedule and ate a few extra a bit later in the ride.
I felt awesome as I approached the city and could see the tall buildings out in front of me.  It was a pretty cool visual.  My legs felt strong and fast.  I was having an awesome time and an awesome ride.  I had read prior to the race that your Ironman bike leg should be your easiest century all season.  I can definitely say that mine was.  I was never in distress, and the time ticked off quicker than I could imagined.  The day was flying by.  I just couldn't believe it was time for a marathon.  The last mile of the bike I started back pedaling more and more.  I was sitting up and starting to stretch my back and neck and started preparing for the marathon.  I felt some cramps coming on in my quads and hamstrings so I popped a few extra salt pills and hoped they would subside.  I ended up taking 7 salt pills on the bike.  As I approached the transition chute I took my feet out of my bike shoes and started scanning the crowd for my family.  The crowd was going nuts!!!! Unfortunately, I couldn't see my people and just focused on getting off the bike cleanly and getting into transition.  Fortunately Kristan was able to snap a picture of me getting off the bike.
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 T2- 4:18
My second transition was much faster.  I ran toward the transition bags and yelled out my number.  The volunteers again hit me in stride with my T2 bag.  I ran into the change tent and started to get ready.  There was an awesome volunteer who was super helpful.  I sat down in the chair and he literally helped me every way possible.  As I was putting on my shoes he was pulling everything out of my bag for me.  I put my shoes on and took a bite of cliff bar (which he had opened for me).  I had a couple swigs of propel and stood up.  As I stood up, the volunteer helped peel off my bike top.  He literally put on my run top for me....freaking crazy.  I turned my race number belt to the front and then the volunteer put my fuel belt on me.  As I was changing I looked to my right and Travis was there changing a few chairs down.  I yelled "nice ride bro", put on my visor and ran out of the tent.  As I left the tent, the sun screen volunteers were right there.  They hit my arms, neck and ears.  I peed in the nearest bathroom and then ran out on the run course.  At this point I had my second highlight of the day.  As I ran out of transition, Britt was right there cheering like crazy.  She was so excited and so cute.  It freaking made my day.  I couldn't miss the opportunity to steal a quick kiss.  I ran to the divider stole a kiss from the wifey and then headed out.  I grabbed a few cups of water dumped them on my head and then hit the course.  Here is a shot of me post kiss and mid water stop...
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Run- 3:57:41, 32nd AG, 149 OA
As I hit the run course I felt amazing for about a half mile.  I was feeling the electricity from the crowd and the great vibes from Britt.  The beginning of the run course is a short out and back over one of the bridges that leads to Indiana.  As I ran across the bridge I started cramping pretty badly in my hamstrings.  I had a brief moment of panic thinking it was going to be a long walking marathon but I took a deep breath and tried to relax.  I popped a salt pill and kept soldiering on.  Fortunately the cramps subsided within about a mile.  This was a huge relief and I tried to settle into a good pace.  As I came off the bridge at mile 1.5 my dad was right there.  It was so awesome....he yelled some words of encouragement and we got a quick fist bump in.  The positive vibes were overwhelming.  I turned the corner and started the run course in earnest.  For the first few miles I was running with a dude from Canada.  We shared our stories and collective suffering.  It was a nice mental break and helped the first few miles click off quick.  My legs felt strong in the early stages.  Eventually I outpaced my buddy from Canada and was alone with my thoughts.  I kept looking down at my garmin and was seeing strong splits.  I had to hold back and make sure that I was running within myself so that I wouldn't blow up late in the game.  I was consciously holding back in the early part of the run.  Despite my best efforts, my first few miles were probably a bit too fast and probably hurt me at the end of the run.
The aid stations were well stocked and came one mile apart.  I made a deal with myself not start drinking Coke too early in the game.  It was going to be my mental treat at the mile 10 aid station.  My hope going into the race was that the first 10 miles would click off pretty quickly so that I could focus on a 16 mile run instead of a 26 mile run.  The first 10 miles clicked off smooth and went by quick.  I was actually shocked how good I was feeling.  I felt strong and relaxed.  Every aid station I was taking two ice sponges for my shoulders drinking two cups of water, and dumping a cup of ice down my shorts.  I never felt like I was getting hot.  Although it was in the 80's my body temperature was under control.    Here are the first ten splits of the marathon....again apologies for being a data nerd.....
