Ironman Race Report

This is an open letter to all of you who have supported me in the past year as I worked toward becoming an Ironman. You’ll pardon me if I brag just a little, as I admit I am proud of myself for this accomplishment. Since many of you are endurance athletes yourself, I’ve included some of the technical details of the race. If you want “a full race report”, feel free to ask and I’ll send you even more detailed notes on the race.

But before I get into the technical details, let me say a huge thank you to all of you who encouraged, inspired, supported, and trained with me. If there is anything that this experience has taught me; it’s that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. They say that Ironman is a window into your soul; and that if you have fear, you will see it; if you have hope, you will see it; if you have weakness or strength, you will see them. I can say, after completing my Ironman, that there is some truth to this saying… certainly it was much more of an emotional experience than a physical one.

Ok, so you’re asking… how’d you do Brad?

Here’s the headline…

  • I finished 13th overall in a field of 67.
  • I finished 13th out of 58 males.
  • I finished 4th in my age group (35-39, often considered the most competitive age group).
  • My total time was 12:17:03. 

 My strategy was to swim approximately a 1:45 swim, then complete the bike in 6:00, and the run in 4:30… this would have landed me at a very respectable 12:15 finishing time. I basically raced exactly the race I planned to race; and despite a major setback due to bonking during the bike course, I finished really close to my goal time. If we break down the line, you can see that my strategy was probably a pretty good one considering my strengths and the course. 

I swam a little ahead of my goal, but came out at the back of the pack. I had great transitions picking up a couple places in both T1 and T2. I had a solid bike picking up 31 places on the bike.

I ran my marathon exactly as I had planned (run 1 mile, walk 1 min – fuel – drink, repeat), picking up 10 places on the run.  Here’s a chart of my heartrate and elevation over the run.

You can see from this chart that as I took my short walk breaks my heartrate fell to around 55-65%. Then gradually rose as I ran to my next mile marker to about 70%.

Grand Columbian Run

Here’s a chart of my pace during the run. I will admit that one of my errors in the race was improper fueling, and one side effect of that was a rather uncomfortable lower GI tract. It may be a little too much info, but the chart shows a couple of stops on the run where I had to take a biobreak. Sure I wanted to make my goal time, but I wasn’t going to mess myself to do it!

My Grand Columbian Run

The bike was actually the hardest part and although I had the 10th best bike split, I know I could have done better with proper fueling. 

I had promised to dedicate my final leg of the swim to Deb Nielsen. I was true to my word and as I came around that last buoy I looked to shore and said “this is for you Deb!”

Here are some pictures from the official race photographer…

Grand Columbian Ironman - Swim

Here I am coming out of the water in almost dead last place!

Grand Columbian Ironman - Bike

What is up with that guys hat?

Grand Columbian Ironman - The Run

Is that proper Chi-Running?

Here’s “the line”…Overall:    13/67
Gender:     13/58 
Division:   4/11   Men 35-39   
Bib:        191 
Name:       Brad Hefta-Gaub      
City:       Seattle, WA   
Swim Rank:  58
Swim Time:  1:27:36
T1 Rank:    3
T1 Time:    3:22     
After T1
   Rank:    56
   Time:    1:30:58
Bike Rank:  10
Bike Time:  6:11:44 
Avg Speed:  18.1mph   
After Bike:
    RanK:   25
    Time:   07:42:42
T2 Rank:    6 
T2 Time:    1:37  
After T2
   Rank:    23
   Time:    07:44:19   
Run Lap 1:
      Rank: 17 
      Time: 2:11:24
      Pace: 10:02min/mile

After Lap 1:
      Rank: 17
      Time: 09:55:43   

Run Lap 2:
      Rank: 13
      Time: 2:21:21
      Pace: 10:47min/mile

Total Run:
      Rank: 14
      Time: 4:32:45
      Pace: 10:25min/mile

Final Rank: 13
Final Time: 12:17:03

 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Bike 1 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Bike 2 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Go Daddy Go! Signs 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Why is Daddy taking so long? 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Coming in to T2 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Leaving T2 Last mile of 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Approaching the Finish Line 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Crossing the Finish Line 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - Salty but Happy 2006 Grand Columbian Ironman - I’m an Ironman!


