Monday, May 4, 2015

St. George

Not every race can be perfect and my latest Ironman 70.3, St. George Utah, was far from perfect. Maybe I was distracted by school and moving out of my house or maybe it just was a bad day. Regardless of why, St. George did not go as I had planned. I will talk about my day of suffering and how it felt.

            The week leading into the race had been a little crazy spending most of my time moving out of my student house and back home. When I got to St. George I had an amazing home stay with Kirk and Charity Nelson. They own a bike shop called IBB Cycle. Kirk gave my bike a nice tune up. I was blown away by the incredible landscape of St. George and was feeling very good and ready to race.

            On race morning I had my usually breakfast of oatmeal and eggs. I was feeling a little nervous but nothing out of the ordinary. When I got to the race site I set up my bike and did a 20min jog to wake myself up. I was able to get in a 20min swim warm up. The water was cold, about 15C but nothing to bad.

            The swim was the best part of the day. I had a good start and quickly moved myself into the draft of the main group. I worked my way up through the group, looking for Tyler Butterfield. I knew that he was right around my level in swimming, and if I could swim with him I would be in a good position. I found Tyler about 800m into the swim. I settled in beside him and started to look around to see if I could move up the strung-out line of swimmers. I saw that a small gap was opening up and I knew that if I could close it I would be with the lead group. I put my head down and went for it, but after about 400m of holding the same distance to the main group I started to lose ground. At about 1400m a group of 3 people, including Tyler, caught me. I jumped on to the back of the group and followed them for the rest of the swim. I had a 24:53 swim, about 1:40 down form the fastest swimmer. This was the closest I had ever been to the front of the race out of the swim, and I was very excited to be in the race.

When I got onto the bike I could see the main group up the road climbing the first big hill. I thought to myself, You just need to close that gap and the race is on. But I was not feeling great on the bike. I told myself that I had to just bike a little harder at the start to try and get in contact with the lead group. I pushed about 10 watts more then I was planning to. Things were going well until about 30km into the bike. I was holding a good power numbers but I was not bringing anyone back. Then things just started to fall apart and I started to struggle just to hold good power numbers on the flats of the bike course. I was doing OK on the hills but was dead on the flats. At about 45km into the bike Trevor Wurtele went by me. I thought to myself, Try to hang in with him, you should be able to ride at his level, but that was not the case. I held on to him for about 5km then he was gone. At 70km there was a big hill and I was out of it, just trying to keep my head in the game. All I wanted was to go was go to sleep.

I started to get tunnel vision and all I thought about was, Keep your legs moving and get to the run.

By the time I got to the run I was out of the race. I went by Paulo who shouted, ‘Just finish it.’ That is exactly what I did, I just ran. It hurt see such slow numbers on my GPS watch, but I could not go any faster, I was spent. At every aid station I got as much water and Gatorade as I could because I was cooking, out on the run, in the Utah heat. When the race was done it was a strange feeling. I was not happy, but not sad, just tired and ready to move on.

I will take everything I can from this race. It is time to get back to work and prepare myself for the next races. I will be staying in California for a month working with Paulo and preparing for 5150 Mt. Trembant, June 20 and Challenge St. Andrews 70.3, July 5.

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