November 21, 2017 - Tough day on the bike and run
The swim started tremendously. I was right in with a pack moving at the same pace together. The effort was not hard at all, I felt smooth and quick. After the halfway point in the water, the group started to split as people fell of the pace at different times. This actually turned out pretty great to me, as I enjoy having some open water and not having to fight for position and being able to just focus in on proper technique and effort. I finished the swim in 1hr 3min.
Supposedly, I was fighting at the top of my age group through 1/3 of the bike. But before I get to positioning on the bike, I will explain the race conditions. The bike course is three laps out of town and then back into town. Heading out of town, the wind was the strongest I have ever faced and also a bit uphill. Holding even 15-16mph was very difficult. But, after the turn-around the course was downhill and with a very strong tailwind. I averaged 30.2mph for the 18miles coming back to town. The third lap though, the wind seemed to have switched and was a bit more difficult heading back to town. This bike portion was the hardest and most mentally challenging ride I have dealt with. The change in power was really difficult to me as I was spinning out of town in an easy-ish gear and then shifting to my biggest gear heading back to town.
The run started out really great. I was actually holding back effort and my time was still really great. I was running aid station to aid station and fueling great. I had ice in suit, hat, and hands. This somehow came to an abrupt halt at mile 9. My energy levels dropped but my legs were fine. I began run walking and that even became very difficult. I began to walk a lot at mile 12 and that soon became extremely difficult. I was bending over and just hanging my head. I wanted to just quit and sit on a bench until someone came to get me or I somehow got up and kept going. I kept walking really slowly until mile 18 where I somehow found energy to get moving and i started to speedwalk and even do a little bit of running. Eventually the running stopped and I just kept power walking through the late miles. I had some foot problems and my knee was bothering me a bit, but nothing where I could not run. My legs were okay, but I was just drained of energy.
Time to get back to the drawing board. This race was a good experience, and I do believe I will take something from this race, just have not realized what yet. This is going to be a long process, but I do believe I will have a really great IRONMAN in the future. Overall, I am happy with a finish and a PR. I am very happy with my swim time as well. Huge improvements over past months.