Steelhead 70.3

The Ironman Steelhead 70.3 is a WTC half ironman race held in Benton Harbor, MI.  The 2014 version was my second attempt at this race (the 2011 version with a cancelled swim being my first) and my wife's first half iron distance race.  I finished in 5:04:16, 34/228 in my AG, and 194/2087 overall.

The swim is a point-to-point course heading north along the shores of Lake Michigan and is wetsuit legal with water temps usually at or just below 70 degrees F.  A NE wind made for a tough, but interesting swim battling choppy waters.  I completed the swim in 37:34, a decent result for me under those conditions.

The bike course is a single loop lollipop route on rolling country roads heading NE from transition.  This meant a headwind heading out on the course, with a fast 20-mile section on a smooth highway heading back to transition with a tailwind.  I averaged 21.5 mph, finishing the 56 mile course in 2:36:12.

The run course is also a lollipop with particpants completing two ~5 mile loops on the Whirlpool corporate headquarters campus.  The course is fairly flat with a mix of open and shaded sections.  The second half of my run saw temps increase to the low 80s, but I was able to maintain a steady pace to complete the 13.1 miles in 1:42:04.

My transitions were the real disappointment of the day. I had some space issues to deal with in T1 as I came in at exactly the same time as the racer racked next to me, and then proceeded to run past my spot with my bike and having to backtrack in T2.  I could have easily saved a couple of minutes in transition and been closer to my goal of cracking 5 hours.  Overall a great day of racing and an 11 minute PR at this distance.