IM 70.3 Florida – THE RACE

RESULT
Swim: 46:02
Bike: 3:08:57
Run:  2:26:07
Total: 6:33:44, 93/133 Division, 1258/2500 Overall

I’ll be relatively brief (since until now I haven’t), but if you’ve never done one of these things, do it!!  Wow, what a cool race experience.  The nerves were building quickly as my wave came up – wave 13 came up, and I had 3 minutes before the gun.  I waded in the water, my heart pounding, and came back to the shore to line up to start.  The last buoys looked SO far away – I was calculating in my head how this was possibly just 80 lengths in the pool.  Finally the gun went off, I waded in, and took my position around the middle of the pack.  A few passed me, I passed a few, and I found some space towards the outside.  My sighting was awful, and I think I swam about 7 Z-patterns before passing the first row of buoys.  Knowing nothing of drafting, I just swam – and smiled the whole time.  THIS was cool – long swim with tons of people, and if need be, full contact was not out of the question.  I got squeezed coming around the 2nd corner buoy, and instead of just waiting for the two people squeezing me at the corner to pass, I just went full speed ahead and the two popped up like bowling pins.  I realized that while sportsmanship is the name of the game, just going around everyone wasn’t always going to work.  FUN!

I got out of the water, calculating quickly in my head that I had come in somewhere around 46 minutes for the 1.2 miles.  Actually not bad given my training times.  I then spent 6:44 in transition, got myself into the mindset of a great 70.3 pacing article I had been reading during training, and started the bike at a moderate pace (for me, this meant 16 mph).  I got passed – a LOT – but that was cool because I was in my own world.  I was playing through my nutrition strategy in my head – gels every 45, maltodextrin mix every 20 with water, gatorade periodically – and didn’t get caught up in catching another wheel or competing against anyone else.  This whole race was just a battle within myself to finish, so that’s how I treated it – and it was surprisingly fun!  I smiled pretty much the whole way to the finish.

Mile 25-35 SUCKED – I found it pretty painful, and my gel wasn’t going down.  So I pretty much just put my head down and kept pedaling.  Despite feeling like hell at this point, my pace rose steadily throughout the bike, and I finished off averaging 17.8 mph.  This was decent for me, so I was pleased.

T2 was 5:57 for me, which felt really long, but again I took my time to stretch and refresh.  I started the run with a vengeance, running my first mile in 8:30.  And wow, did I ever drop off hard.  If it tells you anything, my average mile for the 13.1 mile run was 11:10 – that is NOT good for me.  Looking back, though, I just didn’t train the run as much as I should have, and was definitely not systematic about it.  I ended up walking every aid station, and in the last 3 miles, I walked about 15 total minutes.  I was pretty dehydrated and pouring ice down my jersey while temperatures held close to 90 with not even a spot of shade for most of the course, and it didn’t help to see several athletes falling over right around me.  I found another guy in my age group struggling as much as I was at the end, so we continually pushed each other to run, which was a life-saver.

When I finally crossed the finish line, my dad, who was so cool to show up for the race, asked me if I’d do it again.  My response was pretty definite, “not right at this moment, but toss me a beer, let me sleep a bit and then hell ya!”

The week after the race, I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Providence!

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