Mile 1- 7:59.08, HR- 155 BPM
Mile 2- 8:05.99, HR- 145 BPM
Mile 3- 8:23.04, HR- 146 BPM
Mile 4- 8:34.95, HR- 141 BPM
Mile 5- 8:40.00, HR- 144 BPM
Mile 6- 8:34.99, HR- 146 BPM
Mile 7- 9:12.00, HR- 146 BPM (Bathroom Stop)
Mile 8- 8:33.99, HR- 145 BPM
Mile 9- 8:29.00, HR- 142 BPM
Mile 10- 8:36.99, HR 141 BPM
The run consisted of a two loop course.  It was basically an out and back that you had to do twice.  I think the turn around at the far end of the course was somewhere around mile 10 and mile 20.  As I made the turn I passed Travis heading towards the turn around.  We shouted words of encouragement and exchanged a fist bump.  I was happy to see that he was running strong.  A few miles further up the road I passed John.  It was nice to see friendly faces out on the long straight section of the run course.  These guys are like my brothers and somehow the collective suffering makes it easier to deal with your own mental struggles.  I continued to run strong through the half marathon.  When I looked down at my garmin I went through the half marathon in about 1:51.....Wait...1:51, that is 3:42 pace....I was blowing my goal out of the water.  Frankly, I got really excited when I saw this split.  I started thinking thoughts of grandeur which would soon be snuffed out by some dark mental thoughts, cramps, and a bad stomach ache.
Mile 11- 8:59.00, HR 141 BPM (Bathroom Stop)
Mile 12-8:20.99, HR 145 BPM
Mile 13- 8:32.04, HR 144 BPM
The special needs station was just beyond the halfway point of the marathon.  I was hoping that I could skip it but I made a tactical error that required me to stop.  I decided to run the marathon without socks.  This has not been a problem in training and I practice running sockless in my Newtons all the time.  Unfortunately, I didn't account for all the water drenching my shoes and me feet were sliding around quite a bit.  As a result, I started getting some blisters on my feet.  Fortunately, I had packed a pair of socks in my special needs bag and I knew I had to stop and put them on.  When I got to special needs they ripped open my bag for and got me a chair.  I sat down and took off my shoes and put on my socks.  I had also packed a reese's bar and a can of starbucks espresso shot.  The reese's bar had turned into a melted mess and I tried to eat as much as I could.  It tasted good but ended up being more of a hassle.  I crushed the can of espresso shot which went down smooth.  In hindsight I probably should not have drank this as I hadn't practiced with it.  I think it ultimately upset my stomach a few miles later.  Oh well, live and learn.....
Mile 14- 9:33.96, HR 141 BPM (Special Needs Stop)
After special needs you run back toward the finish line before turning around and heading for the second loop of the run course.  This section is a bit of a mental challenge.  You literally come within 100 yards of the finish line and then have to turn for another half marathon.  Definitely a challenge to be sure.  At the beginning of the second loop was the highlight of my whole day (and something I will remember for my whole life).  As I rounded the corner, I saw my wife standing in the middle of the road in her bright pink shirt.  She was jumping up and down and cheering like a mad woman.  My parents were there and so were John and Travis' families.  Such an awesome cheering section!!!!!  As I approached Britt, she ran out into the road and started pacing me.  She reached out and grabbed my arm, gave me a kiss,  and we shared a pretty awesome moment.  She was so excited and I could feel her energy.  She was so energetic and I could feel how proud and excited she was for me.  She will never know how happy she made me and how much energy she gave me during a really mentally challenging portion of the course.  I was truly happy to see her out there and you can see the happiness on my face as she ran with me.  I am so fortunate that this moment got captured in a picture.  I will never forget the moment my wife paced me at mile 14 of the marathon of my first ironman and gave me all the strength in the world to finish that day.  I love you Britt!!!!
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After heading out to the second loop of the run course I was still feeling pretty good and feeling the good vibes from Britt and my family.  I distinctly remember passing the 16 mile marker and thinking, "damn I feel pretty good, only ten miles to go,  I have run ten miles a million times."  Unfortunately this good feeling would be quite short lived.....
