Another memorable IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie!
Wetsuit Legal! Thanks to some crazy thunderstorms and cooler weather leading up to the race, Prairie Creek Reservoir cooled down JUST enough below the wetsuit cutoff temperature. Christina and I picked up our race packets on Friday afternoon and was able to swim for a total of 6 minutes before thunderstorms rolled through the Muncie/Selma area. Luckily, we also had enough time to take a pic too!
Race morning was pretty simple; put the bikes on the car rack, load up the car with gear and drive over to Muncie while eating a light breakfast.
Christina and I got to Prairie Creek nice and early to rack our bikes in transition and setup our gear. After getting everything ready, I went over to Christina’s area to make sure we were good to go, which included a pre-race photo =).
A few minutes later, we walked down towards the start and if it weren’t for Christina, my race would have ended before I even got into the water. She had noticed that I was not wearing my ankle timing chip! Trying to keep my cool, I immediately freaked out and ran back up the hill and snatched my timing strap from the top of my transition bag. Huge shoutout to Christina for noticing my super rookie move!
And with that crisis averted, we were ready to start!
The entirety of the course is a carbon copy of 2016, so instead of repeating myself, more details regarding the swim, bike and run can be found here (in my 2016 race report).
This is by far my favorite Ironman 70.3 bike course. Wide county roads, small rolling hills (if you can call them hills), and a double out and back allows me to keep my head down and hammer the pedals. With a lot less cycle training compared to 2016, I wanted to keep this year’s ride super conservative. My CEEPO Viper and I rolled back into transition after 2 hours and 14 minutes of riding, a couple of minutes slower than 2016. Thank you Karen Lauer for the snapshot right before dismounting the bike.
After racking my bike, I sat down, ripped off my heart rate monitor and most importantly, changed into a fresh & dry pair of socks. The last thing I wanted to do was run a half marathon with wet socks – that would be a recipe for blisters and unhappy feet. So after a very relaxed and relatively ‘slow’ transition into the run, I got my racing flats on, and went to work!
The best part of this one-loop out and back course is that it is filled with rolling hills, net downhill out and net uphill coming back! This kind of course forces me to be completely honest with my run fitness and to leave some fuel in the tank for the final uphill sections.
Like I did in 2016, I quickly found my run rhythm early on in the run and was running low 6 min per mile. There weren’t many people in front to target, so I kept my effort level consistent. A few miles in, I caught up to eventual winner of the 18-24 Age group, Matt S. – we teamed up and paced off one another as we approached mile 5 and 6. Before the turnaround, I made a small surge to see if I could catch a few more guys up ahead.
The moment I made the turnaround halfway through the 13.1-mile run course, I felt a lot of fatigue settling in, especially near my diaphragm. This was a sign that a side stitch was developing, and they are always extremely PAINFUL! To avoid developing a side stitch, I backed off just slightly to control my breathing. The pace began to lengthen into the 6:20’s per mile and even greater through the rolling hills.
I seriously needed a boost of energy and around mile 10, I finally spotted Christina running the opposite direction. She looked in control and super strong, especially with IRONMAN Lake Placid on the horizon.
As I approached mile 11 in 6:34 (my slowest mile split), that was my mark to dig deep and find whatever I had left in the tank. Subsequently, I ran miles 12 and 13 in 6:19 and 6:10 and surged as much as I could over the last hump and down towards the finishing line. Thanks to fellow Team Chocolate Milk teammate, Chris Day, for the super cheering and awesome video of me approaching the finish!
And here’s the Strava data:
This was my fastest run off the bike in a half ironman. The 1:21 run split allowed me to set a personal best of 4 hours and 15 minutes in the distance. Crossing the finishing brought me so much joy, especially when I found out that I had set a personal best and repeated as 2nd in M25-29 for the second year.
After finishing, I went to transition and grabbed my phone, ran back on the course to catch Christina’s finish, and more importantly, JAZZ HANDS!
We both finished with personal bests!
Thank you to Christina for always looking out for me and being the absolute best!
We can’t wait to be back in 2018 for my third consecutive IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie.