Jan. 3, 2016

Ever consider racing Ironman Maryland? One year ago, Kevin Casey not only considered it, he signed up for the challenge.

High winds, cool temps, and a hurricane didn't stop him from reaching his finish line goal. Check out his first full-distance Ironman race report below.

"The week leading up to IMMD v1.0 I was feeling strong. All the training effort had paid off. I was lean, fit, injury free and confident in my race plan. I felt could put up a good time at Maryland. Well, mother nature intervened and 90 minutes outside athlete village, Dave Engstrom and I did a big U turn and drove the 7 hours back trying to reorganize our thoughts and plan out all the logistics of hopefully a rescheduled race and if not, what other IM distance race we could register for.

Fast forward two weeks later. October 14th, heading up to IMMD v2.0. I had fallen off the proverbial training wagon. I was heavier. I had stayed up too late a few nights, slightly sleep deprived and dealing with a head cold so graciously and untimely given to me by my snotty 3 year old. Not peaking by any means. Weather folk were forecasting 65 and sunny and light winds. Ha!!

I had a lot of family coming into town to watch me race, which was great. My Dad had been battling all sorts of major health crises and hadn't seen much of the family in awhile. This race was a good excuse to get some folks together for him to see everyone. Some icing on the cake. And even better, the house we rented was at mile 10 on the bike course and a 10 minute drive from T1/T2. Easy viewing !!

I arrived on Wednesday and spent the time taking in the town, getting some workouts in and prepping the house for the arrival of the 12 other folks joining us, A really good friend of mine, Ryan Bullard, was also coming into town to volunteer and be my sherpa.

Now let’s talk about the race day. Ate the standard high carb bfast and cup of joe. Felt ready to go…a little nervous but confident. Wow it was chilly. 43 degrees with a 20 mph wind chill brought the temp down to 34 and the waves up to 2 feet. IMMD execs decided to shorten the course. First it was going to be 1.2 miles, then they came back and said 1.75, then finally managed to get a 3000 meter course in that avoided the waves out in the Choptank. They made everyone feel really good by saying the waves and current were extreme enough to warrant a small boat craft advisory. I.E. we don't want people being smushed by boats. Therefore, the paddleboards, kayaks and canoes stayed close and the boats were off further in the distance. Water temp 60 degrees. Hit the water feeling good. Hit my stroke fairly quickly after the anticipated scrum/mosh pit/frenzy at the start. Felt there was a slight current on the way out which helped with sighting. They switched the course so many times that morning we all had no idea what to expect. Then on the turn BAM! Waves galore. The incoming waves were colliding with the outgoing tide creating a washing machine effect. Breathing both right and left involved intake of salt water. I learned that if I tucked my head a little and breathed “from my armpit” I avoided it to a certain degree. 2 laps of this and I was ready to get out. 49:00 swim - I was excited about that. Goal 100m pace was a 1:42 and I did a 1:38. Booya !!

The air and wind made for a frigid T1. Spent a lot of time warming up. Donning all the gear for the bike resulted in a long transition. But all was good. I was happy to be there, ready to start on my strongest leg and see the family out on the course. Hit the course hard ave around 23 on the outbound leg. I knew there’d be some serious wind to deal with coming around the other side of the National Marsh and I prepared by making sure I had my calories in me. Well, all those liquid calories left me with a full bladder. I found myself peeing on the bike and at virtually all the aid stations. Visions of a 5:20 bike quickly vanished. Feelings of frustration crept in. Winds up to 25 mph were depleting my focus and increasing my desire to be running. But the legs felt good!! Was happy to see mile 90 appear…about 10 miles of tailwind then I wave to all my awesome family as I pass them at mile 102, heading back to T2. I couldn't resist so I stopped, said hi, gave and received fist bumps and I was off with a heightened heart. Entered T2 with a 5:50 bike split.

Into T2 happy to say goodbye to the bike and start the run. I would never had thought that I would be looking forward to the run leg on a tri. Got myself all ready to go and hit the pavement ready to stay warm and deal with the wind. I knew Ryan would be there in full effect at Aid Station 1 volunteering. It was a windy, uphill first mile but there was Ryan screaming his bloody head off. Instant Red Bull effect…energy jumped a notch and this was…fun!!? Stayed w my plan on running a 9:20 pace and walking aid stations. Worked really well, along with the Red Bull, water and orange slices each aid station. Another great jump happened around mile 7. I’m running through the park, on my way to the other turn around by the finish line and I here “daddy”. I turn and there’s my little man/heart baby/champion Drew running all out to me. Had to stop for a big hug; that was awesome. Around mile 18, three hours into it, the sun started to fade and the wind picked up and I got chilly. Had about 3 miles to my SNB for my T shirt and arm warmers. Definitely needed them; the chills certainly caused some extra fatigue. Arm warmers and shirt on, 5 miles to go. I knew at that point I would go under 12 hours and decided to spend a little more time enjoying the crowd and recalling all the training, efforts and sacrifices of others and support of teammates that got me here. OK, mile 23 sign behind me now, just a 5k. Ready to be done….and here comes Ryan screaming his head off again LETS GO !!!!! he says, He jogs up next to me and runs 2 miles w me. Wow that was great. Kept the feet moving, good breathing, etc. Then a little kick into the finish line…4:24 marathon. 11:28:09 Overall. Pretty proud of that.

For me this race was not only a goal reached but a reason for the family to get together. My Dad’s battle with cancer and some serious medical complications for over a year now and the end - of sorts - in his sight regarding treatments, doctor’s appointments, etc. He hasn't seen my kids in a year. And the stuff my Mom has been through… So to have this for them to enjoy all six grandkids for a weekend encircling a cool event that they’ve not witnessed before was more than the icing, it was the cake.

And a huge thanks to Ryan Bullard. What a great friend and motivator. And my kids, JT, Claire and Drew; they were wonderful with their sign creations and running and screaming the entire day. Then there’s Ginny - my love and partner, friend and confidant. Up at 4:30am, driving to the start line, waiting w me until I’m in the water and then out and off on the bike. Corralling six kids with the help of my brother Keith. Planning when to be where and at what time with food and drinks and entertainment for the kids. Wow, her day was Ironman worthy as well. I’m sure she was just as happy, proud and relived to see me cross the finish line as I was."

Tomato, Mozzarella Salad with Israeli Cous Cous and Cannellini Beans

0:30 Time · 15 Ingredients · 1 Steps

Another great grain based summer salad!

Greek Quinoa Salad

0:30 Time · 19 Ingredients · 1 Steps

Great summer salad featuring quinoia, fresh veggies and a great tangy dressing.


Apr 6th

Team Event (April) - HIT Cycling & Bradshaw's Social House

6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Team ride at HIT Cycling and social at Bradshaw's

Kevin Casey

Jan. 15, 2016

Kevin Casey's Race Blog

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