Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3: Race Report

The morning began with the wake up call at 4:00am…eeeeek. Since the race started at 6:30 am (not sure who’s brilliant idea that was) we had to get an early start and make the 15 minute drive to the race site.

I had a few goals for this race.

1) Swim with energy and push throughout (I wanted my arms to be tired)
2) Beat Greg out of the water so I could have a ride home (I had a 6 minute head start)
3) Bike “MY” race and stay in aero as much as possible.
4) Run the “ENTIRE” race and finish strong.

After setting up transition and getting ready to go I headed over to the swim start area. At this race I was the first wave after the pros. I was a bit late making it down (running through the crowd like the start of Bloomsday) to the dock area but was still able to get in the water just before the gun went off. Phaedra told me there was a buoy line under the water that you can follow (YES!!) so you really don’t have to sight much at all. I decided to take off to the right and make my way over once the crowd had thinned out.

The swim went pretty good. The water was a balmy 72 degrees a bit warmer than the 56 at Boise. In hindsight I should have swam over to the buoy line a bit sooner but once I found it the rest was up to me putting one arm in front of the other. I was able to draft a bit and overall my effort felt pretty good. My goal was to come out of the water with my arms worn out and I that was accomplished. Boise swim time 39:54, Lake Stevens swim time 36:45. I was able to shave off over 3 minutes; I think the master’s swim classes are starting to pay off. I took a quick glance at my watch and had to figure Greg was behind me, but I really didn’t know.

T1 went pretty well. My transition area was near the bike out so I had a pretty far distance to run. The pavement was not very smooth so the jog over was a bit painful. I had a little bit of a problem getting out of my wetsuit but overall I was pleased with the time. T1: 2:00

Once I got on the bike I really needed to settle down. I knew I would begin to relax so I just focused on racing “MY” race. The only variable I could control is me.

All the hills that seemed so daunting during the car ride slowly began to fade as I rode up each one. Overall there were really no hills that were to awful difficult. A few were short and steep while some were rather long but at no point did I feel like I couldn’t easily make it to the top.
It was great to see Natalie, Andy, Trish and Tim out on the bike course cheering away. It was a nice bit of encouragement to help. “MEGA-FUSION” made it’s second appearance and being on the other end of the megaphone was definitely a nice surprise and really helped to get the juices flowing. I definitely think it has a different affect when you are reaching the top of a hill (Lake Stevens) and when you are flying by at 30 mph (Ironman). The mega-fusion is definitely a bit louder:)
Since the bike course was two loops I decided, with some advice from Tim and Phaedra, to take the first loop conservatively and then pass all the “carnage” on the second. The plan worked pretty well and I think I passed 10-15 people in the last 6 miles. Coming into T2 my legs felt strong and I was ready to see if the gel issue was going to make a difference. Bike time Boise: 2:46:36, Lake Stevens: 2:48:58. These bike courses are so completely different it is hard to compare but I felt way stronger and I think it went way better than Boise. After trying to compare some overall bike times from Lake Stevens and Boise, I was definitely faster this race.

As I rolled into T2 I decided it would be a good time to take my seemingly mandatory pit stop at the porta potty and since one was open I jumped right in. This turned out to be a good decision because as I was approaching the rest throughout the run, there was always at least one person waiting. There was no chance I was going to step foot off the pavement so this was my only chance.
Overall the run went well. I was able to consistently run throughout the entire race and only had to stop at the aid stations to make sure I got my nutrition in. I really wish I could have pushed a bit harder and ran a little faster but I just wasn’t sure how my body was going to react. I need to thank Tim for yelling at me and helping me push myself the last few hundred meters. I was able to pass one person in my age group and one other that started the same time. Run time Boise: 2:03:40, Lake Stevens: 1:47:20. I was able to average 8:11 miles but I had a “secret” goal of being sub 8’s at least. Since it was the first time I was able to push myself the entire race, I was happy with the result.
Afterwards we all waited around to watch Ben and Greg get their age-group slots to World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater, FL. I ended up 21st in my age group and really didn’t know if a slot would roll down that far. After a long wait I was able to take one of the remaining spots so I signed up for yet another 70.3 event.

I know many of you may not agree with me but next time I go to the World Championships, I want to earn the spot. I want to be one of the athletes that finish in the top 5 or 6. There were 15 people that BEAT me in the race that turned down the opportunity that I fortunately fell into. I my eyes that means there are 15 people more deserving than me. I am going to make the trip and will enjoy every moment and make the most out of this awesome opportunity but if I ever want to make it back, I WILL earn the spot fair and square.

