Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Muncie 70.3 RR

This weekend was the annual Muncie Endurathlon.  It has been around for years and has a great history to this race.  It was a World Championship race back in 1995 and it used to be a Kona qualifying race until about the mid 1990's.  This was going to be my 2nd attempt at this race.  The last time I was here, I remember the swim being warm and a little slow, the bike is pancake flat, and the run is challenging with some rolling hills that is completely exposed to the sun.  

We started our trip on Thursday after work when we made the 2.5 hour drive from Nashville to Louisville to visit with my aunts Francie and Carol.  It is always a lot of fun to visit with them and super nice for them to open up their home to us.  We hit the road early Friday morning for Muncie.  Friday was mostly like any other "day before the race" day.  Once in Muncie, I got in a few short workouts, attended the pro meeting, and relaxed at our homestay's  house.  The Gries' were very welcoming to my wife and I and we had a blast staying at their house.  They cooked some amazing food and made sure we were properly fueled for the next day.  

Race morning was just like all the others.  Wake up super early, prep your nutrition stuff, put on your race number tattoos, and head to the race.  I got there with plenty of time and got my transition all set up.  On the way to the race site, of course I hear a song on the radio that gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day.  It was a little unusual for this song to be on the radio, but it is what it is. 

Not everyday you hear a Disney song on the radio.  It definitely made me laugh and I was hoping that this was the one song NOT to get stuck in my head.  But when you think that to yourself, you know it has already happened.

The water temp was 74 degrees so we were going to swim in our wetsuits.  This was a little unusual as Muncie is typically super hot and never a wetsuit swim.  It didn't matter to me since I have my Xterra Vendetta.

Pre Swim shot with some Crazy eyes. 
At 7 am, the gun went off.  I got out pretty good but not quite as hard as I went in Kansas.  I settled on some feet about 400 yards in, and stayed there.  I was swimming comfortably enough to notice a gap open up in front of the guy I was swimming behind.  I put in a hard 100 yards or so and bridged up to the feet up ahead.  I was glad that I did because I believe the other guy got dropped from the pack.  I was comfortable in the pack for the rest of the way and we came out of the water in the mid 26's.  Not fast, but for the effort I was giving, that was to be expected.  I led the group of 7 guys out of the water and ran into T1.  My transition was ok and I ran quickly out of T1.

About 10 seconds for taking my spill.
Right after the mount line, I jumped on my bike and immediately started to hammer.  Four pedal strokes into the bike, I hit a bump while I was pedaling downwards with my right foot.  I was not in my bike shoes yet.  When I hit the bump, my foot slipped off of my shoe and I lost my balance.  I shot over my handlebars and hit the road.  I was fortunate enough to roll and not hit super hard.  I jumped up, did a quick assessment and made sure nothing was broken.  My Rudy Project Wingspan kept my head safe for sure as I have a nice little scuff on the back of my helmet.  Nothing appeared to be broken so I quickly picked up my bike.  Looked it over, fixed the brakes as they had moved and were not mashed against my wheels.  After running back to get my bike shoe that was lost about 10 yards back, and picking up my water bottles, I got on my bike slowly and took off.  I ended up losing about 1 - 1.5 minutes.  The 6 other guys that I came out of the water with were long gone.  The first mile or two I was still assessing the situation.  My bike hit on the gear side and the rear derailleur took most of the damage.  It was jumping every time I shifted, but was manageable to race on.  It wouldn't have been worth it to pull over and wait for a mechanic as I'm sure I would have lost a lot more time doing that just so my gears wouldn't be jumping.  Mike Hermanson and Patrick Evoe both made quick work of me in those first few miles as I was still getting my head back in the game.

I told myself I was going to at least get in a solid training day.  Once we got on the main road, I put my head down and just hammered away while having "Let It Go" running on an endless loop in my brain.  I ended up averaging around 278 watts for the ride.  Not bad considering those first 5 miles was only about 260ish because of crashing.  Here is my Strava file from the bike. This is by far the best I have ridden in a race this year so I'm happy I was able to do that after an accident.

