Monday, July 19, 2010

Close but no cigar! Great White North 1/2 Ironman

I nearly won my second career half ironman at Great White North. I was within spitting distance of eventual winner Kyle Marcotte at the finish line. Hats off to Kyle for holding me off as I charged to a race best 1:16 half ironman; running three minutes faster than everyone! I can not complain, I finally had a great race! The year started with decent results, a dnf, and a little disappoint. The start of the year was a struggle, as I coped with a nagging back injury. I feel like I finally have the back figured out and feel fit, fast, and ready to race 100%. After a couple of tune up races I went to the Great White North half ironman with determination.
Great White North drew nearly 1,000 competitors to Edmonton, Alberta for the 20th version of the race. I love to do these non 70.3 races in Canada because they treat you awesome, offer prize money, and have great food & awesome volunteer support. Great White North did not disappoint! Hats off to Wade Church and his crew for putting on a great race. The drive up to Edmonton was long but Jen and I know how to take our time and break up a long drive. I was super excited for Jen to make her comeback after finally defeating a nagging injury. We hit up some good rest stops, restaurants, and of course Lululemon. I have become addicted to Lululemon clothing, the company makes awesome clothes that fit a skinny dude, finally one company! We struggled to find camping because to my surprise the 4th of July weekend is not only a holiday weekend for us but also for the Canadians. I’m pretty sure every Canadian in Alberta was camping over this weekend. After struggling to find an open campsite we finally found one that was very close to the race venue. Camp was set, the rigs were dialed and we were ready to race.

In between Philly triathlon and Great White North I did very little for training. I was unsure whether or not it was a good idea because the legs still did not feel to great on race morning. We woke up to light skies at 5 am (it gets light really early in Edmonton) and thought we missed the race start because of how light it was already. The swim was a two loop swim that featured some good mud. The mud made for some good laughs as folks who were warming up fell nearly waist deep into the sludge. The race announcer fired the gun and the race was off and I found myself towards the front after getting a little further out then some of the competitors. I had a great first loop and Jen had to sprint to catch onto our group as we headed back in for the second loop. I followed feet for the second loop and excited the water in under 30 minutes. I hit the bike and the legs felt great! I instantly passed a few folks and found myself in second place in only a couple of minutes back from the leader after only 30k. One cyclist blew by me and I knew I did not have the legs to go with him so I rode my race. I had a great ride with a sub 2:15 bike split. I hit the run and Steve King let me know that Kyle had 3:30 on me and I was in third place. I set out at a good clip and quickly settled into a good rhythm. About half way through the run I noticed that Kyle was coming back to me little by little. On the last out and back I had closed the cap to 30 seconds with 2k to go. I unloaded everything I had on that race course and made myself want to puke for the last 2k. Kyle had enough in the tank to hold me off and he hung on for the win and I finished second 14 seconds later. Regardless, I was stoked with my result and I finally felt like I had a great race! I set a new half ironman personal record of 4:01. Jen also had a great race finishing 5th in a stacked women’s race and setting a PR of 4:37.
The rest of the trip was awesome! We took our time getting back to Montana and stopped in Banff. It was a great trip and I’m already excited for the next race, which will be Boulder 70.3 on August 8th. I have a little break from racing to get in some good training and hit up two high school buddies weddings.

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