Thursday, November 7, 2013

IMFL- The Triple is Complete

2 Nov-

6 days ago I was struggling on the run at Austin 70.3, thinking to myself "how am I going to get IMFL".  I honestly didn't know, if I felt like crap 7 miles into a 70.3 run, how was I going to do with a marathon.  All I knew is only time would tell.  I came back to Ft Worth on Sunday night after the race.  I worked on Monday and then packed up and headed to Florida.  I didn't train at all on Monday or Tuesday (I drove the whole day).

I got to Florida with no incidents and arrived to the condo where I would stay for the week.  Shortly after getting their the "Animals" showed up (my coach Scott DeFilippis and his girlfriend Carrie Lester).  It was just the three of us at the condo till Friday, then Scotts family would arrive.  Wednesday morning we woke up and headed out for a short brick and then to the pool in the afternoon.  Thursday I put in a solid run set with some intensity and the legs started to loosen up and felt quite good.  Friday was the typical pre race day with an easy bike and easy run.  I was going to do a short ocean swim but the ocean was a bit crazy so just skipped it.

Friday afternoon Scotts family arrived; Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother in-law, and two nephews   Needless to say the condo got a little crowded, but a great family to hang out with.  They showed up and then started making dinner right away.  We had a great pasta dinner and then sat around and talked a bit before calling it a night.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early at 0350 and had my typical pre race morning meal.  Oatmeal, Banana, OSMO Pre Hydration, and then regular OSMO Active Hydration.  I then headed down to drop off special needs bags and setup up my bike.  I had brought my MTB with me since I had driven and it made it quite nice to be able to ride down race morning instead of walking.  I then left the MTB for John and Nick (AF Tri Teammates and good friends) to use during the race.

Now onto the race.........

Swim 2.4 miles (1:00:59)-

I am sure some of you have seen the pictures out there from the swim.  There is one that is photo shopped quite well and it makes the swim look a lot worse than it actually is.  I didn't think it was all that bad.  The start was something new WTC was trying, a "corral" start.  Except instead of it being a corral that feeds through the start line like running races it was a corral down the beach line.  With blocks for different expected swim times.  I started with the "60 minutes and under", but right next to the "60 minute to 70 minute" guys.  I made it through the waves pretty quickly and didn't get beat up by the waves or people.  I was really happy with how my swim went, considering the conditions and in comparison to how I swam at Austin I thought it was a bit better.

Bike 112 miles (4:38:06)-

I felt pretty good early on in the bike.  I knew I would have some ground to make up and quite a few people to pass so I slowly started working my way through the field.  Around mile 35 a small group of 5 formed and I rode legally with them for about 15 miles.  For those of you that have done IMFL, right before the rough section (I think it is around mile 50) I went to the front of the group and started to ride away from them.  From there till about mile 70 I rode solo, and at mile 70 caught a group of female pros.  I went to pass them and a few minutes later looked back and they were sitting legally behind me.

I hate having an influence on the women's race.  I rode at the front a bit longer then went to the back where one other guy was 7 meters off the back.  I sat 7 meters off the back for a few more miles and then went around them again.  Same thing, couldn't "drop" them.  It took till mile 80 to get rid of them, but then around mile 88 I caught 2 more girls.  Same thing, but by mile 95 I had "dropped" them. 

At the last out and back section I could see the "big" group that had formed behind me and was a little frustrated.  I believe that initial group of guys I had ridden with were all in that group and they ended up only pulling in less than 2 minutes behind me into T2.  A little frustrating but it is what it is, I was still feeling pretty good.

Run 26.2 miles (3:11:50)-

The first few miles of the run course are nice because there are a lot of fans.  Makes it hard to slow down and run under control, and I ran a 6:43 first mile and then got under control for the second mile and backed off to 7:11.  I was aiming to a 3:15 and thought the conditions were ideal.  In the first 2 miles, Tim Hola and eventual 2nd place female pro Ashely Clifford went storming by me.  I just watched them run away, impressive runs by both of them.  Around mile 3 I caught a Wattie Inc guy named Drew.  We ran together all the way till special needs.  It was great having someone that wanted to run the same pace and we had a great conversation the whole time.  Drew decided to stop and change shoes at special needs, I thought we were running well together so I waited for him.