My T2 was slow as I noticed a lot of blood when I pulled my foot out of my cycling shoes.  I didn't notice it right after the crash as I don't think it had started bleeding yet.  However, one toenail got ripped partially off, and another toe had the skin ripped off.  So my foot was covered in blood.  I wasn't sure how bad it was so I sat down to put on my run shoes.  I looked at the bottom of my foot to make sure the bottom was ok (it was) and then slipped on my running shoes carefully.  Then I was off running.

Nice little shot of my rear after the race. 
The run was uneventful as I was so far back I didn't see many people out there. I settled into a comfy pace for the first 6-7 miles and then the fatigue and pain in my foot started to creep up.  I slowed down and jogged it in.  I ran about 6:15 pace for the first half and then about 6:50 pace for the second half.  I crossed the finish line somewhere around 4:13ish.  Still nothing close to what I used to be able to do, but I have never crashed before in a 70.3, so I have nothing to compare it to.

My bike fitness is coming along as I only averaged about 250-255 watts at NOLA 70.3.  I felt very comfortable holding the wattage I did for Muncie and feel that I could have pushed harder had I been in the group that I came out of the water with.  The guys that finished 5th - 7th place on Saturday all came from that group.  Not saying I would have finished that high, but....

I still think back to 2011 when I was racing full time and remember averaging 300 watts for Muncie.  So I'm almost where I used to be, but not quite.  I knew this was going to be a rebuilding/relearning year, but I sure hoped everything to progress faster than it actually has.  All I can do is continue to put in the work and be patient.  I know the Lord has a plan for me and that I just need to have faith and be patient.

I'm not as beat up from the crash as expected so training resumed on Monday as usual.  I did rest up on Sunday.  We stopped back in Louisville Saturday after the race and had a wonderful evening with my aunts and my bro and sis in law, Dana and Ben.  So it is always nice to visit with family and relax after a long and stressful day.

Next up is the Music City Triathlon here in Nashville on the 27th of July and then Steelhead 70.3 on the 10th of August.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon

This is a race that I'm very familiar with.  I have raced here 3-4 times in the past and knew what to expect.  A pretty easy swim, a challenging bike course, and a hot run.  It has been several years since I raced here last but the course was identical the past years.

The weekend started with some relaxing around the house with Casey and watching Gwen Jorgensen tear up the Chicago WTS race.  We left for Chattanooga Saturday afternoon, picked up my packet around 5:30 pm, then headed over to one of Casey's friends' house for our "home stay."  It was super nice of Tracy and Stephen to open up their home for us to stay with them.  We relaxed, called it a night pretty early, and woke up at 5 am Sunday morning.  It was kind of nice to have a "later" start at 7:30 as I got to sleep to almost my normal wake up time.  However, I wouldn't have minded a 6:30 start if we could have avoided some of the heat.

We drove down town, parked, and got my transition all set up.  After a pretty stress free morning, we walked to the swim start and got prepared to race.  Being the only "pro" in the race, I was racer number 2 (there wasn't a number 1) and was the first individual racer after the relays were sent off.  I got a pretty good start and had passed every relay swimmer before the 2nd buoy.  I was by myself until about half way when super swimmer Bruce Gennari swam up beside me and passed with ease.  I sat on his feet for a few hundred yards until he accelerated away from me.  I came out of the water about 20-30 seconds behind him (he started about 30-40 seconds behind me in the time trial start).  I put on my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet and Swifty sunglasses and was running full steam ahead out of the first transition.

Unfortunately for Bruce, he got a flat in the first 2 miles of the bike course, so I passed him as he was already on the side of the road.  I was out front by myself for the rest of the ride.  The bike course is on a highway and has some very large rolling hills.  I felt better than I have all year on the bike during this ride.  I had to back off the effort on some of the hills as I looked down and was putting out 370+ watts.  I knew with the heat that I would expend too much energy on the bike if I held that effort and would not be able to run well.  Here is my Strava file from the bike.

