Last weekend was Ironman 70.3 Muncie. Close to home, within 2 hours of where I currently live in NE Indiana. 2016 is my second appearance at this event, the first time in 2012 just after I tore a tendon in my foot. That year, I showed up to swim & bike, then I took a DNF since I couldn’t run. This year, my only goal was a finish. Little did I know, that’s all the cards had in store for me.
Packet pick-up was at the race site this year verses the convention center like it was in 2012. Loved it! The race is kinda “out of the way” at Prairie Creek Reservoir. Definitely not a venue that you’ll stumble across unless you have Google maps loaded! It was nice to see the venue in the day light. I immediately noticed that the water looked calm & clean, despite the wind. I also noticed the site was much better groomed than it was in 2012. No pesky rocks this year. Lots of nice grassy areas. Clean beach. Yay!!!
I arrived at the venue after 5pm because I was waiting for as long as possible to leave home so the kids didn’t kill each other weren’t home alone too long before hubby got home from work. I’m so bad about looking at the event schedule. And the last pre-race meeting was at 5pm. I realized this as I was picking up my packet. Good news, packet pick-up was fast since everyone else had already been thru and I was on to the meeting very quickly. Cool SWAG this year. Ironman 70.3 Muncie backpack & gender specific tee, plus we got a Cliff Bar. This year they put the race specific logo on the bag & I really liked that. The last several years, IM has given out generic bags that just say “Ironman 70.3”. They in turn give that for each 70.3 event. So if you do multiple 70.3 events, you get the exact same bag for each race. Boring. Happy to see the change for this year.
Race day started early. Transition opened at 5am. Transition closed at 6:45am for a 7am start. I was concerned about parking so got to the reservoir pretty close to 5am and was happy I had cuz parking filled up very quickly. Set up transition quickly but it was still visibly dark. And visibly chaotic.
Hit the potties & was surprised that it looked like there were only about 20 potties for approximately 2200 athletes (and their families/friends). The lines were long. Like really long. Fortunately, I was there early enough to wait thru that line 2x. Hydrate much?
Race started at 7am. My wave started at 7:59am. I believe there were 5 minutes between waves this year, which was a little better than the 3 minutes from when I participated in 2012. This event was not wetsuit legal, the water temp on race day was between 77 & 78 degrees, which is typical for this event. USAT rules do not allow wetsuits when water temps are greater than 76.1 degrees. No wetsuit, no problem. I must say, I was calm. I’m not a fast swimmer but I can swim for a long time. Like Dory, I “Just Keep Swimming”. Once in the water, it seemed cool & refreshing. Not much turbulence. I always start toward the back of my wave (cuz that’s where I finish the swim) and always get jammed up in the beginning. I may be slow but its inevitable that the breast strokers start ahead of me and I have to figure out a way to get around them. I felt strong on the swim. I was focused, stayed on course, pulled thru my stroke. I didn’t have the moments of panic that have visited in the past. It was difficult heading into shore on the last 1/3 of the course cuz the sun was in our eyes and I just couldn’t see the buoys in front of me. That resulted in me spending too much time checking my position but overall, I was happy with the swim and hoping my time would show as much. It didn’t. 50:30 swim for 1.2 miles. I was hoping for 45 minutes but overall happy cuz I was comfortable in the water and in my opinion that’s a win!!
On to the bike! As I moved into transition, I forgot about the swim and started focusing on the bike. I was really hoping for a good bike split. My last 70.3 at Cutting Edge in June had a slow bike split and I was hoping that was a result of 1) the high temps and 2) still being fatigued from my double marathon weekend at the beginning of May. I spent a lot of time resting in June, plus the temps at Muncie were much milder (70s & 80s). So I and hoping my time would show as much. It didn’t. I couldn’t get any power/speed. I wasn’t fatigued per say. I was well fueled (thank you Tailwind Nutrition!!!). I was hydrated. I just couldn’t get any speed. Why?!?!? No idea. I’m not going to lie, I was frustrated out there. But I did see Sharon S. out on course & that probably the bright spot in my bike! She got the first pic below. Second pic was from an Ironman photog. Great aid stations on the bike, every 15ish miles. Food, water, Gatorade, gels, & potties. It always amazes me how steady & brave the bike aid station volunteers are to hold out the water or Gatorade so we can grab it as we zoom past.
Then my bike broke. Initially, I thought the chain had just popped off, which was odd cuz that had never happened in the 3.5 years I’ve had this bike. But it wasn’t just that. My derailleur was also broken and my chain was jammed behind the brakes. It was stuck. Nothing I could fix roadside. At that point, I kinda laughed to be honest. I was already 38 miles into a poor bike split. I figured, if the bike is going to break, I was super thankful it broke on day when I was already having a subpar performance!! Then immediately, my thoughts went to “OMGosh, am I going to have to DNF this race AGAIN (like in 2012)?” Thankfully, I did not have to DNF. Ironman SAG support came rolling up after a short while. It took the dude a minute to figure out the problem, then he pulled out a giant wrench. He removed the crank arms that held on the chain ring so he could get to the chain. Fixed the chain, adjusted the broken derailleur and told me to take it easy and not shift much as I limped back to transition. That did the trick to get me back to transition! And my bike has been in the shop since Tuesday awaiting a new derailleur. Hoping to pick it up tomorrow. Anyhow, slow for me bike split: 3:40:39. I was hoping to go under 3 hours but I was WAY off that before I broke. I’m guessing that SAG found & fixed me within 20 minutes of the break, which is AWESOME. I could have been there for an hour or more. Thank you Ironman SAG!!
On to the run. Smooth transition. Sprayed down with sunscreen again. Took off on the run. I had heard the run was hilly. That was accurate. At this point, I had nothing to gain by trying to rush, so I took my time. Didn’t stress about the hills. Or the heat. Just ran. Walked up the bigger hills Walked thru aid stations, which were every mile apart. Lots of run support. Great aid stations. Lots of potties. I tried to enjoy it. One loop run which is unusual for IM 70.3 courses. It was good. Got to the turnaround and cruised back at whatever pace I could manage without pushing. Run Split: 2:31:32.
Total time: 7:09:20. Not where I was hoping to be but hey, a finish is a finish. My goal for the year is to go under 6 hours for the 70.3 distance. If I don’t figure out how to freshen up these legs & find my power on the bike, that goal is going to be impossible. I’m also having issues with my saddle this year. I’ve swapped it out 3x already and just can not get comfortable (I’m flat out miserable). UGH. Hoping to get everything dialed in by Steelhead so I can make an honest attempt at the sub 6 hour finish. Only time will tell if that’s a realistic goal (for this year) but I’m focusing on me this month. Nutrition. Rest. Chiropractor. And I’m going to get a massage the week before Steelhead to try to flush out any nastiness from my legs pre-race. I must say, I was frustrated Saturday after my finish. It was not the race I envisioned but honestly, there are so many people who would give anything to be out there just DOING something, that I must thank my lucky stars for my health, my motivation and the constant drive to keep moving, even when life isn’t perfect. And who has a perfect life? I, of course, have a lot to focus on other than my fitness but I continue to make fitness a priority while simultaneously managing the family, work and life. So that’s a WIN in my book. And the finisher medal to prove it.
** Keep TRIing, Even When Things Aren’t Going YOUR Way ** Amanda – TooTallFritz