Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hy-Vee Triathlon Race Report & Results

On Saturday Jen, Payton, and I made the drive to Des Moines, IA for the Hy-Vee Triathlon. Once we arrived in Des Moines we headed to pick up our packet. Unfortunately there was a required pre-race briefing that we had to attend before picking up the packets and it was given every hour. We arrived at 11:09 and had to wait nearly an hour before the next briefing. This wouldn't have been a big deal but Jen was scheduled to go to Adventureland with Payton and my parents and brother's family. We made it through the briefing, grabbed our packets and made our way to Adventureland where I dropped them off before heading to watch the pro race which I was excited for. I watched the pro race with my friend Stephan Marsh and it was awesome! The pro race was draft legal and very spectator friendly. They did lots of loops on the bike course and on the run. On the run there were 6 guys together the entire way before Simon Whitefield of Canada sprinted to victory in the last 100 meters...very exciting finish!

I didn't sleep well on Sunday night...I actually didn't sleep well all week due to a chest cold that had me coughing non-stop Thursday-Sunday. I wasn't worried about it effecting my race because it didn't seem to be draining me physically but it was very annoying laying in bed every night coughing so hard I couldn't sleep. I think I got about 2.5 hours of sleep before getting up at 2:40 a.m. in anticipation of the 6 a.m. start time for the Elite Amateur wave. I had Stephan drop me off at the course around 4:30 and got my body marked and picked up my chip. My legs felt great on the warm-up of 2 miles. There were about 1,400 people competing in the Age Group race with 50 of us in the Elite Amateur wave scheduled to go off first right at 6. I was hoping to have a better swim than I have been having. I knew with bumping to the Olympic Distance could mean I would be further behind after the swim but I was hoping to limit the gap between myself and the leader to 3 minutes or less.

Swim- The water was too warm to wear wetsuits which I knew wouldn't help me. Wetsuits tend to be a bigger advantage for swimmers who aren't as good because they make up a little for stroke deficiencies. When the horn sounded I dove in and tried to swim with the pack. I was hoping to draft as long as possible. We made the turn at the first bouey which was probably only a couple hundred yards at most into the swim. I thought I was in a good spot with lots of guys from my wave around me. I continued to try to stay in the group but at some point in the long stretch to the next bouey I lost contact with the main pack. I swam most of the rest of the way on my own and what I thought was a good swim to start turned into another big deficit when I exited the water. I looked down and saw my time was 25 and change. This wasn't a good start. I was also a little worried because when I got out of the water my left hamstring cramped on my first steps out. It's never good to be cramping with an hour and a half left to race. My hope was that it would go away on the bike when I could take in a lot of fluids and rest the hamstring muscles to save them for the run. When I got to my bike in transition I saw what has become an all-too-familiar site...a mostly empty bike rack except for mine. I knew I had a lot of catching up to do. As it turned out my swim time was 25:37 and that ranked me 42nd out of the 50 Elite Amateurs. I was nearly 5 minutes behind the swim leader. Overall out of the 1,398 finishers my swim ranking was 120th.

Bike- I pushed hard out on the bike knowing I had a lot of time to make up. I knew the swim had cost me too much time for a high finish but I wanted to keep racing hard to place as high as I could. The bike course was a fairly flat out and back with a couple decent sized hills. On the way out we were into the slight 8 mph wind. I began passing some of the Elite Amateur riders but not as quickly as I would have liked. I definitely realized in this race that when I'm in an Elite Amateur wave the guys I'm racing aren't going to be slow in any of the areas. It takes much longer to make up the big gap that I created in the swim. By the turnaround I had moved into 30th place and I was excited to turn back with the wind at my back. I passed 6 more guys on the way back to put myself into 24th place getting off the bike. The bike course was a few tenths of a mile long. I had it at 25.2 miles on my computer instead of the 24.8 standard distance with the Olympic Race. My time for the bike course was 1 hr. and 33 seconds. My ranking was 15th out of the 1,398 competitors. I had a good transition from the bike to the run and was out on the course hoping to have a good first of the year.

