I raced Rev3, ½ Ironman yesterday and can say that was the second toughest race (American Zofinger is the hardest!) that I have done. The day before the race I drove the run course and I was very glad that I did. I had heard that it was hilly, but I didn’t think it would be as hilly as it was. There was one section called the “K-Swiss Mile” were it was a dirt road and all up hill. The athlete with the fastest time up it would receive $500, very tempting but it was early in the run, 3.5 mile to 4.5 mile which would make the last 8 miles VERY painful. Especially since the last mile was uphill.
Race morning was very uneventful which is always nice. My goal in the swim was to swim hard the first 500 yds and try and get with the second group of swimmers. The gun went off and immediately my goggles started leaking. Not good! I had to stop a couple times and clear them and reseal them. By the time I got that cleared up I was swimming by myself again. I started to get into a rhythm and passed a few people about half way through. Then with about 400yds to go the pro women started swimming by. I jumped on the feet of a small group and finished the swim in 26:45 (15th place for the pro men) about 4-5 minutes back from the leaders. Definitely not the swim I was hoping for.
Starting the bike it took me about 30 minutes to get into any type of rhythm. My goal was to avg 290-280 watts on the bike. It seemed like whenever I looked down I was either 330 or 250 but never where I should be. My plan was to stay patient and work the second ½ of the bike and the run. I knew with such a challenging course I need to have plenty left for the end. There was one section where it was down hill for about 5 miles where I was going 40+ mph the whole time. I also knew that between miles 20-30 there was a 7 mile hill. As tough as the course was none of the hills were very steep, most were long steady climbs. I was able to sit and pedal up nearly all of the hills. The other thing that was nice was that the roads were all in good shape and were not too rough. I picked it up for the last 15 miles to finish the bike with a time of 2:24:49 and in 9th place, although Paul Amey(3x Duathlon World Champion, 2008 Florida 70.3 and Eagleman 70.3 champion) was right on my heels.
Starting the run I had a terrible side stitch. It made it even worse that the first mile and ½ was all down hill. Every step was very painful. I have been getting side stitches during most of bricks and even at my last race Florida 70.3, but they normally go away after a mile or so. I was not so lucky yesterday. It started to go away during the uphill K-Swiss mile but then came back on both sides shortly after. The course is an out and back with a loop at the very end. Near the turn around I was able to see the guys in front of me and many of them looked like they were really struggling. I thought that if I pulled it together I might be able to catch some of them and move into the money (top 8). At about mile 9 my side stitches started to go away so I started to pick up the pace. On the long uphill I passed Leon Griffen to move back into 9th. I felt good for the last 3 miles but it was a bit too late. I ran 1:19:57 for the 5th fastest run. Not super fast, but considering the way I felt I was happy. My overall time was 4:15 good for 9th a very disappointing day. Luckily I race again next weekend a Eagleman 70.3 so hopefully I can redeem myself with a good race there.
Overall this was a great race and I will definitely be back next year. Anyone looking for a challenging, scenic, well run ½ Ironman should definitely do this. The other thing that was great was that it took place in Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury,CT (www.Quassy.com). All athletes and spectators got free admission to ride all of the rides and into the water park. My oldest son Jack loves scary rides so it was perfect for him. Although he is only 2.5 years old he was able to ride nearly all of the rides. His favorites were the roller coaster, the pirate ship, tilt-a-whirl and paratrooper.