This is my fifth time doing the Patriot Half. Like last year, my goal again this year was to break 5 hours in a half-ironman. I wasn’t really sure that I would be able to get there. After last year when I pushed, or at least I thought I pushed pretty hard on the bike and barely dropped anytime from previous years I wasn’t as hopeful that the bike would be there for me this year either. I was thinking that I would have to do it all on the run. So the plan was to cruise the swim, not push too hard and do the same on the bike and then try to run 7:30s for the half marathon.
The swim was the rolling start that they have had the last couple of years. I moved up the front of my wave so I wouldn’t have to swim around them. Although I was in the 7th wave I think so there were already plenty of people out in the water when I started. I almost forgot to start my watch and did it just as I was wading out into the water. I stayed a little to the right and just swam at a relaxed pace, bi-lateral breathing, sighting every 10 or so strokes. The water was a bit choppy on the way out and going across to come back in. I did the swim in 32:52, about a 1:20 slower than last year. I was fine with that considering the little bit choppy water on the way out.
SWIM NOTE: My friend Jan did NOT beat me this year in the swim. I got her by 8 seconds. I will remind her of that every time we swim at the pond now 🙂
I made one change to the bike from last year. I put on tires that were a little bit wider. I went from 23mm to 25mm. I feel like it makes the bike more stable and comfortable. Realistically the thinner tires should be faster.
For the most part the bike was a very comfortable for me. I just stayed aero and took what the road would give me. Tried to keep a steady effort the entire ride. At about the half way point I took a look at the miles per hour and saw that it was 21.3. I was thinking I feel pretty good and as long as the wind doesn’t pickup I should be able to equal that effort on the second loop.
Well, the second loop I actually went a little faster than the first and ended up finishing the bike in 2:36:30 for 21.5 mph. By far the best ride I have ever had on that course. I knew I had just made up about 7 minutes from last year on the bike. Now I’m thinking if I can just stay under 8s on the run I have a shot at sub 5 hours.
I felt pretty good starting out the run, I looked down at my watch half way into the first mile and it said 7:30 so I backed off a little bit. I didn’t want to blow up early and then not be able to finish. Just keep it under 8s and keep my breathing and heart rate in check. From there I just clicking off the miles, all sub 8s until mile 10. Mile 10 there is a hill just before you take a left to come back on the main road to Camp Cathedral. That mile was 8:05. I just kept telling myself to get back down under 8 and I managed to do it for the last couple of miles. The run was 1:41:34 for 7:42 pace. That was probably my fastest half-marathon in a half-ironman.
The overall total time was 4:57:43. That was cutting it pretty close. I was really happy to be able to finally put a solid half together. Now if I can just do it again at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. I think all the long rides I have been doing for Ironman really helped with the bike this year. When you do a century 4 of the previous 5 weeks before the race, riding 56 feels like nothing.