21 November 2009

Mrs Sladed's Ironman Arizona Race Plan

First off let me say that Sladed has put some serious pressure on me to write my own Race Day Plan and I will try to deliver something interesting for your reading pleasure. The journey to this day, a full Ironman Triathlon, began several years ago when ItaliPhil moved back to town. Shortly after that fateful return ItaliPhil convinced Sladed to get back in the pool - they could workout together, get in shape, drop some weight. Little did he or the rest of us suspect what would happen, although some of us (me) could/should argue that at ItaliPhil’s “advanced” age and experience he should have known that reintroducing Sladed to the chlorinated fumes of the Y pool would awaken the slumbering competitor in him. In fact, some of Sladed’s best years were spent swimming countless yards in a Y pool alongside ItaliPhil and Laz. It was at a Y pool that I first laid eyes on Sladed and his gorgeous crawl stroke. OK, I actually saw him swim at the SDSU pool in high school when I was a swim groupie (my high school team was better or so Coach Draz said) but when I was lifeguarding at the LJY I did see him swim and was smitten by his smooth, effortless crawl. As Son #1 can attest, I can still spot Sladed’s stroke amongst 1000’s of competitors, as I did at the Oceanside 70.3.

So Sladed returned to the pool and “to keep himself motivated,” added some jogging. He and ItaliPhil made a triumphant return to the LJRWS and then took on the challenge of the Solana Beach Aquathalon where ItaliPhil looked refreshed and Sladed looked dead. Fast forward one year and Sladed looked refreshed and ItaliPhil looked very tired. Sladed was a man possessed. He moved onto sprint triathlons, Olympic distances and then added in the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon. He was hooked and I was supportive. He was very happy and that makes me happy.

It was April 4th at the Ironman California 70.3 (or a half Ironman for the uninitiated) that I realized that a full Ironman TOOK ALL DAY LONG. That’s a lot of sitting around doing nothing, especially when the competitors are out on the course for hours at a time. You aren’t allowed to chase after them in your car since they frown upon vehicles on closed roads. I don’t have a motorcycle or Vespa (gee thanks 441 and Italiphil) so I needed to come up with a plan to spend my 12 – 15 hours (depending on when I start the clock) especially since I can only expect to see my husband 3 – 6 times during this block of time AND only for a maximum of 30 seconds at that! I could dutifully sit and await for his reappearance and nap, read, knit, Blackberry and/or chat or I could make good use of my time in between his magical appearances – especially since he as provided us with expected timeframes and splits. Maybe the Get Sladed Nation can call me, text or e-mail as they sit in front of their home computers with updates.

Anyway, this morning Son #1 (a veteran spectator/photographer of Ironman 70.3) called to say that he and Pasadena Trojan were making a road trip to join us, so my planning has been revised and I will get to share the grueling yet inspiring day with them. So for all of those who would never contemplate competing in a full Ironman and to counterbalance Sladed’s OCD/Anal Retentive Race Plan here is my infinitely more relatable and probably easier to replicate plan.

Linda’s Race Day Plan And Important Details

Tempe is 1 hour ahead of California time or as Sladed keeps saying, Tempe is on Mountain Time
Sunrise: 7:06 am
Sunset: 5:22 pm
Temperature: Low 51/High 75
No chance of rain

Swim (2.4 miles) Planned time: 1:00 hour (7 to 8am)
Bike (112 miles) Planned time: 5:50 hours (8:15 to 2pm)
Run (26.2 miles) Planned time: 5:00 hours (2:10 to 7:10pm)
4:00am Groan loudly as Sladed’s cell phone vibrates and wakes us both up. Try to grab a few more zzzz’s while Sladed curses that he can’t find his socks, shoes, bike shorts, salt tabs, bananas, body glide, race bib, heart monitor, cap, etc. I will calmly remind him that all of these items have been accounted for and are already packed and in the van or were already turned in Saturday at the race venue.

4:20am Apply last minute bandages and admire the pretty colors of Sladed’s bruises from his bike crash last Sunday. I predict they will be purple, pink, yellow and green.

4:35am Calm Sladed down and point to his race plan that states we aren’t supposed to leave until 4:45.

4:45 – 5:00am Leave for race venue all the while contemplating returning to my nice warm bed. Think about grabbing a warm cup of tea. Give my competitor a final hug, pep talk and good luck kiss.

5:00am Go back to the hotel to rouse the kids from their warm beds and drag them down to the swim start. Promise them it will warm up…eventually.

6:00am and 43 degrees! Hunt for parking that will be close enough to drop various clothing items and to pick up my special diet food. Dash down to the river walk to find the best spectator spots. I scouted this out Saturday morning following my 5k (PR!!!!) and think hot chocolate/tea/coffee is a necessary accessory for the morning swim.

6:40am Try to pick out Sladed amongst the 2,000+ other swimmers. He’s planning to be 2 or 3 people from the front, about 1/3 of the way down the row. I think his cap is red. That should help, not so much.

