Ironman Utah on Saturday was one of the prettiest, hardest races I have done to date. For those of you who like a challenge, this is the place to go! The crazy thing is that the conditions were likely about as tame as you can get out there….temps in the 60’s and relatively light winds. In the future, if they get a day of 90 degree temps, with 15-20 mph winds, I think we’ll see just how tough that course can be. Anyhow, here’s my report:
My build up to this race was likely one of my best to date. Given all of the QT2 related work and growth going on over the past 6 months; I scaled back my training volume some, to focus more on restoration. To increase training stress for the lack of volume, I increased my training intensity some…..this approach was the right one, as I raced very well in California, and was ready to hit Utah pretty good. We arrived at our condo on Wednesday for the Saturday race….this worked out great as 10 QT2 athletes shared a couple of units. The race week prep was about as good as you are going to get.
Race morning was a cold one! About 45 degrees…..I just hate the cold. I waited in transition with Coach Pat to hit the water….55 degree water that is! I was not looking forward to getting in there, and with that, waited until the very last moment. I got in the water with 2 minutes to go before the gun, and made a mad dash for the front…..well, I didn’t make it! The gun went off as I was swimming to the front. Luckily I was only 2-3 rows back, so it actually worked out quite well. This was not a fun swim. I spent most of it wishing it would end! The cold more or less shut of my left arm, so I felt like I had no swim stroke. When I came out in 1:01 I was actually surprised it was that fast, even though this was my slowest IM swim to date (with a wetsuit)! This had me out of the water in 110 place OA. Onward!
I spent over 6 minutes in transition trying to make my hands (claws) work….this was no easy task; particularly trying to get on the long sleeve shirt I planned to wear during the ride. Once onto the bike, I executed my pacing and fueling plans to the letter. At 40 miles I was averaging 17.8 mph, which gives you a sense of just how hilly this course was…almost nonstop hills all the way through. The first loop was pretty calm, but by the time we hit the 2nd, the winds picked up significantly, grinding many people to a walk on the climbs! I rolled into T2, a bit slower than I would have liked, but certainly felt like I was fresh to run a marathon. Total time: 5:41, now in 73 place OA.
After a tough marathon in Cozumel, I eased my ride up a bit to prepare for this ridiculously hilly run course. It’s literally never flat. I somehow managed to leave my Garmin on my bike, so headed out to run with no timing or pacing devices….this was going to get done by perceived exertion (the initial plan was to average a heart rate of 10 beats higher than that of the bike)! I came out of T2 with Pat, which was great to help pace me through the first few miles…..all uphill miles that is! I knew right away that I would have a pretty solid marathon based on how I felt. Given where I was in the field at that point, I knew I had no choice but to run through a lot of athletes. Luckily, that’s exactly what Pat and I planned to do, and did! It was a fun run to run strong, because the course was SO tough, and most other athletes were going backwards. Pat out ran me by a few minutes which I knew he would…..he had a flawless day and his hard work is paying off in a big way. I was also very pleased with Cait’s 3rd place Pro result. The other QT2 athletes we had racing had solid results as well, with a few mishaps to go around.
My final time was 10:04:xx with a 3:14 marathon, which sat me at 28th OA. I had a Kona slot if I needed it, so that was nice to know. Given the difficulty of this course, I was happy with the results. Also, given the way the winds picked up throughout the day, this course really favored the fast swim-bikers which I am not.
The next big race for me will be IM lake placid where I won’t be racing, but coaching! I’m really looking forward to that with 4-5 of my athletes racing….all looking for Kona slots. The next IM that I plan to race will be Kona, and then likely CDA in 2011.
Thanks for listening to another race report!