I have to give a shout out to Quarq and the guys down Red Kite for helping me out the past 2 weeks.  They sent my power meter back to Quarq to take a look at it since it has been cutting in and out for no reason.  They replaced my 2 year old power meter for a brand new one since it was covered under warranty.  So I now have a brand new power meter with the newer technology that Quarq just released this year.  

Anyways, my legs felt pretty good coming off of the bike, slipped on my running shoes, and took off running.  The first 1/2 mile is pretty much straight up hill.  I kept the pace solid, but under control for the first mile.  I hit the first mile in about 5:50 and was surprised it was that fast.  I got a side stitch almost immediately after the 1 mile mark.  I haven't had one of these in a long time and I forgot how bad they hurt.  I tried to work it out but only managed a 6:15 mile 2.  I knew at that pace, the 2nd place guy would probably catch me.  I stopped and walked for 10 seconds, worked it out, and was back running.  The third mile was also in 6:15, but that included the walking.  I hit the turn around and the next guy was only 1:30 or so behind me.  His race number was 49?!?!  Holy Crap!!!  I immediately started doing math in my head.  How far back did he start after me, how can he be this close, how bad do I want to win?  I immediately found another gear and picked up the pace.  From mile 3 to 5, I ran 11:20 (never saw the 4 mile mark) and knew that I could hold that for the last mile.  Well, I forgot that a lot of the 6th mile is a gradual climb going into a short but very steep hill before running down the big hill I originally ran up in the first 1/2 mile.  I kept the pace hot all the way across the finish line since I have literally lost by 1 second at this very race in past years because of the TT start.

Tyler Jordan, number 49, finished 2:45 later (I know this because I timed it on my watch).  I was super nervous for the next 2-3 hours as I had no idea if I actually won or not.  Casey tried to keep me calm as she was more confident that I had actually won than I was.  When I crossed the finish line, a writer from the Chattanoogan interviewed me, along with a guy from Channel 9 in Chattanooga.


I did eventually find out that I did win by about 30 seconds.  It was all in the swim as well.  I out swam Tyler by about 2 minutes, he out biked me by about 1.5 minutes, and we were almost dead even between the run and transitions.  Congrats to Tyler as he kept my effort honest and I wouldn't have been able to go that fast without him there to push me to the line.

At the awards ceremony, they asked the winner to give a speech as Team Magic does at every event.  I kept it short and sweet.  I did win a door prize while waiting and got some tasty Red Bike Coffee.  

And I even got to take a picture with the birthday boy Blake.

We made the short trip back to Nashville after the race.  We snacked on some Welch's fruit snacks which made the drive that much better.  Then we chowed down some pizza and a Reese's blizzard from DQ for dinner.  I don't always eat like this, but allowed myself a bit of a cheat dinner on Sunday. 

This was a big confidence booster going into Muncie 70.3 which is now only about 1.5 weeks away.  I feel comfy on my bike and just need to pace myself a little better on the bike to have a solid run.  Thanks to Tri4Him for the support this year along with my lovely wife Casey, and the rest of my family who have helped me stay positive through the few set backs I've had early this year.  God has blessed me with these support teams and blessed me with my athletic ability.  None of this is possible without Him. 

Tone Loc 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kansas 70.3 AquaBike

Kansas is always kind of a half way point in the season for me.  When I have been racing, Kansas would be the "A" race at the end of my first half of the season.  However, for whatever reason, I haven't had much luck there.  In 2009, I had a great swim/bike, then totally blew on the run because of the effort I put out on the swim/bike.  In 2010, I had a bit of an "off" winter of training but still put together a decent bike/run.  The swim on the other hand was like I was out for a active recovery day swim.  I came out pretty far back and was never in the mix.  I even had spectators yelling that Chrissie was going to catch me (hence my fast run split that year).  In 2011, I was feeling great about my fitness and thought I had a good opportunity to finish in the top 3.  The swim again wasn't my best, but I stayed positive until about mile 15-20 on the bike.  I wasn't putting out my normal amount of power and just felt terrible for the whole bike.  I ran decent and ended up finishing 9th, first to not get paid.  I found out later my bike seat was way too low.  It didn't drop, I just had been riding like that for a few weeks for some reason and Kansas was the ride that made me realize it was WAY too low.

