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Coach Troy's Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race Report 2008

Race Splits

Swim: 29:21 (1:32/100 meter pace for 1.2 miles)
T1: 3:26
Bike: 2:33:56 (21.83 mph for 56 miles)
T2: 2:51
Run: 1:29:41 (6:50 per mile for 13.1 miles)
OVERALL Finish Time: 4:39:13


For those of you that aren't aware, it has been a long season for me as I have raced more long course stuff than ever before this year and my body is starting to tell me it is time for some quality R&R and family time. I took my 2 week taper VERY serious and the final week didn't contain very many workouts at all and for the most part everything was very short and fast. My week started Thursday with a bright and early flight to Tampa, rent the car and drive to our “condo”. I use that term loosely, but it provided all the needs we had and was quite comfortable. It was just under mile to the race site so it wasn't too far away. I managed to get in a nice short run that afternoon in the beautiful upper 70 degree weather and saw MANY others doing similar, biking, or even swimming that day. Packet pickup, check out the expo, welcome dinner, etc…all very standard for those of you that have attended an Ironman event or 70.3 event. The Welcome dinner was pretty cool as it was set on Sand Key park beach area with quite a large presentation. Unfortunately I could only manage to stay for an hour as I didn't realize how cool it got at night on the beach and was only wearing shorts and t-shirt. Friday started with a short swim and bike to get the blood flowing and check out the swim course. I managed to setup the bike and gear bags to check out transition areas, check out the expo, and enjoy the beautiful beach. Today my wife was able to join me and that was very nice to see a familiar face (other than those pro's you see in magazines or pics on Slowtwitch). Had my normal carb loading dinner at Carrabbas and the night was set to enjoy some downtime and get rested up for a long day the next day.


Normal breakfast routine about 4:45 (my swim start was 7:10 AM), did a light warmup, and normal routines. I got my bike tires pumped up, fluid and gels on the bike and found a nice place to sit and relax before the start.


The pros started at 6:45 and it was cool to see them take off and hear about Andy Potts leading the entire swim (go USA!). I maneuvered my way down to the swim staging area (corrals) and was just trying to stay calm and loose before we plunged into the 70 degree water (they claimed it read 70.3, but I think that was just exaggeration). On the beach, ready to start (I hate beach run starts!!!) and BOOM…gun off and so are we. I told myself I was going to go hard to get out of the mass swimmers and then hit my rhythm by the second marker. What I found was that everything seemed easy to me today, wetsuit was fitting nicely, the extra buoyancy from salt water was super nice, and my stroke felt smooth today. I was able to draft off several people on the out and that is very rare for me. I hit my first turn at 13 minutes and thought that was very strange and fast for me, but I wasn't going to argue with my watch. I was able to swim very straight today despite some larger waves on the second half of the swim and was pleased to see my watch at sub 30 when I exited the water. This proved to be my fastest 1.2 mile swim ever in a 70.3 event. A quick rinse in the showers, hit the wetsuit strippers and into the changing tent.


No real news here, into the tent, grabbed my helmet, glasses, and nutrition and headed out. Grabbed the bike and took off. I'm not sure why but some people left their helmets on their bike. They allowed us to leave our shoes clipped in and helmet clipped onto the bike but nothing else. To me it made more sense to clip the shoes into the bike, but leave the helmet in the bag so you can buckle it on your run from the tent to the bike. I think this proved a better idea b/c I passed several guys sitting at their bike trying to get their helmet off and buckle on their head. Whatever…


My game plan was to warmup the first 8 miles or so to get my legs under me and then hit a strong tempo pace that I could maintain throughout the course. There aren't really any hills on this course, just a bunch of bridges (some more steep than others) and many false flats. The first 10 miles was a lot of what seemed like short rolling roads…up 18 mph, down 28 mph, up 14 mph, down 30 mph, etc. I usually get passed by a few people on the bike as I am not the strongest cyclist out there, but I have the fun part of catching many of them on the run (usually). When the first peloton of about 20 cyclists passed me around mile 9, I was a bit frustrated (but this isn't the first race I have seen that had some drafters). At this time my hamstrings and glutes were in pretty serious pain and didn't seem to want to warmup. Come to find out, this would never really ease up throughout the entire course. After they warmed up it went from a sharp pain to a dull pain to an exhausted muscle pain. I have no idea why this occurred, but none the less I continued to push as hard as I could for awhile. As mentioned before the course is relatively flat with what seemed like false flats as you would magically start slowing down and that was my only explanation. Then you would speed up again as it flattened out. The bridges are really not bad at all and this is the first really flat course I have ever ridden. The problem that we have all experienced and seen over our triathlon racing time are those few people that would rather set a false PR for their course by sitting on the back of a peloton of 15-30 other cyclists and save their legs for the run. The part that amazed me the most is I saw this more than just a few times. The first time I had a peloton pass me, I just accepted it and didn't think twice. I let them ride on and made sure to drop out of the draft zone as I am much more true to myself I guess and absolutely hate drafters in triathlon. I think there is a time and place for drafting and this race is not one of them. I guess I am more honest than most. Anyway, the second time a group passed me I got a little irritated. Between miles 9-50, I had more than 6 pelotons pass me ranging from 15-30+ riders. Yes…that is quite a few people and was absolutely demoralizing on the bike course to me as I refused to cheat and wanted to know I did this course solo. As I watched so many people free spinning in the middle of each pack, I just kept telling myself that I am a better person for it and tried to stay true to myself and my morals. At the end of the day, they can try to justify it all they want, but in reality I can go to sleep at night and know I did the entire race solo whereas they have to know in the back of their mind and heart that they cheated over the course of 5-56 miles of the course. I knew after the first few pelotons that my times wouldn't look near as good as the drafters. After all, I am cruising 21-28 mph pretty much the entire course and several times I glanced down, saw 24 mph as they passed me like I was standing still. Anyway…on to my recap. By mile 45, my legs were telling me it has been a really long season and I didn't have much “go” left in them. I tried to push as hard as I could the last 10 miles but there just wasn't much left. I had been nailing my nutrition to this point despite an upset stomach that morning pre-race. I knew I was hydrated, plenty of salt, gels, etc. By T2, I was ready to dismount that bike and get on with my day after watching so many set their false PR's on the bike and being demoralized on the bike course.


