I drove into Cambridge Saturday afternoon, arriving around 3:30 and headed straight to check-in. I was going to have the race bike support crew do a pre-race tune-up, but my roommate for the weekend and Wattie Ink teammate, Jon, said he had the tools and the setup to give my bike a once over himself. He found a minor issue with my cassette and swapped it for one he had and problem solved. We then packed up the bikes in his truck and drove over to rack our bikes at the park. On the way over, we heard the all to familiar sound of a flat coming from one of the bikes. It was mine of course and the awesome people at Tricycle quickly got me a new tube as they were packing up their tent - can't thank them enough and thank God this happened on the way to rack the bike and not when I was ON the bike. After that, we got to the park and racked our bikes. I managed to make it to be an Ironman All World Athlete this year which in turn gave me the benefit of having an AWA bike rack. This was right next to the pros rack which was also directly next to bike out and bike in... Can't complain about that.
Back to the hotel for dinner and a beverage...or two. I didn't mean to have the second one, but the waiter brought it so I had to do my duty. After dinner, back to the room for some last minute pre-race prep and then off to bed. I didn't sleep well as usual, but 4:00 came pretty quickly so I must have dozed here and there. Quick shower, dressed, once over of the gear bag, and ready to roll to the race. Oh yeah, pre-race calories consisted of:
2 Scoops Infinite Mud with about half a flask of EFS Liquidshot Kona Mocha Bagel with natural PB Banana EFS with First Endurance Pre-race and Herbalife24 Prepare 45 mins before start and a PowerBar gel 15 minutes before getting in the water.
We got to the park with plenty of time to spare and also parked pretty close by. Got my transition setup pretty well and mostly mingled about while talking with some friends. Nothing too exciting/out of the ordinary pre-race. As expected, the water was way too warm for wetsuits but at least this year I was prepared for it.
Swim went pretty well. I was hoping to be a bit faster, but felt pretty smooth and easy until the second turn where it got pretty crowded. I knew I was at the front of the wave pretty early and the first few hundred meters was nice and clear. After the second/last turn, I felt like I was being pushed left a bit so was working to get closer to the buoys for much of the return leg. With a couple hundred meters left, it got really shallow and I tried to swim as long as I could throwing in some dolphin dives here and there. Finally it got too shallow to do either so I stood and tried to hustle out of the water as fast as I could. Time was about a minute slower than I wanted, but not too terrible.
Flew through T1....felt way too fast and there was probably a reason why. Helmet on, glasses on, grab bike, go. Crossed the mat, and for some reason decided to look down. Still had my f'n swim skin on around my waist. Luckily an aweomse volunteer told me to give it to her, which I did pretty quickly, and I was moving back towards the mount line. Hop on bike, pedal a bit, feet in shoes, and settled in.
Bike: 2:31:10 (Dropped to 16th in AG)
First thing I realized when I got on the bike that another reason transition was so quick is because I forgot my gel flask and salt tabs. Good times. I didn't let this get to me and just made it a point to grab Gatorade and any gels they had on course. I can pretty much stomach anything so even being unsure of what the gels were, I knew I'd be fine if I could get them. I was shooting to average 220 watts on the bike, but for whatever reason, I just didn't have it in me to push that high. I tried for the first 15 miles or so to get up there, but felt like the effort was too much so I backed off a bit and when by feel. I was going faster than last year so that felt good, but I did forget that maybe I had a tailwind to go along with it. Last year the headwinds were early and the tailwinds late. This year it was the opposite, and it showed in my bike. Towards the end of the bike - maybe the last 10-15 miles - it started getting hot. I tried to drink as much water and Gatorade as I could to prep for the run. This ended up being my fastest 70.3 bike split so I'll take it. Was hoping to get under 2:30, but that's what I had on race day. Just wish I had taken an extra few seconds to ensure I had all my nutrition, but also don't think this played a factor in how I performed.
Bike Nutrition: 3-4 bottles of water 2 bottles gatorade 600 calories of various carb mixes in front bottle 2 gels
Bike racked (hey, awesome volunteer put my swimskin on my rack! Nice!). Helmet off, shoes, on, grab hat, grab gel flask, grab number, grab salt, grab watch. First thing is I really need to get a new Garmin so I can swim in the damn thing and not have to put a watch on while running. Second, another nutrition mishap - guy runs up behind me as we're leaving T2 and says, "you dropped your gel flask back there." Thanks for telling me...but you couldn't have been nice enough to pick it up for me?? Oh well, I normally have a hard time taking in much during the run in a 70.3. I just don't want anything, but again, I figured I'd grab a couple gels on the course. I ended up having at least one, but can't for the life of me remember if I had another.
Run: 1:42:42 (11th AG)
As I approached mile 1, my hamstring started locking up. Flanny told me that the Base Salts saved his day at Ironman Texas so I grabbed mine and took a lick and then made sure I licked it every mile as directed. Never had another issue. The heat and humidity was the worst I remember it being at Eagleman. It was gross. It felt really tough early on and I was worried my day would unravel quickly. The first couple miles I stayed around a 7:30 pace and I tried to hold it. I grabbed a bit of everything at all the aid stations and just kept moving forward. Nothing too exciting really went on during the run. Just tried to hold it together, which I pretty much did. Had one guy in my sights who I passed early in the run who then re-passed me late. I wanted to keep him close and blow by him on the last mile. Yeah, didn't happen. He picked it up too and ended up beating me by 10 seconds.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with the race. I PR'd with a 4:51:11. 11th in my age group and my highest placing in an IM event. It really was a tough day out there. But I somehow held it together and while I didn't hit my goal, I still PRd so I'll take it.
Big thanks to Wattie Ink, all of the team sponsors and Coach Flanny from Black Dragon Racing for all of his help getting me ready!