Race Coverage

Booking on Faith...


By David Koppel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

IM Steelhead 70.3 - June 26, 2022 - Race Recap

I had a race entry that kept getting moved from 2020, due to COVID cancellations. So, I went from Ohio 70.3 (2020) to Des Moines 70.3 (2021) to Steelhead 70.3 in 2022. With the Ironman 70.3 World Championship being hosted in the US in fall of 2022, I really wanted to have a half ironman where I could try to qualify. To add to the pressure, we booked a condo in Hurricane, UT for the race I hadn't yet qualified for and my in-laws were planning to come too!

Steelhead became my “A” race for the first half of the season with the goal of winning my age group and a top 5 overall finish, which would get me a slot to the World Championship. I hadn't raced this distance since 2018, but I enjoyed the training it was by far the most regimented and consistent I've ever been with swim/bike/run in the 2 months leading up to the race.

I drove out a day early, stayed in Chicago at friend's condo, and then drove the rest of the way to Benton Harbor, Michigan on Saturday. I met Brad, my childhood friend with whom I've raced several times, at the race check-in the day before the race in St. Joseph, MI. We checked in, dropped our bikes off, did a short run, and hoped that the storms they were calling for overnight...

would end in time to race. Then we got situated at a motel near the race and went to dinner with another Gahanna friend who was racing with us.

I had trouble falling asleep until well after midnight, but I stayed relaxed and didn't panic. Race morning did come early, and we were off to the race venue by 5AM. The storms had gone around us, but the humidity was in the 90% range, and the westward winds were strong...

Swim 1.2 miles: We lined up as close to the front as we could, as they were sending off people 3 at time, every 5 seconds. I think by the time we went, the race had been going on for about 40 seconds. It's nice to start out front so you can assume anyone passing you is beating you during the race, since it's not a mass start like most races used to do. Lake Michigan was much warmer than I had expected, at about 73*. But, she was much angrier than I had expected her to be at 6:30AM! The winds were making big waves and it was really difficult to get a rhythm. The triangle swim course made for a difficult first length, a cross-waved middle length, and a tail wind on the way into shore. I was really excited to get a PR swim, but I ended up focusing much more on keeping on course than swimming hard. My swim was competitive for the day, and I felt good coming out of the water.

Pace: 1:42/100m
Age Group Swim Rank: 8th M35-39

Overall Swim Rank: 75th/1355