Iroman 70.3 Atlantic City

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The 70.3 course of Atlantic City…I have wanted a second crack at this course since the week after the race last year. I was upset, I knew I could have given it a better effort and I wanted another crack. I remember when Steve called me about the upcoming season and I said can you please tell me if I will ever get another crack and he said no. I was almost heart broken. Until the announcement was made, Ironman was coming to Atlantic City!

Taper week after a huge block always throws me through a loop when it comes to this sport. I had a few shorter, speedier workouts going on but I still had extra time on my hands. I finalized a few things on the bike, had my gear ready and decided to check the weather for the weekend. If you ever want to check the weather during taper week, let me tell you DON’T!!! It’s a horrible idea. Just don’t do it. You can’t control the weather, let it be.

I am super lucky because AC is only about two hours from me so leaving Saturday morning is completely within reason and I can get to check in and still have time for legs up and relaxing. I got down nice and early so I could shake out the legs and take my time doing the check in thing. Some how I lost track of time and spent a little more time on my feet at the expo than I initially wanted to but it wasn’t anything detrimental.

I got checked in to my hotel, had my dinner and packed it in. I was getting bottles ready and checking gear and I knew I needed to get some sleep but just couldn’t settle down.

We left for transition at 5am, as we started over the bridge towards Bader Field, we hit dead stopped traffic just as we did last year. We knew it was going to happen, they warned us of this issue. When you have 2,800 athletes all trying to get to the same place it is bound to happen, I place NO blame on Ironman or Delmo for this. We were lucky enough to have someone driving so we jumped out and walked the rest of the way to transition.

From there I entered and got set up. I was racked right next to two athletes who I have known since I started. I said my hello, gave them hugs and then went on my way. My swim wave was late and I don’t like being packed in with a bunch of people so I waited to head over to my wave until they were close to the front.

We got in the water and I did a little bit of a warm up. I have to admit the only thing I was nervous about was my wetsuit being too tight from Wildwood and having a similar experience of not being able to catch my breath again. As we were lining up I experienced something I have never experienced before.

Someone in the wave jokingly said “Don’t forget to start you watches!” and everyone gave a chuckle. Then someone says “in all seriousness, good luck fellas!” It seemed like all in sync everyone began to wish each other good luck. I NEVER had this happen before and it brought me chills and a sense of calm.

Through the swim I was fe7_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_005841-4088276eling great! I could see the red turn buoy off in the distance and I felt like I was moving through the water well. Three strokes later I heard someone yelling “ TURN, TURN!!” I was very confused. I knew I wasn’t at the red buoy but I followed everyone and turned. Back to the finish and someone grabbed me under the arms, pulled me out, unzipped my suit for me and I was on my way. It was incredible, its like they did the thinking for me and I just had to focus on getting ready for the bike.

The bike course is great, the ride on the express way is so safe and fun. Exiting, the roads were a bit rough through Pleasantville but the loop itself was beautiful. I was bouncing back and forth with a guy in my age group and we were joking having a lot of fun. As I approached somewhere around mile 40-45 I started hurting a bit. I got out of the saddle for some relief and I looked down at my Dave Mirra decal on my top tube.20_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_036335-4088289

I said to Dave “please just help me through this last bit, just get me to the run and I got the rest!” As I came to a turn there was a local business along the road. Parked right in the front row, facing the street was a giant black Ford Raptor (the truck that Dave owned) starring me right in the face. At that moment I knew he was there and I made it through to T2.

On to the run and I knew what I had to do. The first 3ish miles are on the old run way in Bader Field. It was mentally tough however, I would take this run set up over the run course from last year any day of the week. Yes running 3ish miles on blacktop at 12 noon is not fun. It will always beat running passed the finish 3-4 times on the boardwalk though.

I was cruising through the run and ticking the miles off. I walked each aid station, took in water, food, then water again in that order. Mile 8 hit and I realized I had to go to the bathroom, there was no putting it off. I couldn’t bring myself to just pee while I was running so I struggled with my kit to pee in the boardwalk restroom. This probably added a good 3 min to my run time. Coming passed Boardwalk Hall I saw my mom and girlfriend. Once I saw my mom it was like no one else was on the run course, I could hear her screaming from when I passed all the way to the pier. It sent chills down my spine. I hit the turn and I knew it was 2 miles left, I dug in and just went for it.47_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_064855-4088316

Coming down the finish chute is always special, but this day, I can’t even put it into words. My goal time was 5:30 and I ended up going 5:35. I celebrated every second of coming down that carpet.

The first person that greeted me after I crossed was KT from Delmo and she gave me the biggest hug and made sure I had everything I needed. I made my way to find some food and more water and I ended up running in to Steve. I thanked him for everything and I said “remember that phone call? Remember I said I wanted one more crack? I had a 25 minute PR from last year, so thank you!” He proceeded to say something to the folks he was with and they all looked over at me. To this day I am not sure what it was but I can imagine he gave them the very brief story of my journey and I can’t thank him enough.

Post race there was a lot of complaining about parking, swim course etc. It was clear that the swim was cut short. We later learned that the conditions got very dangerous very quick and the lifeguards, race officials and other personnel made a decision that needed to be made. I will say this, their job is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs anyone has to do. They will always have someone who is unhappy, however, any time safety is in question, I will NEVER complain about a shortened course. They made dreams come true on September 18th and that is something they will remember forever. Kudos to EVERYONE involved in making this day something amazing.

This is it for the season. I have one open water swim but the triathlon season has come to an end. I have taken some time off just to get myself settled and ready to transition into the off season. I would just like to take the time to say thank you. I say it after every race but I will say it every single time. Thank you to everyone who got me to the start line, who supported me and held me up on the days that weren’t so great. Also thank you to the ones who were there to celebrate the days that were amazing.

Lastly I would just like to leave you with a picture that captures my every emotion during this finish of the run.

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Until next time, all for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself.

 

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

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