Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nickel City EDR/Finally a pro!

So this weekends elite development- draft legal sprint race was cancelled, but Buffalo, NY hosted the Nickel City triathlon that would qualify the top three overall for Pro Licenses. This race was tough going in because of three crazy injuries that I accrued in the last week. After an XC meet last weekend, I hurt the tendon around one of my metatarsals that took me off my feet for two days. Then, while not running, I was hit by a car and possibly have a small break in my wrist. Thirdly, the day before the race, my knee started hurting every time I flexed it! I felt like the walking wounded, but tried to not even think about them because I knew when I started, the adrenaline would take over.

I was right for the most part. The swim was rough where I could feel my wrist's instability every other stroke, and that lack of power was exacerbated by the fact that I was swimming in no man's land. Dan Eckler and another 3 good swimmers had a big gap on me, then I was well ahead of the next group behind me. Ended up getting out of the water in 5th, about 2 minutes back.

The bike consisted of two loops, the first of which, I was just trying to warm up! Lake Erie is a cool lake with 67 degree water temps. After catching up to third place, I knew I was at least able to get my pro card if I could hold that position. Every bump in the road hurt the wrist, but that took my mind off my burning legs! I did not get my race split yet, but had 1:02:13 from my bike for 25 miles. Pretty solid split for some hills. Wanted to go faster, but can't complain.

The run went great. I knew there was only a 10k separating me from officially being a PRO. I took off hard to try and bridge up to the leaders (over 2 minutes ahead). While I put time into their lead, I never caught them despite a close to 32 minute run split. They had great races too!

After the race, I was able to talk with Barb Lindquist and watch the pro ITU races going on during the afternoon. I plan to race the Myrtle Beach ITU pan am cup October 9th as long as everything goes smoothly signing up through ITU entries. I learned a lot from watching the pros that day, and honestly cant wait to get a crack at draft legal racing!

The top three overall. All of us college athletes before turning to Triathlon. Big props to Barb Lindquist for her collegiate recruitment program!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Little molehills!

So this last week has been an interesting week for me. It all started on Saturday, September 16th with the University of Delaware XC meet. I do love running XC, so I was excited to have a chance to run a good race against some good competition from Ole Miss and George Mason. The 8k at UD is extremely hills, rocky, and this particular day it was very muddy and wet. Perfect XC conditions! The course is a big loop and a small loop each with a 250 meter hill at about 30% grade. It is ridiculous. This hill is honestly comparable to the incline in Colorado Springs, CO. The race went out slower than I thought at only 5:01 at the mile (the only flat ish part of the course). After the huge hill, I got into the lead pack of three guys. One kenyan from Ole Miss (8:40 steepler) and a Mason runner who was 30:45 for 10k last spring. I rolled with them until the second huge hill, where I got gapped. I mostly attribute this to the lack of hill training I've been doing. Finished the race in 6th overall in 26:10. For this course, that's perfect. At the same meet last year (when I was only training for XC) I ran 26:09. After the race, I noticed that my 4th metatarsal was hurting from a spike that has evolved through the plate. I did not think much of it during the cool down, but the next morning, when I woke up at 4:30 to get ready for a sprint tri to help out Brick's Multisport, I realized my foot was really hurting. I did not want to let Brick's down, but I had to scratch out of the race and let it heal.

By Monday, my foot was feeling much better, but I still only swim/biked this day to give it some more rest. On the bike ride, I was doing a pyramid based fartlek on a flat course. It was at this point, when a car turned into me and my bike. The car was not going too fast, and thankfully, I did not have too many damaged and my bike was OK. I did get road rash, and my wrist is swollen to this day (Wednesday). I do not think anything is broken, but a lot of muscles are sore around my body from the impact of the car. I am feeling better every day, and have huge plans for my race in Buffalo this weekend. My goal is to win the race, and qualify for my pro card. Once I get that, I will be able to race the ITU race in Myrtle Beach. This post is entitled as such because all these little problems can really get to somebody, but I refuse to let it bother me. Rather, after a long strain of not- so- great luck, I know I am due for a big performance and lots of good luck!

I am very excited to race this weekend, and glad I was able to recover from this accident quickly.

Crossing the line at Nation's Triathlon...First time ever finishing with an American flag, and it was on 9/11. This was a huge honor!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Nation's Triathlon

On September 11th, 2011 I was fortunate enough to be able to safely race in the Capital of the United States. This race had more significance than other triathlons because of the dedication to the troops, first responders, and everybody that was affected by this day ten years prior.

The race itself was bittersweet as I had the best bike/run combo I've ever had, but was penalized for drafting after the fact. The race started with no swim due to the monsoon that had passed through the mid atlantic area the previous week. The start of the race became a TT style start with 15 athletes starting every 15 seconds running through transition, hopping on their bike and going. While this led to a lot of congestion on the bike course, (the entire elite field was in a peloton save one guy who had a phenomenal solo TT) the course was still blazing fast. I did my best to not be drafting by trying to split up the field at the front, staying to the side or back, but there were a solid 30 riders together and we all were certainly closer than 3 bike lengths. Bike splits: 57:34 (25.8mph!)

After dismounting the bike, I was able to run through the now very muddy transition area, and start the run. I like to get out hard in runs, and this was no exception. I grabbed the overall lead by the 0.5 mile mark and tried to maintain high cadence and I passed. Slightly before 2 miles, somebody told me I had 15 seconds on second. I made sure to not look back but tried to slowly push down on the gas and by 5k (where there was a chip sensor) I listened for the sound of a runner crossing behind me, but I did not hear one. I still tried to maintain my cadence and form as I had bad memories of age group nationals, so I really wanted a good run split today. With about 400 meters to go, I was handed an American Flag which I was able to hold over my head to finish. This was a huge honor- and something I have always envied of the Olympic athletes you see on tv, etc. Upon finishing, my Mom thought I had run 5:15's, which I would have been happy with. The official results had my splits at 32:09 (5:11s) which is great! Also my Aunt, Uncle, and Grandpop were able to make it there to see me race and win, which was another great part of the day.

Obviously I was upset after losing the winning title, but with two great splits and a great day I couldn't worry about it too much. A mantra that I've had in my head for the race and past few weeks of training comes from Ghandi and is simply, "an indomitable will." I think that quote represents what it is to be a triathlete in the best sense. This sport, as Macca said, is not for wimps, and small circumstances can not get into your mental psyche. After this race, I was more motivated than ever to get back to training and racing Buffalo, and (hopefully) Myrtle Beach pro ITU race September 24th and October 9th respectively.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Great Training Block

So after a tough race at Age group nationals, I had two options. The first was to get out and train harder, the second, which was never even an option, was to feel sorry for myself and give in. The week after AG nationals, I logged my highest volume week while still maintaining intensity.  I was able to hit 150 miles on the bike, 65 on the run, and 15k in the pool. This included a set of 3*2 mile cut down reps the Wednesday after the race with the last two 10:13 and 9:59. I also was able to get a few good TT efforts in on the bike including one 8 mile TT avg 25.4 mph after a 15 mile ride, run, and subsequent run and ride home after. I'm really excited at how my cycling is coming along.

The other aspect I can't overlook is the resurgence of training partners! My running buddy, Andy Weaver, started his build up for a half marathon in September, so working out with him has made it so much easier to push the pace, go longer, and have good workouts. While doing workouts solo is mentally a good thing, sometimes the addition of a partner can bring you to bigger and better levels.

That's it for now, back to training with an easier week for The Nation's Tri on Sunday, September 11th. I'm hoping the monsoon that has enveloped the east coast will stop soon- or at the very least keep the swim at Nation's Tri still on!