spectator report: 2010 vineman ironman 70.3 triathlon

i always say you can never really know a race just by looking at the finishing time, there is always a story behind it.  if you looked at the splits of this one, you might guess there was definitely a story to go with it.

my husband chris decided he wanted to train and race a half ironman and he registered for this race on november 30th, 2010… it’s been a long time coming.  after being plagued with injuries since becoming a runner, he picked up cycling and swimming about a year ago and decided to throw them all together.  he registered for this race before having ever completed a triathlon.  he did 3 along the way during training… a super sprint, a sprint and an olympic and learned lessons and altered his training after each one.

finally the big weekend arrived!

after dropping the pups off and sitting in traffic we finally made our way to the expo around 1pm where the race would be finishing.  he picked up his stuff, dropped off his run gear at transition, then we stopped at the store and were finally back to the hotel around 3 to relax and eat.  we ordered in for dinner and he relaxed and i could tell he was ready and excited.

he was up before the alarm went off at 5am and he woke me up soon after. i could tell he was excited.  this race is notorious for being hot, but the weather said it was currently cloudy which we were both happy to see.  he got dressed and ate some breakfast and we picked up a friend and headed to the start line.  this triathlon was going to be different for him since in all the others he has done, he has been in the wave behind the pros.  this race he was going to be in the very last wave. 

2010 Vineman 70.3 001 2010 Vineman 70.3 002

we got there when the pros were already in the water and he took his time getting his stuff together, warming up, and eating some more food.  we went down to the water to watch a couple waves start and then before we knew it, he was putting on his wetsuit.  it was still foggy out but it had already started to burn off… i was hoping it would stick around for a while.

heading to the water 2010 Vineman 70.3 004

he warmed up a bit and then the countdown started… and they were off!

2010 Vineman 70.3 009 2010 Vineman 70.3 012 

i made my way over to the swim exit and found tara, kristin and stephen who were there spectating too.  i knew right around where chris wanted to be on the swim and he came in exactly where i thought he would be.

swim – 1.2 miles/32:14

2010 Vineman 70.3 016

i got to run along the transition and follow him over to his bike.  it took him a second to find it and then he was changed and out of there.  the fog had already burned off and i could tell it was getting warmer.

2010 Vineman 70.3 018 2010 Vineman 70.3 020 2010 Vineman 70.3 025

T1 – 3:31

i ran to the car, then followed my friend on some back roads over to where the run course would start.  i knew he had been working hard on the bike and had some strong goals for today and was hoping things were going as planned.  i made it to the school early and got to cheer some teammates on and jogged around a bit, then found my spectating crew to cheer with.  we pretty much turned into volunteers during this time directing traffic after MANY cyclists went the wrong direction.  it was pretty frustrating to watch, but we did what we could to get everything in order.  i checked chris’s bike split and saw he was right on pace at half way.  i was so excited for him!

bike split 1 – 27 miles/1:20:23/20.15 mph

i checked the clock and made a mental note of when i should be looking for him.  in the meantime we continued to cheer everyone on and direct traffic.

kristin directing the cyclists2010 Vineman 70.3 049

my mental note time came and went, and then it kept getting later and later.  i was starting to get pretty nervous actually and was hoping it was just something as simple as a flat tire and not a crash.  i had no way to get a hold of him and just was praying that it wasn’t anything serious.  time continued to go on and i just continued to have faith that we would see him soon.

sure enough he came riding by and said his bike had broken and he didn’t know what to do.  in unison all of us yelled “finish!” and he rode on.  i was SO RELIEVED to see him, but so sad knowing that his bike had messed up.  it was 1pm by this point and VERY WARM out.  i seriously couldn’t fathom running a half marathon at that point, after all he had been through, but i knew he could do it. 

bike split 2 – 29 miles/2:22:14/12.23 mph

total bike – 56 miles/3:42:37/15.09 mph

T2 – 3:08

we waited there since it was also on the run course and pretty soon he came by and stopped to talk.  he was telling me what happened, and i knew he was frustrated… i mean seriously – TODAY of all days?  i asked if he wanted to run.  he said ok so we started running and sure enough the ironman police came and stopped us.  he was getting a penalty for me running with him.  i knew better and he begged explaining the day, but she was a stickler!  it was only 45 seconds so in the long run not that much, but still kind of sucked.  i really just wanted to talk to him!!  but i knew better, bad me.  i sent him on his way, ran back to my friends and we walked up the road to the mile one marker where there was some shade.

tara, kristin and me trying to stay in the shade 2010 Vineman 70.3 058

the story on the bike: he was riding along feeling really great and felt something weird in his back tire.  he thought it was a flat, so he stopped to check, but the tire was full.  he spun the tire and a spoke flew off and then he saw the rim was bent and it was rubbing against the frame.  he tried to straighten it out and got back on but was going like 15mph as hard as he could from the resistance.  after a few minutes of this, the tire eventually popped and he had to stop and started walking.  the course mechanic came by 5-10 minutes later and tried to fix his back rim and gave him a new tire…. all the while chris was standing there waiting losing momentum.  finally he fixed it and didn’t really recommend riding it at all.  he told chris he had to keep it in the smallest ring and go slow.  so chris rode the next 20 miles really slow and said it was so so so boring.  he really debated whether or not he should be riding, but he continued on since he really wanted to finish!

