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Ironman 70.3 Honu 2017

Posted by Brandon Dillon on June 13, 2017

On June 3rd 2017 I would attempt my 4th Ironman 70.3 The first being this race in 2015 which took me about 9 and a half hours to complete due to some massive blisters on the balls of my feet which made even walking the 9 miles feel like it was bare feet on pins and nails the entire way. I didn’t walk right for 3 days after till the blisters went away lol. 

The next race I did was Silverman, I got very nautious and had no energy on the bike and didn’t make it half way. Never did really figure out what it was but it was not to be my race that’s for sure!

The next event was Galveston Tx in April of 2016, you can read about that race below but I felt great but had 2 mechanical issues, broken rear spoke and my seat dropped on me because the fitter didn’t tighten things back up properly. I missed that cut off by about 11 min just not being able to run any faster.

So my cousin Bill back in Michigan said last year if I sign up for Honu will you? I said of course! =) this was in August of 2016, so I started training again. In November I started officially working with Michellie Jones and she knew this was going to be a big race for me as well as IMAZ in November of 2017.

My biggest issue is weight, after 2 years of training and listening to people and suggesting and trying to figure out this whole nutrition thing for long rides and how to “fuel” properly I was disappointed that I was still 310 lbs. I was much fitter and stronger but I was 175-180 in high school and after when I used to lift weights, so yea the number isn’t everything but when you are that much over weight doing anything is tuff. So even though everyone kept telling me you cant lose weight training for Ironman’s and I mean virtually everyone told me you cant do it I did what I normally do, decided to prove them wrong =)

Not going to lie you would think working out 20 hours a week would make it easy to lose weight but its really not and no matter what you are doing from not working out to training for Ironman or just doing things to stay active its 90% what, when and how much you eat. As the saying goes you cant out work a bad diet. Just look at line backers and sumo wrestlers they are big dudes! They eat extremely healthy they are all obese. So it matters a lot about eating and if you are going to focus on something and you want to lose weight focus on your nutrition first vs going to the gym or running biking, hiking what ever more, you will see far more results that way, and that’s what I started doing.

In December I focused on eating and after talking to my other cousin about becoming more fat adapt I started following his advice. My Goal was to keep my carb intake total at 50 grams or less for the day. That was hard so I decided to keep it under 100 g per day. I looked at everything I was eating and found ways to remove empty carbs get rid of sugar up the fat and protein intake. I also cut out using sports nutrition on long rides and runs and stuck to water and propel which is a electrolyte water. I think doing this was one of the biggest things to help me drop weight as before I was bringing a lot of calories in bottles and bars on long 3-4 hour rides, and I finally realized you just don’t need it if you are training at a zone 2-3 pace. I wont go on but I can about all the nutritional stuff I did to lose weight if you want hit me up and I can tell you more about what I did and still doing to get down to under 200 but I ended up being about 271 at Race day for this race down from 310 which is what I was at my previous races.


The swim for this race is just amazing, the water is a nice warm 80ish degrees and its crystal clear and there are so many things to see it is just an amazing part of the race. They changed the course this year to do a modified rolling start. I was happy to be in the first wave!! so sucks waiting an hour + for your wave to start I would rather it be mass start then wait for wave 25 to go which is what happened in Galveston lol

But they still did AG wave starts and inside each age group they had us line up in based on our projected swim time. There was 25 and under and 25-35 then 36-45 and 46+ I got in the 36-45 because I was shooting for about 45 min. Swimming in Hawaii even though you cant use wet suits the salinity of the water is the highest here then anywhere else in the world short of the dead sea so you are far more buoyant then you are anywhere else so PR swims are common due to that.

I came out of the water in about 52 min, it was a run in beach start and as we lined up there were rows of 4 people and every 4 seconds those 4 could go, I didn’t like it as much as the pure swim finish time and single rolling start but it did smooth things out and only think I bumped in to 2 or 3 people the whole time.

