Monday, June 25, 2012

Philly Tri 2012

I finally had a triathlon where I was not going into it injured, with a broken bike, etc. etc.  I was extremely excited to race the Philly Triathlon as a pro this year because it's so close to where I live, I had a lot of friends and family come out to support my race.  I knew going into the race it would be a really really fast field, especially in the swim. There were the usual studs in the race such as returning champion, Andy Potts, as well as Cam Dye, Matty Reed, and more.  Just to have the opportunity to race alongside these guys is incredible for me. 

I ended up finishing 12th for male pros in the race- a result that is good, but I know I have to keep improving if I really want to pursue this sport.  It is encouraging that I am still young, but that is not an excuse I want to use.  I want to get to the point where I can win races like this, so I have a tough road ahead, but I am excited about my progress. 

To the race:
Got up at 3:30 AM, did a 10 miute run shake out, had coffee, bagel with peanutbutter and a banana. Drive the 35 minutes to race course and got to transition around 5:00 AM. Did a 15 minute bike to make sure everything was in order gear wise, etc. Got on a bus to the start at 5:30 (bus driver subsequently got lost but still got to the start by 6:00 AM for a 6:30 start. Did another 5 minute run plus drills before the short swim warm up we were given. Felt ready to go. Had a Power Bar double latte caffeine gel about 90 minutes before the start.

My first thought in the swim was oh Jeez Andy Potts will fly out of the gate- not true. This was the nicest swim start I've encountered in awhile. I would contribute this to both the fact that I have been swimming in excess of 24KM/week long course and it not being an ITU race. I was very comfortable in the swim. Unfortunately, I followed the wrong person's feet and ended up to the far right in a slower swim pack. I ended up leading that pack out of the water with Australian Pellow and Nick Early. I think I could have easily swam 30 seconds faster if I had stayed in the group to the left. This was more of a sighting error. Spit was 18:18 with less of a current than last year plus leading a group comfortably. 


 The bike was tough as I knew I had ground to make up, and the Philly course is twisty, you can't really see how close the others are to you. I felt great on the climbs and would make up considerable ground on Nick during the climbs. The descents, I lost some ground, and pretty much was even on the flats where we would be hammering 27-29 mph to make up for the slow uphills. Actually misunderstood the stagger rule. I thought you always had to be BOTH 10 meters behind and 2 meters to the side, so there were times I would drop back while biking because I did not think I could just ride 2 meters beside them. I learned that lesson now and won't forget. There are definitely differences between ITU racing, which is akin to track intervals, and non drafting- more similar to a hard 1- hour tempo run. Overally, my 1:02 split was OK at best.  I know my bike strength still has a way to come, but I was pretty happy with the result.

Courtesy of Mark Hannagan

I started out the run hard to make up ground. I quickly caught up to some stragglers and focused on Dan Eckel and Nick Early. I think I tried to make up too much ground the first 2 miles, because I slowed the second two miles with some leg cramping. Nothing major, but I was digging deep. Overall, all the run splits were slower than last year's because (I assume) the heat. I felt like I fought the whole way, and am happy with it, but not content.
35:07 for 10K split- only the top 4 pros out split me, but still was not as tough (cough cough pansie) in the middle 2 miles a little bit.

I have to thank my incredible sponsors as well as friends and family for supporting me.  Power Bar, Kiwami, Trigger Point Therapy, Middletown Bike Line, Delaware Orthopaedics, Bifferato Gentiloatti for helping me get to races prepared.
Courtesy of Frankie Feitzman

Thanks for the picture Mom

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dallas ITU, LavaLove Triathlon, Worlds

I had a pretty busy last couple weeks of racing, getting back into shape, and starting practice with Blue Hen Aquatics every morning. I did get some incredible news that I will be representing the USA for the ITU Elite World Duathlon Championships in Nancy, France this coming September.  I am also stoked that my fellow collegiate recruits Jason Pederson and Chris Baird would be racing there as well.  I am beyond excited to race internationally in a world championship race.  But to recap my last two races:

Dallas ITU Pan American Cup: Well this race did not go as planned, but I honestly was a little worried before it even started.  I had only about 3- weeks of training before this race after my knee injury, which abated all biking and running for almost a month. I had a solid swim in Dallas, and was only about 45 seconds off the lead pack.  I am confident that after a summer swimming with Blue Hen Aquatics, I will close that gap, and be in the main pack.  I immediately felt my lack of power while biking- I just could not close the gaps I needed between groups, and got spit out the back.  I rode in the 100 degree heat with strong wind in one direction, and the race went downhill from there.  I just tried to put this race behind me and get back to steady training.

Here is the group of former Division 1 runners warming up (courtesy of Jason's Dad):

One week following the Dallas race, I drove the 2- hours to Lavalette, NJ to attempt to defend my title at my first triathlon I raced when I switched sports.  I love the races Jersey Shore Multisport puts on, they are great family atmospheres, fun, exciting short races that always have good challenges. The race director, Chris Wilcoz, asked me to come back to race again this year, and I was excited to race.  The day before the race, my new Coach, Brooks Doughty, assigned me to swim with UD's team, (6K), bike a steady 30 minutes, then had 7 miles of running intervals where I was running between 4:40- 5:00 pace for the 5 miles of workout.  I knew I would be tired coming into this race, but was still excited to challenge myself. I also had an awesome home stay from the Costello family, and Mr. Costello provided me with the pictures below.

The swim started in rough waters, with large waves.  I actually can say I finally enjoyed an open water swim.  I am feeling strong in the water, and was very comfortable in the choppy water.

It was a wetsuit legal swim about 0.45 miles in Barnegate Bay.  I got out hard, and found myself near the front at the first bouy.  There was one guy who got a good sized gap on the group, and I did not even see him.  Because I thought we were the lead group,  I just relaxed and sat in for the swim, exiting the water in 3rd overall- about 15 seconds down on the leader.  After T1, I hopped on my TT bike and got into my shoes after biking over a small bridge hill.  I quickly made the pass to get into second place behind the leader.  I got my first split on the 3- lap course, and still was 10 seconds down.  I was hammering pretty hard on tired legs over 26 mph, so I decided I would just try to maintain 2nd with only a 10ish second lead, and let the run play out.  By the end of the bike, I got off only 10 seconds behind the lead feeling very comfortable.

I caught the leader about 1/4 of a mile into the run, and just tried to maintain good form and keep my cadence high during the run.  At the first turn around, I saw I had about a minute on second place.  I just tried to run comfortably and enjoy the remainder of the run.  By this point in the race, there was a pretty solid crowd of people standing outside their beach houses, so it was a lot of fun to get all the cheers.  I came home in 20:50 for the 3.9 mile run course, a time I was happy about considering the hard intervals I ran the day before.


Following the race, I had a great time at the awards, and cheering the others in.  They also have some of the best tacos for post race meals.  I am pretty happy with my efforts from the day, and excited to race in Philly in two weeks.  There will be some of the best racing there including Craig Alexander, Matty Reed, Cam Dye, Andy Potts, and more; it's great to race the best.  Until then, I will be putting time in the bank training.