Mile 15- 8:56.99, HR 145 BPM (Bathroom Stop)
Mile 16- 8:47.00, HR 143 BPM
Somewhere around mile 17, I started to feel bad and my mental state changed dramatically.  Suddenly my stomach hurt bad and I knew I would have to get to a bathroom soon.  Suddenly my focus changed from "only ten miles to go" to "holy crap just get to the 20 mile mark and you will be fine."  During this period my pace began to drop off but I was able to keep it somewhat respectable.  At mile 20 I had to run into the bathroom.  At this point I had been drinking coke at every aid station and drinking 150 calories of carbo pro every hour.  When I hit the mile 20bathroom I thought I was going to "sit down" in there but every time I hit the bathroom I would pee and it would temporarily relieve the "pressure" in my stomach.
Mile 17- 9:20.99, HR 141 BPM
Mile 18- 9:00.00, HR 142 BPM
Mile 19- 9:15.00, HR 141 BPM
Mile 20- 9:51.99, HR 138 BPM (Bathroom Stop)
Once I hit the 20 mile marker I was a bit dismayed that it did not help my mental state.  Mentally I was struggling and just kept telling myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  At Mile 21 I was passing through the aid station when a huge cramp struck in my left hamstring.  I'm not really sure what happened.  I remember reaching for a cup of water and then pow....left leg locked.  I had to stop in my tracks and stretch.  I remember bending over and just trying to touch my toes.  After a minute my leg released enough where I could start walking.  At this point I knew I needed more salt.  I was out of salt pills and in dire straights.  In hindsight I was totally overhydrated.  I think I was constantly peeing out all my electrolytes which is ultimately what made me go downhill at the end of the run.  I peed somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 times during the whole race.  That is way too much.  I should have backed off on the fluids during the run but again I was paranoid about hydration.....again live and learn.  I was pretty mad when I had to stop  I had a mental goal to not walk a step of the run and I made it all the way to mile 21 when I had to stop.  Next time I will run the whole of the marathon.
Mile 21- 10:23.00, HR 136 BPM (Hamstring cramps, stopped and stretched)
At this point my nutrition strategy went out the window and I went into survival mode.  It was time to do whatever I could to prevent further cramping.  I made the executive decision to walk the remaining aid stations and take in as much fluids and calories.  I was eating and drinking everything that wasn't tied down.  I was drinking coke and chicken broth and eating pretzels at all the stops.  I think the chicken broth was my savior and helped stave off the cramps for the remainder of the run.  I was able to get back to a semi-decent pace but it was certainly not what I was capable of. 
Mile 22- 9:38.00, HR 135 BPM (Walked transition)
Mile 23- 9:45.00, HR 134 BPM (Walked transition)
At mile 24 my stomach really started hurting again and I decided that I was definitely going to stop and use the bathroom.  When I got to the aid station there was a line for the bathroom....sh*t.  I waited for what seemed like an eternity before I got in.  Once I got into the bathroom I decided I was only going to pee.  Only two miles to go and I wasn't going to let this race come off the rails completely.
Mile 24- 10:42.00, HR 133 BPM (Bathroom Stop with line)
After getting out of the bathroom I got up to speed and the splits came down.  I was pretty uncomfortable at this time and definitely wanted the race to be over.  I was particularly disappointed that I had to walk the mile 25 aid station.  With only 1 mile to go I was furious at myself for having to walk, but I knew that if I didn't I risked another cramp.  I was not going to be walking across the finish line.  At this point I was starting to get closer and closer to the city and the crowds were building.  I was feeling my energy surge with every step toward the finish line.  Before I knew it the finish line was in sight and I picked up my speed.  I was looking for my wife but couldn't see her.  I raised my arms and came across the finish line.  The clock read 11:05 and I knew that I had cracked 11 hours based on my start time.  When I crossed I wasn't sure how far under 11 hours I was.  I thought I was maybe in the neighborhood of 11:45.  I think that I had legs for a 3:45 marathon.  I think it was ultimately my overhydration and electrolyte imbalance that caused me issues on the back half of the run. 
