Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 Cane Creek Sprint Race Report

After Muncie 70.3 I felt myself in a little bit of a lull.  I had 2 half iron races that I was signed up for, and was really looking forward to.  Truthfully however, after qualifying, I felt a slight dropoff in motivation.  So this one Monday at swim, Paul asked me if I'm doing the Jimmie Johnson.  I say, don't really know what your talking about.  He's like, it's this Tuesday night race, a bunch of the EPT people are doing it, you should check it out.

Check In Pavilon
So I did.  It piqued my interest.  I got the OK from the wife and signed up the week before the race.  I hadn't done a sprint triathlon since June of 2013, over 3 years.  I don't know why I don't seek out these local races more.  I remembered thinking that I enjoy racing with a bunch of my friends at Stumpy Creek last year.

Interesting "Slap On" Chip Bands
So on that random Tuesday in July, I went to work with all my gear packed in my car.  I put my bike, main bag of gear, and drinks in my office.  Why do coworkers feel the need to touch my bike? I'm glad they like it, and think it's cool and all, but look with your eyes. But I digress.  I left at 3pm to try and beat the traffic, and because it would take a good hour to get there from the north side of Charlotte.

Checking In
So around 4pm I pull into the grassy parking area. I noticed that people were getting their bikes ready there and bringing them and their gear as they walked to transition and packet pick up.  I didn't know how far it was, so I decided to do the same.  I went to work organizing some stuff and getting my tires pumped up.  I put on some sunscreen because it was hot: 97 degrees.  I worked up a good sweat before I headed over to transition.
Who gets to rack right next to Jimmie Johnson, Hmmm.
I'm glad I brought everything with.  It was a good haul to the transition area.  Down and up a little dip in the gravel trail as well.  When I finally got to the transition area, I parked my bike up against a tree, put my bag down, and went over to packet pickup.  They had a swag bag, race cap, run bib, and a hard plastic bike number.  Kinda like at Kona or the 70.3 WC, except they gave tie wraps to attach it to your bike.
So I played around with that a bit until I was content with the mount.  I went over and hung my bike on the rack.  The entire transition was first come first served spots.  Except that they did have an "Elite Only" rack. There was plenty of room there.  The Fillnows were already in, and I racked next to Cody Stadler. I put my bag down and decided to get out the transition area and hydrate a little.  Transition was a parking lot in full sun.

I walked down to the water to check everything out.  Sandy beach start and finish. I checked out the restrooms and then went back into transition to get everything setup.  I went with the minimal setup: no swimskin, no socks and no visor for the run.  Once I had everything in place, I set my bag over by the fence on the edge of transition.  I still had about 45 minutes, but I gathered my swim goggles and cap, and wandered back down to the water to sit and rest for a bit.

I found EPT racers Kelly and Sarah and sat with them at a picnic table.  I drank some of my pickle juice and we talked for a bit.  I noticed some people warming up in the water, so I thought I might do that.  So I walked over to the beach area.  Then I found a bunch more of the EPT team and hung out with them for a bit.  They made a quick announcement about the start, then Jimmie Johnson talked.  He thanked everyone for coming and thanked the sponsors.  They did the national anthem, and then I did get in a short warmup, maybe a 100 yards.

The Elite wave went off first at 6pm.  Men were at 6:05, then women and relays were 6:15pm. There were only 10 of us in the Elite wave, which was nice.  Definitely not too crowded.  They called us to come down the chute with about 5 minutes to go before the start.  We lined up at the edge of the water and waited for the countdown.

5 Males in Elite Division, 10 Elites Total
Swim 500 Yards
Officially 9:50.7,  5th Male Elite, 10/10 Elite, 57th Overall / 245 Finishers
Hit lap on the Garmin when I popped out of the water.  It had 9:00.5 and 504 yards, so a 1:47 per hundred yard pace.  I tried to go as hard as I could.  I pushed pretty well to the first buoy, averaging 1:36 per hundred for the first 200 yards.  I really wasn't that far behind then.
That's me in the middle in the back
 I started having issues breathing and started breathing every stroke.  That pretty much went for the whole second half of the race.  It's harder to swim straight when you constantly are breathing on one side of your body.  Plus your neck tends to hurt the next day.

