Last weekend I made the trip over to Kentucky for Ironman Louisville. The final weeks leading into the race had gone really well and I was looking forward to racing long again. The race director told us at the pro meeting that the water temperature taken that morning was 86 degrees. That meant the swim would have similar conditions to swimming a hard set at many YMCA pools that I've frequented. I struggle a bit in warm wetsuit swims and usually non-wetsuit swims avoid this problem entirely, but 86 degrees is warm even if you could do the swim naked.
Nevertheless, I wanted to start the swim at a fast pace to try and hold feet to the turnaround (800m) while the swim went up current. Unfortunately I only made it to 400 meters before my head felt like it was about to explode. It might have come from the heat or it might have come from Ambrose's pace. At any rate, I slowed way down to the turnaround and had to spend a little while regrouping as I started the swim back to Louisville. Unfortunately this allowed Chris (eventual winner) to have nearly two minutes on me as we headed out of T2. Not the race start I wanted.
I started to roll out of transition and within about 10K of riding Patrick Evoe (2nd on the day) caught me and we proceeded to ride together. At IM Texas, Pat and I shared a lot of pace making on the bike and I had hoped we might do the same given the situation we were currently in. However, I was really struggling to keep up and after 30 minutes or so I simply let him go. Once again, not the start of the day that I wanted.
At this point in the day I was struggling a bit to keep my head in the game. Basically, I was having a difficult time dealing with my level of discomfort. That's the best way I can describe it. So I turned my power meter off and proceeded to put my head down and ride. I just rode along by feel and did everything I could to try and ride as smart and as fast as possible.
Coming into town I could see Romain which was the first sign of life (from the pro race) I had see in several hours. That perked me up a little bit. At least I caught someone before the bike was over.
I transitioned quickly and headed out to run. The run starts with a short out-and-back so I was able to get a glimpse of what might be happening up the road. As I approached the first turnaround I could see Pat running strong, but I was feeling good and I thought that a 3-minute gap was within my reach.
The miles started ticking by and as I approached the next turnaround I could Chris in 1st, Paul in Second, and Pat in third. At this point, not much had changed and everyone looked pretty good.
As we got back into town (mile 14) I moved into 3rd and Pat had moved into 2nd since Ambrose had decided to call it a day. I kept running to my best ability and I was trying with all my power to break Pat and move into second. As I neared the mile 21 marker, I got a final split of 2:44. With 21 miles I'd essentially only taken a handful of seconds out of him. At this point, I figured that my chances of moving up were likely gone and I was now just running for myself (and for time).
I crossed the line in third in 8:34:35. All I could do. I can't really look back on the race and find a lot of time that I could have made up. Chris and Pat both raced better than I did and my hats off to them for their great races.
There were a lot of notable performances from Endurance Corner athletes, coaches, and camp veterans.
Sue Aquila sets a new PR and runs the fastest marathon in her Age Group.
Tom Goth finishes 2nd in his Age Group and qualifies for Kona.
Jeff Shilt finishes 4th in his Age Group and qualifies for Kona for second time this year.
John Shilt sets a PR, breaks 10 hours, and breaks 4 hours on the marathon for the first time.
Brady DeHoust runs a 3:07 marathon and finishes 2nd in his Age Group.
Paul Linck finishes 2nd in his Age Group.
Coach Marilyn McDonald returns to Ironman after a four year break and finishes 7th Overall.
All in all, it was a lot of fun to race alongside these other great athletes and I just wanted take a moment and say congratulations to all of you.