we set up camp at mile one/mile 12 and had a blast cheering for all the athletes coming in.  they were all smiling and pumping their fists and we could tell they really were glad to have us out there.  i don’t think there were much of any spectators out on the run. 

it was SO HOT out now and we were all toasted, i knew those athletes must be cooking and you could tell they were spent.  eventually we saw chris coming from a ways away and got up and cheered really loud for him! 

we took a shortcut through a park and literally ran into him as he was running along.  i started running and followed him the whole way into the finish and got to see him cross which i was afraid i wouldn’t.  i was so so so proud of him!

run: 13.1 miles/2:09:17/9:52 avg

2010 Vineman 70.3 064 

total time: 70.3 miles in 6:30:47

2010 Vineman 70.3 065

i could tell he was spent and i ran over to find him.  he was so happy to be done and he said he was just toast on the run.  his legs never were so heavy, after the bike incident his fueling had gotten all messed up, and it was HOT!  after all of that, he STILL did it and finished strong. 

and he has a smile!2010 Vineman 70.3 067

we celebrated after with some food then sat in traffic for 3 hours making the 100 mile trip home.  that was fun.  we got to recap the whole day though which is always nice to do. 

he went into this race with some really ambitious goals, and i know he could have reached them and will someday soon, and i would have been/will be SO proud.  but honestly, i think i am more proud of him for dealing with everything he did today and still making it to the finish line.  it would have been so easy to quit, to catch a ride back with the bike mechanic and to just give in.  he could have never gone out on the run and just stopped since he had already lost over an hour.  i was thinking how much the run was going to hurt and how hot it was going to be, but he did it.  he made it to the finish and had such a great attitude after… i really couldn’t be prouder.

congrats chris!!!

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42 Responses to spectator report: 2010 vineman ironman 70.3 triathlon

  1. Sassy Molassy July 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Great recap! He totally rocked it, especially after having such a disasterous bike leg. Ugh! Such a trooper!

  2. Tara July 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Huge congrats to Chris!!!! He did amazing out there even though it wasn't his ideal race & it was very motivating to see him keep pushing on even though it would have been easy to stop. He has made many huge accomplishments this year & I'm excited to see what's in store for him next :)

  3. Petraruns July 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    What an amazing report. You are so right – it is more incredible for the challenges he faced and overcame. Chris you're a rockstar in my book! Now get Aron to buy you a new bike!

  4. Marci July 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    Really enjoyed reading this Aron – congrats to Chris – he did great, major congrats to him. Spectating looked fun too!

  5. Bethany + Ryan July 19, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    congratulations Chris! big accomplishment! wow, that SUCKS about his bike! i'm sure he would have been well under 6 without that. aside from slowing him down on the bike, i'm sure it hurt the run too. riding in the small ring is NOT easy!! you work so hard but go so slow! wow, good for him for staying so strong and determined! i got a penalty once in a tri too, for drafting, lol. 2:00. great job to you both!!!

  6. Running and living July 19, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    I tracked Chris along with others, and figured he had a mechanical. Those are SO HARD and SO FRUSTRATING and they leave you helpless. But all his training is going to make him stronger for the next race. Plus, the mental toughness for being able to push through and regroup after the bike incident – amazing!

  7. joyRuN July 19, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    Huge congrats to Chris!!!

    How frustrating to go from 20.15 to 12.23mph on the bike – it must've completely thrown him off. Extra props for fighting through that for a strong finish!

    He's set up for a huge PR for the next one :)

  8. Denise July 19, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    man i want to do one of those so badly!!! tell him i said congrats!

  9. misszippy July 19, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    Poor guy and his bike issues! Such a bummer of a way to go out. Good for him for sticking it out.

  10. P July 19, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    Huge congrats to your awesome hubby – way to tough it out!! There is such satisfaction in gutting out a bad race, and of course he'll do way better next time!

  11. Allie July 19, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    That really sucks he had bike trouble but congrats to Chris!!! He did awesome!!!

  12. Laura July 19, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    Great report and congrats to him! I too spectated this weekend when my hubs did an international distance duathlon. It is stressful being a spectator in this kind of race. I was writing down numbers, trying to see if he was on track etc. It was also really hot for his race so I was worried about that as well.
    Good for your hubs for keeping going..it isn't easy….

  13. jen July 19, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Wow. Congrats indeed. He is amazing!! Nothing worse than mechanical issues during a RACE. Wtf?? Like you said, "today???" of all days? That super sucks. It sounds like handled it like a pro and I'm super impressed that he finished.

    We were following him all day and rooting him on. Really proud of you Chris. Great job!!

