Monday, December 5, 2011

IM Cozumel Race Day 2011

4:00 am the alarm went off, quick brush of the teeth and headed to get some breakfast. There was already a buzz in the air as athletes were getting their last meal before a full day of racing. Get back to get Mindy and the bags and headed to meet Charles and Becky in the lobby to take the shuttle at 5:15. We finally got on board at 5:40 and after a quick tour of the town and a long traffic delay (which made everyone nervous getting to transition) we arrived at chankanaab park. I spent the time on the bus listening to my Ironmix playlist and looking at pic's of my kiddos to tap my energy off for the day.

Drop off my special needs bags and head to get bike ready. As I head there I wished Pat a good race (he did, finished 2nd overall) and went to my bike. As I do Sarah was there, she looked very nervous so I hugged her and have her a pep talk, she settled down a bit, since this was her first
Ironman race she didn't know what to excpect. Finished getting bike set up then found Matt, Blake, Lilly, Sarah, Charles. I dropped off my morning clothes bag and pump with Mindy gave her one last hug and kiss, or as best we could during the craziness. We all headed down to the swim start. As we waited to start walking on the dock we saw the pros go off. Now it was our turn. We make our way around to the start of the dock that lead to the dolphin enclosure (the Big surprise that was announced at the athlete meeting, inside joke) and started walking around the outer edge. I kept looking for Mindy and Becky but didn't see them, looking for them I saw Eric who was there to support Maria, I hadn't seen her at all during the trip. As we were walking we joined up with Ruth who was doing her first Ironman. Out of our group it was Maria, Sarah, Charles, and Blake's first Ironman. All from my pursuation :). We turned on the dock and that's where we saw Mindy and Becky on the point across the finish stairs. We all waved to them. Looking out the water was calm and blue and green, just beautiful! I was so excited to swim. As they herded us to the water, we jumped in by the dolphins and me and Matt swam around the dock to the fence so we could hang on til the swim start. Everyone was supposed to join us but no one did.

Me and Matt hung out there til a min before the start, then we started to swim to get more towards the front then, BAM! We couldn't have timed it better. I stayed on Matt's feet as best I could but it got rough with people and the chaos of an Ironman swim start. I felt good and was still on his feet til it was too rough so I moved inside and found space then before I know it, damn it's the turn around buoy! Sweet! It wasn't that crowded as I made the turn pretty easy, next buoy then on to the backstretch. The water was unbelievablely clear and just gorgeous. Seeing all the divers and fish I almost forgot I was racing. Ok time to turn into Michael Phelps, um no. The current was not really with us the whole time, it pretty much swirled. At times I was flying, others I wasn't even moving, or so I felt. Then I see Matt fly by me I tried to stay with him but no luck. I had plenty of room to swim and could feel the currents swirl by the cold water that came with it, I could also feel my speed suit give me a hell of a rash on my neck (Tony had let me borrow it the day before). Oh well the first of many discomforts that the day held for me. Still feeling strong I could see the turn around buoy and submarine they used to indicate the turn around point. I was very happy to see this as I was tired of being beat by the "very not nice swimmers" to nicely put it. The buoy was packed with swimmers, so quickly I went under water and passed a few athletes popped up and swam a few meters to head to the swim exit. I knew I had about 800 meters left and started to give everything I had. Closer in I saw the thatch roof of Chankanaab and picked up the pace. I looked closer at the coral I got to see some beautiful fish swimming around, I was then reminded to tell my kids I found Nemo! Since thats what some of them looked like. They made us swim around another last buoy that bunched us up one more time and when I looked up there were the steps. Hell yeah! I'm done! Grabbed the step pulled myself up and waved to Mindy to show her I was ok, off to grab my bag and get on the bike.

Got my gear on and got some sunscreen -off to my bike. When I ran to get it I saw Matt's bike was gone (since he racked his bike next to mine, his number was 962). I was happy he had a good swim, now to catch his ass on the bike! Running to the mount line I saw Eric again I waved and got on the bike. Oh how I love riding my bike! This is my favorite part of the race, where I can really compete. I knew I didn't get the time I wanted on the swim and that I had to work on the bike to get it back. Coming into the race I had some very ambitious goals and knew that everything would have to fall in place for me to accomplish the time goals I had set for the day. I did get some great advice from my coach who told that time is a relative thing and to race the person in front of you. It was good advice for the day.

I looked down and I was going 24 mph which is what I wanted to for that part of the race. I felt so strong, my calf wasn't hurting at all! I pushed all the way to the wall (I call it this because it's an 11 mile stretch of the race along the windy part of the island and I could feel the wind before I got there and knew it would be very wind and it was). All the way me and another guy kept passing each other. He finally came by and said looks like were going to do this all day, i smiled and said yeah, but what I was thinking was, just try to keep up :)

Got on the wall and fought the wind for every mile out there. Here is where I caught Matt - slapped his ass and smiled. I yelled this is F$&@?!! awesome! He agreed and I went on. There was some relief but it was short which made it more challenging to control your bike. Got to the place where me and Matt stopped to get a cold coconut to yell out our friends name "nacho" but he wasn't there. Saw special needs area and knew I would stop next time. As I passed it I looked to my side and noticed something flapping behind me, no not my race number but my speed suit! I forgot to take it off!!!!!!! No wonder my ass felt awesome on the saddle I had extra padding there! I laughed out loud and thought, oh shit I'm that guy today. I still chuckle as I type this. Headed back to town with a tail wind, 27-28 mph, yeah this feels good. Oh and this was the last time I saw the guy trying to keep up with me, I smiled again. Especially when everyone looked at me as I passed them as relaxed as ever! I imagined them thinking,"doesn't he know this is an ironman, he is flying!". On the way to town I really had to go to pee to there point it was really uncomfortable, so here we go, yup I finally peed on the bike. Its really hard to do! So i grabed my water bottle to wash me off but as I was going to open it i realized it was the bottle that was below me when I peed and probrably not a good idea to use my mouth to open it. Note to self use another bottle to wash off. :)

As I headed into town the the amazing people of Cozumel were cheering on us, the hero's of the day. I threw my water bottles to the kids since they were calling for them. Through the city and on to Chankanaab park where Mindy and Becky were. I see them by the sign on the hill and I wave violently and smile. I pointed out to Mindy my speed suit. She later laughed about it (so did everyone else). Onto second loop. There were a lot of people who were drafting and very little officiating out there. I know because they were drafting me! I would get them, there was
a penalty box right before an aid station where I would pass slow and they would have to pass and the referee that was there would see it. Not only did he see it but he stood out in the middle of the road. Love karma. Legs still felt good and no calf pain. I was happy. I saw some really cool
tattoos out there which gave me some great ideas to accentuate mine. On to the wall for the second time and Nacho still wasn't there, damn missed him again. Winds were strong and seemed to get stronger so I just held a steady pace till the special needs bag area, there i stopped and took off my speed suit finally and grabbed some food and drinks, gave my bag to one of the locals and went to the bathroom. This felt so much better than peeing on the bike, relief!!! Get back on the bike and stepped on it, into the great energy that the people were giving us as we rode through town. I tried to look into the eyes on the kids who were watching and give them any water bottles i had. I though about my kids and how much I missed them. Then snapped back into the race and pushed harder on the bike for my kids.

Going through town I pass transition and think "I'll see you in a few min" and head out to finish the lap, pass the Cozumel Palace where Matt, Ali, Blake, and Lilly were staying. Saw Ali, Norma, and Jarrett. Jarrett had a sign that cracked me up. It said go Matt your my hero, oh go dave written very small under that. As i finish up the second loop a HUGE peleton of riders were in front of me, really??? I slow down because I knew I would swing by Mindy soon and she wouldn't see me pass the group. I see Mindy right by the park sign I wave to her and yell her name. Then time slowed for this next part, so as casually as she could, I spot her talking to some spectator about something serious, in a split second she stops mid-conversation, snaps a picture and without missing a beat goes back into the conversation as I go by, really??? I laughed, she is such a veteran of this now and such a great support to me. Love you Mindy! Third loop, i pass the peleton, I knew they were cheating because I could hear them free spinning the whole time, but that's how they wanted to race that's cool. I pass them and push into the wind. I slow for a sec to get some food and sure enough they pass me. Oh hell no you didnt! I thought, drafting me. Ill fix you! I pass them again, slowly and made sure to make eye contact with every one in the pack, espcially the mid packers. Got to the front eyeballed the front pacers and got in front. Sure enough they picked up the pace to stay on my wheel. Ahead I see another athlete that I was going to pass soon. So I came up to the other athlete and made a slight move to pass on the left, then made my pass on the right. The athlete was going slow enough and was far enough over to the left that it wouldnt put him in and danger, but the peleton was stopped by the slower athlete and I looked back one more time and they were no where to be seen. :) Maybe next time Ill just pee on my bike then....

On the wall, 10 miles to go. I knew at this point in time I would not be able to reach my time goal on the bike but I would have a good ride, so I just wanted to finish strong. Last time to see nacho and no he wasnt there but I did see his brother and pointed to him he saw me and smiled brightly and waved, just what I needed! Pushed to the turn - off the wall to head back to town. I wasn't pushing as hard now, legs were a little tired but still holding 23 mph. I was lucky enough that the rains that had fallen hadn't hit me too bad just a few sprinkles but enought to cool me off. Into town and i soak up all the cheering, bottle shaking, "El guappo" yelling, thumbs up signs, smiling that i could. I was sad it was over and so glad at the same time. The only thing that was really hurting was my back but that would end soon.

Into town, left turn at the light, downtown street and there it was, my last turn and i was done. Right turn, i started to tear up, 2/3 of the way done. I had to stop myself from getting too emotional. I knew I had to run the marathon of my life to come close to my goal time, but my legs were ready to go. I unstrap my shoes and put my feet on the shoes for my flying squirrel dismount, i pass two more people and see the dismount line. In a split sec I was off the bike and running. NAILED THE DISMOUNT! I pass my bike off to a volunteer and off to grab my bag, into the changing tent, volunteer dumped my bag, i took of my helmet and shoes - a volunteer bagged my stuff and I was off! Quick trip to restroom and I was off! T2=1:33

Tony had gotten me a hat from the Kona Ironman, I wore it to give me extra strength. I was freaking ready for this! Grabbed a bag of water bit the end and drank it (water was handed out in plastic bags that you tore open and drank, pretty cool i thought!).Turned right at Margaritaville, and out to the Hotel Melia which is where the turn around was located! Its really hard to describe the energy from the crowd, but it's kinda like a huge party along the streets, festive, loud, basically we were rockstarts of the day and they made us feel that way running downtown!! The energy was electric and rolled through our body so much that pain had no room in there. I looked at my watch 7 min mile pace, i felt great! Mile 1 down! I slowed to a 7:30 min mile pace on mile 2, I started to feel my calf, said one last prayer for it to hold for a few more miles or mins, but no. The end of mile 2 my right calf hurt, like made me hobble to a walk. I could best describe this as if someone ran by and hit my calf with a metal bar, hard! SHIT!!!! I thought to my self or said it out loud not sure.

