Now that the race season has started for me, I can begin to test my fitness and knock off all the rust from the winter. I went to Ironman 70.3 Campeche with some high goals but really did not know what would happen. Every race is a roll of the dice and a chance to push yourself even further than last time.
I flew into Campeche as late as I thought possible while still being ready to race. By arriving later, I minimized the risk of getting sick and allowed my training to be normal for as long as possible. I stayed with Jackson Landry in a very interesting part of town. We were about 10 minutes away from the race site. The place was a nice Airbnb, but it was located right next to the “slums,” so we got to see a very different side of Mexico from your classic resort. All the dogs running around and the narrow streets we had to navigate made for a very different adventure.
The field in Campeche had swollen since last year and gathered some top names. As a competitor, I look forward to a good challenge and to see what I can do on the day of the race.
Race day was hot and humid. I chose to line up on the right-hand side, close to some of the faster swimmers. The starters switched to Spanish right before the gun went, and I was caught a little off-guard. I stumbled as the gun went but was able to make up the lost initiative by with a good dive into the water. I was able to make good ground by the first turn — about 200m into the swim — after fighting with a few guys for my space.
It’s interesting how, over the last few years, the 70.3 swims have become more physical. I was able to hold on to the feet for about half the swim, but then lost touch. I held a gap of about 40 seconds to the lead group. I’m pleased to have seen some improvement on my swim start speed, and I know the back end will come soon. I came out of the water in 7th. I could see some of my competition just up the road.
The bike started off on a very steep hill, so it took some very carefully timed pedal strokes to get my feet into my shoes. I held a good pace on the first half of the bike, through the rolling hills of Campeche, and was able to briefly maneuver into 4th place. As we started the second lap, every one had to keep their heads up to avoid the age groupers as we shared the racecourse. As the day started to heat up it became harder to focus and hold pace. I exited the bike in 7th place — the same spot I’d started.
The run was a hot one for sure and I was losing ground. My body just was not moving the way I wanted it to on the run. I gritted my teeth and dug in for the long haul. I took in as much ice and water as I could at each aid station to cool myself down. I fought hard out there and when ever anyone passed me a I dug into try and hold onto their pace for as long as I could. Hoping it would jump-start my running speed. But my running legs just were not there. I was able to come away with 9th place on the day.
It wasn’t the day I had hoped for, but that’s racing. With the first race of the season under my belt, I can focus on making my next race even better. I will be focusing more on the process and how that will allow me to get the results I am looking for.