>Ironman World Championships Race Report

>Finishing numbers:  9:31:19.  171st OA, 35th in the 30-34 AG.
(note:  I’ll post some photos as soon as they are available, should be within a week)

Swim (1:07:45):  In addition to the usual hitting/kicking, I even got dunked (!) completely underwater a couple of times.  I was actually swimming well when I had clean water to take strokes, but I ended up spending a lot of time and effort just avoiding people.  On the way back in after the turn-around, I swung out really wide to the outer edge of the course so I could get clean water, and things got much better. 

Bike (5:11:58, 21.6 mph, 224 watts):  My legs felt great, but things started getting frustrating when I left town and hit the Queen K.  In most races, I can break out early in the bike and ride on my own.  Not so at the world championships.  There were a ton of people out on the course who were about the same speed as me, and so I was dealing with a lot of traffic.  I spent the first 45 miles just avoiding drafting penalties, and I wasn’t able to really lock into a rhythm.  Every couple of minutes I would come up to a small pack.  I would soft- pedal for about 20 seconds (at a legal distance, of course!) just to save up some energy, and then crank out a 300-330 W sprint past the pack until I hit some clean road.  I would then re-settle back into the 220-230 W range.  This pattern repeated itself continually for the first 45 miles.  Very frustrating.
      Once we turned off the Queen K and headed out to Hawi, things became challenging in a different sense.  The crosswinds were brutal.  Any time I see winds like that I Boulder, I just stay inside and ride the trainer.  A constant breeze is one thing.  But when you’re descending at 35 mph, and there’s a random crosswind gusting anywhere from 20-40 mph, things can get pretty sketchy.  Eventually I just put my head down and started hammering.  I had the attitude, “Well, I gotta deal with these winds no matter what.  And the faster I go, the faster I can get out of them.”  Despite a couple scares, I managed to keep the rubber side down.
     Back on the Queen K, the last 30 miles back to town were uneventful.  It was brutally hot (120 degrees on the road surface), but I had done enough heat prep work so that I was comfortable.  Also, the field had spread out a bit so I didn’t have to deal with packs, which was nice.

Run (3:03:57, 7:01 per mile):  My legs felt great coming off the bike, and I proceeded to attack the run course.  A couple bathroom breaks (lingering GI issues from the previous day) derailed my quest to run sub-3:00, but overall, I’m happy with how my body performed during the run.  Really nailed the nutrition, and my energy levels were fantastic the whole time.  It honestly makes me wonder a little bit if I was pushing myself hard enough, because I was in a good, chatty mood the entire run.  

Overall – The biggest lesson I learned from this race is that my bike needs some work.  Mostly, I just need to beef up the ol’ quadzillas a bit more, but some of it was also me letting the draft packs get in my head and affect my pacing strategy.  Hopefully if I continue to improve my swim, I’ll get out on the roads ahead of the packs and I won’t have to make so many accelerations/decelerations to avoid the drafters.

On a positive note – my running appears to be on point, and as long as I keep up with the same training style, I should continue to get faster.  If it ain’t broke, don’t break it!

And lastly… I didn’t suffer at all during this race.  I felt really, really good.  Almost too good.  I was cheering for everyone I saw out on the course, and I must have given at least a couple dozen high-fives to fellow athletes during the run.  I didn’t have any thoughts of “oh, I gotta go catch that guy”, or anything like that.  This event, to me at least, felt more like a celebration than a competition.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  Reminds me of that old racing saying, “If you’re having a good time, then you’re not having a good time.”

Well, that’s that.  2010 racing season is over, and I found out that I’m the 171st fastest Ironman triathlete in the world.  Nice to know, but not particularly useful information.  Now I take a few weeks off, and then start preparing for 2011.   My next two races are May 7 at Ironman St. George, and June 26 at Ironman Coeur d’Alene.  Coach Tim and I have discussed the adjustments I need to make to my training, and I can’t wait to get back to work!

until next time… keep training hard, and resting harder,
Doug MacLean

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