The transition from the beach is across some sand, some pretty deep and up hill to a changing tent because yea I cant ride 56 miles in tri shorts yet =(

So I jumped in to my cycling bibs and got on the bike. I took a Efuel watermelon gel about 30 min before the swim start and I had another on my bike to take as I started the bike ride. for some reason I had a knot in my stomach after a couple of miles and in my head I was like WTF…..

So I pedaled on and decided to sip my water and Efuel drinks I had in my back two bottles and just pedal on hoping it would go away. I also had planned and took 1 salt pill every hour on the bike, which I did. My plan was to drink a bottle of water and bottle of calories between every aide station, I think I fell short on the nutrition side a little bit drinking hot efuel and Gatorade is just not appealing or taste good lol I did pick up a few cliff bar shot blocks and had about 7 of those on the bike after the turn around at Havvi.

There was a brutal, and I mean brutal head wind heading up to Havvi, it was forecasted to be 30-35 mph…. it was every bit of 20-25 while going up hill. I was trying to be somewhat conservative so I would have a good run and this bike course having about 2500 feet of climbing and being completely rolling hills at a minimum, I didn’t want to go too hard but felt like I was going too hard at times and tried to keep aware of that and manage my time.

I loved the down hills because I hit 50 mph a few times and its fun flying by people =) Even with a tail wind there were some cross winds and were a few pucker moments for sure. I kind of knew I may have gone too hard or I should have taken more calories on when the last big climb up which is about 8 miles left I was feeling it.

Still had a knot in my stomach it never went away but kept drinking and pedaling. Even with that wind I finished the bike in 3 hours and 35 min which was about 45 min faster then my 2015 time and there was almost no wind on that day.

So I was rather pleased with the results of that considering the course and conditions it was good I think I can get 30 or so min faster and going to work on that and by working on that dropping more weight =)

This being a split transition I had to check a run bag the night before along with my bike. I put in some running shorts, shirt some Pjur anti chafe, shoes, socks, bib and hat. I had another gel as well but didn’t use it and just got some Gatorade and water on the way out.


Both transitions used these box framed wheel holding racks which are 10X better then the bar which holds the bike by the seat. I hope all races switch to these as they just work so much better.

My guess is they use these because of the wind which is first reason why they are better is that they hold the bike in place.

Second there is no issues trying to get your bike especially for those of us who do not ride Small bikes under the bar with your bottles on back.

So ya just better all around.

I got changed put some Pjur on my feet, (this stuff feels amazing while running and was hoping it would keep the water off my feet so I wouldn’t get blisters)

and got on my run. Like I mentioned on the way out I got some water some Gatorade and some ice for my hat.

started off semi ok still had this knot in my stomach and after a mile I had to dive in to a porta john for a few. then the knot was gone =) and could run better.

My goal was to run the whole thing and avg like 12:30 min miles with walking the aide stations, that ended up being 15 min miles.


The run course is nice, its two loops an aide station every mile, lots of great volunteers and its through the golf course and half of it on the fairway.  Now you might think that sounds nice, running on grass… well its a double edged sword.

They water the grass in the morning so you got his steamy head coming off the grass. some of the fairway is really nice and low cut and that is ok to run on aside from the steaming heat coming up.

But then you get this stuff that’s longer and it just takes a lot more work to run on and its got that steamy heat coming up off it lol.

So ya its interesting running on grass. There are some hills and I planned on walking those but on the run I just kept getting hot even though I was drinking every station but trying not to drink too much where I had a bunch of fluid sloshing around in me.

after like mile 4 instead of putting ice just in my hat I would take a cup of ice with me to just let them melt in my mouth, this was a huge thing as it kept my mouth from getting dry and wanting to guzzle everything in sight.


On the run I caught up to a guy who was doing the same, run walk as me, and we decided to

run walk together. There is a big lesson to be learned here not just in racing but in life in general.

