Race report

Eagle Creek Sprint duathlon

On June 10th I participated in the Eagle Creek duathlon.  I decided not to participate in the sprint triathlon.  Partly because I had only had about 5 pool swims under my belt at the time, but also because I thought the water was going to be really cold!  Haha.  Low and behold we had a string of warm days before the event and the water ended up being 74°.  Oh well.

Looking at last years duathlon results I figured I could place fairly well if the participation was similar.  On arrival, I saw one guy that I knew from Strava and figured he would win the duathlon(he did).  Everyone else was up in the air.  

The first run was a 2 miler.  I took off in the front and about 4 of us showed our pace at the beginning.  The guy I mentioned earlier was an extra step in front of the rest of us.  I stayed in 4th through the run and averaged 6:45 pace.  In tranasition I happened to be racked by the guy who was 3rd.  I left transition in front of him.  And I wasnt even that fast.

I pushed as hard as I was able on the 10 mile bike course.  My heart rate never dropped below 170.  One guy passed me on course and that was it.  He wasnt a duathlete, though.  It was a decent bike but I was a little slower than I had hoped.  No big deal, back to my run shoes.

I pushed back up the hill out of transition and settled into a pace under 7 min/mi for the 3 mile run.  I was hoping for a little more pace but it was all I had.  I saw the guy in 2nd place and knew I wasnt going to be able to reach him.  I was closing in on him but the gap was too far.  Back to the hill at the end and this time it was down hill.  I heard footsteps beating behind me and didnt want whoever it was to pass me.  I gave all I had left.  Whoever it was didnt pass me.  I pegged my HR and was fighting back throwing up as I crossed the line.  Yes, like really close to puking.  Haha.
I finished 3rd in the duathlon.  I was happy with my time and know I can work out a few more minutes off my time.  I wasnt in great shape this early in my shortened season.  Yes, it wasnt a fast field, but I dont care!  Haha.  I doubt I will be doing the duathlon this year again, but I had a lot of fun and wont say I wouldnt do it again.

2017 Glass City Marathon 

Sunday, April 23rd was the culmination of 6+ years of running, 2-1/2 years of marathon, 4 months of dedicated training while covering 1031 miles in that time, and one giant step towards running the Boston Marathon.  I ran the 2017 Glass City Marathon!

My story starts 2 weeks prior to the race.  It was my first week of my taper.  It was a small drop off in miles, but a drop none-the-less.  The weekend involved a long run of 17 miles.  16 to 18 miles is normal for the 3rd week out long run.  The long run ended up being one of my fasted, long runs.  About 1pm I went on my run with maybe 150 calories ingested that morning.  I kept the run at a pretty decent pace. I think it ended up being 7:45/mi.  I normally have been doing my long runs just over 8/mi to keep them fairly easy.  I was pretty wiped out by the end.  It happens and didnt think anythibg of it.  I woke up the next day with pain in my butt and right calf.  I ran the whole next week with this feeling.  The weekend before the race I had 13 miles on my long run and I stopped at 10 frustrated.  The pain hadnt gotten any better.  On Monday I feel like I finally figured out I had a case of Piriformis Syndrome and finally could make a plan to fix it.  In 6 days!   I foam rolled, I stretched, I stopped running and I did lots and lots of clamshells!  I ran on Wednesday and the feeling was still there.  It didnt slow me down but I knew 4 miles wasnt the same as mile 20 of a marathon.  A few more days off followed…

My friend Jeff, my wife Meggan, and I all headed up to Toledo Saturday midday.  The drive was uneventful and we got to Toledo about 3pm.  Straight to the Expo and we all grabbed our packets.  Jeff and I for the marathon and Meggan for the 5K.   We grabbed some early dinner and went to the hotel.  I drug Jeff outside to go for a real easy 2 mile shakeout.  The piriformis wasnt bad but I knew it wasnt 100%.  I guess I will try to ignore it as long as possible.  Heck, my calf was hurting more than the piriformis.  I wonder if they are related from a sciatic nerve standpoint?

So….race morning.  Alarm goes off at 4:30am.  Again, I drag Jeff outside and we trot a 1 mile out-and-back.  I ate a slice of bread, took down some Infinit MUD and had a cup of coffee.  I normally like to eat a touch more than that but my nerves were getting the best of me by that point.  About 6am we took off for the start line.  It was a short drive and a little traffice but we were parked and out by 6:30.  A quick trip to the port-os and I do my lunge matrix and leg swing warm-up.   A kiss good-bye to the wife and I get in my corral up front.

I knew I was going to stick with the 3:05 pacer and hold on as long as my piriformis would let me.  When I got into my corral the 3:05 was nowhere to be found.  It was advertised but no one showed up.  A 1:30 half pacer was there but I didnt want to be that quick.  Well, I did but probably not going to happen.  The race was supposed to start at 7:02am but it went a little late with some guest speakers.  A fly-over later and we got the green light to go.  I stayed reserved at the start, unlike my normal tendencies to blast off.  There were plenty of halfers in the mix that i knew were going faster than me so I kept reminding myself to settle down.  It didnt take long and I found my rythym.  7:02 on the first mile, win!

Mile 3 had the first hill that I knew about.  It came and went without much trouble.  We turned into a nice residential area for miles 4-9.  There were a number of twusts and turns and even a few small hills through here.  This was the section of the race that I skipped during my 20 mile training run on course back in February.  During this time my pace had quickened.  I clocked off several 6:48 miles.  During this time the Sub 3 goal started to flash in my head.  6:51-6:52 was needed for that. I would quickly try to shrug it off and say that 7:00 or so was my goal.  I’ve still got a looong way to go.

Running through the Preserve, first time

After mile 9 the half-marathon split off to go towards the finish and we, marathoners, went into the Nature Preserve to start the rest of our journey.  The scope of the event was starting to weigh on me at this point and how much longer i still have to go.  But i kept going and my pace fluttered around 6:55 pretty consistently.  My breathing was efficient and the pace didnt feel hard.  Ok good.

After crossing the timing mats at 12.9 miles(WTF kind of time split is that?) we turned north to run along the side of a street.  I knew the wind was out of the north.  It was only supposed to be 2-5mph but i could feel it.  About then a group of about 6 or 7 guys caught and passed me.  They were cruising and from a short convo I overheard it sounded like they were going for a 3:00hr finish.  Me and the guy I was runnung near both sped up to catch the back of their pack.  I stuck with them for over the next mile to block the wind.  Their pace was a little fast but I figure it was worth it.  After we turned back east I noticed my pace was in the 6:30s so i let their group go and went back to my own pace.  During that time we also crossed the 13.1 and a guy yelling out our splits as we passed.  1 hour 30, 11 as I passed by.   “Woah!  I’m going quick!   I feel great and maybe this sub 3 is a real thing now!   But it’s only the halfway point.  It’s gonna get the best of you if you keep pushing.  But maybe if i only need to drop 12 seconds to get enough…..ugh, stop it!”