Now it is time to get better and faster. I was able to finish this race but I do not feel I am in half-ironman shape. I slowly begin to fade and I know with some more consistent and disciplined training I WILL accomplish my goal.

I want to congratulate everyone who will join me in Clearwater. Greg, Phaedra, Ben and Steve Kramer. Everyone had amazing races and it is going to be a blast. I really can’t wait to get down to Florida and soak up the atmosphere of a World Championship race.

I would also thank my parents for making the trip up to see me race. I wasn’t able to see the much but it was awesome hearing them yell as I went by.

Thanks to my Aunt Ginger and Uncle Jason along with Danielle and Andrew for driving up from Seattle at such an early hour to cheer me on.

Special thanks to Tim, Andy and Trish for making the trip over from Spokane to cheer us on. It was definitely great to have some friendly faces in the crowd and help push me to finish the race strong.

And to Natalie and Greg who took time to pick up my bike on Thursday and drove me over to the race site. The car ride was a blast and thanks for including me. Thanks to Natalie who drove both ways across the state while Greg and I tried to catch some sleep.

Lake Stevens was definitely a fun race and the course was absolutely beautiful.


Phaedra Cote said...


I am so happy you accepted my constant "pushiness" and decided to do this race. It was obviously not a mistake! See? I don't steer you wrong!

I loved reading your report and all of the details. Your times were VERY impressive and it was so fun to see you out on the course. You are making incredible progress this season and I can't wait to see how you do in Clearwater.

Speaking of Clearwater, I am "one of those people" who has a different view of the "rolldown slots". But I've already shared all of that with you.

It was fun to hang out afterwards and I was SOOO excited when you got your slot. We had a great crew supporting us-didn't we?

I can't wait to get back in the racing scene and I especially look forward to hanging in Clearwater. It's an amazing experience that will be fun to share with you and many others.


P. Keebler

Tiffany said...

Hooray!!! I'm thrilled for you that this race went so well after such a tough outcome in Boise! Nice job!

Sounds like you swam really well. You are right, the masters swim class is definitely paying off because I have actually watched you get faster! And a buoy line UNDER water??? That is sheer genius and should be a must at every race!

Glad the hills weren't too daunting and that you were able to pass so many people on the bike. And your run! Good lord you are fast!

Congrats on your Clearwater slot too! I don't care that there are other athletes who you think deserve it more than you, you are still hardcore enough to commit to it and it will be an awesome experience!

Trish said...

You raced a GREAT race! It was so fun to see you finish your second 70.3. You looked really strong on that bike course and I definately saw you push yourself on the run. You looked good out there! And it was a total BLAST cheering for you! Going on road trips to cheer at races is my new favorite part of triathlon!!

You are going to do AMAZING at Clearwater. Congrats on qualifying! I am SO glad you took the spot when it was offered to you. You will never regret it! I can't wait to hear how you do, because I know you are going to kick some major international ass :)

Josh said...

Nice work. I only wish I could swim that fast!!! You will only get better and stronger as time goes by, keep up the good work.

Michelle said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! You do deserve the spot. You have put in the work and the time. Do not down sell yourself.
You kicked ass all over Lake Stevens. And your times were incredible.
Keep up the hard work and it will only get better and better and you will be so ready for IM Cda next year it will amaze you!

Michelle and Jay

Ali said...

Awesome job Steve! I'm stoked to hear you got a slot, but also excited to see your motivation to earn that spot for yourself by your race. You have good goals set in mind for yourself... with all the hard work with training, you have improved and come so far. Great job on the times from Boise and Stevens!
Have fun in Clearwater! That will be a great experience!
Good luck with Tiger! :) Hope to come cheer you on

M-K-C-T-R Rydeen said...

It sounds like it was a good day. I love that your family had the opportunity to come and see you race. My family swears that I was adopted.

A spot is a spot. Don't let a cloud hover over your accomplishment. You should be proud of yourself as I am sure your family is beaming with pride!


jessithompson said...

Way to go, Keith! You have improved so much and I love how you are always looking to make it even better. That inspires me.

You had a great race and I'm thrilled for you. I think Clearwater will be a great experience and you will learn so much. It will be well worth the trip!