Run- As I headed out on the run I recognized the guy who was running next to me. It was Eric Ott, last year's QC Triathlon champion who finished one spot behind me last week. He had been out of the water a few minutes ahead of me but I had managed to catch him on the bike leg. I knew he was a good runner and I wanted to stay with him as long as I could. They didn't have the miles marked but I'm guessing we were through the first mile in about 5:45. I was feeling pretty good but the pace was too fast for me to handle. We had passed a couple guys when I fell off the pace and couldn't stay with Ott any longer. I was on my own trying to stay in a good rhythm. There were a couple decent sized hills on the out and back run but the temperatures were still good which made for a much nicer run than I had been used to this past week when temperatures for training were very high. I passed a couple more guys before the turnaround and then got passed by Micah Moore who was flying. I knew he was a tough runner and I tried to up my pace to stay near him. I heard one of the volunteers say we had 1 kilometer to go and I was still feeling good so I pushed on harder toward the finish line. There was a guy breathing down my neck I wanted to stay ahead of. I had a very good finish and came in 18th overall out of the 50 Elite Amateurs. My time was 2:04:37, a new Olympic Distance PR by 41 seconds. I was hoping for a bigger PR but put myself in much too deep of a hole on the swim. My run ranking was 9th out of the 1,398 finishers. Overall my time was beat by two guys who raced in the open age group division so I ended up placing 20th. I was hoping to be somewhere between 10th and 15th but I realize for this to have happened I needed to have had a better swim. This is becoming quite the theme to my season....get way behind on the swim and spend the rest of the race trying to catch up. It's made me realize one of two things have to happen...I either need to get faster at swimming or bump up in race distance to the 1/2 Ironman where the swim is only a few hundred yards further but then I have an extra 31 miles on the bike and 7 miles on the run to catch people. I'm going to look into doing a 1/2 Ironman on August 8th in Boulder, CO with Stephan Marsh. I know my training volume is enough to handle that distance. In the meantime I'll continue working very hard in the pool. I also ordered a new Blueseventy Helix wetsuit that should be arriving this week. It's a top of the line suit that I hope will help me a little bit on the swim. I had a solid training week of 20+ hours total time. I didn't want to back off too much for this race. I ended up being 4 minutes from the top 3...nearly all of that was time lost in the swim. I'll hit this week hard and then back off for the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis on July 11th where I'll once again hope for a better swim. Congratulations to former QC triathlete Jen Foley for placing 3rd in the women's Elite Amateur race. Jen has moved to Colorado but it was fun seeing her do so well in a loaded field. My brother and his wife teamed up with my wife to do a relay and they had lots of fun. My wife ran the 10k and had lots of people to catch...296 to be exact as she counted to keep her mind occupied while running! It was really fun watching her come in passing lots of people. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Redwing Blackbird Attacks!

When most people go out to ride 50 miles on a day when the heat index is around 100 degrees they may have certain fears. They may fear the excessive loss of sweat due to the heat, they may fear the cars roaring by them, they may fear the distance of the ride...what I fear is the same thing I fear on every ride...attacks from redwing blackbirds! I remember watching Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 movie, "The Birds" way back in 6th grade...yes I'm sure it had some kind of scientific value my teacher related to the 6th grade curriculum in 1992. What I thought was simply a science fiction movie is turning out to be very truthful. These birds are out for blood!

I was hit 3 more times today bringing my summer total to 7 hits...all on the back of the helmet. These birds are vicious! They sit atop the telephone lines (I wish they would get shocked to death for this but can't figure out whey they don't) or in the grass right near the road and they wait for me to ride by every day. The birds like to wait until I've gone by them and then they take off hovering overhead until they dive bomb right at me with one thing in mind...blood! Now, I'm typically a very humanitarian kind of guy...but right now I wouldn't mind if these dang things would all go up in smoke in an instant. I find myself turning around on the ride making crazy barking noises trying to fend them off when they are hovering overhead but that rarely does any good. When you stare them down for a period of time in most cases they will fly away but turning around while riding at 20+ mph to stare them down isn't the most safe thing to do. My thoughts are continually of Dr. Dave Juehring who was knocked off his bike last year when one of these things dove right into his face while he was riding near my house. Dr. Juehring's recovery has been a long one.