Miles 14-17 briefly snake through a residential area and a large pond in a park.  As I was circling around the pond I came up on one of the guys from the pack from earlier.  He looked like he was cramping.  “Yeah, 17.  That’s where things start to go downhill.  That’s as far as I made it last year at Carmel.  Not this year, I’m still feeling good not even breathing hard.”  Another 6:48 mile at 17.  I started to chuckle.  “This is where that park ranger pulled me over yesterday to scold me about the park having a 10mph speed limit.  Hey buddy, I bet I am braking your speed limit right now! Haha”  It was also at this point I started getting a little giddy about my BQ chances.  Mile 19 was coming, though, keep it down.

Another long straight stretch of road and no one around me.  It was a little boring for a few minutes but I knew mile 19 was coming.  I’m going to try to get a little rest on this coming downhill.  The hill of the race is coming up.  Hills kill me.  In each of my last 2 BQ attempts the short hills late in those races zapped my energy.  I had run up to a couple other athletes as we started downhill, briefly.  I relaxed my arms and flopped down the hill.  As we approached the base of this hill at 19 I told myself to just stare at the ground at my feet, keep my effort and i’ll never even know there was a hill.  It seemed to work as I cruised uo the hill without even as much as slowing down.  Towards the top of the hill I noticed a female athlete I had ran with briefly at the beginning.  She was walking right before the hill and now i had caught her as she resumed her run.  “What is that on her leg?  That’s a weird spot for a tattoo.  Oh wait, is that???  Aw man, this chick let a fart get sloppy.  Gross.  Oh even worse her butt is wet!   Ok, pass her quickly and get that visual out!”

Back up to the top of the hill and my good pace had resumed.  Actually, i had sped up and was again running high 6:40s at the time.  I correct and got back into the 6:50s.  I had accomplished my goal of owning the hill but I still had a 10K to run.  “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you had won.”  We made our way back into the Preserve and on the same path as before.

Right before the covered bridge around 19. Photographer dropped his camera so I didnt think he got me.

  Another time passed the mansion and the short little climb in front of it.  On this little climb was the first time I had felt the fatigue in my legs.  “Mile 21 and I am just now starting to feel something.  This is going pretty well!  You may just do it.  5 miles, 7 minute pace….wow Im going to be just over 3hrs!  3:01 maybe, can I push and get under 3?!  No wait, you still have to finish. 3:01 is a great time!”

Before the race i had told myself that once I got to 21.5 the bike path back to the finish would feel downhill.  Yeah, i must have looked at it wrong on my training run because it didnt feel that way!  It is net downhill but you can’t tell.  

Mile 22 looking ahead down the bike path thinking, “I thought this was supposed to feel downhill?”

Again past the 22 mile mark, quick math in my head(if I can still do math I know my head is in the right state of mind) and i know I am still close to 3:01.  “Ok, 22 miles…lets try to push this thing a bit now.  Woah, I just felt dizzy for a second, I need water.  Man, I havent seen an aid station in a while.  Shrug it off and keep pushing.  Ok, what is my pace now?  7:02?!  What??  Im going harder and slowing down?  And I can tell I am breathing hard now too.”   Getting close to the end and i was mentally pushing myself harder but all I was getting was just to maintain the pace I had been keeping.  But the good news was I was passing miles in the 20s and still hadn’t faded.  Maybe my bonk-test long runs and 70 mile weeks are paying off now!

Mile 24…”only 2.2 miles to go! I still see 3:01 as my finish time.  Ok, man i am getting tired now.  I want to stop.  I could run a couple 9 minute miles and still get under 3:05.  No, push!  Get under 3!  It’s too late.  Just keep running! Only 1.5 miles to go”

Mile 25. “1.2 miles to go.  You’ve got this. Just keep oushing itll be over soon.  Catch up to that young man in front of you.  His friends just told him the finish is around the corner.  Did they say downhill?   Ahhhhhh, down a hill!!  3 minutes to the finish that guy in the bike said?  That doesnt sound right?”  As I passed the young man going down the hill, I told him he was doing a great job and that we were on our way to BQ.  Didnt get a response but that’s ok.  I was feeling great, maybe he wasnt.

I could see the stadium by this point.  I had just entered a blocked off area of the finisher party for the runners. 

Hitting the last .2 and knowing I was about to complete my journey. Smiles building and fighting back the tears of pride.

 I took off the sock hat I was wearing and knew I must have been grinning ear-to-ear.  I heard someone say, “Yes, keep that smile all the way to the end!” Why, yes I will, thank you!  I was also trying to fight back tears at this point.  I knew I had accomplished my dream.  I was going to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  A few turns and a short little uphill into the stadium and i was onto the turf of the football field.  I looked up and saw Meggan screaming on the side of the path and I looked at her and shouted.  Woooo!!!!!!  I continued on to the 50 yard line pumping my first and yelling “BQ baby!!!!”  I heard the announcer say my name and let out another yell and reached my hands to the sky as i crossed the line and the clock.  I reached up to jump and touch it but held myself back and just stretched.  I pointed to the sky to thank God as I had prayed for him to give me the strength to overcome my injuries and tfor the wisdom to run a smart race and He delivered for me.  A volunteer told me good job and handed me a medal.  I put it proudly around my neck and took a blanket and crouched down on all 4s to kiss the ground and to say thank you one more time.  Another volunteer cam up to me concerned and asked if i was doing ok.  I grinned real big and said, “Yeah, i’m doing great!”  I quickly hopped back up and started walking down the chute.  I still had energy left. I stood back up without any pain.  I disnt feel drained at all.  I’ve always felt so wiped at the end of marathons i couldnt believe how aware and connected I was feeling.  A few seconds later i saw Meggan running into the finishers chute and she gave me a biiiig hug.  I just said, “I did it,” and I returned her embrace.  

Yeaaaaah! BQ!

Arms up! I did it!

My official finishers time was 3:01:16.  It averaged out to be a 6:55/mile pace.  Good enough for an automatic qualifying spot for Boston this September when registration opens for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  I finished 58th overall and 7th for my age group.  My first mile was 7:02 and my last mile was a 7:00.  My fastest mile was 6:48 and I had no fade.  My first half and second half splits were within a minute of each other.  I honestly couldnt have asked for a better race.  The weather, in the 40s the whole time, was perfect.  There was no wind to factor.  This winter has been the mildest i can ever remember and therefore the best for me to train in.  This race was definitely one to remember.  Thank you, Toledo and to the Glass City Marathon.  The celebration will continue in Boston next Patriot’s Day, Marathon Monday.

Time to celebrate! My wife and also my good friend, Jeff, who went with me.

