I am tearing myself away from reading “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to type up this post. You’re welcome.
As you probably already have read, my race this past weekend, Ironman Muncie 70.3 was shortened due to the heat wave here in the Midwest. The race ended up being a 1 mile swim, 29 mile bike, and 10k run. While I am really disappointed with the decision to shorten the race, I understand why they did it. I firmly believe there are dozens of ways in which they could have better handled the situation, but I will leave that up to SlowTwitch to deal with. In the end, I feel that I was personally ready for the heat of the event having trained the last two weeks during the hottest parts of the day in anticipation of a hot event. I know what my limits are and I know how to prepare myself for tough conditions. But that is the last of it you will hear from me.
If you just want the short version, I had an awesome race. I met all of my goals and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face ready to go some more. Once I got over the shortened course, I made the best of it and raced my heart out.
Read on for the long version…
Jennie and I headed down to Muncie Friday morning. We were still about an hour away when I get a “Have you heard the news?” text from one of my teammates. Oh great. I immediately thought the race was cancelled – they had already moved the start time up a half hour. She had been at the first athlete meeting at 2:00 when news of the shortened course was first announced. I had mixed feelings about it. I was upset, but at the same time I was glad it wasn’t cancelled all together. Knowing that it was a shortened course actually made packet pickup and the expo a breeze. Now, I sure as hell wasn’t going to spend any additional money at the Ironman Store, so waiver signed, packet in hand, we waited for the next athlete meeting to start. It was actually the busiest athlete meeting that I have sat through with everyone wanting details on the changes. There were a few questions about the WTC decision, but it was pretty obvious that they weren’t going to change their mind.
I ended up sleeping pretty well and we got up and ready for in no time. The one complaint I have about the venue is that pretty much all of the hotels are at least 30 minutes away from the race site. There was some camping available closer, but no hotels. It made for an even earlier morning to allow for travel time.
As I was getting my transition area setup, Scott came over to say hi. We chatted for a bit and the met up again on the beach.
Out of the three, I think that the swim was the least pleasant. In fact, I am actually surprised that the swim was not canceled. The water was 88*F! After reading some stuff after the race, FINA recommends canceling open water swims at 87*F. The guy lined up next to me at the start said it best when he said, “You know what this water is the temperature of? Urine.” And he was right. Yuck.
About 30 minutes before the swim start I ate a Honey Stinger waffle and sipped some water.
As my swim wave lined up, I took a place up front on the outside with two other guys. I had scoped out the starting position by watching the previous waves and was surprised that there were only 3 of us lined up there.
The swim was obviously no wetsuits because of the temperature. It was also shortened to 1 mile (although I have heard that it was a long mile). There was quite a few athletes wearing TYR Torque swimskins for some legal speed. Knowing that they were going to smoke me, I figured out where they were and did my best to follow them.
After slipping on a smooth rock just as the gun went off and having the most awkward swim start ever, the first half of the swim went great. I managed to get right at the back of the lead group and was swimming comfortably. It was a clockwise swim which I prefer because I breathe to the right and it makes sighting the buoys easier. The 2nd half of the course got a bit more congested as we started to catch the waves ahead of us. I did my best to move around swimmers but I seemed to keep finding myself stuck behind groups and trying to figure out a way around.
I had the best T1 ever. I was passing people on the run from the swim which usually doesn’t happen. I grabbed everything I needed and started running out with my bike. As I approached the mount line, I noticed a huge backup of riders who got 2 inches passed the mount line and came to a complete stop to get on their bikes. I found a gap in the group, ran through, and did a flying mount onto my bike.
The bike was is best described as screaming fast chaos. With the shortened course, it ended up being an out then double loop course on a 10 mile stretch of road with athletes riding each direction and then back to transition.
As per my strategy, I took it easier than normal during the first couple of miles to let my legs adjust to the bike. I felt a bit of tightness in my legs but I found that if I increased my gear and slowed my cadence, the pain went away. So, I did this for the first couple miles. I had a bit of a snafu getting my left foot into my shoe and actually had to reach down and adjust the strap so that I could get my foot in. That issue actually helped keep me reigned in a bit as I fiddled with it.
However, once I turned onto the flat stretch of road, all bets were off. I absolutely hammered it. I had a great group of guys that I worked off of the entire time. We spent the entire time leap frogging each other and working our way around the groups of riders. It was so congested though that at times we had to sit up and drop back and wait for a clear passing lane. As we leap frogged each other, we’d just kind of look at each other and shrug/chuckle at the madness out there.
The roads for the most part were amazing smooth. There was maybe one climb on each loop if you can even call it a climb. I stayed in aero nearly the whole time except when the field bunched up and I had to sit up and drop back.
