Wednesday, November 10, 2010

IMFL "Participation" Report

 early on the run
 always want to be across that mount line
 it is a lot colder than it looks
sunset view from hotel balcony

After two solid races heading into IMFL I was hoping to put forth yet another good performance while securing some Kona qualifying points.  The final two weeks of training I was unable to run with a knee injury post Austin 70.3.  Certainly not the ideal way to prepare for an Ironman, but I figured I am racing for charity and it's the last race of the season; worse case scenario I simply walk portions of the marathon.  The temps leading up to race day continued to drop into the low 40s and winds increasing.  Race morning brought air temp of 42 and windy.  This is Florida, right!?!

Swim (53:48) - Despite the north west winds the surf was relatively calm for our beach start.  Without too much fanfare we were off.  I was able to position myself with a small group including Blake Becker (USA), Petr Vabrousek (Czech Republic) and a few others.  The pace seemed a bit sluggish at times as the current pushed us inside the buoy line.  Exiting the water after the first loop I took advantage of the aid station for a quick drink of fresh water before plunging back into the Gulf of Mexico.  Having a better feel for the currents on the second loop I swam well and was able to shed some from my group.  The water was the warmest part of my race day experience, but I was glad to exit with a new swim PR.

Bike (4:53) - Riding into a head wind for the first 20-25 miles my hands and feet were pretty damn cold.  Becker rode by me pretty fast and soon after came Vabrousek.  For a while I was riding solo until Alex McDonald (USA), Olly Piggin (Canada) and another guy I didn't know rode past.  I worked hard to stay with this group, at times really pushing the pace.  1:20 into the ride my power meter stopped working.  I would ride the remainder of the bike on "feel" and approximating my effort and timing of my fueling.  Approaching the 50 mile mark I had to back off the pace as perceptually I felt like it was out of my range.  I tried to keep my mind focused on fueling and my effort, but for some reason I was starting to feel kind of detached mentally from the race.  I rode completely alone for the next 55 miles and rode into T2 with a small group of four that caught me heading back towards transition.

Run (3:22) - Once on the run course my legs were heavy and I struggled to maintain 6:30s.  This is well below my IM marathon pace and I knew immediately it was going to be tough 26.2 miles.  Sure I tried the positive self-talk thing: "You are light."  "Float"  "Extend", but the reality of my limited running and perhaps being underfueld during the bike was taking its toll.  I came through the first loop in about 1:30, but things were heading south quickly.  Around the 15 mile mark the wheels began to really come off as my knee was bothering and the quads were pretty jacked.  My relatively slow run turned into a shuffle, which eventually turned into a walk.  While it was frustrating to not be able to attack this marathon course, I found myself making the best of the situation.  I was able to encourage many age group athletes who were running well and some that were kind of shuffling along like myself.  Shortly after the 23 mile mark my teammate, Jessica Jacobs, came up on me with a commanding lead of the women's race.  She tried to get me to run with her, but I kind of laughed and shared some congratulatory words.  It was great seeing her out front for most of the race.  Approaching the long finishers' chute I decided to walk it in while taking in the support of the crowd.  Erica Csomor was about to claim second place behind Jess, so I stepped aside to give her a clean shot towards the finish line.  With a smile I crossed the line in 9:15 and 42nd overall.  A huge congrats to my teammate, Jess, for her win as well as James Cunnama for taking the men's title.

Overall this has been a good season of racing for me with two more top 10 IM finishes and several respectable results at the 70.3 distance.  Throughout the season I was able to make gains in all three disciplines.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the gift of good health for which I thank God.  In addition my sponsors, family & friends have been incredible with their continued support.  My coach, Zane Castro, has been a pillar in keeping me motivated, focused and challenged.  I am currently registered for the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship (50 mile ultra trail run) in early December, but with the knee injury that seems highly unlikely.  At any rate, I will certainly enjoy some down time from triathlon.  Hellooo off-season!

Thanks for reading & as always, keep it smooth...

1 comment:

Stan said...

Dear Brad,

Nice job. Still a super solid day even if it had it disappointments. Racing in the cold like that had to have been a challenge, even for a Boulder boy like yourself.

Enjoy the off-season!