Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ironman CDA 2010 Race Report

What an amazing experience. I could start from the day we arrived in CDA but that may make two whole books and I only want to write one. So I guess well go from race morning. How bout we start off the last post... Drinking coffee with my dad race morning. ---->

We all headed down to get body marked, check my bike, air up my tires, place all water bottles etc on my bike, turn in my special needs bags and I stopped once by my T1 bag to grab my inhaler for one puff before the start. The beach area was so crowded trying to get from one end to the other. I was freaking out trying to get back to see the family where I planned on putting on my wetsuit. Cathlene followed me close by and kept me from freaking too much. We made it to were everyone was, I pulled on my wetsuit and said my goodbyes. That was tough. "See you guys tonight". Knuckle bumped almost all 36 supporters with a little shake n bake and Cat and I headed toward the entrance to the beach. I put my two caps on (for extra warmth) hugged the hell outa Cat and slowly made my way down to the beach. I made my way to the water to splash myself and then down the beach to the very inside of the buoys. Got my goggles on and ready when they announced 2 minutes until the start.

Before you knew it the cannon went off and all nerves were aside, there was no turning back. I had a special lucky rock in my hand that I collected from Mexico last year at this time with Cat. We had decided then that this lucky rock would travel to CDA and be thrown into the water at the start. (Corney I know, don't judge me). I held on to the rock until I had to open my hand to swim. The first few hundred yards were INSANE, I didn't put my head down for the longest due to the water being so crowded. The red turn buoy seemed forever away and it felt like we would never get to it. I swam mostly on the inside of the buoys and then outside the turn buoy. The turn buoys are where I really feared for my life. It seemed to just stop right at the buoy and swimmers started piling up, you had to tread water for a good bit until everyone could get around and take back off. This meant for elbows to the face, kicks to the legs, and where I started feeling the first of the cramps. Nothing too bad,,, Yet. The swim was brutal. I don't see why its not part of the MMA fights. I started to get some water in my goggles but I toughed it out until we made it out of the first loop. Got out, let the water out of my goggle, and then right back in to the water. I kept telling myself to just stay calm and the swim would happen. I found some open water a couple of times but not enough to really stretch out and swim hard. I found myself singing the finding nemo song "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" to help me stay calm. This second loop is where I started feeling more cramps, first they started in my left calf, then worked up to my hams and when we hit the turn buoys again and had to stop, both legs were hit. OUCH! I made it though, made it to the beach and I was soooooo happy to be finished with the first part of the race. But as soon as I stood up, both legs locked. I hobbled my way out of the shoot and the cramps went away. I knew this was a bad sign, I hardly ever cramp and especially this bad. The wetsuit stripper did their job, as I was headed to the change tent I saw my uncle and aunt in transition asking if I needed anything. I think all I said was man I'm cramping. (I blame the cramps on the cold water)

2.4 Mile Swim = 1:21:09 (2:09/100m pace)

I got my helmet on, socks, shoes, vest, gloves, sunglasses, grabbed the arm warmers, nutrition in my vest etc etc.. Ran through the tent and my aunt was there with sunscreen for me. Made it to my bike, grabbed a bottle to put in my vest and headed on my way.

T1 = 7:56

Out on the bike I felt pretty good. It started off a little cold due to just getting out of the water and my toes were numb so I had on some arm warmers. I took my perpetuem every 30mins as planned. At mile 20 (where the hills really started) my chain popped off while going 7mph uphill. I had tired to shift to an easier gear and I guess shifted too far. I was already riding close to the shoulder with maybe 3 feet to the edge of the road. I was nervous as I unclipped and I heard a guy behind me yelling "hey, hey, hey!" He was trying to pass on my right and must have been right on my wheel. He fell into me from my right side, I put my left foot out to keep us both from falling over and this is where the toe of my cleat broke. I apologized to the guy where he then said he shouldn't had been trying to pass to my right. I thought yeah jerkface, it's not totally my fault. I felt so stupid and wanted to crawl in a hole. It was until I tried to clip back in did I notice something was wrong with my cleat. And then I remembered looking at them before the race thinking they were a little worn down. I just didn't want to change them that close to the race. I even asked my friend Phil about changing them. I was still able to clip in but something felt funny about them. Then I tried pulling up on the pedal and my foot would come right out. From here on I concentrated not to pull with my left leg, only push while pedaling. I scared myself pretty good while bombing down a hill and my foot slipped out of the pedal. And then when I tried to clip back in I kept catching cramps. I saw another aunt and uncle on the way back to CDA. Tried waving at them but I'm so super fast, hahah.. Made it back to town and saw the reason I kept pushing myself to the finish. All my family was there cheering me on. All my worries went away. Around mile 60 I stopped for a pee break and actually looked at the cleat. It was the lip on the toe part of the cleat that broke off. No worries, I made it 40 miles without it I'll be just fine. At special needs I grabbed some salty peanuts hoping they may fix the cramping. This second lap was pretty tough and I found the plastic that broke off my cleat on the same hill. I made myself smile and have fun, enjoyed the beautiful course. I would ride up to people and make jokes to try and pass the time. I had to stop once more and found a tree to water, also found a penny on heads that I picked up. The hills were tough and the wind going back into town was right in your face. I stuck to the plan and didn't push myself too hard on the bike.

