Hello from Tempe Arizona!
To finish off the 2008 season I chose
to race in the desert; Ironman Arizona. After some average to good
performances during the early part of the year I wanted to finish the
season sticking a hopefully "excellent" long course performance.
the end of August through the fall I trained smart, I trained hard and
I focused on my recovery. The end result a slot to the Ironman World Championships for 2009
. : )
Here is how the day went
[Photos courtesy of Ryan Scherb Photography. View: from atop Mill Ave bridge]
-Standing on the banks of the man made Tempe Town Lake, I leap into the 65 degree water and the darkness.
under the Mill Bridge to the front of the swim I position myself dead
center in the front and just in time as it took me almost 5min to get
-Bang, and were off. I push HARD for the first 5min hoping to catch the wave of fast swimmers.
-The sun comes up and we continue to swim as a large pack for the first half mile.
-1.2mi and I turn back towards the start of the swim. Feeling good I relax my stroke and hang in for a good draft.
-2nd half of the swim I continue to back off and keep a solid draft in order to save energy for the long day.
-Climbing out of the water I glance at my watch to see a nice swim time of 57min.
T1 4min 48sec
BIKE 4hr 48min
-Once onto the bike I focus on RELAXING and getting my HR down to less than 150bpm.
-The early sections of the three loop course go by quickly as I work to pass the faster swimmers on the bike
-Turning onto Beeline Highway the wind picks up and is a headwind slowing my pace.
-I put it in an easier gear and spin saving my legs. (1st loop effort = easy)
-The sun is shining and the conditions seem good. (Wind is manageable and heat is low for now)
around at Shea BLVD the wind is at my back and the disc acts like a
sail throwing me down the desert valley back to Tempe. Many sections I
am cruising at 34mph! I'm feeling great and this is going to be a good
-Loop number two, effort is moderate and HR is still low. At
this point I pass most of the pro woman and a few male pros having a bad
day. I think to myself..Am i going too hard? (First 2 loops averaging
-I continue to drink lots and eat lots. ~20oz every 40min and 400 calories / hr.
a bit of time I ride with Age group legend Joe Boness. ( I rode with
Joe last year at IM FL and realize that my pacing is on track. as Joe
-Loop #3 I know I need to hang tough. Climbing up to Shea
BLVD one last time with the wind takes a bit out of my legs. I start
to worry that running the marathon I might blow up.
-the last three miles my legs are feeling BAD and I want off this bike!
-I roll into T2 with a bike time of 4hr 48min! A tie with my previous personal best.
T2 -2min 21sec
RUN -3hr 24min
-Oh man... the first steps onto the run course do not feel good. I start really slowly.
-As the food digests I pick up the pace and start to feel more comfortable.
-I continue to get calories in sipping from my camelback.
-Looping back towards transition my brother (Ryan Scherb)
and Brandon Del Campo
(TriStar Coach) let me know I am the 2nd amateur!
-"Just hold the pace Cliff and keep eating" says Brandon.
-I pull my hat down grit my teeth and keep moving.
-I continue to keep the pace "easy" and shuffle up the long hill on the backside of the course.
-Nature calls and I have to stop at the restroom. (#1 is no prob while running but #2...!)
-Back on track, grabbing sponges and Gatorade at each station. My HR continues to drop to 140bpm. Gotta get it up!
-I push harder and focus on my run form and quick foot turnover.
-Just when I needed it, a bit of motivation Hillary Biscay
with a giant smile says "Cliff... your still running! Looking good!" I muster up a weak "Thanks".
I pass my brother for the third time he yells, "You are 3rd in your
Age, and two guys are nipping at your heals, get moving!"
-The next six miles turn out to be my fastest of the entire marathon!
-As I come to the last mile Jeff Zink (a TriStar Iron guy) confirms it. "You got it Cliff take it home!"
-On the final mile another friend on this spectator friendly course (Paul Bashforth of True Motion
) high fives me. I manage to punch his hand in jubilation only to hit his watch. Sorry for putting a hole in your hand Paul
....my bloody knuckle can be seen in the finish shot. Oops.
the finish shoot, happy as a kid in a candy store, fists pumping I
break the tape in 9hr 17min. Sweeeeeet. Hawaii here I come.
Post race analysis
-3rd in Age Group
-Avg HR 143bpm
-Total calories burned 8500
-Calories consumed 3752
Special thanks to my family, brother and many friends who cheered me along and belived in me!
Its a great end to another fun season, for now its time to eat Turkey and rest. Happy Thanksgiving see you next year!
For more race photos click here