Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ironman 70.3*

This blog post could have had lots of titles:
  • Steelhead Ironman 69.1
  • Steelhead Duathlon
  • Mother Nature F'd Us in the A
All would have worked.  The reason being that, thanks to high winds and riptides on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Sunday, the swim portion of the Steelhead Ironman 70.3 race was cancelled. No big deal, I only trained for this for 18 weeks. 

Needless to say I was disappointed.  But I still had 56 miles to bike and then a half-marathon to run.

My next statement will be made in relative terms.*  I was fast on Sunday.  Like, really fast.

22 mph on the bike for a split of 2:32:58.

8:32/mi pace on the run for a split of 1:51:57.

Add in the transition (~3 minutes) and I had a total race time of 4:28:07.

You may remember my goal was to break 6 hours.  Given my swim time target was 45 minutes, I think it is safe to say I would have crushed  6 hours and maybe even gone sub 5:30.  Not too shabby.

The TT bike with the new wheelset was awesome.  It just looks fast, and I think that actually helps (the mental game matters). We were sent off on a time trial style start with 2 riders sent off every 3-5 seconds.  This meant the field was really bunched up for almost the entire bike leg, and that there was quite a bit of illegal drafting going on.  Most of it though was not necessarily intentional.
See, doesn't that beautiful bike just look fast?
The run was painful towards the end, as I expected.  But I was also stronger than I thought I would be, which was not so expected.  I really thought I would fall off after the first 8 miles, but was able to keep sub 9 minute pace for each of my mile splits.  I did slow down a bit for miles 9-11, but was able to ramp back up above my intial pace to finish the last few miles strong.  I was even able to pull off some smiles as I crossed the finish line.  I also demanded more cheering and more cowbell from the crowd of spectators, which they graciously provided.
I was definitely in pain at this point, around mile 9.
I will definitely have to do another race of this distance next year, hopefully earlier in the season.  Who knows, maybe Ironman Wisconsin or Ironman Arizona next fall?

*By relative I mean fast for me.  I finished 69th out of more than 200 in my age group, and 442nd out of more than 2,500 overall in the race. The top pro men and women were about an hour faster than me.

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