Note from me: I originally posted this on a blog site called iamtri.com. Unfortunately, that website is no longer valid, but through some magic performed by my computer knowledgeable college son, he was able to recover my posts. I am sharing them here so that I may preserve my memories from my first Ironman 70.3. Chris
2014 Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report
July 12, 2014
My First IM 70.3!
For my third triathlon of 2014 and designated “A” race this year, I decided to pick a 70.3 distance, and since I live near Chicago I had three really popular choices to choose from: Racine, Steelhead and Muncie. After hearing about a horrible swim in Racine in 2013, and seeing Steelhead is in the same Lake Michigan body of water, I opted for a reservoir/lake located in the middle of Indiana – Muncie! The only negatives that people had about this location was that the run course was hilly, and that it was hot. Aren’t they all? Signed up in February and goaded my buddies to join me.
The race is held just south of Muncie in the Prairie Creek Reservoir. It is very rural and peaceful. The lake is pretty large, with a great swim area and a new facilities building for washrooms and showers. After hesitating on booking a hotel in Muncie, we opted to stay at the Hampton Inn in Anderson, which was a popular choice with many of the other racers. It was about a half hour away from the race site, but the town had plenty of dining and other options.
I watched this helicopter fly in and land on Thursday night. I wish I knew there was helicopter parking, I would have flown in myself! (Just kidding – triathletes can’t afford a helicopter.)
Friday/Race Day Eve
I got to Anderson late on Thursday and checked in. My friends and I met up on Friday morning and started planning our day. We opted for a short 20 minute run to settle our nerves and knock the cobwebs off of a rest day on Thursday.
We hopped into our cars and headed to the race expo. We decided to take advantage of the optional bike racking on Friday to avoid one less issue on Saturday/Race day morning. After picking up our packets, we stuck the stickers on our bikes and wheeled them into the transition area.
The KX5 all racked and ready to go.
After checking out the expo, buying the expensive Ironman event merchandise and grabbing something to eat, we sat and listened to the race talk. There were hints that the water temperature may be just cool enough for an unusual for Muncie, wetsuit legal swim.
Wetsuit legal! Just barely, but many of us were relieved. The wetsuit for me has become a security blanket of sorts, although I have done races without one. Anytime I spend time looking at a big body of water, I get nervous. Wetsuits take that anxiety away for me.
We got up at 4am and hit the road at about 5am. I slept well, thanks to taking 1/2 of an Ambien that my physician buddy gave me. But I did wake up twice due to stomach issues. Spent a lot of time in the port-a-potty line, and was able to get things taken care of.
I set up my transition, pumped up my tires to 120 psi, and took some time to visualize the trip from the Swim Out to Bike Out.
It has taken me some time, but I’m starting to see the benefit of not bringing all my junk to transition.
The race started at 7am, but my wave didn’t start until 7:55, so I had plenty of time to watch others and my other racing buddies start the race.
Bride and bridesmaid. I had my buddy Dave help me zip up an obviously too tight for me wetsuit.
Can you tell which triathlete needs prescription goggles to see? That would be me. Dave and I picking our swim line.
1.2 MILE SWIM
The water was a perfect temperature. Usually I don’t do well in cold water, but this water was perfect. I chose to swim the inside of the buoys until the turns and had no issues at all with other swimmers. Zig-zagging was minimal. I did start to get a calf cramp in my legs about 2/3’s of the way into the swim. I just slowed down, kicked a little less and was fine. I started to notice that I was catching the white and pink capped swimmers that had started in waves 5 and 10 minutes ahead of me, respectively. That was a positive sign for me that I was having a good swim. Toward the last four or five buoys to go, I decided to pick up the pace. I could see some athletes were standing, but I swam until my fingers hit bottom.
Out of the water declaring “Piece of Cake!” It really was the most uneventful swim.
After getting out of the water I sat down and the volunteer wetsuit strippers (or peelers, as they prefer) yanked off my suit and it was a slogfest up to T1. It was uphill on a rocky path, which was covered with thin carpet. But everyone seemed to be walking. I was like, “Hey, get out of the way! This IS a race, right?”
SWIM TIME: 42:17
After getting by the field of swim zombies heading to T1, I got to my bike and quickly dried my feet and head off and changed into the cycling gear. Heading to the exit, I spied the toilets and went in. I had to go while I was in the water, but just couldn’t do it while I was swimming.
T1 TIME: 5:48
56 MILE BIKE
Everything I heard about the bike course at Muncie was that it was flat and fast. Nope. I will give you fast, but it wasn’t flat. I guess that I’m just too used to the flat rails-to-trails trail that I constantly ride at home. That is flat. The portion of the course that leads to and from the looped highway is 16 miles of hills, turns and potholes. The race announcer said at the course talk that when prepping the bike course, they normally go through about 3 bags of cold patch asphalt. This course required more than 30! Admittedly, it was a little rough, but easily rideable.
