The week after the Janesville tri, I headed down to Indiana for the Muncie 70.3. My training had gone well after Kansas, especially my swimming, so I was hoping to finally break 30 minutes in the swim. I set a goal earlier this year to break 90 minutes on a half ironman run, and since I just missed that at Kansas that carried over to this race. I'd never done Muncie, but knew there were plenty of rolling hills on the run so I wasn't so sure that goal was going to get checked off the list, but I figured I'd try. My other goal was to get a top 5 in my age group.
|The swim course.|
|Waiting for my wave to start.|
I lined up on the front row and the guy next to me quickly got in front and I sat on his feet. Once I got in line, it felt too easy. That was the mistake I made in Kansas and hoping to avoid that mistake I decided to move out of the draft to test it out and see how the effort felt without the draft. On my own, I started passing him and then a quick look up showed only two guys just a little ways ahead. I put in a hard effort and got on their feet. The pace felt good so I focused on staying on their feet.
This is where things got really frustrating. There are 5 minutes between waves. We caught the wave ahead of us within 2-3 buoys. Then we caught the wave two waves ahead of us well before the first corner. That was the men's 35-39, I believe. We were maybe a third of what way through the swim and we'd already made up 10 minutes on some of those guys. It was carnage. Sidestroking, backstroking, breaststroking, floating, etc. I lost the two guys I was swimming with and spent the rest of the time dodging people. I missed my sub-30 goal and came out of the water pretty frustrated. I really wanted to hit that goal, and I felt like I'd dropped a lot of time to my competitors working through the waves.
What I didn't know was that no one in my AG broke 30 minutes and that I was coming out of the water in 3rd, only 32 seconds behind the leader. Even though I didn't hit my goal, that makes this my best every half ironman swim. My previous best would have been Kansas where I came out of the water in 10th in my AG.
Transition was smooth. There's a long uphill run from the swim to the bike racks so I tried to be quick, but controlled. I transitioned 34 seconds quicker than the swim leader - and faster than the guy who came out of the water in second - so I left T1 a couple seconds in the lead. I had no idea.
Bike (2:17:01 - 24.5 mph)
The bike is flat and fast. Most of it is on a closed highway where you do two out and backs. There really isn't a whole lot to say about the bike. I watched my power, but not really close. The more experience I get, the more I race by feel and kind of watch my power but don't let it completely dictate my race. If I'm feeling good, I go with it. If not, I don't push it just to hit a number which is something I would have done in the past. Race WITH power, not TO power. In the end, my average power was exactly the same as Kansas.
I felt like I might be in the top 10 in my AG so I was looking for my competitors. I never found any, and that was a little frustrating. Where were they? I usually catch people on the bike. In retrospect, it makes sense. I left T1 with the lead and set the fastest bike split in my AG.
As far as bike courses go, this was okay but I definitely preferred Kansas. The roads were better in Kansas and I like rolling hills.
Quick and smooth.
Run (1:35:16 - 7:16 pace)
The run has a lot of rollers, but wasn't as hilly as I was expecting. I felt pretty good at the start of the run and settled in at a 6:50 pace. I really thought I was going to hit my goal. Everything was going well.
I don't know if it was the Skratch or what, but not long after drinking some (about 20-30 minutes into the run) I got the worst side ache ever. Oh man, that sucked. My pace slowed and I started looking for excuses to walk to see if it would ease up. The volunteers at the aid stations were holding out cups yelling, "water" which was the prefect excuse to walk for a bit and drink some water.
I still wasn't seeing anyone in my age group and the rollers were starting to get to me. My side hurt, my legs were tired and as with most 70.3s, it felt much hotter than it actually was. We had great weather, and suddenly I'm at the halfway point hurting much more than expected. I knew my sub 90 wasn't happening and even at the turn around point I couldn't find anyone in my age group so I just kept plugging away, clicking off the miles trying to get to the finish line. Eventually the side ache went away and I was able to step up the pace a bit toward the end.
I can't say the run was a disaster, but it definitely wasn't the run I felt I had trained for. I didn't over-bike so that wasn't the problem. I'm not sure what happened out there. I think the run would have been a few minutes better had I not gotten the side ache. That was a rough 30-40 minutes. I knew going in that sub-90 was going to be tough with all the rollers so I was thinking matching my Kansas split would be a good accomplishment. I missed that by a few minutes.
Overall (4:26:47 - 1st AG, 35th overall)
Even though I didn't get my sub-30 swim or sub-90 run, I did get my first age group win at a 70.3 so it was a successful race. My training is going really well this year and things are coming together. Like Kansas, I turned down my 70.3 Worlds slot because I'm doing ITU Worlds the weekend before. I wish I could do both.
After Muncie, my IM Chattanooga training block started. I did a big two-week block of work and then had a recover week leading into AG Nats (which is tomorrow and Sunday). Then it's another block of work, then ITU Worlds, then one last block of work and a taper.