No Luck 1/2 Marathon recap

Pre-race, kinda cold waiting for the start!(Im in the grey tshirt and shorts)

Walk around, stay warm, talk to people

Great race today. Race time temps were about 5° higher than predicted.  Helped me decide on shorts and a tshirt(36°) with arm warmers.  Goal was to hit 6:3xs each mile.  I started up front but behind the guys I knew would run sub 1:20.  The race went off and within the first 1/2 mile as expected Im doing 5:50.  I purposely slowed down to 630-645 and ran along a guy matching me stride for stride. I thought maybe Id have company as the other 7 in front me were gone!  Before the first mile, though, my partner had slowed way back and was gone. I was about 20yds behind #1 female. At least I felt like I had a target. I thought to myself that she was going to drop back the pace by mile 4. Sure enough, at 3.5 I started gaining on her and passed her. I was on my own the rest of the race!  I hit a few miles in the high 6:20s but I was feeling fairly relaxed as I approached the turnaround. I was seeing 1-6 coming back at this point. I felt like #6 wasnt too far ahead of me but a minute is deceiving. Turned around grabbed my first water drink. The next few miles were nice as I saw all my friends on the course and lots of “good jobs”. It was a slight downhill.  I intended to use this to my advantage and gain some speed.  I ended up maintaining the pace and relaxing some.  Once back on the flat, after the time spent relaxing, I sped up as i was feeling good.  Mile 8 was the fastest in the 6:18 range and I could tell it put the hurt in my lungs beyond that.  After mile 9 we went up the middle school hill on Stafford. I tried to use my quads and hammys more to go up the hill.  I felt gassed for about a 1/4 mile after the hill.

Right turn off Stafford and the 3 mile sign.  I know I only have around 21 minutes of running for the final 5k. I look at my watch and read 1:04. Im on target!  After this right-hand turn I realized that I was starting to notice the wind for the first time.  I looked at the flags nearby and could tell the wind was from the north.  The way the last stretch goes to the finish.  I power through the next mile going down under 267 again and up a short, steep grass hill.  Watch those footsteps!  There were some big dirt mounds i almost turned an ankle on.

Things are starting to get tough, now. I make the 2nd to last turn to head north to the finish and like a clap of the hands the wind hits me!  Woah!!!!  The records show the wind was never more than 6mph in the morning.  No way that was 6.  I would guess a steady 15mph, honestly.  Everyone was commenting about that section post race.  My effort level goes up another 20% and I cant even maintain 6:40 anymore, crap!  One last water drink and push. I redlined to keep my pace in 630s. Turn the final corner and kick it. As I approached the finish I could see my wife and she was tugging a little hand behind her.  She had brought my daughter, Lillian!  (My wife did the 5K so she went back home to get her after her race)  They smiled and waved and I got a big grin and smiled and waved too.  Then I turned back to the finish line and looked at the clock.  It just ticked over 1:24! So much faster than I was expecting of myself!  As i crossed the line I grabbed my sock hat off my head and flipped it up into the air not knowing where it was going. I didnt care, haha.  I put my hands on my knees for a second and then took my medal from one of the ladies.  I turned around to the race director who was congratulating me and asking if I was headed to Boston next month.  I had to tell him, “nope, but I’m qualifying the weekend after in Toledo!”  I briefly looked for someone that might be handing me my hat but nothing.  I didnt care one bit I lost it.  Come to find out I flipped it back over the finish line about 20ft away right by my wife and daughter!  Haha, they had it.  I finished in 1:24:08.  I was 7th overall and 2nd in my age group.  I was 2+ minutes faster than this race last year and lost 2 spots, hah.  The course read short on a lot of Garmins but I dont question the RDs ability to measure a route.

I wasn’t nervous going into this race but I had a lot of question marks about how well I would do.  I am putting in 65-70 miles a week pretty regularly.  More than ever by a long shot.  I’ve stayed healthy and have hit all my hard workouts.  This was kind of the payoff for all that work. Now, though, the real treat awaits at the Glass City Marathon on April 23.  

Boston awaits.

Go time!

Podium shot! Billie(3rd), Zach(1st AG 1:19), stand-in leprechaun guy(he’s a super fast runner), Me(2nd)

I was ready for an Ironman, but I wasn’t ready for that!

I have been a slacker this summer.  Not with my training, no, that has been going well.  With my blog!  I have done several races since Chatt70.3 and I did nothing to mention them here.  I apologize for that, but here I am to talk about my latest adventure.

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA

This was my 2nd attempt at the full 140.6 distance.  I completed IM Louisville in the fall of 2014.  I got the green light to do another in 2016.  My training started 5 weeks prior to the 70.3 event in the city that I posted about back in May.  Through the summer my workouts had their ups and downs.  The last 2 big build weeks were very good, though.  I hit my highest miles, highest durations and felt good through the long bricks.  I went into my taper/peak period with a very good plan.  I was going to be ready to dominate this race to the best of my ability.

Race week had come upon us and I was hitting my taper/peak numbers exactly where I was wanting to me.  The wife and I headed down to Tennessee on Thursday afternoon.  Friday was spent sight-seeing in Chattanooga to enjoy ourselves a bit.  October 1st will be our 5th anniversary so this was kind of our getaway.  Somehow I don’t feel like it did the moment justice but we both had fun.  We went up to the top of Lookout Mountain and saw the civil war memorial there and got a great view of Chattanooga.

 

Lookout Mountain view of Chatt

 

5 years of marriage with this girl

Saturday started out with an easy bike ride of the run course.  I stayed on the flat side of the river.  I drove Barton Ave the evening before and didn’t want to take my bike over there.  It was fairly hilly.  I came back to the hotel and put on shoes and ran a couple miles.  Afterwards, I got my bike ready and realized that I wasn’t able to shift into my big ring on the crankset!  Crap, I don’t have tools to adjust the derailleur.  I only brought allen wrenches.  I came to the conclusion that I would have to let the onsite bike tech take a look at it.  When we got to the Ironman village the bike techs were scrambling around like crazy!  I asked if they could look at it and after a couple minutes of hee-hawing one of the techs grabbed my bike and put it on a stand.  He made a few adjustments to the limit screws on the front derailleur and had it shifting better than ever!  I thanked the guy.  He smiled, winked and said that the wheelset I was using was topnotch!  Thanks ENVE!  I then racked my bike and my bike/run bags.  I had a good spot on transition.  Nearer to the exit/entrance than most.

 

Looking back at the changing tents

Fast forward to the morning of the race.  I’ll say I got about 5 hours of sleep the night before.  It was very spotty, though.  I keep myself up at night worrying about the swim starts.  I had a banana, a couple pieces of bread that I dipped into a hazelnut spread, and filled up a water bottle with a serving of Infinit Jet Fuel for some calories and caffeine while in the wait line.  I got to transition around 5:15am and was out by 5:30am.  I had turned my computer on and let it sync to my power meter and cadence sensor.  I saw it do it!  Me, my wife and my friend Doug all loaded into a bus and we went to the swim start line.  There, my friend Chuck had been holding a spot for our little group.  We could see the starting arch we were so close!  Billie was there, Robert, Chuck too.  Shortly after Jim joined us and a couple guys he knew that were racing too.  We sat there for almost 2 hours waiting.  Just waiting….

It got close to 7:30.  The pros had just started so we were getting ready and the line was filing out to the pontoon to jump in.  By this point we were right under the Ironman arch and could see the pontoon.  We got together for a group photo and our canon went off around 7:26am.  Time to make some PRs!

