Months after completing his first full Ironman, Garmin associate Bently Harper competed in Ironman Branson 70.3, one of the toughest courses in the Midwest. With his Forerunner 310XT tracking every leg of his race, Bently finished with a time of 5 hours, 14 minutes, in 45th place overall, which qualified him for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 next year. Here’s his recap of the race:
What a perfect day to conclude imperfect conditions. It rained all day Saturday. I was cold and wet after dropping off the bike and run gear. In the week leading up to the race, I was fighting a head cold and skipped most of my planned workouts. All the T1 and T2 gear was wrapped in a bag to keep it dry, which worked nicely, but slowed transitions. Aleks, Kevin Wait and I staged at water’s edge in front of the pack. The first half of the swim felt easy and relaxed. At the turn, my left shoulder/bicep started aching. I kept concentrating on good form. The last ¼ was tough to pull with fatigue setting in. Into T1, I could not get my wetsuit off and had another athlete pull the back up for me. The first 10 minutes of the bike seemed high on the heart rate based on perceived exertion at 145-150, but excitement and release of pent-up energy will do that. I tried to relax and bring it down. I monitored my data on my Forerunner and kept my target heart rate in the 128-138 range with no spike above 142.My target heart rate for the run was 145-155 for miles 2-10, 158-160 for miles 10-13, 160+ for last 3 minutes. The first mile went by quickly. After mile 2, I settled into a good 7:30 pace that I decided to hold until mile 6. Then I picked it up to 7:15 pace. It was flat out pouring rain by now. The street was flooding and a few spots concerned me in the construction area as the ground was uneven before, now you could not tell where the holes were. It would stink to twist an ankle now. At mile 10, it was time to pick it up again. My breathing was ok, but I really had to concentrate to maintain good running form and force the pace. Any distraction degraded form and slowed me down. With 400 yards to finish, I saw a group of five people about 100 yards ahead. No way to catch them, but try anyway; it’s the difference between podium and no podium. I surged with everything I had left. I caught them with 40 yards to go, but it turns out they all had another lap to go and turned away from the finish shoot. I went in for a great finish to a great day.
Congrats to Bently and all the other athletes who participated at Ironman Branson 70.3. Diligent training and the right tools have paid off for Bently and we wish him the best of luck in his continued competitions. He shared his favorite quote: “The commitment to win is nothing without the commitment to train,” and he had this follow-up to that quote: “The Forerunner 310XT helps me to train like a pro.” Check out his bike data in Garmin Connect, complete with elevation, cadence and heart rate. You can also see his swim and run data in Connect.