No man’s land — Ironman 70.3 World Championships

November 15th, 2009

Tri- and duathlete Nicholas Sterghos (West Point, '09) recently competed in the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida. He arrived 10 minutes early for his start ... which proved 15 minutes too late as the competition took off ahead of schedule. Nicholas finished 12th Overall in the 18-24 Age Group and 98th Overall including professionals.

If you are on time, you’re late.

I don’t know how many times I have heard that saying, especially since I have been in the Army for a few years.  Unfortunately, at one of the most important races of my season, I did not heed that warning.  I showed up on time at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida … but 15 minutes too late.

Actually I showed up 10 minutes before my scheduled age group start time, but the entire race had been 25 minutes ahead of schedule.  Although the race had a time trial start, where your personal time starts when you step into the water, I missed my competition and ability to draft in the swim and have someone to pace with on the bike and run.

Although I was time trial-ing the entire race in no man’s land, I still managed to pull off a good finish.

My swim was respectable, having to not only swim by myself, but also know that I’d be playing catch-up the entire race.  My bike was not as good as usual, which potentially kept me from a sub-4-hour finish.  Even so, I had the best run yet for a 70.3 posting a time of 1:18:47, almost breaking a sub-6-minute pace per mile.  With swim, bike, run, and a few transitions, my total time was 4:13:15, which placed me 12th in the 18-24 Age Group and 98th Overall with the professional athletes.

Although I am not pleased with my time and finish, it was a great experience to know what the race will be like in the future.  In addition, I did get a chance to meet up with old West Point Triathlon teammates, which is always a pleasure.

Thanks to all those who supported me this year, including my family, friends, and sponsorsSable WaterOpticssbill swimmingSerottaTGI Healthworks, and Total Immersion Swimming.  Also a special thanks to my coaches Louis Tharp and Tony Deboom, who have helped me realize my goals and chase improvement.