From what I've read these birds are very vicious this time of year because they are nesting in the ditches near the sides of the roads. What I don't understand is that I've never for a second thought about getting off my bike to go take out one of their nests. I'm not sure why they feel some guy riding by their nest on a bike is a threat to the nests when there has probably never been an instance of a rider stopping to attack the bird nests. One of my training buddies, Jared Dammann, summed it up best when he said, "When I put my helmet on to go ride I feel like I'm putting a helmet on in preparation of going to battle...battle with the birds." The birds like to chirp in my ear and then let out a loud screech before they come dive bombing into my helmet. I know where most of the "danger" spots on my ride are but every once in awhile they will come out of nowhere to attack. I write this post as a warning to all riders in Scott County...beware of the birds...and if you get a chance to take one out, by all means please do!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moline Dipatch / Rock Island Argus Press Coverage

Nice write-up on the QC Triathlon. (Click photo to enlarge the article so you can actually read it)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quad City Triathlon Race Report & Results

I'll start off by showing some pictures from last year's QC Triathlon...2008.
WARNING: What you are about to see may be VERY scary. I'm not sure why I chose to race without a shirt last year or why I chose the short jammer over the longer one...

2008 QC Triathlon- Click images to enlarge but again...what you see may be very scary...

Exiting the swim.
Time: 9:01
Rank: 55/446

On the Bike...
Time: 40:08
Rank: 22/446

Bringing it home on the run...
Time: 19:19
Run Rank: 12/446

With Jen and Payton after the race. Payton was only 2 weeks old.

Final 2008 Placing- 17th
Final 2008 Time: 1:11:00
Fast forward to 2009...
2009 Race Report- On Saturday, June 20th I competed in the 10th annual Quad City Triathlon. I was hoping for a high finish since this is the biggest local race I compete in each year. I knew the field was going to be tough with the returning champion, Eric Ott in the field along with former champion JJ Bailey and last year's USA Triathlon #1 ranked 20-24 age grouper Jason Maurice from Iowa City all competing. I was up at 4:00 a.m. to prepare with a light breakfast. I like to be up at least 3 hours before I race so I can be fully awake for the race.

I arrived at the course around 5:15 and got my body marked and picked up my chip. I was able to get in about a mile and a half of running before taking the bike out for a couple miles to be sure everything was working properly. Healthy Habits had done a super tune up on the bike on Friday and it was feeling really fast. I felt great on the warm-up. After the ride I got in some stretching and then did my speed drills and strides to futher loosen up the muscles before putting my wetsuit on.

SWIM: The swim was a time trial start with 2 people entering the water every 3 seconds. It turned out to be that we didn't enter the water every 3 seconds, it was more like every 15 or so. I wanted to go in early to try to stay with the race favorites. I entered the water with the 5th group. My plan was to take the swim very hard. I got killed in the swim at Pigman and wanted to swim harder to see if I could lessen the gap between the leaders and myself. I began swimming very hard from the beginning and navigated pretty well. I passed the swimmer I went in with but that was it. The guys who went before me were all much faster than I was. I came out of the water quite a bit behind the leaders once again. This has been frustrating to me because I am spending more time on swimming than any other aspect of my training. I will have to keep putting in work in the pool trying to improve my efficiency hoping that it comes around by the summer's end. Once out of the water I had a good transition and was headed out on the bike with my thoughts on cutting into the lead I had spotted the first 8 guys out of the water. My final swim ranking was 18th out of 469 individuals. My swim time was 8:51, only 11 seconds faster than last year.

