After an abysmal performance at Oceanside 70.3, I was eager to give the whole half-ironman deal another shot. Coeur d’Alene was to be a slightly weaker field, and had some hills on the bike that I felt would suit me well. My only goal was to execute my race plan and throw together a complete race that I could build upon.
The water temperature was 61 degrees but the air temp was 51 on race morning so I decided not to warm up for the swim. When the cannon went off, I couldn’t help but notice how mellow everyone around me was. It was the first time I’ve ever avoided a punch in the face or kick in the nuts fighting for position. I easily found some feet and settled in. After a while, I noticed I was swimming way more relaxed than I usually do and knew I could go faster. I stayed patient, however, and saved my big surge for the way back to shore. The decision paid off, and I dropped the group I was swimming with and felt strong coming out of the water. It wasn’t my fastest swim, but I feel it was my smartest.
I feel the bike is where I ran into problems in Oceanside. The competition got the best of me, and I paid for it dearly for the rest of the race. In Coeur d’Alene, I promised myself I would keep my power output as conservative as possible, and not react to the racers around me. I lost quite a few positions on the bike, but felt strong the entire way through. When I got to T2, I felt as though I could not only complete the run, but throw down a solid time.
Coming off the bike I let it rip. I knocked out the first 5k in just over 17:00 and felt super strong. I reeled in a couple competitors right off the bat and set my sights on a top-10 finish. I got nervous leading up to the 8 mile mark since it was where I completely turned to ashes at Oceanside, but pushed through with no problems. Unfortunately I hit some issues with 3 miles to go. I went from holding 5:45s to running 6:40/mile pace and absolutely falling apart. I got passed back by one guy with a mile to go and couldn’t wait to see the finish line.
While I didn’t break into the top-10, I feel I got a lot out of Coeur d’Alene. First, I went 11 minutes faster than my first go at a 70.3, and finished near the sharp end of the race. More importantly, I feel for the first time in my life I successfully executed a race strategy. There is a lot I can build on from this race, and I have a new excitement for the rest of the season.
I’m back at it almost right away as I’ll be racing the Vineman 70.3 on July 10th, and hoping to dip under 4:10. The race season is in full swing now…