So, this year, my swim/run workouts have been going great, but my bike has been a little bit of a hiccup for me at every race.  Just getting comfortable in the aero position, and racing has been hard for me.  I felt that I had it all figured out going into Kansas.  The one thing I didn't think too much about was my saddle sores.  I get these when I'm riding quite a bit and just deal with them.  Well, these were much worse than I've had in the past and I didn't realize it until I hopped on my bike this past Sunday.

Race morning was 60 degrees and cloudy.  The pro field had a couple of stud swimmers, but only a couple.  I felt that I should be right in the mix.  At 6:45 the gun went off and I got a great start.  Maybe I did go a little hard but I got in a good rhythm and was only about 10 seconds off of a 3-4 guys feet who I thought was the first pack at the first turn buoy about 900 meters into the swim.  Unfortunately, that was a pace I couldn't hold and I lost about 45 seconds to them during the second half of the swim.  I came out of the water in about 8th, leading the 3rd pack.  Three or four of us ran into T1 together and I had a fantastic transition and was first out onto the bike.  I felt ok for the first 5 miles but nothing great.  Once again, I wasn't comfortable in the aero position.  I was sliding off the front of my seat and I had to stop peddling to push myself back onto it every 10-15 seconds.  This motion irritated my saddle sores and about 10 miles into the bike, my bottom was on fire.  Anyone who has had saddle sores knows how bad they can hurt.  All of this really got into my head, I lost my focus on the race itself and the group of 5-6 guys just pulled away from me.  I slowly got caught and passed by a few more guys until I couldn't even stay in the aero position because of the pain I was in.  I sat up and rode easy the last 30 - 35 miles.  Casey was happy to see me as she thought I had crashed considering I had 5 girls beat me back to T2.  My legs/feet felt weird/numb and I knew that nothing good would come from the run so I opted to not run.  My first unplanned DNF was a hard pill to swallow considering we drove a long ways for me to race.  But I knew a DNF was a better idea than running a slow 13.1 miles in racing flats and hurting myself and just making the this past a week a recovery week as opposed to the great workouts that I have been able to get in.  It was good see my fellow team members rock the race.   Jared and Natasha both finished in the top 10 which is awesome and Ryan had a great race even though he has been honeymooning all spring ;)

I did have a great weekend with my Tri4Him teammates.  We had a wonderful homestay at the Leepers.  Casey and I travelled to Olathe, KS on Friday, we had some great fellowship and dinner, and much more of the same on Saturday.  The weather could not have been more perfect this weekend.  I will eventually get my bike issues solved and be able to race the whole race.

Up next is the Chattanooga Waterfront triathlon on the 29th of June.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

To be Naive

Another race has come and gone.  I had the opportunity to compete in the last Rev3 Pro race in the near future.  Unfortunately for me, I raced some pretty fast boys.

Naive: adjective (of a person or action) showing lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.

This describes me to the "T."  I had huge goals coming into this year.  2009 was my first year competing as a professional triathlete, and I went into that year with similar goals to mine this year.  I was a first year pro and fully expected that I could win several Professional races and would just excel as a "professional" athlete.  I found out early on that year, that racing against Age groupers/amateurs is a whole different ball game than the Pro's. 

I eventually got stronger and faster and during my third year racing as a Pro, I had some good results and unfortunately picked the big prize purse races to be my A races for the season.  Well, when there is a large prize purse, the "big" boys show up.  I finished inside the top 15 in two races, the top 10 in two others, and only once in the top 8 which is what earned me a pay check.  I got injured towards the end of that year (2011) and then didn't do another Pro race until New Orleans of this year (1 month ago).  

