Kyle Cornell Race Report – IMTX 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014 by administrator

Here is my post mortem, not my best race but being my first Ironman, I am happy with the results. To describe it, I would say describe the race as honest. My feeling after the race was you know what they call the person who got a 70 on their medical exam? Doctor. Coming in I felt like I was in good half IM shape but with only having a base of a year and a half since starting training for triathlons. At the end of last year, I came down with patellofemoral pain syndrome in my right knee which was probably a good thing that made me rest a bit and also to work on strengthening my legs. I was lucky enough to stay injury free through the race.

We arrived on Thursday at our friends place and unloaded most of the stuff. Being the control freak, I already had all of my gear pre-labeled in separate bags to make packing easy. We went to dinner at the Black Walnut Café…if you are in The Woodlands go there. Great food, great desserts, and tons of selection. About two weeks prior to the race, I go non-gluten and they still had plenty of selections, plus gelato is awesome. The next morning I met up with my coach, Brett Skyllingstad, from Triple Threat Tough to do the open water swim and go over race plans. Nothing special here just keep steady on the swim, increase intensity on the bike, start steady and finish strong on the run. In my HIM we practiced IM pacing where I finished very strong on the run so this is what I was going to fall back on. Keep it steady on the bike so I could push it hard on the run. After that went to bike check in, got last minute groceries, and put the feet up the rest of the day. Ate the normal pre-race dinner of chicken with rice, onions, celery, and red peppers along with a dessert of a Probar. Laid in bed around 9pm and was out pretty quick, sleeping before a race has never been a problem. Honestly I think my wife who was just watching had more pre-race nerves than me.

Woke up the next morning and ate my breakfast and took care of business. I found out that taking some magnesium the night before a race makes things easier in the morning if you know what I mean. Double checked my bags one last time and headed out. When I got to my bike I asked the guy next to me if I could borrow his pump and get his hand airing up my disc. Come to find out he was running a disc as well and did not have a crackpipe, had no idea what one was. Let him borrow it, as well as 4 other guys (seriously guys, know your equipment!), put my nutrition on my bike, and did the 0.8 mile walk to the swim start area. Dropped of my special needs bags, went to the bathroom one last time, and just relaxed until race start.

Swim – Goal 1:06-1:09 – Actual 1:09 – Got in the water as soon as the pros left and grabbed onto a kayak at starting line. My thought was to let the fast group go and use the kayak to break things up a bit. You read about how rough the IMTX swim start is, I think it is as rough as you make it. During the first 1000 meters or so I would stay steady and push it when I had to get around someone then would drop back to steady. By the way what is with people swimming perpendicular to everyone else? There were not too many good groups to draft off of during this part as they did not form until 2000 yards in. Problem was at that time people were drafting me and during their catch would grab my right ankle making my right calf cramp. I had a cramping problem last year but was able to figure out what was causing it this season. Luckily since this was a wetsuit legal swim I would stop kicking with that leg until the cramp went away. This happened about three times throughout the swim. The first third of the swim goes down the canal that I heard was rough due to it narrowing down and having vertical concrete walls. I never felt it was rough in this area either. The last third I was bored and was ready to get out, just keep it steady and take in the scenery of seeing all of the people cheering you on while they were watching on the canal. Saw the swim exit and the time of 1:09, right where I thought I would be. Thanks goes to the awesome volunteers helping you up the stairs and the wetsuit strippers for making life so much easier. Off to T1 and on the bike.

Bike – Goal 5:15-5:45 – Actual 5:33 – The weather was not supposed to be as hot as previous years but the wind made it kind of a wash. My bike is nowhere near where I want it but I don’t have enough time in the saddle to complain. Plan was to start easy around 140-150 watts, go up to 160ish until the headwinds really started, then go up to 180 if needed on the return where the headwind normally is. Starting off on the bike everything felt good and I started taking nutrition at 15 minutes. Early on, I caught my coach and he said he did not have a good swim, chatted with him for a sec then took off. Around mile 9, I saw Mr. and Mrs. Price holding a sign for their daughter who passed away in a freak bike accident at the Velodrome last year. I wear two bracelets on my wrist during my race with her initials on them that I use as a mental boost when the time gets tough. At 30 minutes, I took more Infinit in but for some reason it was not sitting the best, probably too much lake water. Over the course of the bike, I rarely had a dry burp and threw up a little twice (swallowed it once but the other time that was not happening). Other than the wreck early on, the bike was pretty uneventful. There were plenty of people drafting at the beginning that is going to happen, as the race went on things broke up and I did not see too much blatant drafting going on. Towards the end things broke up nicely with the headwind so I just kept my head down and kept going. My goal wattage was 160W and I ended up with 157W, was still in my estimated time frame. Average HR was 129, like I said I have a lot of room to grow on the bike.

Overall, the course is smooth with constant rollers where most people blew themselves up at the beginning. Lots of matches being burnt, sometimes so bad that you wonder if they have ever done a long brick before. Tons of bad bike fits as well, some people had bike setups $10,000+ and the bike was not even close to fitting them. People wonder what you think about during the race, things like this break up whatever is going on in my head. I changed bikes this year and had Trent from the Trishop in Plano set me up. He did a great job around my past injuries and lack of flexibility. One thing I was impressed with was a girl was going pee and keeping up her power. Maybe I am lazy but when I go I normally wait for a downhill and get out of the saddle.

Run – Goal 3:15-3:45 – Actual 4:05 (avg HR 140)– This was the biggest unknown despite my strength being the run. I have never done a run longer than 18 miles (followed up 2 days later with a 12 mile run) so the last lap was going to be tough. We played it safe in my training by keeping the run milege down with my previous injuries. The plan on the first lap was to get nutrition in, keep HR low around 140bpm, and get a feel for the course. First lap felt very easy with pace around 7:45-8 min/mile and walk through all aid stations. At the aid stations, I would normally drop some ice down my pants and put a sponge in on my chest and at the top of my shorts. I wear a fitted trucker hat that does a good job keeping my head cool even without ice. Before the aid stations, I would take a swig out of my flask and flush it with water. The second lap things started well, even with that stupid dirt hill you have to walk up. During the second lap when I was still feeling good, I felt I could increase the HR up to a max of 148-150. Around mile 13 there was a little down area but that was fixed by throwing in more nutrition and part of a banana. Mentally, I knew there was going to be some down areas but having some of these training, I knew I could figure out what they were and how to fix them. I have heard you should expect 4 things to go wrong during the race but in a full you have time to think them through and how to fix them. About mile 16, I started getting small cramps in my legs. Nothing I could not run through but had to slow down and hope they would pass…no such luck. At this time, I switched from EFS LS to Coke which typically does the trick. At mile 18, I had the small cramps throughout my legs with some sharper pains on steep inclines or downhills. I decided to start walking through the whole aid station, grabbed 2 Cokes and kept the sponges coming. The last lap was all mental, suck it up and power through the cramps. Every time I tried to lengthen my stride, a sharp cramp would hit my legs so it was all a shuffle. The thought process was get to the next aid station so you can take a break and get some calories in. My HR was in the low 130s so I knew I was fatigued. No matter how many calories I could throw down, there was nothing I could do. The last lap I was looking at my watch to make sure I would still break 11. During the last part, I could see I would be very close so just kept going. Got to the last turn before the finish line, or so I thought, and heard Mike Reilly say 2 minutes left until 11 hours. First thought was awesome I will break 11 hours then I turn the corner…I have to go down a hill and then back up to finish the race! Just sucked it up and went through the finish line at 10:59:06.

After the race, met with the huge group that was there to cheer me on (hard to miss about 15-20 people hanging out on the top floor of a bar wearing the same red shirts). I am an introverted person but I would lie if I said that hearing them cheer me on did not mentally help. Hobbled over to get a massage and both legs cramped up, good timing legs. I wanted to push my body harder than I ever have and put myself in the pain cave. The fact I cramped up told me I did exactly that. There is a saying that I like, “Only those who go too far know how far one can go”. My fitness would not allow me to go any further.

What would I change? Honestly, not much. I wore a 2 piece De Soto suit with short sleeves but I would wear my PI Octane suit for future races. I was worried about GI issues but had no problems that day, never have but I have never done a race of this length before. Swimming was a big part of building my fitness while keeping the threat of injury low. Now that I have a little bigger base, I would do one more bike and run per week.
So what now? A few people said I should try to qualify for Boston, but honestly the thought of running that much bores the heck out of me. I am going to focus on getting my bike power up and improving my speed by doing some short distance stuff the rest of the year. Just have fun going fast at local events. With us moving and the thought of trying to have kids in the future, I do not see myself doing a full IM for a few years. Remember what I said about the doctor in the beginning? I am part of the 10 hour club, be it by only 54 seconds.

Morning nutrition – 2 Ensure plus (700 cal total), Probar Superfood Slam (360 cal), 1 Laughing Giraffe Vanilla almond snackaroon (120 cal), 1 bottle w/2 servings EFS grape to sip on before race (200 calories). Basically, just trying to get a lot of calories in a small package with a mix of fat, protein, and carbs. Not to mention the solids are pretty delicious. During my key workouts, I have tried several things such as Ultragen but good ole fashion Ensure plus worked best.
Swim nutrition – 1 flask w/serving EFS LS and half scoop First Endurance Prerace.
Bike nutrition – 5 servings Infinit custom mix(1500 cal total), 1 Bonk Breaker (apple cinnamon is awesome), 3 Clif margarita chews. Total of 4 pills Pre-race and a couple salt pills. Plan was take Infinit every 15 min, ¼ BB bar at 1:30, ½ bar at mile 56 w/2 pre-race pills, final ¼ BB at mile 90, and switched to chews the last 12 miles of the bike.
Run nutrition – 1 flask EFS LS (first half, 400 cal), 1 flask EFS LS w/2 Pre-race pills (100 cal), and Coke, lots and lots of Coke on the second half
Swim setup – TYR special ops goggles and Xterra sleeveless wetsuit
Bike setup – Orbea Ordu gold, Enve 46 wheels w/Powertap (joule 2.0 display) and disc cover. Torpedo mount BTA for water, 32oz bottle on frame for nutrition. Lazer Tardiz helmet, Specialized shoes
Run setup – Saucony Virrata, swiftwick pulse one socks, Garmin 310, fitted Trishop hat

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