2.4 mile (3.9 km) swim, 112 mile (180 km) bike, 26.2 mile (42 km) run
I FINISHED AND IT WAS GREAT!!!!!!!!
That pretty much sums up how I feel about the race. It took me 13.5 hours to get it done and it feels really good to have accomplished it. Lanzarote is a beautiful place and it was really magical to experience it in a race. I want to thank everyone for all of their support in helping me get to and through the race. The few weeks I spent in Madrid and Granada before the race really helped keep me stay focused and relaxed. I met a lot of wonderful people… To tell you the truth the pressure of knowing that so many people were cheering for me helped. The thought of quitting never entered my mind.
I guess I should start from the beginning… Some of you may know that I spent a week and a half in Madrid prior to going to Lanzarote. Although it was difficult to find time to train it was a good break and forced me to taper. I spent a few days in my old stomping grounds of Granada doing some of my favorite rides in the world. Here are a couple pics from those days leading up to the race.
El Albayzin and La Alhambra
Beautiful Spanish Descent
Even Better… A Spanish Climb
Guejar Sierra (Right Outside of Granada)
I flew over to Lanzarote a few days before the race to settle in and enjoy the race experience. The white walled buildings of Lanzarote dot the volcanic countryside and make for a very serene environment. The entire island reminds me of the top of Haleakala on Maui. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Maui… Haleakala is the tallest mountain on Maui at 10,000 feet (3055 meters). It’s an inactive volcano and the top couple thousand feet is very mountainous volcanic terrain.
So, race day is upon us… May 20, 2006… Two years to the day of having ACL reconstructive surgery on my right knee.
0430 AM Race Morning
The swim went really well for me at 1 hour 11 minutes. The ocean was pretty rough but being from Maui I’m used to training in the surf. The two things that really threw me off about the swim where: it was really hard to spot anything in the distance on the way out so I felt like I was swimming a zigzag and I’m not used to swimming with a wetsuit. As a matter of fact it was only the third time I’d ever worn one!
I came out of the water feeling great and ready to jump on the bike and settle in for what I knew was going to be a long and hard ride. The race organizers were very concerned about the wind… As a matter of fact they extended the bike cut off time to accommodate for the brutal conditions. The wind was insane for the first few hours on the bike… If it wasn’t gusting from the side threatening to throw you off the road it was coming head on. The sound of the wind whipping through my helmet sums up how it felt. The wind on Maui is notoriously strong as well so I was used to the mental degradation of pedaling hard and not going anywhere, but it didn’t help keep my legs any more fresh.
A few hours into the bike, during one of the long climbs over the mountains to the North shore of the island, we passed a bunch of camels. It was a really weird thing to see and I was wondering if my blood sugar was low and I was just hallucinating. Lanzarote is famous for it’s camels so I’m sure I wasn’t just seeing things. From the look on my face in this photo you can guess that it was difficult.
I ate my bocadillo de jamon serrano y queso which tasted really good four hours into the bike. After that treat we were subjected to the last long and steep climb. The views from the road leading up it were spectacular. Here’s a photo from that same road a couple days earlier.
Two hours later I was coasting back into Puerto del Carmen to start the marathon at a time of 7 hours 10 minutes for the bike. Did I mention that I had never run a marathon before? My longest run up until the race was about fifteen miles (24 kilometers). Well, about the best I can say for the run is that I survived. I tried to conserve energy for the run but the bike course was so challenging that I didn’t have much left. I just settled into a pace and kept it steady. Here’s a couple photos of suffering.
A little less then five hours later I was done! I was able to run really strong the last few kilometers into the finish line. It felt so good to be finishing after such a long day. Here’s some photos of the finish.
Running in fast… Some people want to enjoy it… I wanted to be done.
13:32:26 (I’m Stoked!)
Stoked to be done
My IT Bands were really hurting my knees after the run. I think it was a combo of the climbing and such a long run. I was able to shuffle to a bar right at the edge of the finish and enjoy a couple of cold cervesas.
Drinking a beer… showing off my medal
Thanks again to everyone who helped make this possible.