BIKE: My bike goal was fairly simple. I wanted to push harder gears than I have been in races. I typically push a gear that I'm comfortable with but in my workout on Tuesday I found out that I'm much faster pushing 1 gear harder than my comfort zone. I was able to do this once I got out of the park and on the main roads. The way out was tough. We were into a wind that I'm guessing was between 10 and 15 miles per hour. I was only averaging about 21 mph on the way out. I began to pass the 8 guys who were ahead of me. By the turn-around I had moved into 3rd place and was gaining on 2nd. By the 9 mile mark I passed 2nd place and really put the effort into the pedals as the wind was now at my back. For most of the ride back I was in my last gear and was speeding along at over 30 miles per hour except on the two big hills. The high speeds are when I really feel the benefits of the Zipp Wheelset. I chose the 1080 front wheel combined with the Zipp disc on the rear. Down one of the hills I hit 41 mph and tried to carry myself over the top without dropping below 24. I put a good amount of ground on 2nd place but could see the leader, JJ Bailey was getting further away from me. He had a very big lead and it was one I knew I wouldn't be able to make up on the run unless he completely fell apart. I entered T2 with a great running dismount which helped me to the fastest transition 2 of the day. I heard from a couple people that the leader was 2 and a half minutes ahead of me. I also knew that Jason Maurice and last year's winner, Eric Ott had gone out behind me and they would both beat me if I didn't have a good run. I finished with a bike time of 36:11, which ranked me 2nd in the race. It was an average speed of 24.9 mph. It was nearly 4 minutes faster than last year's bike time.
Run: Out on the run I pushed the pace early. It was difficult to get into a rhythm early on due to the first part of the run being in the grass and it was quite muddy. Once I hit the road I could tell the pace picked up. My legs felt good thanks to an ART treatment by Dr. Kaminski at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care on Thursday. He also was a big sponsor of the race. The run course was changed last minute due to the high amount of rain we received. They cut out a small section through the woods and added a couple loops around parking lots which were frustrating due to the 180 degree turns first around a cone and then around a truck. The 2nd parking lot was the 180 around the truck and when I went to turn around it my foot went out from under me since the parking lot was covered with pea gravel. I fell and got a really good scrap on my leg. I got up quickly but it took a bit to get back into a rhythm. I could see that Jason Maurice was closing the gap on me and I wasn't sure how far behind me he had started the race. I pushed hard the last 1.5 miles and ended the race with a time of 1:04:47, nearly 7 minutes faster than last year. My run time was 17:57 which ranked 4th in the race.

I would now have to wait to see the finish times of the other guys coming in who started behind me. As it ended up I placed 3rd. Jason Maurice was 2nd, 30 seconds ahead of me and the winning effort was put up by JJ Bailey from Des Moines. He was 1:28 ahead of me. The amount those guys beat me by was almost entire the difference in the swim. I need to get better there. Overall I was very satisfied with the race. Both JJ Bailey and Jason Maurice have previously hit a standard to qualify as professional triathletes but they have both opted to keep their amateur status for now at least. They are very good. I finished one spot ahead of last year's champion Eric Ott who finished in 1:05:51. The XTERRA professional from Cedar Falls was someone I had never beaten and he finished in 1:07:07 but then was assessed a 2:00 penalty so he was given an official time of 1:09. Complete results with splits and rankings can be found at

What I was more excited about more than my own race was watching all the members of our local triathlon club, Team Tri-Fit compete. The club was really well represented. We ended up winning the award for the top club. We now have over 45 members which has far exceeded my expectations for the first year of the club. It's super fun for me to watch these guys and girls get excited about the sport of triathlon. For some of them it was their first triathlon ever. The 2nd place female, Jessica Imm is a club member who raced for the first time ever. That was super impressive! Not only that but I was blown away by the fact that she rode a Schwinn bike to the 2nd place finish. Congratulations to all the Team Tri-Fit members and I can't wait to watch the club continue to grow.

It was great seeing so many of my friends and family at the race. My wife Jen made this awesome shirt for our daughter Payton. She is growing up so fast and cracks me up on a daily basis. Thanks to everyone who came out to watch the race.
Jen and I celebrated our 6th anniversary on Sunday by taking Payton to Chuck E. Cheese...I dominated the basketball games after a few rounds of Jen beating me. I am continually inspired by her unconditional love and support for me through this journey. All the sacrifices I make to train are nothing compared to the sacrifieces she makes to allow me the time to train as much as I do. I also want to thank Phil Pancrazio for some great photos of the race. Phil is our school district's technology guru and he came out to watch and captured some great shots of the race.