112 Mile Bike = 6:43:45 (16.6 MPH)

I made it into T2 and boy was I happy to be off my bike. This was a great feeling. I got off the bike, a volunteer took it from me and racked it while I made my way to the change tent. A ton of my family was in T2, my sister right at my bag, my dad helped me change into my shoes and gave me my other garmin watch for the run. mom, Cat, bro in laws etc. were all there for me with anything I needed. I don't remember coming through transition very well, I do remember sitting down in the tent with my dad. I dumped the bag out to get my shoes and told him there was no way I would finish under 12 hours. I had to run a 3:30 or so marathon to break 12 hours and it just wasn't possible. He assured me that it was ok and to have fun and just finish. No problem dad, I got this.

T2 = 3:07

I started out hurting pretty bad on the run and that pretty much sums up the rest of the marathon. The first half mile I ran right what I planned on, just under 9 min mile pace and then my knees couldn't handle it anymore. I stopped to stretch but nothing helped. My knees were killing me due to the cramping I experienced beforehand (ITBS). If you know anything about ITBS you know that there is little to do once the pain sets in. It only gets worse the more you run. And I had 25 more miles to run. I thought if I could just hold 10 min miles I would be ok. I passed my family again around mile 3-4 and mentioned my ITBands and cramps. Then I was on my own for what seemed forever. The lake was beautiful to run beside and this kept my mind off the pain. I had started to try and run to each aid station, walking through them. (each aid station was about 1 mile apart). This turned into just running as far as I could until I couldn't handle the pain and then I would walk. Sometimes I would push myself a bit further and others I wouldn't make it 100 yards. I would gather as much as possible from each aid station. Chips, pretzels, water, ice, oranges, gatorade it all seemed great. I never felt ill or that my nutrition was off. If anything I may had taken in too much nutrition on the bike (stomach felt a bit full at times). At one point I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe and talked to a family who looked up my splits for me on their computer. Very nice people. I asked them for a beer... Made it back to town and I saw the inspiration again (family). Talked to Edwin and told him I was planning on just having fun, that there was no way I was going to have a good marathon time. That's ok though. Saw my dad, mom, Cat, jenn, travis, greg and the bro in laws etc. and tried to tell them the same. I'm here to finish, and I'm going to finish even if I have to crawl the rest of the way. It was hard seeing everyone at this time. I got real emotional and choked up. I wanted everyone to know that I was having the time of my life and it didn't matter how long it took me, I was going to be and Ironman that night. Made it back through where most of the family was set up and gave everyone my last high fives and such. I was on my own again for the next 10 or so miles. When I got back out to the lake area my sister and bro in law showed up (Jenn and Travis). And just before this I saw my cousins working an aid station that I didn't expect them to be at. I gave them hugs and this got me though the next few miles. Jennifer and Travis would drive up ahead of me, get out and take some pictures until I made it to them. They did this for miles 18-22 or so. Wow this helped so much. I would run when she held the camera up and walk when I saw the camera down (I couldn't have a picture of me WALKING!) haha. Ran walked my way back to town and I figure from mile 23 and on you couldn't wipe the smile off my face while running or walking. Volunteers would say "your almost there" I would pump my fist and just cheese! All these long training days, early mornings, late nights were paying off. I was about to finish. It wasn't until I made the last turn when I really knew I had made it. I wasn't about to walk this last stretch with hundreds of people cheering for you. Besides it was all downhill and the finishing shoot was glowing. Words cant describe my feelings when entering the finishing shoot, I made sure to find Cat and my parents. I stopped to give them hugs and others high fives. Nothing was going to take this moment from me. The finishing shoot was mine. The spectators were great and the energy was amazing. I crossed pumping my fist, (then the Crowie poise) and of course I didn't hear a sound. Everyone says you never remember or hear Mike Reilly say "You are an Ironman" and that seemed true for me. I didn't need to hear it. I had dreamed and visioned this moment for so long. I was there. In the moment. Crossing the finish line, AN IRONMAN.
23.6 Mile Run = 5:37:27 (12:53 pace)