15 Responses to “Ironman Race Report”

  1. Some updates to old posts… « ZappoMan Says:

    […] I updated my Ironman race report to include pictures from the official race photographer. […]

  2. Wu Says:

    Good job. I’ve been toying with Grand Columbian next year or Florida. More likely will be Canada in 2008.

  3. Endurance Racing and Family Support « ZappoMan Says:

    […] Lord knows my wife has already sacrificed by letting me train and race these events. She’s already had her share of answer the question “Where’s Daddy?”, “When is Daddy going to be home?” She doesn’t need to answer these questions out in the middle of nowhere 6 hours into an Ironman. I want to make it as easy on her as possible. For my first Ironman (this year) I was able to plan a nice location along the bike route, where the racers would pass twice, and bonus there was a playground around the corner. But of course my 4 year old just wanted to sit in the car and watch Dora videos on the portable DVD player. […]

  4. beanland Says:

    Way to go!

    Great race report and an amazing accomplishment. Was this a one-time only Ironman for you? Our did you get bitten by “the bug”?

    Best of luck in future training.

  5. Jakob Says:

    Hey Zapp,

    That’s a fantastic achievement. I just came across your site on where I have the same goal and I must say that your story is inspiring.

    What’s your next goal?


  6. zappoman Says:


    My next big goal is to run the same Ironman course and take 90 minutes off of my time. I have about 9 months to go and think I can make it. I plan to take 60 minutes off my marathon time, which based on my first 23 miles of my Seattle Marathon I think I am well within striking distance of achieving. I think I can pick up the other 30 minutes on the bike and the swim.

    Keep coming back to see my progress.


  7. ZappoMan - Fitness Blog : Thoughts on Fitness, Health, Diet, Marathons, Triathlons, and Ironman by Brad Hefta-Gaub » I made it: 5,000 miles! Says:

    […] year I rode well over 5,000 road miles. But this year, I took up triathlon, trained for an Ironman, and discovered how much fun Spin class could be.  The result was that I was off my pace […]

  8. Felix Wong Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog, ZappoMan. And outstanding performance in your first Ironman! Incredible you were able to walk every other mile and still do a 4:30 marathon; seemed like a good strategy! Anyhow, congrats on the amazing amount of weight loss and becoming an Ironman. Keep it up!

  9. zappoman Says:

    Actually, This run/walk strategy is something I got from Galloway’s books. I think it’s a good strategy. In my Seattle Marathon I also used Run/walk, but I made my run sections longer and my walk breaks shorter. I know several runners who always use run/walk and have run near 3:00 marathons. Although maybe they’d be sub 3 if they took out the walks. 😉

  10. Joe Hefta Says:


    A belated but nevertheless HUGE congratulations on your accomplishment. Nice results, too!

    Peace and love to Adrien and the girls,

    Yer cuz,


  11. ZappoMan - Fitness Blog : Thoughts on Fitness, Health, Diet, Marathons, Triathlons, and Ironman by Brad Hefta-Gaub » A diversion from training… in verse? Says:

    […] little surprised by the attention… but alas, he has only himself to blame. He put up a blog. He commented on my blog. He has taken back to the roads to cycle. He also happens to like poetry from iconoclasts and […]

  12. A diversion from training… in verse? « ZappoMan - Fitness Blog Says:

    […] little surprised by the attention… but alas, he has only himself to blame. He put up a blog. He commented on my blog. He has taken back to the roads to cycle. He also happens to like poetry from iconoclasts and […]

  13. JDay Says:

    Hey, if you are into contests there is a great contest on YouTube for Valentines Day. The contest is to create a video for the holiday. Actually its two contests, one is to make a video talking about your great love and the second is to actually do an online video proposal called “Will You Marry Me?” Here’s the URL Right now there are very few entries so you might have a good shot at winning.

  14. ZooreElof Says:

    To me it is necessary to find

  15. tana Says:

    Well done on your race.

    What was your training schedule like?

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