Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Racine Race Report - Michael Espejo

Racine 70.3 Race Report and Midwest Fun

This trip to Wisconsin will forever go down as one of my most memorable adventures. I had never been to the Midwest before and I tackled a lot of firsts on this trip. I had never flown to a triathlon, flown with my bike, been to Chicago or had deep dish pizza. I had heard horror stories of people flying to races with bike boxes only to find that their frame is cracked, brakes are broken or cables are snapped. Not to mention all of the bike airfare fees which can be up to $200 one way. After researching which bike traveling case I would buy, I went with the Ruster Sports bag. It lives up to everything that founder and pro triathlete TJ Tollakson says it will. I followed the video of how to disassemble a bike, which was pretty easy to do. I only paid $50 each way for the checked bag. My bike arrived at both airports (Milwaukee and Boston) with no problems whatsoever. I highly recommend getting this bag if you decide to fly to races in the future. Once my stress levels went down knowing my bike arrived in Wisconsin safely, I was able to rebuild it without issue. The day before the race I took it for a pre-race spin and everything was working perfectly.

Leading up to Racine I only had 4 weeks after Syracuse 70.3. I recovered well from that race and put in what little time I had to train. Racine was my 3rd 70.3 this year and I must say I love this distance.

Pre race

Saturday morning I over indulged in my usual breakfast of four chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, potatoes and sausage from Perkins. After, I went to the race site to get a quick 45 min ride in on the course and checked my bike into transition. Here I am "boasting" about my 3rd 70.3 this year, but I accidentally left my race stickers 30 minutes away at the hotel. What a rookie mistake! Once I retrieved the numbers I was able to check in my bike without any further problems. I was in bed by 8pm and asleep by 9pm. I had a really good night sleep. I didn't really have any expectations; I just wanted to finish under 5 hours.

Race morning: I read different race reports leading up to Racine 70.3 and heard that parking can be a nightmare, so this meant waking up at 3:40 and out the door by 4. I hammered down 2 packets of instant oatmeal, a boatload of apple sauce and had a large coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Fortunately I was able to get a spot super close to transition. After setting up my transition area I had an hour and 25 minutes to wait for my wave to go off.

Swim - 34:04

I had heard that Lake Michigan can be a monster in its own right. It has its own current, waves and it can be freezing cold. We were "blessed" with water that wasn't too choppy, but on the downside it was cold. This was my slowest swim of the year. I thought it would be an easier swim because it was a point to point course and less sighting needed to be done. I was wrong and was actually a minute or 2 slower than Syracuse. I kept being pushed by the current towards shore while swimming parallel. It was a little bit harder than I anticipated.

T1 - 3:32

The run from Lake Michigan to my bike was at least 800m if not longer and most of it was on sand. It pretty much sucked getting over there. I thought they would at least throw something down over the sand to make it a bit easier, but they didn't.

Bike - 2:36:41

Now I don't normally get excited when I have to bike, whether training or racing. This has been my weakest area since I started the sport. The first 5-6 miles and the last 5-6 miles of the bike were awful... the roads are so choppy with cracks and potholes. It took me roughly 30-40 min to get into a groove and find my pace on the bike. I decided to try to push my limits on the bike and see where I ended up. I wound up averaging 188-190 watts, surprising myself. The course was flat with some rollers, so that helped a bit. I nailed my nutrition and was very happy with my bike split. I ran into T2 with a lot of energy.

Bike nutrition: 6 GUs, 1 package of chomps, 6 water bottles.

T2 - 1:57

This transition was a little longer then I wanted - about 50 seconds longer then Syracuse. I forgot that I had my allen keys in my rear pocket as I left transition so I had to turn back before exiting and throw it into my wetsuit. Socks, shoes, hat and race belt on and off we go.

Run - 1:38:46

Mike cackles evilly while casting a spell on the competition
I took off on the run averaging 7:00 min/mi. Little did I know this was going to come back and haunt me. Like I said earlier, I was just pushing the limit to see where my fitness stood. I didn't really have any expectations, I just wanted to go fast. The course was a double loop with aid stations roughly 1-1.5mi apart. The volunteers were awesome on the run course, handing out anything you needed. I felt great on the first loop and was on pace for a 1:33 half marathon split. Not until the second loop did I start to fade. I don't really remember much of the middle miles during the run. Zoning in and out while conversing with another runner was helpful. During the second half of the run I struggled to get one foot in front of the other. My pace diminished to 7:45 min/mi then to 8:00, but wouldn't let myself go slower than that. The picture may be deceiving, but I was totally hurting and trying to take my mind off the pain. I cruised into the finish line and was thrilled to be done. I couldn't believe I ran a 1:38 half marathon; that was 3 minutes faster than Syracuse, granted Racine was a little flatter.

Overall - 4:55:00

Post race

I immediately went to the athlete food tent and grabbed a few chocolate milks, water and food. I felt alright after finishing and even better after eating and drinking. I hung out close to the finish to watch 2 of my friends finish, but was only able to see one of them. My friend Rado surprised us all with a 5:17 on practically no training so I didn't get to see him cross the finish. After they both finished, we were about to leave. I had no intention of staying for the slot allocation for Worlds until Tara, Rado and 2 of the ladies doing the slot allocation told me to stay. We all hung out and watched the awards. We got to see Starky (Andrew Starykowicz), Tim O'Donnell, and the guy who won it all, Lionel Sanders. Once the awards concluded they did the slot allocation and the roll down. There were two slots available in M25-29. The chances I would get one seemed slim to none. The first two in my AG weren't there and so it rolled down a few more... but no one was there! The Race Director called up anyone in the M25-29 AG, and there were five of us. I was a bit nervous as the RD rifled off names. He called one guy's name and he accepted the slot. My name was next and I couldn't believe it. I jumped up and hastily accepted my spot at the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant, Canada.

truly epic 

Related posts:

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse Race Report - Michael Espejo

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