IM Arizona 2017 Race Report

26 Nov

We arrived in Phoenix on Thursday night. I was pumped to get this show on the road!

Friday: was a mix of seeing friends and getting ready. The weather was perfect. It was nice being out of the rain!

{Sarah (& Sam) who we haven’t seen in 15 years, Ashley, and Abbey}

{Oregano’s (one of my favorites) take out dinner with all of my amazing friends}


{Getting organized!}


{Making my own signs!}

Saturday! Big breakfast at Snooze.  It was delicious.  We got there before the crowd and ate a ton!

{This was harder than I thought it would be!}

Checked in and ready to go!!


The rest of the day was relaxing and playing games. It was super fun to just chill out.  Ashley and Abbey made us an amazing pasta dinner.  I was actually ready to go to bed at 9!!


Sunday: It was GO time!

4:00am: up, breakfast down, body glide and sunscreen on, I was feeling a little nervous but excited. I knew I just had to get in the water and get going.  We got a killer parking spot, 2 blocks from the park, that we didn’t have to pay for!  What?

I did a few things in transition to get ready.  I got body marked by my friend Zach, who was there volunteering so he could sign up for next year!


I was ready to go with about 50 minutes to spare! Agh…now I had to wait! I got into my corral early.  I didn’t want to fight my way to the front plus I was ready to go.  I lined myself at the back of the 1:00-1:10.  I wasn’t sure what would happen?! I thought it would be closer to 1:10.  Liz told me it is typically a slower swim.  I took that with a grain of salt.


{not my coffee! Support crew found me for last-minute hugs}

Swim: 1:10:25 //1:49/m (about a 2 minute course PR)

I had a bit of a freak out at the beginning.  There is no warm up.  You just get in and go!  I calmed myself down and was breathing every other stroke for about 100m and then I got into my groove.  The sun wasn’t up just yet.  I remember that being awful last time, trying to sight with the sun in our eyes!  I sighted pretty good.  There was no one to draft off of.  Everyone was so far off the buoy line. WTF?  I got to the first turn buoy fast.  I thought awesome, here we go.  I got around the 2nd one, and then back to the straight away.

All of a sudden there was a bunch of chop. A boat went by and thought ok it will subside, but it never really did.  Again there was no one on the buoy line.  I would try to catch a draft once in a while but it never lasted very long.  I wouldn’t say I had the swim of my life but it was a rolling start and any day the swim isn’t a mass start, it is a good day!

I looked at my watch and I was a bit disappointed but I was glad Liz had warned me!


T1: 4:38

Quick!  I had a great volunteer who sprayed me down with sunscreen while I was putting on my shoes and helmet.  I had a great spot in transition! Bike time!!

Bike: 6:26:19//17.4mph

The first loop was all about being patient, eating, and managing my watts.  Absolutely the hardest part of the bike!  #1 highlight seeing Heather Jackson cheering.  She is so awesome!!  Took in all of the cheers and then it was quiet and windy!  I had forgotten the first time I did this course I thought everyone says this is flat but it really isn’t!  I peed on the bike for the first time in my life and it was harder than I thought it would be! (I think there is a technique to be had there)


I am in from the first loop and spotted my support crew (and my signs) 😉 That is always a nice pick me up!  Eating, drinking, trying not to go to hard…. cruising right along!  I was going up on the Beeline Hwy and there was a gal in the middle of the lane.  In a split second I tried to decide what side to pass her on.. *I think* I decide on the right(that is what I get for doing an illegal pass) and bam I was on the ground.  My aero bar pad was stuck in her chain.

I thought, OMG, this is not happening right now.  What was I doing. What was I thinking. We pulled off to the side and I checked her bike and my bike.  I didn’t look at my wounds.  She didn’t hit the ground.  I said F**K and sorry too many times to count and then we were off again.  I couldn’t believe that had just happened.  One of my biggest nightmares.  I always play it safe and it was a stupid mistake!

Back to the race.  It was so windy going up the Beeline.  I thought just get to the turn around and then you will have a huge tailwind and downhill.  So fun!!

It is like Groundhogs day!  Back to the transition, see the support crew for a boost, back to the wind, into the tailwind, I was getting so close.  I was having a hard time eating. But I was getting all of my fluids in. I thought I had done a good job of eating but probably not good enough.

I was happy to be off the bike and excited for the run.  I thought ok this wasn’t the bike split I thought I would have BUT I had an awful bike ride at IMWI and then an amazing run.  I could turn this around! I could still do good!?!

T2: 3:13

I got in and out of there quick. I had another great volunteer that sprayed the sunscreen while I put my shoes on! Off I went.  Only 5 more hours, here we go!!


{All smiles starting the run}

Run: 5:43:35//13:06 mile (My worst marathon EVER–open or IM)! Frick!

I didn’t think I could have a worse run than my run at IMCDA in 2010…Until my 2nd go at IMAZ last Sunday!!

This is how it went down.

