2019 Ironman Wisconsin

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report
6th Place - 9:01
1:00 - 4:55 - 2:59


Win, Lose or Draw, nothing sweeter than the finish line.





This race is always the highlight of my season and as I progress through the late stages of my Professional racing career, it feels like it means even more when it comes around. 

Training had gone very well: I worked hard, but not too hard. I raced well leading in, but didn't race too much. Maybe most importantly, I rested a LOT in the last three weeks before the big day. If there is one thing I have learned, it's that 37 is not the same as 27 or even 32. Recovery is something that seems to be under valued by many high level athletes racing in their late 30's.

This year's race seemed to be wide open. A field of good athletes, but no one who would win on a "B" day. Given my experience, my training and health, I felt good about my chances for possibly a win and for sure a podium. 

My mojo was high and the support of the team played a big role in that and always does. Team BBMC had 39 athletes on the start line!


Pre-race Pic... not a bad looking crew!



SWIM: 

The day started with a ROUGH swim. I felt great in the water and opted for my Blue Seventy Helix suit that I have worn for almost three years. Yes it was VERY broken in, but the shoulders were VERY flexible and I knew (thanks to Coach Lance) that a higher stroke rate would be important with all of the chop. The cannon sounded and I tried to grab some feet. Unfortunately I missed the feet I was looking for. I worked pretty hard for about 1.5k trying to make some headway, but couldn't close it down and at that point I felt it was more important to just swim straight and reign in the effort. When I finally made my way back through the washing machine, I got a split of 7' to the front... 🙄


T1 Begins (Note the flag coming off the water).



Inner dialogue... "In the past, moving on, let's get to work." I used my experience for a fast transition (fastest of the day by a good margin) and got out on the bike. 


BIKE:

I thought with my power to weight and training that I would ride circa 4:45 given the conditions, wind direction etc. I stuck to my power range for the most part and was patient, fueled well and let some of the faster guys go when they passed. It's always a balance of racing others and being smart. Getting emotional at 3hrs into an 8 or 9hr day can get you in trouble. Been there, done that, not going back.

Old Sauk Pass @ Mile 80


Fast forward to about mile 70 and I came undone a bit. It was one of those low points that lasted a long time (20-25 miles) and one that really tests mental fortitude. I told myself I just needed to keep working hard. The headwind home was delightful as always, but I was able to see 8th and 9th just up the road at mile 100. This lifted the spirits a bit more as I arrived back into T2.


RUN:

I knew I would feel great out on the run regardless of what the swim and bike brought. I had nailed some very long runs and built up some serious durability. The goal was 4' per km and I knew I could do it.

As I made my way through lap 1 of the run, I was taking time out of everyone except the eventual winner up front. I knew this was a good sign since pace differences can really widen in the last 10k of the marathon. I focused on mechanics and rhythm, while staying on top of nutrition.


Lap 1 Down. Feeling Good

On lap 2 I continued to make headway on those in front, however the weight of the day was starting to be felt. Mile 16 came and went and though I had moved up into 6th, I was starting to fade pretty badly relative to some of my past runs. The good news, many others were too. I knew that unless I started walking, I would finish in 6th, but also knew that if I maintained pace, I would likely have a shot at 4th or perhaps the podium. 

I problem solved to the best of my ability and my mantra for the day was repeated over and over... "just_keep_working." 


Mile 20...trying to stay on the gas. 📸: @ajsemancik

At mile 22 the gap to 4th and 5th slipped a bit and the cards were not in my favor to catch them. At that point my focused turned to getting to the finish, cheering on every BBMCer I saw and feeling a sense of gratitude.


Ironman is never a perfect day, there are way to many variables to deal with. I was talking to my brother post race and his words: "that's a lot of minutes for something unexpected to happen." He is right. 

My main accomplishment of the day and something that I am VERY proud of, was my ability to get the most out of what I had on the day. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from that, even if I didn't land on the podium. 

That's called making lemonade!

A huge thank you to Team BBMC, my friends, family, Trek Bikes, Blue Seventy wetsuits, AltRed, my coach Lance Watson and all those who made this journey with me for the 39th time.

Congratulations to ALL of Team BBMC, you inspire, challenge and motivate me every day as I get close to closing out my 2nd decade of racing. Way to take home the team title for the 3rd year in a row!




What's next? We will see, but 2020 will likely be a very diverse season with a little high level racing mixed in. For now, it's time for a few beers and a lot of guac!



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