Last week I was sitting around in a funk after the way the Toyota Cup ended. On Friday I took my dog out to the park with Abby and I went off on a rant about how I was finally feeling fit after resting for a few weeks and how Iâ€™d really like to try my hand at a 70.3, but they all seem to be on October 28th, which is when I will be racing the UWC Triathlon in the Bahamas (no half ironman can take me away from my end-of-season trip to the Bahamas).
Well I came home, made lunch, and then decided I should take one last look to make sure I wasnâ€™t missing something. I looked at the ironman website and saw a race in Taiwan, but tickets were $1500. There just werenâ€™t any close races, so I pulled up the money calendar, a list of US races and their prize money that USA Triathlon sends out to all the registered pros at the beginning of the season. By October itâ€™s rare for the list to still be accurate or inclusive, but itâ€™s worth a look.
Rev3 Triathlon, it turns out, was holding a â€œhalf-fullâ€ triathlon (gotta love trademarks) in Anderson, South Carolina. I looked at tickets and found that I could book it on miles for very little, then I called Aaron Trent (paralympic cyclist that I trained with in Colorado) who just moved to Greenville to see if I could stay with him for the weekend. By the time Abby came home I had registered for the race, booked tickets and planned transportation and a homestay, plus a couple hours of training. An hour after Abby walked in the door we had booked another ticket so she could come too, and found a friend to take care of Odin (the dog) for the weekend. It was efficient.
The best part of booking this trip at the last minute is that I had no time to get nervous. I had no idea how to eat for a 70.3. Coach Mike says my training is sufficient for the distance, but eating during a race is totally new to me. I decided to fill two bottle with Powerbar Endurance and tape 5 gels to my top tube. Then I decided I would eat a gel at 5, 20, 40, 60 and 75 km during the bike, and at 5, 10, and 15km on the run. Plus water from aid stations. I stuck to the plan, except that I didnâ€™t manage to successfully grab a bottle from any of the aid stations, and during the run I went through way more Powerbar gels than I had anticipated. Luckily it was cold out, so I didnâ€™t get too dehydrated.
The swim was not much different than an Olympic Distance race. I started off strong, but then settled into the lead group, figuring there was no reason to swim as hard as I would in a shorter triathlon. I came out with a pretty big group, shed my Blue Seventy, and hopped onto the spankinâ€™ new P5 (I have to admit that my desire to race on the P5 was part of what motivated me to find a race). I started off a little more conservative than I normally would on the bike, figuring it would be a long day if I blew up 30 miles into the bike ride. Andrew Starykowicz came up within the first 5km and passed me, so I figured I could just stay with him. 30km later I started getting nervous about my ability to maintain that effort, so I dropped back and went my own pace. I was in second by a lot (the camera man told me it was at least a couple miles), and I figured if Andrew was only a few minutes ahead of me then I could probably catch him on the run. That was a bad assumption.
Prison seems to have done Starykowicz well, heâ€™s a tough dude. I started the run looking at my Garmin for pace, though not quite sure what to shoot for. Six minute miles seemed conservative enough, so I just did that for the first half of the run, then felt good enough to pick it up and ran a bit faster the second half. Ahead of my, Andrew was holding his lead for the first half, and I only closed a minute on him in the second half. Behind me, however, was an intense race for third. Terenzo Bozzone was flying through the run and making up a lot of time on me. Until I really turned it on in the second half it looked like he was within reach. A funny aside here, when I typed Terenzo Bozzone into google to check the spelling Google predicted that I would be searching for â€œTerenzo Bozzone Girlfriendâ€. Sorry ladies, heâ€™s engaged.
All-in-all, Iâ€™m pretty happy with how things turned out. My nutrition went smoothly, I didnâ€™t cramp, I didnâ€™t bonk, I just had a solid race, about as good as one could expect for a last minute race of a distance I hadnâ€™t done before. Will I do any more of these? Oh, probably. But it certainly wonâ€™t be my first choice for distance, and this race makes me even less likely to do a full Ironman. That’s just not for me.