We talked and kept each other motivated and it was good to have a running buddy. this was his 9th 70.3 and first time in Hawaii. He started about 45 min behind me so he had more time then I did to meat the cut off of 8 hours and 30 min.

while it was comfortable doing this together I had a choice to make looking at the clock. I knew how much time I had and how far I had to go, my original goal was under 8 hours and it was looking close when I started the run, the heat and walking due to the heat made that harder on me. But I had to look at him and tell him I gota go faster, to reach my goals and my cut off time.

it wasn’t because he was bad or anything it was just comfortable having someone moving forward but we were in two difference places and if I had stayed comfortable then I wouldn’t have finished.

I thought I would see him at the turn around but not sure if I just missed him or what but after I took off running with 4 miles left to go I never did see him after that.

In life its easy to get comfortable, complacent and go with the flow and you have a decision to make, go after your dreams and goals or let others hold you back.

My Run was 3 hours and 28 min and I crossed the finish line with a total time of 8 hours and 15 min

After 3 years of training, and 3 previously failed attempts at the 70.3 distance I finally did it! These events are really just a very long conversation with yourself about how bad do you want to hurt and how bad to you want it. It truly is a mental game so much more then physical, while it does take great physical stamina to do this, getting through it takes mental tuffness.

I get that tuffness from my leadership and personal development I have been doing for about a decade now. Its the constant input of audios, books association with like minded people and the cutting out of TV and radio some 15 years ago that have made all the difference.

As they say garbage in garbage out, you just cant put in all that negative and not helpful stuff on a daily basis from the TV and radio and expect to have a positive and strong mental faculty you just cant.

Its like expecting to eat garbage everyday and expect to be healthy and in good shape, and the mind is so much more important than the body because the mind controls the body. I know I wouldn’t be mentally where I am without the constant input of improving and learning I get from books and CDs and association and I strive to be better today then I was yesterday.

So many people helped me in this journey and I wont get to name everyone so if I miss someone I am sorry, two people that have helped me a ton are Jondi Bernardo and Michellie Jones.

Jondi helped me start training for this and triathlons in general back in 2014 when I first started this crazy stuff =) and still helps me a lot as we look at my training peaks data and so on, of course Michellie Jones for putting up with me and giving me great workouts and answering all my questions =)

To people that have said kind and encouraging things along the way there are so many thank you for all the support I don’t want to list because I know I will forget and its quite a lot of people cuz I have awesome friends but you know who you are =)

To all the haters out there who were mean and negative towards me,  try and be more positive =)

Now its on Ironman Arizona coming up November 19th, just have to double what I did and try to shave off an hour or 2 =)

The same goes for 70.3 distance, sub 6 and close to 5 hours is the goal =)

Till next time!



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Galveston Texas Ironman 70.3 April 10th 2016

Posted by Brandon Dillon on April 13, 2016

This was to be my first race of the year, taking what I learned from Honu 70.3 last May 30th I was hoping the next 9 months of training and weight loss and learning would take me to finish before the cut off.

I got to Texas Friday afternoon and checked in to my hotel about 3pm travel was good and Houston is kinda crazy with all its toll roads and the ones that you cant pay cash for or even online like you can here in California, you must have the EZ Tag thing ahead of time, or you rent the EZ tag from the rental car people, well Dollar rental car only does it by day you have the car not by day you will be driving so it was going to be 50 bucks for that so I opted out of that idea and took the cash toll roads. But be warned lol.

My Cousin Todd who has done many 70.3s and his first Full in Houston last year and was supposed to be going this with me but he had to get knee surgery so he was volunteering, and my mom were enroute. so I went over to the expo, picked up my packet and listened to the briefing. I must stop here and say it don’t matter how many of these that you do even if you do the same one every year, go to a briefing!!! I do not get how people can say they didn’t know there was mandatory bike check in the day before the race (Saturday) when it was in the briefing like 3 times and in the guide and on a separate piece of paper in the packet too… (rant over)

please go to the meetings and read the guides people put a lot of time and work in to them and stuff changes so do your self a favor and don’t throw away money and a trip by not looking at them and have a good fun race =)

steps off soap box..

