This race has been 3 years in the making and more specifically the product of what can happen when you put yourself in a position to succeed. Over the past 3 years I have changed many things in my life with the main purpose being to allow myself to become a better triathlete. This started with simply buying a bike and learning how to ride for more than 45 minutes. That progressed to signing up for my first two Ironman races in 2010 and then finally to putting a career on hold to chase a dream. That dream was to simply strive for something that I thought bigger than myself. It is not that I think myself to be a future Kona Champion, that simply is not in my cards. However, the GOAL is to be competitive and go head to head with some of the best in the sport. With each season, each race and each training session I am building towards being able to hold my own. (It is not easy and I still have an extremely long way to go, lets face it I had a great race on Sunday and was still 28 minutes behind the winner, Joe Gambles). Contrary to what you might think, at 5’8” 152 lbs, I am no physical specimen. Every accomplishment is earned through what I feel is hard work and determination. Luckily triathlon is a sport that rewards those attributes. Miracles simply don’t happen in triathlon. No one is making a one-handed grab in the corner of the endzone from a Doug Flutie hail mary, the band is NOT coming on the field and you are not going to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth down 1 run with 2 outs and 2 strikes against you. In triathlon you are pretty much going to perform at the level that you trained yourself to be at.
The alarm in my head went off around 4:02. Breakfast, as shown below was consumed by 5 AM and by 5:50 I was headed down to transition.
After my spot was taken care of in transition I headed down to the beach and got comfortable as my wave was going off a full 50 minutes after the Pro Men.
Swimming has not been as much of a focus as in the past for me. I’ve been doing more open water work lately and frankly just put more time in the bike and run department. Which is why coming out of the water under 30 minutes made me very happy. The swim as usual is typically a boring part of the race to talk about so I will just say that it was a very crowded swim with all the waves in front of me still in the water which made for a lot of weaving and additional sighting. BUT, when I was about 50 yards from shore I saw the clock just clicking over to 29:xx so I went as hard as I could and ran as fast as I could into transition and was rewarded with a sub 30 minute swim.
Swim Time: 29:58, 5th AG, 57th OA
A brain fart while in transition cost me about 45 seconds I would guess. I simply could not locate my bike, I thought it was by a tree but it turns out there were about 25 trees in transition. Whoops! Anyway, once I found my bike I was on my way.
The first section of the bike before you make a left and get off the highway is a little hilly right at the start and my legs really weren’t happy. I think the kicking at the end of the swim exhausted them a little bit. So it took a few miles before I felt comfortable on the bike. Once I did it was time to start climbing as the first section of the course is mostly uphill. Nothing to notable happened here other than the fact that I exploded a Powerbar Gel on myself and bike, which meant that I was A. Sticky and B. In need of a fuel replacement at the next aid station. Otherwise things went smoothly over the first 30 miles. After the initial hills its flattens out and even has a net elevation loss for a pretty long way, enough so that my average speed over that section was around 28 mph. Somewhere around 30 miles into the race a 27 year old who, coached by my buddy Chad Holderbaum came by me in Chad fashion pushing a big gear. He said hello and continued on his way. In a full Ironman distance race I probably would have just let him go but this was a 70.3 and I wanted to race! Plus finding out my limits is always a good excuse. Needless to say I pushed a bit harder than I had and actually maintained a manageable gap between us until I dropped my chain at an aid station and had to stop and fix it. Luckily when I did that 3 other guys in my AG came by me and so I had some more motivation. I used them as targets for a little while and ended up going ahead of them with a couple miles left.
Bike: 2:20, 2nd AG, 16th OA
(Garmin File–> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212623071)
Coming off the bike I could kind of tell that I was in second in my AG and probably 3rd out of the 29 and unders. I figured that there would probably be 2-3 people in the earlier waves that would be challenging for the overall amateur podium so given that I knew I would need a good run to have a chance at top 5. Out of the gate I was a little slower than planned at around 6:25 – 6:30. I really had to pee and it was uncomfortable. None the less I managed to pass a couple people my age and knew I basically had one 29 and under guy to pass by the end of the race and that would give me a good shot at being top 5 or top 3 in the amateur race. Since I passed a couple guys by mile 1.5 I decided to make a porta potty stop and it was the best decision I made all day. After that I felt a ton better. After the stop I passed the couple guys back and settled into a pretty steady pace over the first 6 miles. At the beginning of the second loop I felt really good and started to lift the HR. When I hit the turn around at mile 9.5 I saw that I had closed the gap to my buddy Fredric (Shown in the finish line pic with me below) who had been running ahead of me these first 9 miles. After the turn around you get back on the lake road by climbing a slight incline and I could tell that I was gaining. With about 1.5 miles to go there is a downhill and it was here I decided that I was just going to run right on by and not look back. I closed with a good effort and stayed ahead, crossing the line in 4:16 with a 1:22 run split. Regardless of the overall placement I am very pleased to have run close to 1:20 off what was my best bike effort in terms of power and speed.
Run: 1:22, 1st in 25-29 AG
(Garmin Run File –> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212607222)
Overall Results: 1st AG 25-29, 3rd Amateur and 14th Overall