 

Chuck, Billie, Robert, me, Doug, Jim

I’ll use this spot to fill you in on what I had hoped for on this day.  I knew the swim was with the current the whole way so I knew I was going to PR this leg.  I had a mediocre swim of 1:20 at Louisville so I was figuring I would swim maybe 1:15.  I had a longshot goal of getting to 1:10 but wasn’t trying to over do it.  After talking to Chuck and seeing his swim time from last year I started thinking I could go faster.   Using Best Bike Split I calculated out a bike time of around 6:11 with very favorable winds like we were supposed to have.  I said a 6:30 would be ok but my best goal was a 6:12.  And then on the run, I was hoping my run training I had been doing over the last couple years would benefit me and help me reach my goal.  My soft goal was to run 4:30 but I really wanted to get under 4:00.  After seeing the heat for the day I knew that was most likely not gonna happen.  Back to 4:30.  Overall, I wanted to reach a 12:30 time.  With a good race I think I would be capable of breaking 11s, but 12:30 is what I wanted to beat.

On to the swim.  The swim is so lonely.  You can’t talk to anyone.  You can’t smile at anybody.  You’re just there in your head taking each stroke one at a time.  Thankfully the buoys were easy to spot.  I took an alright line and most importantly avoided congestion!  My goggles never leaked or fogged up.  I only had a couple touches with other people.  And some guys fingers coming up from under me and poking me in the belly.  How does that happen?! I didn’t know how many buoys there were but I figured when they changed from yellow to orange that that must be the halfway point.  After going under the 3 bridges I turned around the final red buoy and headed to the exit ladders.  It didn’t feel painfully long.  In fact, I was sort of enjoying it!  *gasp*  After climbing out I looked down at my watch before hitting the lap button and saw 1:07.  1:07!!!  I smiled and pumped my fist running down the concrete walk.  Yank the goggles and cap off and pulled my Blueseventy PZ3TX swim skin down to my waist.  The ramp up to transition was STEEP!  I didn’t remember that from the 70.3.  I shifted from a walk back to a run a couple times.

 

Turn to go up the hill

Grabbing my bike bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

After grabbing my bike bag I went into the changing tent and let a nice volunteer dump the contents of the bag out and get my shoes ready.  I put my socks on and heard a familiar voice, “Hey buddy!”  “Oh hey, Jim!”  I had beat him out of the water!  That was a first.  I put my chamois cream on, shoes and helmet and rolled my arm sleeves on and trotted out the tent.  I had the sunscreen volunteers spray me down.  Ouch, little burn on the front of my neck from my skin.  As I ran to my bike I looked over and saw Jim running to his.  I yelled across transitions, “Hey Jim, you better slow down!”  I then grabbed my bike off the rack and as I rounded the corner there was Jim coming to meet me and making an attempt to cut me off!  All in good fun of course so for the final 30-40yds we were in a race pushing our bikes to the mount line.  He beat me and was off fairly quickly.  It was a good thing to have a little fun in such a long race!

 

Smiling at Jim as we raced to the mount line

As soon as I got on my bike I realized my power meter wasn’t synced!  This has been a reoccurring trend in my races this year.  I know I sync’d it in my setup that morning.  Anyways, I figured I would just use my watch to make do.  The power numbers on my watch were being just as stupid.  I’m pedaling away and only seeing 60watts on my watch, then 200w and down to 0.  WTF.  After about 15 minutes I decided to turn my computer off and back on and it instantly found my power meter and cadence sensor.  Jeez!  So, no big deal and I could deal with that.  The ride was going well.  I wasn’t quite up to my goal avg power yet and my NP was a little high but those would equalize as I settled down into the ride.  Dang it!  Popped my chain off shifting up to the big ring.  My fault I believe.  Threw it back on in about 10 seconds.  Again!  Around mile 50 I dropped it going into the little ring.  Ugh, another sticking point of paying attention what rear gear I am in!  I didn’t drop it again after that.  At mile 52 was special needs.  I made a new nutrition bottle and went on my way.  As I started lap 2 I noticed something.  It was hot.  And now I could feel it.  I had recently started making the decision of grabbing 2 water bottles at each aid station instead of 1 like I normally do.  Did I start too late?  By mile 70 it occurred to me that I haven’t had to pee yet.  Yeah, I started too late.  I began drinking as much as I could.  I was feeling fairly blah at this point.  My nutrition had gotten warm and half the water at the aid stations were warm bottles too.  This wasn’t sitting too well in my stomach.  Around into Chickamauga again and I am really feeling some dehydration.  This was about mile 90 and I can no longer hit my power numbers.  On the last highway leading back into town 60-90watts was the norm.  Luckily the wind was behind me and pushing a little bit to give me a decent mph still.  I knew the first lap was real good (about 3:05 at the halfway mark) but the second lap remained to be seen.  Those last 30 were painfully slow and painfull as well.  I had started to develop a cramp in my right hamstring that when I kept my leg in its most upright position and tried to move my foot in the bike shoe I would temporarily seize up and I would have to pedal and stretch it out.  In town I couldn’t hold myself in aero any longer, nor did I have the strength to hold the bullhorns.  I was done!  I rolled into T2 with a frown and a distant look on my face.  Even my wife could tell by this point that I was hurting.  I slowly dismounted so that I wouldn’t seize up my leg. My bike split was 6:23 so it was still well within my goals but what did that matter at this point?  I gave my bike catcher my bike and took my bike shoes off.  I then proceeded to walk to get my run bag.  There was no running in me…

 

Right before dismount

Walking to the changing tent, not amused

I came into the changing tent and sat down in a chair.  I put my bag on the ground and just sunk back into a seat.  I was completely out of steam.  My head was spinning.  I  sat there for what seemed like minutes and minutes without moving.  A volunteer had dumped my bag for me and got me water.  I had one shoe on and wasn’t moving.  Several volunteers asked me if I was alright and just laughed at them and said, “Yeah, I think so.  I’m just gonna sit here for a minute.”  I saw guys come running in and out to take on the rest of their days.  I felt jealous they still had so much energy.  I saw other guys with the same look on their face as me.  Just out of it.  I tried to do math in my tired head.  What would it take to walk a marathon?  8 hours?  Could I even walk once I got outside?  I came to the conclusion that I could walk the whole thing and still finish in time.  I mustered up some strength and finally put my other shoe on and stood up to walk out.  Blah, this doesn’t feel good.  As I walked out I made myself go to the restroom and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to pee.  I think I was catching back up with my fluids but the damage had already been done to my body.

I came down the run exit shoot and saw Meggan smiling and waving at me, but after one look at me that quickly turned to concern.  I wasn’t doing well.  My feet ached.  Each step hurt and I still wasn’t totally in the moment from my dehydration.  She asked me what I wanted to do as she walked beside me.  I turned to the grass and say I just wanna lay down.  So I plopped down onto an embankment and laid there.  I don’t know how long it was.  Maybe 5 minutes.  I sat back up and said I gotta try to see if I can walk this stupid thing.  If I can get walking then I can finish it.  I will be fine.  She walked with me for the first mile and a half or two.  She was still pretty worried about me but I assured her I was going to be fine walking at this pace.  Around mile 2.5 I found another guy walking and we chit-chatted for a while and stayed together til about mile 12 when he started running and I just couldn’t yet.  We tried a few other times and my stomach was still in knots.  My legs were ready to slow trot but my stomach was so full and upset.  I got to the point where I couldn’t even drink water anymore.  I switched to potato chips, pretzels, coke, chicken broth.  I tried everything!  Yes, even the silly BASE salts didn’t save me.

