It’s cool; I’ve only been waiting a few weeks to do a report for Muncie 70.3. I’d say that I’ve been OMGSUPERBUSY in but reality I’m just lazy. But I think it’s worth getting around to because when I researched this event I couldn’t find much good information on the course.
SO. The race is in Indiana (duh). Kind of out in the middle of nowhere. Since I stayed with my parents I didn’t have to worry about a hotel or finding something to eat in Muncie (though if you’re going, I highly recommend Scotty’s Brewhouse – they have the best loaded french fries ever). It was still a solid hour from my parent’s place to the race site. I think the set-up of the sit was pretty good though. There was plenty of space for parking nearby and it was pretty spectator friendly. Packet pick-up was hassle-free and I even bought something from the official store (which I never do, but I really like visors). The only complaint I have on that side was that they gave me the wrong number wristband in my packet and I didn’t notice until the next morning because I am clearly super observant. But they were pretty understanding about it post-race when I was picking up my gear, so no big deal.
We cut it a little close on race morning so I was hustling to get set up in transition and warm-up before the race. The lines for the bathrooms were HUGE. Like worse than anything I’ve seen at races. There were a lot of spectators in line. A note for spectating races: if you can wait until the race starts, PLEASE, please do. That would really help out.
My last 70.3 I was so, so, so nervous before the swim start. Luckily, that was not the case this time – I think because I knew it was going to hurt a lot, so oh well! I got lucky on the weather again, too – not too hot and overcast.
The swim is a big triangle Prairie Creek Reservoir and the water was pretty calm that morning. The wind picked up later that day and it looked really choppy, so I’m guessing on windy days that’s a tough swim but it was nice for us! Of all things….it was wetsuit legal. Guess what I left in South Carolina? My wetsuit. I never would have imagined having a wetsuit legal race in July but the water temp was 74.5 that morning – so I guess you should always come prepared! It certainly wasn’t a race-killer but it would have been nice to have.
The “young” women were in wave 5, which, while better than our usual place of dead last, still put us behind a whole bunch of slow-poking men. This was a big problem for the last ~700 m or so. We started out pretty crowded (as expected), but were pretty well spread out by the time we hit the 2nd turn buoy…then ran into the masses of men. They were all over the place swimming willy-nilly all over the lake. It was crazy. I’m pretty sure I ran over at least 3 or 4 dudes swimming perpendicular to the swim course. It’s like they weren’t even trying. My parents said they could see it from the shore. I was definitely feeling impatient that day because I just ran them over rather than try to avoid them.
Time: 34:09 (44th Female Overall, 3/58 AG)
This includes the run up to T1 and I didn’t wear a watch to check my actual time in the water, but I’m guessing 32-33? This was the first time I swam in my tri suit with no wetsuit and it sure drags a lot of water! Still, a good swim, but I could have been better if I weren’t foolish and brought my wetsuit with me.
WOW this is the flattest bike course ever. There are probably flatter courses somewhere but compared to what I’m used to, it was amazing. I think my Garmin showed just under 1000 ft of elevation total. I do think my lack of ability to train in aero much around Greenville hurt me during the back half of the ride, though.
Also, it sounds like the changes that were made to the bike course from years past were really good. I thought it was a good course. It starts out of transition on a few country roads with a few turns. Some bumps to watch out for too. The race director said at the pre-race meeting that they had used 30 bags of cold seal to try and patch up the roads for the race when they might normally only use 5. After about 7 miles, the course makes a turn onto a nice, smooth, flat highway for a double 10 mile out and back before heading back to transition. There were two aid stations on that stretch of road so you hit each one twice – more than usual for 70.3.
Anyways, my race: I knew the run was going to suck no matter what I did on the bike, so I went out hard and fast. Once I hit the highway, I stayed in aero and tried to keep the pace at “comfortable hard”, and when I glanced at my average speed after the first loop I was at 19.3 mph.
Things degraded a little bit after that, though not too bad. I was a little bit tired (probably from riding a lot faster than usual) and was probably not eating enough. When I made the last turn around at the far end of the loop I started to feel some pain in my left hip/groin every time I pushed down with that leg on the pedal. All the tiny inclines that were nothing on the first loop were really painful coming back and it only got worse as I kept going. I think this was mainly due to my lack of experience riding in aero for a prolonged amount of time (I tend to sit up a lot because of freaking mountains) because I’ve never had pain in that spot before. Still, I finished as hard as I could.
Time: 2:59:38 (131 Female Overall, 13/58 AG)
Even though I was in some serious pain at this point, I was super happy with this bike since I was right at my goal of 3 hours. Definitely a totally different riding experience from my first 70.3.
T2: 4:33 – I’m going to be totally honest: I sat down in transition and contemplated not continuing for a moment because my left leg hurt so much. Then I figured I could walk to the finish if I had to, so I put my shoes on, took a couple salt pills and walked on.
Oh boy. I knew I wasn’t ready to run a half-marathon in the best of circumstances. I started out walking, hoping that my hip would loosen up a bit. I saw my parents not far from the run start so I let them know that I was not great but would probably be fine. I walked for about a half mile (and watched all the pros come flying by) before I decided to try running and it wasn’t too bad.
The course was out and back and hilly. Where did they find those hills? I didn’t know they had those in Indiana. There wasn’t anything very steep but the whole course was rolling and never really leveled out at all. I’m not sure which is worse.
Once I started running, I thought I could do 4:1 intervals…then 3:1 intervals…then I just stopped pretending and ran to random crap I could see in the distance. I’m not even going to say that I ran half of the course – though apparently when I did run it was pretty fast because my overall time was not nearly as bad as I anticipated. Once I got going, though, I never thought about quitting again. I just kept hacking away at each mile until it was over. I grabbed ice to stuff in my hat at every aid station and kept getting water/gatorade/coke so I would get dehydrated. Since I was walking so much, I wasn’t overly concerned with stomach issues (though I still didn’t touch the GU), so I went ahead and grabbed food too.
FINALLY the last mile came and it started raining. It didn’t matter much since I was totally soaked anyways, but it definitely was nice and cool. Then there was a big-ass hill to the finish so I made myself run to the end (also, my parents were at the top and I didn’t want to walk by them again).
Time: 2:36:32 (235 Female Overall, 26/58 AG)
It was misery and a half but I got it done in not too much worse than I could have hoped.
Overall: 6:19:34 (235 Female Overall, 26/58 AG)
It’s a PR, so I’m going with it. I’m really, really pleased with my bike split and the run was not…as bad as it could have been. I definitely enjoyed the race overall! It’s a nice course and Ironman puts on a good race. I was even able to enjoy the post-race food a little (unlike last time, when I thought I was going to die or something). I’m glad since it was some awesome roast chicken.