I was running/jogging very very slow to begin with.  It was hot and not a whole lot of shade.  (It was only 80 degrees but I hadn’t trained in anything warmer than about 60 since August!  I wasn’t going to look at my watch.  I thought I didn’t really want to know.  I was slowly getting to the aid station and then I walked to get my nutrition/salt/Gatorade/water in. I dumped water on my head. Doing anything to keep cool.

I saw the support crew a few times and waved.  At mile 7ish, I saw Dan for a quick kiss and debrief of my crash.


I thought 4 more hours.  The sun would go down and it would be cooler!! I guess at mile 10 is where it really went to shit.  I was holding back tears when I saw Dan and Ashley again.  It was going to be a long 16 miles.

I was jogging/walking doing everything I thought I could do just to get through it.  More salt, more nutrition, more water, more water over the head.  I didn’t want to start the coke until at least the half way point.  I was in a deep dark place and I couldn’t get myself out.  I saw Michelle and Johan right before the half.  They pumped me up. They gave me special wishes from Sheryl, who wanted to be there.  I wanted to cry again!

I saw Zach.  He was catching, the late shift, at the finish line. I had originally told him that I was hoping NOT to see him or if all went well I wouldn’t see him.;) But when I saw him at about the half way mark, I told him I would probably see him in the chute!! Then I saw my support crew again, I couldn’t even stop or I knew I would cry.  This was a good section of spectators that pumped me up a bit.  That was fun.  I was trying to run 100-200 steps and then walk 100 steps.  Just moving forward that was the name of the game at this point.

I went through the main tailgate, where I got high 5s from Heather Jackson, Wattie, and their whole crew.  Saw my crew and Zach again. There was no walking through there! About 17, I got a second wind, and found myself feeling pretty good.  That only lasted maybe 1-2 miles.  I was back in no-spectator land and finding myself back to the 100 steps intervals.  It was a long sufferfest and I have never wanted to quit so bad in my life.

What a day!! This was supposed to be the race of my life.  Training went really well. I have been heart rate training for 1 year!!! 1 year!!! It didn’t go as planned, obviously but I finished. There was NO way I was leaving there without a medal!  I had not trained this hard to not get a finishing time!! 13:28:10 so pissed!




Until the next Ironman!! 

10 Responses to “IM Arizona 2017 Race Report”

  1. Liz November 26, 2017 at 2:01 PM #

    Way to pull through Leslie!! I’m sorry about your fall and having a tough time but nothing can take away all the hard work and training you did, you will be better for it in the long run! Congrats on a job well done!

  2. Jonathan94002 November 26, 2017 at 2:12 PM #

    What a great Tri, Leslie! Nice job. Way to work through your deep, dark periods. That’s certainly an area that I struggle with.. Awesome!

  3. Kecia November 27, 2017 at 1:03 PM #

    Congratulations on winning the fight and not letting the struggle win! I’m NOT a fan of the deep, dark periods we enter on an Ironman day, but those moments do make us stronger. I knew you wouldn’t finish with a bad race…onward and upward to the next finish line! Will you do 2 IMs again next year, or just AZ again?

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats November 27, 2017 at 8:36 PM #

      Thanks Kecia! I can usually deal with the ups and downs…it was just extra hard that particular day!! 🙂 I’ve definitely gone back and forth with doing a 2nd one!! After the wind/heat in AZ that I couldn’t handle. I’m not in that big of a hurry to get to Kona. 😦

  4. Kristen L November 27, 2017 at 2:49 PM #

    Ah, sorry about the tough day, but sounds like you won the mental challenge. Glad you didn’t get hurt too bad in the crash either. Congrats on finishing another IM!

  5. Lee @ Tri*Inspired*Life December 19, 2017 at 6:19 AM #

    I read your race report soon after you posted it, but wanted to come back and leave you a comment to say again….congrats on another IM finish! You are so awesome! As you described the swim, it was not what you would have wanted going in, but what a great time! Then onto transition where you seem to always kill it!!! Good job!

    Oh no on the bike crash! So glad it was not any worse and you both could keep going (even though you had some battle wounds to show from it)! At least you were able to take advantage of a tail wind after dealing with a tough head wind! We all know of the courses where you somehow have a headwind on both the out and back, so thumbs up for celebrating with a tailwind! Then another stellar transition time! WOW!

    I hate you had a tough day on the run course. The heat (especially when you have not been able to train in it) can definitely cause us to write a different ending than planned to our race day. Way to battle through mentally and do the things you had to do to get it done. I know that finish line was even sweeter! I enjoyed tracking you on race day and I know you are now enjoying a well-deserved break during your off season.

    • Leslie @ TriathleteTreats December 21, 2017 at 8:22 PM #

      Thanks Lee!! It is hard to believe its been a month since the race!! It is always hard to think back and not regret parts of the day. I really am just sad about the run. I really thought I was going to do awesome. The heart rate training I thought had gone good and I was really ready to put it to the test! I must have needed more fuel on the bike!! The nutrition on the bike is what I am going to really work on next year. Then maybe I will be able to run the way I thought I would be able to this year!! 😉
      When do you official kick off training?

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