If you haven’t noticed I have taken a while to post this. Honestly this week is the first I have felt decent since the race. I truly raced into a dark hole and it took some time to come out of it both physically and mentally. That is the whole idea of Ironman, how mentally and physically tough can you be and still function. This year at BSLT I finished, but it wasn’t much more than just a finish time/position wise.
We drove out to lovely Lubbock, Tx on Friday and met up with all of our @Team Zoot 2014 – Texas Athletes for a very nice dinner at the local Chophouse. It was great to see everyone in non-race gear and have all the spouses and kids there with us. My favorite aspect of triathlon has to be the relationships we have and the insanity we share together. Being able to allow our family members to meet the other insane athletes family is a great time. After dinner we did a quick IM checki n and listened to the baby cry most of the night. Saturday was a nice lunch and letting the kids swim. Luckily the baby slept really well so I had plenty of rest for race day which is unusual. We really kept it low key for the day and stayed off the feet as much as possible.
Race day came very quickly after closing my eyes Saturday night. To get to Buffalo Springs Lake we had to wake at 3:30am to drive only 6 miles. The traffic tends to backup we were warned so I had no intention of adding to that stress to already stressful transition setup. The half mile walk to transition includes a 9% downhill which you guessed it, you get to walk that back out pushing all of your gear. It was an ominous realization when all the course started to become reality. None of those elevation charts ever seem as bad when you are viewing them in PDF format. Transition setup was very non-eventful other than forgetting my sunscreen. We were all able to meet up for a pre-race team picture and get all of our families together so they could all find each other throughout the day. It was time to start the race!!!
The water at Buffalo Springs Lake was absolutely perfect. No bad smells and the temperature was awesome, especially since it was wet suit legal. I had the pleasure of starting at the final wave this year which was nice. I just walked in the water and started out at a mild pace with the intentions of not stressing my body at all on the swim. This worked very well as the currents were nice and the course was very easy to follow. I hit every buoy and didn’t swim a lot extra like I normally do, it turned out to be my best IM 70.3 swim to date. I was really encouraged as I ran out of the water to T1.
I took my time in T1 and ran out onto the bike. It was time to face a a very hilly and windy course, the wind never dropped below 20mph over the day with gusts up to 35. Less than 200 feet out of T1 you start your first climb, yup you guessed it that 8.9% hill that we took our gear down coming into the canyon, it was immediately followed by another hill less than a quarter mile ahead. This was all in the first mile of the race setting us up for a fun time. Most of the course had a crosswind or headwind to fight so only a few times were you actually not working on the course with a tailwind. The designers put it together to be a challenge. The hills just got more and more challenging from there with one called the stair case that you carried zero momentum into and snaked up the side of the canyon. The problem with all of the hills is they were hard going up, but scary going down. I am not a speed demon when it comes to downhills and I hit my all time high speed at 45.7 miles per hour HOLDING THE BREAKS on one of the downhills. I could smell the pads I had so much pressure on them and the crosswinds had me holding on for dear life. The bike course is tough, but I persevered and had a good ride. I went into T2 feeling tired, but still holding together.
In T2 I found a lady willing to share sunscreen so I coated myself as thick as I could. I knew the sun was going to start burning me in the run and needed all the protection I could get. The run started off pretty well after a fluid and wee stop, I really thought I was going to have a good marathon portion. That only lasted about 3 miles though, between miles 3 and 4 the wheels came off the bus like I have never felt before. At mile 4 the aid station had a thermometer reading road temps at 120F already and we weren’t to the hottest part of the day. I tried to stay smart and only run the flats and walk the hills, but by mile 6 I was calculating if I could make the race cutoff time if I had to walk the remaining 7 miles. Part of me was wishing I couldn’t so I had an excuse to call it, but alas I had plenty of time and I did indeed have to walk the last 7 miles. I tried to run here and there, but my IT band was locked up to the point I was limping while walking and almost crying while running. I decided it was just best to ditch the run effort and walk my way to a finish. I consumed all the fluids I could and iced my IT band/hips as much as I could to keep them moving. On mile 8 the road was melted so much it was sticking to our shoes (not exaggerating and I still have tar/chip seal on the bottom of my race shoes). The only wildlife out there were buzzards and a couple of prairie dogs playing in the fields. After pushing through I did make the cutoff with plenty of time to spare and walked immediately into the lake with a recovery drink. I hung out in there for about 30 minutes trying to get some feeling back in my body that wasn’t pain.
Ironman Buffalo Springs 70.3 is not a joke and it isn’t a race for the untrained. I knew it was going to be a difficult race, but I had no idea just how difficult. Thanks to my coach @BenDrezek and teammates @Team Zoot 2014 – Texas Athletes @KMFPerformance for all of the support. Without all of you guys, this life would be much harder and not near as much fun. I will return to @BSLT at some point, I just do not think it will be in 2015 unless I have a moment of insanity and sign up before I think about what I am doing. Mike and Marti Greer you put on an awesome event and I know why this was a Kona Qualifier.