We then started running again and about a half mile later he told me to go.  So off I went, and lone and behold another runner came up to me pretty quickly, Anton.  Anton was content with running 7:20 pace.  We ended up running together till about mile 20 when he told me he was going to speed up.  Nick and John had been out on the course giving me splits and I knew I had a pretty big cushion, at mile 10 it was 8mins.  Then the tracker crashed, but they did some visual recon and didn't see anyone close, so I knew I was in good shape.  I thought to myself and talked to Anton about it when he decided to push the pace and I decided to hold back.  I didn't need to push the pace, and he had a few guys breathing down his neck so he needed to.  I kept trying to hit 7:20 miles and felt like it was going well.

Around mile 23 a younger looking runner came up to me and was running pretty well but breathing really hard.  I asked him his age since he had compression socks on and he said "I don't speak English".  This frustrated me, I said some choice words to him.  25-29? 30-34? He first said he was 28, which worried me.  He then said he was 34, so I didn't know what to believe.  I had to run with him, I couldn't just let someone run away from me in the closing miles.  A guy on a bike rode by and I asked him if he had a cell phone.  Luckily he did, I asked him to check the guys number and find out what AG he was in.  He did in fact end up being 30-34, so I ended up letting him go.

I came around the final corner to Team RWB cheering like crazy and the FW crowd was there cheering as well.  It was a great feeling to come down the finish chute and know I was going to break 9 hours.  It was a crazy dream to even think I would break 9 at Florida, just 21 days after Kona and 6 days after Austin, but once again it was one of those days where the stars aligned.

Swim (2.4 miles)- 1:00:59 / 9th out of 102 in AG / 153rd out of 2,802 Amateurs

Bike (112 miles)- 4:38:06 / 1st out of 102 in AG / 4th out of 2,802 Amateurs
For the power gurus, Training Peaks file:

Run (26.2 miles)- 3:11:50 / 2nd out of 102 in AG / 15th out of 2,802 Amateurs

Total- 8:58:21 / 36th out of 2,891 Overall / 6th out of 2,802 Amateurs / 1st out of 102 in AG


It has been a crazy 3 weeks of racing.  I know there were some people out there doubting the decision I made to race these last 3 weeks.  I knew everything was going to be fine when my coach said from the beginning that "I know exactly what we will do", well I think he worked things out just fine and it all worked out. Now if you asked me to try and duplicate these 3 weeks of racing next year, I am not sure if it could go as well as it did.  Thanks for everyone that believed in me and supported me along this journey.

It has been one heck of a year, I did not think at the beginning of the year that I would be sitting here in November with a 70.3 Worlds and IM Kona Top 10 and then already have slots to 70.3 Worlds and Kona for next year.  It still hasn't set in, honestly I mean that, I was looking at races for next year and I didn't even have 70.3 Worlds on there till about half way through the planning phase.

I can't thank Scott and teamTBB online coaching enough for how much they have helped me.  It is a rough time for their team right now, and I am glad on Saturday I was able to go out their and show that they do amazing things by giving people hope and opportunity through sport.

Lastly, I can't thank my sponsors/supporters enough: FRS Healthy Energy, Honey Stinger, Kiwami, HED Cycling, Zoot, teamTBB, Fort Worth Cycling, Arundel Bike Products, Clever Training, ISM Saddles, and Team RWB for all of the support!

Here are some pictures from the race:

 The swim start

 Out early on during the bike
 Running out of T2

Coming down the finish

 Myself and Kelly, both members of Team RWB, won our age groups and qualified for Kona.

 25-29 Podium

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