Wow…my legs were complete jello, which is quite abnormal for me. I tried to do an easy jog to my bag and the changing tent. Sat down, got my gear and started the move out.


The Run started very hard for me as my hamstrings and glutes were still in quite a bit of pain. The first 3 miles I focused on hitting a nutrition plan and trying to get my legs to feel somewhat normal. There is one large/long bridge (that you bike over as well) about 1 mile out of T2. This proved to work perfectly for me as I like to run hills and it really made me use my quads. By the time I hit mile 3, my hams and glutes no longer hurt, I was feeling good, and my nutrition was going great. Mile 3-8 really went by with a blur. I was hitting every aid station (alternate stations with GatoradeE, GatoradeE+salt tab, Water+gel…then again). This seemed to work nicely for me as I was chipping miles between 6:40-7:00 pace and that includes about 10 seconds of walking in each aid station. I was happy with this pace and felt I could maintain it to the end. I was only passed by 4 people (all professionals -3 women and 1 guy) so passing people on the run was SUPER nice after all the drafters passed me on the bike course. I knew there were some I would never catch, but at least I could sleep at night knowing my morals were in tact. By mile 10, I started to feel my quads wanting to cramp with each step. I glanced down at my shorts and noticed they were covered in salt. I decided to up my salt intake for 2 tabs every other aid station until the end. I started feeling better by mile 11 and had found a runner similar to my pace. He followed me until about mile 12 and then told me “pull me in to the finish”. I said, “I'm trying…let's get it, it's now or never”! At this point I felt like I was sprinting and to a certain extent I must have been. I had calculated my finish time prior to mile 10 and figured I would come in around 4:42 overall. I really wanted to break 4:40 but at mile 10 had dismissed it. Well, I ended up with a sub 1:30 run, 4:39 finish overall, so I must have been running pretty fast the last 1.1 miles. I ran through the last 2 aid stations vs. walking and just drank what hit the mouth. This proved to really help me in the end and the guy behind me (from New York) told me he was quite glad he found me the last 3 miles as he had begun to fall off his pace. It turns out he ran a 4:24 overall and that is pretty impressive to me.


Great finish area, grabbed some ice and dropped in my shorts, hit the massage tables and got some food. Overall it felt great that day and I was glad to be done. I was really excited to meet part of the support to "Team Hoyt" (sure you are all familiar with them). I met them at my bike drop at tribike transport as they were dropping off his super cool bike that he rides with his son in the chair up front. My wife saw them out of the swim but we missed them the rest of the time. Apparently they had a flat and it took the SAG van 30 minutes to get to them and fix the flat. They made the bike course cut-off by 30 SECONDS!!! When i talked to the team, they said the Hoyt's were on the second lap of the run and were on their way to a good day despite the long time to get the flat fixed on the bike. It was very cool to meet them and talk to them. Now it is done and my season is over. I have done many amazing races this year, met many amazing athletes, raced against even more, and had some of the best training partners/coaches a guy could ask for. I am not sure what is in store for me next besides some hunting and camping with my family, downtime, and probably just some fun runs for awhile. I am sure I'll do some half and maybe a full marathon this winter, but if it doesn't happen, I won't be upset about it. I am excited for some rest and some downtime as most of you have probably experienced similar feelings before as well. I couldn't have done any of this without my wonderful family, my amazing wife, and my 2 boys and their support. My coaches were amazing all year long and continued to fuel my motivation despite my constant nagging and bothering them several times a week. Thanks to everyone…see you on the trail somewhere!
~Coach Troy


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