Mile 25- 9:19.00, HR 136 BPM
Mile 26- 9:08.00, HR 138 BPM
Finish- 8:37 pace, HR 147 BPM
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I was so looking forward to hearing "Danny Royce from Richmond Virginia you are an IRONMAN!!!" but honestly I couldn't hear it.  The crowd was deafening and I wastoo busy looking for my family and trying to soak in every one of those last few steps.  When I hit the line the volunteers were awesome.  They rush over to you and cater to your every need.  They wouldn't even let me bend over and take my timing chip off.  All I really wanted to do was sit down.  My legs were soooooo tired.  As I was sitting down I saw Britt and my parents come over to the fence.  All I wanted to do was give Britt a hug.  They were all so happy and so proud.  It was a really special moment for me.  Britt also told me I went 10:30....holy crap!!!!!  I nailed my best case scenario goal.  What a day, what a feeling!!!!!
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After hugs and kisses I needed to sit down more.  I went back and sat in the finishing chute to wait for my boys.  Travis came in right behind me and it was awesome seeing him cross the line with a smile on his face.  It was so cool that that Travis and I started this journey together 4 years ago and we finished our first ironman less than 5 minutes apart.  John came  through the line shortly thereafter and looked great coming in.  I can't speak for everyone but I think the boys were pretty happy with their results. 
As for me, I couldn't be happier with how the race turned out.  This was truly one of the best days of my life and one that I will always remember. This is in large part to my beautiful wife.  All of the highlights of my day were the moments when she lifted me up.  Thank you Brittany for being my best friend and biggest supporter.  I executed my race and nutrition plans perfectly, and the race unfolded just as I practiced it in my mind.  All of the training, stress, and worry paid off.  I would say that my race was 95% perfect.  Those last few miles of the run were pretty rough.  As I mentioned before, I think I had a 3:45 marathon in my legs.  If I had nailed my hydration I think I would have been able to hold the back half of that marathon together.  I am happy that the race went so well and happy that there are also a few obvious areas of improvement (after all there is no such thing as a totally perfect race).  I am really excited about this race and excited to sign up for the next one (sorry Britt..love ya).  This race gave me the confidence to believe I may be able to break 10 hours and possibly qualify for Kona one day.  I think a Hawaiian vacation may make all this training a bit more palatable for Britt (and frankly she deserves it for putting up with all of this :).  I also want to thank my mom and dad for being the best parents on earth.  Anyone who knows Dan and Stella Royce knows what I am talking about.  They have made me the person I am, and I am fortunate to have them in my life.  My dad beating cancer was one of my biggest sources of inspiration in doing this.  Love you ma and pa.
I am still flying high a week after the race.  This was a great experience made all the more memorable by finishing with my two best friends and having the support of my wife, parents, mother-in law and extended family (Kristan, Avery, Meredith, Mr. and Mrs. Hauserman, and Stacie).  I love you Britt, and I could not have done this without all of your support.  Thank you also to all my friends who sent me texts, emails and facebook messages with words of encouragement.  This is truly not a journey taken alone.  I also have to thank anyone who made it to the bottom of this blog post (since its a freaking novel).  I plan to write a few more posts about my post race thoughts and feelings.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!!!!!
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See the Bags...Be the Bags (from 8/26/11- old blog)

Today I spent a good portion of the day organizing all my bags for the day of the race.  I have become a bit obsessive/compulsive.  I have literally checked and re-checked these stupid bags over and over.  To make matters worse I know I will re-analyzing these dumb bags until I turn them over to the race volunteers.
At Ironman they give you 5 bags to store all of your items for the day of the race.  The transition area on the day of the race is sterile.  Unlike the a regular triathlon, the only thing at your bike rack is your bike.
Here is the rundown of my bags.
Morning Clothes Bag:
This bag is carried with you on the morning of the race.  You put whatever items you have in your possession in this bag and hand it over to the volunteers immediately before the swim.  I will be wearing a t-shirt/sweatshirt, shorts, and tennis shoes down to the swim start.  I will also be carrying my cap and goggles, timing chip, garmin wrist watch and two hammer gels for a last pre-race snack.  My shirt, shorts and shoes will go in the bag to be picked up after the race.
