St. George 70.3 - 4:35:45 - #5 AG #72 Overall
Tough day in St. George. Brutal races demand extraordinary effort - obviously, but important to note. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this deep physically in a race without wheels falling off. My lungs still hurt. Breathing is labored — I feel like I have emphysema. If something makes me laugh, I cannot stop coughing. I think it’s a lot of things - altitude, dry desert air, huge power pushes on the very hilly bike and run. Maybe I just need to sleep for 12 hours tonight.
This is my lowest Ironman 70.3 finish in a long time. Going back to Honu last year, my AG ranks in 70.3’s not including the world championship have gone 2, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1. So seeing a 5 was a little shocking. But I’m good - and have been having conflicting emotions that this may have been my best race. I have never, never spent so much on a bike course, never pushed so hard as I did. When I look at my numbers, I rode a 2:31, 7 minutes back from the top guys in my AG. So all that work, very little in return. Then I went out feeling absolutely destroyed and put up a composed 1:31 on a brutal run course. Very proud of that. On the surface, none of this is special. The guy who won my age group ran a 1:20. And I may be losing my mind, which is nothing new, but for reasons I can’t well define, my race was special. It also makes me seriously dread Las Vegas 70.3, but only because I’m beginning to understand something that’s probably been pretty obvious to smart people and dismissed by stubborn fools like me — I can’t race hills on the bike. Yet. Vegas, Oceanside, St. George all left me bitching about this or that, looking at my times like I’d been riding a broken wheel. Climbing, technical courses are killing me. They’re taking my strength and turning it into weakness - Why? Maybe because I’m 200+ Maybe my technical skills suck. But I’m sitting here right now and I feel like — at least I know. Next time I have to deal with a course like this is Vegas in September, and I’ll have all of open August to prepare for that.
Next up is Honu 70.3. This is a major, major race, and it’s going to be a good one. Not only is it the place I qualified for the Ironman World Championship last year, but it’s Kona. Last year there was 1 slot in 30-34. This year, I think we’ll get 2. Maybe. In the above photo taken of our extended St. George podium, 1st place is left. He’ll be there. I beat him in Honu in 2012 and then he showed up to the Ironman WC and put up a 9:16. Sickly fast. The very talented guy to his left is Rob Lea, one of my Purplepatch brothers and floor crashers when he comes through town. He’s also the defending 70.3 world champion in 30-34. Sickly fast. He’ll be there. In St. George, the guy up top handed it to Rob. Rob handed it to me. But different course, different day, different things happen.
In my mind and in my own belief, I am only as good as my last race. Right now, I am a 4:35 half-ironman performer with slim to no shot at getting back to Kona through Honu. That’s how I would perceive me on the starting line. In this sport, we don’t look back. Even if you beat a guy by 2 seconds, he is GONE. So I am out of the picture. Discounted. But I am also this, will never stop talking or scrapping, and Kona es fucking mia.