Hmm, not sure where to start. The first thing I will say is this was a very tough day. The course and the conditions made it so that any weakness anywhere would be exposed. Anyone who was there will know this was true. Congrats to everyone who raced!
The short details:
Swim: 57:49 (non wetsuit)
Bike: 4:44:05 (4th fastest split)
Overall: 4th in 8:48:05
But the devil is in the details! The race really started for me as soon as I crossed the finish line at Beaver Creek 8 days before. I made sure to do my best to recover by warming down and eating properly that day. The week then was mostly rest; however I worked a 11-hour catering job on Sunday, and then had to drive 22 hours up to Canada. I didn't leave till Tuesday because I was unable to pack until Monday. In retrospect these decisions might have cost me the mere 3 minutes to 3rd place. But you live, and you learn.
With this being said I woke up on race day feeling good and stoked to race. I was hungry to push myself in another IM. The morning went the smoothest any of my race mornings have ever gone and I found myself with 10 minutes to do some mediation before the swim started.
Once the swim started I found myself in a good group. I felt great on the swim. I felt as if I was hardly working. So, this was good, although a very strange situation for me. The final 1000 got a bit hard but that happens. From here it was onto the bike.
Frankly, the bike was miserable. My glutes were shut down from the very first mile. This caused my low back to seize up within 5 miles. I felt as if I wasn’t producing any power. Oh, and my bike computer decided not to work on this morning. So pretty much everything was going wrong. Truthfully, I thought about dropping out the whole first lap. But then I remembered my DNF as Cozumel and realized no matter how much this day would suck (regardless of how I’d finish) not finishing would haunt me and cause much more long term mental suffering and disappointment.
So, I found the silver lining and went back to my positive self! I just kept telling myself if the bike sucks this much then the run won’t be as bad. And I just took it minute by minute. I really didn’t make any moves and am surprised I had the 4th fastest split. The nice thing is when you feel like dog shit you are forced to race smart. So I think I raced a very smart bike that allowed me to conserve energy—while usually I am so strong on the bike I may burn too many matches. I rode with groups virtually the entire bike and this helped to at least keep my mind occupied.
Finally, the bike came to an end and me and Justin Metlzer came into transition (with Tripp Hipple and Matt Russel just a few minutes behind). I managed to pull a fast one on him and beat him out of T2. Now the real race started. And as I predicted the run felt much better than the bike! It felt so good just to stand tall and use the posterior chain.
The beginning of an IM in the pro field is very dynamic. Position matters a lot for the mental edge it can give you. This is why you often see pro races with terribly split marathon times. I knew holding Justin off would be important in this sense. We both were running hard and before I knew it I found myself in 3rd—passed 4 people in 5k.
I settled into this and just focused on getting 300+ calories in per hour (a very difficult feat in a marathon in 100-degree temps). And then. I managed the pain. The first 12 miles cruised by but then it was about mind over matter. (I stopped to pee at 12 miles--the first pee in 7 hours, god that felt good!!) Telling my legs to go when I wanted to walk. I didn’t walk.
Every aid station the cold water on my head would bring me to reality and I would surge but then in the time in between I would get delusional and start telling myself “I can slow down, I'll still do well, a top ten would be great”. The other competitors would nearly pass me in between aid stations. But then boom, I’d put the cold water on my head and keep going. They probably thought something was wrong with me!
Yet I still got passed. By Matt Russel—one of the best athletes in the sport. He passed me with around 2 miles left. That sucked! But I kept going and finished 4th. My best IM result yet. Stoked with my finish on a day that wasn’t my best. But that's the thing about IM; something will always go wrong and you learn that you can deal with it. You learn that you can tolerate pain and that you are stronger than you think. That's why I like to do them--they teach you how to be a better human. That's why I'll be doing IM Mont. Treblant in 3 weeks.
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.