I ended last season with a half iron at 6.16 so my goal for this race was to get in under 6 hours and since this race has a 2 mile shorter bike and .6 shorter run I had 5.45 as my goal. I have trained harder and done much more biking than last year so I felt confident that I would at least get close to my goal. I drove to Victoria on Saturday and met with a few in the Pro Club team for a short swim-bike-run and then later on a dinner together. With a 6.45am start it was important to get to bed early so after getting some breakfast at local grocery store I headed back and managed to get a good nights sleep. The 430 wake up was still cruel. I filled all my bottles with the brown Perpetuem mess and checked out. Getting to the race site and setting up transition was easy and I was ready to start. Fast forward for you if you don’t want to read on .. I crushed my goal and after a 33 min 1.9km swim, 2.58 on the 84 km bike and 1.54 on the 20km run I crossed the finish line at 5.32:21.
What happened to the surfing
Very nice swim course in Elk Lake except that the wind made it a little choppy. The swim out would be against the waves and then I planned on surfing the waves and push it for the finish. Mass start with all approx 200 half ironman athletes at the same time but I didn’t have to fight for space more than a couple of times. I‘m not used to the rough waters so decided early to just breathe every other stroke which worked really well, especially on the way back when I thought I was going to surf the waves but disappointing when the waves came in sideways. Didn’t really push it hard on the swim so really surprising to see the time of 33 minutes.
Windy and friendly ride
Transition to the bike was a mess, I had decided to wear my jacket on the bike so had gear in back pockets. I see Coach Covey slip out of transition just as I start fumbling with getting my gear out of the jacket and into my race suit. Bike was a pretty straight forward 2 loop course with rollers and a few tricky turns. Just like every race I spent the first 30 minutes on the bike being passed by slower swimmers but there was something different this time, I was passing some people too. I was passed by a guy with a big smiley on his calf and a girl on a red Cervelo tri bike and turns out these were to be my race buddies. We rode the 86km overtaking each other throughout the whole time, especially the Cervelo girl and I , she had more speed on the downhills and I passed her on the climbs and flats. In the last 20 miles we laughed and – hey its me again, see you in a few minutes. I was hoping to race her on the run as well but turns out she was just doing the bike leg as part of a relay team .. no wonder she was pushing it.
The small constant uphill battles and the windy condition drained the legs so about 2/3 in I started to get a little worried about the run which resulted in my second lap being a few minutes slower but still finishing the 84k in 2.58.
Nutrition worked really well with 3 hrs worth of Perpetuem in a 16oz bottle together with some extra Swedish fish and Powerbar Gel blasts and then squeeze bottle with Perpetuem for a sip at each aid station on the run. I had my 24oz water bottle and also picked up about 24oz of extra water on two of the bike aid stations.
Trail run and mostly fun
Messed up in transition again, forgot my race number and had to go back through the whole transition area again. I passed the race clock on the way out and it said 3.35 and I thought… hm maybe I can break 5.30. First 6-7 km felt fine but left knee started to hurt and had to slow down and happy face guy ran past me and then at 8 km my team mate Guy passed me. I hurt the most from 7 to 12 km and I ran slow. The run was tough but I had no cramps what so ever which is fantastic proof of the training I have put in this year. 7- 8km left and if I could just speed up a little I would be able to break 5.30. With 3-4 km left I passed happy face and I think I still had a shot if I could get down to 9 min tempo… but of course the more I tried the my body just told me to go jump in the lake and then it told me to sell my shoes and bike for $50. I finished in 5.32 with a 1.54 over the 20km and I am so happy and proud.
Next half iron planned is the The Return To Black Diamond and as I go through training I will set a goal later on but right now I feel like I want to break 5.30 on that course.