What a day. This one stings a bit. The race was originally to start at 7am, but then due to increment weather the swim was cancelled, the bike course was shortened to 30 miles, and the race wasn’t to start until 10:30 am. The race was to be a time-trial start, with everyone let off in 30 second increments from each other.
I went off first. I did not have any plan whatsoever for the altered race distance and format, and eventually I think this mistake lead to my unravelling. The race starts up a very steep hill. I surged up the hill pushing over 500w. I then pushed very hard for the remainder of the bike, doing large surges out of every corner. This is very uncharacteristic for me. If you ask me how I think the best way to ride a bike is, I will say “dead steady power output leads to the fastest running.” For some reason I threw this out the window. About midway through the bike I was burping up my sports drink, meaning, it was not emptying from my stomach. I attribute this to riding at too high an intensity, as well as eating too close to the race start and still having breakfast food in my stomach (when the race was cancelled I went back to the hotel and had a second breakfast).
Stomach issues set the tone for the run. I came off the bike with a little under 3 minute lead on Matt Chrabot. I felt decent for the first while but could not, nor did I want to consume anything. I knew it was hot and that I had to consume something, so I tried to force water and sports drink down. It did not agree well with my stomach and I started to develop a stomach cramp. Around 5 miles the wheels started to fall off. My leg turnover started to drop considerably. Then I started to have the sensation I needed to use the port-a-john. It hit me really hard and really fast. I made it to mile 6 and stopped in to the washroom. A one-piece suit is great, but very tough to get on and off in the middle of the race.
The second half of the run was nothing but a struggle. I felt terrible, and to add insult to injury my mind was no longer in the race. By mile 9 I had already conceded the victory to Matt. I actually thought to myself, “you are going to finish second today.” This is how I know nutrition played a large role in the performance. The first thing to go when I am in a calorie deficit / dehydrated, is my competitive spirit. Contrast that with St. George 70.3, where I got the nutrition right, and you would have had to have taken me away on a stretcher before I would concede the victory to Sebastien Kienle.
Matt caught me right around 12 miles. I had no response for him whatsoever and congratulated him on a race well done. Unfortunately, another wave of stomach upset hit me, but this time there was no port-a-john around. I will spare you the details, but I stopped, walked, and had another episode of Ironman Arizona. I ran through the finish line feeling very embarrassed. I knew Erin was still periscoping and wanted to get off the camera and away from everyone quick. Unfortunately, there was drug testing afterwards, and so this was going to be a complete reliving of the Ironman Arizona experience. Fortunately, Erin had a fresh set of clothes for me in my backpack, but unfortunately a man had to watch me clean myself, as you are not allowed to leave the sight of the drug testing chaperone once you have completed the race.
I then went to drug testing and set a new record for longest duration to produce the 90mL sample of urine. I consumed 5L of liquids in 3 hours and 4 minutes, and produced exactly 90mL. That is with two attempts where literally nothing came out, and two partial samples. This is amazing because the race only took 2 hours and 20 minutes. To me this means that not only did I botch the nutrition during the race, I must have come into the race dehydrated as well. 7 hours after the race, I had consumed over 7L of liquids, and still had no desire to go pee.
Why did all of this occur? Leading into the race, I took a risk. 70.3 Worlds is my focus, and I did a full taper into Mont Tremblant 70.3 just three weeks ago, so I decided to train much harder than usual coming into this race. On the Sunday prior to the race I did 7x5min@435w on the bike to 10min@380w; then later in the day did 7x1km@3:02/km. On Monday I did 2hours@275w straight to 10k@3:55/km. Tuesday was 2x30min@370w to 15min@370w on the bike; then later in the day was 7x2km@3:17/km. Thursday was 2x15m@380w and 400w; then later in the day was 5x1km@3:14, 3:12, 3:10, 3:06, 3:02. I do not believe that this added fatigue played a role in the result, but I do believe the choice to train into this race set the tone for the day. Mainly, I think I did not give the race or the competition the respect it deserved.
I will say, if I had to lose to someone on the circuit, it would be Matt Chrabot. He is genuinely sincere, and an all around good guy. He has offered me many nuggets of wisdom over the years, asking nothing in return. Even after this race, he gave me some breakfast nutrition tips to hopefully help prevent the port-a-john episode from happening again. I am very happy for him and congratulate him on a very well executed race.
As for me, sometimes losing is worth a lot more than winning. The last time I lost was in Kona, about 8 months ago. I used that experience and the fuel it gave me to win in Arizona, Panama, Oceanside, Texas, St. George and Mont Tremblant. I already feel the anger and frustration growing inside, and I am sure this performance will have a similar effect. Thanks for reading and following along.