The water was warm. Really warm.  Seemed warmer than the year I did Stumpy Creek and the water was 88 degrees.  I don't think it really affected me.  I typically like warm water.  But maybe the combo of the water temp and the air temp made it harder for me to breathe.  But this was about the fastest I've ever swam for open water.  Too bad it was only 500 yards.
Not being in this throng made my DFL worthwhile
Officially 0:42.0, 3rd Male Elite, 6/10 Elite,
I popped up out of the water and got onto the beach. I was DFL.  I tried not to think about that and just tried to sprint up the beach and up the hill.  I made it past all the women waiting to start and half way up the hill before I could hardly breathe and had to slow down.  I trotted the rest of the way and tried to calm down a little. The timing mat was right at the entrance to T1.
Hill Up to Transition
I slipped my shoes on and then put my helmet on and then grabbed my bike and I was off.  Still breathing hard I got across the mount line and got on.

Officially 32:54.4, 2nd Male Elite, 2/10 Elite, 2nd Overall
Garmin 510 had 12.94 miles in 32:59 for a 23.5 mph average on 210 watts. I climbed up the initial hill onto Harkey Road out of the saddle.  Then I got comfortable and tried to push to get going.  I really couldn't though.  Then I realized I was still in the small ring.  So I shifted up and tried to crank it out. My chain came half off the ring and kinda got stuck. I rotated the ring back a little and then forward.  No luck.  I decided to give it one more shot before I had to stop and fix it.  That did the trick and I got it going with out stopping.
 For some reason, I just couldn't generate watts.  For the first 3 miles, I couldn't get anything over 250 watts.  I thought I could crank this thing like a 2x20 workout and be up in the 270-280 range for the whole ride. Then I must have drank a little too much before the race, as a little came up and I spit it out.
Climb out of Transition
Here I am looking at the average on my Garmin, like my Garmin is broke or something.  Seriously, I'm like I wonder if it was recording 0 watts while it was sitting in transition.  I think it was just an accumulation of my training day Saturday (tempo ride and run in the heat), the air temp (97) and the hot swim.

My first 5 mile split was at 199 watts. I'm like Watt the F*&%$!  I had caught the first guy ahead of me pretty quickly.  Then I caught a couple of the women.  Then I was pretty much by myself for a while.  My watts finally started to creep up and started to make up some time.

The roads weren't that smooth, but I knew that going in since I've started riding out this way more this year.  A few turns, but you could take them pretty quickly.  Eventually I started seeing another rider. I pushed and eventually passed Meghan Fillnow.  Then I reeled in Jen Keith.  I gave them both words of encouragement as I passed.
Coming into T2
But his meant I was still in 4th place.  My second 5 mile split was still only 231 watts and 24.0 mph, but I did gain some ground.  It didn't feel too hot, but I was breathing pretty hard.  Soon after 10 miles, I saw the next rider.  I came up on him and it was Zach Capets.  I was glad it was him.  I wasn't sure how fast Zack could run.  I knew how fast Cody could run (not very).  So I was glad to be able to put some time into Zack.

Then I came up on Cody and passed him.  It was only like 2 miles before the end. We passed each other back a forth a few times.  This has happened to me before.  I don't know if I am just slowing down near the end, or the other guy and just stepping it up.  I kinda think the other guys are trying to speed up because they know they can't run.

Anyways I followed Cody into T2 and finished about 2 seconds behind him.  We both had flawless dismounts and started running into transition.

Officially 0:40.6, 4th Male Elite, 9/10 Elite
As I come into the rack Kelly is trying to get out and we get in each other's way a little bit.  I rack and get on the ground to slip my shoes on.  And my calf just locks up.  Massive cramp.  I get my shoes on (no socks) and put my sunglasses on, grab my bib belt and try and run out the cramp.

Officially 20:32.8, 3rd Male Elite, 6/10 Elite, 4th male OA
Garmin had 2.92 miles in 20:35, 7:03 avg pace.
So Zach must have pushed it at the end of the bike, plus he had a lightning fast transition.  Because about 100 yards in, he was running right there with Cody and I.  At the time I thought that this was kinda cool.  A pack of 3 of us, where someone will be runnerup and someone will be off the podium. I think we were like 5 or 6 minutes behind Derek at that point.

