|Jeanni and I previewing one of the critical portions of the bike course- Snow Canyon.|
The ~3 weeks between getting back from China and heading to St. George were some of the best training I have had all season. It was only a 10-day training block but I was putting up massive numbers that had my confidence back on the right track. We had to make some tough decisions in the amount of load/ intensity going into this race and ultimately went with the more intense, higher volume option with Ironman Boulder looming. Despite a bit more acute fatigue than I would generally have heading into a top-notch 70.3, I felt good on race week and prepared to perform to my maximal ability.
The day started off with what is likely my lifetime best swim. I had a great start, settled into the front group and comfortably locked in at about 90% effort. I felt smooth and in control the entire way, exiting the water in 4th with some of the best swimmers in the sport. I had my customary near race-best T1 and I got onto the bike in 2nd. I could not really have asked for any better only 25 minutes into the race!
Once onto the bike, my excitement was quickly taken back. I tried really hard to ride with guys who came through quickly like Tim Reed and Joe Gambles but didn’t have the fire power that those guys were pushing up that first climb. I had 5 minute power at 400w and still got dropped going up. My plan was to be in the 430w-450w range on that climb but my legs would not produce the power I needed to stay in contact. The remainder of the ride was mostly a solo effort attempting to hold it together and not get caught by the chasers I knew would be racing hard from behind. I felt very comfortable from an aerobic perspective but my legs would not respond! I was stuck in one gear and on a course as brutal as St. George, you are going to lose time if you are not riding at max effort.
|Photo: Paul Phillips (Competitive Image)|
I ended up coming off the bike in 12th but in the mix for spots 8-14. Starting the run, I felt surprisingly good. The first 5k of the run go straight uphill, climbing about 500 feet. I was moving well along that section and was putting time into all of the guys around me. But similar to the bike, I was sort of fixed at one pace and surprisingly had trouble running fast on the downhills- typically a strength for a tall dude like me. I jockeyed for position a few times and ultimately settled into 10th place, the final money slot and the final position on the ultra extended podium.
-Awesome swim! My 3-year swim project has finally come full circle and I have gotten to the point with my open water skills and swim fitness that I am confident I will exit the water at the front of almost every race.
-Great transitions. I made up critical time there across the board having the 3rd fastest T1 and the 3rd fastest T2. That is something I always have and always will focus on. Lionel Sanders had the fastest T1 and T2 of the day. There is a reason he dominated the race. He was obviously the strongest man in terms of swim-bike-run but his attention to detail even further aided his victory.
-Solid-ish run. I improved 3 minutes on the run from my race here in 2016. I thought I was capable of running closer to 1:15 on this brutal course but I felt really comfortable the entire way and at the finish could have kept rolling through a few more miles.
-My attitude. I was happy and confident. I rolled with the punches. I didn't put pressure on myself for a result and only focused on the performance. Focusing on the performance over the result will always leave me satisfied with some aspect of the race. Although I always want to win, focusing on getting the best out of myself generally leads to my best race results.
-The ride. My ride was awful here. I pushed 313w average power, 319w normalized power. I was shooting for 335-340w average! I lost a TON of time to the guys ahead. And some time to the guys behind. I am confident that it was just an "off" day on the bike but this is probably the area that I will focus a lot of my attention on in the next few weeks.
-My focus. I was able to generally stay positive over the course of the 4h race but the middle portions of the bike I found myself having some bad negative self-talk. I moved from 2nd on the bike to 14th. I haven't really been in that position before because my swim has not been on this level but it is still hard to watch the race go up the road. Instead of focusing on pushing my best power and staying as aero as possible, I sat there wondering why I was getting dropped. At one point I went down a spiral of thinking about being too heavy, not being aero enough, etc. I have worked hard on all of those things and have them dialed in (for now). Especially in the Ironman, I am going to do my best to keep the positive self talk rolling all day long because similar to my attitude, that will pay off at the end.
I am back home in Boulder feeling excited and motivated to start this training block. This Ironman has me more fired up for a race than I have been in a long time. Over the entire course of my 11 years in the sport, I have wanted to do an Ironman. My coaches, peers and family know that this race is going to be special for me. I was reading an article that my high school news paper wrote about me back in 2008. I was doing local sprint triathlons at the time and running 35 minute 5k's but there is a quote in there from me that says, "I want to win an Ironman." It feels like a lifelong dream that I finally get my first opportunity to realize.
And you KNOW the #metzlmour fan club was going to turn up for this one! A big crew this time around to inspire Jeanni and I the whole day. Also a huge thank you to our amazing homestay who feel like an extended portion of this family- Tom and Sandy Daniels.
|Dad, Mom, Pop, Gram, Jillian.|
IM BOULDER training starts this week. Wish me luck!