Monday, August 27, 2007


Date: Sunday, August 26th, 2007
Race: Ironman Louisville (2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run)
Weather: 7am 72°F 80% Humidity, 1pm 85°F 43% Humidity, 3pm 88°F 37% Humidity


The days leading up to the race were hot, topping off at 98 degrees on Friday, so everyone was concerned that goal times and nutrition plans would have to be modified to deal with the weather. Fortunately Louisville saw its coolest temperatures in over a month on race day.

They modified the swim course a few days prior to the race “due to significant rainfall upriver, resulting in an unseasonable increase in the Ohio River’s current.” So instead of the traditional mass start with 2000 of my closest friends, it was a time trial start that consisted of lining up single file and jumping off a dock one by one. Never have a felt more like a lemming.

Swim goal: 60 minutes
Actual time: 58:16 (1:32/100m, 86th overall)

I was off to a solid start and felt fine coming out of the water. Now for the bike…

The plan was to be super conservative the first 60 miles, then depending on how I felt work miles 60-90 of the course, then kick butt on the last 22 miles. I believed a majority of the time would be gained on the uphills and the last 20 miles since it was net downhill. So I worked the hills, but began working them at mile 25… a little ahead of schedule. But it felt great, I was passing people and the hills helped loosen up my hamstrings and hip flexors from the swim. I hit 40+mph on some of the downhills so I was having fun out there.

Fortunately I backed off for the next 30 miles, but every once in a while I’d hit a few hills, pass a cyclist here and there, and really start to push it, then back off. A mental tug of war.

The bike course included a 30 mile loop done twice, miles 30-60 and 60-90. When I came back around for the second loop, I was surrounded by other cyclist on their first lap. So instead of passing a cyclist here and there on a hill, I found myself flying by cyclist after cyclist. The adrenaline was pumping, my legs felt good, I believed today was my time to shine on the bike, so I kept it rolling.

First Bike Segment 22 miles (1:09:04) 19.11 mph
Second Bike Segment 23 miles (1:07:37) 20.41 mph
Third Bike Segment 30 miles (1:27:40) 20:53 mph

So far I had stuck to my bike plan, but went a little harder then I expected. Instead of cruising in the fourth and final section of the bike course, I decided to CRUSH IT!!! It was net downhill, with a tail wind, and all I kept telling myself was “I’ll be fine, it’s a flat marathon and plus running muscles are different than bike muscles. I’ll be fine.” And plus I was enjoying the roller coaster bike course.

Fourth Bike Segment 37 miles (1:38:27) 22.55 mph

The last 12 miles were tough, the course changed from net downhill to flat. We still had the tailwind, but knowing how close I was to hopping off the bike into a familiar pair of running shoes made the last stretch a struggle. I could feel the sun beating down, and my head heating up. I pressed on and felt surprisingly well once I hopped off my bike.

Bike Goal: 5:40:00
Actual time: 5:22:48!!!!
Total Bike: 112 miles (5:22:48) 20.82 mph

Now it was game time baby, 26.2 between me and the finish line. First mile: 6:20, WTF!!! Chill out and settle into 7 min goal pace.

2nd: 6:59 (nice)
3rd: 6:55
4th: 6:57
5th: 6:55
6th: 7:04 (quick bathroom break)
7th: 6:57
8th: 6:50
9th: 7:00
10th: 7:05
11th: 7:48 (long bathroom break)
12th: 7:07
13th: 7:07 (Passed Andy Baldwin, from the TV show the Bachelor, never saw him again)
14th: 7:07
15th: 7:30
16th: 7:56 (10 miles to go, try and keep it together)
17th: 8:21
18th: 8:26
19th: 8:54 (wow, this hurts bad)
20th: 8:50
21st: 8:24 (10K to go, let’s pick it up!!!)
22nd: 8:41 (On second thought, bad idea to surge with 5 miles to go)
23rd: 8:51 (…hurts real bad)
24th: 9:31 (Total meltdown)
25th: 9:22
26th: 8:48 (You will do this)
0.2: 1:42

I’ve never experienced that kind of pain. Every sensor in my body was telling me to walk/stop, people were dropping like flies, and the last 6 miles became a game of survival from one aid station to the next.

Somehow I did not walk during the marathon, and actually moved from 60th to 29th overall after the run.