Soon out of transition you run through that big dip in the trail from the parking lot. It's only like a 30 foot elevation climb, but I decided to take it easy since I was leading the pack of us.  Neither guy passed me.  So at the top when we got into the field I just started striding out and just started pulling away from them. It was pretty hot, but the trail was pretty clean out to the first turnaround.
Pace, Cadence
At that turnaround we were about 0.9 miles and I could then see I had a significant lead already.  I came through the first mile in 6:52.  It was hot.  I felt ok, but just could not get the legs to turn over.  I could see Kelly ahead of me, but I wasn't getting any closer.  So I just concentrated on a smooth pace.  Not really gaining on anyone and not really dropping back to anyone.

I kept telling myself this was a 5K and I had to go faster, but I really didn't. Over the second mile you really hit some trails with roots and rocks.  Once section down by the water was really rocky and was really winding. It has been a while since I ran trails.

So I finally made it through through that and back near transition.  You hit the only aid station at 1.75 miles in. I took 2 cups of water, and drank one and threw the other on my head.  Then you pass by transition and head out for some out and backs on the road.  I could hear swim coach Patty yelling across the parking lot at me.  I gave her the hang loose sign.  I came through mile 2 in a rather pedestrian 7:20.

As I came out on the road I saw the lead bike and Derek coming through.  I moved over and gave him a high 5.  Up ahead I could see Kelly.  As I came out of the 1st out and back I could see someone coming, but I was a good 1/4 mile up on them.  On the last out and back I saw it was Meghan, so I really didn't feel the need to push too much.
Happy to be Done
So I just strode to bring it home, with not much urgency.  As I came through I kinda missed the final turn at the cones.  I only took like 2-3 extra steps and then headed toward the finish.  The last 0.92 miles on my Garmin were at a 6:54 pace.

Finish (Results Here)
Officially 1:04:39.7, 2nd Male Elite, 3/10 Elite, 4th OA of 195 Finishers, 3rd male of 121 Finishers
Came through the finish pretty tired.  I got my medal and they had some cold water right there.  I drank quite a few cups. I went over and congratulated Derek and started seeing some of the other people finish.
Me and Paul
I went back into transition and got my phone.  I wandered around a bit, still drinking, but not really hungry.  I saw the results on the Start2Finish results tent.  One of the guys that raced in the age group beat me by 0.7 seconds.  Those couple of wrong turn steps cost me.  It didn't really matter.  The awards went Top 3 Elite, Top 3 Overall Age Group, and then Top 3 in each age group.  So I actually finished 4th overall to Derek, Kelly, and that other guy.  But I'll basically call that a 2nd overall.
I walked back out on the course and talked with Jen, as she was watching people go out past transition.  I saw Karen go by and she was looking strong.  She ended up overall age group.  Eventually I walked back to the finish, got some more water and talked with Cody a bit.  He was doing Lake Logan as well, so I'll see him next week.

They weren't going to do the awards until after the last finisher, so around 8:30pm.  I decided to pack up transition and take everything back to the car.  I had a change of clothes there, and I wanted to get out of the trisuit.  I made the long trek and packed everything up.  I went back to the finish, and got some of the Mac's BBQ they had there. I was finally hungry.  Soon after they started the awards.  They had a nice podium and we got to shake Jimmie Johnson's hand.  They had the 4 overall winners do the NASCAR champagne bottle shake and spray everyone.  That was pretty funny.
Award Pack and Certificate

Medal and Award Towel
I stayed through awards for all the EPT racers.  We all kinda hung out and then afterwards trekked back to the parking lot.  Jen was giving everyone crap if they weren't coming to swim in the morning. It only took me about 30 minutes to get home, which was pretty nice.
Really nice jacket for 2nd place

Somebody is full of themselves.
All in all a fun race.  I'll do it again next year if it works out.  Although I may rest a little more and not kill myself 3 days before the race.  Not that it matters.  I was 2nd Elite and there is no way I'll ever beat Derek.  But I would like to make a run at beating his bike split.  We'll see.  For now Lake Logan is just around the corner and I need to rest!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

2016 Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report

The worst Half Iron race I ever did was the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013.  I did a lot of things that set myself up for complete failure.  I don't feel like going into that now, but I did learn from it.  After that I focused on the full Ironman distance for the last couple of years.  But after Kona, I felt a burning desire to get back to the 70.3 WC and see if I could gain some redemption.