The walk was long.  I ran a few other times on the second loop.  I was just getting tired of walking and after 10-15 seconds I could find a stride and feel good for a minute and then my heart rate would go up and I would get cramps in my lungs and I was forced to walk again.  The 2nd time up Barton Ave heading home a familiar voice came from behind.  Doug said, “Hey what are you doing?” Or something similar.  I think he was surprised to have caught me.  I couldn’t keep up with his walking pace.  This was his first IM and looked poised to finish.  Good for him.    His first…..crap, I can’t let him beat me!  Haha, I needed something to spur me on, right???  So at the top of Barton I started running the downhill, I ran to the aid station and walked to grab something.  Heck I don’t even remember now and I started running again.  Probably about 1.5 mile from the end.  And I didn’t stop!  I caught back up with Doug as we made the left turn to go on the pedestrian bridge.  He made a comment about not letting me go and started running himself.  We ran over the bridge, encouraging each other and got lots of compliments as we ran to the finish.  As we turned to head down the hill I started to seperate from Doug so I slowed down to keep him beside me.  I didn’t want him to walk at this point.  I didn’t know where he was mentally or physically but I had made up my mind that I would let him cross the line in front of me whether I had to push him across or he ran over it.  Just before the shoot I saw my wife and I went over and gave her a quick kiss.  I looked back to the finish and was hearing the announcer yell out, “Doug Burkmire you are an Ironman”  (Yes he said it Doug cause I was listening to see if he said it was your first).  I looked behind me to see if anyone was sprinting in.  I had the floor to myself.  I was thankful at this point.  It took me 7 God-forsaken hours to walk this marathon but damnit was I proud of myself for not quitting.  I was able to do it and if I would have quit at T2 I would have never known if I had the power or not.  I would have convinced myself it was right but now finishing I know the real truth.  I AM tough.  I CAN do this. I DO belong here.  I AM an Ironman.

 

Deuces, y’all.

No Luck Half Marathon Race Review

So, I suppose I should make a post about my first real race of 2016.  I need to stop being a blog slacker.    The race was last Saturday, March 19 2016. It was also my first race to be sporting my Maverick Multisport team top.

The week leading into the race was a scheduled cut back week for me.  I designed it for week 12 even before i knew when this race would take place.  I had just come off my first ever 60 mile run week.  I was dealing with a few aches and pains and so I ended up skipping my Thursday 7 miler.  I did run on Friday for a short bit but I was going into this race fairly well rested.

Race morning came and I had my usual pre-race breakfast.  Worth noting, since this was a local race and had a generous start time of 8:45am i didn’t have to wake at the crack of dawn.  I got to the race start about 10 minutes before 8.  I grabbed my race packet and got ready to warmup.  Chuck and Nikki were parked next to me so they started out on my warm up too.  They ducked off after 1/2 mile but I wanted to run closer to 3.  You gotta get a pretty decent w/u in to be primed for a half marathon.  After about 15 minutes I did 4 15-20 second strides to wake up my legs.   I returned to my car with about 2.2 miles of warmup.  Ok, I’ll take it.

At the starting line i started evaluating the competition.  It was a small race so I knew there were only a handful of guys that were going to be faster than me.  Top 10 I knew was possible.  We got ready for the horn to go off shortly after.  No one approached the timing mats.  The front row was a good 5 feet back.  Anyways, horn, start watch, and GOO!!  I knew my goal pace was around 6:45/mile.  I also know I have a bad time pacing the first mile(too fast).  As we blasted off I let the lead 5 go on thinking I was holding myself back.  I looked at my watch and im still doing 6:18.  Yikes, slow down!  I quickly found myself in 8th position if my body count from the front was correct.  The guy to my side asked what I was hoping to pace.  “645 i guess,” was my response.
“Ok, I will try to keep up.” 
I let him stay a few steps in front of me for just a bit.  We turned onto Stafford Rd past the first mile and he was already slowing down and I was staying at a 630s pace.  I passed him and never saw him again.  7th.

An older gentleman was in front of me now.  He had passed me shortly after the beginning.  Loud footsteps in his Hoka’s!  I think it was around the first water stop that I passed him.  6th.  We crossed over the busy intersection of Ronald Reagan blvd and started down The only hill on the course. The downhill wasnt too harsh but I knew we would have to come back up this sucker in the 11th mile.  I got near the guy in 6th place as we got to perimeter road around the airport.    He was running the same pace as i was so the gap didnt dwindle.  The 2nd water stop came up and i grabbed a drink from Curtis, a fellow PCS Multisport member handing them out.  I had got a bit closer to 6th by this point, but it wasnt until the 6.55 mile turn around that I got on his heels.
He must have saw me, heard me or whatever because on the 90° he put a good 10 meters on me once I got back to speed.  I could have passed him but we were in the low 6:40 range and I was ok with letting him block a little wind for me.  We came back upon the water stop with Curtis and my friend Dominick also, and by this point I was done following him.  I asked him if he needed water and the stop to see if I should move for him.  He said no so I stayed to the right and gave it a little kick.  The wind was behind me now so my pace was in the 6:20s and felt fairly comfortable.  The other dude didn’t hang.  5th. 

I got off of Perimeter road to come back towards the climb to Ronald Reagan.  The hill loomed large as I approached it.  It was probably about a 70 foot climb in under 2 tenths of a mile.  Nothing terrible, but at mile 11, running my heart out it was tough.  I was still doing 6:20s leading up to it.  Perhaps banking a bit of time on my per mile pace.  I climbed the hill and didn’t slow down considerably.  My legs sure felt the burn once I reached the top, though!  It was the first time all race that I started to struggle with my effort.  I grabbed a 2nd drink of water ffro the last water station and looked towards the end.  The wind took me by surprise as I headed back towards the north.  It took all I had to keep mile 13 on target.  Once I saw the finish line and made a calculation in my head of my finish time I started to grin.  I knew I was going to beat my targeted goal.  At the last turn I saw another friend, Jeff, cheering my on.  He was asking how I was feeling, but I just gave him a ‘no, Im not talking right now’ motion and kicked it on for the final straight.  I listened to the announcer as I got near the line, “Is that Craig?” He said.  I was smiling and nodding my head in excitement as I reached out my arms in celebration.

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All smiles at the finish line

Official finish time was 1:26:27 and good for 5th place overall and a 1st place age group.

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Age group victory mug shot

Oh, and that older guy that I passed near the first water stop….he came flying in behind me by like 20 seconds!  If there would have been another mile he might have caught me.  Haha, good for him, though!