For the week my total training time was 23.5 hours. I was very tired on Wednesday when I hit the track for my hard workout. It was a good sign that I needed to back down a bit for the race. I had hit the highest volume I ever have over a 10 day period prior to that. For the week I biked 160 miles, swam 16,700 yards, and ran 39 miles. On Sunday I was recovered well enough to get my longest ride of the year in so far (68 miles) and my longest run post-injury (13 miles). I'm excited to race next weekend in a loaded Elite Amateur field at the Hy-Vee Triathlon. I'm hoping for an Olympic Distance PR. Currently my best is 2:05:18 from Chicago last August. I have to remember that this year is about building the foundation for the next few years. Dr. Kaminski has been reminding me that building the foundation is the toughest part. After the foundation is built I can begin the finish work. I want to be great now but I know I have to be patient and let all the hard work catch up to my body. Everything I read about the sport tells me it's a long process. I'm excited by the progress I've made from last year. Looking at the photos from the race last year made me realize how much it has been worth it to stop coaching so I can live this journey. The hard work and daily committment are so much fun. Feeling fit and being in the best shape of my life is worth more than I can explain. It's why I am a big advocate for Team Tri-Fit and why I love this sport. Triathlon is a lifestyle more than anything. Thanks so much for reading. DREAM BIG!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Training- Week 32 Summary

I can't believe it's been 32 weeks since I began training on November 3rd. Time has gone so fast. My wife said something to me last week about how she couldn't believe I wasn't burnt out yet. My response was that I'm more motivated now than when I began this journey. I've seen the benefits of the year round training and now race season is here. Last weekend was great for me. Getting my butt kicked by some very good athletes has a way of motivating me to work even harder. I knew the goal of becoming a professional triathlete would be extremely difficult. Last weekend was a wake-up call as to just how difficult it will be for me. When I finished the race in 11th place I thought for a minute that I must be crazy to think I can be a professional triathlete. How can someone who wants to be professional finish 11th in a field with only 1 professional I wondered??? Those thoughts were gone within about 5 minutes and I turned my attention to the work that needs to be done. This is the time of year I have been waiting for. Now that school is out I can train like a professional. That is exactly what I did this week. It was my highest volume week ever by far. My total training time was 30 hours and 15 minutes. For the week I biked 241 miles, ran 51, and swam 20,100 yards. I started a summer swim camp on Monday at PV High School. Paul Eure, who was my high school coach and got me started in triathlons has been kind enough to let me swim with his kids. His critique of my swim stroke has been a tremendous help. I cannot thank him enough for letting me swim with them. The workouts were tough and he pushed me very hard. The yardage was my most in a week since I swam for Coach Eure one year at Augustana while I was hurt during the indoor track season.
I had a couple very key workouts this week that have me excited to race next weekend in the QC Triathlon. On Wednesday I did my hard track workout. I ran 2x 1 mile in 5:04 and 4:57 with 4 minutes rest between them. Then I did 2x 800's in 2:30 and 2:28 with 2:30 rest followed by 4x 400's in 71, 70, 70, 65. I decided to speed things up this week after being run down last weekend. That didn't sit too well with me. On Saturday I did my other really big workout. I biked 60 miles and then got off the bike and did a 10 mile brick run in 1 hour flat. That was 6:00/mile average. I was hoping for 6:15 pace but got to the 5 mile mark in 30:12 and decided to push a little harder on the way back. I hit the last 5 miles in 29:48 which is a time I couldn't have run 5 miles fresh a year ago.
Next Saturday is the 10th annual Quad City Triathlon. This was the 2nd ever race I competed in way back in 2000. The past few years it has been my first race of the summer and last year I weighed 193 lbs. for it. I'll post some pictures from last year next week with the race report. Last year my time was 1:11:00 and I placed 17th. This year I'm hoping to go 1:04:00 and place in the top 3. The defending champ, Eric Ott is coming back to defend his title. There is also a really good triathlete from Des Moines coming. Only 1 guy has ever done the course faster than he did, and that was record setting pro triathlete TJ Tollakson. I also heard there is an Xterra pro coming to the race. Xterra is off-road triathlons. I'm excited to race a good field and hope to be in contention for the win. If anyone is interested in coming out to watch the race is at West Lake Park and it starts at 7:00 a.m. This week will still be a good training week but I'll back off a bit on Thursday and Friday. I am still aiming for a peak performance on July 11th so I can't back off too much for this race. Despite the heavy volume this week I'm still feeling very good...and I'm more inspired to race faster. Sitting on the butt kicking I got at Pigman for 2 weeks is probably the best thing that could happen to me in the long run. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pigman Triathlon Race Report & Results

