Skip to main content

IM 70.3 World Championship - race recap (Karel)

With Ironman Chattanooga in just two weeks, I was a little nervous about how Karel would manage his effort at the IM 70.3 WC as he is no stranger to giving a hard effort when he races. But I could tell from his attitude, especially after what happened to me on Saturday, that he was not going to take any risks and he was going to give a good effort, without leaving it all out there. Never has Karel raced a half Ironman just two weeks before an Ironman but there's a first for everything. 

I set my alarm for 4am and slooooowly, got myself out of bed. Karel went through his normal pre-race routine of coffee (espresso), bathroom, food (for this race it was oatmeal + granola + almond butter + frozen raspberries) and then a short jog outside to help him move everything through his system. Karel also sipped on a scoop of OSMO pre load in water before we left the house.

At 5:15am, we headed down to the race venue. Although I was still bummed about not racing on Saturday, I was excited to use my tapered and fueled body to cheer for Karel. I just love watching Karel race and I was also excited to spectate our athlete Alvaro for his first 70.3 World Championship.

After Karel pumped up his tires and placed his 3 bottles of sport nutrition (2 bottles with Levelen, 1 bottle with INFINIT) and Garmin on his bike, we walked back to the car for Karel to relax. With Karel being in the 3rd wave (Pros, then PC athletes and then Male 40-44), Karel had enough time to not feel rushed but at the same time, the early morning went by quickly before it was time for Karel to head back down to the water.

Prior to walking to the water, Karel did another jog warm-up to get his system going. Around 6:30a, we walked down to Ross's Landing, where we stood around until Karel walked over to the corral for the start of his wave. 

Al getting ready for his first 70.3 WC but playing it smart as he also has IM Chatty approaching. 

Karel was a little worried about not being able to get into the water before the race as his pre-race swim has been a ritual for him to get a good feel of the water and to adjust the wetsuit but I brought a bottle of water for him to pour inside of his wetsuit so that he could avoid the "sucking" feeling of the wetsuit being tight on the chest when he entered the water. Karel received his swim cap after entering the corral and lined up in the sub 30 minute group of men in his AG. 

It was awesome to see the pros go off and then the PC athletes and before we knew it, Karel was in the water (still loving the Ironman tracker app!). With this being a rolling wave start, a small group of athletes dove (or jumped) into the water every 15 seconds. 

After wishing Karel good luck and to have a great race, it was time for my spectating duties to begin! 

It was fun to have so many Trimarnis out on the sidelines to cheer - including Kona, the furry spectator. Campy stayed back at our rental house so that I could put all my energy into Karel. 

I couldn't believe it when my phone chimed to let me know that Karel was out of the water in 30 minutes! I was thinking that Karel would be happy with sub 34 minutes but I knew he would be thrilled with his 30 minute swim. Karel said that the current didn't feel too strong in either direction but he was certainly swimming faster (per his Garmin) on the way back to the swim exit. Karel was surprised that he felt so good in the water and even more shocked that he was passing athletes as soon as he dove into the water. What a great confidence booster, especially since Karel has been working so hard on his swim for many years. 

Since my athlete Meredith was spectating on Saturday, she knew all the hot spots for us to go in order to see the athletes on the course. After we saw Al, we waited a few more minutes for Karel. We caught Karel after he grabbed his blue bike gear bag and ran up the ramp to the changing area and quickly after, we sprinted our way to the bike out area to catch Karel get on his bike. As Karel was running to his bike, he took in 1 Enervitene cheerpack. 

It was impressive to watch Karel do his first ever flying mount on his bike and naturally, he looked like he had been doing it all his life. I guess being a former cyclist has it's benefits - anything on the bike feels/looks natural. 

Cheering squad!
There wasn't a lot of waiting around after Karel got on his bike because I wanted to watch the professional men run up the hill as they started their run. I walked to my car to grab a snack (PBJ sandwich and a yogurt) and then walked to the hill under the blue wooden bridge. 

While we watched the pros, I was keeping track of Karel on the tracker and I was really impressed with the bike ride that he was having. In most of Karel's races, his back is his limiter as it tends to tighten up as he pushes, which keeps him from riding the race that he is capable of riding. Although he had some back tightness in the last 10 miles of the ride, Karel felt really good on this bike course. He told me later on that he just loved this bike course and it was just perfect for him as it suited his riding style. There were lots of opportunities for Karel to sit up and get out of the saddle and other places to use his skills. In addition to his liquid sport nutrition, Karel had a pack of Skratch chews, 3 HOT SHOTS (in a squeezable flask) and an Enervitene cheerpack. He did not grab any other water or nutrition on the course. Since the first chunk of the bike course is very similar to what we ride on in Greenville, SC, Karel was really happy out on his bike, which made racing a lot of fun for him. The weather was cool in the morning but just perfect for the 56 mile bike ride. Karel never felt too hot or cold.

After Karel got off his bike, his running legs came to him rather quickly and he settled into a rhythm for the first out and back section out of the transition. I was shocked to see Karel in 14th place off the bike and I couldn't wait to share this information with him when I saw him. Although a part of me was worried about telling him that he was close to being in the top 10 of his age group because I didn't want him to dig too deep, I knew that Karel would process the information and be smart with his race effort. Somehow, Karel always knows how to put together a great race. 

