Ironman Muncie Race Recap

The concept of racing at Ironman Muncie started in the Fall of 2010 when I heard that Ironman Corporation was buying out the Muncie Endurathon Half Ironman race.  With Ironman coming to Indiana, and looking for a marquee event for 2011, this was an obvious one.  Not long after I talked to my friend Greg Lucas, and next thing you know we are both making plans to go. 

One of the best things that happened shortly afterwards was getting hooked up with Daniel Bretscher as my coach.  He set me on a path to success that began November 1st and continued right up until race day.

Race day itself was a good experience until about an hour before the race after everything was setup and ready to go.  Then the nervousness hit me.  Thankfully my wife Sherrie was there, and made the wait to the swim start much easier on me. 

At the swim start I lined up fairly close to the front of the pack with Greg.  Had the opportunity to talk with my fellow Bretscher Multisport teammate Ron Gierut, also in my age group, and an absolute ace at this.  Just two of so many people who made this race memorable for me.  

Not far into the swim I started battling my nerves a bit as the group was in fairly tight, but after a couple of hundred yards it all came good and I just cruised though it without too much trouble.  At the swim exit I heard my mother in-law Judy yell for me and I really appreciated the encouragement.  Took a look at my watch and saw 45 minutes for the 1.2 mile swim.

Off on the bike I played it nice and easy keeping in mind Daniels advice that this is a runner’s race, and don’t burn yourself out on the bike which is easy to do on a fast course like Muncie.  That is basically the way it played out, even though I felt a bit flat considering how I usually feel on the bike, but it all worked out okay.  I didn’t see Greg all day after the start, but caught up with him about mile 55 on the bike.  We probably started the run within a minute of each other.  Found out afterwards it took 2 hours 36 minutes (about 21.5 mph) for the 56 miles.

Saw Sherrie as soon as I left transition and headed out for the run, and another source of encouragement that I appreciated.  Legs felt good for the start of the run, so the strategy was working out really well.  Saw Daniel come in what turned out to be 5th overall among the pros.  He had a good day, and made a nice paycheck for the race.  Somewhere between mile 4 and 5 I saw Ron in the lead of the Men’s 50-54 headed back to the finish with Steve Maves and Mike Smith hot on his heels.  Watching them play out the battle for the age group win was just awesome to watch.  Later I saw most of the other Bretscher Multisport Team along the run including Dana, Julie, Michael, and Billie.  Just totally cool to say I was part of this first class group.  I also saw Greg and his son Tyler on the run course and several others I knew.  Greg had both of his sons Tyler, and Brandon racing, how cool is that for a family experience!

It would not be even close to correct if I didn’t mention the volunteers that worked the course.  I heard it was 1,200 of them to pull this race off.  During the run especially I was so thankful for their tireless effort to get me ice, cold sponges, water, Powerbar Perform drink and cola.  Every mile I grabbed one or two of each to stay cool, hydrated and powered up.  God bless every one of them for their efforts.

The run went nice and smooth till about 10 + miles when the legs tightened up really tight.  Didn’t overheat or run out of energy, just got really tight the last few miles.  Finally made it in to the home stretch and Sherrie was there to capture the event on camera.  My father in-law Paul was also there at the finish.  We walked together under a tent that had a cool mist spray going and I probably set there for 30 minutes until I felt like I could move again.  Run split was 1 hour 51 minutes (8:30 pace) with a total time of 5 hours 18 minutes.

All in all a great day, as well as a 6 minute personal best for the 70.3 distance.  Really more considering my last Ironman 70.3 was Augusta Georgia where the swim was so much easier.  After the race we took a team picture then headed to visit family in Indy.  Nice visit and a really enjoyable double cheeseburger and fries to top it off before heading home for the day.

God is good.  In a phone conversation with Greg later we agreed that anytime you can finish a race like this in the 50 + age group, you are a blessed man …

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