So this year's entire schedule was basically aimed at that.  I raced Chattanooga 70.3 just to be in the city and race a similar course (2017 Worlds will be a different course).  Next up, was the very first qualifier in the entire world for the 2017 WC: Muncie. I knew the competition would be stout, but I wanted to see if I could get that "Q" out of the way early.

Thursday July 7th
I left work early around 2pm. I had to go down to Inside Out Sports and pick up my bike.  I had them check a few things and put on my new Ice Friction Chain.  Every watt counts. They also put on a new bottom bracket. I hit the road by 2:30pm and headed up I-77 North.  We used to go up to Indiana and Michigan every summer and for some Holidays, so I know these roads pretty well.  I drove until about 7:30pm and stopped in Gallipolis, OH.  Checked into the Super 8, grabbed some dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and then hit the sack.
There was corn.
Friday July 8th
Tried to sleep in, but only got to 6:30.  Showered, shaved, grabbed some hotel breakfast and off I went through rural southern Ohio.  I went straight to the race site as it was along the way before I hit Muncie.  I arrived about 11:30am.  I had grabbed a Subway sub earlier when I stopped to get gas, so I ate half of that before I went to checkin.

So I parked in the grass and walked to the other side of transition to check everything out.  I found the tent with athlete checkin easy enough.  No line whatsoever.  I did go to AWA check in anyways to get my swim cap.  I would never wear that thing in the race, but the dark, almost black color did look kinda cool.

So standard IM checkin.  Waiver, medical, packet, chip, bag and puts you out right by the mechandise tent.  I didn't even go in there.  Like I said, I am spending $0.00 on extra Ironman merchandise in 2016.

After that, it was coming up on noon.  I wanted to try and hit the next athlete briefing at 1pm.  As I've stated before, I sure am a glutton for punishment.  So I headed back to the car.  I bumped into one of the Tri Coach Georgia people who was gonna pay to park across the street from transition.  He said that this first lot wasn't going to be available on race morning (not true, but I didn't know that at the time).  I hopped in my car and went across the street and paid $20 to park in these people's yard for the weekend.  It was literally right across the street from transition.
The yard across the street from transition

I did a quick change in the car, and hopped on my bike for a quick little 20 minute spin.  I was not feeling so peppy.  Maybe it was the car ride.  Then I went for a 1 mile run, and bumped into fellow BSR Damon as I finished.  I changed again, wolfed down the rest of the sub and headed over to the athlete briefing.
Sexy Shakeout Ride and Run
Standard stuff.  I don't think there was any knowledge gleaned in the meeting. Nope. Well, maybe that the water temp this morning was 77.3 deg F. After the meeting it was getting warm.  I bought a water at the concession stand there at the reservoir.  I walked back to the car and started working on my bike.  This race is kinda unique in that they let you check your bike in race morning.  So all week I had been going back and forth on this.  Part of the issue is that my crack pipe for my disc has a Schrader end.  Not an issue for my bike pump, but maybe if I borrowed one.  So the thought was that maybe I don't check my bike until the morning so I can pump up the disc at my car and not have to go back.
Ooooh, Baby. Wanna go Fast?
My new sweet parking spot made the decision easy since I could easily bring my pump into transition race morning and then put it back in the car.  So I got Green Lightning all prepped for transition and took him over there.  I had the usual issue with the short seat nose on GL not being able to really sit on the bike rack bar very well.  I did the bungee cord thing I did at Chatty, but this time I mounted it by the back of the seat and not the front.
I could spit to bike out from my rack spot!

Then I hung out for a bit and checked out the venue and transition flow. I found BSR Cyndi finishing up with the later athlete briefing.  We then headed over to the BSR team tent for a little meet and greet and picture time.  It was good to meet some more sexies before the race tomorrow and put some more names with real faces (not just Facebook/Twitter/Instagram pics).  We got a good pic with the team banner as well.  Then I was finally off back to the hotel.

