I like to use the month of June to race as much as possible. So 70.3 Syracuse was my 3rd race in three weeks (70.3 Eagleman and Pat Griskus Olympic were the first 2). I was feeling some pretty good fatigue during the week, but I was hoping a couple of light days just prior to the race would do the trick to get my form back on track. I traveled up to the race with my friend, Chris Swift. We had a great weekend handing out Timex swag and talking to other athletes about all the multisport options that Timex watches offer.
Race morning came with ideal racing conditions. It was in the mid 60's with just a slight wind. The temperature did not get above 80 degrees until later in the afternoon. My only concern was the fact that my swim wave was the 17th to start (3rd from last). I knew I would need to be extra careful navigating through 2,000+ athletes throughout the day. However, I was very excited to finally use my BlueSeventy Helix!
Once my swim wave was released, I just focused on navigating the crowded course in the safest way possible.
I had a relatively uneventful swim except for one of the guys in my wave that decided that he was going to spend the first 600 meters swimming back and forth in front of me. One minute he was to my left, then he came right across me heading to my right. I literally stopped in place as I was so frustrated. Finally I just decided to push as close to the buoys as possible. It was thicker with athletes there, but I was able to lose my off-course competitor. I came out of the water in 27:34 (53rd OA/3rd AG).
My goal for the bike segment was to build my effort. The first 11 miles are pretty hilly and I wanted to make sure that I settled into my proper race effort. It's always very easy to spike the effort to high at the beginning of the bike as the adrenaline is flowing and the legs are fresh. My second goal for the bike was to take more electrolytes than I had at 70.3 Eagleman. So I really paid attention to my intake throughout the entire bike. The combination of the weather, a slight tailwind on the 2nd half of the bike, and patience netted me a 5 minute improvement on the previous year's bike split. I came into T2 in 2:18:06 and had moved into 15th place overall and 1st in my age group.
The run course is a 2 loop out and back format. I had a similar run strategy, so I just focused on trying to get my cadence up and settle into my rhythm. I had to ditch my strategy as I was returning from the first turnaround (about mile 3.5). I was shocked to see Dave Slavinsky (2x ITU Duathlon World Champion) gliding up the hill towards me only 2:42 back. Dave is an exceptional runner. I knew that I would need to run really well to hold him off. I had made one big mistake at the beginning of my run. I had not taken any electrolyte tabs and my left quad started to seize up. I immediately bit into a salt tab and had the same wonderful experience that I enjoyed during 70.3 Eagleman, ugh. It did work again, fortunately. I knew that I would need to be very attentive to any future cramps but I needed to run as fast as I could. My first turnaround split had been at 6:49 pace uphill. I was able to drop my pace down to 5:43 pace on the return to the run start. When I saw Dave again, my spread was 2:29. The 2nd half of the run is always were it can all fall apart, so I just tried to stay within myself and keep my form together. I ran the out section at 6:17 pace this time. However, when I saw Dave my spread was down to 2:15. I had 5k left to run. I made a deal with myself that if he was going to catch me, he would have to run a sub 5 minute mile in order to do it. I ran the last section at 5:47 pace and crossed the finish line with a 1:20:41 run split. I had managed to hold Dave off and cut 5 minutes off of my previous year's run time.
Final Results: 4:09:27/1st Amateur/10th Overall
Career Highlights: 2009 USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year, 2012,2013, 2014 USA Triathlon Masters Athlete of the Year, 2014 USA Triathlon Olympic National Championship Masters Champion, 4 X Ironman 70.3 World Championship Age Group Winner (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), 18 X 70.3 Overall Amateur Champion, 9 X Ironman World Champion Finisher (4 X Top 10 in Age Group), 2015 American Zofingen LC Champion, 2nd OA IM Maryland
I started competing in triathlon in the summer of 2000. I had always been intrigued by the sport since the early ‘80s when I would watch the Hawaii Ironman on TV. I got into running at a young age (6yrs old) as my father was a big marathon runner back in the late 70’s, early 80’s running boom. I did my first 10-mile road race when I was 10 years old. I also played ice hockey throughout my childhood and I stopped running my sophomore year in high school in order to completely focus on ice hockey. I did not run again until the fall of 1999. During that race, a friend of mine mentioned that he competed in sprint triathlons, short duration races lasting around one hour. I was immediately interested and I signed up for my first triathlon in July of 2000 up in Falmouth, Ma. I was immediately hooked. I loved the competition. I especially liked the aspect of the three sports and how one could continue to practice and improve in each sport. I believe all three sports compliment each other. I also really enjoyed the idea of challenging myself to see where I could get. So, while triathlon is a competition, I see it more as a race against yourself then others. It is a very addictive sport, but I think it’s probably one of the healthiest addictions that I know of. The training is also a great stress relief. I worked in New York City for the past 5 years and down on Wall Street for 2 years. The commute and the lifestyle can get pretty stressful at times. The training really helped me de-stress and stay focused. I have three little boys and I really enjoy sharing the sport with all three of them. I don’t care if they ever compete in a race, but I do believe it’s important to expose them to healthy opportunities in life. I would say that the hardest endurance scenario I’ve faced was actually the first half ironman I competed in up in Laconia, NH, which was the Timberman race. I’ve completed four full Ironman events, but that half ironman was my first attempt at the distance. I feel, in hindsight, that I just was not properly trained for the event. It was an incredible eye opening experience. I don’t think I’ve been more tired then the moment I crossed that finish line. However, the human mind is fascinating, as I was looking forward to the next race less then 24 hours after.