Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ironman New Orleans 70.3

April 17th I competed in the New Orleans Ironman 70.3, however 70.3 miles were never covered. Ironman 69.1 would be a more appropriate title given the canceled swim leg. The 56 bike,13.1 mile race was heavily dictated by weather. I knew wind would be a major player after seeing the out and back bike course, primarily east to west meaning there would be a brutal headwind going one way and equally helpful tailwind going the opposite. Additionally I had heard waves get pretty large on the swim with any wind at all. I had no idea the swim was cancelled until I was putting on my wetsuit.

The morning of the race I woke up about 430 feeling really good and really rested. Andrea Newhouse sewed a VT onto the back of my shirt for the race in honor of the students who passed on April 16, 2007. Elimination of the swim meant a big change in strategy. Usually after a 1.2 mile swim, having been horizontal for over 30 minutes, the back is tight and it's hard to find that initial power for the first 3-5 miles of the bike. Plus the addition of a roller and being able to warm up on the bike increases bike splits rather than coming straight out of the lake. I realized this would be a great time to in case my calories and i didn't have a roller so I went for a run to warm up my legs. The time trial start gave me a chance go watch some of the top pros in the sport, like Julie Dibbens(former 70.3 world champion).

The race started by age groups, going off 2 by 2 with a 5 second gap between pairs. For some reason I started with the 40-45 age group, but it's all by computer chip so it doesn't matter that much. The bike leg was extremely difficult for the first 27 miles. I've never felt wind coming at me like that before. Mentally it's draining because you feel like you're not getting a good distance for the amount of effort you're putting into the ride. I found myself visualizing the turn around as the end of the race, because I knew that at that point the wind would work in my favor. I came in on the bike at 2:44 minutes at 43rd out of 121 in pretty high spirits, I was still in good enough position to where i thought i could reel in a lot of the 24 and unders that i couldn't match pace with on the bike.

After falling right on my ass with one foot still clipped to my pedal, i had a great transition. I already had socks on since there was no swim. I tied my shoes, and grabbed a muffin, Snickers marathon, and a powerade zero and hobbled out on the half marathon course for what is always the worst 20 minutes in triathlon. Carrying all that food made my arms tired so I just threw it on the ground and relied on aid stations for the rest of the the race. Those first two miles are indescribable. In all the sports of tired brick legs is the most uncomfortable feeling I've experienced. Fortunately They went away after about 20 minutes and was able to lay down the 13.1 in 1:39 averaging about 7:47 per mile and pulling up to 23rd of 121. Crossing the finish line was a lot of fun, the final turn was right in the heart of the French quarter and gave you the boost to run the last 1.5 miles hard. Overall this race was awesome and I plan to do it again. Next up Country Music Marathon.

Finish Line
Julie Dibbens
VT Patch

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