2012 Racine Ironman 70.3 Race Report

     Lessons learned, lessons learned, in a year of lessons learned. I'm writing this race report two weeks after Racine Ironman 70.3 where I finished in 7th place. Normally I try to get my race report up on my website within a week of the race, but I needed some time to digest and process this race. I wasn't happy with my finish place or time in Racine. Normally, I don't have a hard time shrugging off one bad race, they come with the territory. Considering this was my slowest run since 2005 and it's come in a year where since February things haven't gone according to "the plan", I walked away from the race very frustrated. The good part is that I feel like now removed from the race, I've learned quite a bit, put it behind me, and am well on my way to a great race at Ironman Louisville in four weeks.

     I raced Ironman Texas at the end of May where I dropped out early into the bike. On race day in Texas, I had nothing in the tank. No excuses, my body just wasn't there. I had no "go". After a terrible swim, even for me, I had no bike legs and couldn't get the bike above what I would consider easy, cruising pace. I knew it was fruitless to continue on that day in the Woodlands. I had so little energy, I don't think I could have finished Ironman Texas, let alone raced it. Completing the race just for the sake of finishing could have done much more harm to me than any good that could have come out of slogging it out on a terrible day. I went home frustrated, packed up the car and left Austin a week later for my summer in Boulder, CO.

     Once I arrived in Boulder, things instantly improved. I mentally centered myself and got into my training groove. I really started enjoying training again. I put in 2 1/2 good training weeks, then got the stomach flu which knocked me out for 5 days. Then I had a solid 3 weeks of training before Racine 70.3. Where I made my mistake was that I was feeling good and my body was responding well in those weeks after I was sick. Simply put, I trained the house down. I was putting in big hours and big miles. In the past, I've been able to push hard until about a week before an Ironman 70.3, then recover in the week before the race. This time, I had put in so much work that I was in a physiological hole. I had dug deep enough, that the week easy before the race wasn't enough to leave me fresh on race day. I showed up to the start line with dead legs. Lesson learned. 

     I still enjoyed the race, the experience, and the time with my family. I also was lucky enough to spend time after the race with my girlfriend and her family in Chicago, which was a perfect way to unwind after a frustrating performance.

     I don't think I'll go into the usual race details from Racine. I felt okay on the swim, exiting the water a little faster than last year on the same course. On the bike, I felt okay, but I also didn't feel like I had that next gear to push in my legs. According to the race website, I had the 3rd fastest bike split, but going 2 minutes slower than last year, I wasn't satisfied. I know that conditions year to year can make a bike harder or easier, even on the same course, but I was still less than satisfied with my bike leg. I finished the bike somewhere around 6th position and started the run. I noticed that my running legs just felt dead. I had no spring in my step and my stride didn't feel natural.The run was forced. THe last 3 miles felt like a death march where I had no energy. I normally run the last few miles of a full Ironman faster than I ran those last few in Racing. I ended up running a 1:29 off the bike which was my slowest run in an Ironman 70.3 since 2005. I didn't have any fight in me, which I know came from going into the race too fatigued.

     The race didn't reflect my fitness or the work I've put in, rather it reflected errors in my decision making in the last two weeks before the race. Now two weeks removed from the race, I'm past it, training well, back feeling like myself and looking towards my next race in Louisville. Though the last 6 months have been mentally my toughest in my racing career to date, I really feel that since this race, I've turned a new leaf for the year. I still have a lot of racing to go in 2012 and know that things are turning around!  


      I really want to thank Little Caesars Pizza for their support of me and my racing. Their belief in me is so important for me be able to do what I'm doing in this sport. TYR Sports is providing me with the best wetsuits and speedsuits in the sport. PowerBar's nutrition products have been a key part in my training and racing. I'd also like to thank RecoveryPump for their support. RecoveryPump has been a critical aspect of my training and recovery and I truely believe the product has helped to take my training to the next level. Jack and Adam's Bicycles in Austin are always there to help support me and my racing. I want to thank Felt Bicycles for putting me on such an amazing bike, the 2012 Felt DA. HED Cycling has provided me with the best wheels and aerobars on the market. Champion System Clothing has provided me with the race and training clothing that you see in my pictures. Advanced Rehabilitation in Austin helps to keep me healthy for training and racing. Hill Country Running Company is a great help with my running equipment. SBR Sports Inc's products are also a great help for racing and training. Also I want to thank my family and friends for their unending support for me. Without these people and sponsors, I would not be able to pursue this dream.

Thank you,
Pat
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