On October 9, 2016 I crossed the finish line at Ironman Louisville. 24 hours later I was asking myself “Now What?”. The answer to that question was the Intimidator 70.3 in Clermont, FL on March 18, 2017.
Every triathlon event is a learning experience and the Intimidator 70.3 was no exception! My swim group was the third to enter the water at 7:45am. The water temperature was in the low 60’s so I was able to wear my wetsuit. I set a new PR on the 1.2 mile swim with 1:43/100yd. The bike was challenging with almost 2000 feet of ascent including Sugarloaf Mountain Road. It’s the highest point in Florida at approximately EL. 300. The climb is legit! The meat of the climb is a 0.4 mile climb with an average grade of 8.4%. Granny gear the whole way…slow and steady with an average speed of 7.7mph. What goes up must come down! The back side was fun. A fellow triathlete pointed out I had a maximum speed today of 40.5mph today. On two wheels that is moving pretty fast. I finished the 56 mile bike in 3 hours. Very happy with that considering the ascent. Now the not so pleasant part….the half marathon run! Each triathlon is different. Some bike rides are easier than others so you kn ow there’s some juice in your legs to get you through the run. I hit my first four miles in just over a 9:30 pace. After mile 4 the wheels slowly came off the bus. It’s a very humbling experience to know your tank is empty and you still have a long way to go. Left foot, right foot, repeat! I ended up averaging a 11:00 pace for the run. Not my best performance but it got me to the finish line and I’ll take it! In hindsight I should have probably started out a little slower on the run. I also need to do more bike to run brick workouts. Next time!
My official finish time was 6:10:45. That was good enough for a 6th place AG finish; however, it was the slowest of the 3 70.3’s I’ve completed in the past 15 months. I used to worry about time but I’ve come to learn that time doesn’t matter much to me. It’s about the journey. It’s about learning. It’s about meeting new people. It’s about encouraging others you see struggling on the course. It’s about having fun!
Doug Hershey – Wesley Chapel, Florida