I caught up with Mike Mendoza, The Patriot Racer, last week as he recapped his performance at Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene.
So first of all, how hot was it? I remember a couple years back the Coeur d’Alene full Ironman topping off at around 106º.
It was 92º, so a little on the hot side. But definitely not that bad, thank God.
How was it overall?
It was a good race overall.The bike was good, swim was good. I kept a 7:49 pace on the run, so not extremely fast. I’m still nursing my calf (from a strain a few weeks earlier).
What helps you when you have to run slower? How do you deal with it? Keeping that big picture in mind.
It’s tough, because running too slow you can injure yourself -but running too fast you can burn out. Im doing about 70%. The calf pain could come out of nowhere, like it did in Raleigh, so I know not to push it too hard even if I feel good in the moment. And I know that I’ve been able to keep pace with the other runners and catch them after a few miles when they’ve burned out.
How was the reception in Courdelane?
I had a great interview with local news out of Spokane, who knew i was coming out. It went well.
(Check out the link above for a great video clip)
Best part of the race?
Coeur d’Alene was the most beautiful course so far! I don’t have the words to explain it, but it was picturesque…breathtaking. I took a couple seconds to check out the view on the bike ride.
The bike course was the 3rd toughest of all the races so far.
What about the worst part of the weekend?
Well, the lowest point of the race was having to leave right away. Coeur d’Alene is such a beautiful city – and not having my wife and kids out there to share it with was the lowest point.
What did you learn about yourself?
I’m learning patience. Patience with the calf soreness, and with the fact that not everything is gonna go your way. But you adjust . You adapt and overcome.
How do you feel with the pace of all your races after 10 Ironmans?
I hit a rough patch a month ago, but now I’m on a roll. I have a lot more support than before – Ironman and Guinness are now tracking me – and even the race announcers have gotten to know me and will announce how many races I’ve done and that I’m going for the record. It’s cool to hear.
Looking forward to any races coming up?
A couple Recon Marines I know are going to come out to Muncie to see me. And even cooler is the fact that my wife and kids are coming to Racine and will be part of a relay. So she will be there. They will also come out for Steelhead.
Have you made any training adjustments?
I don’t’ run anymore (in training) – to ease the pain on my calf. I just bike and swim. I workout on my road bike just so I don’t have to hassle with packing and unpacking the Tri-bike.
What’s the biggest surprise so far?
Friends I had lost contact with are reaching out to me. People are starting to pay attention and I’ve been able to reconnect with so many people. It feels good. That’s the whole point, to motivate other veterans to get out there and get active.
How close are you to your fundraising goal?
I’m at $16,000 right now. A lot of the money came in early on and it’s slowed down a bit, but I’m only $9k short. The record (of completing 25 races) isn’t the main goal. I really want to be known for raising the money.
I hope the momentum keeps up. I’m selling a house to help with the fundraising. I have a couple rental properties and I’m selling one to support the campaign. I want people to know how much I have literally invested into this goal. I know it’s worth it.
Stay tuned for the next chat with The Patriot Racer after he completes Ironman 70.3 Muncie this weekend. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Semper Fi Fund and help Mike raise the remaining funds, click here.