Race Report Time!!!
With my third Victoria IRONMAN 70.3 in the bag, I've got to start out by giving a shout out to all the volunteers and race organizers for another beautiful event this year. The weather was perfect, the organization was perfect - minus a mixed up with double registering me :), all handle easily and professionally however. Great job all around.
This race was an interesting one for me. It happened all pretty quick from registration to race-day was only three weeks.
Overall, I'm happy with this race. I had realistic expectations coming in and knew this would always be a "c" level race. It was meant as prep and that is what it was.
Here is a three year look at my Victoria 70.3 Races (note 2016's swim was 1500 meters)
I left Calgary at 07:25, arriving in Victoria at 08:10. With the initial fears of my bike not showing up, I got into my rental car and headed to the start to register and put my bike together.
It was a rough registration and warm up. My xlab strap for my water bottle ripped during bike assembly. Luckily I was able to somewhat fix it. I went for a quick warm up to make sure the bike was running smoothly and it was in perfect order - thanks Jeremy for pre-race help in tuning it up.
Next up, registration. Took longer than I thought it would given that there were two Brandon Holterman's registered. Quickly resolved. However, as I was waiting I realized that I had booked too late to get my fancy All World Athlete swim cap. Seriously? Come on Ironman, you can't keep a few extra camps around for late comers??? Kind of bush league. Nonetheless, I was registered.
At this point I realized I forgot my bento box for the bike. Kiss another $40 dollars good bye. Good thing you can buy anything at the expo. Off to a warm up swim.
This was great because I got to meet our TUSA Ambassador John for the first time. Not great, because he dusted me in the swim and it really sunk in how fucking fast this guy is. Annnnnddddddd......what would the swim be without another mishap - I ripped my wetsuit trying to get it over my massive calves, oh the pains of having beautiful calf muscles. No worries, it was still usable.
All was well, but I had enough of the venue. I was racked, warmed up and it was time to relax.
I met Trevor and we went in for a good meal and a walk around Sidney. Then off to bed. 5 am would come very quick.
To give you a lay of the land, below is the course. The swim was moved back to Elk Lake this year - THANK YOU ORGANIZERS. The bike course isn't fast, lots of twists and turns but a gorgeous ride and the run is fantastic, dirt trails and lots and lots of tree cover. A great race all around for anyone considering it.
It actually feels weird to write this, but I think the swim was the strongest part of my game on this day. Compared to previous years I was much faster and more consistent.
I got to the race start extremely early, especially for me. This left me lots of time to get warmed up, get ready, have a good little swim and get comfortable. It is something I think I may try to do more :)
The organization this year for swim start was fantastic too. Easy to get into the right seating and group of people. I picked a perfect spot and came out exactly where I seated myself in between the 35-40 min signs.
As for the swim, I just felt strong the whole way through. There was a little bit of zig zagging and the occasional person trying to crawl over you, but for the most part I was able to tuck myself behind someone and get a nice clean area to swim in. Drafting. It really is an amazing thing.
This might have been the first race in the water where I didn't panic about not finishing or mentally debate why the hell I was doing this. Some definite growth in that aspect.
I came out of the water feeling really good. Knew I had a good swim and was set up nice for the bike.
T1 was nothing special, I ran down to my bike, stripped off the wetsuit and got ready. Had a good time, but some indecision and hesitation cost some seconds. One of which was do I pee here or find an outhouse.
I peed in T1, don't think anyone saw, but I just couldn't hold it.
On to the bike.
Ahhhhhhh, the bike. We all know how much I like the bike. However, this race I was just not feeling strong or comfortable on the bike. Upon reflection, the only reason is I just didn't have it that day.
Never really got into a rhythm, never got comfortable.
I think this is partly a course thing. The course is a lot of rolling hills, lots of turns, lots of "jammed" up areas of people and a "No Passing" zone that seemed to go on forever, being stuck behind someone also not really feeling the bike. All and all it just didn't feel right.
That being said I had a solid first half, but started to lose a little steam on the second-half - partly letting off in preparation for the run, partly just not having the conditioning for all the changing of speeds, etc etc. The conditioning was not helped with what is only describable as a WHOLE lot of cheating or breaking the rules going on. The amount of drafting and passing violations was incredible, something I've never seen in a race before. Huge groups of people, riding wheel-to-wheel, passing then dropping speed, then passing again. In efforts to break away I definitely burnt up unnecessary energy.
It was frustrating. It burnt up unnecessary energy. It slowed me down overall. Overall, I finished pretty strong, under 3 hours, can't really complain with that.
I had a good, quick T2 and was off on the run, feeling really really good actually.
The run is by far where I have the most trouble and have yet to be able to put together a consistent effort that I know I'm capable of. That being said, I'm really happy with my run. I had no muscle issues. No cramping, no severe pain - a little hip pain in the last 2 km, but nothing debilitating.
I decided very early on that I would be happy with any time under 6 hours really. I got into a seriously good rhythm for me early on, clipping along at a good pace. Around km 9 ish, I decided to pull it back a little bit. The reason? I just didn't want to push it too hard. I knew this race wasn't my "A" race and I was just there to have fun, finish and benchmark a few things. So I pulled back and just ran km by km, taking in the aid stations. Using the porta-potties like a grown adult. It really was an enjoyable run.
On my last 100m, I was nearly taken out by a child who didn't quite understand what was going on and ran out on the course right in front of me. I recovered nicely, remaining upright and finished strong, with a smile on my face and my mind already figuring out how I was going to get to the airport on time!
There is no better feeling then crossing the finish line. I finished the race, not in my best time, not as quickly as I would have liked to, but the fact of the matter is that I finished.
This isn't a sport that gives you anything. You get what you put into it. As I've discussed, my training hasn't been where I thought it would be at this time of the year when I set my goals. I haven't put in the hours I anticipated and honestly that's OK. But, you get what you put in and 5:43:34 is what I deserved.
I learnt a lot this race. I tried some new things that worked well and know where I need to improve.
I've got a tough next 6 weeks with Ironman Calgary 70.3 on July 23 and Ironman Canada 70.3 on July 30. It is buckle down time and I will be ready.
The journey continues.