Ironman 70.3 Kansas race recap

12 Jun

MB and Bob post race with the finisher medals

Ironman 70.3 Kansas recap

2012 Ironman 70.3 Kansas is over and I must say that may have been the toughest race I have ever done. Sure the course is very challenging but it’s more because of the conditions that day that made it so hard. Winds blew over 20mph all day long, temps were in the 90’s hitting about 95 degrees that day and the sun was bright with no shade. Water temps were high so it became a non wet suit legal swim which I was fine with but when the winds blew that strong and created the waves it did that was another story. The winds were so strong it blew two of the course sight buoys across the lake to the shore. The swim was just plain rough hard to sight and see the buoys, people kicking and hitting and climbing on you. I got rocked in the face and had to stop and adjust my goggles within the first 200 yards of the swim. I also swallowed a bunch of water from a big wave coming up for a breathe and had a slight panic attack so I breast stroke for 30 seconds to regain myself and then jumped back into my freestyle. I swam longer than the 1.2 mile course because the waves were rocking so much you could not see the buoys very well and they would kind of drift and carry you away so you had to fight your way back on course. Needless to say this was my worst swim time ever!! I’m not an elite swimmer but I’m much faster than I swam on that day. I do struggle in big waves but then most every athlete I spoke to after that swim said the same thing. In-fact I heard over 50 people were pulled from the swim and even about 15 of them started out 50 yards and then turned back and said no way because it was too rough. But I survived it and pushed on the swim was part one of testing my mental toughness that day because I had moments of doubt during it for sure.

Part two of testing my mental toughness the bike course. Now I have heard that this is a hilly and hard bike course but looking at the elevation chart on the race website I thought this should be no different than riding around Chanhassen. Wrong!! And wrong was their chart! My Garmin and my friend Bob’s Garmin both calculated 2854 feet of climbing on the bike course and there was some wicked long climbs stuff that I had to go down into my small chain ring for and I almost never have to go into my small ring. And to go along with this very challenging course it did not help that we had winds over 20mph with gusts near 30mph. We had a few of these half mile or longer climbs that went straight into a headwind. I was pedaling as hard as I can and passing people and all I could muster up was about 10-11mph on these sections. I even had a big downhill where I should have been 30mph+ and because of the headwind I only hit 23mph. The crosswinds yikes!! My neck, shoulders, and low back or sore from holding my bike upright in the awful crosswinds these gusts would come and about blow you over. I was doing a body lean one way and holding on to the handlebars for dear life just trying to keep from blowing over. And to go along with these strong winds was 90 degree temps so I was roasting!! Overall I was happy with my bike time because the course was very hard and the wind was just relentless so to bust a 2:24 and average 23.3 mph for 56 miles I was OK with that. I think the highlight of my ride was catching my friend Bob at mile 41.5 and then blowing by him. Bob had a 4 minute head start on me in the swim plus swam 2 minutes faster than me which gave him about a 6 minute lead on me to the bike course and Bob is a strong rider so for me to even catch him was pretty good on my part I thought. Sorry Bob for putting this in here 
There was sections of the bike course where you could open it up and I got to speeds of 42mph which felt crazy especially when a gust of wind caught you.

Mental toughness part 3 the run:
The run was the hardest part of the day and what makes me the most mad because I’m a runner and always look forward to run and just crushing people. But I know I’m not a hot weather runner and this day proved me right again. The run was also the biggest breakthrough in my mental game and the part I am the most proud of with my mental game. 93 degrees, sun and a headwind at times does not make for good running weather. I started out hot on the half marathon course and ran mile 1 at 6:09 pace, then started to feel the effects of dehydration and slowed to a 6:29 for mile 2 at this point I saw Bob on the run course looked at him and said dude I think I’m going to pass out. Bob wisely told me “slow down” I actually listened and slowed my pace down and just kept moving forward. I would grab as much water as I could at every aid station pouring it on my head, drinking it, pouring it on my head etc… grabbing cups of ice and pouring it down my race suit to cool me whatever I could do. At mile 3 as I climbed the hill of the run course my left hamstring locked up and I stopped screamed and walked a bit rubbing it trying to get it lose. Finally I got the cramp to go away and I started running again. The saying in my head during the run was “relentless forward motion” just keep moving don’t stop and then of course my other mantra “dig deep finish strong”. The run was just not fun at all I was so dehydrated feeling, so cramped and just in pain. My body, my head felt like I was on fire and nothing would cool me down. But I pressed on and kept fighting I had several moments where I thought “why am I doing this?” why should I even finish and risk hurting myself? And then I would say if you stop if you don’t finish you will regret it always now buck up and push on and finish. So I would my legs actually felt like they could go but my body was just so overheated that I felt sick and it would not move any more than the shuffle I had going. I was at about mile 11.5 I saw my family I said to Shannon I’m going to medical when I cross the finish line look for me there. I knew it was going to take everything out of me to finish and that it did. The run was a major test of my mental toughness to fight through tough conditions and the pain I was in. Again that I was proud of my mental game that is. And somehow my pace for that half marathon was a 7:22 for a time of 1:36. I was shocked at that because it felt like I was walking and doing 10 minute miles.
At the end of the day I finished 52nd overall (including the Pro’s) was 6th in my age group (which did qualify me for World championships (but I passed on my slot) in a time of 4:46

So Ironman 70.3 Kansas is in the books now and I’m back home in Minnesota. I had a lot of fun I learned a lot and all though my time sucked and I’m disappointed with my finish I’m also happy with the “never give up” attitude I kept and the positive attitude of everyone has to deal with these conditions so just man up and push on and finish! I knew it was not going to be a PR performance day with the conditions however my placing was the big letdown I figured I could have still got that podium spot especially since I never got passed on the bike and only one person passed me on the run. But I suppose after such an awful swim I was just that far back. In-fact the 3rd place guy I beat on the bike by 10 minutes but then he beat me in the swim and some in the run to hold me off. So I will call my day in Kansas a success for never giving up and fighting through the toughest race conditions I have ever faced. I will call it a success because my mental game kept me in it even when my body could not hold up anymore. What I hope each of you learn from my experience here is the mind is very powerful and in order to perform and give yourself a chance you must have a strong mind, stay positive and never give up.

Best of luck to everyone! Thanks for all the cheers and support!


My Triathlon gear used at Kansas 70.3
Pearl Izumi Pro Series Speed suit
Blue Seventy goggles
Pearl Izumi Try-Fly 4 cycle shoes
Pearl Izumi Iso-Transition running shoes
Pearl Izumi visor
Giro Advantage Aero helmet
Trek 9.9 speed concept with full Sram Red groupo and Bontrager aero wheels designed by HED
I drank GU Ultra endurance roctane
Had Green apple flavored power gels
Hammer Electrolyte capsules
Freewheel bike is my bike shop and mechanics who dialed in my bike for the race.


One Response to “Ironman 70.3 Kansas race recap”

  1. runninfromthelaw June 12, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Those are some seriously crazy conditions. You are inspiring and should be proud!

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