Holy hills! Oh wait… that Y-Axis only represents 100’? Yep. Talk about a fast course!
I saw lots of overly aggressive and downright stupid riding out there though. There were quite a few draft packs blasting by riders and riders crossing the double yellow (into oncoming cyclists) to get around groups. Riders weren’t slowing down at all going through the aid stations either. At one aid station, I grabbed a bottle from the first volunteer and moved to my left. A guy came flying past me on the right trying to get a bottle. He failed in all 3 attempts at grabbing a bottle from volunteers sending 3 bottles into the roadway as hazards to other riders. There was one (that I know of) pretty bad crash at the aid station due to stray bottle. I even heard from teammates that they saw riders TEXTING in their aero bars. Absolutely no excuse whatsoever for that. Personally, I feel that if someone is caught texting during a race they should get a 1 year ban from the sport.
I had one close call that was ironically after we had turned off the loop and the crowd thinned out. A rider was riding to the right but as I started to pass, she swung way to the left for no reason. I quickly yelled “On your left!” She was startled and was able to move back right and apologized. It was a rough section of road and if I had to swerve left anymore, I probably would have bit it because there was a giant seem in the middle the road that looked like the perfect width to swallow a wheel.
Nutrition-wise, I nailed or maybe even over-nailed my nutrition on the bike. I wasn’t really sure what my nutrition plan should entail on the bike because of the shortened course. I ended up drinking a bottle and a half of EFS and half of a liquid shot. I supplemented that with a bottle of water from each aid station (chugged some and dumped the rest on my head). This put me at nearly 700 calories for the day after less than 2 hours of racing – cue foreshadowing music.
T2 went just about as smoothly as T1. My time was actually faster in T2 than T1 despite the fact that I stopped at the porta-jon. This is probably because the run from the water to transition in T1 was a bit longer than normal. It also helped that I didn’t mess around with putting on my Garmin for the run.
First off, the volunteers on the run course (and the entire event for that matter) were absolutely amazing. There was literally an aid station every 1/2 mile or less on the course. It is almost like a 10k long aid station.
One thing that helped with having a successful run is that I left my Garmin in my bag and ran naked – without technology that is. Although actually running naked probably would have helped with the heat. I knew my pace was going to be slower than normal due to the heat and I just didn’t want to even think about my pace. I just wanted to go out, run, and have fun.
I would say that in the end, I ran nearly 95% of the course only slowing down at aid stations and to puke. Yep. I puked. But it actually helped and I felt a lot better. Remember that foreshadowing music from the bike? Well, I think I took in too many calories on the bike and my body just couldn’t handle it. So, right after the turn around, I was hunched over a bush getting rid of the excess calories.
Once I got moving again, I had a spring in my step and actually ended up negative splitting the run even with the stop.
Nutrition wise, I stuck with water and ice. I would dump ice down the back of my shirt, drink some water, and pour some water over my head. I had cinched up my race number belt so it held the ice in my jersey and kept me cool. Around mile 4, I grab a cup of cola and that gave me a huge surge to the finish.
I had a super positive attitude during most of the run and even more so at the end of the run. I spent the final 2 miles encouraging runners I passed, thanking the volunteers, and high fiving spectators. It is amazing how much encouraging others and interacting with the crowd helps improve your own state of mind.
I ended up finishing in 2:37:06, however, because of the odd distance, I really have nothing to compare that to. One thing that I am super proud of is that I remained consistent in all 3 disciplines. In my age group, I was ranked 18th in the swim, 20th on the bike, and 19th on the run. That usually doesn’t happen and I have one discipline that is the outlier.
After the race, we headed back to our hotel. We had already checked out, but we took a chance and asked the front desk if we could get back into the room to use the shower. They checked out the room and they hadn’t yet gotten around to cleaning it so they let us back in. Score one for the Hampton! That type of service alone made it worth every penny.
We got cleaned up and then grabbed some recovery food (McDonalds Angus Deluxe Burger and chocolate milk shake – MMMmmmm). Then, it was off to a post race party with my tri team. A group from my team rented out a house for the weekend and invited us over. Because it was my birthday, we stopped at Dairy Queen and picked up an ice cream cake to bring with us.
We had a great afternoon rehashing the race day and talking about what is next. There is already talk of Muskoka 70.3 2013. They are a great group and I am happy to have found such a fun team to be a part of.
Oh, and we had some cake too…
Overall, it made for an awesome weekend.
Thanks for reading! And make sure to come back later this week. I will share the most epic birthday present ever that I received from Jennie. Intrigued?
|Age Group Place:||19/99|
|Run Pace:||7:52 min/mile|