I had a hard time pulling myself away from the computer to train yesterday as IronMan.com streamed live coverage of the IronMan World Championships from 11 a.m. EST until late last night.
Love him or hate him, Chris McCormack finally pulled it off and laid down the an incredibly strong performance, posting splits of 51 min. in the swim, 4:37 on the bike and then an amazing 2:42 marathon. The competition was fierce, but he played it smart, kept grinding it out, and eight hours and 15 minutes later was crowned the new IronMan World Champion. Fellow Australian and Hawaii rookie, Craig Alexander, gave McCormack a real run for his money but ultimately, strength trumped speed late in the game. I believe that the gap between these 2 men was somewhere around 30 sec. to 1 minute right up until mile 18 or so on the run. As Alexander's fluid stride rate began to slow late in the late stages of the marathon, McCormack powered on, and proved to the world that he truly is the best long course triathlete in the world.
On the woman's side, it was a one woman show: Christine Wellington, who won this year's IronMan Korea (despite temperatures that reached 120 degree!), took control on the bike and never looked back. She was AMAZINGLY strong throughout the entire day, waving and smiling to fans throughout the run while posting a 2:59 marathon split. IronMan rookie Samantha McGlone had a great day as well, finishing 5 or 6 min. back from Wellington and proving that she'll be a force to be reckoned with at the I.M. distance from here on in.
What an inspiration to watch these athletes duke it out.
Next year, I'll be 32 years old and racing on the Pro circuit. I had toyed with the idea of hitting IronMan Lake Placid in July, but since I've committed to teaching through the end of the school year, I know that I won't have enough time to train the way I need to in order to pull off the performance that I feel I'm capable of at the IronMan distance. However... come June 20th, I'm 100% self employed and will have all the time in the world to simply run my coaching business and train.
This being said, it's looking like I'll be focusing upon the half I.M./70.3 distance throughout the spring and summer and then capping my '08 campaign off with an I.M. debut at IronMan Florida. The goal: Qualify for the '09 IronMan World Championship.
As it stands, my '08 race calendar is looking something like this:
- PowerMan Alabama (April 13th)
- Wildflower Triathlon (May 3rd)
- Rye-by-the-Sea Duathlon (May 31st)
- Eagleman 70.3 (June 8th)
- MedExpress Mountaineer Triathlon (June 29th)
- Spirit of Racine Triathlon (July 20th) OR Newfoundland 70.3 (July 27th)
- Timberman 70.3 (August 17th)
- Escape to Bermuda Triathlon - Olympic Distance (October 19th)
- IronMan Florida (November 1st)
More to come (but not until next year!) on the theory behind this race progression, but when coupled with the right training, I feel that it'll leave me ready to roll come November 1st, 2008.