10/26/14 Ironman Austin 70.3: My first half ironman

10/26/14 Ironman Austin 70.3: My first half ironman

You cannot imagine how excited and anxious I was for my fist long triathlon, a Half Ironman in Austin, TX.  Coach Brent Poulsen put this on my race calendar to build my racing experience, and to sample the longer distance.  As a college competitor, where we only do Sprints and Oly’s, this would be all new.  Brent entered it, too, so we traveled together and shared a nearby hotel room.  He would get in my head and prep me right up until the start, then it wold be all me.

We got a beautiful day for the race.  Not much wind, blue skies, but it was hot!  The Ironman brand attracts a huge field, limited to about 2,600.

Starting in the first amateur wave, I had a pretty good swim of 25:12 for the 1.25 mile course.  There were only 7 faster swim splits that day including Coach Brent and 5 of the top 9 finishers.  As usual, the swim felt good and did not burn too much energy.  Now to the bike, it would be something new riding for over 2 hours in a race.

I snuck just under 2:30 with a 2:29:56, ranking 26th.  Nobody who finished the race ahead of me had a slower bike split, and plenty I beat to the tape were quicker.  The fastest splits today were 2:12’s, by pros Christian Kemp and Kevin Collington.  Tom Gerlach was also under 2:14.  I had no issues on the bike just keeping my power in the range of 240-250 watts.  Not flats, no spills, and kept myself fed and hydrated.  I knew it was hot out so I drank a lot on the bike which really helped me as many guys blew up during the run and were walking.

The dreaded run ended up being a blast.  I felt good all the way, and still had some gas in the tank at the finish.  I split a decent 1:22:14, for a pace of 6:16/mile.  This was the 14th ranked run today, something I am most proud of given how much progress I have made on the run.

The big surprise was that I finished 14th overall, 2nd amateur overall, behind only Dylan Morgan, a West Point cadet.  Dylan was classified in the collegiate division, so even with him being the same age, the race director awarded me a trophy for 1st in 20-24 Age Group and a worlds slot.  I did not take the worlds slot though because Brent and I drove back to Austin as soon as possible because his wife was 9 months pregnant with their son.  Brent finished 9th overall.  What a great coach and training partner to have.

Driving back to Austin, I was dead tired as my adrenalin abated and the effort caught up with me.  I would take a week off to recover, and then get back to collegiate racing.  But, I am sure to do more Ironman events in the future.

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