TO: I read that Peter Reid would eat a big thing of nachos before a run. Would you do that kind of stuff?
TD: Oh yeah. I did when I was training for some of the longer stuff. I’d go out for my second run of the day, shove a huge peanut butter and jelly sandwich in on my way out the door, just to get used to having that much food in my stomach. If you can get through that then you pretty much know you can handle anything. I don’t think I’ve ever done an Ironman where I haven’t thrown up, or where I haven’t thought: Oh god, here comes a cramp. You just learn to deal with it in training. There are little tricks along the way that will help, but you’ve got to force yourself to do it in training.
TO: What’s the bike like coming back, the last 30 miles?
TD: It’s changed a lot. I mean every race is different– every time it’s different because of the conditions. I always pray for a howling wind and we just haven’t had one for 10 years, where it’s been screaming, knocking people off their bikes. You’ll most likely have a bigger group of guys until someone breaks away climbing to Havi. You’d think that things would ease up a bit on the descent, but that’s where everyone really pushes. And then that climb from Kawaihae, you get to the bottom of the descent and you’ve got a one mile climb to Kawaihae to get back on the Queen K, and that’s where it’s kind of make or break. That’s when you know you’re going to be hit or miss. And then from there, the last 30 miles in, a lot of times you have a little tail wind for awhile, which is deceiving. Because as soon as you hit Waikoloa it’s a headwind. That’s where you have to be strong – that’s where your strength will kick in. You don’t want to be feeling crappy on the climb to Havi. That’s too early to be pushing it too hard. You should be in control, and then if anything – everybody always says the race starts at 80 miles. And in the marathon, the race starts with 10 miles left or so. It’s always a game of patience. If you take things out too hard, you’re going to blow.
TO: It seems the guys run that first half marathon pretty quickly.
TD: It’s gotten a lot faster, but they’re still not running any faster overall. And it’s the same with the bike, because that little loop through town, its like a friggin’ crit. There are guys you’ll never see again until the end of the race, but they’re pushing the pace like it’s a crit. It’s so hard to let one of them go. Lieto’s really good at pacing himself through that part, and then going. And that’s one of those things; it’s hard to let anyone go, because you just don’t know. I think the men would have broken eight hours by now if we paced it better – if that first part was in control and we’d slowly build. You’re going to do your fastest if you slowly build both the bike and the run. I experienced it in ‘07 when I was fourth. Macca and Crowie took off on the run, and we were going 5:25’s down Ali’i. I was just like: This is stupid. I didn’t listen to myself and I was taken out of my game. I made up 10 minutes on Torbjorn in the first 10 miles, and then I couldn’t catch him. He was sitting in front of me, but I just didn’t pace it properly. I always preach to myself when I’m starting a run, even if I feel great: Hold back. Just hold back. Because it’s only going to affect you worse down the road.