If you have been following my blog you might remember me saying that I wanted to focus of shorter events this year so I could get some more experience and speed into my body and get really, really comfortable at the shorter distances. With my mind-set on this schedule, though it was hard to not think about doing and Ironman because it’s such a great event, I knew I would be better for it whenever I stepped up to the Ironman distance. After signing up for 70.3 Muncie I realized this would probably be my only race at the 70.3 distance this year for a few reasons; scheduling, money, and training. I would LOVE to be able to race every few weeks but with a lack of funds and knowing that racing that much does not lead to as much quality training I kept my schedule to only 2 real “A” triathlons, along with the Boston and Chicago Marathon.
Training leading up to this race has been going great. I have been hitting my workouts and I have been bouncing back from sessions so I was confident I would have a good race. But with any race as long as 70.3 miles there can be some issues that I might not have thought about: Is my nutrition solid? Is the weather going to cooperate? What if I get a flat? Cramp? With so many other things to think about the best thing to do is think of none of them. Only think about what you can control. So that’s exactly what I did.
My parents and I drove up to Muncie Friday, made a quick stop at the expo then headed to Prairie Creek Reservoir to drop off my bike and get in a quick swim. I had been reading that the water might make it wetsuit legal which is unheard of for this race. 2 years ago when I raced the water was like 80 and last year because of the weather they shortened the whole race! Jumped in the water and it felt good; swam for a bit then got out and headed back to the hotel to shower then go eat. Blah blah blah until my alarm went off at 4:30 Saturday.
Woke up, made some coffee ate my bagel, then packed up and headed to transition. Nothing special here. Thankfully my wave was the 2nd non pro wave so there was not much waiting around after the pros.
Swim: (31:28, 1:37 min/100m) 12th AG
I got in the water and got a few quick strokes in before we had to line up and get ready for the start. I wanted to get a good line in the swim and start off fast. I was kind of surprised to see that no one was really on the inside buoy line so I had plenty of clear space. Gun went off and I sprinted out. Started to get into a rhythm but I was not able to find any feet that were going the same speed as me which was kind of frustrating but oh well. At the first turn I started to catch up to people in the wave that started 10 minutes before us so I had to pay a little more attention so I didn’t swim over anyone because no one likes being swam over. Once I got to the last turn we were swimming directly into the sun. It made it very tough to sight but I think my line was ok. I started to think of what my time would be and I was guessing around 30ish minutes because I felt like I was pushing but I got out of the water and saw 31:20ish. I guess I wasn’t pushing hard enough! I was really happy they had wetsuit strippers because all I had to do was get my arms out of the wetsuit then they would pull the rest off. They made it very quick. After a long run up to transition I put on my glasses and helmet then headed onto the bike course.
Bike: (2:25:38, 23.07 MPH, 220 Watts) 7th AG
I knew what I wanted my power to be on the bike and I knew the bike course was flat and pretty fast so I thought a 2:20ish bike split was in the cards. Got on the bike, started to ease into the bike to make sure my legs were settled and I felt good with riding the power I wanted to ride. Starting in the early waves is nice but it makes for a lonely bike ride; but that’s not really a bad thing. I passed a few people then after about 10 or so miles someone in my wave passed me but was going close to the same speed as me so I figured I might as well ride with him to have someone to share the work and pace off of. No I did not draft, I stayed at the legal distance behind him but even at the legal distance there is still some draft effect. My power would drop 5-10% but the best thing about riding with someone is I get to relax and not worry about pacing. We took turns up front until the turn around point. Just before the turn around there is a no pass zone on a super narrow road with TERRIBLE chip seal, gravel, road, or whatever they want to call it. Either way it was terrible and even though the no pass zone was only like 3/4 of a mile the crap roads lasted much longer and it was no fun.
Once I hit the turn around I decided to pick it up some more because my legs were feeling good and I wanted to kind of see how hard I could push and still run after. That is a slippery slop because if I rode too hard I would have blown up on the run. But I think I rode it pretty well, I do think I left some time out there but oh well. A few miles after the turn I was wondering why the guy I was riding with hadn’t come up. Welp, he was nowhere to be seen. I guess he decided to stick with his pace after I picked it up. The roads were lonely and pretty fast after the crap roads ended. With about a mile left before T2 the guy I was riding with caught up and we talked for a second before he passed me. We went into transition together but I was confident in my run so I figured I would be able to outrun him. Jump off the bike, run through transition, quickly put my socks and shoes on then I’m off!
Run: (1:24:05, 6:25 min/mile) 3rd AG
I am getting pretty good at transitions but most of that is probably because I keep think nice and simple. Only have my shoes, socks and number belt to put on. I head out onto the run and quickly catch the guy who just beat me into T2. I was hoping to run around a 1:25 based on my training but knew it would be tough because the run course is challenging with rollers throughout the run. I settle into a comfortably hard pace trying to keep it around 6:30’s and hope I could keep it up the whole way. I was also hoping that the bike didn’t come back to bite me in the butt, but it didn’t! I start to reel off mile after mile and I see no one. At about mile 4 I ask a spectator if there was anyone around. She said about a minute and a half “and he looks crappy”. Those are always good words to hear when I am feeling good. Finally I start to see the pros coming back my way so I at least get to see people. I kept pushing and at the turn I see a few people who look catchable. But about a mile after the turn someone passed me! I saw him after I made the turn and he was cruising so I knew it was inevitable but it still sucks!
I pass a few people and finally I get down to the last few miles. More rollers are ahead and I am starting to feel like crap but I just keep trying to tick off the minutes. At about mile 11 I see a few people ahead of me and make it my goal to try to pass them. I turned around and did not see anyone close so I figured I might as well push it hard because if I blew up it looked like I wouldn’t get passed. I started to get close to the two others and started to count how far ahead they were. 20 seconds, 16 seconds, 10 seconds. I passed the first guy then got up to the shoulder of the other and he wouldn’t let me pass. I thought to myself, “this is going to be one hell of a last mile!” And it sure was. I tried to pass, he’d surge ahead. We were literally shoulder to shoulder and we were MOVING. With about a half mile to go there was a little incline and I tried to make a move, but so did he. So the deadlock continued. I started to hear him breathing really hard. I was in pain but I knew I had some more in me. I had a flashback to Muncie 2011 when I made a move right before the turn to the finishing chute with about .25 miles to go and ended up beating the guy by 4 seconds to get my 70.3 World Championship spot! And that was my plan. We got to the top of the little incline right before the turn to the downhill finish. BOOM! I made the move on the inside and he did not have it in him to follow. So I sprint down the chute and hear I am the 3rd 25-29 finisher and I want to collapse but it was worth it!
Finish: 4:25:07 25th Overall, 10th Amateur, and 3rd in AG
All in all I am VERY happy with the result but now looking at my splits I know I can go faster. I need to work on my swim more and I think I can get better on the bike too. But with a 70.3 PR and a run PR and my highest finish yet I sit here writing this report very happy (but also thinking ahead to the USAT AG Nationals in August)! Well I hope that wasn’t too long and you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.