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Training Journal

My journal of running, training and racing.

2012 Branson 70.3 - Race Report

Mark Junkans

My sister Sarah, mom and myself post-race

A year ago when I decided to start running, this was the race that I first signed up for.  My sister Sarah and I were on the phone talking about our dreams of doing a triathlon when I asked “Why don’t we just sign up for one and do it together.”  After thinking about it, we decided to look for one that is central to our locations and go for it.  Me being in Texas and she in Iowa, we decided that Branson was it!  After all, we could actually have family there to watch as well. We both did lots of prep for this race, and we were both a little scared of the race’s reputation for being a tough bike course.  Here is a quick rundown of the three stages.

Swim - 43 min

Not happy about this, but you'd never know it.

“Why am I such a bad swimmer? This is so depressing,” is all I was thinking came out of the water 74th in my age group. It was about 46° when we started to swim and felt much better in the water than outside. I got punched and kicked a little bit but that’s par for the course. I zigzagged a lot and probably swam a lot farther because of it. I did start to relax however, and wasn’t really tired when I finished. I guess that could be considered an accomplishment. T1 time was also horrendous at about four minutes, Partly due to the fact that we had to put all our swim gear including wetsuit and other items in a plastic bag before leaving.

Bike - 3:04

What a fun bike course! Although I don’t have a lot of climbing power, I still held my own and did lots and lots of passing on the uphills. The course started with about 8 miles of climbing. From there we started the roller coaster ride of up-and-down.

There were a couple two-mile climbs that never seemed to end, but what goes up has to come down. Was able to eek out some pretty fast down hills topping out at over 50 miles an hour. There were no real flat sections on this course, it was either up or down. I was smiling as I passed a lot of very expensive bikes that apparently didn’t have very strong engines. One time I was a real jerk and said “nice bike” as I passed. Moved from 74thto 26th in my age group on this section.

Overall I’m lukewarm about my bike time and know I could’ve pushed harder. I came off the swim demotivated about my chances for a podium, but looking back I should’ve pushed and maybe made it.

Run - 1:29:38

This is where my running coach told me to be an “assassin.”  

Coming off a conservative bike, I knew my run was going to be a good one. I got in and out of transition in under a minute. My goal was to be under 1:30, and I accomplished that with 1:29:38. I basically held my marathon pace the whole way, and never really had a bad mile. I know I could’ve pushed harder but felt like I would’ve puked if I did with gel and Gatorade still sloshing around. I got side stitches twice but ran through them. At about mile nine I had to stop and use the porta potty because all the liquids on the bike were causing some pain. Did my business, downed about 3 cups of Coke and headed off again wasting over 60 seconds in all. Finished up with the last mile at 6:38 And still had energy in the tank. This is really good sign for a sub three marathon, because my legs had just climbed about 5000 vertical feet on the bike.

Fuel Was just right on the bike with all liquids, I didn’t take any fuel on the run and had one cup of Gatorade and some coke.

Thanks to Coach Caleb for setting me up with some great training. I’m really stoked about Houston Marathon now in January. By the way, I PR’d My half marathon time by almost 5 minutes, and this one during a triathlon.

According to the paper posted on site, I came in 6th in my age group for the whole race, but the website puts me at 7th AG.  Not what I wanted, but I’ll take it knowing that I started out of the water in 74th AG place.

Family Support

The absolute best part of this race was that several members of my family, including my mom, were able to be there to watch.  I can’t express how thankful I am that they made the drive.