Ben Wilson 720-378-2327

Race Report Kansas 70.3


Race Report Kansas 70.3


“She was the duathlon national champion in her age group last year.” 


Up until this point I didn’t know Corrie Kristick from Limp Bizkit. Corrie was very humble and if her boyfriend, Austin hadn’t outed her she would have let Ann and I believe she was just another racer in for a fun time. I don’t think Austin was any slouch. He talked about winning a running race in his native Houston and getting to shake the hand of former NFL player, Vince Young. He said he ran a mile to the car then back so he could capture it on his iphone. :)


So first lesson, go to the athletes welcome gathering for a free beer and pizza. One never knows who may be sitting across the table on top of the Oread. Lesson number two, it is pronounced O-ree-ahd not Oreed as I had been saying for 3 months. Woops.


From the top of the Oread the view of the KU campus and surrounding area of Lawrence was beautiful. That’s coming from a guy who double clutched when he had to serve communion to a man in a Jayhwk t-shirt.


“Really Jesus?! Your grace extends to Jayhawkers?!” Through gritted teeth I stammered, “The body of Christ...broken for you. Jayhawk scumbag.”


I didn't really say that last part. :)


I actually found myself mostly unconcerned about the whole MU/KU thing. I think that is a testament to the generous hearts and attitudes of triathletes. Everyone is so encouraging to one another. It ‘s fabulous.


Saturday I went to the tri-club lunch. There were tons of Chipotle fixins with gallons of guac and a barrel of freshly cut fruit. Great meal. As some introductions were made from the mic I heard, “In about 10 minutes we’ll have Crowie and Emma-Kate in here.” I had no idea they were going to be there. Wow, it was just a small tent that held about 60 or so. I’m still a little star struck with those elite folks.


Big takeaway from Crowie was ‘get fit’. I’ve lost 100 lbs and can ride a 100 miles in a day so there is a certain fitness there. Still, to get better I have about 20-25 more lbs of flab to lose as well as build up some significant core, leg and arm strength. That’s my goal for this fall and spring to be ready for next year. That’s lesson number 3. Crowie and Emma-Kate both won their races.


Oh, and Corrie, I saw her after the race and asked her how she did. “Sixth.” Since we had talked age group my mind went there. It wasn’t until I looked at the results online that I realized she finished sixth out of EVERY woman there, pro and age group. She is a studette for sure.


We camped at Clinton. We rented a 17’ camper and borrowed a pickup to pull it. Saturday night it thundered, flashed and poured. Our camper had a leak by the exhaust pipe. I noticed it early on and threw down a towel. A little while later I went in and it was mostly soaked so I threw down my transition towel. I had my two transition bags packed separately (thanks Keri Jones) on the floor. I was starting to get nervous the whole camper was going to flood so I put them up on the chair to keep them dry.


Fortunately, the rain quit and at 3:45a I was officially up and nervous. My wife had a little less energy than me at that time, but she was great throughout all the prep and the race. A great Sherpa as they say.


I was so excited to see the water on Lake Clinton mostly calm after the horror stories of the year before. I was glad to finally get in the water and get going. Lesson 4. For a newbie swimmer like me a full sleeved wetsuit helps a bunch. When I tried it in the pool it cut 10 seconds off my 50 yard time! Probably not quite as big a deal for a good swimmer but it gives me extra security. Lesson 5 was don’t spray my arms with that slick stuff until AFTER I get my legs in the suit or it gets everywhere. I think I read that in Chrissie Wellington’s book, but forgot it on race day.


I came out of the water in around 45 minutes and was glad it was over.  I think I swam 1.4 or 1.5 instead of 1.2 with my zigzags. I found my wife just outside the fencing near my bike. I went over and gave her a smooch. A few seconds of time is a small price to pay to show my gratitude for her supporting all the time and $ spent on tri’s. She got that great picture near bike out with 1500 bikes behind me. So cool to be a part of these.


I finished the bike in 3:06. 18mph. I was expecting about 16.5 so was really excited. Normally in these things I’m in the bottom third of the swim and run, but in the middle on the bike. Not so in a 70.3. 18mph was still down near the bottom. I guess that makes sense. Didn’t see too many hybrids out there in 70.3s.


I saw my wife in T2 and gave her another smooch. I’d had a good day of exercise until then. I hadn’t run for 3 weeks because my hammy locked up a couple times. I was prepared to walk it to finish if I needed too. I should have gone with a 4 min run 1 min walk for the whole thing. Instead I ran the first mile to see how it would go. My back was really tight. After that I just kept repeating my mantra, “Keep moving forward.” I switched to 200 left foot strikes of jogging and 100 of walking. I use my iphone for timing when I run. Gotta buy a watch. Lessons 6, have a plan for the run and stay with it. Lesson 7 buy a watch. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive Garmin. And my feet were really hurting. Lesson 8 was don’t walk around  in transition barefoot for 45 minutes before the swim.


My friend Bruce started about 40 minutes after me. He eventually caught me on the run at mile 10. A highlight of the race was him saying, “I’m here for you now. We’re going to finish together.” He quit running and got on my hobbled pace. It was a tremendous act of generosity and touched me deeply.


Bruce and I started riding together a couple years ago at the urging of our friend Brian. After our first tri we agreed to go Oly the next year (OKC) then 70.3 (KS) and then full  in 2014. So it was special to complete this part of our dream together. I finished the run at 12 minutes a mile. 6 hours and 45 minutes overall.


At first the perfectionist voices taunted me. That was so slow. You finished a race, big deal.  But then I remembered the process of it all. Being 300 lbs just a few short years ago. Only being able to swim 12 yards the first time I tried to swim, then going 25 and hanging on to the edge of the pool to catch my breath before I could go back. An open water swim over a mile. Ha! The thought of cycling 7 miles was daunting at first but then I gradually worked my way up to 30 then 80 then 100.


The bike and tri’s have been so good to me. I am grateful for the turnaround in my life. I’ve recently moved to Longmont, CO (CMCers you are welcome to stay here any race in Boulder). This morning I rode up Lee Hill/Old Stage Rd. to prepare for my second Oly this Sunday, Boulder Peak. It’s a beast of a hill. My legs and lungs were screaming at me to stop. I almost walked. Almost. 


There were tame deer to greet me at the top. Their gentleness softened my heart and brought a smile to my face. The pain and suffering seemed insignificant. I just made it up Old Stage Rd! And the views! The views over Boulder and the Colorado plains are amazing.