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Finish line with the race director, Lee

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PCS Multisport finish line

Super excited by my finish time!  It was a PR by 3 minutes and 13 seconds over this past fall.  Lots of hope leading into the Carmel Marathon in April, and my Boston Marathon qualifying attempt.  That will be my next race, and my next blog update. 

Peace.

All’s well that ends well (Columbus Challenge Triathlon report)

My 2015 racing season, to this point, has been season of PRs, mental toughness, and happy race reports.  As I headed into my last triathlon of the season I was feeling a little nervous about keeping this trend alive.  Actually, I wasn’t thinking anything about keeping a PR streak but I was worried I hadn’t been doing enough to race as well as I have been.  I took time off from my bike and swim after IM Muncie70.3. I rode my bike 3 times in the 3 weeks post and swam twice.  I was thinking to myself, “If I do the swim in 40minutes I think I will be happy with that considering my lack of fitness.”. I’m not a fast swimmer anyways, but that would be slightly slower than last year.  I wanted to give everything I had on the bike and then just hold on for my run.  I had been running a lot recently, but that doesn’t add up to much in a triathlon if you blow up your legs on a bike.

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Race morning came and I went thru my usual breakfast routine.  Its always pretty light with toast n jelly, coffee and milk…and more coffee.  This morning was a little different because I had an hour drive to the race. I don’t normally like doing because I am usually severely anxious before the race and wouldn’t be able to keep myself calm.  This race is a little different since it is close to home, and honestly because none of my teammates race it I don’t have expectations I feel like I have to meet.

I got to the venue about 6:10am and there were already a lot of bikes racked in transition.  A lot more people here early compared to last year.  I was able to snag a good spot in the front rack, still, though so I was happy with that.    I sipped on a bottle with a half serving of Infinit Go Far in it to get a few extra calories in since it was a long time since breakfast.  As swim time approached I used a port-o-potty to knock out the bottle of water I just drank and put on my blueseventy swim skin.  Water temp was 80°.  I was one of a few in a skin.  My Trisports top has big cycling pockets in the back that would have been parachutes in the water so I wanted to cover them.

Swim:  I took a dip in the water(I usually don’t because of nerves). It felt warm. I swam out about 20-30yds and turned around.  I was feeling good at this point.  I took my place in line of the single file swim start.  I was towards the back.

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I jumped into the water and quickly found rhythm.  I mentally made a point to not start out too quick and I managed to follow that.  By the first turn I passed the 21 yr old female in front of me and was actually feeling fairly quick in the water.  I neared the rocks at the edge of that turn, maybe 10 ft away from shore, and started to feel a bit of plant life in my hands.  I don’t like that feeling!  I remained swimmer free most of the next 600m or so.  The first and second turn buoys came and went and now we were heading back home.  This is the only point where I had an issue with another swimmer.  A female came cutting across me at a 45° angle!  Where was she going I thought to myself.  She wasn’t that clueless cause I was swimming beside her for a while heading to the first buoy.  She just didn’t know the course I told myself.  I saw her coming so I only briefly slowed down, smacked her on the leg as she cut me off and went on my way.

As we joined up with the sprint distance swimmers I knew my time had to be better than last year.  Last year, I was being bombarded by fast sprint swimmers that caused me some issues.  This year they hadn’t got to the turn buoy yet!  Win!  A few of the fastest past me in the final 200m but they did well to avoid people.  I stood up at the exit and as I ran up the hill to the T1 mat I saw my watch saying 36 minutes.  2 minutes faster at the timing mat than last year!  That put a smile on my face and I knew I had to finish this race off well.  Goal: sub40.  Finish: 36:22

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Bike:   Alright, time to see what these little legs can do on this bike course.  I didn’t have a wattage plan to follow or any cues to keep my legs ready to run.  I just wanted to hammer as best I could and see how my legs felt when I got on the run course.  Out of the gates I was pushing 220-260 watts.  Totally unsustainable for me but I was able to pass a number of people within the first miles.  At one point on a long downhill with a left curve I was avoiding a manhole and hit a lip/bump in the road and felt both of my tires come off the ground at 30+mph!  Talk about a butt pucker moment!  My power slowly came down as my breathing and heart rate was going thru the roof.  I still maintained around 200w thru the first half hour.    Around mile 8 we approached the Grand view Lake loop.  It would be scenic on a casual ride but it is twisty and very rolling so you have to pay attention.  I felt like I lost time here last year not knowing the area so I wanted to go harder this time.  I felt like I knew the turns better and past a half dozen or more people in this area.  Last year maybe only 1.  There were a few times on the ride where I thought my legs weren’t going to be worth much once I finish.  I was feeling the hurt in them.  I pushed until the final hill climb passing a few people that were creeping up the hill.  Even still, as I pushed harder to go around them I was thinking this isn’t smart my legs aren’t going to like this. I hit my lap timer on my watch as I dismounted and was pleased with my time.  I made the short trot down the hill to my rack, flipped my seat on the rail and got my run shoes on.  Grabbed my bin and visor and took off!   Goal: 20+mph Finish:  1:11:24 (21mph)

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Run:  Coming out of t2 my legs felt great!  I passed a guy running out of transition.  My hopes were to run around a 6:50/mi pace.  My first two miles achieved that although it started getting hard to maintain it at that point.  Running in my Newton Tri-racers was starting to take a toll on my calf muscles. I try to run once a week in zero drop shoes and my normal training shoes are 2-3mm only but combine that with my bike and there was some pain creeping in.  At the 5k point I pass the finish line wishing I was done as well.  I kept pushing and huffing and puffing my way thru the next couple miles.  3 and 4 were slower.  I realized in mile 5 my calf muscles were no longer hurting g and my pace reflected this.  I dropped back into the 6s.  Coming down the final downhill portion I raised my tempo to around 6:10 for the final sprint.  As I entered the finisher chute I came in behind the physically challenged athletes that were either being pushed or had gotten out of their chairs to run to the finish.  It was a great sight and the crowd was cheering their loudest  this point.  I slowed down to a trot so that I wouldn’t pass them and ruin their excitement.  Their day was more important than mine.  I came in right behind them and gave the man pushing the wheel chair a big high five!  I may have lost a measly 10 seconds on my run.  But I would do it every single time.

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Goal:  survive, maybe PR Finish: 43:34(Olympic PR by 10s)

At the end of the day I had a fantastic race. I swam, biked, and ran faster than I have ever at this distance. The bike course wasnt a flat piece of cake either. My power output was 95% of my max effort. Right where it needs to be for an Olympic tri. I guess not training for 3 weeks is exactly what I needed in this case.

I ended up finishing 12/75 overall for the event and 2nd in my age group. I got an extra medal for my AG position.
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Recalling my earlier thoughts, I guess a PR was in the cards before I even hit the start line. I’ve had a very successful year and I am thankful for that. It won’t always be PRs in the future. I’m just lucky enough to have been able to train well with the time and circumstances that have been given to me this year. As my triathlons for 2015 have winded down I still have a couple runs to finish out the year strong. A half at the end of September, a BQ attempt in early November and hopefully my first ultra marathon in early December!

