Friday June 8, 2018, 2:42PM. It’s the day before the final race of the season and the third and final half iron distance race in Arizona that is available to compete in. Last August after moving from Alice Springs, Australia to Sahuarita, Arizona, we headed to the MountainMan half iron in Flagstaff, AZ. It was my worst half iron time ever of nearly 5:17 due to 7,000’ altitude and all the stress of moving, starting a new job, and buying a house, RV, and 2 cars all within 2 weeks. But, we got back on it and then competed in 70.3 Arizona where I improved to a Personal Best of 4:29 only 4 weeks before the November IRONMAN Arizona.
Then, in November the week before IRONMAN Arizona, I signed us up for the 3rd available half, Deuces Wild. My 2018 approach for Fiona and I, as she was planning on taking 3 courses to finish her Masters (which she did 2 days ago), was that we would spend the first 6 months doing 70.3 racing and a couple half marathons. This would give us a solid base to enter IRONMAN training and the ability to explore the South-West. We took the RV around to some of the local 70.3’s like Oceanside (4:47), 70.3 Utah (4:44). Also did a descending 1:27 half marathon in Las Vegas and a Trail half marathon in Las Vegas of 1:49.
The last 4 weeks after Vegas, which came 1 week after Utah has been noticeably different. For starters, we went back to the desire of leading a “mostly vegan” diet. I am a financial analyst; mostly is not 100%. This week leading into the race, dinners included: rice paper rolls with tofu, Gnochi with Sauce, Vegan Fish Burgers, and Vegan Pizza that I surprisingly found yesterday at WalMart. Breakfasts were homemade breakfast bars of seeds and nuts and banana bread that I cooked from the excellent book Thug Kitchen. And lunches were brown rice, rice packs, and vegan salad kits. So this entire week, the only animal based product I had that contained any eggs or milk was todays Cream Cheese. (It was leftover from a while ago so I just finished it off). My belief is to make a change you must do it gradually; I would never throw away food because I was now this or that.
Ok, so today the diet sort of changes. All day long I’ve been eating/drinking: Bagels, Bread w/ Peanut Butter, Sprites, Welsh’s Fruit Snacks, Twizzlers. This is all in an effort to tap up the glycogen stores.
I weighed in this morning at 178.6. This is down from 197, 5 months ago after Christmas break, and it’s my lowest ever race weight thanks in part to eating less heavy meals this week and of course being “Mostly VEGAN”.
The new road trip 4 hours North to Show Low was beautiful. We went down and then up a massive canyon and saw extinct volcanoes and dark lava rocks. We continued on into the forests while passing through multiple Native American Land Reservations. Race Brief and Check in at lakeside were nice and the low lake looks like a great place for a triathlon.
Up at 4:30AM, ate 2 pieces of toast with vegan butter, half a banana, and a sugar free redbull. We rode our bikes from the 55+ RV Park (oops) 2 miles to transition. The Deuceman Half athletes were abound and all in the mode; it was pretty quiet. Bike racked and we said hello to Elliott and Becca and saw Sean as well. I knew they would be my main competition on the day. We hung out for a bit by the boat ramp and then suited up saying hello to a fellow Raytheon colleague in his first half Stan and his wife doing her 2nd Olympic.
I don’t do practice swims so after the National Anthem sung by a nice young girl, headed to the front of the line. I had a bigger guy on my side who would eventually pass me on the run to take 3rd at 47yrs old and a new friend from Tucson. On my right was a tall thin guy who I only believed I saw at 1:46 into the 56mile bike ride. After that, I never saw him the rest of the day and thought he was in the Relay; turns out he was Professional Triathlete Paul Stevenson who finished in 4:17, 30min ahead of 2nd place.
SWIM 1,941 Meters: 31:44 (3/43) out of the water
So the gun went off and I stuck on those 2 guys for the first 50-100 meters. Then, they were GONE. By the turn of the first buoy at 500meters they were at least 1-2minutes ahead and I was all alone with 2 guys including Elliott about 50meters back. The small mountain lake, perfect for a half is in the caldera of an extinct volcano and there were lava rocks all around the course and camp grounds. The water was also quite low and by the far end of the damn I was touching some grasses in the 2-3 deep foot water. I was 200meters back at this point from 2nd place. Another turn back and I was maybe 100meters up on 4th and 5th. I made the final turn to the boat ramp and was disappointed when I saw 31:30. But, I was 3rd out of the water which is fantastic, swam 1,941meters which is also pretty damn close to the 1.9K course and was very happy to see that my 950meters splits were: 15:32.8, 15:31.9. That’s damn consistent!
Not going sub 29 was a miss but I have some redemption from my 33:34 at MountainMan. So I’d say altitude caused me to slow from 30 to 31:30 (about 5%) but eliminating stress and being physically fit improved my time by 2minutes.
