Race Report: Kansas 70.3
Sorry about the lack of pics. I had to do this race alone. I took the GoPro with me to get some pics of the venue and then completely forgot to take pictures.
My last few long course tris haven't been my best, for various reasons, so I was really hoping to put everything together and get some long course confidence back. So that was my main goal. A few other goals were to break 4:30, break 1:30 on the run, and break 30 minutes on the swim.
This race is always threatened by thunderstorms so I was watching the weather pretty closely. This year, the storms rolled through on Saturday and race day had a forecast of 65-70 degrees, cloudy skies and 8-10 mph NNE winds. Perfect. No excuses.
The Swim (31:18)
I lined up on the front row with the goal of finding some good feet and finally getting my sub-30 half ironman swim. The conditions were good and the course was well marked so I felt like I had a good shot. When the gun went off, the guy to the right of me took off and I fought for his feet. I found them, and just as quickly lost them. He swam a 26 something so there's no way I could have hung with him. I soon found myself in a usual position of no draft. I feel like this is a mistake I make way too often so I looked around and soon found some feet and stuck with those the rest of the way. This is the best I've ever done drafting in a triathlon, so that's a win. But I chose the wrong feet. I knew we were toward the front of our wave, and he was the only one in my wave I saw near me so I felt like he would be going sub-30.
This is what frustrates me the most with swimming. You don't get any feedback on pace out there, so you think things are going well and you come out of the water and see you're slower than you thought you should have been. I'm not a good judge of pace in the water. I felt like we were going faster.
I came out of the water in 10th in my age group, so not bad, but I really felt like I had a faster swim in me. If not sub-30, closer to 30 than 31.
It is what it is and normally a swim slower than 31 minutes would frustrate me but for some reason today it didn't. I looked at my watch, determined I chose the wrong feet and moved on. I chose to sit on his feet the whole way so I put my time in his hands so I can't really complain.
The Bike (2:22:05)
I did all my long bricks in training at about 245-250 watts and ran well off those. I felt pretty good out there, but opted to ride a bit more conservatively at just a tad under 240 watts. That wasn't my plan going in, and I never really thought about it. I just did it, probably because deep down I wanted a sub 1:30 more than a good bike split.
I had a fair amount of traffic the first half, but was pretty much solo the whole second half and had more headwind and hills so my average speed dropped a bit, but power remained steady. I hadn't seen anyone in my age group in a long time and hadn't gotten passed by anyone on the bike, so I suspected I might be in the top 5 in my AG.
I thought I'd bike a little closer to 2:20, but was happy with a 2:22, especially since I came off the bike feeling pretty good. I have to say, I really liked this bike course. It's what most 70.3 bike courses should be, I think. A few decent climbs, lots of rollers, decent roads, little to no car traffic. It was an honest course. It's not super challenging, but it's got enough climbing that you have to work for it. It's also fast enough that you can still throw down a decent split. And no potholes to dodge. I liked that.
The Run (1:32:08)
I came off the bike feeling pretty good. I settled in to a 6:50 pace and held it there for a while focusing on trying to get in some calories and water and just getting into a rhythm. This course has a few out and backs, and those are great when you're racing for position. I kept looking for people in my age group. It was tough because ages are marked on calves so you can't see them when people are running toward you, and numbers don't always indicate which AG you're in (I wish we had something like colored bibs or colored timing chip bands to indicate age group...something).
Around mile 4 I spotted a guy in my AG. I checked my watch. I was nearing a turn around so I'd be able to get a split. He had a little more than 4 minutes on me. I wasn't sure, but I suspected he may be running in 2nd, which would put me 3rd. Obviously he swam and/or biked faster than me....but can he run? I was determined to find out.
I started pushing the pace seeing if I could reel him in. I spotted him toward another turn around after the halfway point and checked my watch. I had closed the gap to around 2 and a half minutes. I wasn't sure I'd have time to catch him, but I thought I might. I kept pushing. Around the hour mark, I hit the only hill on the course for the second time (two loop run) and that was it. I was cooked. One stupid hill and I was done.
My pace began slipping. I grabbed some Coke at the next aid station and stepped up the pace....or so I thought. It sure did feel like I was running faster, but my pace dropped even more. Just like that I went from being on pace to breaking 90 minutes to doing damage control. My pace continued slipping, and I began wondering if anyone was catching me. I got another split on the guy I was chasing and the gap was back to around 4 minutes. Motivation was slipping as a sub 1:30 was out of the question and it didn't look like anyone was close enough to catch me. I just tried to hang on and not lose too much more time from that point on.
Overall: 4:28:35. 41st overall. 3rd AG.
Overall, I'm really happy with this race. I feel like I put it all together and had a good day, placed well in my AG, hit some of my goals, and I raced hard and went for it. I have some things to work on, but there were a lot of positives.
After the race I drove 8 hours home. That sucked more than the final 30 minutes of the run.
- After the race, my hamstrings and glutes were really sore. My quads felt fine. Maybe some more hamstring/glute strengthening is needed. Weak hamstrings is what caused my torn tendon. I've been slacking on my strengthening.
- I need to run more hills.
- I need to pick a good fall/winter half marathon and work on my half marathon time. I feel like I run well in half ironmans compared to my half marathon PR (which is 1:32, but it's from 2008).
- I feel like my best half ironman swim performance relative to my potential came at Door County a few years ago when I was doing lots of metronome work in open water. Time to dig out the H2O Audio again.
- I need to swim harder in races. I think I swim too easy sometimes.
- I would really appreciate it if people could write their half ironman swim PR on their feet so I know whose feet to follow.
- I need a new wetsuit. That Xterra hasn't held up well. Lots of holes.
- I need to change my BTA bottle cage. The one Trek makes for the new Speed Concept doesn't hold the water bottles WTC hands out very well. I lost one and somehow caught the other (I really should get an award for that catch - it was pretty good).
- I need to start the run with a water bottle. I get dehydrated out there and struggle to get enough water from paper cups.
- Clif Blocks. Mmmmmm....
- The Pearl Izumi Octane suit is awesome. Fast, comfy and no silly tri tan.
That's all I can think of right now. My next half is the Muncie 70.3 on July 12. I've got some work to do if I'm going to break 1:30 on the run there. The run course is hillier than KS. It also has potential to be very hot.
This race gave me some much needed confidence, so I'm motivated to train hard and hopefully do well at Muncie.