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Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report

IM Muncie 2015 70.3:  I’m doing this a little different this time in that I’m not going to post a report on Facebook, Twitter, dailymile and here.  I’m just going to write this and create links.  That way anyone who doesn’t want to read it can skip faster.  Also, this is a way to drive about twice as many visitors to my blog!  Yes, I’ll be up to 4!

We get to start the journey to Mucie the week of the race.  Everybody knows you are supposed to go through everything on your bike to make sure it’s snug and ready, clean it up to look shiny and just be well prepared.  I took my bike to my mechanic on the Sunday before the race.  He gave it a good cleaning, checked the functionality and had it back to me in no time!  I was ready to rock!  I only planned to ride on the trainer one day that week so loosen up.  When that day came, I got on and started pedaling.  Right away my speed/cadence sensor wasn’t being detected.  Ugh, I had just replaced the flippin’ battery a week ago!  A trip to Target the next day for a 2-pack of batteries and it was working again.  That evening I went for an easy run.  I always wear a HR monitor to track my heart rate.  Well, the darn thing decided to stop working too!   How awesome?  You can tell it’s race week!  I used the other battery in the pack that I had just bought and put it in the HR monitor.  No change….it is still not catching my HR.  Thankfully, my wife has my old HR monitor so I grabbed it and put it with my things for the race.  I also made sure to sync it with both my Garmin devices.

There, now we are at race weekend!  🙂   I wont bore you with Friday activities and race morning went fairly well to plan.  I was about 15 minutes behind where I wanted to be but that was still 6:15AM or so.  After a bit of a parking wait I got to transition and set up my area.  Now, the following is something that I don’t normally do and I don’t suggest it to anyone.  I wanted to calibrate my power meter while it was sitting on the rack.  There really isn’t a good reason to do this because I calibrate it about every 3 or 4 rides anyways.  But, on my computer I hit the SEARCH button to find the meter quickly and low-and-behold the computer couldn’t find my meter!  Duh, there are 100 other bikes within searching distance with cadence sensors and power meters and crap.  It wouldn’t find it.  I had a bit of a panic attack at this point.  I couldn’t get close enough to my crank to see the ID number and manually search for the ID and it was too dark.  I don’t remember what I did but I moved on from that and went to find my friends.

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PCS Multisport crew prior to the race

Due to many people having trouble with parking, like I mentioned earlier, the race was delayed 15 minutes.  Therefore, each wave also was delayed by 15.  Once my gang lined up at the beach I put on my cap and found a friend from the group at the back of our wave.  We shared a few laughs, a fist bump and entered the water.  I made sure to stay in the back and to the left of the group.  Yes, I am a slow swimmer and I would get trampled anywhere else.  My plan was to stay to the right of the yellow buoys as buoys 3-7 had drifted to the left and you only need to go to the left of the red turn buoy.  My idea was the straight shot to the buoy.  So as the gun went off my plan of staying in the back was a good one.  I passed a few people right off but no one came up behind me and grabbed my legs.  Oddly enough, my plan to stay to the left quickly changed as I went straight and the masses swam to the left to go to the left of all the buoys!  I was on the right of the whole group along with one or two others near me.  Even though I pick my head up to the right to breathe most of the time, sighting the big yellow buoys was not a problem.  I had some pretty smooth sailing all the way to the turn.  That didn’t keep me from getting anxious, though, at the beginning.  Those first 10 minutes are always heavy heart beating times.  The rest of the swim went well.  As I calmed down and just got into rhythm the time went along.  I got to a point where I thought my goggles were going to start leaking but they never did.  Thank you ROKA!  Last year I spent the last 500yds swimming with one eye closed.  Out of the water I came at 41:58(quicker than last year by less than a minute), stripped off the top of my suit and found a wetsuit stripper, sat on my butt and he ripped my wetsuit off.  I picked it up and ran up the ramp to transition.
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Transition went well and I didn’t rush anything.  Swiftwick socks, bike shoes, helmet on and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and started trotting to the bike out.  I went to the side of the road and quickly got on my bike.  T1 was 4:5x.

Getting on the bike and hitting my lap button on my watch and this is when I remembered about the power meter.  Nothing on my computer screen is showing data!  Ack!!!  I know not everyone has a PM but when you train with one and make your race plan around hitting certain wattage I was panicking!

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Looking down at my computer thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

 

After a few minutes of pedaling and not knowing what to do/thinking I had just screwed my main race of the season, I remembered that I hadn’t tried to sync my watch!  I quick turn of my wrist and there is my 10sec power average!  YES!  All the data that I want isn’t on my watch but this will get me close.  I can deal with that.  After about 20 minutes on the bike I am still trying to think of how to get my computer working.  Hitting the search button still wasn’t revealing anything.  Ok, I will try to put in the ID number of my meter.  So, while cruising along at 20-22mph I am flipping thru pages on my watch trying to get to my power meter profile and get the ID number.  I find it and put it in on my computer to do a manual search.  Nothing.  Still didn’t find it.  What is going on??   About 10 minutes later things get worse.  The power data going to my watch drops to zero!  What the hell is going on???  My thoughts were that my PM battery is now going dead!  All of my electronic items die the week of my race.  Yes, by now I am VERY frustrated.  My mind is thinking the worst.  How can I get a good bike split and manage to run well.  This will be a repeat of last year.  This was my goal race all year and I don’t want to walk!  I’m screwed.  I wasn’t about to give in though.  I spent plenty weekends the last month or so racing at “race pace.”   I have an idea what it feels like.  I’m going to have to go with it.  Around 1:09 into the bike I hear a beep from my computer that was outta place for anything that I had setup.  I look at it and do a double take.  There is my power info, my speed/cadence and my HR!  It just all the sudden started working!  My watch was still going in and out of working and being at zero for minutes at a time so this was good news.  Lets finish this!  At the halfway point I was around 1:20.  Only about 1 minute and 30 seconds AHEAD of schedule!  I couldn’t believe I was pushing myself that well.  The second half went rather uneventfully.  I was getting tired but my legs felt more in control after mile 40.  My power numbers seemed to be fairly low.  I averaged 140watts the whole time it was working.  That’s not even close to where it should be for the speed/time I posted over the second half.  20 watts too low.  I came back into transition and hit my lap timer on the watch.  2:42:13.  Only 1 minute faster than my projected time.  Not too shabby for not having a working power meter!!

I then went through T2, racked my bike took off the helmet.  After flipping off my bike shoes I grabbed my Newtons and shook out the 2 gels I had stored in the toe boxes.  (almost forgot they were there)  I slipped my belt on around my feet, grabbed my Trisports.com visor and slipped my belt up as I turned to run to the exit.  2:42 T2  As I turned onto the road I heard someone in the crowd yell out at me.  Out of the corner of my eye I thought something fell to the ground and sure enough it was one of my gels.  I turned around and grabbed it from the volunteer that picked it up.  As I stormed down the first hill I remembered that I needed to keep my speed in check.  I was doing a 7:30 mile at that point and dropped it to just over 8s.  I wanted 8:20s overall.

