One thing is for certain, @toughmantri lives up to its name. I don’t know of a harder 70.3. It’s the hardest race I’ve ever done, and this year was next level hard. We started with a weird 2-mile run, which was hard to know what to do with. I went with the flow and tried to pretend it didn’t exist.

Then it was down to business. Last year was well executed. That’s all well and good. But we are in this to grow, right? And that means learning what happens when you put yourself out there. I went after it. 4th fastest AG split on the bike and a whole lot of fun. This course is not for the faint of heart at high speed. Where would that leave me on the run? That was a question I was keen to answer. I knew I would dig a hole. Instead of just following the safe plan for success, I wanted to put myself at risk and see if I could find my way out of the hole. It’s been a theme this year.

The run course starts demonically, down a giant hill which we then run back up. It’s honestly diabolical, not least because the same hill features again, up and down, at mile 10ish. It felt appropriately bad, but at the summit things evened out and I found a good groove for several miles. The run is literally uphill both ways (don’t ask me how but it’s true) and I started feeling it early, around 7-8. My quads were screaming on the revisited demon hill, and coming back up it was the stuff of nightmares. At times I wasn’t sure if I was even moving. I made the top and my pace had suffered but there was still a chance to save it, I projected around 2 hrs for the run if I could keep it together from that point.
I couldn’t. There were numerous factors. Coke at the aid stations saved my run last year; the guide said they’d have it. They didn’t. So my sugar levels plummeted. So did the temperature, especially with the wind off the lake. On a soaked tri kit, that was a recipe for disaster at these temps. By mile 11 I was shivering for two distinct physiological reasons and retching. Walking climbs by 12, delirious and hypothermic from then on. Sobbing in the chute, tripping over the line. The medical staff were great. I’m ok now. And it was enough. Title defended. It was tough, man.

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