This past weekend I was at the Ironman Branson 70.3. We were looking to combine a little work with pleasure by staying most of the next week after the race on table rock lake. The vacation didn't disappoint. Of course when it came to the race its just too much to ask these days for things to go smoothly and I rolled out of transition only to hear the sound of 130 psi pushing its way out of a tiny puncture in my rear tire within the first mile.
Everything to this point was going great. My training lead up for the race was on, as was my taper, to put me at the start feeling very rested and energized. The start of my swim was never so easy as I found myself jumping out with the lead guys and not having to use mixed martial arts to find open water. The second half was hot as I baked in my wetsuit in water just below wetsuit legal temperature. I maybe went out a little too fast and felt myself drop off in the last 500m. I still managed sub 30min and 8th best swim in age group, 44th best overall, which is better than I usually do.
The run up the hill into transition was like a cattle shoot and the pace a forced walk. In the lets-try-it-and-see-if-it-works category we were not allowed to keep our shoes on our pedals and forced to run in them to the line for safety reasons before mounting our bikes. Probably a good idea for the majority, I could have done without it since I had never done it...ever.
The aforementioned flat tire incident brought me right back to the startline following the failure of my fix-a-flat to hold, and where I knew the closest bike mechanic would be. I'm glad I chose that route over the borrowed tire route because it took 2 guys 15 minutes to get it off. For those of you that don't use tubulars this is probably why. Total time lost was 25 minutes and I headed back out now officially at the back.
Now out of the race I decided to still stick with my plan and just try to put down some good times. The very hilly bike went well considering I train where there are none. I finished with a 2.33 which was about top 5 in my age group and top 15 overall as well as I can figure. It felt comfortable but the run showed the hills and quickly climbing heat were probably a little too much.
I started off fairly slow and slowed down from there. The heat was climbing to the low 90's with high humidity into the run and it just wasn't there. I even started cramping half way through which never happens. I ran a 1.37, slower than I've ever run that distance before I think. Even after the 25min delay and extremely slow run, because of the tough course and conditions I still placed 53rd overall out of about 1300+ starters with a total time of 5.11. Less than 1000 finished. It doesn't really pay to say "what if" since the results are what they are... but I had to figure it out anyway. Just dropping the 25min stop time would have put me at 3rd in age group, 6th amateur, 16th overall.
One more to go this year with the US Open in Dallas in 2 weeks. A finish without incident is looking better and better no matter what the time... I think I'll still go for a fast time though.