Matt Hanson | Professional Triathlete
4x Ironman Champion/ 3x 70.3 Champion

Ironman 70.3 Austin Race Report

img_0669I was excited to race Austin 70.3 for a number of reasons. First, with it being just a week after Miami 70.3, it didn’t make sense to fly back home. I was able to go to The Woodlands to see some friends and to train in a place where I’m pretty comfortable. I also had a few MHC athletes racing Austin and a number of them located in Texas, so it was an opportunity to get some face time with the athletes I am working with. I was also able to squeeze in a quick session with Ruddock Visuals (those pics will be coming soon!) Austin was the first time I raced back to back 70.3s. I was pretty pleased with how quickly I recovered from Miami despite running fairly hard there, so I was entering the race with a lot of confidence in my ability to put together a good day.

Race Morning
I woke up around 4:30 and had my typical 2 servings of First Endurance Ultragen for pre-race breakfast. I got my bike ready and was off to the race site. I like being in transition early and getting everything ready before the masses show up, I can get out of the area and find a quiet place to warm up and get my head ready when the nervous energy in the area starts to increase. I went over to the swim start and started to try to picture the course…part of my typical routine. But I wasn’t able to see the first buoy due to the fog. Looking at the weather report the day before, I knew there was going to be fog to deal with but I didn’t ever consider that it would cause the swim to be canceled. Although I was disappointed this happened, it was absolutely the right decision. You couldn’t see the buoys at all, so sighting would have been impossible. I hadn’t ate anything since 4:30 and our start was going to be delayed until 9:00 which was not ideal…I ended up sweet talking a Cliff bar out of one of the people in the VIP area to hold me over until race start.

14915184_1090311874421451_729196798829558254_nBike – 2:12:57 
This was my first time doing a TT start, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had a good idea how my body would respond, although it was nearly impossible to do anything that resembled a warm up. Nothing like going from zero to full gas to wake up the body! I was the 5th person to go off, and I new the riders in front of me were solid and the next two guys who would be chasing me were strong as well. I started out the first 30 min of the ride holding about 30w more than I intended on averaging coming into the day (when there was swill a swim) and was still passed by both Chris and TJ. At that point, I figured I was in for a pretty lonely ride. I didn’t think any of the other guys could bridge up to me, and I figured the front guys would end up packing up. Both turned out to be the case, I basically had a 56 mile solo TT. Pretty happy with how I rode overall, I still have plenty of things to work on but this was the highest power I held for a 70.3 by a significant margin.

T14591649_1090400421079263_4435264869055927096_n2 (well…T1…) – 1:33 
I had a decent transition…but did leave my watch in my bag. I got a few steps away from my area and realized I was missing it and ran back to pick it up. Cost me about 10 seconds overall…in a race that was this close, that could have been a big deal, but thankfully it didn’t end up making a difference.

Run – 1:11:13 

I was a bit unsure how everything was going to go on this run since I biked harder than I had in the past. With the time delay, the heat had a chance to creep up as well which was another thing that we had to adjust for on the day. I had no clue how far down I was from the leaders, but I thought I came off the bike 8th (one of the later guys out biked me as well so was actually 9th) so I had some work to do on the run. I started the run right around 5:00 pace. My legs didn’t feel great actually, but at that point I had nothing to lose. I thought with a great run I could work my way to close to the front and with an average run I’d finish out of the money and with no points to speak of…so there wasn’t really a question in how I was going to approach the run. My VMO (inner quad) started to cramp on mile 1 and by mile 3 it was locked up completely. This definitely isn’t comfortable, but I’ve been able to run through this before so I  wasn’t terribly worried. I img_0664-2focused on trying to stay wet and cool and get the nutrition I needed early on. I was fighting off calf and hamstring cramps…which typically stop me in my place. They were threatening the entire run, but never locked up so I was able to run hard for most of the run. The course was a 3 loop course full of small rolling hills. I was able to get an idea of who was in front and running well at the first out and back…it looked like everyone was running well. I kept on pushing through the first two loops without catching anyone, but I could tell I was bridging the gap on the group. On the final loop, I was still running well, but hurting pretty good at that point. I was still fighting off any cramps and feeding as much out of the energy from the crowd as I could. Finally at the final turn around I started catching the group that I was chasing. I was able hold form all of the way in, which turned out to be the difference. I ended up moving from 6th to 3rd in the last few miles to clinch my first 70.3 podium spot.

austin-podiumOverall – 3:25:43 
Really happy with how I built off of last week’s race in Miami. I am still learning really how to race the shorter distances. I definitely am taking a ton of positives from this race and am looking forward to building off of this into the last two races of the season.

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