I tried to walk it out and it wasnt hurting as bad so I slowly started to run. Everytime I landed it felt like the muscle was pulling away from the achilies tendon. I walked again. SHIT!!! I know I said this one loudly. First thought, are you kidding me, i still have 24 miles to go! Second thought, now what? I have learned that the best laid ironman plans rarely go accordingly to the plan, so change it on the fly time!!! I knew at this point in the race I wasnt going to get my time goal. I walked a bit, during this time all sorts of thoughts were going through my head, all my training, all my hard work, and all the small sacrifices I made during the year and this, this happens. Yes I even thought at one point I wasnt going to finish my Ironman, but as soon as this thought came into my mind I quickly beat it out with "I am not gonna give up on this". As I was walking I came across an older gentleman who was having the same issue and was walking. We chatted and he said a phrase to me the stuck with me and haunted me. He said,"I can't run but I can walk so I am going to walk this marathon, all I have to do is finish by midnight. I have all day, I have all the time to walk this marathon." That stuck with me. Yes, all I had to do was walk to finish the race, finishing was not an option. His phrase of "all I have to do "was not good enough for me, for what I talk about doing in class, for creating a better me. I quickly went to think about my wife and kids, and then thought about the phrase all i had to do. All I had to do was survive, but that wasn't me. I had sat down and talked to Mindy about what my plan was for the race if this happened. We had agreed that if I wasn't going to permanetly damage it that I go as fast as I could. As Mindy put it,"Its going to hurt if you go fast or slow, so might as well go fast as you can". I replayed that thought. So I thanked the man for his time and I told him I was going to see if I can run.

I ran, ouch, damn this thing is intense. I made it to an aid station and I hear them yell out Hielo (spanish for ice, yes I know I don't speak spanish) Grabbed two bags of ice, rolled down my compression sock and stuff them in there to numb it. I walked and then started to jog. I thought ok I could tolerate this pain holding 10 min miles. The first positive thoughts came to me, I can do this, I got it. This pain I can handle til the end, but I knew it would get worse. Made it to the turn around as it started to rain, pain was getting worse, as I knew it would. Stopped at another aid station to take out melted ice and put more in. When I stopped, i stopped by a police officer. She asked me how I was doing, I told her I could be better and smiled. She saw what I was doing and asked if I needed medical, I promptly replied "no, I will keep going but thank you". Slowy got into a jog again, I see Matt!! He looked strong, for a second there I thought he might catch me, right after that I see Blake. I was so happy to see Blake since it was his first Ironman and he is a very strong runner. He looked really good and I knew he would pass Matt soon and then possibly me. He had told me that if by chance we were able to run together, we would run in, I made that pack with him and told him I would be honored to do that. Hobbling as best I could into town the rain started to come down. Awesome! I thought at least it won't be hot!! At this time I also knew my nutrition plan I had was thrown out the window as well, so just seeing what happens. The good thing is I nailed my nutrition on the bike so i had plenty of energy, and man did I need it! Hearing the crowds made some of the pain go away, some of it. I get to the place where I thought I would see Mindy.

She wasn't there, damn I really need to see her!! I walked to a bit to subside the pain luckly it was by and aid station. Grabbed everything I needed, which meant more ice and slowly started to hobble and there she was. The rain was pouring down and everyone was running to find cover, everyone but my wife. Mindy was there standing in the rain waiting for me. I held back tears, and slowed to a walk. I explained to her what happened, and what my plan was, she thought it was pretty good. She told me where they were set up by Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville restaurant. She said give it everything you got, no tomorrow!! This is the phrase we finished our conversation about things going with, I dont have tomorrow, all I have is this moment, and damn it I was going to live it! I run past margaritaville and wave to Ali, Becky and I see the table they were sitting by, it was by a taller than life parrot, really? But I could spot them easy. The turn around was just a few yards from the finish and they were waving us to do another loop, I leaned in and OUCH! Gonna have to watch those turns, I see Lilly in front of me and i thought I could catch her and chat a bit, I had time. I passed the huge crowds and I waved my hands to pump them up and they responded with a huge roar of applause. As a looked over to the other side of the street I see Michale Lavato running and I knew he was in the lead, I yelled as looud as I could, finsih it up Mike, finish strong. He just glanced at me with acknoledgement and I smiled. He won the race. I also saw Pat and yelled out at him too, I was very happy for those two and the race they put together. I saw a man with a hand held camera also doing the same and video taping it, BRILLIANT! I was close to catching Lilly and the rains were in full force. As i caught her the intersections had now turned into rivers, as she runs through I do too, really?? Now my feet were totally soaked. As I exit downtown I see Blake, then Matt run by, we low five and smile, more positive energy. Lilly and I started to talk about the day, it was good to pass the time and the pain, she really pulled me a bit as her pace was hard for me to keep.

We came to the big puddle that was nearly knee deep as we waded through it, I laughed because pain or not I was having fun! As we talked I could start the see the carnage of the race, people were walking more, stretching more and aid stations were busy with volunteers trying to get out of the rain and athletes trying to get supplies. I told Lilly I would have to stop and get more ice since the pain was getting to be too much which meant the ice was melted. As we get to an aid station, we catch Marie and she was started to have leg pains I told her to put some ice under her tri shorts (later she told me it helped out so much and thanks for the suggestion). I stuff ice down my socks and jog a bit more, then I hear a familiar voice say Hi. It was an old friend who did the race with me two years ago. We hugged and wished each other luck. Brought back memroies of my very first Ironman just two years ago. Man I sure have come along way, especially with the help of some good friends. Make the turn around and to my special needs back, got my advil (which made me very happy!!!), my ThunderBird bar, and salt tabs. As I started to run I see Maria, this was her first Ironman as well and made me very happy to see her on the run. We slowed, hugged, briefly told her what happened and that she looked really good out there and we went on. Soon afterwards I see Blake walking, I made sure he was ok and talked to him and was even walking backwards to make sure he was ok. Further down, was Matt. I yelled its a good day, he agreed except for the rivers we had to cross, i laughed then wadded through a puddle going back to town. I see Sarah, she was also doing her first Ironman
as well. I was soo happy, all I needed to see was CHUCKY!!!! There he was, I was sooo relieved.

All my friends, most doing there first race, were on the run. They were almost there! Energy from the crowd was still there but so was that pain, damn!!! So freakin intense and now my left leg was hurting from my modified hobble/run stride. As I came into town I always had my three points to get to, pier (right across from los Palmeros), the shopping center (where the drumline was), Mindy was once again by here. She told me I was doing great and she had posted how I was doing on facebook. She then told me the responses, and how everyone was rooting for me and to push it. I lost it. It hit me with the fact that I had all this support back home from my friends and they were giving me as much energy as they could fo me. Tears. I saw margaritaville (where all my friends were) my third point, Waved to Ali, Norma, and Becky. Then turned towards the turn around. That finishers chute was packed and once again I rallyed the energy from the crowd, turned with more ease than last time and bam, final loop!

4 mile out 4 miles in and I'm done. I looked over at the sea and saw the sun was setting and that I wasn't going to make it back before sunset, damn. The pain was indescribable, keep moving forward. I ran as best I could out of town. Along the way I ran with a guy from Austin doing his first race, chatted to him and told him he looked good and to keep moving. I ran with a fellow Jack and Adams teammate, Kirk. He slowed to walk a bit, told me to keep going and press on as best I could. Along the way I saw some fellow Austinites who we encouraged across the way. I knew everyone was fighting some sort of battle out there and I knew how much a friendly shout out meant especially now. I saw Matt and Blake run by and I thought they were going to catch me soon, i pushed on. Got to an aid station to put more ice in my sock, and that same police woman was there. I smiled at her, she smiled back. I said I'm gonna make it it, she replied vamanos!

Needed that, almost to the turn around, I see the trees and I picture all my friends there cheering me on, I hear the cheers but they seemed to be murmered. The turn around 4 miles of pure pain to end my Ironman. I hobbled into the aid station to get my last ice bags, as I do "SMACK" Maria smacks my ass! I was suprised to see her because I thought it would have been Blake and I just missed him. She asked how I was and I told her it wasnt good. (Later she told me she had never seen me that defeated before, I replied, I was in war with my body). she hugged me and she went on. I put the ice in and hobbled/jogged at best I could. I started to think about the day, the great swim, and fun bike ride. The huge saltwater burns I got from my speedsuit and how bad they burned everytime I poured water over me. 3 miles to go, ok we can run it all the way in! All I could do was swing my leg, no push from my calf at all. I see Blake, I might be able to hold him off. Then Matt and Sarah. I was so proud of them since they looked good, I was happy for them. I was doing everything I could to forget the pain but the pain won, I had to walk.

Passing all my friends and waving to them hoping to give them some positive energy as they went out for there last loop took everything I had but I knew what it means to them. 2 miles to go, stop at an aid station to get my last ice packs, they were out, awesome! I head out from the aid station and before I knew it Chucky had crossed the intersection to come over to smack my ass (in training I would always do this as I passed someone). He told me to pick it up and finish strong. It took every ounce of energy i had to hold run/hobble. Pier, I made it, Last mile, hold on Dave the pain will stop soon (I keep repeating a phrase an awesome coach told me"Cant hurt any worse than this!!!"). It hurt, last 1/2 mile, I did not get any time goals that I had set for the day, but I did want to finish strong. I saw Maria up in front, and I thought,"Oh hell yeah I can catch her and return a favor :)" I sprinted, I dug up what ever energy I had and sprinted, just past the shopping center and as I flew down the road, the pain intensified, its not gonna hurt any worse now! I catch up with Maria right in front of Margaritaville and "SMACK" right on the ass. I hear "OOOOhhhhhh" from the crowd and I sprinted I started to wave my hands in the air to pump up the crowd for the last time, and this time I didnt need to turn around I get to finish.

The last time I did this race I sprinted down to the finish, this time I savored it. I looked into the grandstands, from the glowing lights of the finish and I saw looks of amazement. In that moment I had realized that I had done something amazing, I was a few steps away from completing my 4th Ironman. I look towards the finish line. I see the couple finish in front of me and slowed to let them have their moment. Then I jogged up the ramp, stopped at the finish line and threw up my hands victoriously! David, you are an Ironman! As the couple hugged at the finish line I walked by and lost my emotions again, this time I was happy. I was proud of what I had just done. My catcher talked to me and asked if I was ok, I told her I just want to stop moving forward and smiled :). Got my towel, medal, and necklace and found Mindy and we embraced and cried. I could not have done any of these races with out her and my kiddos in my heart. I went back to the finish line to greet Blake and give him his necklace. Not long afterwards Matt finished.