T1 Bag:
After the swim you run towards the transition area and pick up your T1 bag.  You take the T1 bag into the change tent, get changed and pick up your bike and head out to the bike course.  My T1 bag will have the following items- heart rate monitor, bottle of water, honey stinger waffles, race top, chamois cream, gel flask, bike helmet, bike shoes, race number belt, sunglasses and hand towel.  I will put my helmet, shoes, sunglasses, heart rate monitor and race top on in the change tent.  I will apply chamois cream and towel off my hands.  I will place my stinger waffles, and back up gel flask in my back jersey pocket.  I will have a cliff bar which I may or may not eat depending on how I feel.
Bike Special Needs:
The bike special needs bag will be picked up on course about 60 miles into the ride.  My special needs bag will be pretty simple.  Two extra tubes, two extra CO2 cartriges and second bottle of ironman perform/carbopro.  I may or may not pick up the bag depending on how Im doing.
T2 Bag:
Coming into T2 we will hand our bikes off to a bike catcher.  I will leave my shoes clipped into the pedals.  I will run into transition and pick up the T2 bag and again run into the change tent prior to the run.  My T2 bag will include my running shoes, visor, fuel belt, arm sweat band, cliff bar, back up tri-top and hand towel.  I will take off my helmet and put on my run shoes, visor and fuel belt.  I will put my sweat band on my left arm.  I may or may not eat part of the cliff bar.  I am considering changing tops to a more form fitting top that will hold ice sponges a bit better.  Then its time to hit the run course.
Run Special Needs:
The run special needs bag will be picked up at the halfway point of the marathon.  My bag will include a can of starbucks double shot espresso, a reese's bar, zip lock bag with toilet paper and band aids and a spare pair of socks.  Most likely I will not use the socks.  I am planning on running sockless in my newtons so the socks and band-aids are in case I start to get blisters.
So how much stuff does it take to finish 140.6 miles....alot.  See for yourself below.....

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Goals/Arrival in the Lou/Athlete Check-In (from 8/25/11- old blog)


With only a few days left until the big day, I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss the goals that have been bounching around in my head for the last 6 months.  Since this is my first Ironman, I envisioned a sort of three tiered goal structure.  A time that I could live with (11:30), a time I would be happy about (11:00), and perfect case scenario (10:30). 
Because it is my first Ironman I want to be sure that I show deference to the distance, keep my excitement tempered, and my outlook realistic.  That being said, I believe that I have done quality work over the last 6 months and if I execute a smart race plan I should be able to be successful.  Right now I am ready to jump out of my skin.  Taper drives me crazy!!!  I feel like a caged animal.  All I want to do is get outside and work out.  I know this will be a difficult impulse to fight during the swim and the early stages of the bike.
My goals for the race are pretty simple. 
Swim: 55 minutes
I plan to do the swim relaxed and controlled.  We swam in the river today and I got to feel the strength of the current.  the water is definitely pretty gross.  The temperature is comfortable but the water is like swimming in chocolate milk.  The current is not terribly strong but it will provide enough downstream current to make a fast swim possible.  My goal is to complete the swim in 55 minutes.  Given the amount of swimming I have been doing,  I think this is attainable especially with a current at our butts for 2/3 of the swim.  Control will be the name of the game.
T1: 5 minutes
I got a chance check out the Transition area today as well.  The run from the swim to the transition area is actually quite short.  This should make for a decently quick transition.  I plan to take my time to get all of my things situated before I hit the bike course.  I will be putting on my heart rate monitor, tri jersey, bike shoes, helmet, race belt, and sunglasses.  I will have honey stinger waffles and a second gel flask in by back jersey pocket.
