Here is my IM St George race report. It's long, sorry.
Michele and I arrived in St George Wednesday night. St George is stunningly beautiful. The thing you notice immediately is how dry it is. We were both guzzling water and gatorade and were thirsty constantly. I woke up Thursday morning with a sore throat, sneezing and stuffy head. It would get progressively worse throughout Thursday and Friday. Finally got some over the counter medicine on Friday. It helped a little.
Thursday and Friday were spent doing all of the Ironman stuff. Pretty routine. I rode a little, ran a little and skipped swimming.
Up at 3 am. Felt like crap. Head and nose were clogged up good. Took some medicine and felt a little better. Ate breakfast (nutella on a bagel, yummy!). Got on the bus at 4:40 am to take me the 25 miles to the swim venue.
Swim - Cannon goes off and I start to swim. 4 strokes in, I turn to breath and I can't! The goggle on my left eye started to fill with water. I go into to full blown panic mode. I start again and both things happen again. To make a long story short, I went 300 meters in the first 13 minutes of the swim. I looked back and saw that there were only about 50 people behind. That motivated me. I started swimming. Magically, my goggles stopped leaking and I could breath. Finally felt like an Ironman swimmer. Finished the swim in 1:24:26. Felt like I really swam a 1:17 with all the panicking at the beginning.
T1 - No problems at all. In and out in 6:42 which was about 6 minutes faster than last year.
Bike - The first 23 miles or so were all due west. We were fortunate to have a tailwind for this part. I actually hit 48 mph on one of the decents in this section. That was awesome! There were 2 big hills in this section. I moved through this part with no problems. After the first 23 miles comes the first of two 44 mile loops. The first 25 miles of each loop has an elevation gain of about 1800 feet. There are numerous small hills, but there are 4 that really get your attention and come within an 8 mile stretch. Each one broke me down a little and the 4th climb is a mile long and was just plain hard. The last 19 miles are mainly downhill and into the wind. I flew this section. Onto lap 2....started out ok. As the temperature rose into the 90's, I started to really struggle. The humidity was around 10% and I simply could not stay cool. I would dump a bottle of water on my head and 5 minutes later I would be dry. It was very hard to deal with. About mile 90 with 2 hills left, I was toast. I was dizzy and coughing and really questioning whether to continue. I actually got off my bike and stretched and ate to see if that would help. The dizziness went away so I climbed back on my bike to keep going. This was the start of a low rough patch that would last for 3 hours. I completed the bike in 6:37:34 which was 44 minutes faster than 2010
T2 - Still very hot and was debating quitting. Decided to try the marathon. Total time was 9:25
Run - The air temp outside was a brutal 94 degrees. I couldn't eat anything and was only drinking water. This was all I could muster for the first 9 miles. Water, ice and sponges. I ran the downhills when I could, which was not very often. At mile 9, I forced down a GU and Sport Beans and it was like magic. Getting some calories in me and the downhill of the last 3 miles of loop 1 revitalized me. The first 13.1 miles went down in a pedestrian like 2:45 minutes. I kept feeling better throughout the entire second half of the marathon. When I hit mile 18, I felt better than I had since early on in the bike. The temperature had started to cool as the sun was going down, so I know that helped. I negative split the marathon, with a 2:31 for the last half including an average of 8:23 for the last 2.2 miles. Final marathon time was 5:16:36. 6 minutes faster than 2010.
Finishing time of 13:34:43. Very pleased that I was able to come out of dark, low spot that lasted 3 hours. I learned that patience is the best virtue for Ironman racing. If I had quit like I wanted to on the run, I never would have experienced the feeling I had at the finish line. I found out that there was a 19% DNF rate for this race. I'm glad I stuck it out so I wasn't one of them.
I recommend this race to anyone that wants to take on a supreme challenge over this distance. This is the most beautiful Ironman that I have done.