by Todd Batty, two-time Ironman
This was my second full and my goal for this race was to improve from IMFL last year after a solid year of training and racing. Big thanks to Jon and RPM!
This was my first go at this race as the weather the past few years scared me away. I’d say we got lucky this year, but it was just a bit hot on the run. I blame Stanek for that! The day before the race I got torn up by jellyfish on a practice swim just up river from the course. Later that day at Walmart I managed to run into an Aussie also looking for something to provide some measure of protection from the bastards. Race morning I was coating my face and arms with Aquaphore. As fate would have it I didn't run into any for the entire swim! Still well worth the $6.
I started off the two loop swim pretty well aside from a random puking session about 20 min in. My apologies to any racers right behind me, but it was a small amount and I’m sure the fish loved it! Finished the swim with a 3min PR.
Got out on the bike and found a good rhythm and stuck to my power number. Then near disaster as I got a rear flat about 25 miles in. I am about the furthest thing from a mechanic and struggle with fixing anything including flats. My wife can attest as she has picked me up from numerous training rides where I popped the spare or ran out of C02. I managed to get the new tube on and eventually remembered how to use the inflator and got some air in the tube. Back on the road in 12 min with renewed energy and motivation to make up for some lost time. I didn’t get a full hit with the C02 and was worried about a second flat as I didn't have a spare. Thankfully I found the SAG wagon about 5 miles later and was able to get a spare tube and top off the psi's. Lesson learned here is to include a spare tube in bike special needs bag just in case and maybe practice changing a flat every now and then until I am slightly competent. Finished the bike with a 17min PR including 2 stops for the tire fiasco!
Got out on the run with some awesome team support at the first aid station. Cheers to all the teammates out there supporting everyone on the course. By far the most efficient, best dressed and fun group out there! The two and a half loop course is nothing to write home about but you do get to see family and friends a ton which is great! This run didn’t feel nearly as good as Florida last year, but I managed 10min PR.
I’ll say there is no feeling that I’ve experienced like the finish chute at an Ironman! All those hours training, missed time with family and friends and the struggles on race day are repaid with that feeling right then and there!