On Sunday, January 25th I made the drive to Muscatine, Iowa to compete in an indoor triathlon called the Try Melon Tri. I did this race 3 years ago but haven't been in any kind of shape this time of year to do it the last couple. The race consists of 9 waves of 9 people in each entering the pool every 30 minutes. The distances are 900 yards swimming, 7 miles biking (on the legendary Schwinn Aerodyne), and 2.5 miles running on the 100 meter banked turn track. When I arrived I saw they had posted the winners from every year they have had the event. My time in 2006 was 46:31 which was a record until it was broken by 2 seconds last year. This was the 15th year of the race. I thought with a good race I could go 45 minutes. The waves enter the water based on swim seed times and since the day gets really long I seeded myself slower than I knew I could swim so I wouldn't have to be there all day. As it was I was scheduled to enter in wave 3. I watched the first wave of the swim and knew I would have trouble winning. The swim in this event is pretty long compared to most sprint triathlons and that is my weakest part. I watched Chris Mann, a good triathlete from Muscatine who now competes for Iowa State's Triathlon club and Chris Scott, a great triathlete from Morrison, IL both swim really fast. Chris Mann exited the water around 10:40, and Chris Scott around 11:20. My swim goal was 12:20 so I knew I would have trouble catching them. I was able to see them get off the bike while I was warming up and I knew they were both going to break the course record. They were competing really well. Chris Scott had the lead entering the run and I knew he was a great runner. I didn't see their run since I had to move toward the start.
I started the swim at the far edge of the pool where my wife Jen and daughter Payton couldn't see me from behind the spectator glass. I was trying to stay relaxed and swim with good technique. It was a pretty uneventful swim except for being plowed into by the guy in the lane next to me about 300 yards in. I glanced at my watch at the 500 mark and saw 6:50 which was right on my goal time. I exited the water at 12:30 which was nearly a minute faster than last time I competed in this race but I knew that put me down almost 2 minutes to Chris Mann and over a minute to Chris Scott. After a quick transition I adjusted my seat and mounted the Schwinn Aerodyne bike which I wasn't looking foward to. I enjoy riding in time trial position, not sitting straight up moving my arms with my legs. I started off riding hard and it was TOUGH! I glanced down after I could see my RPM's were dropping and saw I had only ridden 1/2 mile! This was going to be torture. I kept looking at Payton and she had this look of "What is that crazy thing dad is doing with his arms...and why does he look like he's dying??" I continued to pursue through this pain for what felt like an eternity. I was watching the mileage add up but it couldn't hit 7.0 soon enough. Finally...7.0! I could now get off this thing and I won't get on another one until this race again next year! The time ended up being about a minute and a half faster than last time I raced here (possibly the longest 16:38 of my life). I made my way to the track with my glutes on fire due to my seat being too low on the bike. I started out not very fast around the 100 meter track but after about 3 laps my legs were in running mode and I started clicking off 20-21 second laps until the end. I tried to speed up the last 8 laps but probably just stayed the same pace. I finished the run and saw my time was 43:56, much faster than I thought I would go. It hurt a lot. As I made my way off the track I heard that my time was the exact same as Chris Scott's. Yes, we had tied! We both had great races and both beat the course record by over two and a half minutes! Chris Mann also finished well under the course record and had a great race. Overall I was very pleased with how it went. I didn't think I was capable of going that fast yet. My run split was a 5:33 mile average which was solid. I held pretty even pace for the entire run after the first few laps.
For the week I totaled 17.75 hours of training with 40 miles running, 100 biking, and 9,400 yards swimming. I lifted weights, did speed drills, and strides all three times, did lunges and plyometrics twice, and core work 6 times. My favorite workouts of the week were on Wednesday when I ran 8x 400 meter and 4x 200 meter hills. This was tough because I did it alone and it was very cold. I had never done 8 of the long hills. My other favorite workout was a long run of 13 miles. I was alone again and it was along the bike path in Rock Island and the wind was blowing 25-30 mph and I was FREEZING! My face burned from the cold. I ran the first 45 minutes right into it and kept reciting George Washington's quote from when his soldiers crossed the icy Delaware River..."These are the times that try men's soles." I wanted to turn back but didn't. The only other runner I saw out was Rock Island Alleman's state champion cross country runner Tim Hird so I knew I was being pretty dedicated. The next two weeks I plan to increase volume on the bike and run before racing 3000 meters at Augustana on Feb. 14th. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!