Well, this is it. All of my training this year was built up for this day. Not to say that I built the Muncie Ironman up in my head or anything, but this was a big deal.
I had taken Friday off of work. I had a few early morning items to take care of, including a 7:45am visit to the Chiropractor and a Doctor visit. After those appointments and some breakfast, Meaghan and I were on our way to Muncie. We arrived at the convention center close to 1:00pm and checked in with the Ironman volunteers.
I addition to the shirt
they give you you pay for as part of your entry fee, I also bought and IM Muncie 70.3 jersey. Remember, this was a big deal, and bike jerseys are always a good thing.
Meaghan and I had left the convention center, headed to Prairie Creek Reservior to drop off our bikes, when her phone started beeping. And beeping. And beeping more. What the hell is going on? The race directors had officially announced they were shortening the course. Instead of a 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike and 13.1mi run, we would have a 1.1mi swim, 30mi bike, and 6.2mi run. Instead of 70.3 miles, we were only going to go 37.2.
The Part Where I Get Angry
- Was. Pissed.
I had put in hundreds of hours of training. I have been running in the heat. I have been cycling in 100+ degree temperatures, knowing that Saturday was going to be lots of hard work. I knew it was going to suck. And I knew I was going to be ready for the suck. The race director sent out a letter saying things like “record high temperatures” and “safety of the athletes”, but I didn’t care for any of it. This was my thing, and they were ruining my thing.
Meaghan and I had planned on doing our scheduled “mini-T” that afternoon. My race plan called for a 15-minute swim, a 30-minute bike, and a 10-minute run the day before the race. Now that the race had been condensed to an “Ultra-Olympic” distance, I saw no point in doing that. So we dropped off our bikes and left for the day.
Meaghan and I have a bit of a tradition of going to the movies before her big races. We went to go see Brave on Friday night. It was wonderful, and it finally got me out of my bad mood.
Back to the hotel, a quick shower, a few bags to check, and into bed.
It was a pretty normal morning. When we originally planned this, Meaghan was not going to race Muncie. I have always carried all of her stuff, ran back and forth to the car, and done my best to make sure things went as smoothly as possible for her. Today, that was not going to be the case. The transition area was packed, and there was no room for our large triathlon bags. Before the race even started, we both had to walk from the car to transition, set up, take the bags back to the car, then hike back to the start of the race. I don’t think Meaghan was really prepared for all of that, since I would have normally done all of that for her while she was out on the course.
So, lots of stuff to take care of.
I was in the 2nd to last swim wave of the day. Men, 30-34, last names L-Z. Swim wave 18. With 4 minutes between waves, there was plenty of gap between the athletes. And with the relay wave being the only wave behind me, I knew there wouldn’t be many people behind me.
After only 200m into the swim, I knew I was going to have a great swim. I kept my head down; I pushed forward. I swam freestyle the entire way. I never flipped onto my back. I never had to resort to breaststroke. While I wasn’t leading my wave, I did pass people in the waves before mine. Everything was going great!
I did have a great swim. I swam 1800m in 37:27. My previous swim was 40:35, and it was only 1500m. So I was 3:08 faster and the swim was 300m longer! I knew I felt good, but since I wasn’t wearing a watch I had no idea just how good I had done. I was 98 of 145 in my division. That’s just wonderful!
Check out the picture of me coming out of the water.
Also, I’ve got abs! I love that!
I must not have been paying attention when I set up my transition area because I forgot to reattach my bike computer. I didn’t realize this until I swung my leg over my bike. Instantly, my mindset changed. If this were a 70.3, I would have been trying to pace myself. Since this was “only” 30 miles and I didn’t have a computer, I just decided to hammer it. (OK, my version of hammer it.) I cranked out 30 miles in 1:27:56 for an average of 20.47 mph.
Prior to this race, my fastest ride had been 31 miles at 18.9 miles per hour. I think there should be a club for those who’ve turned in 20+ mph times. I am now in that club.
I ate all of my calories. I took in all of my salt tablets. I drank my Gatorade and water. Probably the only thing I did wrong was push too hard. I didn’t completely burn myself out on the bike, but I didn’t leave much.
The hammer. I brought it.
The run was hot and wet. My fluid intake finally caught up to me, and I had to pee twice during the run. There’s not really much else to say about the run. It was what it was. I would like to say something awesome here, but I can’t think of anything.
I did sprint in the last 0.2 miles, and I passed 4 or 5 people at the end. I was a little confused about this. If I had the energy to sprint, then what had I been doing the last 6 miles? Oh well. We’ll blame the heat.
I did run a negative split, so that’s something. The first 3 miles was 34:37; the last 3.2 was 36:34. My total run time was 1:11:11.
So here’s the final numbers.
Men 30-34 placed 116/150 Overall placed 1159/1788 Swim 37:27 2:19/100m T1 5:26 Bike 1:27:56 20.47 mph T2 3:03 Run 1:11:11 11:28/mile Overall 3:25:03
I’m extremely happy with my swim and bike times. The run was what it was. If you’re going to do a triathlon, you have to run. I would have thought my swim would be the weakest, but it turns out that my swim was quite good. After this, I will be going back to the track and working on the legs.
About That Revised Distance
In hindsight, being 20/20 and all, shortening the course was a good idea for many of the racers. A death on the course is never a good thing. It produces the national press coverage you do not want to get. I know I had trained for it. But there are just too many people who didn’t train as hard or as hot. There are too many “natural athletes” who think they can just crank out a 70.3 without serious training. When I crossed the finish line at 11:00 am, the temperature was 98°F, on its way to an eventual high of 104°F. It was hot.
I am still disappointed with the decision to shorten the race, even if I do accept that it was the right call by the race directors. I do hope IM makes this right and gives a discount off of next year’s entries. Still, I am happy with everything that I had control over. How do you have a better race than that?