Checked into the Baymont and got all my stuff lugged up into the room.  Not soon after my niece and her husband along with my nephew showed up at my hotel door.  They had come from western Indiana and Michigan to watch me race and cheer me on.  They brought their stuff up and we headed over to Chili's for dinner.  I got my usual chipotle chicken tex mex bowl.  It's kinda become my go to Chili's dish.

BSR Gang. Love this Team!
We came back and I spent the next hour or so getting everything ready for the race.  I went over everything several times to make sure I had not forgotten anything.  I wanted to make sure they my guests didn't distract me from getting everything ready to go.  Finally I was satisfied that I had it in hand, and I packed everything up in bags.  I crawled into bed.  My nephew had a sleeping bag on the floor.  My niece and her husband were in the other queen bed.  I was pretty tired, so I nodded off to sleep pretty easily.
All the crap, ready to roll.
Saturday July 9th: Race Day
4am wakeup call. Pretty much like a normal training day. I grabbed my bags, my water bottles, and my pickle juice and headed downstairs.  The hotel had breakfast going already, so I grabbed a banana.  I headed to the car and was on my way.  After speaking with one of the volunteers at the information booth at the expo the day before, I decided to take US35 down around the south side of the resevoir and come up from that side.  They said there would be much less traffic that way.  Plus I was a little early.  Transition opened up at 5am, and that's about the time I got there. I basically didn't hit any traffic at all as I pulled into the prepaid yard.  So at that point, I took my time.  I just wanted to sit in the parking lot and not sit waiting in traffic.

I grabbed my bags and pump and wandered over to transition.  As I walked in I heard the announcement that the water temp was still 77.3 so no wetsuits.  Well that stinks.  Anyways, when I got to my rack, I found my bike not up on the pipe, but leaning against the supports on the end of the rack.  I pumped the tires up and worked on getting it ready.  I headed back to the car to drop off my bag and pump.  I grabbed my swimskin and had a bagel and headed back to transition. On the way back I saw an official and asked her if it was ok with my bike leaning up against the post.  She said no.  She did say it was OK to rack by the handlebars.
Swim Entrance
A couple of minutes after I got back to my spot, the guy with bib #155 comes up.  He's like "you're in my spot. Move". I'm like what? He goes look, you're next to 153. Oh I see, someone moved the stickers when they moved my bike, so the stickers on that side said 153, 157, then 155.  I go, ok, and I start to grab my bike.  He goes "can you move it, or I can get an official".  I look at him kind of incredulously, as I'm already grabbing my bike to move it.  So I say very slowly and clearly: I'm. Moving. It. Evidently somebody pissed in that dude's wheaties.  Kind of a shame.  That's the first time I can really remember someone being an A-class douche for no reason.

So I move my bike and #155 is placated.  I get ready to go, and strike up a little conversation with #153 and he doesn't act like such and idiot, so I guess he's an OK guy after all.  I head down to swim start about 6:45.  I still have over an hour.  So I'm hanging out with several BSR 'mates as we wait.  I stand there and try and eat some gels and bananas and drink my pickle juice.  It was a little chilly.  I did not do a practice swim because I was afraid that I would just get too cold when I got out.  I did not have a towel to dry off or keep warm.

Custom Home Made Shirts!
Eventually I wandered over to the chute and got my swimskin zipped up.  I had been looking for my niece and nephew all morning, but didn't see them until about 5 minutes before I had to queue up for the start.  I talked to them for a bit and then headed to the water. First wave was at 7:00, but mine wasn't until 7:55, like wave 13.

42:27 Officially: 88 / 183 AG, 553 / 1229 Male, 738 / 1816 Total Finishers
Garmin had 42:24 and 1.21 miles.
Walked down the chute to near the end of the dock. So it was a standup, in water, start.  I got my goggles ready, relieved myself, and waited for the gun.

As it went off, I was a couple rows back from the start.  I was on the left hand side, so I tried to keep it there.  I felt ok, and just tried to concentrate.  I was the 2nd wave of 40-44. Always the second (or third) wave in my AG due to blatant alphabet discrimination.