We had done it, Blake is now an Ironman, Matt Ironmanx3, Lilly Ironmanx3. Chucky, Sarah, and Maria had all become an Ironman that evening as well. I am very happy I had that injury in this race. This race tested me in so many ways. I had the choice to give up and just settle or be the person, man, father and friend I knew that I had inside me. I am calling this race, the race where I found my Ironheart. Thanks again to all who have supported me and more importantly read this whole thing. Big thanks to my wife and kids who I get all my energy from. Love you guys!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Ironman!

Ironman Texas May 21st 201

3:30 Am, my alarm goes off. As soon as it does Mindy rolls over and gives me a big hug and whispers, "Happy birthday honey! Your going to have a great day!". I just simply replied yes I am! You see I decided to do Ironman Texas for my birthday, crazy, well those of you who know me know that you don't even have to ask that. I was doing this Ironman with my awesome training buddies Matt, Lilly, Carrie, Mallory, and Lindsey when we had a chance since we had gotten so busy it was really hard to coordinate times to train so I really treasured the times we had together. There were several others that were out here doing the race as well and you will hear about them and my awesome support crew that allows me to do Ironman races.

Me and Lilly were going to be driven to the transition site by Blake and Lilly's mom (who I wanted there so she can bless me like she did in Florida before the race). Me, my family and the Blake's all stayed int he same hotel so i meet them out front at 4:30 to head down to transition. trying to eat my bagel and peanut butter (by this time I was so tired of eating for this race). Blake parked by transition and me and Lilly started walking. Whoops walked the wrong way and had several athletes following us (funny how that happens). Changed direction and starting in the right path. Man the energy was so thick in the air, oh wait no it was just damn humid already.. I thought this was going to be a long day. But I didn't care it was my birthday and nothing was going to take away my fun! Get to transition, this still gives me goose bumps. You see a field of bikes, equipment, bright lights and athletes wondering around in the hopes of becoming an Ironman today. This for me would be my third. Go to my bike check my wheels (I rented some race wheels this time, I was very excited to try them out), put my water bottles on, food on and I was set. Went to help Lilly and she was having a hard time airing up her bike. So I asked a fellow lady competitor to barrow a pump and she was very rude. REALLY?? Asked another nervous lady and she said as long as you bring it back. I told her I would and got Lilly's bike ready. Gave the pump back and wished the nice lady good luck. Me and Lilly made our way out to see Lilly's mom jumping up and down to get our attention, we both laughed. Was worried about Matt because I didn't see him.

Back to the car and off to the swim start. Blake was so nice to drop us off and we walked to get body marked. Have to admit the volunteers there were FREAKING AMAZING! I was blown away with the hospitality and service they provided, cant even say enough about how helpful they were. Thanks to all who volunteered!! Got marked and ran into Rommel and Melanie. I gave them hugs wished them well and took some pics. It was really good to see them. Walked over to give our special needs bag (I was excited because I had packed a blueberry muffin to have on the run to celebrate my bday!!) I told Blake and them to hold on and I went back to the body markers and had them put this on me:

Right afterwards I found a quite spot and lost it. I missed my kids could feel the energy they were giving me and it was too much. I composed myself and went back where Lilly's mom blessed me with holy water and said a prayer for me. Lost it again. I could feel the energy from everyone flowing through me. At that point in time Blake tell me Mindy is here, lost it again, REALLY?? My whole family was there, my sister, her friend, and most important my dad. You see me and my dad are reconnecting and have been doing this for about 4 years now, he really didn't understand what an Ironman was, today his son was going to show him.

Getting ready I run into Matt, Carrie, Jason, Nick, Peaches, and several others. I thought wow look at what I had done in this sport and look at my friends who were about to become Ironmen. We head to the water, I go into the chute were non wetsuits went (you see you could wear a wetsuit if you wanted to, I wanted to experience the swim without one). So did Matt, Lilly, Carrie, Mallory and Lindsey. We all start shuffling into the water as we did I saw a couple of my cycling students Al and Lupe, they came all the way just to see us race. I hugged them and they wished me well! Love those guys! As we got very close, they started rushing us into the water. Me and Lilly get in the same time, and that's when it got rough. We swam to the buoy where we wanted to start from and there was NO space to tread water, a kayak came close to the start and people were climbing over me and Lilly and she started to panic and was getting close to drowning and so was I! I grabbed her and pulled her back into more open water and told her to calm down. We had two min so just calm down and we will be ok. She did, I looked over and told her ok we have 1 min and BAM! The gun went off, WTF!!! Oh well here we go.

The swim start:

Started my watch and my Ironman bday race was on! Started strong but damn the water was murky and you couldn't see a thing! Started swimming towards the big white house and was hit and bumped and kicked on the way. Dude really move!! I swam towards open water and was still grabbed on the ankles, so I kicked harder :) Finally found some rhythm right beside the white house and headed towards the turnaround. Made the left through the crowd and a few meters another left turn. Headed back to the canal I was feeling great and still getting hit and bumped I was smiling and enjoying my Ironman swim. Wow that canal was further than I thought saw the turn buoy and headed down the canal. I never got a great rhythm but still felt good till the canal. There it felt like I was swimming backwards!! Wow this damn thing was longer than I thought as well, then all a sudden my hand hit the ground, Really???? I walked a bit then was kindly reminded by a volunteer that there was glass and re barb on the bottom (They said this since they didn't really know what was there). I could see the bridge and as I was breathing to my left I could see the fans, and I was really hoping to see my family. Sure enough right under neath the bridge I saw my dad. Felt like I was 5 years old, I yelled at the top of my lungs, "Dad, Dad, Dad, I'm right here!"

He saw me and waved I smiled and teared up because he was standing by my wife and waving with such elation of a proud father. This point my shoulder was really hurting abut I wanted to finish strong. I switched my breathing pattern then back to my left and there was my dad walking with me as I finished my first leg of my Ironman. Just what I needed. Get it done Dave!! I thought and he walked me to the finish line. Turned left at the yellow buoy and headed towards the stairs, and wow!! My foot was really stiff from kicking.

The last swim finisher:

Out of the water into transition to get my bag and I hear a crowd yelling my name! Shouts of "Go David", "Rock it Dave" and many others just cheering, energy absorbed! I looked at my watch 1:30, oh not the time I needed for my A goal, gonna have to make it up! Missed my bag had to go back and get it, got it headed to changing tent. Sat down take off my chip to put on my compression socks, nutrition helmet, glasses and shoes. Off I go, then i hear someone say "HEY",I turn around, "You might need this". Oh snap, I forgot to put my chip strap back on. the athlete handed it to me and I put in on, porta potty and to get my bike. Disoriented I couldn't find my bike, finally what seemed like forever I got it and ran towards mount line. As I do I run into Kirk, who was doing his first Ironman. I wished him well and he did the same, "Go kill it Dave!" he yelled. Off I went, I couldn't stop smiling! I was having so much fun, passing people but still taking it easy. Looking back I went out to conservative, avg around 22, should have punched it. I was loving the race wheels, never even go close to zone 3 for the first 30 miles! loved seeing signs-"Why 140.6, because 140.7 would be crazy!", "Welcome to Ironman, now your broke!", and many others. On the way out I saw a former student of mine, Graydon, we yelled at each other and waved. My plan was going well with nutrition and supplements, mile 40 had to pee, stopped in the park we rode through which was AWESOME! I came out of the porta potty and saw Jerry, said good luck and I went on, almost out of the park I saw Tom who was volunteering.

Got my special needs bag at mile 56 and headed back to transition. this is where I picked the pace up. This was supposed to be the windiest part of the course but with the training I had done in Austin it wasn't that bad and the rolling hills were just perfect to me (Mindy told me later that my bike splits were pretty even when others slowed down, felt a little better about the bike). Coming back I was getting concerned that I may not get the time I needed for the day, THEN at that point in time I saw a older woman walking with a cane and a riffle yes a riffle over her shoulder, WOW I was in East Texas :). I passed Malory and she looked strong, Kevin, he looked great as well. I started to worry that I had not seen Matt. I was hoping he had a awesome swim and he was in front of me, so I pushed even harder to catch him and make my time. I was feeling great and my legs had plenty of energy. Mile 80, man its getting close, not sure if I was going to make my time. Mile 90 pushed harder, mile 100, damn it not going to make it. I was hoping to get under 5 hours but it wasn't going to happen. I still pushed through the last part of the neighborhood where the fans were yelling and cheering which made me push even more. Almost back I see Sancha and Max, funny I see them first before they see me, I wave and smile. Left turn almost there, right turn on Lake Robins, unvelcro my shoes and do my flying squirrel move as someone calls it and 112 miles on bike done! Time 5:09

Hit that dismount line flying and feeling great! I run with my bike and hand it off to a volunteer and off I run through transition to get my run gear, missed the bag again DAMN!! Go back get it and head to changing tent as I do my socks get soaked from the water, damn there already wet, oh well get my shoes on and a volunteer gives me a towel for my feet, AWESOME! Dried off a bit, shoes on hat food and off I go! I head out and there were the sunblock volunteers, so I jumped in front of them and did my sunblock dance for them and they all laughed! I thanked them and off I went, getting my hat and food situated running by the same canal we just swam in and I see Mindy. She yells Lindsey is right in front of me, i told her I loved her and I would see her in a bit. I see Paul and Meredith yelling for us and I was getting fired up. I looked at my watch 7:45, damn slow down Dave! I slowed to a 8 min mile pace by the first mile and felt great but damn it was hot and humid. We were lucky on the bike there were clouds but they were getting sparse very quickly and it was getting really hot! First aid station water and ice. I turn and I see Lindsey, I know that running stride anywhere, as I do I hear a man on a bike call out watch out women's 3rd place, I move over and look back. Its Desiree!! She says something to me that I cant make out, I call out to her dig deep girl your looking great! I almost thought about pacing her for a second which would have been awesome but didn't. We all caught up to Lindsey at the same time. The man on the bike yelled out again to Lindsey, she quickly yelled out "WHAT!!!!" at the top of her lungs, I busted up laughing!!!