My heart rate monitor started chirping at me right away. I was trying to stay in Z3, but was well into Z4 for the first 45 minutes or so. Finally got it settled down and locked in. The two loops were done on a closed highway, which was new for the course. Two twenty mile loops. The two aid stations rocked, helping me reload my bottles while I used the bathroom again. Peeing was a good sign for me, as I was sweating quite a lot. Since I was in a later start wave, I had a lot of fast riders zipping by me on my first loop as they finished their second loops. It was a lot less crowded on my second loop.
Heading out of T1 for 56 miles of “flat” riding. Yeah, right. My son and daughter are behind me in the green and pink shirts.
Around 40 miles I had an issue. A little before I had taken a drink of Gatorade and got back into an aero position and had a little acid reflux. Nothing too bad, but gave me some discomfort. But the real issue I had was I tried to eat a GU and I swallowed it a little rough, causing some coughing and throat irritation. I dealt with that for at least ten miles. I couldn’t get my throat cleared, and it was to the point I was gagging. Finally got over it, but it was not fun.
The last of the second loop on Highway 35.
The sun had finally made an appearance on an otherwise cloudy day. I knew with the run coming up, having the sun out would not be good. Fortunately, the skies cloudy over again.
My kids watching the action on the bike course. Well, Ashley was watching with her eyes closed.
Coming in to T2 I had that feeling that 56 miles was hard. Even though I had done a full Ironman less than a year before, I couldn’t fathom having to do another 56! Glad I was coming in for the run.
BIKE TIME: 3:01:31
The second transition was quick. I grabbed the water bottle that I had in transition for rinsing my feet off, and used it on my head. A good sweat rinse felt great. I downed another GU, put on the visor, bib belt, and running shoes and I was off to get some sunscreen and run a half marathon.
T2 TIME: 3:16
13.1 MILE RUN
I was concerned I had pushed too hard on the bike and would suffer a little on the run, but in reality I felt great. I got to the first aid station in 7:45 according to my watch. I told my self to back it off. I hit the first of several really great aid stations and hit the water, ice, cola, and pretzels to get me going down the road. The aid stations are about a mile apart, and were well stocked and manned. The volunteers were once again, pretty awesome.
At every aid station I would take ice and shove it into my trisuit to get my temperature down. Seemed to work pretty good. Take some ice water, drink the water and then shove the ice in my clothes. I took a banana a couple of times, but mainly stuck with my eating a GU every half hour, plenty of fluids, and a salt capsule every hour or so.
Around the 5.5 mile area, I spotted my buddy Dave ahead and started to catch up. Just before seeing him go by, his brother John was passing by heading back to the finish. Big boost to seeing him. John started in the wave before us with a 5 minute head start. I knew I had work to do to try to catch him, so I gently started picking up the pace. I passed Dave right around the turn around, and started in on the hills back to the finish.
The hills were brutal. A lot of athletes were walking up them. I just kept my turnover going and powered through. At mile 9, I decided to start pushing. I passed a lot of people those last 4 miles. In all, I can only remember getting passed by one guy on the course, who was younger than me, and he had a good pace going. The only other runner that passed me was a younger girl who outkicked me in the chute after I had already passed her a 1/2 mile earlier.
I had driven to the event site several times on that run course, so I knew I was getting close. The few sprinkles that had started were more of a relief than a bother. I was already soaked. My feet squished when I took a step. I got to the final climb and really pushed through that last hill, feeling relieved to see the tents and finishing chute. I could see my family and hit my watch to see that I had easily broken 6 hours in my first 70.3 attempt.
RUN TIME: 1:53:18
FINISH TIME: 5:46:10 (PR)
RECOVERY AND POST RACE
I knew I was spent and just wanted to walk a little. I met up with my family and sat down in a chair. After a few minutes I decided to head to the medical tent to see if I could get some Perform to drink, and after talking with the staff, I decided to enter and sit down. They got me a wet towel and I put it around my neck, and started drinking the cold Perform. Thank goodness it was Lemon-Lime flavor. Before I knew it they had a blood pressure cuff on me and advised me that I was 100/70. A little low, but not dead. I told them that I had hydrated well, and had taken a salt capsule every hour. The doctor offered an IV, but I turned it down as I was starting to come around.
Once out of the medical tent, I met my buddies who now had all finished. We swapped stories and race recaps and ate a little from the athlete food tent. After laying around for a while, we claimed our bikes from transition and headed back to the hotel in Anderson.
Thanks go once again to my great family, who spent their weekend watching me do my thing. It is truly a blessing to have such support. The photos my wife and kids took were awesome.
Thanks also to Carla for setting up our hotel for the weekend and being such a great planner and photographer.
And finally, I know I wouldn’t have as much fun doing these tri’s without my lifelong friends, Dave and John, and also Dave’s son Alex. I love the fun we have, and certainly the friendly competition. Alex, being only 19 and on the U of Iowa Tri-Hawks team, will always come in first. But with the finish order this year – John, me and Dave – we now have each had a race in which we have won. That is pretty cool.
Another awesome triathlon experience, shared with my best buddies and family. I am blessed.