Maine 70.3 Recap
Why I choose to go back to Maine 70.3
This was a deferral from 2020 when a few friends were supposed to go back after completing It in 2019. Having signed up for my first full Ironman coming September 26 this race would put me 4 weeks before that and I should be well prepared for a 70.3 distance. As well, the family loved staying in old Orchard beach in 2019.
Like 2019 we decided to stay at Hid' N Pines campground, but this time we stayed in a rental unit that was offered. A 2 bedroom unit with sleeping for 6, full kitchen, bath, porch and gas fireplace outside. The units are beautiful and again the campground is in perfect walking distance to the race, beach and as well the end of bike course passes right in front and 2 loops of the run pass here also, so the family didn’t have to go far to see the action!
The week of…..
Training continued as normal for my full Ironman up until the week of, which happened to be a lighter “recovery week” for the week of Maine, so I backed some intensity down for the workouts that week. During final prep with my bike and charging of the Di2 1 of my shifters stopped working, the aero bar front derailleur, it’s an intermittent issue with the wire it seems. So this will have to be addressed. Thankfully Di2 has 2 different shifters on bike for each derailleur. Besides that, everything seemed to be in order with my gear and preparation.
Arrival In Old Orchard Beach
We arrived Thursday in some hot weather up in Maine. I was able to get an easy hour bike in with Jason Friday morning out and back to check some of the course out. The bike course is significantly different this year as opposed to 2019. I was also able to drive the course which I ALWAYS RECOMMEND! I was able to see road conditions, elevation profile and mentally ride the course and know where to push and hold back if needed. We also got a practice swim in Friday afternoon which mentally helped big time! Knowing how hard the swim could be with the chop again on race morning getting out there was reassuring.
Check in and Ironman village
Things went smooth with spreading people out throughout the day to check in, 1 thing I noticed is they have seemed to have gone generic in a lot of things, swim caps were just 70.3 with no race name, the merchandise didn’t have the year on it for the race, and no names on bibs as numbers were handed out as you checked in. It’s the little things that you notice when your paying good $ to race. I understand that after so many races cancelled and uncertainty, making things more generic and non year specific does make sense though.
This race wasnt my A race, but I would give it an honest effort to put my training to the test. Was shooting for sub 5:30 with a push goal of PRing this race with sub 5:13 and a stretch of 5:10….. a side note is next year 2022 I told myself I wanted to spend the year training to go sub 5 in a 70.3 ….. stay tuned
Bright and early with a 430 walk down to transition. No more body markings meant everyone got in smoothly. Never enough porta potties of course, and the call to head down to swim start (which is about 1/3 of a mile) was called pretty quickly. 530 transition closed and pros were set to hit the water at 545 with age groupers rolling in shortly after.
Once we got down to swim start we were met with our support crew, thank you April, Mom, Thea, Sue and Gabriella for waking up early to catch the pre swim start!
Once we got to the water it wasn’t rough as in 2019 but the water was moving out there! Weather was forecasted to be overcast and cool out. Unfortunately the sun never came through the clouds for swim start so it stayed pretty dark. I had mirrored goggles on which would have helped with some sun, but now I had to deal and figure it out. Thankfully at each straight away distance there was a harbor boat with flashing lights which I was able to site all the way down to the first turn buoy. There was no need to eye up the buoys if I stayed dead on with the lights. I got in the water and stayed to the right of the pack. I breathe to the left so I would be able to keep the pack and buoys as I pass them in sight. The water temp was 68 that morning, I had my full sleeve suit and was super comfortable in the water! After the first turn buoy there was another harbor boat with its lights on at the next turn. Perfect…. Same game plan for the large back stretch. Once I made the final turn I was able to see some flashing lights down on the beach from one of the security cars blocking the road so I stayed on with that and had a pretty straight swim. The swim went smooth, only really bumped 2-3 people and had no issues with the usual “why the hell am I doing this”. I seeded myself 37-40 min group and as I exited the water I saw 40mins on my watch! I was ecstatic!!!! Last time in Maine was 47min and my PR prior was 41mins in AC. So coming out of the water I was 7 minutes ahead of 2019.
Swim Time 40:47 2:07/100m
2019 46:21 2:24/100m
It’s a long run to transition, and I made sure I got the sleeves off my full suit quick coming out of the water…. I knew if I stayed steady a PR could happen with room to spare. Into transition I went and headed toward my bike. My rack was close to bike out thankfully due to a lower bib number. I opted for no socks on the bike, I just wish I woulda wiped the rocks and sand off my feet a little better. Helmet on and out we went!
