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.

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