I caught up to Lindsey and said really, did you just do that? she laughed as well. I went on, got to the fourth mile and that's when it hit me. I wasn't going to get my PR today. I would have to run my fastest marathon and it would just destroy my body trying. I had to make a hard decision, I had to let go of my dream of getting another PR on my birthday. Not gonna lie, I was pretty upset, but only for a second. I am lucky I had a great life coach who gave me tools to go through this and come out with a positive. I decided that I was just going to enjoy my day, my birthday and just do what I can. I knew I would finish, that wouldn't be an issue. As soon as I decided that Lindsey caught back up to me and we ran back down the canal were most of the spectators were down the backside of the course. On the other side I see my family where they set up camp, waved, and smiled to them. This to me was better than a PR, I was running with my friend. We made it to the next aid station walked through it taking in everything we could and I started running again, Lindsey didn't, but I knew she was in pain, so I continued on by the Landry's and turn around where they had COOKIES!! Hell yeah! grabbed some and started running again. AS I do I have people yelling my name and giving me high fives, this by far was the best part of the course, next to the finish line of course.

Closer to my family I run to them then walk past and I tell Mindy I am just going to get through the day, she asked if I was ok i said yes, she understood as well. Since she is the one who knows my numbers better than me she knew what I would have to do and in those conditions was almost impossible. I kissed her waved to my family and headed for the finish of the first loop, I run past my special needs bag, grabbed some stuff and i keep hearing happy bday Dave! All around that area, I head to the market square around and I see beaux, love him. He made me smile yelling,"Is that David Garza, yup it is! Happy bday David!" I turn and pass the finish line chute as I head out for my second lap, as I do I befriend Pat who was holding a same run pace with me, so we chat and he tell me about his story and how he injured his back after Texas 70.3 so I told him I would run with him to get him though the run. As we start our second loop I run see Rommel! I ran to him and walked beside him. I told him I was so proud of him and that all he had to do was keep moving, you will be an Ironman today, hugged him and off we went. As we ran on I see Lindsey on the other side of the course, so what do I do I flash her of course! She laughs at me and I laugh as well, man was I having fun! Our plan was to get through the second loop then pick up the pace on the third. I see Jamie and Chris out there cheering us on on by the house with the Ferrari in front of it. Back to the canal and there was Lilly! So this time as I past my family I was running with another friend. This was awesome! I told her run with us through this part since there were a ton of people who knew me and was yelling for me and she could draw off the energy!

She does and Pat runs with us too, I could tell Lilly was hurting too, but who wasn't? I have never seen so many people walking. I mean every aid station was down as much fluid as you could till the next one, I was soaked from head to toe. We lose Lilly somewhere but then she catches up at an aid station, i lean over to her and hug her and told her how proud I was of her especially because of the start, she thanked me for the help and I went on running. As I was going past the turn around I see Dustin. Dustin you are an inspiration to everyone and I love you man, hugged him and wished him well. Told him he would become an Ironman in a few short hours. I ran past the bar where it was the loudest cheering section, gave high fives on both side. After that I look down to see my pace and WTF, the glass on my Garmin was shattered! Gave a high five and broke my watch, oh well. After that I did just thought how good I felt, I was still feeling pretty good! Headed back to my family I hear Matt finally across the canal! He yells out,"Dave, Dave, Dave, happy birthday!" I yelled back pick it up Harmatuk! Tell Mindy i am still doing ok going to pick it up on the last loop, Pat looks at me and said are you sure, I smiled! Back to special needs bag area and I grab my muffin. I had been looking forward to this small little muffin for HOURS!!! I eat it and I swear it was the best damn muffin I have ever eatten :) I run again I see Blake:

You know I dont think I have ever smiled so much, I was having fun and helping my friends. Around the Market square and on to my final loop I see Maria and Ansley. Maria will be doing Ironman Cozumel with me and I was so happy to see her there. I eyeball the finish line and made a mental note of how good its going to feel coming back down that chute! Off me and Pat go on our last loop. He said his back was really huritng, so next aid station we fill his cycle jersey pocket with ice and i tell him to press it on his back while we walk to help the pain. I could feel a blister to start under the ball of my foot, not good, toes were hurting, but once again all things considered I was good. We walked past Max and Sancha for the last time (Max later told she could see how much pain I was in but I still had a huge smile on my face) Yup I was having fun!Told Pat to pick it up and we did, finally he had to walk and I shook his hand and told him I needed to run this mile for someone.

Came to mile 20, this mile I dedicated to Jennifer. She is battling some health issues and I had her sign my Livestrong band for the race. Jenn that mile was for you, it hurt bad but not enough to make me stop, keep up the fight! Passed Jamie for the last time and he said matt was right behind me! I picked it up more. Walked my last aid station and last food I wanted to get, walked for a bit more than ran. I came by the canal again and Mindy yelled out what I asked her to from a great friend I really respect and look up to, "David it cant hurt wrose than this, now go!" So I did trying to push past the pain now, now it was hurting. I could see a couple of Jack and Adams jersey and wanted to catch them. 4 miles outPain was intense, but made it to the next aid station, water and ice. Run David! I ran out of that aid station, OUCH, this is hurting now but I wanted to feel the pain of the day and here it was, now whos going to win. I AM! I caught up to the Jack and Adams guys but had to walk through the last aid station, legs hurt, feet hurt, it hurts to walk and to run. I was getting tired, but knew it would be over with very soon. As I was running I saw Peaches and was happy to see her on the run, she was going to be an Ironman today too!! Grit my teeth and picked it up. Looked at my broken garmin, 8:10 pace! Nice! Head up the slight incline past transition and I repass the Jack and Adams guys and I kick it in! Holy cow that pain elevated to a new level, no stopping at the aid station. I literally grit my teeth and pick up the pace, I hear people yell for me kick it in that awesome, Go Dave you got it! Yeah I do! turn left into the Market Square, looked down last time at my watch 7:05 pace! I see Blake on the side again no high five just finish strong! Left turn down the back stretch, crowds are going crazy. Its so close my moment, no one elses my moment I have worked hard for. I see Mindy on the backside I glance at her and she see me in pain and flying! Left turn, past the back stretch, pain is so intense but no slowing for my moment! LAST LEFT TURN! This is where you went right for the second and third lap, not this time I am done! The volunteers see me and they know I am finishing. They point to the finish line line like there it is Dave it's all yours!! I make the last left turn and I pump the crowd up and they respond with a deafing roar! I push harder to pass one last guy in front of me and I catch him 10 feet from the finish line! I cross the finish matt with my fist held high! I slow to the catchers, they take my chip, and I almost colapse from fatigue. It takes two cathcers to hold me up. I regain my balance and then I see Chucky, I hug him and all the emotions flow out of me. He congradulates me and walks me to the end of the chute. There Maria, Ansley, Sarah gave me huge hugs and told me how proud they were of me. but I was looking for the one person that I needed to see, Mindy!

Mindy has helped me complete my 3rd Ironman. She has been with me through all my training and has supported me all the way. With you by my side I know there is nothing I couldnt accomplish! I dedicate this race to you my love!

No I didn't get a personal best time but I am proud of the way I held my head up in the face of adversity and had the funnest Ironman's I have had. I held a positive attitude and helped out some people who needed it. At the end of the race I looked at mindy and asked her,"Can you believe what we have done?" She replied, "Yes!"

Big Congrats to all who finsihed the race on some very tough conditions. First timers, Carrie, Alex, Mel, Rommel, Mike, Dustin, Peaches, Chelsea. And to my other friends out there especially Matt and Lilly, I love you guys like my brother and sister, well sometimes!

Cozumel Ironman, your mine this November!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ironman Florida Race Day 2010

