Soma 70.3 Triathlon Race Report - 2011 Half Ironman

With the Rev3 amateur series out of the way, I finally had a good opportunity to take my pro card.  I thought about waiting until the 2012 season, but let's face it, I'm not getting any younger and I still have a lot to learn.  Truthfully, I didn't want to be that pro that gets kicked out the back of races during the swim.  I always believe you should be performing at the next level before being promoted or promoting oneself. Although my swim is still lacking, I was confident that I can hold my own in the water and I took the plunge at Soma 70.3.

Jozsef Major, Kevin Taddonio, Lauren Goss, Me, Kristi Johnson
Swim (29:47):  The pro race would be wetsuit free and for once I would not have to worry about overheating in another wetsuit swim.  Being my first pro race, I knew one of the biggest changes would be - swim start dynamics - and I wasn't sure exactly who I could swim with.  I was thinking I could maybe grab local-boy Lewis Elliot's feet, but I decided to line up next to the speedsters Guy Crawford and Lauren Goss and just see what happened.

The gun went off and the frenzy started.  It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was in the chase pack of about 6.  Then the guy in front of me got dropped and I was relegated to swimming behind his feet for the rest of the swim.  Despite his best efforts, he couldn't shake me and I would get a free tow all the way to T1.

Overall I was never really in any difficulty in this slightly long swim, but I was concerned when a few age-groupers in wetsuits came flying by.   In addition, I had a cramping left calve muscle and I was worried that the push-up and hop-out type of exit this race had would cause a full lock-up.  Fortunately upon exit the calf was fine and I made quick work of transition.

Bike (2:15:15):   That bike course is 3-loop course on mostly flat roads that are in good shape but has over 50 turns to slow things down a bit.  The stagger rule was in effect, but apparently the international athletes didn't get the memo.

Lap 2 - A little bit better lean
I got rolling on the course and my legs felt surprisingly good and the power was high.  The numerous out-and-backs on the course provided many opportunities to check out my competition and I was pleased to see I was only a minute down from Lewis Elliott and had a nice gap on Matt Russell, Kevin Taddino, Jozef Major, and Matt Sheeks. 

Overall to stay apart of the race I had to knock up my power a bit from the typical age-group race.  I rode right at 270-280 watts which is a pretty good number for someone 5'8 and 153 on race day.   I was slightly concerned that the power would come back to haunt me in the blast furance of the run but I knew I had to stay in the race and that is what it took.

The bike was chaotic in loops 2 and 3 as we merged with the age-groupers.  The stagger rule was a real downer as I am accustom to sling-shooting around age-groupers using their slip-stream.  Overall, the bike was pretty smooth but I got rocked on the turns and would lose 2-3 seconds on each one.  This is definitely a place that I need to work on improving, but regardless I was happy to roll back into transition in 6th place.

Run (1:23:51): The run course was a 2-loop out-and-back course in an extremely hot, dry, and shade-free environment. Because my bike power was a little higher than I would have liked, I opted to take it out conservatively to avoid a mid-run bonk.  I followed the plan and I was pleasantly surprised to find out at the turn-around that I was only 4 minutes down from the leaders and roughly 2 minutes down from 5th.

I came thru loop one and was feeling pretty good and decided to try to surge and catch 5th but it wasn't meant to be.  At the turnaround on a lap two I was still about 1:10 down with only about 2.5 miles to go.  I still tried to close the gap but couldn't do it and I came across the finish in 6th place.

Overall (4:10:22):  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I couldn't be happier with the result.  I am all about slow-and-steady progress and the race helped to validate my training methods.

Despite the long season, mentally my mind is fresh and I don't want the season to end.  Physically my body keeps get stronger and faster and I know I still have a lot of potential for good racing in 2011.  As of right now I am trying to get in Ironman Arizona but look for me at Amica 19.7 Phoenix in less than 2 weeks for sure.  I will also be racing a local Tucson triathlon this weekend as a fast training day in preparation for Amica.

As always, I want to thank - use my Trisports coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.

 I also want to thank Dana, Bill, Austin, and Logan Jones for homestaying me for the event.

If you haven't got a chance don't forget to pre-order your Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS watch - would make a great Christmas gift for someone special.


  1. Congrats Thomas! Sounds like a hell of a first race with the card!

  2. Good report Thomas, and good race for a first try with pro card.
    Congrats from Spain.