Ironman 70.3 Muncie

Beacon Hill dinner on July 12 – Randy, Connie, Laurie, Craig, Cindy, Bill, Debbie and Mom.

Craig and #1 Fan Laurie before the race.

Men’s 55-59 Age Group Podium.

Wandering Wheels friends: Coach and Janech.

On July 14th I raced Ironman 70.3 Muncie in Indiana.  I had actually done this race back in 1991 when it was called the Muncie Endurathon.  It was my 27th triathlon and my 1st Half Ironman distance race.  My finish time in 1991 was 4:51:37.  The 2018 edition was my 301st triathlon and my 42nd Half Ironman.  My goal at this year’s race was to qualify for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France.  I was predicting there would probably be only 1 slot in my age group for Nice.

The 1.2 mile swim was held in Prairie Creek Reservoir.  The water temperature was 81 degrees so wetsuits were not allowed.  It was going to be a warm, muggy day.  By the time I finished the race at noon, the temperatures had reached 90+.  Following the trend of other Ironman 70.3 races, they had us do a rolling start which is when the athletes self-seed themselves by estimated swim finish time, rather than by age group.  I seeded myself with the 30-33 minute swimmers so I was one of the 1st 100 athletes to enter the water.  My swim time was slower than my estimate, but I felt like I had a very good, relaxed swim.  My split was 37:26 (1:56/100 meters), good enough for 3rd place.  1st place was only 20 seconds ahead of me.  Swim times were all slow due to no wetsuits.

I was anticipating a bumpy route for the 56 mile bike ride, but was pleasantly surprised by one of the smoother and flatter bike courses I’ve done in a long time.  The route took us 8 miles from the transition area where we did 2 loops of 20 miles each, before returning to transition.  Because I was off the front, the first 28 miles were pretty quiet, but then it started to get more crowded for the next 20 miles, but there was still enough room to avoid drafting issues.  I took in 800 calories of my Carbopro/Gatorade formula on the bike and my stomach felt perfect.  I pushed hard on the bike, but I definitely saved something for the run.  My bike split was 2:35:23 (21.62 mph).  That was the 9th fastest bike split and it put me in 4th place to start the run.  I felt like I was having a great race.

The 13.1 mile run was a simple out and back on a relatively flat road.  Simple, except it was very hot on the pavement, with little shade.  I put ice in my hat and shorts at each of the first 4 aid stations, but I had better success holding a piece of ice in each hand.  At mile 4 I started to feel a hot spot on the bottom of my right foot.  I feared a blister might be developing because of all the melting ice and my sweat getting my shoes wet.  I was managing the temperatures ok so I decided to forego any more ice.  That seemed to work as by mile 5.5 my foot felt fine again.  Thankfully the issue never really did slow me down and I never did get a blister.  My run split was 1:35:57 (7:19/mile) to finish in 4:54:16.  I had the 2nd fastest run on the day and that was good enough to win my age group – 1st place out of 65 men age 55-59 and a slot for Nice!  This was my 1st career win at an Ironman branded event.  I was 70th out of 1,400 overall finishers.  The fastest run split was only 39 seconds faster than me by Phil Young.  Phil finished 2nd, 3:32 behind me.

I was very fortunate to have such a good race.  God has blessed me.  My wife Laurie joined me on the trip and it was especially sweet to share this experience with her.  We are a team.  I know I could not have anywhere near the success without Laurie’s support.

To see my pictures from the race, click on this link

After the race, Laurie and I had dinner with our friends Bob (Coach) and Janech Davenport.  I met Coach and Janech in 1991 when I biked Coast to Coast (Oceanside, CA to New Smyrna Beach, FL) with their Christian organization called Wandering Wheels.  Since 1964 Wandering Wheels has changed thousands of lives with their cycling ministry.  It was so great to see Coach and Janech!

I also used this trip as an opportunity to visit my family in the Chicago area.  Before the race on 7/12 Laurie and I had dinner at Beacon Hill with my cousin Randy and his wife Connie, my sister Cindy, my sister Debbie and her husband Bill and my 97 year old Mom.  We had another big family gathering on 7/15 with my Mom, sisters and the families of my nieces and nephews.  Laurie and I also had a great lunch at Giordano’s with my long time Delta Upsilon buddy, Chuck Carey.  And Laurie, Mom and I had lunch with Lynda and Lou Hoornbeek on 7/16.  My Mom, Lynda and Lou all live at Beacon Hill.  Lynda and Lou are the parents of my long time Glen Ellyn friend, Dave Hoornbeek who now lives in Washington state.  Yes, I have much to be thankful for!

Living the life…

Craig Zelent

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4 Responses to Ironman 70.3 Muncie

  1. Colin Reid says:

    Nice, Craig! Congratulations on the win and qualifying for Nice.

  2. Chuck Carey says:

    Congrats again Z – and thanks for the call out!! Really enjoyed breaking bread with you and Laurie – I’m blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life. Enjoy the weekend –



    • tricraigz says:

      Thanks Chaz. I was kicking myself after we said goodbye to you. It would have been nice to have taken a picture of the 3 of us for my blog. We consider ourselves pretty lucky to know you.

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