My off season training this year had been pretty solid, but looking back on it, I didn't really ride my bike that much.  And looking at my recent results, it is showing that I didn't ride my bike that much.  I was feeling strong during most of my workouts, only missing a handful of workouts all year, and had a lot of confidence going into NOLA.  I expected to pick up right where I left off in 2011.  At that point in time, my 1/2 Ironman race pace efforts were in the ball park of 300-320 watts and Olympic distance was 320-340.  I could then get off the bike and run 5:30-5:45 pace depending on the distance.  Even when I ran "bad" I was sub 6 min miles for 13.1.  

Well, I didn't pick up where I left off and am realizing I have a long road ahead of me.  My competitors have only gotten faster, and I missed 1-1.5 years of training that has left me playing catch up.   

Rev3 Knoxville was the worst kind of Pro field for myself.  There were 6-8 "super" swimmers and probably another 6-8 that were really good swimmers.  And then a few other guys.  The field was small only being about 20-25 guys.  Where I'm at right now, I just don't have that kind of speed in the water.  At NOLA, there were about 30 guys there, and only 1 super swimmer, Andy Potts.  I was able to keep the pack close and stayed on some feet for almost the whole swim in NOLA. I came right out of the water in the mix of things. At Knoxville, if the whole start list had raced, my race might have played out a bit differently as I could have come out of the water with a few guys, rode hard, and maybe stayed close to everyone. 

Unfortunately, I got dropped about 4 minutes or so into the swim and swam solo the rest of the way.  I was 16th or so out of the water, only about 1 minute back from 3-4 guys.  I took off hard on the bike, but never saw a soul until I got passed at about mile 20.  I kept him close and I rode into T2 about 30 seconds behind him.  I felt strong, but just never got into a rhythm, especially in the aero position which is important in these races.  Because of this, I lost a lot of time on the bike and came into T2 WAY behind everyone else.  

Starting the run and having a little fun.

I started the run with my family and Casey yelling for me and getting some great photos. This helped me get my mind right and prepare myself to suffer for 10 miles of running.  I started clicking off 6 minute miles and at about half way, I realized I had 2 guys only about 30 seconds up the road.  I picked up the pace and negative split the run.  I caught both of those guys and ended up finishing in 16th place.    

I can't thank Casey, my dad, and my step mom Phyllis enough for coming to watch the race.  They gave me the motivation I needed when the race wasn't going like I wanted it to. 

Casey and my family have been huge supporters of the whole process.  During the 2012-2013 winter, I had convinced myself I didn't want to race anymore and Casey supported whatever decision I was going to make.  I got a lot of questions from my family and in laws about my racing and I always just gave some general answer and would end up dodging anything specific.  Later in the year, I realized how much I missed the sport and started training again.  The few local races I did only added fuel to the fire for my return to racing.  I knew my first few races this year would be a re-learning process, but I expected to be in the mix a little more than I have been.  I now know what I need to work on, and in what direction I need to head.  My coach, Beth Atnip, has helped me a ton in the past month since NOLA and if I keep progressing like I have been, then I expect to be back in the mix.  I just have to trust in the process, the work I'm putting in, in my Lord and Savior, and to have confidence when racing.  

Kansas 70.3 is in less than 3 weeks and I'm back at the grind. 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What the heck is Vector 450????

This is a great new product that I have fallen in love with.

When I was first introduced to Vector 450, I had no idea what I was even looking at.  I was told that our team, Tri4Him, was sponsored by Vector 450.  and I was like, cool?  It was a bottle of pills that could potentially help me during heavy training loads.  I guess I'll give it a shot, it was approved by USADA/WADA and was taken by some of my fellow athletes and even Lebron James???  Of course I'll try it.