Heading out onto the bike I was motivated after that swim. The weather was set to be perfect, overcast and low 60s, the course is new this year compared to 2019 for the bike and elevation remained about the same, computer picked it up as 1,797 ft and 54 mile course which was confirmed in the athlete packet as a 54 mile loop. The roads were nice smooth and fast with rolling hills and a couple punchy little climbs if you didn’t know they were coming. Being an average swimmer I played catch up on a busy bike route playing leap frog. I wasn’t able to hold the power I was shooting for but my MPH was higher than I figured I would be going. I just kept it at what felt like a smooth solid output effort wise. I was able to take in 2+ bottles of my Infinit mix and 2 gels on the bike evenly stretched out. And made sure towards the end of bike I took a little extra from my last bottle to prep the run. Heading into the bike my left glute was a little bit of an annoyance but it worked itself out as I went on. I kept aero as much as possible and pedaled the downhills to be able to get the next uphill pretty quick. Around mile 35-40 the bike course spread out a bit and I was able to just keep solid as I caught up to people. I started feeling what I didn’t get off my feet from the run to transition digging into my foot around mile 40 and was hoping it wasn’t a cut or bleeding on my left big toe cause that would make for a miserable run! The rolling hills just kept coming and I just kept pedaling, it was a solid even effort through the bike and as we came back into town I was ahead of pace, I passed the family at the campground and seeing the crowd back in town pumped me up. I took my feet out of shoes and made the last turn into transition and got right off the bike next to another Hit Squad WATTIE, those little things during the race keep you moving when you see people you know!!!
Bike time 2:26:27 22mph
2019 2:36:26 21.2 mph
I knew at this time I had somewhere around 15 mins ahead of 2019….. I was completely shocked!!!!! This meant as of now if I ran my pace in 2019 I might be around 5:00! But did I go to hard and can you hold it together? Bike was racked; socks on, shoes on, take my banana, bib and go! Let’s see how these legs feel! In and out! No need to waste time in transition
Passing the line to head out on the run In front of me I see and ironfit endurance kit, hmmm wait a second… is that Leah Jantzen!?! @thescrappyathlete ?! (Side note I met Leah earlier this year when I went out east and trained with some IFE and Wildwood warrior athletes, she’s a mind set coach and Kona age group qualifier.) How ya doing Ken?! Umm great I think! You?! Good! Ok….. off we went…. Passed the campground and saw the family Going uphill into mile 1 marker. I felt my left glute and left hamstring with a little naggle so I grabbed a salt container in transition for my run. As soon as I felt those little things in my body I started with 3 licks of salt before every aid station. I switched between water and Gatorade each mile through the run, sometimes I’d get a good amount, other times just a splash, it was grab and go and keep going. Once you hit the trail part of each loop it narrows down to single track in each direction. Someone going the other direction yelled, Leah! And I hear a voice behind me, oh snap Leah is right behind me still! So at mile 3 ish I said Leah you still there, "Yup! Your setting the pace" Oh man talk about pressure! First 3 miles were sub 7:30 but the pace felt Good! Once we popped out of the trails at mile 4 plus we got next to each other and started talking and shooting the shit about the day so far, this made it seem like a training run! And in good company the miles ticked away! We just kept sharing the motivation and kept trucking sometimes looking at the mile split on the watch, sometimes missing it, but we stayed steady. I kept hitting the aid stations and kept it moving. Passing the family on lap 2 we were still going strong! Just a 10k left, in the trails the second time I started to feel it, Leah took the pace and kept in front, as soon as we popped out we had about 5k to go, she is strong. She charged ahead and I trailed the last mile and a half. Going into mile 12 my legs started to hit that wall, I held strong through the last mile though and came down the chute strong and it was at that time I knew my watch wasn’t lying to me, it was going to be something special today!!!!
Run time 1:35:27 7:17/mi
2019 1:43:16 7:52/mi
Previous PR 5:08:03
Almost 20 min PR and sub 5!
Sum and Substance
I can honestly say I was absolutely shocked and taken back at the day. From start to finish it was a race that was executed like a story. From nutrition, to each discipline, to transition, the weather, the support and the course itself! This was the day I needed going into the unknown in 4 weeks, Ironman Chattanooga! There’s still work to do before that race, and I’ll take today to remember yesterday. But onward we go. All I have left is to learn from this race and the memories it gave me. Thank you to all who reached out to me, and all who supported! And thank you to all the local racers I saw up in Maine, seeing friendly familiar faces made it that much easier!