Run goal: 3:05 7 min/mile
Actual time: 3:24 7:47/mile

Overall Goal time: 10:00:00
Actual Time: 9:51:55

Third in the 25-29 Age Group, less than 4 minutes from the 2nd place guy. Top two go to Kona for Ironman Hawaii.

Ten hour race and it came down to 4 minutes. Yes, I may have pushed it too hard on the bike, but I had a great time. All those hours on the bike finally paid off. And yes, I paid for it during the marathon, but it was worth it. Could I have been tougher on the marathon? Yes, but at the time my body was screaming at me to walk. Did I underestimate the difficulty? Uhhh, yea.

Thanks to:

Bucknell crew riding along side of me in March during my first marathon (a big step in believing I could finish an Ironman)
Georgetown running crew for the support and organization of group runs (Klim/Dwyer you guys rock)
Montgomery County road runners for the support, especially Vasili, Jon Weiss, and Dennis
My parents/sisters/grandpa for coming out to races and providing support
DC tri club for organizing training tris and Tuesday/Thursday bike workouts (special thanks to Ryan Strohl, Monte Hawkins, and Joe Sigismondo)
Chicago olympic trials crew for the workouts (Special thanks to Chris Wehrman who is building an army of runners in Chicago, Dan “The Dream” Weaver, Brent, Donnie… can’t wait to see you guys kick butt in NYC)
Greg Costello, who has and will continue to do great things in running (and possibly triathlons)
Ashish Patel, for showing me the dedication and work ethic required to be successful at triathlons… and also that awesome West Coast bike ride.
Kelzie Beebe (of course) and her parents who provided a place to stay in Wisconsin during a training ride, and Kelzie’s uncle for a place to stay in Louisville. Couldn’t have done it without you. Wanna swim on Wednesday?
Everyone else… Mark Scheufler, Evan Honeyfield, Jesse Graytock, Kevin O (who is doing IM Wisconsin next weekend), Megan N, Lauren, Jenny, Gena, Laura, Aileen (who is kicking some serious butt in races, recently became a club nationals 5K champ).

Four minutes… guess I’ll just have to do another one.


Dane said...

I am absolutely floored by your time, Matias. You should be beyond proud. My god.

Matt Ernst said...

Matias....thats a great time, even with the 4 mins....Congrats!

KLIM said...

I grew up in a running home and have been surrounded by road racing and triathletes my entire life but I must say Matias that you are without a doubt one of, if not THE, most incredible athletes I know or have even known.

Fantastic effort! When do we celebrate?

smoney said...

Amazing Mattias! Congratulations.

MAX said...

Matias, you have a great deal of talent for the triatholon. Parhaps if you are able you can move to CA and go for it on a professional level for a year or two. In your early to mid-twenties is the time to throw caution to the wind. congrats____________M

christiam said...

Matias, you're the MAN, congratulations!!
I agree with Jake, we must celebrate... how about meeting on tuesday evening at Barking Dog in Bethesda?

LTO said...

Everyone calls us runners crazy... you triathletes take that title with ease! I'm in awe, as I could feel your pain with every marathon mile split. WOW! Take some well-deserved down time!

Havegoats said...

Matias = amazing! I would like to echo everyone elses comments and also add that you held a high level of fitness for a remarkable time-

I hope to make the celebration!

Melissa said...

Echoing everyone else, you're a champ! I'll try to keep this in mind the next time I do a marathon or other road race (i.e. I have nothing to complain about!).

Matias said...

Update... 2nd place finisher in my age group had already qualified and paid for Duathlon Championships in Richmond, VA. He passed on his Kona slot. I now move onto the qualifiying side of the fence, 3 seconds ahead of the 4th place finisher.

I qualified for this year's Ironman Hawaii and can't pass on the opportunity, so I handed over my $475 race entry fee.

How quickly the mind forgets of the pain.

Matias said...

No go on Tuesday, legs feel like poo. I want to get together, just don't know when. Also want to discuss plans for Olympic Trials in NYC.

Anybody running Steamtown? I'll probably go up to watch.

Melissa said...

I'm registered for Steamtown. Would love some support.

MAX said...

good deal matias. you are only young once. good luck and live large

Joe Wiggy said...

WOW!!! I haven't had a chance to be on the blog recently... so this is new news to me... CONGRATULATIONS Matias! You are my hero.... I bitch about 15 mile runs... I cannot imagine being on the go for almost 10 hours and to turn in the splits that you did.... Your one of the toughest guys i have ever met... Great Job!