With only seven days to recover for the Ironman, I went back to Austin after Clearwater to try and freshen up. The first couple of days after Clearwater, I was a little bit nervous as my legs were extremely sore. Once I got to Arizona, my legs came around and were actually feeling pretty good. I was really nervous as I didn’t really know how to approach this race. The night before the race, I couldn’t believe how compicated getting my nutrition ready was. I didn’t know where I was going to put all the stuff. In the morning, I couldn’t believe how cold the water was. I thought Arizona was a warm place. During the swim, I had to dig a little deeper than I thought I would, as a couple of guys got away early and I got stuck behind the wrong feet. I spent about 1.5K closing the gap. I exited the water third, right on the feet of the leaders. Going through transition, I took a little extra time to concentrate on which bag I had to get because I’m a dumbass and sometimes can grab the wrong transition bag (i.e. last weekend). The first few kilometers, I wanted to try and get settled in a good position early. My race plan was not to kill myself on the bike but try and sit with the main group. I found this a little bit hard at times, because sometimes the ride felt extremely easy and I had to keep reminding myself to back off. Other times, even though the pace was the same, it was really hard and I was digging deep just to maintain my position. Coming into transition, I had no idea what to expect on the run. I actually felt good heading out on the run. The weather was perfect for racing and up until that point I felt like my nutrition was going well. My plan for the run was to hold a steady pace. Half way through the race, I managed to run into 3rd place and was still feeling really good. I was pulling time back on the leaders. 20 miles into the run, I got within 30 seconds of TJ. Unfortunately around this stage, I started to feel my sore legs from Clearwater and the first half of the Ironman. I managed to push through it for another 5K. The last 5K was a really big struggle. My quads were so sore I could hardly put my feet on the ground. In the end, I managed to hold onto 4th. I was extremely happy with the way the Ironman went. I don’t think this is something I want to do regularly, but I might be back to Arizona next year. After the race, the only thing I had a craving for was McDonalds, so on the way home, I picked up a couple of burgers and some fries. Once I got home, I sat in the bath and ate my feast (I really think McDonalds should sponsor me).
Sorry for the delay in my updates. I’m still sulking and bitter about my amateur mistake in transition. I’ve never felt better going into a race as I did for Clearwater. My preparation was perfect and I was feeling confident for a great race, especially after setting the course record at the Austin 70.3. Unfortunately, I had a brain fart in transition and picked up the wrong bike bag. Once I realized I had grabbed the wrong bag, I ran back to pick up the correct one. By this time, I had lost 90 seconds. In any other race, this would not be such an issue. However, when there is a 40 man peleton, there was no way I was going to catch up, but I did try. Once I got off the bike, I didn’t want to throw in the towel, but it’s hard to get motivated when you are running from 40th place. After 10K, I managed to run down a lot of people, which gave me a little bit more fire to try and run back into the top 20. I really pushed hard the last 5K, because someone on the road told me I had a chance at top 10. Unfortunately that person couldn’t count. In the end I finished 11th, with one of the fastest run times of the day. The last 5K really hurt me, which worried me a little bit for Ironman Arizona the next weekend.
Congrats to the top 3 in Clearwater for having a great race.
Afterthought: Can someone please tell me why 70.3 has to have this ridiculous transition zone with bags and changing tents? Why can’t we go back to traditional transitions with your shoes and helmet at your bike? Just because it’s called Ironman 70.3 doesn’t mean it’s an Ironman race. It’s a stupid rule and hopefully one day it will be like every other 70.3 throughout the year. This rule is nearly as bad as the Ironman pro license for next year (stupidity). — Richie’s thoughts