6:50am Think about how cold I am and how I can’t believe I planned on staying at the swim venue until Sladed returned to dry land. It will take him an hour once the starting gun goes off. That should make it about 8:00 when it is expected to be 49 degrees. I AM SO VERY COLD.

6:55am Argue/debate best viewing vantage with Son #1. Discuss the merits of hot chocolate vs. coffee vs. tea with Pasadena Trojan.

7:00am And it begins! Mad splashing. Arms thrashing. There are some terrible crawl strokes out there! Try to spot Sladed amongst the swimmers, 2 or 3 people from the front row. Red Cap. Zoot wetsuit, with full sleeves. Right. No problem.

7:01 – 7:59am Stroll along riverfront, try the bridge vantage point. Try and stay warm.

8:00am Transition #1 Yell at Sladed to walk and mind his heel. Watch him come out of the changing tent, grab his bike and take off for 112 miles up and back the Beeline Highway. Three loops. I think we will see him do one loop.

8:30am Return to hotel to change, grab some breakfast. Check out the movie times. We have nearly 6 hours to kill before Transition #2, which should be around 2:00pm. What to do, what to do? Maybe a Mani-Pedi? A trip to the bookstore? I could start/finish some projects for the holidays since there is a Joann’s Fabrics and a Michael’s nearby. We could take in 1, 2 or 3 movies. Let me be clear, however, that no matter what, I AM NOT GOING TO SEE “NEW MOON.” You can’t make me. OK, maybe my youngest niece Reesez can, but I will save that for Turkey Day. Several good movies are out, but the timing and distance from the course are going to make this a challenge so it looks like we will try for Sandra Bullock in the “Blind Side”. That looks good and uplifting and includes football so Son #1 should be happy too. Running time 2 hours, 6 minutes. We can also wander around Mill Avenue – lots of shops and places to sit and eat, including:

Mill Avenue – Stepping Stone Gallery 414 South Mill Suite 208 12-6 pm
Hackett House 95 W 4th
UN Bazaar 609 South Mill Ave
Yucatecan Imports 414 South Mill Suite 108

11am 65 degrees! Probably will try for the movie so we can be back for Transition #2.

2:00pm Transition #2 Nice socks, Sladed! They look like your Dad’s compression socks. Wait a minute - I think they are Hanky Panky’s socks! Nice yellow hat and I should be able to spot him. Good choice, Mrs. Sladed.

The run course is easy to follow and the runners will make 3 loops so if the weather is warm (it is supposed to be 72 degrees at 2pm) we can bring a nice snack down to the South Shore Paths and see Sladed coming and going and coming and going and coming and going. We plan to shout “HIPS FORWARD!” and “GOT GUTS?!?!” and “Aren’t you about done?”

5:15pm Grab snack and/or dinner and return to our run vantage point.

6:30pm Head to the finish line and cheer on all the Ironmen. Watch anxiously for Sladed. Become emotional as each runner crosses the line. Text and call the Get Sladed Nation when it looks like he is getting closer to the end and they can watch on-line.

7:10pm Anticipate the end and the accomplishment.

7:30pm Imagine Sladed’s joy as he downs FRENCH FRIES in the Athletes’ Tent. Hope Sladed remembers where we said we would meet up. Hope he can find his cell phone to text me his location.

8:00pm Bundle my exhausted Ironman and all his gear into the van. Hand him his O’Douls. Drive back to the hotel. Drag him upstairs to our room and throw him into the tub with lots and lots of ice.

8:30pm Tuck Sladed into bed and then take the kids to dinner and a movie.

Who would have thought the mere act of returning Sladed to his natural state (i.e. chlorine and a Speedo) would have brought such joy and accomplishment to him. It has been an incredible thing to witness. I am truly blessed.


  1. Go Sladed and Mrs. Sladed. It seems you both have very doable and workable game plans. Proud of your planning skills Mrs., you seem to have thought of everything, when did you find the time to plan this kind of game plan? I will be watching and awaiting word on progress for you both. Best of luck and may the best Sladed win!

  2. I am exhausted! Sorry Linda! NOT! Sladed is blessed to have you! Great plan! I guess I am now ItalPhil-the instigator. My pennance TBD, I am sure you both will think of something. All the best to Sladed, he will do well. Go Go Go! -ItalPhil

  3. If ONLY I could join you. Of course that would be a too proud, tearful person who might require calming down as well. Better to keep my distance, methinks. My stomach knots, my adrenaline is flowing well, my expectations are only for what the outcome provides. The team you are is also an enviable one. What you BOTH provide in inspiration is beyond most teams/couples. Thank you for being who you are, what you are and for the both of you always using humor to move ahead and enjoy the present and what may lie ahead.
    This is from absolutely ME!

  4. OMG! How could I forget the Charger game! We will probably try to find a sports bar - Hooters, Town Tavern, Boston's, Skip & Jan's Sports Bar (not kidding, that's the real name) and catch a few quarters.
    XO Mrs. Sladed

    P.S. Don't worry my Ironman, you will never miss us!