Ironman Florida
Nov 6th 2010

So here it is race day, 4 am. My alarm went off at what I thought was 4:00. I forgot that when we went to Orlando my phone’s clock went to East coast time, which meant that I actually got up at 3 am. Really kinda funny. So I decided to write down some stuff. I tried to blog last night and put all my thoughts down, the internet has been acting up and I think I lost most of the blog . I hope to finish it tonight as long with this race report. With that lesson learned I am writing off-line in a word format, HAH HAH Take that stupid internet!!
As I wake up I check my phone to a ton of emails from Facebook with people sending me well wishes and sending me there love and telling me that they will be watching all of us racing today. Put a huge smile on my face! I can feel the energy from them and the day’s events starting to rush through me, I have to slow it down a bit. It’s going to be a long day. I send out a message to everyone to get up and race, I get everything all set up eat, coffee, and I go to get Mindy up. She said she didn’t hear her alarm. She checks her phone 3:40am. Shit! Oh well guess I will have plenty of time to get ready and not rush. So blog I go, check outside and its FREEZING!! I turn on the tv freeze warnings are north of us, you get the picture, oh wait add the wind, yeah now were talking. I have a conversation with the water and finish my nutrition. Send some texts and off me and Mindy go to transition. Team Garza once again here we go!
Me and Mindy grad the special needs bag and head out; half way there I remembered that I forgot the water bottles for the bike, oops! Back to the condo and headed back to transition. As we came across the corner we saw Blake drop off Lilly, her mom and her brother. IWAS GETTING PUMPED!!! We walked down the road to transition and Eric made the quote of the day, “Man this road seems longer than I thought” I laughed. We get to transition, I get body marked and then I ask the volunteer to do her best art work and write, “Inspire by Example” on my right calf she did and it looked great! I enter to get “Lighting” my bike ready for the day’s arse kicking that we were going to do that day. I triple checked to see if the brakes were locked. Went to the porta potty, and headed out. The whole time I was jamming to Jorge Quintero- 300 Violin Orchestra, and Louis Armstrong-What a wonderful world (That song was playing while I was getting my Ironman tattoo). Looking around I saw video cameras taping us, athletes getting ready, spectators awaiting there loved ones or friends. The atmosphere was so energetic; I could barely wait till the cannon went off! I put some extra stuff in my run and bike bags, where I ran into Hugo. He and I have been racing each other for around 4 years. This was our first Ironman together; I was out to beat him for sure! He was telling me his game plan,” I hope to have a good swim and get some time on you and, when, not if when you pass me on the bike I hope to catch you on the run!” I told him that if he caught me on the run I would do my best to pace with him as he is a better runner than I am. Wished each other luck and headed to find Mindy to drop off special needs bags. Drop off for the bike special needs was at Alvin’s which was the turnaround point on the run as well. Dropped off the run special needs, as we did we walked across these plywood boards laid over the sand. As we walked we saw on athlete bit it really hard, I helped him up and made sure he was ok, we decided to walk around that on the way back. We walked over to Matt and Alli’s room which was about 100 yards from the swim start. It was so cold; I wanted to get to a warm place. Me, Matt, Eric (Matt’s brother) his wife, Alli, Mindy were all in Matt’s room.
6:30, time to get the wetsuit on, we body glided ourselves and put on the wetsuits, Blake was texting Mindy asking where we were, I think he was more nervous than us. Me and Matt took some pic’s and then we all hugged and Me and Matt worked our way down stairs. The pathway was already packed! People moved aside and let us go through as most of them were spectators. They were nice! We started walking on the beach and we ran into Blake, Lilly and there family. We all hugged again and then Lilly’s mom did a quick blessing on me (which I took with open arms!!). We had Blake call Mindy and we waved to them as they stood on the 4th floor of the hotel.We all took to the water! The days before we had a practice water session with Andrea and Jamie at the swim start to go over some pointers for the swim. The conditions were really rough! Today was another story. The tide was low, and the current was almost nonexistent. We got to the edge of the beach and everyone was holding their ears, what? Matt said they were going to blow the cannon, oh. Yeah we were right by the damn thing! Heard the countdown and BOOM! I could feel the cannon go off, WOW! Let’s get this thing on!!! We got into the water and made our way, way,way out until we were waist deep in the water. Matt yells where is the start line, I yelled back I don’t care get out as far as you can so that we could start past the breakers! Then I hear it,”Ok guys let send these Ironmen off with a good count down 10, 9, 8,…1! BOOM! The cannon goes off!
Let me see if I can describe this to you, 2300 people all trying to swim either on me over me by me, slapping me, grabbing my feet, hitting my toes, waves hitting you in the mouth as you took a breath, or sighted the buoys (which seemed to disappear with the swells). If you can imagine the worst triathlon swim you had multiply it by 10! I was mauled!! That was just by the women, the men hit, punched, pushed me out of the way. SERIOUSLY!!! People there is a whole ocean to swim in! But no, apparently the place to be was right on top of me. It was so rough to get to the first turn buoy. People were all over the place, then they would stop in front of me and just tread water, really? As I get to the turn buoy, I look up and see about 200-300 people just floating and most holding onto the turn buoy. Once again really???? People swim damn it! I made my way through the Ironman social, were I might add the waves were really big there and it made it very dangerous. Passed the buoy and Michael Phelps time! The section went with the current (of course it was the shortest) fought my way through people and next thing I know, left turn buoy was right there. Man that was fast. Me and Matt were swimming close together as we turned I saw him grabbed his calf and gave it a couple of squeezes and yelled at him, “Let’s get it Matt!”. Finally some open water to swim, I relaxed and found my swim stroke get long my coach says, I did. I was sighting of the host hotel, I lost Matt somewhere in the mix.
I could tell that I was getting closer to the beach because I could see the ocean floor and feel the water get colder. As I focused on the floor I saw a stingray swim across the floor, yeah it’s a good day. Hit the beach and dolphin flopped till I could walk knee deep in the water stood up, and started to run in the water to the beach. Oh how I love to run in soft sand! We got shuffled though the shoot I grabbed some water and time for lap 2! As I did I heard a few people cheering for me, I fist pumped and ran on. Since the tide was so low I ran across the beach to almost the swim start, most other people swam across the breakers, thanks Jamie! Running and going through the surf really tired me out, I finally got my breath when I got closer to the turnaround buoy. As I got closer I could feel my left shoulder get really tired, I fought through the fatigue and it the turnaround buoy, once again it was a social but not too bad this time. Made my way around and hit that last section as hard as I could, next thing I know the turn buoy was there again, left turn lets finish this thing. I remembered thinking about my last Ironman then. How I was so thankful to just finish and now, I was pushing myself as hard as I could during the 2.4 mile swim. I was feeling good and was ready to get on the bike. I see the ocean floor and that same stingray. So close, I felt the water get colder, almost home, I take a stroke and my hand hits the sand, DONE!! I get up out of the water take off my goggles and swim cap, take my wetsuit off half-way while running up the beach as best I can. Strippers on right, I slide in they yank the suit off, off to T1! I run with my wetsuit and now my bike bag into the garage where the changing place was. Right before I got into garage I saw Mindy, Alli, and Becca cheering me on, I waved with a huge smile on my face. In to garage and WOW, wall to wall people half naked half just in the way. They said you had to exit through the changing tent and some people didn’t even make it that far. I thought I would get as far past the mayhem to get to the other end. I made my way to the very end near the exit and found a box to change on. Changed, left my bag, thanked the volunteers and off I was.
I think about it now and its pretty funny, here I am running in my cycle shoes, gloves and arm warmers on, aero helmet on and me waving frantically to Mindy on the hill in between the two hotel buildings with a huge smile on my face, yeah that’s a good laugh! Running through T1 yelling my name so the volunteers can get my bike for me, a very nice old lady runs with me to my bike and helps me unrack it, I thank her for the help and off I go. I am smiling so big because I knew I had a good swim, 1:17. And was right where I wanted to be in the race. Crossed the mount line in a very narrow chute and I had to be careful not to crash. I mounted the bike and navigated through the shoot and onyo the road I was off! Now my plan was to maintain good speed till mile 70. I wanted to catch Matt, Hugo and Lindsey (who I thought was in front of me). On the bike turned onto front beach road and past the condo, I passed Nama, Ashley, Troy, and Melia. They all were wearing white shirts that said “Team Garza, Inspire by Example”, I wave to them I look into Troy’s eyes and I get some energy! The winds were strong so I got into my aero position as fast as I could. I looked down and I was holding 21-20 mph. Not bad, wanted to find my legs and I was still fixing my arm warmers so I was a little wobbly on the bike. Got them fixed, turned right onto HWY 79 and picked up the pace. Now, let me remind you, its cold! I mean my water bottles were frozen and I didn’t think they would defrost for awhile, dahmn! Bad decision. Wind wasn’t that bad, my pace was good easy effort averaging 22-23 mph. I could tell I was getting dehydrated especially with all that salt water I drank on the swim. I knew an aid station was around mile 10, made it there downed a whole bottle of water and grabbed a banana. Ok, felt better, the bike course is a one loop ride and I had been doing my best not to draft on anyone.
I was constantly riding around and with this one pack of people that were working off of each other and they were pacing off me, F*%#^&S!! I tried to not let it bother me and just do my race. Before the race I got some advice from Jamie about the bike course. He said take it easy till mile 70, then hammer it. So I just held back knowing I had some miles to go. I get in front of the pack again and I pass yet another pack and I hear, “WHATEVER!!”. What the hell, was that Matt? I looked back and didn’t see anyone I knew. So I just settled in, and as the pack passed me I could feel this one rider super close to me on my left side. I thought, really dude move over and give me some space! I was focused on staying on my line then I finally broke my focus to look and It was Matt!!
I was so happy to see him! I was happy for several reason, one he had a good swim for his first Ironman, two he looked good and that made me very happy that his experience was going good. I “Let” him pass me since his wheel passed mine I “had’ to follow the rules. In this pack that was following me there was this one lady who was just pissing me off! I would try to pass her as I did she would pick up the pace and stay on my right, really lady. Totally not riding in the rules, I let it go. As I was around Matt, she once again passed me (very close I might add) and got in front. She drafted off this guy who seemed to be eating or going for some water but was swerving severally, she didn’t see till last minute and the guy forced her off the road (since she was so close to him that was her only option or get knocked off the bike). She went off into the grass recovered and got back on the road, I was glad she was ok. But then she passed us again and got on another guys wheel, once again really??? I started thinking lady you have another 80 MILES TO GO!!! But whatever, I saw up the road a small downhill. I leaned over to Matt and said,” Lets show these guys how Texans ride!” I shifted picked up my pace and passed the pack on the left, looked at my speed 27 mph, oh how I smiled! (Later Matt told me he was able to ride with me for a few miles than that pack cut him off and he didn’t want to waste energy on them, I was happy to know I rode with my good friend in his first Ironman for a bit) Held that pace for a few min and never saw that pack again. The winds were not that bad, and I was able to have my heart rate down in zone 2 (around 140) most of the time and there were times it even dropped down to 130. My game plan was working!
I was able to hold good speed and stay calm onto HWY 20 same thing, some people passed me a couple of packs but I would slowly catch up to them again. We turned right again, somewhat with the wind, pace picked up heart rate went down, but my stomach wasn’t feeling right. Oh man, I started to feel queasy, ok no smiles what do I do. I ate a bar and drank some water hoping that would settle it. This was the first time I wasn’t smiling on the bike. Up to that point I was jamming in my head to the 300 orchestra song, and some pitbull songs. Now I had to figure this out. Couple of min went by not better but not worse. My water bottles finally defrosted and I drank some water, aid station grabbed a banana fresh water and started to feel better, turned left on the road that had the turnaround point I was 40 miles into the race feeling better and the signs on the road that noted the mileage (mileage was posted every 10 miles) seemed to race by. As we turned the wind was in our face AGAIN! REALLY, oh well hide and hold a good cadence. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Hugo or Lindsey. I started to think that I had a better swim then them and was just ahead of them on the bike. I passed the road where after the turnaround we turned right back to HWY 30. This would be the place where I could see who was in front of me. I looked and watched as best I could but this was the roughest part of the bike ride. Jarring cracks in the road made little bumps and felt like you were hitting potholes every 10 secs. It felt AWESOME oh and don’t forget the head wind as well, yeah. I looked up and saw what I thought was the turnaround point, nope it was the special need bag area. Sweet! I needed another bar and I had put a couple extra in the bag along with some salt tabs. This is where I saw Shawn (I raced Cozumel last year with him and he is an awesome athlete doing his 3rd, I think, Ironman this year). Sweet I can try to catch him on the way back. So down the bumpy road with the wind, oh let me add I had to pee really really really really badly. I was deciding do I pee on the bike or do I pull over.
Turnaround, HELL YEAH!! Carefully turned and heard someone yell my name and hammered the pedals back to speed. I decided that I would stop at the special need bags area and pee and grab my bag. Got there, yelled my number and the awesome volunteer found my bag and handed it to me while riding, sweet rode to the end, watered the grass got my food and off I went, not too bad. I could not wait to get off that damn road it was just miserable. You couldn’t find a smooth place to ride unless you road on the very end on the white line. As I was looking for the turn I hear someone yell’ “GARZA!” I thought was Lindsey, which gave me some peace knowing she was ok, but then told me to pick it up since she was right behind me. I knew she had the ability to ride with me so I had to stay on my pace. Right turn up ahead YEAYEAH!!! I was so lucky to have driven the course before the race with Lilly and Matt. So I kept chuckling at every incline because at EVERY incline Lilly was right there to point it out.
On the road I was still picking people off who had passed me earlier and that made me feel like I had an awesome game plan. Mile 60 passed, this road was very pretty tall pine trees and only two lane road. It was a beautiful ride, Left turn on HWY 30, OH YEAH HERE COMES MY TAIL WIND!! Wrong, another head wind, oh and it was stronger too damn it! I was hoping that the wind would be a tail or at least a cross wind but noooooooooo, head wind, thanks! This section had rolling hills so I could use the downhill to pick up some speed or so I thought. The winds slowed me down and I started to feel it in my legs. I came to mile 70 tried to pick it up but the wind made my effort that much harder. So, I picked up the effort a little and that was enough to just plow through the field of potential Ironmen.