Total Time = 13:53:22

I have so many people to thank for their support. You cant do this alone. From the long training days to the long race day you need your support there for you every step. You guys and girls that were there for me, We did it! My family that came in to support me was awesome! I cant thank you guys enough. I'm pretty sure we had the largest support group at IMCDA.
Ask me five years ago if I were ever to do an Ironman. "No way, not me, those guys are crazy". Bad things may happen but they can always be turned around. I'm coming up on three years of my accident. The Ironman reminded me of that pain, but just like the race, the pain don't last forever. You will have aches every so often but the positives always outweigh the negatives. Our minds and bodies are capable of amazing feats, we just have to push them a bit to get there.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Day

Is race morning, I'm nervous, scared, excited and not really sure what I should expect today. I'm eating a pb&j, bagel, banana and sipping some java. It's a little chilly outside with a tad bid of wind (high 50s temp). Looks like it won't break much over 80 and that will be after 3pm today. I'm just hoping for a good race where I feel pretty decent most of the time and plan on having fun today. This is my first Ironman so if I finish, it's a PR. I have so much support here and I couldn't ask for more. I have over 30 family members here to cheer me on. I'm stoked! Let's do this! Shake n bake!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Headed Out

Im just about all packed up and ready to go.. This has been pretty nerve racking trying to get everything together, hoping I dont forget anything. I cant wait to get there and get in some short workouts. Mostly ready to check out the freezing water temp but also excited to be going from the TX heat (95+) to about 75 for the high. The forecast for race day has changed so much so Im not sure what to expect. Its mostly been looking pretty good though. Im prepared for anything.

Been looking forward to this for so long. Im already loving the excitement and whatdayaknow, Ironman TEXAS should be announced TODAY! Looks like I will be signing up for another Ironman before I even do my first one. Im thinking they will announce and then open up registration Saturday or so right before CDA to give people the opportunity to figure out which one they would like to do next year. So Im ready to drop the $550+ for registration... If all goes according to plan, IMTX will be a HUGE event for some friends and I. Already tons of friends are saying they will be here to race... IMTX will be EPIC. EPIC I SAY!!! Be there! ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The journey

Woke up this morning to an article in my hometown paper about my Ironman journey written by a great friend. I like how he put it out there that yeah, thousands of people complete the Ironman. I'm no one special but I do have a different story on how I've come to this point. This race just isn't my first Ironman, it's much more than that, and not only to myself but all my family and friends who understand what it has taken to get here. Everyone has their own story to tell. Life isn't easy and sometimes we hit a speedbump (or in my case a Suburban) but we can't give up.

QUARLES: Friend overcomes wreck to compete in first Ironman Triathlon
By EDWIN QUARLES/The Lufkin Daily News | Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2010 12:15 am

Next Sunday one of my friends will be in Idaho to compete in his first Ironman Triathlon. A lot of people are going to support him, and it seems his entire family will be there.
I know it’s not as if he’s the only one to ever compete in Ironman Triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, but knowing him and knowing some of what he went through to get to this point makes it more impressive.
In August of 2007 Jeremy Webb was finishing up a 56-mile bike ride with his sister Jennifer. He was riding downhill in a Lufkin neighborhood when a Chevy Suburban made a left turn in front of him. He smashed into the back-seat passenger side window. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet.
Jennifer was a little ways behind and when she topped the hill she saw her brother lying in the street.
He was taken to a local hospital where tests revealed that his neck was broken in three places.
I had just finished up a round of golf with Jeremy’s dad an hour or so before I got a phone call about what happened. A friend and I went to the hospital emergency room and talked to Jeremy. He asked repeatedly what had happened. I kept thinking that he’d probably never be able to get on the bike again. And if he could, he probably wouldn’t want to.
He was sent to a Houston hospital for surgery and was told that if he moved wrong he could be paralyzed.
More X-rays and an MRI showed his neck was stable and he wouldn’t need surgery. The three broken vertebrae turned out to be one. He had surgery on his shoulder and lots of glass was removed from under his skin. He was in a neck brace for about three months.
When he was able to, he got back on his bike. There’s still some soreness at times and the scars left behind are a reminder of the wreck. But it didn’t cause him to quit.
He kept riding, and running and swimming. Now he’s one week from achieving his goal of completing an Ironman.
I don’t know if he knows this but every time I run down that hill where he had his wreck, or drive down it, I think about what happened to him. And most times when I’m running, it encourages me to keep going.
The guy called Worm, a nickname that a friend and I stuck him with when he was little, never gave up. Even when there had to be some fear about getting back on his bike, he did it. Even when the training got tough and the temperatures heated up, he completed his 100-plus mile training rides, an 18-mile run and 3,000-meter swims.
We should all have that much determination in the things we want to accomplish.
Edwin Quarles is city editor of The Lufkin Daily News.
His e-mail address is

