Recent Club News & Ramblings

October 25, 2012

Iron B2B race report by Matthew Thompson

My adventure started with me competing in the B2B Half in 2011. It was painful but it gave me the confidence that I could complete twice the distance. A Full was something I had in the back of my mind for a while. I had run a few marathons over the years but couldn’t fathom how hard it would be to run after a 112 mile bike ride, not to mention a long swim! With my wife’s encouragement, I bit the bullet and signed up. She told me she would support me in any way she could and boy did she. She knows me all too well and encouraged me to get a coach, which turned out to be a very smart move. I tend to over do things and usually end up with a serious injury a few weeks before the event. Coach Lee had my workouts planed quite well to avoid too much of any one discipline over a short time. Debbie was so great she even sometimes would get up with me to be at the pool at 5am to keep me company. On the weekends she would take care of me and let me recover as I was pretty much dead after the long workouts.


The morning of the race I was surprisingly calm. Debbie rode her bike to the start and met me there. After a few pictures with some of my fellow Myrtle Beachers we were soon off. I felt like a sardine with fellow fishes bumping and trying to swim over me. After about 2 -3 minutes, things started to smooth out. I thought to myself: long strokes and relax. I could see a water tower in the distance and wished I had thought ahead to see where it was on the swim course. Once I got to it, it was cool to see how fast I passed it. I thought if I could only swim this fast without a strong current… I knew to make the left turn as close to the red buoy as possible to avoid being swept too far down stream. I nailed that turn and tried to finish strong. When I got out of the water I started cramping climbing up the ladder. I actually fell back and took two attempts to get up onto the dock. On the run to T1, it was great to see so many club members cheering. I quickly grabbed by bag and got ready for the bike. I had a hard time getting my Garmin started. Most likely user error! Coach told my to start easy, keeping my heart rate under zone 3. I was lucky to keep it under zone 4!!! I was amped but kept telling myself to take it easy. The furthest I had ever ridden was 102 miles and most of that was in a peloton, so I knew this would be tough. It was up lifting to see Pete’s sign at mile 35. Debbie was there taking pictures with the new camera she got specifically for this event. My son Brian and his wife had driven down from Raleigh, NC to cheer me on. I appreciated seeing them.


My goal on the bike was to stay hydrated and eat well (and no, bacon was not on the menu). I thought I did well until I got off the bike. My left quad and right hamstring were close to cramping. Still my first mile in the run was under 9:00. I thought my legs would loosen up but they didn’t. I saw Kovac and he looked great. I wished I felt half as good as he looked. I had to figure out how to do the next 25 miles without tearing my quad or hamstring. I slowed down some, which helped, but soon realized I couldn’t eat and definitely couldn’t tolerate the Heed. This is were Pete’s post from Kona helped. He described feeling the same and drank the chicken broth and some flat coke. I saw Debbie and LeeAnn (a cycling friend from Lumberton) who offered me encouragement. I saw Brad and could tell he was in about the same boat as I. Debbie actually took a few pictures when we passed each other. All I could say to Brad was “I feel your pain,” (having read his post and looking how close our marathon times were I think we experienced the same physical breakdown). I did get a lift at the halfway point when I saw some of the half finishers. I remember seeing Dawn and Donnie and telling them how great a time I was having and that they had to do it next year!!! I’m sure they knew better. About 4-5 miles later I saw Debbie and told her I had nothing. I had to look whipped. The water station was close by and I walked to it grabbing the only thing I could tolerate – chicken broth and coke. I drank both and realized I was light headed and having a hard time walking straight. I was annoyed at myself and had to reassess the situation. I realized my stomach was feeling less upset and thought I could tolerate some GU and coke. I grabbed both at the next station and within a minute or two of downing these I started to feel better! Now I knew I had it made and I could eat and drink at every station. Next time I saw Debbie, I gave her big thumbs up. I’ve run 9 or 10 marathons and never had one where my last 5 or 6 miles were faster than the middle miles but I knew at mile 20 that this one would be. The last 2 miles I was able to actually race a younger triathlete who passed me at the previous water stop. I actually beat him to the finish. The finish was AWESOME!!! There were so many people at the finish line. I kept looking for my wife and knew she would be there for me like she was throughout all my training. WE were now an IRONMAN.

At the finish, Pete and Debbie commented on how much salt was caked on my shirt. In hindsight I think my salt intake requirements are much higher then I had imagined. Something to work on…


Debbie asked me if I would do another one. My immediate reaction was no, not because it was hard but because of the sacrifice of time that was committed to the training. For right now I’ll run and ride for enjoyment. I might try for a good run at the Myrtle Beach Marathon and see if I can qualify for Boston. And then there is Raleigh.


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