Another Notch in the Old Belt

Florida Ironman 70.3 Race Report
5.20.2007. Orlando, FL.

So after a couple of mishaps, I finally got the first triathlon of 2007 in the books. The race itself was an average race, what Mr. Q described as an “almost there” race, since I was almost there on the swim/bike/run, without any real standouts though. I was definitely nervous going into the race, as I really wanted to make sure I finished. That nervousness probably wasn’t the best thing, but it was hard to avoid. Before I go any fursther regarding the race, a HUGE thank you to the good people at BlueSeventy managed to get me one of their spectacular PointZero3 swim-skins at the very last minute for the race. So again, thank you to them and the Cid and the rest of the gang at InsideOut Sports who took delivery of it for me on a hectic race weekend.

I came into the race with a bit of mixed emotions. I had placed 6th last year in a great race, but the field this year was much more competitive, and I also felt like I had less weight on my shoulders last year. So I really wanted to do well, but at the same time I felt nervous about taking the risks that you need to take to do well.

The swim is a beach start swim, and this year the men’s field was very large. The start was really rough, much rougher than with the smaller, in-water start at the Bradenton OneOOne race. I really got pounded, and I also made some mistakes in terms of not running far enough out before I started swimming. So I ended up way back of where I wanted to be. Thankfully, Mark Montgomery has been helping me out with race tips at the SlowTwitch ranch, where I am right now. So hopefully I won’t make those same mistakes again. Once things sorted out, I felt really comfortable in the new swim skin, but unfortunately I was much further back of where I wanted to be, coming out of the water over three minutes back in what was one of my worst swims in recent memory.

Starting out on the bike, I settled into a pretty good rhythm and motoring my way through the field. I was a bit more conservative than usual on the bike, since I hadn’t had the most consistent training going into the race with racing/DNF’ing in Bradenton and all the travel surrounding the race. So I paced nice and evenly, but a bit slower than normal. I took me quite a while to catch the group I thought I should have come out of the water with, so that was a real disappointment, since I knew I should have been with (and through) them much earlier. When I finally caught them, I managed to ride through and finally passed Michael Lovato going into transition. I led Michael for a bit and then tried to hook onto his feet for a good rhythm on the run.

The first seven miles of the run were very good, and I was holding strong onto 9th place. But then, I started to fade a bit near the end, as the lack of “race legs” and heat added up, and I got passed in the last couple miles and was bumped into 10th. I lost about 20 seconds per mile over the last five miles or so compared to how I paced early on. Coming down the chute to the finish, I was happy to have the race over, when suddenly I saw Mike Caiazzo right on my shoulder. So after four hours of racing, I had to sprint for the finish. We ended up crossing the line too close to call, so they gave it a tie for 10th place.

In the end, it was an average race, but I knew I could have gone faster than my 4:03:41, so that was a disappointment, since it was a day (and a course) where I should have gone under four hours. But that’ll have to be next time.

Next up on the calendar is the Clearlake, CA OneOOne race, which I’m really looking forward to.

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