The Expo was good of course not as big or glorious as the full Ironman ones but it was nice and laid out well I did love my numbers because its my Birthday! 2411. if you go by Day/month connotation so that was kewl =) the transition bag is nice so the swag was good. Its all about the swag! =)

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Then I went back to the hotel and after getting the Raptor built, just had to put on the wheels and tilt my bars back up and put on the bottle cages and I discovered that I was missing my battery for my DI2, I had taken it off because of the lithium ion battery deal and unpressurized cargo space and so on. I called around franticly the next day while doing bike check in and finally found a great bike shop called Webster Bikes and the owner Russ was coming down to watch the Ironman and staying at the RV park down the street and would bring me a battery. So that was awesome! I went and got some food. I went to Mario’s, I stuck to Italian, spaghetti with marinara sauce and chicken and bread for dinner, took half of it home, wanted to keep it simple and actually at that for lunch and dinner the next day too.


That combo made me feel good, I didn’t go overboard on portion size had salad with it as well with balsamic vinaigrette dressing at both dinners.

Saturday morning due to my being up early and wanting to find a battery we decided to head to the expo right at 9 when it opened, even though bike check in was not till 2-6.

As I mentioned Webster bikes came through and that afternoon at 4 I got my battery from him. My cousin Todd was working Bike check in so mom and I went to get lunch =) I got ready for bike check in and sorted everything picked up my batter and dropped my bike off and here she was! Ready to go and I felt great about everything.


Went to dinner… Pasta…. to the hotel to prep and re-prep and check again I had everything in the bags I needed and what I was going to do and went to sleep. Tried to anyway.

Plan was to get up at 4 even though my wave was not till 8:04 and get there and be ready. I really wish we didn’t have wait so long lol


So Race day.. got up at 3 am, couldn’t sleep was ready to go! lol ate whole wheat bagel with PB on it got ready put on my tats jumped in the car and got there at 4:50, 10 min before transitioned opened. setup my stuff stood around a bit talking to ppl planning my transition stop as I have not figured out yet how to make it through a 56 mile bike in Tri shorts I have to change or else I will be in pain, maybe when I am 100 lbs lighter that will be different lol.

I talked with the guys next to me it was mainly first timers or first race of the year so it was all a just finish mind set around me which was good, that’s all I was there to do was finish in under 8:30.

we had to walk a bit over to where the swim start was and we swam back to the transition area so at 620 I headed over there with my morning bag and wet suit and tri slide and such. I sipped on some Efuel about 10 oz over the next hour then I got my suit on around 730 and took my Efuel Gel ( that watermelon is good!) and was in line working my way to the start. You have to jump off the dock in to the water and its a floating start.

The Swim went well I just kept trying to keep my stroke long and consistent. the water was choppy due to the high winds we were having probably around 20mph so I caught water in the face 2-3 times don’t think I swallowed much lol, that resulted in a Swim PR of 10 min from honu that was 58:35 this was 48:37 It may have been the difference in the wet suit but I will take it =)

I get to transition, quickly wrapped my towel and changed in to cycling shorts the 8 min transition time is why. I just cant make it 56 miles on tri shorts yet. maybe once I get weight down.

bike started out good I had 2 bottles of Efuel, 2 honey stinger wafers and a Efuel Gel and water in my speed fill. I was shooting to maintain 170 power for the duration. After about 3 miles I hit a bump and my seat dropped about a inch or so, I was like wth was that!?!? So I pedaled on not wanting to stop and would see how it went, my knees were hurting bad so around mile 15 I stopped and fixed the seat as best and close as I could and got back under way. Still feeling good I ate a honey stinger and was sipping water and efuel. then a few more miles in on a smooth flat straight piece of road I heard a noise from my rear end. it wasn’t a fart so I knew something was wrong. I stopped because I could feel something was not right and sure enough I broke a drive side spoke at the hub.