We gave Karel a big cheer as we saw him run up the hill and he looked calm and in control. After the race, Karel told me that he just loved the run course and he felt great all day. Since our terrain includes lots of hills where we run, Karel put himself into a familiar environment and just settled into a strong effort, without taking any risks or digging too deep. 

As I saw Karel finish up loop one of two after crossing the bridge I noticed on the tracker that he was moving up in his age group. Although there were some faster guys in the top 5, I was feeling confident that Karel could move into the top 10 - which would be a huge accomplishment, seeing that there were over 400 guys in his age group. 

Karel was running super steady and it was impressive to track him throughout the 13.1 mile run. With every mile as the race went on, it seemed like Karel was getting stronger and faster. Since Karel was saving one extra gear throughout the race, he put it into that extra gear just for the last 3 miles. Because of the wave/rolling start, Karel was not sure where he was in his age group but that really wasn't a focus for him as he was racing. His goal was to put together a solid race to build confidence for IM Chattanooga in two weeks.

For sport nutrition, Karel used Precision Hydration 1500 (in two flasks) and 2 Enervitene cheerpacks (in 1 flask) throughout the race. He wanted to use LEVELEN on the run but because Karel was not able to access his gear bags on race morning, he used the Precision Hydration instead. Karel did not use any coke/red bull on the course as he felt energized all day.  He felt very comfortable out on the course (temperature wise) and only used water to sip on and cool his neck a few times throughout the run. 

With Al being just a few miles behind Karel, we secured a great spot at the finish line to watch Karel (and then Al) run down the magical red carpet and across the finish line. A few guys went by and finally, there was Karel. 

In typically Karel fashion, he was running strong. Later I told Karel that he was less than 30 seconds away from 6th place! He joked "oh man, maybe I should have ran harder."

After we met up with Karel, he looked really good. Not too beat up and walking semi-normally. I told him about his 8th place finish and he couldn't believe it. He was in shock that he was 8th in his AG, especially on a day when he felt in control and so good all day. Karel felt like not having any pressure on himself to perform well and not digging too deep really helped him pace the race and put together one of his best half Ironman performances. 

For the last part of Karel's race, I completely forgot about my face and the accident which kept me from racing on Saturday. I was just so happy for Karel that he had such a great day of racing. Although Karel was really sad for me that I could not race on this course, we are a team and when one of us succeeds, we both feel like winners. Teamwork makes the dream work. 

Karel had a few nice words with Jesse Thomas after the race and then we got a picture together. 

Karel wasn't interested in any food after the race so he drank a Cheribundi recovery drink that I had brought for him and about 30 minutes later, he sipped on a coke to keep his blood sugar up. It wasn't too long after Karel finished that Al crossed the finish line.

It was so much fun to share the race with Meredith, Natalie, Peggy, Leyla, Leigh Ann, my mom, Stephanie and Laura, along with others that I saw on and off the course. Thank you Stephanie G for some of these pics! 

Race Results
Swim: 30:34
T1: 3:28
Bike: 2:30.29
T2: 2:23
Run: 1:26.35
Total time: 4:33:28
8th AG (40-44)

The IM 70.3 World Championship was an incredible experience. Even though I didn't get to race, it was still one for the memory books. Since we returned home, I have had blood work, BP testing with my sport doc and an EKG with a cardiologist. Everything came back good and I am otherwise healthy, minus the scary blacking out episode that occurred on race day. The docs contributed it to getting up to fast with low blood pressure. Hopefully just a one time accident. I also received the OK to resume back normal training and permission to race again this season!

Since the race, Karel's recovery has been going well as he gears up for his last race of his season. As to be expected, he has waves of feeling good and then being tired but his recovery started just a few hours after the race when he had on his training plan to do a 90 minute EZ spin to help flush his legs.

Now that the 70.3 World Championship event is behind us, we have to get ready for another trip to Tennessee. On September 24th (two days after Karel turns 41!), it's time for Ironman Chattanooga! 


A BIG thank you to our 
2017 Trimarni sponsors and affiliates:

-Run In - for helping us with all of our running needs
-New Wave Swim Buoy - for keeping us safe and seen in the open water
-Mg12 - for helping our muscles stay relaxed
-Clif Bar - for quality ingredients in quality sport nutrition
-Cheribundi - for providing a safe, natural and delicious way to reduce inflammation
-Veronica's Health Crunch - for the most delicious hand made crunch - ever!
-Infinit - for customizable sport nutrition
-Levelen - for helping us optimize our hydration needs through sweat testing
-Hot Shot - for keeping Karel cramp-free!
-Solestar - for maximum stability, better power transmission
-Boco Gear - for helping us race in style
-Canari - for the most comfortable, functional and stylish gear
-Xterra - for the fastest wetsuit ever (so fast, Karel is now beating me in the swim!)
-Alto cycling - for enginnering the fastest race wheels
-Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge - for keeping our campers happy with perfect lodging options
-Salem Anesthesia - for your Trimarni support