The first leg out of this square "U" shaped course went pretty smoothly.  I did not get hit or bumped too much.  No shots to the goggles, which is always nice.  A couple of the 40-44 women caught me before the first turn buoy.  And luckily it wasn't really crowded at that first turn.

Swim Exit
I was happy to be on the second leg.  About halfway through BSR Teammate Amy goes barreling by me.  I actually felt pretty good that we were halfway before she made up the 4 minutes on me.  At the time, I thought she would swim a 30, which would mean I could be at 38.  Well my math was right, but Amy swam a 34.
Swim Splits (Nothing to see here) Please move along.

So finally onto the home stretch.  They weren't kidding about the sun.  It was straight into your eyes.  You literally could not see anything.  You had to sight off of swimmers, kayaks, and boats off to the sides.  I kept trying to look and see if I could see anything on shore and you just couldn't.  A few minor contact episodes later, I could finally begin to make out the building that was on the beach.  I knew the swim exit was to the left, so I just kinda aimed over there.

RUN 'cause you swim like a brick!

I tried to dig and keep my turnover at a good rate.  I actually felt like I had a good swim.  I popped out of the water and saw the the 42 on my watch.  Deflated. Disgusted. Dejected. 4 minutes slower than I'd hoped.  I figured it was bad, and I was right: 10 minutes down to the leaders.

42 min is terrible.  My wife was nice enough to point out that it wasn't really that bad.  She asked how fast I usually swim without a wetsuit.  The fastest I have ever swam in a half without a wetsuit is 41 minutes.  Technically then I really didn't have that bad a swim, I just really, REALLY stink out loud.  Thanks, honey. Appreciate it.

2:54 Officially
I did the slow "first time on land legs" jog for 30 seconds or so and got my swimskin unzipped.  Then I got my land legs back and started sprinting up the hill.  Urgency kicked it. I made the long run to my rack and slipped my shoes on easily this time.  Grabbed my bike and started toward the exit.  I had filled my front bottle up too much and it splashed out all over the place.  Made it out to mount, and I was off.

2:14:27 Officially: 3 / 181 AG, 11 / 1229 Males
Garmin had 56.10 Miles in 2:14:32 for a 25.0 mph average on 219 watts (93 cadence).
I knew from yesterday that the first 1.7 miles of road were brutally tore up.  With that and the traffic, I pretty much stayed on the horns until the first left turn. After that I was able to get in aero and start passing people.  The congestion there wasn't too bad, considering how many people were on the course due to my late start and slow swim.

I had wanted to try and average 230 watts for this race.  I started feeling ok and hit that target for the first 5 mile split.  By 10 miles I could tell I really wasn't feeling it.  My legs seemed a tad fatigued.  When I made that first turnaround and hit the headwind, I was like ooof.  I had about a 225 watt average at that point, and then tried to focus and push.

The traffic wasn't too bad, but you had to really concentrate and focus up ahead.  No head down and crank moments.  It was constant passing, which I really don't mind.  It was a typical slow swim, fast bike for me.  The slingshot legal draft passing effect definitely helps me.  It was nice to race on a course that actually was closed to traffic.  No, Kona is not.  People will tell you it is, and some parts are.  But believe me, it is not totally closed to traffic. I was able to crank some good watts to mile 25 and had an overall average of 225 watts there as well.  I stuck to my nutrition plan, taking in 3 gels, and just about draining my malto/electrolyte mix.  I took a couple salt pills as well.
Bike Splits (Check these out)

That's when we started to fade a bit.  With mostly a tailwind over the next 10 miles I averaged 25.8 mph despite only cranking 220 watts.  At that point I was on the second lap, and it got a bit more hairy there.  A couple of times we were 4 wide.  A couple times when we were 3 wide, somebody would randomly start to move over.  I'd be like "Hey, Hey, HEY LEFT".