I felt good, I was still cold, I couldn’t feel my feet but my hands and arms were pretty warm. So as I was passing this one guy he swerved really far left, I wondered what he was doing I looked past him and I noticed the rider in front of him and he was peeing on the bike and it was flying all over him and the bike and his leg. At this point I said if I have to pee I am getting off the bike, uhg nasty! I was finally in the sun since most of the ride had been in and out of the shade. But I had to pee again, man. I started to get uncomfortable for the first time. I was still picking off riders and for the most part felt good. I decided I would stop one more time to pee and get some water at the next aid station. Aid station, yes porta potty water and I was off! Ok I was comfortable again but I could feel a little fatigue in my legs. Left turn HWY 79, I was so happy to see the turn for two reasons. One I was on my way back to transition, two I was going to get out of the head wind (as Mindy pointed out later that our last bike leg splits were really fast, I told her there was no head wind finally). Picked up the pace again, I looked and I was holding 23-24 mph with a good heart rate as well, yeah baby. Passing people like they were standing still! Right turn, last time into the head wind (so I thought) for a few miles but at least the road was smooth. I saw Shawn again and knew I would catch him soon, turnaround yes tail wind, um no not really got a cross wind, grrr. I was so done with the wind! I catch up to Shawn and tell him he was doing great he yelled go get it Dave, and I was off again. Right turn, let’s head home! I still passing people feeling good, left turn onto Front Beach road yeah tail wind finally, NOPE! Head wind and cross wind, ok I am so done now! 6 miles to go, and I am pushing to break 5 hours, I ride close to our condo and I see Mindy, Marcia, Melia and Becca on the side of the road and I wave to them then I see Troy and Ashley on the right by the condo I yell at Troy and he sees me. Oh yeah time to kill the marathon! I came to terms that I would not break the 5 hour mark, but I was ok with that, I changed my mindset to the transition and the run. I turned right on the road in front of the host hotel and unstrap my shoes get out of them and make my dismount on the line, I pass my bike to the volunteer and run to grab my bag and into the garage again. So glad I told mindy to grad some orange tape to tie to my bags so I can spot them better. I ran by saw the orange tape and grabbed the bag into changing tent.
There was hardly anyone in there, so one volunteer helped me get all my stuff out of my bag and put all my cycle gear in the bag, he was so nice. Run gear on, off to run a marathon! I ran through transition and stopped to have sunscreen put on by the volunteers pee one more time. Man, did I pick the wrong porta potty; let’s just say it looks like a person blew up in there! Done out of transition and on the run.
My legs felt great! This is where the crowds were cheering us on and they lined the run out shoot, and I noticed we had to run over the boards we walked across that morning I was very careful! I saw Jamie and Andrea yelling at me and most important I saw a man dressed up as Ironman, I gave him a high five. I looked at my Garmin, 7:30, holy S&^% slow down Dave! Hit the first few aid stations and drank water, my legs were feeling too good to be true. This course was a two loop course I planned to run as best I can on the first loop then hold on for the second. The crowds were out and they were needed, people cheering and calling out my name really helped. I broke the course up to quarters, 1st quarter-long section just past the turnaround, 2nd-cross St Thomas into neighborhoods, 3rd-small loop then cross over again, 4th-state park 2 mile section. I hit the first quarter and that’s where most the crowds were headed to second quarter, neighborhood still having to hold myself back, I was running sub 8:00. I grabbed water and cola at the aid stations. The aid stations had themes to them, well some did. One aid station in the second quarter had a medieval theme and they did it up well, I liked running through there since they had everything! Right then I saw the leader of the race run by and the guy in second was not far behind, wow looked like it was a good race. Man were they booking it!
Running to the third quarter I started to my feet start to hurt for the first time. I made a pact with myself that I would not stop for any foot pain. I had been having this issue where my feet would hurt but there was nothing to make them hurt. So I chalked it up to something rubbing a nerve in my foot, nothing damaging but sure hurt like hell! Cool thing was when the leader passed me and the camera men were following him, I ran with him for like 3 sec’s baby yeah!! Have to admit it was cool though. As I was leaving the third quarter I saw Sally from my work, I waved she asked how I was doing I said pretty good so far! Crossed the street and headed down to the park, on one of the turns my right foot sent this sharp pain to me and I said ouch. As I was entering the park the pain was almost unbearable, but I knew it wasn’t anything physical it was just that nerve but it was yelling at me. As I entered the park I got on the road we would circle on and I asked for help from my energy sources. Please let this pain go away, and you know what, it did! I opened my stride and I was almost brand new!
I was 6 miles into the run and felt pretty good. As I was running in the park, I had time to think, there were no crowds just me and the race, well that’s what it felt like. I started to think why I was doing this, I was doing this race for some very big causes. The first one was for Livestrong, I decided to wear my Team Livestrong jersey for the race, another was for Kerri’s daughter, Kristen who had died from esophageal cancer and was wearing her purple band on my wrist for the race. This was also my second Ironman so I wanted to do really well and up to this point I was doing alright for myself. I started to thank God, and other people who had helped me get to this point in my life, kind of funny but right then 3 deer passed the road in front of me. I got the hint! Came around to the inspiration mile by ford where they had messages people had left for you I ran past and I didn’t see one, huh guess I didn’t need it then. Out of the park and back to the third quarter. On the way to the park and back they placed all the signs that people had made for their athlete I read some of them but the ones that got me were all the ones that said GoDad!
Crossing over to see Sally again, I waved and made some funny gestures while she got pictures of me. There I finally saw Matt, he looked good and strong once again I was happy for him, then here she came the Ginkanator! (That’s Lindsey to most of you) and she looked strong as well. Gave her a high five as well. Back to the second quarter, I started to wonder where was Hugo and I hoped that Shawn wasn’t that close to me, still holding around low 8:00 crossing over to the first quarter. Man that damn street felt like it was 3 miles long and you could see all the way to the end of it. Turned back onto front beach road and headed back to the turnaround. Feeling ok, my left quad was talking a little bit to me but everything else was ok. Foot pain was there but bearable, my calves were holding up. I was happy with myself. Into the crowd, all I could do was smile, knowing the next time I saw them I would be finishing.
Getting to the turnaround I see someone jump across the other side to where I was running, it was Jamie. He yelled at me to stay on it. I hit the turnaround point and the crowd was so loud, I saw Terry, and I thought I saw Mindy but I wasn’t sure. I totally got energized! I ran back by Jamie and Andrea and Andrea yelled, “It’s not gonna hurt worse than this!!” Yeah she lied!! I grabbed my special needs bag the volunteer had it ready for me, man they rocked it for me there! THANKS GUYS!! Grabbed my stuff and I was headed out for the second loop. Mile 14-18 I knew would be the hardest so I focused on my music in my head, my mantra for the race, my family and kids. I hadn’t seen them as much as I had in the past and I really missed that. I had hoped they were doing ok and drew upon their energy. I thought of everyone who was cheering me on back home, and knew they were tracking me or watching the live feed. That’s what got me through the second quarter. My quad really started to hurt, bad. I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish without walking this time. Going into the third quarter I saw matt and Lindsey again they still looked strong high fived and went on, left turn at Sally’s house leg is hurting really bad now, like bit on a towel pain, I smiled through the pain. The turn where my foot started to hurt and I took it very gingerly, pain in my feet didn’t worsen, good. Now don’t get me wrong they hurt but it didn’t get worse. Running to the park I tried to read all the inspiration signs again to help me smile. At the end of the side walk they put a little ramp to run down the side walk. As I ran down it a guy hit his foot or shin on it and fell pretty bad. He got back up but knew that took something out of him. As I am fighting through the pain I could feel my right calf start to cramp, damn. Running out to the very most part of the run in the park, and I hear, “David Garza”. It was another athlete from Austin, she went on, “Man you passed me like I was standing still on that bike”, I replied, “Kinda like you’re doing to me on this run right know huh” we both laughed and I wished her a good race. She pressed on I was just trying to survive. Each step got worse and worse, it almost felt like my left quad was going to explode!
I had taken all my salt tabs, drank all my puresport, ate some banana’s, some pretzels, drank soda, even had some grapes. My right calf was going to cramp if I didn’t stop. I pressed through the pain as best I could to the aid station at mile 21. I walked, damn it. I had to I needed to get more fluids and more sodium in me to finish the race. As I walked into the aid station I asked for chicken broth and I had some pretzels. Kinda funny but it tasted good! I knew I had to get as much sodium in me to finish the race. Finished and started running again, OH MY GOD! That was just painful enough to bring me to tears but I pressed on. Quad was killing me but calf settled down a bit, ok I can push this! Other mantra’s I have came into my head- no one can measure my heart!-I am the world’s greatest-pain is inevitable, suffering is up to you- I will show you how great I am-Be in this moment, for me there is no tomorrow right now!
These got me through, I thought of people who had cancer that fight for their life on a daily basis. I can get through this, I GOT THIS! Mile 22 more chicken broth and water, stopping to walk felt as though someone hit my leg with a bat! This time I couldn’t help but grunt in pain the volunteer ran and gave the broth to me, thanks I said. Ran to Sally she could tell I was hurting, mike yelled out your killing it Dave keep it up, glad they didn’t see me but I started to tear up. Fact was I was killing it; I met most of the goals except for my very last one. Finish before sunset. I also knew that Taylour would be there waiting to catch me as I knew I would have nothing left. I started to worry about my friends since this was the place where I should see them. I was about to finish the third leg of the course for me hitting the final quarter.
That’s when I see Lilly! She was so excited and I was excited for her as well, I knew all she had left to do was run. I mean she could walk it and still finish in time! I gave her a high five (later I found out she skipped by Matt just to prove a point to him) and wished her the best. Aid station, I tried to drink some cola and sucked in a bit and I choked on it. It made my abs so sore to cough and I could feel the rest of my body wanting to cramp, come on body just a few more miles. Then I see Matt high fived him and said, “It’s a good day”. He agreed. Then I saw Lindsey, high we more like a low five she yelled, “Go get it Dave!” I could tell they looked like the race was starting to wear on them. Aid station, it was the medieval one, I got some chicken broth and a cookie (why the hell not I earned it right?). Oh how it hurt to move. There I decided that I would not walk anymore and push through the pain.
The calf had settled and the only thing that was hurting was the WHOLE BODY!!! My shoulder was cramping and hurting my neck so I couldn’t turn my head, my abs were sore from running, I could tell my hip flexors were on the verge of cramping, my legs well you know how they are and my feet felt somewhat ok. I guess the other pains dulled that pain out, funny. Start of the last quarter, almost out of the neighborhood (Man that neighborhood never freakin ended!) I was running by this guy who I was certain we wanted to beat me to the finish line. He was huffing and puffing and grunting. That inspired me, I was cool and centered and understood that, yup it hurt, really bad, each step worse than before. But its only pain and it will stop at the finish line, well sort of. There were speed humps on the roads we were running on and everyone was taking more and more effort to get over. I could feel my hamstrings and my hips starting to go. Mile 24, almost there Dave!
As I crossed over Thomas road for the last time, I looked up at the sun, it was setting on the beach. DAMN so close!! Come on sun work with me here I am giving my all! All I need to do is finish this road. I then right onto a road that seemed a lot longer than 1 mile, it seemed like 6 miles. I could see the end of the street, but I knew there was a lot of work to do before I could get to the end turn right real quick then left on beach front to the finish chute. I pulled every ounce of energy I had left to pick up the pace just enough to make it hurt just a bit more, “Come on Dave you can push this you only have about 20 min left” I said to myself. I didn’t want to let anyone down, I didn’t want to let myself down. I knew I could push past this. Speed hump, ouch! Hold it Dave! Don’t let this one go.(I see a guy who rode with me close to the end of the bike, we both started running about the same time he blew past me on the run, and then there he was right at mile 25, I ran past without saying a word). Mile 25 last effort David you got this, this, this is your moment! What are you going to do with it, I thought. I replied, I am going to be the best! My family came in to my mind, there it is my last energy storage! I picked it up, passed 1 guy in my age group, yes! Saw another one rolled in him as well, speed hump, that one really hurt, end of road is a few feet away Dave COME ON!! Slight turn right, aid station. I AM NOT STOPPING PICK IT UP ALMOST THERE DAVE! I looked down at my Garmin 8:30’s! Here it is last turn left, man that chute got longer than the last time I came to the turnaround. Focused, I hear people respond to my effort, they roar and push me harder. I see Alvin’s where the turnaround is. I bite down on my teeth and push, my legs hurt beyond description. I am wincing and grunting from the pain, don’t give in finish strong I thought! Mile 26, right in front of Alvin’s the crowd is screaming at me, I hear Jamie yell something I didn’t pick up, slight veer left, the finishers chute seemed to be a mile long. I gave everything I had to finish stronger, I have a few people in front of me, last look at the Garmin (I remember clear as day 7:47 min mile) HOLD IT DAVE! Just like a dream, I see the finish line.
I clinched my jaw and pushed my pace even harder, I looked back, no one was around me. Here it was my moment all to myself. I see the finish line, with the grandstands along the side, people packed 4 deep on each side. And WTF! They were all quiet, I wave my hands to pump them up and they all responded, with the cheer of a welcomed warrior! I stopped waving my hands in the air and I just hold up my hands in the air and held up my index fingers to show them how great I am! I looked at the clock 10:30 and some change. I charged through the finish line and I see Taylour there waiting to catch me. I run into her arms and let all the pain, love, joy, gratitude flow out of me. I had nothing left, and it felt great! I cried so hard I think I left Taylour’s shoulder very wet . That moment seemed to last a couple of minutes. Taylour asked if I was ok and how proud she was of me. I told her I was hurt but I didn’t need medical. We got out of the embrace and she walked me to get a blanket, I could barely move. Then I saw MINDY!!! I waddled over to her as fast as I could and gave her a huge hug and cried again. I cannot express how grateful and blessed to have her in my life. She asked me as well if I was ok I told her I hurt really bad but I don’t need to go to medical. Taylour walked me to get some food and some water and pizza, hell yeah I ate it! I got some energy back and of course started dancing and bouncing to the music because I just rocked an IRONMAN!
As I sit here and type this up I reflect back to ask what did I learn. Of course the athlete in me learned that I can do this and do pretty good, I can go faster, I have a lot to work on, as well as how strong I have become both physically and emotionally. I knew that it would go by way to fast and yet seem forever. Funny how time works like that. I understood pain a little more and have a good threshold of mine. I enjoyed the moment for what it was: Painful, joyful, entertaining, emotional, beautiful, awestricken, and all over wonderful. Thanks to all who went through this journey with me, we get to do it again in the Woodlands May 21st! I hope it’s ready for Team Garza!
My mantra:
My Anthem:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Prerace Ironman Florida

