My biggest successes have often come the week after a failed race and I'm hoping this come trues for Ironman Florida this upcoming week. Ironman Austin 70.3 did not exactly goes as planned, but I did gain some valuable experience. This experience is a big part of why I race much more frequently than my peers, and I'm confident that it will come in handy some day.
As for my training this week... I hit it hard Monday thru Thursday in hopes of topping off the fitness tanks for Ironman Florida. Overall volume was down, but I still did 2x20 just below threshold on the bike, and 3x7 at 70.3 race pace later on in the week. I did lots of descending 100s in the pool. And for running, I did some mile repeats and 1/2 mile repeats at 70.3 race pace. I was happy to travel to Austin on Friday, and enjoy nothing more than an easy bike ride on Saturday.
As for the race...
Swim (28:06): Well I totally cracked on the swim. I made the mistake of jumping on Chris " Macca " McCormick's feet and not staying in the group. In reality, Macca and myself were actually ahead of Andy Potts and crew 100 meters in. Unfortunately the 71 shore-edge temp turned out to be way warmer in the middle of the lake and I badly overheated and cracked like I never have before. Before you knew it I had guys crawling over me and I couldn't even stay on their feet. Then the girls starting crawling over me. It wasn't good.
T1 (2:59): I got out of the water and I was fully prepared for a freezing bike. My mid-day Tucson training really came back to bite me at this race. I got to my bike and the rapid change and loss of heat in 45 degree temps made me feel so sick and I felt like I wanted to vomit. I looked at Patrick Evoe and he was just shaking his head. I put on 2XU compression socks and full winter riding gloves and in the process had one of the slowest T1s of the group..
Bike (2:16:14): I got going on the bike and I instantly turned into an ice block. Although my Powertap was actually working for once, I spent almost no time looking at the power screen, and instead focused my attention on the temperature gauge. It read 45 and still getting colder. With a 7:40 sunrise the sun provided no relief. I struggled to keep blood flow in my hands even with full riding gloves on. After spending the last year watching survivor shows, I knew my hands were in trouble when I lost the ability to control them. They actually would not respond and it became scary. I knew that I can win a war of attrition and I was just hoping people were suffering as much as I was.
I continued on biking only to pass one of the gals who swam over me in the swim. I was shocked she had no gloves on. Now granted in the end she DNFed, but I asked her about it 5 miles in, and she said she was fine and that really worried me. Too make matters worse I had major bike mechanical issues at 6:30am in the morning for this 7:30 start, and I ended up having to remove the rear brake from my bike. I also had a loose derailleur hanger making shifting poor. In addition this affected the stability and stiffness in the rear of the bike making it downright scary. In the cold, my muscles were tight and I could really feel it in my hips.
By 9am the temperature was still 45 and not getting any better. Despite the cold, I hung in there and eventually the temps increased to a balmy 53 degrees by the end. It was an awful bike and I really don't remember much because I was so fixated on the temperature gauge on my bike computer.
Run (1:21:36): Heading in to the run I had no idea where I stood in the race. I passed a couple of guys on the bike but never caught up to the main group. However, coming on to the run there was a long of string of guys all within 1/2 mile of me. It gave me some confidence that I could possibly run myself back into the race. After a large run block - my first since February - I knew I could do some damage on the run. In that first 1.5 miles I passed all 6 guys running 5:15 pace. I knew it wasn't sustainable but I didn't care. I would run hard until I could asses where I was at in this 3 loop course. At about mile 1.5 it became clear that there would be no podium. Tj Tollakson, Andy Potts, Jeff Symonds, Chris McCormick, and Brandon Marsh had too big of gap and I decided to turn the run into one last training run for Ironman Florida. I dialed down the pace for the next miles to a reasonable pace between Ironman 70.3 and Ironman, before doing a little cool down for the last 2 miles. In the end that still got me a top ten finish in this stacked P500 race.
Overall (4:10:11 / 9th Pro): In reality the race ended up being the perfect training day for Ironman Florida next weekend. In the process I learned a lot about racing in the cold and what I will need to do to prepare for it in the future. Racing thru harsh conditions and knowing what you are capable of and comfortable with gives you the ability to remain calm and confident shall future situations arise. We shall see what happens on Saturday at Ironman Florida, but I'm feeling good about things as it stands now. As I write this I don't even feel like I even raced yesterday and I think that is a testament to the much increased run volume.
Here are my weekly swim, bike, and run totals:
Total: 213 Miles / 16 hours 29 minutes
Swim: 12,700 yards / ~7 miles / 3 hours 30 minutes
Bike: 175 miles / 9 hours 17 minutes
Run: 31 miles / 3 hours 42 minutes
Core: 0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes
Body Fat: N/A
Calories Consumed: N/A
Calories Burned: N/A