This week, I was on the IRONAMN Arizona 2018 page and found that there was a published Participant List. It was updated 4/5/2018 but I am going to assume that it is pretty much complete as General Entry is sold out. (Note, about 5 years ago, this race sold out in 1min19sec). And again that is spending $700 to Swim 2.4Miles, Bike 112miles, and Run 26.2 miles back-to-back-to-back, a year in advance.
I exported the list into PDF, converted to excel, and then began an analysis of the M30-34 A/G. First, I compared the results to Coach Cox 2017 IRONMAN Arizona results in which I would be returning as the highest placing member of my A/G, thats good news. I searched all 173 athletes in the IRONMAN All World Athlete 2017 results to see how my competitors did in 2017 (and yes this took hours in my Normatecs). For those without 2017 results, I looked at 2018 results but 2017 was a good indicator of 2018.
IRONMAN Arizona is a flat and fast course. Lionel Sanders took the 3peat last year with a 7:54. Some of the Tucsonian Professional Triathletes I know like Jon Shearon and Jesse Vondracek did solid times of 8:26 and 8:40 and one of my former A/G competitors turned pro Clint Kimmins from Australia, went 8:40. And in the Pro male mix and of course my M30-34 A/G was phenom Clay Emge who went 8:43. He wasn’t the only one to go sub-9 in my a/g though, 3 others did including Ryan Giuliano who has an Umeke Bowl placing Top 5 A/G in Kona when I raced there in 2016. So the talent was unbelievable last year. And I knew a sub-9 would be required to Qualify for Kona since only 3 of the 40 spots go to this A/G.
But, this year IRONMAN celebrates 40 years on the big island and maybe those looking to qualify for Kona (like me) feared coming back to a race where going sub9 would be a requirement.
My analysis reveals this year to look very different and less competitive. Dylan Gleeson (CAN) whose gone 9:30 in Kona and is an IRONMAN A/G Champion will blow away the field, possibly followed by Nick Hetro (USA). Then, I’d say there is a hunt for 3rd with 3 of us in the 4:40’s at Oceanside in the same race and a guy from the UK. Right now I give my odds a 35% Chance with a potential role-down of one slot, improving my performance, and a little bit of luck.
As for me? We’re 15 weeks out and following the plan that I put together as self-coached athletes. It’s up on the wall and better for me visually; we’re sticking to it but also adjusting where need-be. I had the 12th of 158 fastest swims last year in 1:01:23, I absolutely want to get under 1 hour again. We’re more consistent now in the swim, using pull buoy for most, and including 4K pieces. I had the 7th fastest bike of 154 and looking to improve upon that with more work at race pace, increasing FTP, and using ZWIFT for nearly every bike session (haven’t been on the road in weeks). And my run, 16th fastest of 145 in a shitty 3:47:23 because the longest run I had done was 16 miles, well that is all going to change. I’ve been consistent with the quality work, finally getting in the long runs (18miles last week on the mill), and preparing for the Sandia Crest Marathon in September where I hope to Qualify once again for the Boston Marathon in 2020 (need 3:05).
Ultimately my goal would be to set a PB of 9:22 which I should be able to do if I can pull myself together on this run and stop being such a wimp. I have gone 3:26 in an IM Marathon before so last year was just off with all the stress of moving from Australia to the USA but IT IS POSSIBLE.
Ever since seeing Gleeson and some other phenom’s lay the hammer at St George 70.3, my passion and goal of Kona has been thriving. I want to get back and this is my motivation. I have a new Samsung Tablet to watch youtube video’s when running and just see what I want. (I am visual). This analysis is great and wonderful but it’s not going to motivate me; I’m not competitive like that. For me I need to ingrane that desire and hunger. Then, my subconscious mind takes over and I do what I need to do, to get there.
With all these pleasantries being said I do not take any of this likely. Qualifying for Kona is the hardest fucking thing one can achieve from an athletic perspective. IRONMAN is the hardest most grueling one day endurance event in the world and I’m not trying to just finish; i’ve done that 12 times. I’m trying to be on the Podium, to race this damn thing!
I respect this race. I came in 9th of 145 in A/G last year but 56 either DNS or DNF. Just getting to the start line is an accomplishment. I came 50th overall of 2,232 finishers but that doesn’t really matter either because I came 9th and 47minutes back from qualifying. But the Hope is there. The Goal, the Vision is there. I will get back. I don’t know if it will be IRONMAN Arizona, IRONMAN Australia, or IRONMAN Ireland or some race past 2019, but eventually I will once again swim, bike, and run in the “greatest triathlon in all our sport”. – Greg Welch IRONMAN World Champion (AUS).