I was pissed cuz I felt so good at that point and to have a mechanical issues and the wheel had just been fully respoked only a few months back and been mainly riding my road bike a lot so I was ready to give up. I didn’t think the wheel would make it 40 more miles especially with my weight and it was not warped and rubbing on the brakes. Then a guy pulled up next to me, not even in the race and asked me what I was doing and if I was ok, I paused and looked at him, where did he come from? why was he just out here with all of us and why did he stop and come over to say hey what are you doing lol he said just keep going you will know when others break and it will be one at a time. So I was like alright I will push on. I loosened up my brake as beast I could so the rubbing was minimal and went on. I was cautious as I didn’t want to do more damage and wanted to make the bike cut off. feeling good I knew I could run what I needed even with a longer bike ride then I wanted.

about 10 miles after that just before the turnaround I started to feel a pain in my side I ignored it. kept eating and drinking I took a salt tab at hour 1 and hour 3 then got to mile 46 and was not feeling right at all. stopped and got water as I felt like I had little energy and my side and stomach was hurting. The medic thought it could have been from sea water, I guess that’s possible I felt very similar at Silverman and I caught a ton of water to the face and got very sick on the bike and had no energy or power. I decided to take my Gel and push on I kinda felt better for a few so wasn’t sure what I was feeling was lack of calories or too many or sea water or what. I kept going wind and all.

My bike split with all that was 4:08 I was hoping for 315-330 and my split in Honu with hills was 4:16 but didn’t have the issues there I did here. so even thought not what I wanted it was better so yay! =)

My transition time went fast about 3 min I got out of my gear grabbed my gel I had waiting put on socks and shoes and hat and ran out. I started out for the first half mile or so feeling decent looked at my pace and it was 13:30 I knew I had to maintain a max of 15 min mile for every mile, my original goas was to start out at 14 min miles and bring it down 10-15 sec per mile and hold at 12 min miles till the end. Well plans are great till you have contact with the enemy…. my side issues and stomach were back after that half mile I ran on but ultimately had to stop and walk. I tried to keep up a fast walk and was planning on the issues subsiding with some food or drink or time and I would keep moving as fast as I could and run walk and hope towards the end I could run more.

It didn’t work out that way, on the run I ate some pretzels that seemed to help drank water took ice and after the first loop sipped on some Red bull and cola I felt like I got better for a bit and ran some more and it would come back, had to dive in to a porta john so I guess I knew I wasn’t dehydrated lol

Over all my time was 8:42, which was 35 min faster then Honu. still a DNF but improvement. as I look back I could have found 12 min some where but its easy to do that in hindsight not as easy in the middle of it. But a PR all around so making progress just need to figure out how to train and drop 100 lbs and I will be all set so that’s the focus now. Was a great race and the people and spectators were awesome I definitely want to go back and do it so I can earn my medal and same with Honu.

The Garmin Data is here

A big thanks first and foremost to God as he gets all the glory, I honestly think that guy who said what are you doing and keep going on the bike was some kind of messenger because it was just a really interesting situation I was probably supposed to push harder and just make it but I didn’t.

Also a big thanks to Jondi helping me get this far as well as tons of other people who have giving me advice, tips, help, encouragement and so on. Craig, Julie, Tu, Morgon, Zak, Jean, Larry, Chris, Justin, Alex, Kenny, Cristeen, Elaine, Todd, Bill and so many others I am sorry if I didn’t name everyone there was so many.

Pro tip when you goto the sun screen appliers make sure you tell them to do everywhere that’s exposed lol I have some interesting tan lines and mild burn from only saying do the shoulders and arms lol.

till the next race =)


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