Swim: 53:00 6th fastest split
Bike: 4:49:15 23.2mph 249 watts 4th fastest
Run: 2:57:26 2nd fastest
Overall: 8:46:00 2nd place
Race morning I was amped like I've never seen before. Just preping my bike my heart rate was hovering around 120. I ended up having probably my best triathlon swim ever and made the lead group even in choppy conditions. I'm still not exactly sure how I pulled that off since 10 minutes into the race I saw myself swimming next to guys who I eventually beat out of the water by 3-5 minutes. I knew as soon as we made the first turn we would be heading straight into the chop for 20+ minutes and I had to be on someone's feet for that section. I kept moving up, must have made it just onto the tail end of the lead group when we made the turn, and then the groups must have split as we headed into the chop and I was fortunate enough to get pulled along at the end of the lead group. I actually got dropped about three times but was able to swim my way back up to the group each time. A little over halfway the surges stopped and the pace was really easy the entire rest of the swim.
Onto the bike I had a power plan that I was pretty confident in. I knew the final 20k would be into a strong headwind and be critical. As such I really went out easy and let most of the front pack go, riding in sixth position. I gradually increased the power through the first lap, but never rode hard, and made sure to never spike my power up the numerous climbs. Through 56 miles I had moved into third but given up 10 full minutes to the front two. I tried my best to increase my power the second loop but the course was so crowded with lapped racers that it was very difficult, I had to come to a near complete stop at one aid station. Finally I made it through the second loop unscathed and the final 20k back into Madison is where my conservative pace at the start really paid off. I recorded my highest 1 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute power output all in the final 20k of the ride. Maik put 10 minutes on me in the first 56, and added just 4 more in the last 56. Second place put 10 minutes on me in the first 56, and I cut his lead down to just 3 minutes by T2.
Onto the marathon I immediately felt the benefits of a well executed bike. My running legs were there almost immediately and I was putting the brakes on the first 10k and still seeing 6:20 splits. I went through a rough patch from 7-13 miles but was still running 6:45 pace and slowly pulling second place back. I hit the first 13.1 in 1:26:26 and shortly after made the pass for second place. I felt great again for miles 14-20 and at one point was cutting a minute per mile from the leader. With 10k to go I was 7 minutes down and thought I had a chance. Then the usual discomfort of the final 10k set in and my pace slipped to 7 minute miles. I ended up a little over 5 minutes off the win. My marathon splits of 1:26:26/1:31:00 was the most balanced marathon I've ever run and I ended up missing my marathon pr by 6 seconds!
Overall a great race for me, no doubt my best executed 140.6 ever. Between making the front swim pack, and pacing the bike and run really well I can see only minor flaws with my race. If I could do it over again I would push a little harder on the bike, but I never anticipated someone breaking the bike course record by 3 minutes and having a 10+ minute lead on second into T2. I plan to finish my season at Ironman Arizona in November.