T1: 1:46 (2/42)
So I shuffled up the boat ramp and heard the announcer say “This is 3rd place, we can see he’s not sprinting like the first 2.” Oh geez, really! No kidding I’m not sprinting, I can barely breath!!! On my ass, wetsuit stripers and shuffle to the bike. Helmet on, down a HotShot and out I go. A little spastic on the hill out of T1 even with cleats in but then I got going.
Bike: (2/42, 1st Amateur) 56.95 miles, 2:32:03 and 2:29:30 for the 90KM, 22.5MPH, 44.2MPH Max, 87 cadence, 253NP/241Avg, 78.8IF, 156.2TSS, 2,322’ Ascend.
So I tried to keep the speed up for the first 40 miles of relative
e descent before hitting the 1,000’ climb. I held 25MPH for the first 1hr40min on roads that were “Ok”. It was only at 1:26 that I finally passed the 2nd place rider. After that, I think I saw 1st place on one final hill about 2min ahead but then he was gone onto his 2:17 performance. I will stand behind this believing I made up significant ground on the Pro but will say the Watts/KG game then destroyed me. The weather was around 88F and the winds were tough on the final climb. I only had 11 individual shot bloks of 370 calories, 2 cans of coke of 240 calories, and 2 sugar free redbulls. That’s 610 calories and not nearly enough. I had some gulps of water of one bottle that I poured over me. My legs just couldn’t generate the power and I felt that coming in 30 watts lower than Oceanside and Utah are a result of the lack of oxygen because I’m fitter and healthier now. Avg power Oceanside 269avg & 206TSS, Utah 264avg & 185TSS. So avg power was 9-10% lower and Intensity was 16%-24% lower, THAT IS HUGE! It’s no wonder why most Pro’s live in Boulder, CO!!!
T2: 1:45 (5/42)
On my ass and pissing myself (sorry to be so blunt, ewwwww), down a 2nd HotShot, shoes and socks on, visor, and bib. Off I go.
Run: (7/41) 13.05 miles, 1:50:03, 8:25/mile, 856’ ascend
I had seen one bike in T1 and never saw the 1st place Pro the entire time. I thought I could be in 1st or 2nd but it was 2nd. I always go as hard as I can and what my legs tell me I can do. SO first mile of 7:48, then 8:08 as I hit the dirt trails, 8:11 getting water and then into headwind for an 8:38, back the other way down hill with an 8:07 where I saw Elliott pass me as 2nd place had already done at mile 1. Now Elliott made up 2:40 on me in 2miles. WTF. It started to go to shit and I could feel cramps coming on because I hadn’t drank enough and was dehydrated. Thankfully I did have an M&M container with lots of salt. I had 6 during the next hour. I couldn’t see anyone behind me, I had no idea where Sean was and just wanted to keep running. I did stop/walk quickly at several aid stations just to savor the Water and Gatorade 8:39, 8:37, 8:35, 8:48 back into the head wind at which point I saw FiFi and got some High 5 action. She was struggling and couldn’t breath but ended up 3rd female Overall. Then, 8:48, 8:56, 8:02, 8:20 and a whopping 6:34/mile for the last 20 seconds lol.
I finished and was exhausted. That damn elevation! I’ll never do IRONMAN Boulder.
Total: 4:56.43, 4th overall, 1st M30-34. Beaten by a 25year old mid-pack IRONMAN Pro, my mate Elliott in my A/G, and a 47 year old.
Thanks to the volunteers and the race organizers. I highly suggest doing this race as it is a true challenge in a beautiful part of the country. Please stay tuned by subscribing to my blog for all future race reports or following me on Strava, Instagram, riding with me on ZWIFT. Kevin Coyle. Open invite for training camps in Tucson with free room and use of our Normatec’s. Coach Sydney will layout the full training schedule.
As we do a bit of relaxing and recovering the next 2 weeks into my brothers wedding the day after our 4th year anniversary on June 21, we look forward to using our anniversary presents to each other (Wahoo Kickr’s) to help us to more successes over the next year. Please stay tuned, share, and enjoy!
Registered Future Event Schedule 2018/2019 Season:
MountainMan Half Iron – Flagstaff, AZ Aug
Sandia Crest Marathon – Albuquerque, NM Sep
Las Vegas, NV Half Iron – Sep
Bartlett Lake Olympic, AZ – Oct
IRONMAN Arizona – Nov
Tucson Marathon – Dec
IRONMAN Australia – May
IRONMAN Ireland – Jun.
The season goals: Sub 9:22 IRONMAN PB and a 2nd KONA Qualification in next year’s 35-39A/G.