Mile splits:

8:04, 8:23, 8:17, 8:27, 8:49, 8:46    By the turn around at this point I was starting to figure I wouldn’t hit my sub 1:50 goal.  The bike was coming back to get me a little bit.  I was doing well enough to pour water over my back or head when needed and I always carried a cup with just ice that allowed me to get a small sip of ice water whenever I needed it.  I took a gel at 40 minutes and planned the other at 1:20.  I didn’t take that second one.  I figure I probably should have now looking back.
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9:02, 8:55, 9:03, 9:17  By now I was coming to a stop at aid stations to get a cup of water down and grab a new cup of ice.  I also got a few cups of Gatorade along the way.
:
10:09 mile 11.  This was the toughest mile.  I was hurting a good bit and this was the long slow hill on the south side of the lake.  The mile 12 aid station was at the top.  At that point I could feel the finish line reeling me in.

9:04, 8:51 Last 2 miles and into the finish.  1:55:29 run time.
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My goal for this year was to do this race again and not let it defeat me.  I succeeded in achieving my goal.  There were challenges along the way and even during the race itself obstacles were presented to me that could have derailed my goals.  I adjusted to the obstacles and made the best of them.  My other goal for the race was to beat a 5:30 time.  I finished IM Muncie 70.3 at 5hours, 27 minutes, 23 seconds.  Mission accomplished!  I beat my time from last year by 42 minutes.  I went fast in all 3 categories and in both transitions.  I am extremely pleased with this performance and will take it with me into next season!
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As for now, my training takes a turn.  I am gearing up for a fall marathon in November at the Monumental Marathon, downtown Indianapolis.  I have one more Olympic distance triathlon in the beginning of August but biking and swimming are taking a back seat to more and more running starting this week.  This will be my first attempt at a Boston qualifying marathon time.  I will need all the best wishes you can give me!

 

Train hard, rest fully.

Toughman Indiana 70.3 race report

Toughman Indiana 2015 70.3:  I’ll start off by talking how out of the ordinary my week prior to the had been.  I had planned out my schedule to get some half decent work done before the race.  Probably totaling 5 hrs of training.  Most of that didn’t happen.  I probably got 2 runs and one morning swim done.  I didn’t get a open water swim in before the race(nor have I done one this year).  Thursday when I put my disc wheel on the bike I couldn’t get the brakes to fit the wider wheel (23mm vs 25mm disc).  I fooled with that til about 11pm that night and finally figured out how to adjust the wonky Trek rear aero brake setup.  I was already starting to get anxious about the race and having to get my stuff ready somehow quickly on Friday.  After lunch on Friday some other things happened that raised my stress levels even higher!  Not good the day before a race. But they are being dealt with.  Got saddled up, took Lillian to meet my parents and went to Richmond to get ready for the race.
I didn’t get to sleep til about 11pm the night before the race getting stuff done.  4am wake up came early but I got up, showered, found some food at a McDonalds(yuck) and got to the event.

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Receiving prerace instructions and National Anthem

1.2mile Swim:  As we lined up for the swim start I found myself very far in the back of the pack.  I’m a slow swimmer but I didn’t plan to be this far back!  About 7:05am the cannon blasted off and the elites were off! We got to watch them and the rest of the athletes swim off to the first buoy.  It took a long time to get us through.  I’d say a good 25 minutes before I got in the water.  By the time I reached the first buoy, the lead elite swimmers were coming back head on to wear I was!  Rounding that first buoy lead us straight into the sun.  There was no hope seeing the buoy at the other end of the lake.  You just had to swim and hope the people in front of you were heading the right way.  Eventually I found the turn buoy and did a 150° turn.  Easier to spot the next reed buoy cause the sun wasn’t there.  My goggles were also on the verge of leaking at this point.  Not good for someone wearing contacts!  Every time I popped my head up to sight I waited for them to leak when my head came back down.  Thankfully they never did.  I picked up my pace as I made the turn to head back to the boat ramp at the finish.  I stood up, had some volunteers grab me and pull me up onto the carpet and they unzipped my suit.  I climbed the ramp looking at my watching and completely disgusted at what it was showing!  44 and change.  How the heck was I so slow?!  I got into transition, ripped the suit the rest of the way off and changed into my bike shoes.  It wasn’t a large transition so even tho I was going slow my transition time was still good.  Result: 44:51 swim with 2:54 transition.
56 mile Bike: I got on the bike knowing my game plan.  Drink plenty of water and stick to 80% of my maximum threshold.  Having a power meter during a race is almost like cheating, tho it is completely allowed.  I was able to monitor the power I out down on flatlands, going up hills, pedaling into headwinds, etc.  I had specific wattage numbers to keep myself limited to for going up hill climbs or when just sticking to flat roads.  Its easy to hammer up hills but sooner or later that excess energy spent slows you down.  With the power meter I knew to take the hills easier than I thought I should no matter how slow it felt.  Later on in the bike leg this pays off because you have more energy.  The biggest payout is on the run when you’re legs aren’t so tired that you have to walk.  The course wasn’t too bad.  No real steep hills just one long hill that you cross 4 times.  On the first loop I remember thinking I hope I feel this good pedaling up this hill on the second loop!  My hydration went well. I probably drank about 80-90oz of water plus nutrition on the course.  Even after dropping 2 completely full bottles over bumps!  Always at terrible times too.  My computer predicted place was 2h50m for the course.  My power numbers weren’t too far off(on the low side) and I still finished faster than predicted!  Result:  2:47:01 just a hair over 80% IF
13.1 mile run:   I started out feeling pretty good even though I was hot.  Ran the first few miles around 8min/mi.  I knew I wouldn’t hold that though.  The run was fairly hilly, especially compared to what I am used to in flat Plainfield.  I’ve seen anywhere from 300-1000ft of elevation gain. On the second loop, about 1h15m into the rain the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down.  It was pretty heavy for a bit but it was sooo nice!   It cooled my body temp down quite a bit.  I found my friend, Brian, the 2nd time on the Cardinal Green way and slowly started catching up to him.  I caught him going down the thill just around mile 11. I struggled up the big hill the 2nd time around but once we got to the top the rest was downhill.  I had zero cramping issues and ran almost the whole leg.  Only pausing a few tines at aid stations to get extra water or Gatorade and once to use a Porto potty.  I tried to race with a couple of guys as we neared the last turn but I didn’t have much to give so I let them go so  could cross the line by myself.  I looked at my watch to see my overall time and was so stoked when I saw it saying 5:33.  Result: 1:56:43.

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Crossing Toughman IN finish line

Last year at Muncie I finished a disappointing 6:06 so I was ear to ear grinning when I saw where I was going to finish.  The announcer said my name as I crossed and I was done.  Literally.  I went straight for a chair and just sat there.  Brian came in shortly behind me and both sat for a few minutes.
This was a more challenging race than Muncie last year and I still set a 33 minute PR!  Hard work paying off!!  I’m definitely excited about this race and going to feel good about every minute of it.  At the same time I know there are things I can do to still improve my time when Muncie rolls around again in a month!  We’ll see if I can break 5:30 there. But until then, Toughman IN, thank you for the great race!