Wed, Travel Day!

After a full days rest on Tuesday, Me and Mindy packed up everything but the kitchen sink for our family trip to Panama City Beach, site of the 2010 Florida Ironman. We laughed at the amount of luggage we had packed (luckly I sent my race bag and bike with Tri Team Transport on Sunday). We picked up the kids and headed to the airport. The kids were really good, and it was decided that Melia would sit with me and Troy would sit with Mindy. We go through security and get some lunch and have a picnic on the floor, was pretty awesome to say the least! We board I believe the nicest plan I have ever flown on. People were moving around so that people with kids could sit together and just being nice to each other, I know go firgure huh. This was the long leg of the flight, a little over two hours. Melia suggled up on me the whole flight, she felt warm and I was affraid she was getting sick (turned out I was right :(...) Troy did well with Mindy as he slept for a bit and then played very well. At one point a lady leaned over and said,"I wish my kids were as great as yours was in the flight" I told her she caught us on a good day, :). We got off in Orlando, yes I know oer shot it but thats the way the flight was. We all got a smoothie and then got on the plane. Short flight, Melia played and then slept till we landed, Troy played with Mindy the whole time. It was one of those moments that took my breath away hearing and seeing them play. I love my family!!

Off the plane and its raining (just like last years Ironman). It took me about 30 min the get the car seats in,but I got them. Loved the fact that my wife booked us a MINIVAN!!! I totally pimped that ride! I have been wanting one for a while but just hadn't got one. LOVED IT!! Road to pick up my race bag from Nat (Tri Team Transport) and get my wetsuit since we were suppose to swim in the morning.

FINALLY found our condo (after missing it several times) and found out we got the penthouse, thats right Garza's are HIGHH ROLLERS!! Well not really, just got a really good deal. We all picked our room and hit the beds pretty early. Thursday we were supposed to swim, so me and Matt and Alli, meet up for breakfast and at the Waffle House (which there are about 30 just in the city, if your lost just turn right at the waffle house, seriously!!) As we eat it starts raining AGAIN! No swim, decided to drive the course with Lilly to check it out. WOW I mean WOW, flat and fast, I think I even salavated at one point. Oh, I am going fast on Saturday!! We jammed to some of my fav tunes and laughed the trip away, picked up Alli and drove the run course. Uh different story, speed bumps, turns, not sure where your headed, man thats going to be tough. Went to talk to Jamie and Andrea at there place in the trailer park (they brought there airstream trailer, pretty awesome!) Headed back to pick up my race packet, OMG!!! Stood in line for almost 2 hours!!!! My beautiful wife stood in line with me and for me at some times so I could get my bike from Nat, (BTW Tri Transport left several bikes over night outside in the rain ALL NIGHT, uncovered. SO glad Natasha took awesome care of my bike, thank you soooo much Nat!!) Got my packet and one volunteer said wow you waited in that line a long time huh, I replied lady, I trained a lot longer for this race. She smiled, my job was done.

Got my packet, nothing really in it, except the thing I needed, wristband and chip. Thats all I need. As we were figuring out what to do Mindy calls me and tell me they are headed to the urgent care to get Melia looked at. Turns out she has a sinus infection and the start of Srep. Awesome! Poor thing when I saw her just broke my heart. Mindy said just go do your thing we got this under control. That was real hard to deal with but I knew Mindy wanted for me to not worry about it, still did a bit. Got my stuff and back to the condo for an easy 30 min run with Matt. We ran the bike course and back to his hotel which is the host hotel (his room is right in front of the start line of the swim). Quick bit to eat then headed back for the athlete meeting. ROOM WAS PACKED!! Finally meet up with Lindsey there and the three of us cut up jokes, good times! Lilly couldn't make it so I called her and put her on speaker so she could hear the speeches. Got our info, stopped off at Walmart the back to condo around 9 pm. What a day! Everyone was sleeping which made me feel better but Mindy was up, so we talked and I thanked her for every thing she has done to help me.

Woke up (finlly got some good sleep) and ate some stuff, talked to troy a bit and headed for a swim and bike. Met up with Matt, Lindsey and Lilly at the swim start with Andrea and Jamie. Got some final word of advice and then put it to action. HOLY CRAP!!! Getting throuht the waves was so hard and the wind was up, current was up you name it. Got through the breakers and floated a bit till the crew joined up. BUT I was about 100 yards down the beach were I started, man that current is really strong! Swam the backside parallel to the shore and Dave turned into Micheal Phelps, Ok that part was cool!! Turned in to the shore and felt good as I body surfed in, I though ok I got this. Just going out was really really hard! But I got this! Two loops just to warm up ok. Took a ton of pics (I'll post later) and got on the bike. It was cold enough that I needed arm warmers and gloves. Got some easy riding in about an hour.
More to come....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Austin 70.3 (Longhorn)

Last race leading up to Florida Ironman

I went for my long run on Tues before the race to try out some compression socks. I was going for a 3 hour run, 1 hour into the run my calf decided to end my run for me. My right calf cramped/strained a bit and I didn't want to push it especially for the race on Sunday. I rested it as best I could doing bike workouts but no running. Thursday classes didn't feel that well on it even with a couple of days rest. I finally made an appointment to see Dr. Whipple at Austin Longevity Center and he worked my calf over! I went to open water swim practice with Texas Iron (Andrea and Jamie) and it felt better. Friday I just ran errands and picked up my son early to go watch, Legend of the Guardians (that owl movie). I loved it there was one scene where the owl was flying through a rain storm as fast and as strong as he could. I pictured me riding my bike and wanted to remember that imagine. My son liked the movie too, I love taking him to the movies.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I used my wetsuit to swim in at decker and Barton springs. Saturday, me Matt and Gin did a short bike ride with a swim then ate some breakfast. They went to the pancake breakfast. I got the family and we went to ihop, then came hope to clean the bike. Troy helped me clean it as Melia and Mindy slept. It was so amazing to have him do that with me. Put him down for his nap then dropped of my bike. Me and Mindy had a soccer game but we both decided it would be best if I didn't go, yeah I know I'm getting old!

Dropped of my bike and bags for the race and went home to try to rest. My kids had other plans. We played around the house but that gave me energy for Sunday. Me and Matt decided to carpool to the race, set my alarm for 3:45, yes really! I remembered how bad the shuttles were last year and didn't want a repeat and Matt wanted to get there early as well. Meet up at his house at 4:45. Cranked up the music and we went to the race. Little traffic, we went to T2 (transition #2) and dropped off Matt's stuff, I check mine to make sure it was set up right. This race had two transitions swim to bike at the park (decker lake) and bike to run set up at expo center.

