My First Half Ironman – Rev3 Anderson

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 I’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 wasn’t missing something. I looked at the ironman website and saw a race in Taiwan, but tickets were $1500. There just weren’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 it’s rare for the list to still be accurate or inclusive, but it’s worth a look.

Rev3 Triathlon, it turns out, was holding a “half-full” 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 didn’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 didn’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 spankin’ 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, he’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 “Terenzo Bozzone Girlfriend”. Sorry ladies, he’s engaged.

All-in-all, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out. My nutrition went smoothly, I didn’t cramp, I didn’t bonk, I just had a solid race, about as good as one could expect for a last minute race of a distance I hadn’t done before. Will I do any more of these? Oh, probably. But it certainly won’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.

rev3 south carolina – collins & bozzone from REVOLUTION3 Triathlon on Vimeo.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. Nice job out there, Ben! It was a small surprise to me that this was your first half, but this goes to show how focused you’ve been on ITU and non-drafting Olympic Distance racing.

    Your work at Dallas wasn’t anywhere near as bad as you led us to believe in this post, but I like the high standard that you continue to set for yourself.

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