Ironman AC 70.3 Race Report
Coming off Maine 70.3 where I smashed the course (5:16) and hit all my goals this season I was not planning to go hard at AC. However, once that cannon goes off (or lack thereof but I digress) a competitor’s mindset shifts. I guess that’s how you know you’re a competitive person and a type A… which triathlon seems to attract.
Drove up to AC Friday after work and the ride took over 3 hours from NYC. After meeting up with some friends for dinner, I headed back to the hotel for some beers (this is carb loading and don’t let anyone tell you differently) and relaxation. Saturday rolled around and we did our usual pre-race shtick: drinking water and Gatorade nonstop, bike check-in, packet pick up and complaining about one thing or another. Because that’s what triathletes do, we complain. A lot. Especially about races. The 2.5 loop bike, the weird turns on the swim, the run with zero shade… you know the usual. Finally, we made it to dinner with some friends and teammates and then went to sleep. In bed by 9:30 and up by 4:30, a cool 7 hours of sleep.
Thankfully we got dropped off at transition; the line into Bader field must’ve been about 25 minutes. I set up my gear, chatted with some friends and had a Twizzler I found in my bag. Don’t ask. My friend Christine was racked right near me and we discussed our prime real estate location and made a mental note to contact my local Remax agent post-race to list it on Zillow (this is not a paid advertisement for either company).
Eventually we got kicked out of transition and lined up for our protected bay swim.
Swim: 48:XX. 80 in AG. Oh. My. God. What a disaster. For those of you that read my reports know how bad of a swimmer I am. This was some next level of bad, though. The swim consisted of a 3 person line up jumping into the Bay from a dock. The race start was called for 6:50, I hit the water at 7:18 and there was probably a line of about 1000 people after me. I’d hate to think about how late they started. The swim was EXTREMELY crowded. Even compared to IMLP there was simply nowhere to go. Chugging along my goggles got super fogged and I couldn’t see anything. Thankfully about 5 minutes later someone kicked me in the face and my right goggle popped off and flooded. This was a mixed blessing. On the one hand it was a good thing since it was no longer fogged. On the other, my eye was now full of dirty bay water. Eventually, after several more punches and kicks to the head where I swallowed half the Bay I was finished. The only bright side of the swim is that I swallowed so much water that I no longer had to worry about taking my Himalayan Salt on the bike. Pro-tip: Grind up Himalayan Salt and put it into a tic-tac box. It’s super cheap and does the job of replenishing electrolytes extremely well.
Bike: 2:40ish. The bike was 3 loops of the AC Expressway and some side roads. The guide mentioned it was 2.5 loops but that’s a gross understatement. My main concern going in was crowding on the bike but I was pleasantly surprised when the crowding was pretty minimal. I had no issues flying by people and making up lost time on the swim. The weather was pretty humid and I could see constant droplets of sweat through my helmet visor. This wouldn’t have been such an issue had I not launched 2 water bottles of various fluids going over highway rumble strips. Unfortunately, there was no way to avoid them and the bad roads. I took special note of about 15 people fixing punctured tires on the side of the road. I tried to take in some nutrition, but 1 gel and 1 bar slipped out of my hands (butter fingers much?). So coming off the bike I was behind on fluids and nutrition… this set me up for an interesting run. The best part of the bike was struggling to get a water bottle into my cage and a girl behind me screams “Dude, just stick it in the hole!!!” If you’re reading this, please message me. I was cracking up for the 5 miles because of this and I want to thank you. The final distance was 57 miles. I came off the bike 15th in my AG. To reiterate, I passed 65 people in my AG on the bike. THAT’S how bad my swim was. Bike stats: 21.5MPH, normalized power 176W, Cadence 95avg, HR average 153. Strava Data
Run: 1:55. Coming off the bike I knew this would be a disaster. My standalone half PR is 1:37, so a normally paced 13.1 in a 70.3 should be around 1:45-1:47. The problem is when you fall back on nutrition and hydration on the previous leg you dig yourself into a big hole from which it’s quite difficult to dig yourself out of. I was deep in that hole. I couldn’t hold down any food so I was just drinking Gatorade and water with an occasional lick of Himalayan Salt. I was closely monitoring my time was realized I could finish sub 5:30 if I would push out the last 2 miles – which is exactly what I did. I must say it’s pretty hilarious listening to people tell you how great you look when you’re dying physically and mentally. I pushed out the last 2 miles at a sub 8:00 pace and finished sub 5:30. This might be huge for some but I was upset with my performance overall. This was my last triathlon of the 2017 season and, as they say, back to the drawing board!
Would I do this race again? I would rather not but I feel like some retribution is necessary. I’d also like to commend DelMo Sports for running an amazing race!