Los Angeles Triathlon Club
Race Report
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Club Member: Noah Webb
Race: Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Distance: Half - Ironman
Race Date: 11/13/10
Submit Date: 11/16/10

Blue sky, grouper sandwiches, chilled cyan ocean, baby soft sand and a breeze that moves the day along are elements of my stay here in Clearwater and as I write this race report for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. One aspect of the art of an athlete that most people may not know is the art of packing. On my way home now and my last zipper is now zipped and latched closed but I always forget how long it takes me to go through the ritual of collecting all my required gear, clothes and extraneous components for my races. *Note to self : make a funny but useful checklist for future races. I opt for a luggage that expands because I always am lazier about repacking than the initial packing of clothes. My suitcase this morning looked like it had been out for a night of binge drinking and throwing up onto the floor double shots of socks and a bottle or 2 of underwear. Yet after some visine I did some high end tetris skills and fit all the clothes back ready to make the return trek back to Los Angeles. Currently I am sitting on my hotel balcony overlooking the water with nothing but the quiet hum of wind through the palm trees and the local traffic moving about itís daily business, a stark contrast from the long gone is the manic energy of the Ironman. When I arrived here last Wednesday the intensity was palpable, we were all like atoms colliding and bouncing off of each other creating some unshackled mass of energy. Languages of 60 countries mixed with all the US colloquialisms of the 50 states sloshed about in the air, I felt a sense of unity. We all were here for different reasons but 1 goal all in mind: race. Training for this race is hard to quantify but it was a lot. I also was watching what I put into my body but I did have a nice greasy pizza and chocolate cake the week before, ooops. But by race day it didnít matter, the work was done and all the days of training were going to be cashed in. I was lucky to have support not only from great people back in LA but also at the race. Clate, my partner in many facets, has seen it all and has put up the highs and lows was here to do the final push off and cheer me through to the end. I also had my faithful friend Shari, armed with multiple cameras to shoot away and yell good wishes. Side note: find ironman boyfriend for shari. And a special addition was having Clates family come and join in the fun before, during and after which made it even more amazing. Skipping to dinner night before the race; itís always a tradition dating back to my high school swimming days to have some carbo load pasta the night before a big race. 6 oclock dinner and the local itailan joint was packed, looking around I spy skinny, slicked people with blue armbands surrounded by family and friends. We chat at the table snacking on bread and I tell myself to stay in the moment but at this point itís hard for me not to sink into my head and run through the schedule and movements of the race. Penny, Clates mom, catches me and joyfully says ďnoah this is fun, you do this because itís fun rightĒ more of a reminder to me than a statement. I laugh and try to convince everyone Iím cool, Iím loose but I still have the internal dialogue going ďok so if I wake up at 5:05 instead of 5:10 than I can get a little more coffee and stretch that leg andĒ. Back at the hotel room that night felt an odd calm. Earlier that day I had to drop off my bike and all my other gear minus the wetsuit so I there wasnít much to do race morning. Usually my sleep sucks but I forced myself to get on the east coast time zone immediately when I arrived which helps tremendously. And the night before the race I actually slept soundly. Cling Cling, Cling Cling iphone alarms are a gift from God. 5:05am. Checking status, hmmmm not feeling that bad or tired. Ok here is where I could make my first change for my next race: I get up and drink 2 large coffees and have a rockstar energy drink. Fast forward to transition from bike to run: I curse those coffees and rockstar while saying hurry up to my pee stream while stuck in a porty potty ready to bolt off to the start of my run. Rewind back to morning, I look out the balcony and below I see people perpetually moving faster and faster all around. I run out to get my body marked, age 37 number 1010. The air is chilly. Once through the cattle line and being branded I slather on heavy duty spf 55 which turns my skin blue. I now am a 6í2 smurf. And now comes the second lesson I will take with me to the next race: bring both full and sleeveless wetsuit. Back before the race my thought was hey this is Florida the water is going to be perfect in the 70ís but alas they experienced a cold snap the week prior and now the water is slightly shocking 65. So I