It was really good to have Matt there as we joked the whole way to T1 on the bus ride over. It was also good to see my friends volunteering there really really early in the morning. Got to my bike in the middle of transition and got it all set up.

Cranked up my music and walked around to get some nerves out. My stomach started to turn on me a little so I got some water and laid down on the road for a bit to collect my thoughts. As I was lying there I thought of all my friends who were racing. A couple of them doing this for the first time. Then I switched to my goals for the race. I wanted to swim good, bike really hard, catching most of my friends that went off earlier than I did. Like Christa, Ashley, Gin, Matt, and Lindsey. I wasn't sure how my calf was going to do but earlier rides it didn't bother me too bad. Last I wanted to finish my run with out further injury to my calf since I have 3 weeks till my Ironman in Florida. I have come to terms that I might have to walk the course, I had told my wife that I was ok with that she thought the same thing. Mindy has become my best coach this year and I really appreciate that. Thanks Mindy!

Started to get ready and found Blake and Lilly getting ready. As we were chatting a guy came up to me and asked if I was David Garza. Shocked I told him yes. He stated that he saw me race in the Dilloman race last year and he saw me bolt out of the water and finish the race 3rd overall. I said yeah that was me. He went on telling me how inspired I had made him feel doing the race and since then he had done the Lonestar 1/2 ironman and a few sprints and now this one. He thanked me for inspiring him to race. I WAS BLOWN AWAY!!! It reminded me once again that I do make an impact in peoples lives on the positive side. A huge boost of confidence came over me. Ok lets do this damn thing! National Anthem was sung and the race started.

I hear them announce Matt's name which meant I had 15 min to get ready. I wished Blake and Lilly luck and went to toe the line!

Swim, 8:15 start, biggest wave in the race (in my opinion) day glow orange caps (really??). Horn goes off! Bam! I hit a few people then found my stroke. Those open water swims sure helped! Bright swim caps did as well. Last year I remembered how long that swim felt so I counted the buoys so I could have a feel where I was on the course. No matter how many times I do this it still looks like a long ways in the water. Felt good except for the bastard who kept hitting my feet. So i veered over to swim by someone who was a little slower than me (yeah I know its rare) and swung in front of him no more tickling of the feet :) Turned left backside of swim. Still felt good so picked it up a little focusing on my glide. I smiled a bit thinking wow, I am really doing another 1/2 ironman, I'm crazy! Left turn again, weird most people really went wide. I really wanted to get back to dry land so I turned sharp and found the line of buoys back to shore. I get close to the shore and practiced what we went over in our clinic, passed 5 people with that one technique, yeah baby! Get the strippers to help with the swimsuit, I think Tom was the one who helped, rolled it up and jogged to T1. T1 found my bike YEAH!!! Got it ran to mount line gave Adam some knuckles and got on my bike, time to kill it!Everything felt good, hitting good speeds around 25 mph, slowed down as we turned right off decker lane to catch my breath and eat something. And I noticed who I will call left calf tattoo guy pass me. I caught up to him as we turned right onto the hill. You know which one I'm talking about. I was ready for it he wasn't. Picked it up even more hitting 38 mph down those hills. Came up the hill to toll road and pass this guy on the right since he was blocking my pass on the left. Moved over and hit my climbing cadence, then he passed me on the right AS I WAS ON THE RIGHT SIDE, Really?? Up and over the toll road and I hear this weird noise like something caught on my spoke, then my back tire slides, DAMN IT! Its a flat. Last year I had 3 flats before mile 6, at least I made it to mile 10 this year. The nail went all the way through the tire and almost to the other side. The other tire was bad, I took of the wheel, pulled the nail out and saw the huge hole in the outer tire. DAMN IT! Didn't have a tire boot (i normally carried 3) BUT I did have a dollar bill as a back-up. Slapped that dollar bill inside the tire put the spare and aired it up, holly $!*% it worked. Tire on clipped in, off I went. Yes tattoo calf man passed me again and didn't see him any more. I didn't really know how much time I left (around 7 min) but knew I would not catch my friends in front of my but hell if I were to give up on that yet I had 46 miles to go, why not. I pushed pretty hard and still felt great. Lost a water bottle (a first for me) on an bump but it was ok. I loved the course hilly some straights light wind. So with a flat I avg 22.7 mph. I didn't catch anyone :( Goal not completed. I have to admit I was pretty bummed that I didn't catch anyone, BUT my calf was still holding up so I focused on my run coming up and hoping it would let me run. By me trying to catch my friends the miles just flew by on the bike I almost couldn't believe the bike portion was over.

Into T2, did my dismount on the fly to the dismount line. I put my bike on the rack, sat down and put my socks and shoes on grabbed my hat and some energy stuff and I was off (later someone told Mindy that I was in T2, she was kinda worried that she saw my friends come in before me she knew something was wrong. I love my wife and she is the best spectator ever, if you want o watch a race you need to watch it with her she is so amazing at it knowing all of our times, its almost indescribable! Someone told my son I was sitting down in transition. He later asked me why. I told him I was putting on my shoes. Oh was his reply.). I saw lateef and mallory volunteering in T2 putting sunblock on athletes. Thanks guys. I saw Mindy and the kids quickly, down the shoot and I hear my name yelled so many times, I saw Kelly and her friend, Andrea, Jamie yelling LOUDLY, Alex, Chris, Tom, John taking pictures, several other who I know but sorry don't know your names. Thank you for all your support! I busted out of the gate with 7:30 min miles, whoa, slow down Dave! My feet felt great my calf was ok as I was going downhill. I was so happy I could run again with out it hurting! Out of expo on the road to Adam and Carol cheering us on I gave high fives and they gave me energy. Downhill again, yeah baby feeling great, oh wait up hill. No calf push all glute and hamstrings. Calf felt good, just a little tired ok this is good. Into the park around T1 out to go down Quadzilla. As I head back into the woods, Matt finally yells at me, "Let's go Garza!" Damn there he is. I thought I would take every ounce of energy and possible injury to catch him, may not be possible. (Later he tells me,"I saw you and I thought it will take every ounce of energy to stay in front of him" Kinda funny) Slight uphills I went slower as not not aggravate my calf. Down quadzilla shook the crap out of my calf, ouch! turned to go up the dam hill, made it up slight pain. Hit the road still going up hill taking it easy. I hit water stations and saw some friends there who knew me, turned to get out of the park and I see Michelle at a water station, she yells I yell back people laugh, yeah I am in good spirits. Headed back to the expo center long up hill, ok I fell you calf and its talking back to me. Come up to Adam and Carol at the top, spirits lifted again. Down hill vibrations hurting, not too bad, not as bad as up hill. Mile 7 my abs start to cramp, no not a side stitch, a cramp. My abs are so sore from that today. I can't get upright to breath, somehow I get through it. I think its because I came around to the huge cheering section by T2.

I was so excited to get back there and couldn't believe that I was back there already and I had only 6 miles to go to finish. Made the turn around saw my kiddos and out I went. I was feeling pretty good, pass the cheering sections and back out to the park. I started to see people on the run now, Ashley, Lindsey, Matt (as me and Matt passed he yelled,"Its a good day!" I agreed low fived and ran on), Lilly. Everyone I saw looked strong. There were other people who were racing that starting to cramp. Yup it was getting a little hot! On the back side of the trail by quadzilla I ran by Chucky slapped his ass and then saw Brad. Talked to them for a bit and I moved on. Down hill really hurt and I knew I had to go back up the dam hill. Started the hill and could feel my calf, come one hold on baby just 3 miles left. Mid hill i think I would have been faster if I walked, but didn't. Made it this far. I can see the top, please calf almost there, I see Logan calling out names for encouragement. I got it. I was right behind another Garza then he called my name. Thanks Logan! I slowly picked it up but still up hill not by much. Passed Dustin he sped up I slowed down a bit. (Dustin you inspire me man, Love you dude!) I told him I was going to pick it a bit since I was a little injured. He told me I looked good for being injured, I told him thanks and to have fun! Pass Michelle and that rest stop out the park up to Adam and Carol, almost there. Right into expo center up one last hill calf is on the verge of going. My inner thighs were on the edge of cramping from the over use of them. Hold that pace Dave! Top of the hill I see the left turn to the cheering section T2 and the expo center itself where I was to finish in a few min. Down hill I pick it up a bit, turn left I hear the cheers but focused on pushing these last few meters. I pick up my pace, slight up hill to turn right to go to the finish line. AND HOLLY CRAP NO WAY! I see calf tattoo pass me and pick it up, down hill i could pick it up, round the turn by the band. I have enough to catch him, he doesn't have the heart I do!! Pass him on the turn into the center I see another athlete I can catch him too, into the center I pass him with in a few feet of the finish line! The volunteers have to slow me down, yeah that was a good feeling. They take my strap I see Mindy and my daughter passed out in her arms. Matt, Lindsey and Christa were at the end gave them all hugs. I was so proud of them. Matt told me how Lindsey smacked his ass, I returned the favor for him :) Ask Lindsey about it. Gave my wife a hug, kissed my daughter, told my son that that race was for him. He was the reason, my energy and my inspiration for being my best that day. He smiled and I gave him my medal. I cried! My daughter woke up and she was asking for me, melted my heart more. Jessie and Tyler were there helping out Mindy, thanks guys. I told Mindy I couldn't do this with out here and thanked her. Later on saw Ashley finish her first 1/2 ironman, so proud.

So I found out my time 5:01, with a flat. Hell Yeah!!! A personal best for me, and a personal best on this course by 14 min! NOW my watch which stopped when I did said 4:54, damn missed breaking the 5 hour mark. Yeah I was upset but just turned that around to push me for the next race, I want it official next time. Stayed up there a bit and saw Charles finish his first 1/2, talked to Doug who had a bad race, sorry man :(. So for me, no award, need to get faster in my age group. No slot for the world championship in Vegas (Not yet =}). When I finished I got to my best job ever of being a dad with my kids. I had dinner with them and helped get them to bed, an ice bath and a small chat with my wife about the days events. I was my best for me and my family for that race. It is a big honor to have my family there, for that I thank you Mindy. You have helped make me who I am. I am not injured from the race, and that was the biggest goal. I was able to workout today and keep training for my big dance in Florida. Bring it on!

Quote of the race,"That dude passed by me like I was going still and I was going 25 mph, I saw him get a flat on the side of the road. The a few mins later he passed me again, damn!"

"What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us."

Jean-Paul Sartre