  14. Jess July 19, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    Congrats to Chris! What a tough race!

  15. ShutUpandRun July 19, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    Incredible. I found myself thinking that I would feel even more elated for my significant other finishing than myself!! Tell him congrats!

  16. Indi July 19, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    Congratulation to Chris!! Great finish despite the bike issues and heat!

  17. teacherwoman July 19, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    CONGRATS CHRIS!! And great spectator race report, Aron!

  18. Alisa July 19, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    Well, he proved that his mental strength is just as strong as his physical strength. It takes a LOT of mental positiveness to get through something like that!

    I've actually had a similar issue on my bike before where the rim gets off balance and rubs against the brake–it's extremely frustrating!

    One positive note, the next half iron his does he is in store for a huge PR =). I'm excited to hear what your family has in store next—you are both so dedicated to your sport.

    (Thanks for the spectator report, I was curious to see what his weather would be like.)

  19. Marlene July 19, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    Poor Chris!! What a day for things to go so wrong. :( He is a trooper for sticking with it and finishing, and lucky to have such an awesome supportive wife! Congrats on his first Half Iron… I'm sure there will be another for redemption!

  20. Glenn Jones July 19, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Life doesn't always go per the plan. Congrat to him for toughening up and finishing what h started. That's the important thing in life. Never give up….

  21. Chic Runner July 19, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    I'm so proud of chris! That is so awesome even though he was dealing with some difficult problems with the bike. Sticking through and finishing in the hot weather just shows determination! What a great story and now he can smash his goals next race!

  22. onelittletrigirl July 19, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Even with the bike drama he did great! Seriously, thank you to you and your friends who helped out even though you were official volunteers. It is hard to find enough people and always helpful when someone stands in to help out.

    As for running with him, USAT is pretty hardcore. I have seen some crazy penalties. I even once saw someone get thrown out because the woman's husband started to argue. I know it can be frustrating, but try to remember, they are there for a reason.

  23. Jo Lynn July 19, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Well poop! All the training in the world could not prevent what happened.
    He deserves a huge congratulations for finishing the race. ;)

  24. audgepodge July 19, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Aw, man, what a huge bummer with the bike!

    And a penalty, too? Man, these tri's are hardcore.

    But you're right, that was so impressive for Chris to keep on going – not sure what I would have done.

    Go hubby! ;)

  25. lifestudent July 19, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Tri's are so scary because of all that technical stuff :) Sounds like hubby is a fighter and kicked butt with the situation he was provided. Way to go!

  26. Southbaygirl July 19, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Please tell Hubby CONGRATS!!!! And way to stick it out!!! He will love this finish the best because of everything he went thru!

  27. Runner Leana July 19, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Congratulations to Chris! Way to perservere through a tough bike and through hot weather. Mechanicals on the bike are rough. There isn't much you can do about it and it is difficult to not have the kind of race you think you are capable because of it. Is he going to do an IM now? :)

  28. Susan July 19, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Aww that's terrible about the bike, but congrats to Chris!!

  29. seejessrun July 19, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Even a half Ironman seems completely crazy to me. Congrats to Chris!

  30. J July 19, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Congrats to Chris on completing his first half ironman – he really persevered through unbelievable circumstances to finish! That totally stinks about his bike but it seems like he was really ready for this race and has so much potential. I am sure there will be another half ironman in his future and he will be able to meet all his goals!

  31. Amanda July 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Major congrats to your hubby! Those happenings really bite in the moment, but they add up to great experience and better races in the future!

  32. RunningLaur July 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Sounds like a hard but proud day. Fighting through adversity makes us better – even though it sucks!

  33. Meg July 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    What a trooper! He looked happy on the video when he only had one mile left and he seemed pretty strong. I could never imagine running in that heat after all the swimming and biking. Congrats Chris!

  34. Run Jess Run July 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Chris did a great job!!! He's a trooper for dealing with the bike issues & the heat!!

  35. Laura July 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    What an acheivement! Congrats to Chris :-)

  36. Christine July 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Congrats to Chris! This is amazing!! Finishing an IronMan is already a big achievement but also dealing with the broken bike and still finishing is even bigger! You can be very proud of your husband :)

  37. Fair Weather Runner July 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    wow this was an awesome report, thanks for sharing. tell chris he is a rockstar :) good for him, what a rough race, but amazing that he kept going. gave me goosebumps!

  38. runnernic.com July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Way to go Chris!!! Sounds like even though he had bike troubles he still rocked it!!!! Congrats to him on his accomplishment! :)

  39. Jamie July 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Congrats Chris! So not the way you want any race to go but he dealt with it and finished strong! So awesome!

  40. Hannah July 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    That sucks about his bike but way to go for finishing! That's HUGE!

  41. Robyn July 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Wow, that's so awesome! I'm scared of tri's and commend anyone who does one. NYC had it's Nautica tri this weekend and I really wanted to spectate but didn't make it out.

  42. runner26 July 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    wow–so cool! what an accomplishment! and i have a feeling there will be plenty more of these in the future ;)

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