Remember Jake? We highlighted him the week of Muncie 70.3. He completed his goal- and we got to see him finish. I pretty much pestered him for the past week and a half to have him send over a race report… here it is:
When Glenn agreed to start coaching me in February, the thought of July 20th was so far away. Then it was the Mini, then the Indy 500 (Favorite weekend of the year), The Tour de Cure, and then OH MY GOD it’s July and Muncie is here.
My taper week was full of helping friends with different activities that were still physical, but weren’t swim/bike/run. Instead, I spent it using a chainsaw for an hour and a half to help a friend and other stuff to keep my mind busy. I did get out to Eagle Creek for some open water laps, which helped.
Meghan and I left about 4:45am to head north. We stopped for gas along the way and cruised in about 6am. We waited in a short parking line and I was a little rushed getting setup in transition and getting my numbers on my arm, but I did not feel too rushed.
Division Rank: 133/136
Overall Rank: 1457/1541
Gender Rank: 1011/1066
I realized at the beginning of July that my swim was going to suck. I hadn’t been able to get out in open water and trying to get my work/life schedule to match up with the schedule at the Natatorium or Broad Ripple park just weren’t happening. I thought extra running would help with cardio, but, yeah, this was ugly.
I specifically remember walking to the shore and getting my first look at the course and saying to Meghan, “[Curse words]. That looks MUCH longer than the map.” For those of you in Indy, I compare it to swimming the span of Eagle Creek Reservoir from the beach to the Galyan’s Bear along the 56thstreet bridge, then 500m up the shore, then back across to the beach area in the park. Additionally, the course goes out on an angle to the left and then comes back into the rising sun.
I got started fine, and planned to relax into the swim until I could get a good stroke rate, but that never happened. When I wasn’t trying to find a buoy in front of me, I was trying to get my tugboat of a body out of the way of the next two waves.
- The swim sets up the entire race. You can’t cheat the training and you have to get some longer experience in open water.
- There is a sailboat that camps out by the first turn buoy. Don’t try to find the buoy every few strokes, just get to the damn boat.
I half-jogged out of the water, up the hill, and into transition. When I did a test swim at Eagle Creek during taper week, I got out and felt a little dizzy, so I wanted to make sure I got my legs under me. I also took the extra time to put on compression socks and bike shorts for the ride.
Division Rank: 130/136
Overall Rank: 1436/1541
Gender Rank: 999/1066
I realized after the first mile that I forgot to take the two salt tabs and the gel I had intended to take during T1. So, I stopped and took them from my bike supply. I spent the majority of the first 15 miles (distance to the first water stop) trying to get sorted and figuring out it was going to be a long day. The thing about the bike is that it is three hours (plus) of being in your own head. No music. No conversation other than a “Good work” or “Way to go” occasionally. It is a long time to be self-motivating and stay focused on pushing.
I got to the first water stop and realized that people weren’t actually stopping. They were just cruising through and grabbing bottles of water or Ironman Perform and moving on. In my race planning, I made the assumption that the stops would be more like Tour De Cure where I could stop, mix up some HEED, take some salt tabs, and then get going again. WRONG. So, I got in a rush, threw the lid off my water bottle, but wanted to keep the water bottle, so I had to get off my bike and pick up my lid. It was a mess, but I got through it and moved on.
Miles 20-36 were rough physically and mentally. During the pre-race meeting on Friday, someone asked about the “rough spots” they had heard about. The guy giving the instructions shrugged it off with “Well, we are on country roads. They aren’t the worst in the 70.3 series, but they are country roads.” Right. I’m not going to say it was cobblestones, but the side wind, rolling country roads, and continuing to fall further back sucked. When you get marked with your bib number, they also mark your age on your right calf. This also means that as you are biking and running, you can see the age of the people around you. I’ll say it this way; I would have gotten my butt handed to me in the 40-44 division AND the 30-34 division.
The progression of my mantras went as follows:
First 15 miles: “Get ticking over the pedals, you can catch up to some people and get to the first water stop.”
Miles 15-28: “Get to the turnaround and the wind will be a tailwind. Earn your tailwind and get through it.”
Miles 28-36: “Get off this GD road. Remember hearing Bob Costas say during the Kona telecast, ‘Headwinds can be managed, tailwinds are appreciated, but side wind can be debilitating.’ And remember that you’re pushing 270lbs through a decent wind.”
Miles 36-56: “Get back in and get on the run. Realize that warm Ironman Perform may be the worst liquid you have ever ingested and learn more for next year. It won’t be the time you want, but you’re going to get it done.”
- Get a proper bike fit with aero bars so you can tuck when you encounter side wind
- Bring water bottles that you don’t care about pre-made with HEED so that all you have to take on are squeeze bottles of water
- Bike shorts with padding were a great call
Saw Meghan on the way in. Told her that I was actually having fun and had realized it won’t be the time I wanted, but I was going to get it done and learn lessons for next year. Walked the bike in (goal for next year: run barefoot), switched shoes, wrestled in to my Wabash College track top, took a gel and some salt tabs, and was out on the run.
Division Rank: 127/136
Overall Rank: 1409/1541
Gender Rank: 977/1066
This statement sums up the last five months: The run was my favorite part of the day. Coming from a guy that played offensive line in college and, at one point in life, weighed 315-ish lbs on a 6’3” frame (265-ish now), to say that the run was my favorite is pretty incredible. There were great people on the course. On the way out, I got to see Lindsey and Glenn and had no less than 10 people say something about the “Wabash Always Fights” motto.
I told myself to get to the turnaround and then enjoy the way back. I decided the best way to do that was to run the down hills and flats while walking any significant uphill. The nice thing about the run course is that there are evenly spaced cones along the way and water stops about every mile. They make it pretty easy to say “Get to the next cone” or “Get to the water stop”. So, that’s what I did. I got out to the turnaround right as it was getting “Indiana country in the summer hot” and decided to walk the way back until about mile 11. I kept the running miles close to 11min/mile and the walking miles to 15min/mile.
At roughly mile 9, I looked at the time of day and realized that I could realistically make it in 7hrs and 30mins, which was one of my early estimates on finish time when I first started training.
- The shorter stride/shuffle really is the better way to run off the bike. I am glad I worked that into my running form over the past year.
- I should have focused on going cone-to-cone or running 2 cones and walking one on the way back in to prevent cramping when I did want to run again.
- Non-Carbonated cola is awesome.
- Sunscreen is helpful
OVERALL TIME: 7:37:35
Division Rank: 127/136
Overall Rank: 1409/1541
Meghan met me just before the finish line. I was so worried about the statement that you could get DQ’d for someone running with you that I told her she couldn’t run with me. I still feel badly about that because it shouldn’t matter. She has been an incredible supporter/motivator. So, next year, she’ll be running along the outside of the corral with me. Hopefully taking a video or something. I couldn’t stop yelling at the finish line. The feeling was indescribable.
What an incredible event. 1541 people finished a Half-Ironman. To me, that’s pretty awesome. As you have read with the lessons learned, I am definitely planning on Muncie next year. Hopefully Mother Nature cooperates again.
Priority for next year:
- Get in the open water for longer distances ahead of time. This may require some early morning sneaking into reservoirs, but I have some ideas
- Get a tri bike that properly fits and work on flexibility to stay in the aero position for longer.
- Run the entire way to the turnaround, Run/Walk the way back instead of just walking.
|I MEAN… how cute are they?
Anyone have any races this weekend? How’d it go??
Have any words of congratulations and encouragement for Jake??- Let him hear it here!