Monday, May 16, 2011

Race Report: Florida 70.3

Well the my first race of 2011 is FINALLY in the books.  It was not the race I wanted, but it was the first race, and the "ring rust" has been knocked off.  Here's a short recap of how the day unfolded. 

Swim: We were greeted race morning with lightning, thunder and some pretty heavy rain. When I got to transition, everyone was huddled under any shelter they could find.  There definitely was some question in my mind as to whether we would be swimming.  It was pretty cold with the wind and rain, and since they had told us we wouldn't be allowed to warm up in the water, a warm up run seemed a little pointless as I would then be standing around after and get cold again.  But I did manage a short jog, some strides and skips before heading tot he water. The storm passed as we waited and we started 40 minutes late.  Which from the picture below, you can see was probably a good thing since it was taken right about the original time we were to start. 

I used to love beach starts after growing up surfing and doing Jr. Lifeguards, but in the pro ranks, they are not exactly my favorite.  This is particularly so when the water is roughly shin-knee deep for a good 50 meters before you can swim.  Not being the tallest bloke in the world, I wasn't able to get my feet out and over the water like the taller guys were and I fell back a bit from those who would form the front pack chasing Potts and Kahn. 

Unfortunately this left me about 20 meters behind this pack for the majority of the swim. On the home leg however, I did my usual head on run in with a buoy, pushed it to the side and swam on.  A few strokes later I realized some Disney lifeguards on a boat were yelling at me.  I realized they were telling me I had to go back.  Reluctantly, and with a few words to them that they were wrong, I swam back to the buoy and went around it with it on my left shoulder.  To be clear, this was not a turn buoy, it was like the 3rd to last buoy, and I was gaining no advantage by passing it on my right, certainly not after running dead into it.  Almost every race I have been to has said we could swim on either side of the buoys and only had to round the corner buoys on a certain shoulder.  Either way, my 20m gap to the pack was gone, and I swam the rest of the way solo... and pissed.

Bike:  Here is where things went from "not so great" to "pretty pathetic."  Once out on the course I tried to settle into my pace and develop a rhythm to move along, and gain some spots back from my poor swim.  For some reason however, I just couldn't get my legs going for the first 25 miles or so.  I was passed by a few guys and they simply rode away from me.  It pains me to do so, but I will readily admit, that I had a little bit of a mental breakdown and pity party for myself from miles 15-20.  This is probably the thing I am most upset with about my race.  Plain and simple that cannot happen. Mental toughness has always been "there" for me and frankly, I was not "in the race" for those miles.  A huge and unacceptable error on my part.  Finally, when fellow Specialized US Tri Team member Jimmy Archer caught me, I told myself to stick with him if it killed me. It didn't and a few miles later my legs began to come good.  I thought I may be able to salvage a descent ride on the day, but it was too little too late.  I averaged some disgustingly low watts for the ride, actually the lowest I have averaged for any half ironman distance since I began racing and training with power. Not a good day.

Run:  Going into this race only running for half of the last three months, I was unsure how I would be able to manage on the run.  After the Las Cruces camp, I knew I could get through it, I just didn't know how fast, or if it would devolve into an ugly slow jog/walk.  The heat, humidity and the reputation of this being a tough run course with 3 miles of uneven grass running,  I was even less confidant. Surprisingly, the run turned out to be the lone somewhat bright spot on the day.  I was passed early on by Andrew Hodges who I know can run, and I just did my best to keep him as close as possible.  I made my way through the run, feeling strong for most of it and picked up a few spots along the way.
End of Lap 1

Heading out for the 3rd and final lap
 Again however, it was too little too late, and while I picked up one more spot a little after the mile 12 marker, try as I might I couldn't catch the last guy for a top 10 finish.  I brought it home as hard as I could, but he was able to stay a few seconds ahead of me going into the shoots and when I knew it was a lost cause, I relaxed.


 I ended up running a mid 1:21, which might not sound that great, but was right there with the bulk of the guys times ahead of me. The fastest runs on the day were by Kriat

So It was not a great day, but on the first race of the season, I understand it is tough to put a blinder together. So I will lick my wounds, get back to work, and focus on the next one, Hawaii 70.3.

A huge THANK YOU to all my sponsors, Zoot, Specialized, Reynolds,, PVBC, PowerBar, and Mikelson & Mikelson, LLP. Without your support, fantastic products, getting my bike tuned and all my gear ready for race day, this would certainly not be possible for me.  A big thank you also goes out to all those who read this blog, follow along on my dream chasing, and offer support and encouragement along the way.  It is greatly humbling and appreciated.


  1. Congrats Ian! I know it wasn't the race you wanted or are capable of but now that the rust is off, the next one will be that much easier! And stellar run! When I looked up the results I thought "huh, great run despite missing all that time earlier in the year!!" :)

  2. Tough day Ian, but you made it count! You did your best through that run and I love hearing stories like this because it reminds me that it's so important to just get over yourself and get it done sometimes! Great RUN! That's awesome!

  3. The first race of the season is always a tough one but you did it. Onwards and upwards now.

  4. I'm still inspired dude, thanks for letting us into your mind race day. Didn't even recognize you with the new hairdone.

  5. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! And well, you're still here. So life is good. :) Love that you went w/ your mom; I love to go to races w/my mom. We drink a lot of wine. All post race, of course... ... .. way to NOT GIVE UP. That in itself will make you a much better athlete! Rest up & kick ass in Hawaii.

  6. And that is why you are a pro. Nice work.

  7. With as many things that went against you on race day and still pull through in fine fashion, I'd say you are warming up for a stellar season!! Good luck in Hawaii.

  8. Great race, man. I was running scared on that last lap; you looked strong and I could feel myself moving backwards.

  9. Wish you weren't so hard on yourself! You're awesome and you'll get better-so there!!