Kona 2015 Pre Race Report

I am currently sitting out on our lanai (porch) overlooking the ocean. It’s 5:30am local time and all is quiet and dark. I started to reflect on the year that has passed since the last time I raced at Kona. Today will be 363 days since I toe’d the line at the IRONMAN World Championships last October. So much has happened and so much has changed since then, but I’m still just as excited and giddy to race tomorrow morning. Here’s how to track, bib #2180


2015 has been a great year for racing. Sure, its had its ups and downs, but overall I can look back at it and be proud of the year I had. I started off the year with a new coach, a new job, in a new city. My racing brought me to new exciting places, like St George, UT while also brought me to familar ones, like Coeur d’Alene. Tomorrow will be my 3rd IRONMAN of 2015, and my 4th in a 12-month span. Let’s just say I’m excited for the 4-5 week break I have coming up!

I have met so many new and influential people over the course of my training and racing in 2015 and I’m so grateful for that. New friends and training partners, new sponsors and brand representatives, coaches, competitors and countless number of supporters! Thank you all for making an impact on me and you’ll be in my thoughts on race day!


Now onto the 140.6 miles I am going to tackle tomorrow. Last year, I came into the race as a Kona rookie. This year I’ll take what I learned last year and use it to my advantage. Patience and persistence is the key here in Kona. The weather can throw you some curve balls and I need to be able to stick to my plan and keep moving forward, my best effort each and every mile.

Swim: Last year I was super anxious and nervous for the swim, having never raced in the ocean or swam a triathlon without a wetsuit. Despite that anxiety, I was able to PR in the swim with a time of 1:02. This year I’m more confident and relaxed. I know its going to be a very crowded and hectic 2.4 miles, but I’m still looking to PR and knock a few minutes off last years time. I will be lining up at the same spot as last year, to the far left. The first 500-800 yds will be a fast paced sprint, but I’m hoping to find a good pack of swimmers to hang on to once the pace slows down. This year I’ll be rocking my speedy fast TYR Torque Pro swim skin, a much nicer suit than I wore last year. Look for me to come out of the water anywhere between 58 minutes to 1 hr and 2 minutes. Swim Goal: 60 minutes

T1: Last year T1 was like a rave party. There was dudes everywhere and no where to sit. This year I’ll be putting my shoes and helmet on my bike. This will limit my need of the change tent. I will only have to take off my swim skin and put it in my gear bag. My goal for T1 is to be around 2-3 minutes. T1 Goal: 2 min 30 sec

Bike: Once I’m on the bike, there will no doubt be a TON of bike traffic. Last year, I got caught up in all the fast paced guys gunning out of the start. I pushed my wattage for the first 20-30 miles and ended up paying for later on the back half of the course. This year, I’m going to be patience and stick to my wattage goals early on. I have my wattage goal set for 230-240 watts for this race. The weather is predicting to have some strong winds of 10-15 miles per hour out of the Southwest. This will make for a fast first half of the bike. We should be in a for a strong headwind during the last 30 miles. My biggest goal this race is to be smart. I want to have a solid run, which means I have to remain patient on the bike and avoid any spikes in my power and heart rate. Using the current weather predictions and an online tool (Best Bike Split), I hope to ride anywhere from 4:45-5:00 hrs depending on the weather. Nutrition for the bike is simple, 3 bottles of INFINIT custom formula along with water at aid stations. Bike Goal: 4hrs 50 mins

T2: After handing off my bike, we run all the way around the pier before making it back to the change tent. Socks, shoes, visor and my handheld is all I’ll grab at this point. I have to remember to stay relaxed and keep my HR from spiking during this point. T2 Goal: 2 min 30 sec

Run: Starting the run last year, I had a lot of time goals in mind. After cramping up in the first 2 miles, I became frustrated and didn’t enjoy the rest of the race. This year, I’m looking to race smart and enjoy my time on the island. My motto for the run will be “Suffer silently and smile.” Its going to get tough out there, but I want to redeem myself from my poor run performance at IRONMAN Wisconsin 4 weeks ago. I am lucky enough to be here racing, healthy and with a great support crew. I’m looking to take the first 10 miles calm and consistient. Once I get to big hill at Palani, I am going to run up it this year (last year I walked). Once on the Queen K highway, its going to be about managing the gradual uphills and taking advantage of the downhills. Every mile is a new a race, a chance to start over and forget about all the miles that came before. I’m so excited to get back to Ali’i drive and hear Mike Reiley called my name for a second time here on the Big Island! Run Goal: 3 hrs 10 mins

Overall: I don’t have any specific time goals for the race, but if the conditions permit, I’d like to drop some time from last years race. I was 18th in my AG group last year, I’m hoping to improve on that and take home the American title in the mens 25-29 AG. Based upon my projections, I’m hoping to finish just over 9hrs. Goal time or not, I’m really just excited to be back racing and have another opportunity to make all of you proud! Thanks for following along this year and 2016 will be even better!


Quick shout out to all my great sponsors who helped me get to the line this year!

  • Endurance House: I’m so proud to wear that “e” on my chest every race. Thank you to Tara and Jamie and all the Endurance House owners in the Wisconsin area!
  • Team BBMC: I have the best team and coach. Thank you to Blake for getting me to the start line here and ready to rock!
  • TYR: They have been unbelievable, getting me equipped with all the best gear for race day! Thank you Erica and crew! I’ll be wearing my Torque Pro and Tracer goggles tomorrow.
  • INFINIT: Thank you to Ryan and his crew for getting me locked in with my nutrition for race day. It has made racing so simple.
  • Superfeet: Thank you to Erin and Colin from Superfeet. Also, thanks to all the rest of the Superfeet team and Supersquad members. I’ll be rocking the black (bike) and carbon (run) insoles tomorrow.
  • Rudy Project: Best helmet out there! Thanks for all your support this year. I’ll be riding with the Wingspan 57 tomorrow
  • Feetures: These are simply the best socks. Never have to worry about blisters or losing toenails. Thanks to everyone on the Feetures team!
  • Tifosi: Thank you to the crew over at Tifosi for the affordable and durable sunglasses I’ll be rocking for the bike and run!
  • Cervelo: Thanks to Cervelo, especially the MyCervelo race week support crews for getting my P3 all ready to fly on Saturday
  • Zipp: Thanks to Zipp, I’ll be racing on the front and back Firecrest 808’s on Saturday.

Special thanks to my friends, family and girlfriend for supporting me along this journey. Especially this year, 3 IRONMANS is a lot of time and dedication, so thank you for putting up with me! Love you all! Thank you to everyone who has commented, posted, or wished me good luck during my season. It means a lot and I’m truly humbled by all the support from friends, family and complete strangers!

Mahalo! See you at the finish line!

How to track on race day:

Live Tracking Link (Bib #2180): http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship/ironfan/2015-oct-10/leaderboard.aspx?q=engel&c=all&a=all&t=#mapArea

Video Feeds: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship/ironfan/2015-oct-10/leaderboard.aspx?q=engel&c=all&a=all&t=#mapArea

Live Blog: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship/ironfan/2015-oct-10/blogs.aspx#axzz3o5bL8tSX



2 responses to “Kona 2015 Pre Race Report

  1. pomaikaʻi maikaʻi pomaikaʻi

    Supposedly that means something along the lines of “Good Luck” in Hawaiian. Can’t wait to cheer you on from afar tomorrow!

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