11/8/15 Ironman Austin 70.3

11/8/15 Ironman Austin 70.3
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I started shivering after this!

Ironman Austin Swim 11/8/15

Swim exit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I raced Ironman Austin 70.3 for the second time on November 8, 2015.  In 2014, I finished as the 2nd amateur and 14th overall.  That was my first race longer than Olympic distance, and was surprised how well it went.  This year, with a larger pro prize purse of $30,000, the top 3 amateurs were eligible for USAT Elite status.  Getting the Elite card was my goal for the past year.  I felt confident in my preparation going into the race, given a solid 6 week training block.

When I checked my bike before the race in the transition corral, I taped my Powerbar gels on the top tube and then went for a short warm up run in the dark.  After that, I hung out with my parents and we wandered over to the swim start.  It was cold and windy.  Pro Men went off at 7:00, followed by pro women at 7:02 and then my wave, 18-24’s, at 7:05.  This was great for me, as I could quickly get some clear water, while sighting off some of the female pros.  I went hard toward the first buoy on the clockwise triangular course, then settled into cruise for the rest of the swim.  It was pretty choppy from the wind but I felt good.  I passed quite a few of the pro men and all but three of the women.

The bike ride was pretty uneventful, but really windy.  I was on my rear disc and a 404 front rim.  The wind didn’t seem to bother my bike’s handling, but headwinds are always a major bummer.  The roads were in pretty bad shape from recent flooding.   I planned to ride between 250-260 watts but I ended up at the low end of that range, just 250 watts, and a time of 2:30.  I consumed about 4 bottles on the bike, alternating between Gatorade and water, plus 5 gel packs.  With all that hydration, I ended up peeing 4 times over the course of the ride, a process that required some coasting, and actually allowed a couple of pro women to pass me.  I had to pass them a second time.  Even though I felt like I didn’t ride as well as in training, I have learned that some days are better than others.  I also know there’s plenty of room for improvement in my bike fit and logging more base miles as I move forward.  Last year I was a bit too conservative on the bike, and was again this year.  Knowing how important the run is in longer events, I was being really careful not to blow up.  You can fake a 10k run, but you can’t fake 21k off the bike.  I ended up negative splitting the run which was pretty cool because that isn’t normal in a 4 hour race.

For first of three laps, I focused on not going out too hard, and getting into a rhythm.  I knew there was one guy ahead of me in my AG that scooted into T2 just ahead me.  He passed me in the last couple of bike miles while I was busy making sure I didn’t have to make a stop in the porta-potty on the run.  I ended up catching him towards the end of the first lap and never looked back.  I kept building my effort, and trying to negative split each lap.  I got great cheers from my parents as I finished each loop which really helped.  I ended up clocking a 1:18:33 for the run.

I ran into the indoor rodeo arena for the unusual indoor finish, and knew I was the first age grouper to cross the line, absolutely elated, realizing all of my hard work paid off.  Later in the afternoon, the results confirmed I was first amateur.  Feeling happy with such a good race, I finally qualified for my pro card!

In the weeks ahead, I need to set new goals, having achieved my biggest one.  A great race at Collegiate Nationals in April is important, as is graduating from TCU in May.

Many thanks to the man behind the madness, Coach Brent Poulsen, who prepared me for this race, both as coach and training partner for two years.  Not possible without you!

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