Vector 450 contains Muno-IgY which stands for Immunoglobulin from Yolk - found in the common hen egg yolk.  It supports your body's immune system.  It helps it perform optimally and properly.
When I first started taking it, I looked a lot like this...

I may be exaggerating.

Well, now almost 2 months later, I have been taking it daily, and am a huge believer.  I started only taking 1 pill per day since it was my only bottle and it had 60 pills in it.  I could make it stretch 2 months.  But I ordered some more after 2 weeks and immediately started taking 2-3 pills a day depending on the day.  I take 2 pills every day, and 3-4 on days that have a lot of volume/intensity.

And now I look like this...

ok, maybe not, but it's a metaphor for how I feel ;)

Benefits that I have personally noticed:
1. Makes me VERY regular, if you know what I mean.  I have yet to make an "emergency" stop during a training run since I started taking Vector 450.  I wake up, have my morning coffee while reading my daily devotional, drink my UCAN, do my "business" and then go out and knock out my morning workout.
2. Helps with Allergies.  I have always had a little issue with seasonal allergies and I always relied on Sudafed until I got my pro card and found out it was a banned substance.  I immediately stopped taking Sudafed and just suffered with slight allergy problems since 2008.  Nothing crazy, just lots of stuffiness which turns into snot rockets during training run/bike/swims.  But since I started taking this, I have noticed I can breathe out of my nose better than I have been able to in the past 3-4 years.  and it has been allergy season.
3. Faster recovery.  Most recently, I did a 65 mile bike w/ efforts going straight into a 5 mile run with some short efforts.  The next day I had a very challenging longer run which I didn't think I could do after Saturday's workouts.  I ended up having a great workout.  This has happened on multiple occasions when I had back-to-back tough days and I nailed all of the workouts.  But I have only been able to do this since I started taking Vector 450.
4.  Less soreness.  I guess this goes along with the faster recovery, but I couldn't believe how good I felt after NOLA 70.3.  The only soreness I had was from my little spill I had the day before the race and bruised my ribs.

If you want to give it a shot, use my code to order some and get a pretty good discount.  TWHITETRI14

Check out their website for more info...

Vector 450

Tone Loc

ps.    In all honesty, I have lost weight, but I believe that was due to the fact I cut ice cream from my diet for a few weeks.  During the winter, I eat A LOT of ice cream.  Vector 450 is not a weight loss or muscle building supplement.  Just having some fun  ;)

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Pocket Knife at the Gun Show

NOLA 70.3 has come and gone.  It was a great weekend making some new friends as the local Nashville crew had several people travel down to New Orleans for the race.  I traveled with two buddies while meeting Casey on Saturday since she had to work on Friday.  We drove down Friday, got some good food down in the French Quarter Friday night, and mostly had an uneventful day other than spending most of it in the car.
Saturday we did our normal pre race workouts, then Sunday rolled around.  I was anxious as to find out where my fitness is.  My swim workouts have been pretty solid, but not quite where they once were, my bike workouts have been mostly indoors due to the weather, and my running has been going pretty well.  Again, not where I have once been, but not far off to be honest.  Vector 450 has really helped with these workouts as I am recovering faster than I have in the past.  It helps with the inflammatory process and reduces the soreness from the harder workouts, making it possible to do some harder workouts on back-to-back days.

The biggest question I had was about my bike and my nutrition.  I was using Generation UCAN for the first time for a race and was excited about it considering I have been using it all winter for my workouts.  My bike is a few years old, and I don't remember the last time I got it tuned up.  I did my best but apparently my best isn't very good.  My personalized bike fit got me comfortable on the bike, but my bike wasn't ready for the bumpy roads of NOLA.  Thankfully I was riding my my ISM Attack seat which was fantastic for those bumpy roads.