Somebody's Gettin' AERO

On the first loop, I had noticed some of the spectators had come out to the course from the race start area. So my second time through I started looking for my cheer squad.  I did see them on the way south and yelled.  I saw them before they saw me.  Then on the way back I was on their side and got to wave to them.  That was pretty cool.  They had to hike/run 2.5 miles to get down there from transition.
Children of the Corn

For some reason after the 3rd and last u-turn the traffic seemed to dissipate some. So the next 20 miles I would use Lance Armstrong's characterization of this year's Tour de France: Shit Show.  I stumbled to the finish averaging 215 watts.  Honestly though, I really didn't push it, because my speed was well over 25 mph.  It was actually a 25.5 mph overall average through 40 miles.  I knew if I could bring it home at that speed, I'd be in the 2:14 range and put myself into good position.  As it turned out, I came off the bike in 9th place in the age group. Officially a PR bike for me (not counting Eagleman).

1:48 Officially
So perfect dismount.  I got a "Nice Dismount" from a spectator.  It was pretty bumpy on the grass getting into transition and a long way to my spot.  I think I transitioned pretty good. Socks, visor, sunglasses, and race belt.

1:26:09 Officially: 4 / 181 AG, 16 / 1229 Males
Garmin had 13.06 miles in 1:26:11 for a 6:36 average (166 cadence)
I took off. I knew I had some work to do still.  The plan (before the race) was to run 6:30's and then drop the hammer the last 5K.  Well I felt good heading out and averaged 6:22's through the first 3 miles.  I probably went out too fast, but honestly, I felt like I had to.  I didn't feel like I was killing myself, so I felt that maybe I could make up some time.

I saw my cheer squad at the first right hand turn and that boosted me on.  The run course was not too crowded, pretty typical.  I did try and yell at every Big Sexy that I saw go by.  I didn't slow too much over the next 3 miles, as I averaged 6:33's.  This course has little hills here and there.  Kinda similar to what I train on at home.  I ended up taking 4 gels, 1 about every 3 miles.  I took water at most every aid stations.  It really wasn't hot.  In fact a few times I poured ice water down my back I felt chilled.
Cadence and Elevation

So I was under 6:30 overall average at the halfway turn.  I was feeling, just OK.  I started to fade.  I averaged 6:40's in miles 8-10.  Then I kinda started to struggle.  6:52 average over the next 2 miles.  The hills started hurting.  I think my nutrition was good, but like I alluded to before, I just wasn't feeling it.

I hadn't really seen any guys in my age group as I passed people.  As it turns out only 1 other guy in the top ten in the AG started in my wave.  That other guy I come up on with 1/2 mile to go in the race.  I saw the age on his calf.  Normally you really don't know if someone started in your wave, but he had is name on his kit. I saw the 'M' and I was like, crap, I'm not 4 minutes up on this guy.  We're racing.

I pushed for like a 1/2 second and it really hurt. But immediately my thought was that if this guy is the last spot for worlds, I'll never be able to live with myself if he beats me.  He was passing a slower guy to the left.  So I pushed and tried to sneak around the slower guy on the right.  You know, like he wouldn't see me or something.  Just about then we hit a downhill.  I got a burst of energy and took off.  I just tried to push like my hair was on fire.  I split a 6:31 the last mile and beat him easily.

4:27:45 Officially 4 / 181 AG, 29 / 1229 Males  Age Group Results Here.
I stagger through the chute and down a bottle of water.  I see Big Sexy Jason and give him a hug.  I felt like I did all I could do given the swim and how I felt the rest of the day.  I was at peace, but really didn't think that I had "done it".

I found my cheerleaders and we hung out for a bit.  We got a good picture.  They were on their way to drive over to Chicago, and I was getting hungry.  So they headed to their car, and I headed to the athlete food.  Quite possibly the best spread I have seen on the IM circuit.  It was catered by a local company with pork, chicken, rolls, some sides, some vegetarian stuff.  Really good.  Too bad I'm never really super hungry after a race.

My cheer Peeps

I get some food and hung with BSR Matt after the race.  I stayed around the finish for a bit, but really didn't see anyone else come through.  I decided to head to the car.  As soon as I got there I grabbed my phone to check and see where I finished.  Last week I had looked at the AG number to try and figure out how many slots M40-44 would get.  My excel sheet calculated 4 slots.  As I pulled up I quickly saw that I finished 4th! I started jumping around, pumping my fists, going Yes! And again Yes! Then fist pump Yes! One last time: Yes! Yes! I'm jumping around in these people's yard all by myself.  "You Had One Job" as they say, and I did it.  It's all about that Q: Chattanooga and Redemption.  Going back to the WC with help from Blueseventy, Finis Swim, Quintana Roo, Cobb Cycling, Reynolds Wheels, IceFriction Chains, Ashworth Awards, Epoch Universal, Chili's Bar and Grill, and Big Sexy Gear.

