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Over the next couple of days we’ll introduce you to a mix of age-group triathletes who all punched their tickets to Vegas—some in more harrowing circumstances than others. The athletes also give training advice that helped them get to the level they are at today. The 2012 Ironman World Championship 70.3 race will take place on Sept. 9, 2012 in Henderson, Nev. Visit Triathlete.com/Vegas2012 for complete coverage from the race.
Aaron John Dewald
Qualified: 5th at Ironman 70.3 Kansas
Aaron John Dewald is a planner. “My whole goal from October until that day was Kansas is where you’re going to qualify.” A former college runner, Dewald has been racing triathlon for five years, and Ironman 70.3 Kansas was his fourth half-Ironman. But this one, he knew, would be different.
Since last year, Dewald, who lives in Park City, Utah, has been planning to race Vegas this year, so he’s been scoping out the course since December in anticipation of his qualification. “The nice thing is that Vegas is only six hours away,” he says. “I went down there three times fully expecting to qualify. I’ve ridden the whole course twice.”
But when he showed up in Kansas, the weather forecast sounded brutal: “It was really hot in Kansas that week, and it was also really windy.�� That led to a choppy, wetsuit-illegal swim, a lot of crosswinds and headwinds on the bike (and cyclists swerving all over the road), and by the time he was on the run course, the sun had come up. “So the whole run was just like ‘just survive to the finish,’” he says. And finish he did—in fifth place in his age group, comfortably nabbing one of the 10 slots allotted.
Dewald, who balances working as a director of the University of Utah College of Law, studying to get his Ph.D. in educational psychology and triathlon training, will be racing in the 70.3 world champs for the first time. And if his almost year of focused preparation is any indication, he’ll be ready.
The takeaway: Don’t let the tough conditions get to you. “Regardless if it’s hot or windy, everybody has to deal with it, and [you have to tell yourself] ‘I’m going to deal with it better than the next person is,’” Dewald says. “I think that mental training is more important in some aspects for your racing than anything.”