On July 15th I raced the Ironman Racine 70.3 Triathlon. I had a very good race as I finished 3rd out of 111 men age 50-54 and 82nd out of 2,227 overall finishers.
I have been putting in a lot of miles as I am preparing for Ironman Wisconsin on September 9th. The good news is that I am really fit because of the big training load, but the bad news is I am tired and banged up. In the days immediately before Racine I was having an issue with plantar fascia (heel pain) in my left foot. I was very anxious going into Racine. Thankfully, my level headed wife, Laurie, talked me off the ledge. She wound up being correct that my heel did not like the extra rest days I took leading up to Racine.
The 1.2 mile swim was in the beautiful clean and warm waters of Lake Michigan. The air temperature reached a high of 90 while the water temperature must have been in the low to mid 70’s – very comfortable in a wetsuit. I had a very good swim as I finished in 31:46 (1:38/100 meters) putting me in 6th place.
The 56 mile bike ride can be summed up like this – I was lucky. For the 4 weeks prior to the race I had been riding on new pedals – Speedplay Zero’s. They are great pedals, but not for me. I am too light to quickly clip into the Zero’s. Sometimes it would take a few minutes of struggling to clip in so I made the 11th hour decision to switch to Speedplay Light Action pedals – the right answer for this light weight! You never want to try new things during a race, but the new pedals worked like a charm.
The bike course is flat and fast, but there are lots of bumps on the roads as a result of the harsh winters. The bumps were enough to slightly irritate my heel and make me even more anxious for the run. At mile 45 I hit a bump that caused my handlebars to slip just a tiny bit. I could still ride in the aero position so it was not too worrisome. But at mile 52 I hit another series of bumps and the handlebars slipped a lot – probably about 3 inches. I had no allen wrench to fix them so I was going to need to sit up and ease the bike in for the final 4 miles. Thankfully it held together. I finished with a 2:39:44 bike split (21.04 mph) which was the 16th best bike split and put me in 10th place. Lucky!
The 13.1 mile run is on an out and back course along Lake Michigan that we run twice. The adrenaline was flowing and I never had any heel problems during the run. Amen! I took it easy the first half mile and then was my usual aggressive self. The highlight for me came during the final 2.5 miles of my 1st lap. The reigning Ironman Hawaii and Ironman 70.3 World Champion Craig Alexander was just ahead of me, but I was catching him! The pros had started the race 15 minutes before me so Craig was finishing while I was only half way done with the run…but I was catching him! Craig is absolutely the best runner in the world for long course triathlons…and I was catching him! Craig must have had an off day because he finished 9th so I suspect he was just cruising into the finish. But it was still a thrill for me! I had the fastest run split in my age group with a time of 1:31:30 (6:59/mile) to move me up to 3rd and a place on the podium with a finish time of 4:48:49. I did qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas on September 9th, but because Ironman Wisconsin is on the same day I passed on the Vegas entry.
This was the 3rd consecutive year Laurie and I have done this race. Laurie had her best race on this course so it was all smiles for both of us at the end of the day.
We do this race in conjunction with my family reunion. My family gathered in Lake Geneva and we had a wonderful time with all of them. We had so much to celebrate – 2 new babies, a set of twins on the way, a new house, a retirement, a new job among other things. We have so much to be thankful for!
The real bonus for me on this trip was spending some time with my cousin’s son Luke Jacob and his new wife, Courtney. Luke is a Lutheran Pastor in Racine and we attended an outdoor service that he conducted the night before the race. Luke absolutely rocked! I was so proud of him. After the service we had a great dinner with Luke and Courtney.
To view my Racine race photos, click on this link: http://www.finisherpix.com/search.html?&bib=352&pcevent=0203