70.3 Puerto Rico – 10th
Did the cannon fire or was it an air horn that started Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico, I will never know. I was dead focused on the swim start. I was nervous, I knew I had fitness but did I have speed?
After Ironman Arizona I had an MRI of my foot which showed that I had broken a toe when I walked into a door jam in May that went undiagnosed by X-Ray. The toe had healed fine but bone fragments had gotten into the ligament under the head of the metatarsal so every time to took a step bone was being slicing into the ligament like a knife into a sponge. The bone would slowly dissolved but it had left the ligament with significant damage, which didn’t heal last year because I was running on it. November finally the healing process started, I never knew it was an elaborate 4 month process. In addition when you think of a foot injury you never consider that effects swimming (flip turns), biking, and running. So with limited fitness my whole goal was to get through the race healthy.
It was understandable that I was nervous because my swim training had been limited to Endless Pools from my foot. I had rolled through multiple scenarios for the race with my coaches and looking back we were all holding our breath. Yet when the swim started it was business as usual. Cam Dye pulled a train on the buoy line containing TO, Romain Guillame, and most of the field, while Frederick led our charge about 10 m off the buoy line. After 500m we merged and not an inch was lost or gained. The swim at times felt slow and other times felt really fast. At the end of the swim we were still single file as we neared the ramp to swim exit. I viewed the swim as a monster success considering I had no idea where I was at.
I had stashed some shoes for the run to transition because with my lack of running my feet had lost it’s calluses and running on pavement for a quarter mile just did not sound like a good idea. So I took a few seconds and put on shoes. I would lose a lot of time in T1 between the 750m from swim exit to bike mount, I was just way out of practice.
On the bike I dreamt of picking up where I left off last fall, and in the opening miles I dropped Freddy and a few others but my legs lacked “sharpening” that comes through race specific training. I adjusted my cadence up and down trying to find power but it just was not happening. I slowly reeled in Romain and then clawed back the time I had lost in transition to Leon Griffin, Cam Dye, and TO.
This is where not having that extra little power in my legs killed me. Without putting myself into a hole I could not break the draft. Finally, with 20 miles left on the bike I decided to throw my conservative race plan out and dig myself a hole. Within a few miles they were out of sight.
T2 was worse than T1, the plan was to put on socks and was wear trainers. The problem was I seemed to leave my coordination at home. I couldn’t get my foot in the sock while standing on one leg, so I sat down, I looked like a freakin’ rookie.
I started out on my 7th run of the year, when I hit mile 1.5 it was the longest straight I had run this year. The plan was a run walk because to think I’d be able to run 13.1 miles without getting injured after not running was just unrealistic.
I executed that plan well and much to my surprise finished top 10, it mentally hurt not going out and racing TO down to the wire but there will be other days, but I got some great selfies with some of my Puerto Rican superfans on my walks.
The race was a success, I came out with a clear picture of where my swim and bike fitness is and I am 100% healthy which is the best feeling of all. Now it is time to put a plan together for domination.
Champion is Earned,