Yeah, I know my hat is crooked. It was a great race weekend in Mickey Mouse land with a few extra family members and friends to take in the action.
Race morning brought typical Florida humidity with surprising cloud cover. Leaving the dry climate of Boulder it was actually kind of refreshing to be in the humidity...not my thoughts so much during the run...I had some solid training leading up to this race and my goals were simple: be aggressive, competitive and secure a Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship slot. Somewhere between the swim start and second loop of the run I think I forgot about my first two goals, but did manage to claim a slot for the November event in Clearwater.
Swim (30:14) - There were a couple of guys with whom I wanted to swim, but it seems I forgot to tell them. As we dove into the warm waters of lake Disney I found myself on someone's feet, but said feet seemed a bit too slow for my liking. Swimming around the athlete I sighted and saw nada. At this point I figured it was going to be another solo swim...and it was...until with about 400 meters to go the trio of Leanda Cave, Nina Kraft and Dede Griesbauer swiftly slipped past me. I simply swam with no intensity and felt flat in the water. Not the start I wanted and I was intent on working the bike in an effort to get myself in the mix.
Bike (2:23) - hurl...that's the sound of me puking...kidding aside I was looking to ride 2:15-2:20 range. Exiting Fort Wilderness and riding down World Drive (highway leading into the park) I had my eyes and mind set on making contact with whomever was riding ahead of me. Approaching the turnaround of this long out & back highway section I could tell I had a lot of work to do to bridge some major gaps. My fueling was on and I actually felt quite comfortable with the pace...in hindsight too comfy. Aside from a few out & back sections I found myself riding alone. I did successfully catch and pass a few of the guys who were out of the water ahead of me.
Run (1:20) - The FL 70.3 run course is flat and spectator-friendly with three loops. My legs did not feel all that great through the first loop, but I was gaining ground on the competition. The humidity was sinking it's teeth into athletes and on the backside of the second loop I saw an age grouper down and out at an aid station, most likely victim to heat stroke/exhaustion. Through the final two loops I actually started to feel stronger and the spectators were great with their encouragement. Crossing the line and seeing 4:17 on the race clock I was surprised to learn I had managed a top 10 placing. I was very grateful to get to the line though!
North America Sports did a fantastic job of running a well-organized and safe event in the heart of Disney Land. Congrats to Paul Amey and Leanda Cave on their wins. A big thanks to my family for enduring the humidity, rain and arse-crack race start (6:20am). I also want to thank Clark Archibald, member of Team Sport Beans/NTTC's club team, for saying hello before the race. I hope to meet more club team members at upcoming races.
Keep it smooth...