|Andrea and Luca sending me wishes at the start of the swim!|
Rev3 does a great job with their events and thus, this was a can't miss event for me in 2012. In 2011, I made my pro debut at this race and due to a lapse in judgement on the bike, it was a successful failure. Going into last years race my ironman PR was 9:42 from 2009 Kona but I had pretty lofty goals for improvement. In the end, I went 9:13 but lost some major time on a wrong turn which meant I set a new lifetime best but did not get under the coveted 9 hour mark.
Fast forward to 2012 and my personal pressure of getting under 9 was no longer there. I went 8:55 and change in May at IM Texas and this year's REV3 was all about trying to race. Unfortunately, I decided to race a little early in the day:
Swim (56:40)- This swim time was the slowest I've ever gone by more than 3 minutes in a 2.4 miler but my position coming out was a respectable 4th of 25 pro men. I was on the feet of the eventual race winner at the half way point but lost them about 1/2 way through the second loop. I got out feeling fresh but disappointed when I saw the time. There were some good guys behind me so I didn't dwell on it for too long. The Profile Design Mako speed suit felt great throughout.
T1 (1:20) - Transitions tend to be a weakness of mine so I've worked hard trying to correct this throughout the year. Once I hit the sand, I went pretty hard here. I got through T1 pretty fast although I fumbled with my salt tabs and Snicker's bar. My bike was loaded with 1200 calories of Hammer Perpetuem and 600 calories of Powerbar gel so I gave up trying to hold my chocolate treat. In retrospect, I am lucky I didn't get a littering penalty for leaving it behind.
Bike (4:44.02; NP 253 watts) - I have been riding our team bike (2012 Orbea Ordu) this year and have grown to LOVE everything about it. Unlike past bikes, I can sit in my aerobars all day and stay comfy.
The opening miles of the REV3 bike are a little bumpy but I knew from experience that if I rode aggressively through here, it could set me up for a good position. I caught up to Brooks Cowan and Victor Zmytsev (the soon to be winner of the race) fairly quickly and was riding between 2nd and 3rd by mile 7. Chris McDonald then caught up to Victor and I and it was decision time. I wasn't sure how long the pace would stay as high as it was but I figured I would stick around as long as I could. Each time I looked down, I was riding between 320 and 340 watts. This was significantly higher than my goal of 265 so of course, I knew I would be in trouble. Surely these guys wouldn't keep it up. However, by mile 19, my body was starting to revolt. My legs felt like I already had 75 miles in them and the power number was still WAYYYY too high. I sat up. For the next 3-4 miles, I rode between 16-18 miles per hour and ate a lot. I was already paying for my stupidity. But, I don't regret trying. Anyway, I got caught by Ian Mikelson and my teammate, Zach Ruble somewhere around 22 miles and picked my pace back up. I believe I was holding in around the 280 watt range again and it felt a little better. I stayed with them for a while. Now, we were riding 4th, 5th and 6th overall. We had an official with us to keep us honest as well as a media vehicle. Somewhere around 40 miles in, Zach got nailed for drafting off the media bike and had to stand down. It was definitely unintentional but nevertheless, he was called. That left Ian and I alone. Things were going fine for a while but somewhere around 47 miles, I couldn't hold the 280 anymore and I backed down a lot. I missed my special needs bag and relied on course nutrition the rest of the way. This did me just fine. By mile 60, 235 watts was my new magic number. It wasn't long before teammate and future 2nd place finisher Daniel Bretscher came flying by. He looked great and I had a good feeling about how he was going to do. That was it. I got to T2 in 6th overall. Despite some inconsistent riding, I felt pretty darn good.
Run (3:10.44) - Going into the race, my goal was to get into the low 3 hours on the run. My PR is 3:11 but I know I have a sub-3 in there somewhere. The weather was perfect in Sandusky so I was encouraged that this might be the time. However, the poor bike pacing was going to make it a little harder but I decided I had to at least give myself a chance. I cramped a little about 1/2 mile in but not so much that I was in any sort of trouble. My first 6 splits were mid 6:40's (other than mile 1 which was 7:15 with a quick stretching stop) so I was well on my way. However, I started getting what felt like hot spots on the forefoot of both feet. I had an issue with plantar surface blistering last year at this race and it felt eerily similar. Retrospectively, it was in fact the same thing. Full surface blistering. The pain was pretty bad by mile 7 and it was very difficulty to tolerate each step. Energy was very good as I was taking in Gatorade, Water, Coke and Salt Tabs without issue, but the stepping pain was getting pretty bad. I was able to hold the run together but slowly, the pace fell off the cliff. I was out in 1:32 and back in 1:38. It was the best I've put together to date, but again, far from my goal.
Finish (8:54.02) - I got to line having been passed by 3 more guys but all in all, I was happy. I finished 10th in the 25 man field and felt content. For the first time ever, I got to cross with my son Luca and his 3 cousins, Colin, Evan and Owen. It was pretty special. Also special was the fact my parents and my sister Kristin and her husband and son were present cheering throughout the day. Andrea raced the Half-Rev that day and finished 2nd overall. I am elated for her but I have to admit, I missed her screaming during most of the day. She makes me better in all ways.
The 2012 race season is almost done for me. However, I have my most anticipated race still left to go; Ironman Cozumel is November 25th. I will post on my lead up soon.