Last year, Muncie was a great race for me. I came out of the water 3rd in my age group and took the lead in T1. I set the fastest bike split in my age group and then managed to hold on for my first age group win at a WTC event.
Naturally, Muncie was on the schedule again this year. I thought I could go faster, maybe finally get my sub 90 minute run and with a solid swim and fast bike I thought I could come real close to breaking 4:20.
With my injury, all that was out the window and I had to readjust my goals.
I think I mentioned in my last post my back injury left me with some weakness in my left hamstring and calf. Well, that led to some hamstring issues and brought back my old knee injury. So I did very little running between Knoxville and Muncie, which was discouraging because the Knoxville run was ugly.
A friend of mine loaned me some Powercranks to try out to see if those would help me hang onto some run fitness. If you don't know what Powercranks are, I envy you. They're cranks with a clutch so the crank arms move independently ( a video - not me - if you're curious). They're hard work, and they really work your hip flexors and hamstrings, and if you have weakness in one leg they'll let you know...trust me.
I thought I might do anywhere from 30-60 minutes on my first ride. I did 90 seconds. That's it. I progressed quickly and worked my way up to an hour before Muncie. I did get out for a couple of runs prior to Muncie and they felt okay, but I could tell I lost a lot of run fitness. The interesting thing was that my cadence running uphill was easily above 180 and that's never the case. So maybe Powercranks help with that. I'm not convinced they helped my running, although I did end up running faster in Muncie than Knoxville so maybe.
I went into Muncie with low expectations. I was hoping to swim well, bike a little faster than last year and survive the run.
The swim - Like last year, the swim was rough in terms of having to swim through a lot of people from prior waves. People were backstroking, floating....it was chaos. I did my best to avoid the carnage, but plowed into two people taking a kick to the eye on the second one. That hurt and I was sure I'd end up with a black eye.
I came out of the water in 32:32, nearly 2 minutes slower than last year. That wasn't a big surprise because I've been struggling with my open water swimming this year. My pool swimming is fine, but open water has been slow and I can't quite figure it out. I did get a new Roka wetsuit so that might be the problem, but I'm not ready to place the blame on the wetsuit just yet. I tend to suck at swimming so the problem is likely me.
The bike - The bike was okay, not great. I felt a little sluggish and struggled to hold goal power and ended up about 7 watts low. My lead in to the race was very different than usual, so I suspect I was paying for my last minute panic training and the spontaneous 15K TT I did on Thursday before driving to Muncie. My speed was good despite my power being a little low (put my wheel cover back on) so I biked about a minute faster (2:15:57) than last year on 3 fewer watts. Conditions were very similar to last year, so I'm happy I was faster, but I really wanted to break 2:15 and I think I could have if I had hit 240 watts.
The run - The run was tough, but A LOT better than Puerto Rico or Knoxville. I felt okay coming off the bike, but can't say I ever felt good on the run. It was hard work from the very first step. I ran the first half at a 7:35 pace and the second at 7:55 for an overall average pace of 7:45. All things considered, I'm happy with that. It got me a 1:40:37 run split which ranks as my 5th fastest ever. Puerto Rico earlier this year was my slowest ever at an 8:43 pace. I managed to pick it up a bit at Knoxville and run an 8:07 pace. So....progress.
I'm not 100% sure I'll be on the start line for IMWI yet, but I am going to start my final build and see how that goes. I really want to find out what I'm capable of for an IM, but unfortunately this isn't going to be the year, so I'm trying to figure out how to salvage a decent race. What I need to do is swim well, bike fast and manage the run. With my current condition, that's all I can do. I'm working on my swimming, and also ditching my Retul bike fit and working on replicating my fit from my Cannondale the year I did short course. Then I'm going to teach myself to hold that position for 112 miles. I think I can be a little more slippery and get a little more speed for my power.
Next up - The Door County Half Iron Relay. I'm finally doing a half iron relay. I'm the cyclist. I can't wait.