pull on my sleeveless wetsuit and don my green cap with the star spangled banner in the air. I pose for my last shots with Clate and Shari and I am swept into my first corral with my fellow green cappers. The pros are off in the water. Itís an out and back swim with large yellow and orange buoys bobbing and guiding athletes on the right side. Am I doing this? Is this happening? It was such an odd feeling I had as I walked up to the waters edge and the announcer alerts our wave is next. I was a little too calm and that worried me. One foot must stay on the sand, 5,4,3,2,1 go. I took the inside track because swimming is my thing, Iím lucky to have that in my pocket and am confident in my skills. Earlier this season I came in 6th at Oceanside and 1st in my age group for the swim so I thought I could start aggressive and go out front here. My arms moved at a rapid rate and I was surrounded by swimmers, I thought push harder and I did but I started to get elbowed in the head and chest along with swallowing a lot of saltwater which I am not used to. 5 minutes into the race I felt horrible. I have never felt like this before on a start of a race and couldnít believe it was happening at the world championships. I spotted a paddle boarder support staff and for the first time ever seriously considered quitting. I was still pushing my arms and but the water was winning. At that moment I stopped. What am I doing? I canít stop. The thought of not only finishing the swim but biking for 56 and running 13 seemed unfathomable to me with the way I felt that moment. I can just swim over to the paddle boarder and explain I feel sick. I then thought of all the support I have and all the time I have invested , I canít just let them down and have all that training for nothing. While I was doing a slow breast stroke to stay afloat I heard Pennyís words from the night before ďNoah this is fun, you do this because itís fun rightĒ. I then slowly start to get back into my swim and relax. Maybe it wonít be the best race but I am here and I am going to enjoy it, I say to myself. Smooth relax, relax smooth kept repeating in my head, this became my mantra for the rest of the race. I had freaked myself out but as I approached the shore I was already feeling good and came out of the water and didnít feel like falling over. I later found out I placed 10th in may age group, not my fastest swim but in the end it wasnít even that bad. ďYou over here! Sit downĒ I love wet suit strippers, an odd experience of 5 people ripping the tight wet suit off yelling at my water logged head. I ran, grabbed my bike bag and found my bike. I rented zipp 404 for front wheel and an 808 zipp for my back to test on this race and I was excited and nervous for how they would work. By the time I was on the bike the temperature was perfect. I am completely prepared to be passed by the masses on the bike. The bike has been my nemesis. I mean I take the bike out on dates, I spend a lot time with the bike, I listen to it and I buy it shiny new things and it still gives me grief but we are getting along today. The course goes over the bridge and out through town and is pretty flat and fast course. I repeat smooth relax for the next 2:32 minutes. My secret goal was 2:20 but when I rolled in I was ok with it considering how I felt on the swim. Along the ride I saw at least 4 riders get drafting penalties which made me very conservative about passing and riding with others, I couldnít afford 5 minutes in a penalty box. As I am slowing to the dismount line, I get off my bike and slam, some other cyclists slams into my bike. Close call and the support staff grab my bike and all I can think of is the dreaded porty potty. After arguing with my bladder and starting the run I turn a corner to see my family and friends and I canít help to smile and wave. The weather is a sight of beauty. I then gauge how my legs are transitioning. Earlier this year I had 2 different snowboard accidents which left my thigh and outer hip tight and sore for much of this race season and before every run I wonder how it will handle. As I approach the first pass of the elevated bridge I get a sense all will be well, smooth relax. At almost every aid station I gulp Gatorade and sponge my head. Coming down the bridge feels awesome, like I am flying. Lap 2 now I have to more hills and I am done! The run was even until I hit the downhill on the last lap where I pushed all out. I was happy reading later that I did sub 7 on my last few miles. As I approach the finish I hear my name and feel great, a complete turnaround from how I felt at the start. 4:42:24. PR by 16 minutes but of course not my dream goal but Iíll take it. Medal on , downing water, stumbling out into the awaiting crowds of friends and family I smile and feel like crying but I donít cry because all the salt and water in my body has been expelled in exertion. I gave the race my all and I had fun doing it.

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