OK I was super excited about doing my 2nd ironman distance at the B2B in North Carolina on Oct 25, 2014. My training had been going well, I followed a similar training to IMAZ in 2013 except added about 10% more running to my weekly mileage. Over the last 24 weeks before my taper I averaged 8,900 yds of swimming, 137 miles of biking, and 31 miles of running per week. I had completed 7 century rides and one 200K ride plus I did 7 runs of 3 hours or more. In addition, I did 3 HIM as tune-ups for the main event. I rented a three bedroom townhouse in Wilmington for me and my 2 daughters and their boyfriends, which was my support crew of four. My goal was to break 12:30 (80 min swim, 6:04 for the bike, a 4:48 marathon, and 18 minute for transitions). So now on to the event with IMAZ times also listed for comparison purposes:
Swim (B2B- 54:45, IMAZ- 1:26:57):
We started on the beach with a mass start run into the water. This worked very well, I lined up in the middle at the start and had very little jostling during the swim and always some swimmers to sight off when the buoy were too far to be seen. I heard that the current can be very strong and this year was probably the biggest push of all 7 years for the event. I feel I could have been a Doritos bag and done a 90 minute swim. I guess that is not completely true as there were 4 swimmers out of 572 that took over 90 minutes to complete the swim. But the average male did the swim in 53 minutes and average female in 55 minutes. The swim is in the channel and has one turn buoy at about 1.7 miles. I finished the swim in 54:45 (251 out of 438 males) and I was super stoked finishing in the top half of the women (LOL). But really this was a great swim for me. The fastest swim of the day was 33:21 by John Kenny, and he had over 4 minute lead over the rest of the field after the swim. And I think over an 8 minute lead coming off the bike. But sadly he died on the run and ended up finishing 8th overall.
T1 (B2B- 6:25, IMAZ- 11:45):
I got to the transition area and my cheering squad was there shouting "Go Dad!", I put my bike shoes on and then took them off, because I forgot to put my socks on first. I put my helmet on and then took it off because I didn't remember if I removed my swim cap, which I had. Packed my wet suit and goggles in my T1 bag and now ready to go but wait I still had my cleat covers on my bike shoes, so took them off and reopened my T1 bag and placed them there. Now maybe I am ready to go. Despite these mishaps I still managed a 6:25 transition (100 out of 435 males).
Bike (B2B- 5:46:24, IMAZ- 6:01:51)
So with 1:01:10 on the clock, I am now thinking maybe a 12 hour overall time is possible. My GPS gives me 5 mile bike splits, so I quickly calculate in my head that if I average 16 min for each 5 miles that would give me a 5:58:24 to put me around 7 hours and then needing a 5 hr marathon including T2 time to finish in 12 hours. OK I am an accountant. So the new goal was set for bike. The first and last mile of the bike you had to go over a metal graded bridge. I did it in practice yesterday afternoon with no issues. But with the morning dew, the metal now was wet and slippery. When I got to the bridge I saw a participant that had wiped out and did a face plant into the metal grates and was lying there unconscious, poor guy. I felt my bike slip but was able to keep the rubber side down and not fall. My daughters said they saw the same guy who was all scrapped up on the face, arms and legs and arm in a sling at the finish cheering people on, what a good sport returning from the hospital and rooting for others after his day was ruined. Most of my 5M bike splits were under 16 minutes at 15 something and this seemed easy. I was starting to think maybe I was going too fast but kept double checking my pulse which was consistently 112-114, within my 115 goal range (Note I averaged 118 at IMAZ). So I figured I was alright and just having a good day. Of course the bike course is pancake flat and winds were light, so that might also account for some of the fast splits. My bike special needs bag was supposed to be about halfway in the bike. At mile 53, was the 3rd bike aid station and since I didn't need anything I blew through it but at the end I saw at the corner of my eye a bunch of bags on the ground. Shit I just missed the stop for the bike special needs and I wasn't about to turn around now. So my nutrition on the bike became water the first and last 10 miles, and heed for the 90 miles in between (4 bottles total) and I took 4 gels, one every 20 miles (20, 40, 60, and 80). I didn't think this was enough, but it is what it was at this point and I was biking so fast I didn't want to take time to eat more. I felt great the whole bike ride and ended up finishing in 5:46:24 (164 out of 434 males).
T2 (B2B- 5:01, IMAZ- 6:41)
I dropped my bike off and went into the Wilmington Convention center to get my T2 bag and ready for the run, which the joke in the trans area being "We only have to run a marathon now". Piece of cake, yeah right. After changing into my running shoes, put on my running hat, and a long peep, I was off like a turtle. My T2 time was 5:01 (89 out of 432 men) - what does it mean when your best event placement is the transitions?
Run (B2B- 4:43:46, IMAZ- 4:52:21):
I felt dead on the run and knew that with a 5 hr marathon that I would have at least a 5 minute cushion on my new 12 hour goal. So I calculated that I needed a 11:24 mile pace to hit 5 hours for a marathon. I would use every 5 miles as a check pt to see where I am for this 5 hr pace, which works out to a goal of 57 minutes every 5 miles. Remember that I am an accountant and numbers are my thing. 1st 5miles OK at 56:50. 10 miles OK at 1:53:30 (30 seconds under goal). At the 1/2 marathon pt I was at 2:29. For IMAZ I was at 2:28 for the 1st half and ended up running the second half in 2:24 for a negative split. But at IMAZ I went out conservatively on purpose and here I felt like I was struggling to maintain this pace. I began to think that my new 12 hour goal was going to be real tough to do, maybe not even possible. I told myself that if I make 12 hour then I will never have to run another Ironman. When I got to 15 miles I was at 2:51:30 (now 30 seconds over my goal - oh no!). But something clicked at this point, not sure if it was the heed, coke, shot blocks, mentally passing the halfway pt,, having just high-fived all of my support crew, or some combination of the above. But I now felt better and picked up the pace to start running sub 11 minute miles. My nutrition for the run was a shot block every other mile, plus alternate between water, heed, and coke at every water stop, which were at every mile. I don't know what my mile 20 split was but all I knew was that it was no longer a question of whether I would break 12 hours, but rather how much I would break 12 hours by. The last 2 miles were each actually sub 10 min miles and I finished the run in 4:43:46 (159 out of 425 men) and a bigger negative split than IMAZ. Sweet! Overall I finished in 11:36:19 (145 out of 427 men, 6 out of 39 in my age group), a PR by over an hour.
If you are looking for a great triathlon event to do - half or full that is not part of the IM umbrella and driving distance away from DC (6 hour drive) with a super fast swim, then B2B could be your ticket. I would strongly recommend the event.