After some research on the best approach with UCAN for a 70.3, I planned on taking two packets of the UCAN Pomegranate blueberry powder mix in 1 bottle for the bike, with 8-12 Salt Stick tablets.  I also had a shot of Eboost to take in final mile of bike as a final pick me up before running.  I had a 10 oz bottle which I mixed 1 more packet of UCAN sitting in T2 to take with me on start of run and consume before the first mile.

Sunday morning rolled around, and I got everything prepped, and we went to the start.  I set up everything, and headed to the swim start.  My heart goes out to the family that lost a loving father/husband in the cycling accident just 2 days before the race.  He had traveled to NOLA from Atlanta for the race and was riding when a car struck him from behind.  His widow came down to speak to everyone before the start which was awesome of her.  Remember to keep her and her family in your prayers.  You can find out more about this accident at Slowtwitch.

Just a few minutes before swim start.

After the pro introductions, we jumped in the water, and got a 2-3 minute warmup.  They got everyone behind the start line, and fired the cannon with no count down.  Two weekends in a row, I was caught with my goggles up.  I quickly put them on and got out fast.  I stayed smooth, found some feet, and cruised in a pack to the first turn.  Just 100 meters after turning, I sighted a yellow buoy which I thought was our next turn (it wasn't).  I swam in that direction for just 1 minute or so before realizing I was going to wrong yellow buoy.  I got back on course, but lost the feet of the group I was in.  That probably cost me 30-45 seconds but I stayed smooth and finished the swim very comfortably and feeling good.  I ran into T1, slipped on my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet  and had a decent transition.  Once on the bike, I was right in the middle of the Pro field.  I held 275-280 watts for the first 15 miles or so, keeping everyone in sight, then that is where I realized my lack of cycling fitness.  Somewhere 15-20 miles in, I heard a little noise, but just assumed it was the car that had just passed me.  Well I kept hearing it and looked down to see that my left, front brake caliper/pad had come loose and was pointing straight up and down (supposed to be parallel with ground).  I pulled it away from my wheel and that stayed for a while, but the further I rode, the looser the brake pad got.  The last 41 miles, I rode by myself as everyone slowly pulled away.  I had a few guys pass me and I just watched as they went.  My power dropped to 255-260 until about 45 miles.  Those last 10 miles, the brake pad got really loose and it was rubbing my wheel.  I spent more effort trying to keep the pad off of the wheel and my power dropped significantly while dealing with this.  (This is by no means an excuse as to why I didn't finish as high as I had hoped, this was just a distraction.  It maybe cost me a minute or two on the bike.)  I came into T2 a little annoyed about my bike situation, but was going to get in a good long workout no matter what happened.  I would walk/jog the run if need be.  I took off at what I thought was about 7:00 pace.  It was actually closer to 6:00 and I was surprised to go through the first 4 miles right at that pace and then hold 6:10's for the next 4 miles after that.  Once I got to 8 miles, I was in no man's land with no one behind really catching me, and only 1 guy right in front of me.  That last 5 miles were right around 6:30-6:40 pace as I threw in a few short walk breaks.  I tried to pick up the pace a handful of times, trying to remember how it feels to really suffer, and that is something I will need to work on.  Those final miles of a 70.3 are always brutal, no matter what pace you are running.

I ended up finishing as the 15th pro and 18th overall.  Definitely not close to where I wanted to be, but it provided me with the information that I needed.  I finished with my wife yelling and screaming.  She was so excited for me to finish a 70.3 and that made me so happy.  I realized that I was happy to finish and that the finisher's medal does mean something.  I used to just take for granted that I would finish and be upset if it wasn't fast.  Sunday, I was happy to be competing again and grateful for everyone's support.

Tri4Him took a chance on me taking me onto the Pro team without any Pro results for the past 2 years.  I am forever grateful for that opportunity.  Casey has supported me in every decision that I have made.  I wouldn't have been on the starting line Sunday without her.  The Lord has blessed me with the athletic ability to compete in triathlons and presented the opportunity to Glorify him while doing so.  He has also blessed me with more family and friends then I thought was possible.  I love hearing from everyone on Facebook, text messages, Twitter, etc.  It always reminds me of my support team, and puts a smile on my face.  I met fellow Tri4Him team member Jodie after the race and we talked briefly after the race.  It is awesome to see our team uniform out at the races and meeting new people every day.