As I walked by transition, I noticed that they are letting people in there.  I got my bag from the car and walked back over to get my stuff.  I was very careful not to interfere with the people still finishing the bike.  Grabbed all my stuff, threw it in the car and headed back to the hotel to shower.

Unloaded my stuff, cleaned myself up, and then headed back to the race site for awards and such.  Before that I stopped at the DQ there near my hotel for a large Strawberry shake.  When I got back to the race site (and parked in my sweet spot, making the most out of my $20), the first thing I did was head over to the awards area.  I wanted to make sure that the official slot allocation list matched up with what I thought.  Sure enough it did!  Another Q, no rolldown necessary, thank you very much.  At the time, I was floating with permagrin because I had passed the guy for the last slot in the last 1/2 mile.  This was even closer than my Kona Q as this was 26 seconds.

I found Cyndi checking out the sheet as well.  She finished 2nd in her AG and got the Q, too.  We headed over to the BSR tent to have a beer and hang with everyone else.  We all talked about the race and how awesome Laura had done, AG winner, 4th overall and a 27 min swim.  Her swim was cray-cray.  Soon we all headed over for awards.  They went through all the AG's and then did the Tri Clubs last.  Big Sexy Racing won Division I as well.  I knew we had a good shot.  Jason and I got the award.  We had 2 ag wins, a 2nd, and a ton of top 10's.

As the Slot Allocation started, the first couple of older AG's did not take their slots.  Those 2 got reallocated to Male 35-9 and Male 45-9.  In my age group, the top guy did not take his slot.  So that made my last 1/2 mile pass a little less dramatic.  2 and 3 and me took our slots, but that last slot rolled all the way to 7.  I was kinda shocked by that.  There was very little rolldown other than that.

Take my money for Chattanooga. STAT
Then people started heading out.  I went over to the Guardian Brewery to check them out.  It was just ok. You know not everything has to be an IPA, Stout or Porter.  You can love craft beer and prefer lighter, less bitter beer.  But I digress.  Then I met Jason over at Scotty's Brewhouse for dinner.  That was really good.  It pays to have teammates. It was located in a really nice part of town, called The Village.  I had a Thr3e Wise Men beer that was really good #drinklocal. I ordered the Shewman Special Burger, with cheese, jalapenos, bacon, and peanut butter.  Just a hint of the PB, and it surprisingly worked really well.

After that I just went back to the hotel and crashed.

Sunday July 10th.
Tried to sleep in, but didn't really.  I just kinda enjoyed the relaxed morning and had coffee and breakfast at the hotel.  Headed home around 7:30 am for the long drive.  I stopped a few times for some crap gas station food.  I did stop for lunch at Chilis in Charleston, WV.  Took about 9 hours to get home, but it was worth it.  I'm glad I stayed Saturday and drove home on Sunday.
What it's all about

After I got back, and because of my crap swim I had to figure out my bike + run time.  Just looking at that I was 2nd in my AG and 9th overall.  Not that anyone keeps track of that or cares, but it makes me feel better.  Anyways this was my worst non-championship Ironman 70.3 finish ever for age group and overall. But I couldn't care less.  All's I wanted was to qualify for Worlds.  It's a nice feeling that on July 9th, you've accomplished your goals for the entire year.  I'm excited about Chatt.  I love that venue.  In fact, I decided to race the 70.3 there again next May because I enjoyed it so much. And as you know, I'm not really a "same race every year" type of guy.

Worlds will be a different beast.  Different swim course (probably a loop in front of Ross's Landing), and no wetsuits in early September.  The bike course will incorporate one of the nearby mountain climbs.  Not sure about the run.  Maybe hit all the hills like in one lap of the full.  Anyways it will be fun.  Now I just have 14 months to try and figure out how to swim 1.2 miles in open water without a wetsuit. Please. Help. Me.