This blog first appeared on Jarrod Shoemaker’s personal blog.
“Jarrod Shoemaker you are an Ironman!”
Despite being a pro, it still was amazing to hear my name announced as an Ironman finisher. Now, the work begins to hear Ironman, Champion and Jarrod Shoemaker in the same sentence.
This year has been crazy, chaotic and all over the place, but I am so happy I was able to end the season on a high note finishing my first Ironman.
Alicia came with me to the race and thank goodness she did because packing and preparing for an Ironman is so much work, much harder than an ITU race. Thinking about what to put in my special needs bags was a new thing for me. I have been to Cozumel before so I knew the race course well and that made it easy for me mentally.
The race started off easy with the typical Ironman race start, people not listening to the officials and slowly inching forward in front of the start line before the gun goes off. I started off fast, got into the front group and sat 3rd for the entire swim. The swim is down current, so it was pretty fast, but also very relaxed compared to what I am used to.
Once out of the water navigating the change tent and bike bag was a new experience, but pretty easy. As I started the bike I was just behind the group I swam with and they rode away from me. I felt pretty bad for the first 10 miles of the bike, but then started to get into a rhythm as a group of 10 more rode past me at a pace that I could not sustain, so I let them go as well. The back side of Cozumel can be very windy and luckily on our first lap it was calm.
As soon as I turned to head inland around 27 miles into the bike I noticed my front tire was low and soon enough it was almost flat. I jumped off my bike, grabbed my fix a flat and put it in. The tire filled back up and seemed to be holding air. I started to ride cautiously again and the tire seemed to seal itself and I was off and biking. I started feeling good at that point and had a very good section for the next 30 miles or so. I stopped at the bike special needs and grabbed my bag, which Alicia luckily convinced me to put an extra fix a flat in! As I turned inland I noticed that the tire was going down slowly again, so I waited until I got back to Alicia to try the fix a flat again. I got off, tried it and it did not work. I tried a few more times and it still did not work. Argh.
I jumped back on the bike, went to the next aid station and got a mechanic to pump it up for me. We put it at 100 and off I went. Then about 2 minutes later I heard a huge POW. I have no clue what it was as the tire seemed to be holding air still, maybe it ejected the piece of glass? I stopped to check it out and it seemed fine, so I continued biking being quite a bit more cautious for the last 25 miles to the end of the bike. I knew at that point I was going to finish no matter what. A bit later I finished… in 5:12, a horrible time, but not that bad considering everything. My goal was 4:50 and I would have been close to that without all of the problems.
Once onto the run the mental challenge of running a marathon seemed extremely daunting. For the first 2 miles I did not think I was going to be able to do it, but then I started to feel good. I started rolling off miles in the 6:15-20 range and was feeling good. By 13.1 miles I was running 6:22 pace and still feeling quite good. I stopped to pee quickly and when I started again I had nothing. I jogged, shuffled, walked for the next 10 miles much closer to 7:30-8 minute pace before I started feeling good again at mile 23 and I picked it up again. I ended up running 3:09 for a total time of 9:09. Much slower than my goal time of 8:35, but I am proud of not giving up and proud of pushing through to the finish.
It was a great first experience and I enjoyed it and feel that I can do well as I continue to learn how to bike better and that in turn will help my run strength. I am headed off into the offseason now and am excited to get rolling into 2017.
2005 under 23 world champion
2009 duathlon world champion
2010, 2012 USA elite national champion
2011 USA elite sprint national chamption