My next race is Rev3 Knoxville which is 5 weeks away.  I plan on spending those 5 weeks on the bicycle.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alpha Delta Pi-athlon

My first race of the season has come and gone.  It was a small, local triathlon that had some unique distances.  It was a short 300 yard swim, in a 12 lane pool, so you had to go under a lane line at every 25 yard mark.  It was a short run to the transition area and then a flat, and easy to follow, 11 mile bike ride, followed by a 5k run through MTSU's campus in Murfreesboro, TN.

I knew it was going to be chilly, but was hoping it would be warmer than expected.  That did not happen.  I woke to 42 degrees at my house and thought that I could deal with that.  I packed my car, grabbed my coffee and Chocolate UCAN and hit the road.

Well, as I arrived in Murfreesboro, it was 36 degrees and "felt like" 32.  That is a cold triathlon.  I prepped everything and jogged the run course to make sure I knew where I was going.  The course was marked well, which is a problem is a lot of smaller triathlons, so I was able to scout the course and know exactly where I was going once on the run.

After getting everything laid out in the transition area, I walked to the pool for the start.  I laid my Tri4Him long sleeve cycling jersey on the pool deck to slip on after the swim and walked into the pool.  Everyone got lined up and I was seeded #1.

I was chatting with the #2 guy before the start when a lady walked up and just said "Go" without any warning that we were about to start.  I quickly put on my goggles and jumped in.  After an uneventful swim, I ran to T1.  After a little trouble slipping on my cycling jersey, I got to my bike, put on my Rudy Project helmet, and took off.

One of the main reasons I decided to do this race 1 week before NOLA 70.3 was to get some kinks worked out.  And boy were there some kinks.  Of course my power meter wasn't working for the first time this year, so I tried to figure that thing out for the first mile or two until I decided it didn't matter.  I also just didn't feel right.  I felt like I was a little low on my bike.  After spending the winter on the trainer, it is always hard to get comfortable when riding outside.  For whatever reason, during the winter when I'm mostly on the trainer, I tend to lower my seat a little.  Then once I go outside, I realize that my seat is too low.  Well, needless to say, my bike split wasn't near what it needs to be, but it was ok.  I have since then adjusted the seat height and hopefully got it all figured out.  I got to the last 1/2 mile or so of the bike and had to got over 5-6 speed bumps while trying to get my frozen feet out of my bike shoes with my frozen hands.  This probably cost me 30-45 seconds just doing that.  It probably would have been faster to leave my feet in my shoes and have run into T2 in my bike shoes.

I racked my bike and took off on the run with my numb feet.  Again, it was an uneventful run and I crossed the finish line first.  I never started my watch because of the abrupt start so I had no feedback during the race.  I didn't see a clock until I finished.  I believe I ran the 5k in 17:40ish.  Nothing great, but not bad considering how terrible I felt on the bike.  But it could also be the training I've done over the past few weeks. I had a pretty solid ride the previous Tuesday of about 3.5 hours, and had a great 6 mile fartlek in about 34 minutes on Thursday.  So I was definitely not rested.  But NOLA is the first big goal of the year.  Getting my feet wet in my first Pro race since Steelhead 70.3 of 2011.  I'm nervous, but very excited.  I'm still putting together my nutrition plan, race goals, etc.

No matter what happens, my goal is to finish L.A.S.T.  God has bigger plans for me no matter how I finish.  One thing I used to get caught up in before the race was analyzing the start list.  I am not going to show up and be able to put out some super human performance.  I need to stay focused on what I know that I'm capable of doing and not get overwhelmed by who I'm racing.

NOLA race report will be up in about a week.  Stay tuned....

Make sure to check out the race coverage at Ironman