Iron Trailblazer 2008: Race Report and More!!

Saturday morning began my first real experience of Ironman. Last year I went to watch the swim start and a bit of the bike but this year was going to be a whole lot different. It all began with me heading over to volunteer in the registration area from 8:30-11. I really had no idea what to expect and turns out there really wasn’t much. All I did was check in a few late arrivals who were not able to get registered on Thursday or Friday. I think we might have seen 30 people total. The best part had to be seeing a few of my Tri-Fusion teammates checking in their gear and getting ready for the big day.

Getting all set up.At 11:00 I hurried to my car since the plan was to race the Medical Lake Trailblazer at 1:00. The drive took about an hour and I arrived with just enough time to get all set up and it was time to go. I would like to thank the Thompson’s for hauling my bike out and Tim for getting me a transition spot. I really didn’t know what time I was going to arrive so I thought it would be good to get as much done as possible before I arrived.
After the brief athlete meeting we were off to the lawn to put our wetsuits on and make the short swim across the lake. This would be the first year that I actually swam across instead of jumping in the back of the trucks. I remember the last few years thinking how crazy those people are for swimming ALL the way across just to swim back. Doesn’t that wear you out? Since now I know how short the swim really is, it was a good warm-up and I really felt ready to go once I made it across.

After floating around in lakeweed, you can’t call it seaweed if you are in a lake can you, for about 5 minutes the race finally started. My plan was to go anaerobic throughout the swim and bike and see what I had left during the run. I really wanted to push myself.

Apparently I still NEED to work on my sighting. I started on the far left, slowly made my way to the right of the pack and then worked my way back to the ramps. It wasn’t the prettiest swim ever but I was still able to come out of the water just behind Tiffany and right in front of Jessi. I was pretty stoked with that because they are both great swimmers and even though it was a short swim, small victories are always nice.

So up the hill I went and ran into T1. It didn’t go as smooth as I had hoped but overall it went pretty good. I once again forgot to get my cycling shoes all opened up and had to spend a few precious seconds but all in all it went good.

The bike course is pretty short and I really wanted to push my effort to see how my conditioning is hold up. Since I was in the top 10 out of the water, the people in front of me were definitely fast. There was a small group that included Jessi and I was hoping to keep up. They eventually pulled away but I was able to keep them in sight for most of the race. I was passed by a few pretty good cyclists but all in all the bike portion went well. I still need to get stronger if I want to compete with the big boys.

T2 rocked. That is about all I need to say. I was out of my shoes on the bike. I had my helmet off by the time I reached my transition area and my shoes were on in a flash. I grabbed my visor and I was off and running. A fellow Tri-Fusion member, Josh, was about 10 seconds ahead of me going into transition and I was out before him. As we were running away from the crowd I heard Tim yell “Hold him Off”. It was at this moment I started laughing. I was all of 50 yards into a 2.92 mile run and he was telling me to hold off the fastest guy in our club. This kid can run sub 5:15’s all day long. It wasn’t long before he passed me and was soon out of sight.

My goal for the run was to keep it under 20 minutes. That would put me around 6:40 miles and I would definitely be happy with that pace. I felt pretty strong but with no mile markers I really had no idea what pace I was running. I was able to pass 3 people and felt strong all the way to the finish.

I once again didn’t actually take splits for this race but I swam somewhere around 5:30. T1 was probably just over a minute. The bike was just under 32 minutes and my run was 19:40. My overall time was 58:47. This was a 7:33 improvement over last year and over a 14 minute improvement over the year before. I really can’t compare the years before because of how much more prepared I am this year but it is nice to see improvement. I really don’t expect to see this kind of improvement every year but you have to start somewhere.

After the race I was able to rope in Greg Gallaher and Eric for a nice little 28 mile ride back to the northside of Spokane. The Swanson’s were nice enough to take my car back to their house allowing me to get in a bit of extra training which is definitely needed with Lake Stevens in two weeks. The ride was pretty good and I felt pretty strong throughout. I faded near the end but it was a hot day and I had just raced.

The night was finished up by traveling around with Tiffany and Jessi putting up a few Ironman signs for our members who were going to race tomorrow. The night involved some long dark driveways, balloons exploding in neighborhoods at 10:00 pm. And of course some rain, just to finish out the long day. I was able to get in bed around 12:45 with just enough time to get a few hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 4:45 in preparation to head over to Coeur d’ Alene for Ironman 2008.

Seriously, am I going to get shot. It does say "ABSOLUTELY NO TRESPASSING"
Hanging a few streamers. I drew the short end of the stick, or did I? ;)
Jessi and Tiff taking a moment to break dance in the middle of Tim's driveway.


Andy said...

Nice job at the race! You've come a long way since last year!

So, when are you coming over to help pick up all the stars that were in our driveway? They are now all over our lawn. It twinkles like the night sky. :)

Ali said...

That's awesome steve! Great job on the race! I look forward to more of your improvements, with all your hard work!

Tiffany said...

Wow! This is quite the post! First of all, Trailblazer. Freaking awesome job! Your improvements from year to year have been amazing! I'm pumped for you that you are getting stronger and stronger and gaining so much speed. You really are wicked fast!!!

Now onto Ironman. What a blast being on sign patrol with you and Jessi! You stuck it out in A+ style! It was fun to spend the day cheering with you too and to think about how I will be shouting your name on the blow horn next year!!! Can't wait!!!

Trish said...

Stevers...I am so impressed with your improvements at Trailblazer! It must feel so good to see results from all that working out you do :) Thanks for giving me the recap after the race too! I am sad I missed it, but at least I got to hear from you how you did that same day! I am continually impressed with how dang fast you are! Keep it up and you WILL win a race someday!

And props to you and Jessi and Tiff for you dedication to being the BEST Iron cheer squad out there! It looks like you had a blast! I know that it meant so much to the athletes to have the TF support from you and the rest of the crew! I can't wait to cheer for you and your next big race!

Michael W. Bergquist said...

Way to go Steve. Don't you know you're supposed to improve with diminishing returns from year to year. It looks like you improved by an equal or greater margin. I guess it's the law of increasing returns for you. I'm sure you've worked really hard and gutted it out, earning every bit of gain. As fast as you're improving, you're going to earn that first W before long. I like that you used the accurate number (2.92M) for the run instead of the listed 3.4M. I was pretty amused by Tim's comment "Hold him off!" Josh is one fast dude. Being competitive (just a little ... lot), I had to compare our splits after your "fastest guy" remark. Don't bet against the old guy ;0). Anyway, thanks so much for participating in putting up the signs. Despite having a tough time seeing myself as an Ironman and being terribly allergic to Ironman, I really appreciated my sign, which is still on display in my flower garden. It was really great when I saw that sign after being away from home, esentially for a month trainng and racing. Thank you.

Hundrey said...

Way to PR. It may not be a big race but it means so much to us when we're there doing them. Looks like you all did a great job with the signs and stuff!!! Being at registration was fun too. Hope to have the post up soon.
Keep it up Soon to be IM :)

Michelle and Jay

Tim Swanson said...

Dude, it was fun watching you race, even if you didn't hold off Josh :) That was by far the funniest moment of the day...we were all laughing our asses off long after you had given your "WTF" pose! You really did kick ass in T2. It totally makes a difference in short races where seconds count.

And thanks again for the signs and streamers at my house. It was a nice surprise to wake up to on race day.

jessithompson said...

I think you're a stud.

Your improvement racing this year has been stellar and you've been working hard to make it happen. It's been fun to share in some of the training and racing adventures together!

The sign patrol was HILARIOUS. Thanks for all the laughs and pulling out your A+ ness in a big way. What a great memory!