Bike: 5:30
The bike is going to be all about control on the front half and watching my power numbers.  I plan to ride at 200 watts in the early stages of the bike and increase this slightly as the ride progresses.  The bike course is very challenging.  We spent a few hours today driving the course and it is quite hilly.  It is actually even more hilly than I was expecting.  The course will no doubt be challenging especially if there is any issue with the heat, humidity or wind.  The first ten miles are pretty flat but then the rollers start and they don't stop until the last ten miles of the ride.  The first 20-25 miles seem to be slightly uphill the whole way.  The middle section of the course consists of strong rollers with a few very challenging short climbs.  There are two loops out in the middle of the course that pass through the town of LaGrange.  Supposedly this area is pretty exciting during the race.  It will be important to make sure I watch my power numbers on all of the climbs.  I plan to keep my wattage below my FTP on all of the climbs especially the steep ones.  My mantra will be to let everyone pass me on the uphills because I will see them again on the run.  The good news is that the last 30 miles of the ride are pretty much all down hill and should be quite fast.  After seeing the course, this is an area that I will try to capitalize on some speed and make up for some of the earlier slow sections.  Hopefully I will be able to hold a 20 mph hour avg and come in under my goal.  If I am a bit slower, I won't be overly disappointed as the course does appear challenging.  I am hopeful that we will be able to carry a fair amount of speed up the hills during the roller sections to keep the avg speed reasonable. During my longest ride of the year I covered 112 miles in 5:28.  If I do this split, I will be ecstatic.  I plan to do my ride according to the "match book" analogy.  Every time I exceed my FTP or my watts spike, I will be burning a match.  There are only so many matches in my match book.  I want to arrive at T2 with a full book of matches.
T2: 5 minutes
Get off the bike, throw on my running shoes and visor.  Put on fuel belt  and hit the course to commence the last 26.2 miles of pain.
Run: 4 hours
My goal on the run is to average about 9 minutes per mile.  All of my training runs have been well below this pace and I am hopeful this is possible.  I am a bit nervous about the run as we will have already have ridden 112 miles by the time we get going.  My longest run off of a 100+ mile ride was about 30-40 minutes.  I have no idea what I will feel like 2 hours into the run.  I think I will run/walk the early stages of the run in 14 minute run/ 1 minute walk sections.  I hope that this will enable me to keep my heart rate controlled. My goal will be to keep the pace under control in the early stages.  I suspect that it will feel so good to be off the bike that during the early miles I might be tempted to overcook it.  The run will be a grind no matter how you slice it.  It will be all about putting my head down, gritting my teeth and clicking off 9:00 miles.  Mentally my focus will be twofold.  I will be looking at one mile splits and five mile splits.  I think it helps to segment the run into 5 mile sections.  When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon a few years ago this is the way I attacked the race and it helped me achieve my goal.
We arrived in Louisville last night and I really like the city thus far.  We are staying at the host hotel (Galt House) which is right on the Ohio River.  We can actually see the swim course out of our suite and the transition area down the road.  It is hard to see the transition area in the picture but the Great Lawn (transition area) is in the distance on the right.
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Last night we got in during the evening hours and got settled in.  Our Room literally looks like a bike shop.
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 After unloading all of our stuff and getting settled we decided to head out into the downtown area for dinner.  Our hotel is only about 4 blocks from 4th Street Live which is where the finish line of the race will be situated.  The atmosphere there is amazing.  We went there late on Wednesday night and you could still feel how electric it will be.  Basically the city put a glass lid on a city block and put a bunch of cool bars and restaurants under it.  You can tell that the loud speakers will really reverberate off the glass windows and ceiling.  I can't wait to hear Mike Reilly announce me as an Ironman and hear it reverberate down 4th Street.
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Today we actually checked into the race.  Ironman runs a pretty tight ship and the check-in process in pretty streamlined.  It definitely helped that we were among the first to check in as we showed up when check in opened on the first day.  You start by filling out a basic contact information form.  Next you go to a table where they check your ID and USAT card.  At this table they give you small card that has your race number on it.  You carry this card with you to the rest of the tables in the check in process so they can easily identify you.  The next table is where you sign your life away with the various waivers, etc.
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After the waiver table you go over and pick up your race numbers, timing chip, etc.  You also get your official Ironman wristband.  It is pretty cool walking around the city with the wristband on.  Whenever you see someone else wearing it you feel like you are in some kind of special club for endurance junkies.
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From there you hit another table which gives you a bag filled with all the bags that will be used for all of your equipment on race day.  This includes a bag for your morning clothes items, T1 bag, bike special needs bag, T2 bag, and Run Special needs bags.  I will be filling these bags with my equipment on friday and they all have to be dropped off on Saturday before the race.  You also drop your bike off the day before the race.  They have security looking after the rigs all weekend.  At this point we were officially checked in.  Very exciting stuff!!!!!
