Last weekend, I raced in the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 TEXAS that I was super excited about getting to do, not knowing how the legs would respond to a half ironman this early in the season. I made the trip down with my buddy Lance on Friday since he was racing the Lonestar sprint on Saturday. Due to high winds that morning caused his swim to be canceled and they just did the 12.5 mile bike and 5k run. Lance ended up setting PRs with an average of 21.75 mph on a windy bike and tire that was going flat near the end and he also ran his 5k PR off the bike in 21;22, with only a couple of weeks ago running in the America's run 5k he went 21:44. He left it all on the race course, crossing the finish line with dead legs and bugged out eyes looking like Frankenstein. Congrats to him!!!
The conditions for the 70.3 were a lot better, but still had a lot of wind. The 1.2 mile swim was trapezoid shaped with with a cross current on bothsides and facing the current on the long stretch. Some say the swim was long and due the current most people had slow swim times. However, my swim times were right where they usually are, so hopefully I am making improvements. I positioned myself on the far outside to avoid getting run over and that seemed to workout good. I found some feet in the last 1/3 to draft off of, he was a strong kicker too which made it easy to follow. It was good because I got to rest up for the bike. Going towards T1, I got my wetsuit past my hips before the strippers, but then my timing chip came off and spent what felt like forever trying to get it back on.
I had a strong bike with challenging wind conditions heading out. It was mostly a flat right with a couple of over passes to go over and I swear the section just after the turnaround was a deceiving hill. Going out I managed a 23.22 into the wind. I caught some faster swimmers before halfway and thought man I must be having a good day. On the way back, I was expecting more of a push from the wind but unfortunately that wasn't the case. The wind shifted mostly from the north, but, still managed to go 25.89 on the way back for a total bike time of 2:17.14 for 24.48 mph (just 3 minutes behind Andy Potts split, but who's counting ;) it was good enough to be fastest age grouper bike split.
Even though, I've been getting a lot of compliments for the bike spilt, I also had a my best half-marathon run split off the bike in 1:24.31 (6:27 mi/pace). The course was a 4 loop mostly flat run course around Moody Gardens, however it does get hot with the heat radiating off the concrete and multiple 180 turnarounds and sharp turns did not help. The good thing though it was easy to keep an eye on the competition. Coming out of T2, I stayed relaxed and try to stay on goal pace, but 29 year old Weslie Anderson passed me, while I let him go initially, because I knew he was pushing, I also just tried to keep him in sight. Things started to go downhill for me around mile 5, when my legs got so tight it felt like I could barely move. I walked through part of the aid station, and Tyler Johnson from Dallas passed me. I through my cup down and went in pursuit and tried to keep him in sight as well. Then a 40 year old runner passed me and I got in on his shoulder and went with him. We ended up catching up to Weslie who got in on the run draft too. Then somehow I lost the 40 year old man and Weslie passes me and get on his shoulder and we caught Tyler with a mile and half to go. Weslie increasing the pace and slightly pulling away the last mile and beating me out of 3rd age group by 20 seconds. Looking back I wish I had sucked it up and tried to out kick him at the end. Lesson learned.
Afterwards I did a short walk and started vomiting. Thanks to Jarrod who walked me to the med tent and stayed there for an hour or so with 3 bags of IV. They wouldn't let me leave because my temperature had dropped to 93.9, they had to wait for it to come back up some. They tried wrapping me in a foil blanket and giving me heating pads. Overall, it turned out to be a great day! I got 4th in a very competitive 25-29 age group, 22nd overall including the pros, and 7th overall age grouper with a time of 4:21.00 and I got a spot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships later this year in Clearwater, FL.
I'd like thank my sponsors Monavie (Brandon Perry). I thought a 13 mile run on all concrete would shatter my legs. I've been taking Monavie Active for the past month and went for an easy run yesterday and had no aches, just some slight muscle soreness. Also to include blueseventy for the swim apparel, Brooks I.D. program for running shoes! Big thanks to my coach Brent Poulsen for developing the plan (and it's still early season) and Colonels Bicycles in Fort Worth for getting me on a sick bike, that I refer often to as the "Spanish Beauty". I'd also like to thank my biggest supporters, my mom and dad for coming all the way out from Carthage, Texas, Lance Vernon who booked the room and drove all the way down, while I stretched out slept and rocked out. My former roommate Justin O'Keith Higgs and Rachel Siders both in the Houston area who made it out to support. A huge thanks to Adam Booth and his family for hosting a carbo loading dinner their ocean front condo, if it wasn't for the abundance of delicious pudding I probably wouldn't have done as well (Adam, Timo, Jeff, and Cody know what I'm talking about). Also the good Lord, for giving me the strength and the will to stay focused and get it way done!!! Without him I would be nothing. Congratulations to all my old friends and new friends out there, there are too many to name all, I would leave somebody out if I tried.
I am racing yet again this weekend, but I am super-excited and ready to kick-off the North Texas Tri Series with Playtri.com for the McKinney Triathlon.
Here are photos from the weekend I'd like to share! The first seven photos come from Justin O'Keith Photography, if you need some professional photography work done to enhance your portfolio, then click on his website for more info. All remaining photos come from my mom, lance, Rachel, and Anthony, or me.
None other than 2008 Olympian, 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Champion. Andy Potts first out of the water. He won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans a week ago and finished 4th at Ironman 70.3 Texas. Courtesy of Justin O' Keith Photography.
me with both feet on the ground. Ran my personal best half marathon off the bike. Courtesy of Justin O'Keith Photography.
The 2nd Overall 2009 and first American at Kona Ironman World Champs in 2009, Chris Lieto. Finished 3rd in the early season race. Courtesy of Justin O'Keith Photograhy.
Me and this guy, Wesley Anderson, battled it out for 3rd in the 25-29 age group, he ended up taking it by 20 seconds. Courtesty of Justin O'Keith Photography.
in Pain!!! Courtest of Justin O'Keith Photography
Coming out of the water, must keep going forward. Courtesy of Justin O' Keith Photography.
Amanda Stevens, 2nd overall and first American!
Samantha McGlone from Canada, 1st OA!!
Chris Lieto (3rd) and Terenzo Bozzone (1st) holding up Andy Potts who finished 4th overall, but also won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans the week before.
Top 3 males with overall winner Terenzo Bozzone from New Zealand in the middle, Chris Lieto 3rd on the left, and Tim O' Donnell 2nd on the right
Terenzo Bozzone passing Chris Lieto for good by mile 11.
Samantha McGlone on the run!
Tim O' Donnell catches Lieto and tries to run down Bozzone!
Chris Lieto, of course had the fastest bike split by far 2:04!!!
Jelly fish on the shore of the Galveston beach.
Playing with the waves on he beach, post race!
with my 2 greatest supporters! Mom and Dad!
Picture with 1st place Terenzo Bozzone!
Top 4 Male Terenzo Bozzone, Tim O'Donnell, Chris Lieto, Andy Potts - solid world class field.
Lance's remarkable fall out...I mean finish ;)
Lance Hi-5's 2nd OA Female Amanda Stevens!
me on the run! from Rachel's iphone.
a shot by Anthony Limon of me on the bike at mile 45.
After a warmup swim trying to avoid getting cut on a live oyster bed that didn't workout so well.
yep, that is blood on my thumb!
view from the condo where we ate pasta.
the paramedic that rushed over to Lance's finish.
Lance enjoying getting worked over.
East Texas Triathletes team dinner!
loaded with liquor and whiskey!
Heading out for the 13.1 mile run.