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Final Push For Ironman CDA

So I wrapped up my last week of hard training this past weekend. This was by far the hardest week of training since I started back in October. I went into Monday with a huge week just before including a 100 mile ride and 18 mile run, not to mention our air conditioner went out on Saturday. No AC in the Houston heat is pretty dang tough. So I had to deal with 4 different days of AC repairman coming out to try and fix the problem this week and it took them 7 days. So we were without AC for 7 days in 90+ degree heat. Boooooo. I was not a happy camper. And “camper” is how I felt with all the fans and sleeping downstairs on a blowup mattress etc, etc… Trying to stay motivated during this was tough. Then Thursday I took off work feeling sick and sleepy and just worn out. About mid-day I received a horrible phone call that a family member was in a tragic accident and didn’t make it. I don’t want to go into details. I was ready to pack up, head to my parents and start my taper a few days early. Nothing mattered but being with my family.
Cathlene got home later that evening and informed me that she and Shannon had been planning on dinner with some great friends. Phil and Kate were flying in Friday from NY to surprise me and push me through my final hard weekend of training. This totally made my day when she told me. Emotions were out of control this week. I was pissed about the AC, sad about the family tragedy and then happy that I have friends that care that much about me. After Phil and Kate got in we took them to Beavers and had some good TX BBQ and Firemans #4. Then Phil informed me that I didn’t get a rest day just because they came in, we were running today. Geez if I wouldof realized that maybe I would have held off on all the beer! I took Phil on a route that showed him a good bit of my everyday training runs. We left the house through areas where the Marathon course went, to Memorial park around the 3 mile loop, out through a portion of the MTB trails and then back down San Felipe to the house. Ended up getting in just under 12 miles.

That night we met up with FKN Doug and Shannon at Chuys to have Mexican food and drink more beer. I was informed that Phil was here to ride with Devin and I on my last long ride Saturday morning. Phil would ride my Javelin and we were staying out at Shannons parents house that night and rolling out the next morning. Her parents live basically on the same loop we normally ride out near Fulshear so it was nice not to have to drive that morning. Devin arrived around 7, Shannon and Phil went to Chick Fil A earlier to grab breakfast and we rolled out around 7:20. We had a great ride with some really tough wind. I struggled to not get dropped on the way back in. We got in 58 miles and that was plenty for me. Devin headed home (acting like he wouldn’t see me again before the race); Phil and I drank more beer then headed to BWW for wings, beer and the USA vs England soccer game.

Many beers later around 4pm we headed back to Shannons parents place. On the way in the neighborhood Phil said “hey I was told that you should read all of the signs”… haha this was awesome; someone else on the SAME street was having an Ironman party! Wait, they are team Webb too! CRAZY.. And who is this guy with the same name!? Walked in the door and of course I blamed everything on my wing man,,, “Phil got me drunk”. Then I started seeing some of my friends sitting around, they were like “Heeeyyyy, surprise, your uhh early”.. Apparently we were 30 minutes early and Phil can’t read Texas time. I was so stoked, more friends started arriving and the party started. I couldn’t believe all these guys/gals were here in support of my first Ironman. Im still smiling about the whole night and I can’t describe that feeling of having all my closest friends there for me. That truly means a lot to me and I will carry that night with me to the finish line. I feel so blessed to have this much support… It was a great night with lots of beer and plenty of good times to reminisce on for many years. I can’t thank everyone who showed up enough. You guys ROCK.

Special thanks to Shannon for starting/planning the weekend, Cathlene for dealing with my training blues over the months and still wanting to throw me a party and not throw me in the bayou behind the party house, Phil and Kate for going out of their way to fly in for the weekend just to send me off, Devin for going on many training rides with me, and all my family and friends that came to the party or are coming straight to Idaho next week and of course God and little baby Jesus or big Jesus with a suit and tie on. So many to thank and so many have supported me.

So that’s how the final weekend push went. I feel so much better about my race. All the work is in the bag and I’m just in cruise control until 7am on June 27th. I’ve put a lot of miles and hours in for this race. Training started at the end of October 09 and I got a good plan to work with starting in January of this year. Being coached was nice and having someone there to answer my questions was good but I’m not sure I got what I expected. I’ve been an athlete all through HS and I kinda expected a coach to act more like that, more personal etc. I got a great plan, learned a lot and don’t believe I would do things much different. I feel ready for my race. I am ready… Bring it! SHAKE n’ BAKE!And were off (didnt know Cathlene was taking this pic)
Signs the girls made

Ironman cookie cake (nothing wrong with some cake every now and then)
Lets get this party started! (beer noodle bongs for everyone!)