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After check in, we had the opportunity to shop in the Ironman store.  It is a pretty awesome setup and it is tough not to spend serious cash in this place.  I tried to keep it within reason and I bought an Ironman Louisville T-shirt, a couple visors and some stickers for my car.  I definitely limited the damage but I was like a kid in a candy store.  I'm sure that I will also pick up some finisher items in the shop on Monday.  Apparently they roll out even better stuff after the race.
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All and all a pretty great day and I am excited to be one day closer to achieving my goal.  More updates to follow!!!

7 days until Ironman Louisville....final countdown/nutrition update (from 8/21/11-old blog)


Only 7 days until the big day and I am pretty nervous.  I have been dealing with a flare up of tendinitis in my knees and left hip.  I have been on a regimen of voltaren and have been into my PT for a "tune up".  I am hoping things settle down during this next rest week.
This post is going to be focused on my nutrition plan for race day.  My nutrition plan will truly be the 4th leg of the race and could arguably be the most important.  I have done the work on my engine and now I just need to make sure I keep the engines fueled on race day.  The primary goal is to be sure that I don't bonk or turn my stomach against me and cause any type of GI revolt.  I have practiced riding/running with everything I will be consuming and don't anticipate any problems.
My plan is to target about 380 calories per hour during the bike and approximately 200 calories per hour on the run.  During the day I will be eating a mix of 160 calorie honey stinger waffles, 90 calorie servings of apple cinnamon and espresso flavored hammer gel, and a calorie dense mixture of Ironman Perform/carbopro.
I plan to consume a hammer gel immediately prior to the swim.  Obviously due to the nature of swimming there will be no calories consumed during the swim itself.  I will likely pop a salt tab prior to the swim as well.
I will be on a very specific nutrition schedule on the bike and plan to consume calories at 15 minute intervals.  The plan on the bike is to eat a honey stinger waffle at the :15 minute mark of each hour.  I will eat a 90 calorie shot of hammer gel at the :30 minute mark.  I will likely go with the espresso flavored since it has caffeine in it.  At the :45 minute mark I plan to consume 1/3 bottle of my perform/carbopro mixture equaling about 130 calories.  At the hour marker I plan to just consume water and allow my stomach to settle prior to resuming the cycle at the 15 minute marker.  In special needs I will have a second bottle of perform/carbopro that should take me through the second 2.5 hours of the bike.  I will also have a second gel flask in case I need a bit extra.  Although I have considered just putting the gel flask in my T1 bag and carry it in my jersey pocket in case something goes awry at the special needs handoff.  I will also be taking 1-2 salt tabs per hour and consuming the appropriate amount of water based upon the weather conditions.  This equals my target of 380 calories per hour which is just over 2 calories per pound of body weight per hour.  In training I have actually gotten away with consuming much less than this, but I want to overestimate on the early part of the bike to be sure I am properly fueled.  My goal is to hit this target on the first 3 hours of the bike as I expect that my intake will reduce as I fatigue and get hot.
On the run I will be carrying a two bottle fuel belt with 300 calorie bottles of carbopro.  I intend to drink 1.2 bottle at the :30 minute marker of each hour.  I have practiced this in training and was able to do so without any GI problems.  I will also be taking 1-2 salt caps per hour based upon the heat and humidity.  I will use the water on the run course and plan to start drinking coke aka "rocket fuel" from the get go.  The additional calories in the coke should get me through the run.  Each aid station will be a rhythm of drinking one cup water, one cup coke, and dumping one cup of water on the head....repeat.  I may back off the coke and hit it every other aid station if it causes me any GI distress.
I think this is a pretty solid plan that is tried and tested.  I practiced the higher caloric intake on my last century and did not have any problems.  Obviously I have to be ready to make changes on the fly if my stomach starts to go south.  I am looking forward to putting this plan into action and having a successful day out on course.
I know that this week is going to fly by.  Only two days of work and then we make the drive to Louisville on Wednesday morning.  This is going to be an epic week.  More posts to follow soon....