Monday, June 30, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse Race Report - Michael Espejo

What is not to like about this race, minus the terrifying run course? This race was my first 70.3 back in 2011. I finished in under 6 hours (5:49) and was just happy to have finished that grueling race. This year was a little different. This race has been on my schedule for months and was my A race.

Pre race 

If I remembered correctly from 2011 there was a boatload of traffic heading into Jamesville beach for transition set up. I wasn’t going to let that affect me so I got up early; I’m talking 3:50am early! I haven’t seen 3:50 since my college days and even then I wasn’t getting up, I was heading to bed. My breakfast is usually oatmeal and PB but since every gas station I went to in Syracuse didn’t have instant oatmeal I snagged some chocolate pop tarts. Pop tarts with peanut butter did the trick with a side of Biotta beet juice. Getting to the start was uneventful and there was no traffic. I was in before 5am and just sat in the car mentally preparing for the day ahead. Eventually, I gathered my gear and headed into transition. I took care of my tire pressure, taped GUs to the bike, clipped my shoes to my bike and left. It’s pretty simple. I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I was able to see the pros go out and finish before my 7:50am wave went out.

Swim - 32:02

The swim started fast. I was near the front and my plan was to hold onto someone’s feet for as long as I could until being dropped. We were moving pretty quick until the second turn and then I slowed down on my way back to the beach. I was able to look at my Garmin before the 1st buoy and was at a 1:22min/100yard pace.

The run from the beach was rather long and slightly uphill. Pretty uneventful transition. Everything went well and according to plan, but just a bit slow.

Bike - 2:43:12

The bike course was absolutely stunning. The views were so amazing - different fields, mountains, farms and bodies of water. It was a challenging first half. Miles 2-12 are all uphill. However, after passing the hills, the course is rather fast. There are plenty of flat stretches to really get in aero and hammer as well as down hills and rollers to gain speed and momentum. I don't think this was my fastest bike for a half ironman, but given the terrain I was very happy with it. I nailed my nutrition which helped me later for the run. There was one small hiccup at the end of the bike, though. There was a no pass zone and it SUCKED! I, along with a few others, got stuck behind this woman that was going absurdly slow for the final mile – like she was out for a leisurely ride. Half way through the zone, one of the guys in the pack just surged passed her and we all followed suit. Thankfully none of us got a penalty for it.

Bike Nutrition: 6 GUs, 1 package of Chomps, 5-6 bottles of water, 3 salt tabs. 

Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Bike

T2 - 1:25

looking good is half the battle
I did a flying dismount and flew into T2. I racked my bike, put on my shoes and hat, and off I went. It was the first time I put on socks in a half ironman and had a faster transition then my previous race without socks. WIN!

Run - 1:41:28

This is where the day gets very difficult. The elevation profile doesn’t do it justice. I came out of T2 pretty quick but slowed down to a comfortable pace. I didn’t have my watch, I was using my fiancĂ©’s Garmin (Thank you Tara!) because my 910 was dead. Note to self: remember to bring the charger! My splits are the same at the turnarounds on the run course because I didn’t bother to check the autolap on her watch. Running up the first monstrous hill wasn’t too bad and I still felt fresh while running up. While the downhill destroyed my quads, I was ready for it with the amount of hill training I did to prepare for this course. Overall the run wasn’t that bad. Yes the uphill to the first and third turnaround sucked but I knew what to expect. Was the run hard? Absolutely, but this is what I trained for... to run this course fully and not stop.

Run Nutrition: 1 GU, 3 cups of flat coke, 1-2 waters every aid station.

Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Run (without elevation)
Garmin - Syracuse 70.3 Run (with elevation)

Overall - 5:01:03

My original goal was to grab a slot for 70.3 Worlds in Mont Tremblant, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I could tell in my training that my paces weren’t fast enough and I was okay with that. I still have time to grow in this sport and develop my strengths and weaknesses. My second goal was to go sub 5 on this course; again I failed. Was I upset about it? Only for a little while. Looking back on my first 70.3 on the same course, I set a 48min PR. I was thrilled about that. This course presents a lot of challenges and will test your mental and physical abilities. It was a great day. The weather was perfect, water temps were great and everything was in my favor for a PR. If you do have the chance to do Syracuse I highly recommend it. I will do this race again no matter how punishing that run was. I just need to train harder.

Post Race

Dinosaur BBQ, a few cold beers and ice cream!

Related posts:

Triple Threat Profile: Mike Espejo - Massachusetts

March Madness - Ironman Challenge 2014

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