On June 7th Payton, Jen, and I headed to Cedar Rapids for the Pigman Sprint Triathlon. I had never raced this event but had heard great things about it. I knew it was going to be a loaded field. I planned on staying in a hotel in the Cedar Rapids area but decided against that late in the week. One reason was that I had been lazy about booking a hotel but the deciding factor was that I like to be up 3.5-4 hours before a race and I wasn't sure how that would work out with me being awake in a hotel room at 4:00 a.m. trying to keep Payton sound asleep. I decided it would be best to drive the morning of. I had trouble falling asleep on Saturday night due to race thoughts. For some reason I always seem to have these terrible dreams the night before big races. I dreamt that we missed the I-380 exit and ended up in Des Moines causing me to miss the race...another one I can remember was that I got a flat tire and couldn't finish the race...yet another was that I was swimming but forgot my swimsuit and wetsuit...oh that would be bad. I woke up just before the alarm was supposed to go off at 3:15 and instantly started my pre-race breakfast...yes it sure looks good doesn't it. Belgium waffle loaded with Skippy Natural peanut butter, topped off with some honey. I figured it had about 100 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of protein, and I didn't want to calculate the fat or calories.

We arrived in plenty of time for me to pick up my packet and prepare for the race with a nice 1.5 mile warm-up running and a good 600 yards of swimming mixed with drills and build-ups. I was feeling pretty good and was excited to race this loaded field. The women were scheduled to go off 9 minutes and 7 seconds..yes that's correct, 9 minutes and 7 seconds ahead of us. They offer a gender equalized bonus of $750.00 at this race for the first place male or female. That is in addition to the $600.00 given to the male and female winners. There were 22 guys in the Elite wave that I was in.

Swim- I knew the swim would be key for me. Based on the splits from last year I was hoping to swim in the middle of the Elite pack hoping to find some good feet to draft behind. I knew if I could get out of the water in the middle of the pack I would be in good shape. When the horn sounded I dove in expecting lots of contact but there was actually very little. I hugged the right side and let the fast swimmers start in front of me. I wanted to simply stay locked in on their feet. I was swimming well through the first 200 yards and it didn't feel too difficult. I was still in a relatively large group but when we made the turn around the buoy half way into the 547 yard swim I looked up and the group was gone. This was my big mistake. I never should have let the group get away from me. Once I was on my own the gap opened up much larger. I ended up exiting the swim in 7:25 which was about a minute back of the leaders and about 45 seconds back from the pack I hoped to stay with. When I arrived in transition I saw there weren't many bikes left from the Elite racks which is never a good sign. I had a good transition to the bike with my shoes already clipped in. This year is my first in doing that and it has been helping me save precious seconds in the races. My overall swim ranking was 35th out of the 675 individuals in the race.

Bike- Out on the bike course I immediately began moving up in the race. I started passing guys whose names I recognized and they were ones I had never beaten before. I was pretty excited about how I was riding. We had a long stretch that was very fast heading into the tiny town of Palo, IA. We did a loop through the town that was probably only a mile long and it was very frustrating because we had 4 sharp turns in this one mile stretch and I was pretty conservative on the turns because the road was very wet due to the heavy rains a couple hours before the race started. After getting through Palo I continued to pass more riders and started wondering what place I was in. We got to a point in the course where we turn around and about a minute before the turn around I saw the first guy coming...unfortunately along with the first guy were 7 other guys. They were lined up one after another which was pretty frustrating to me because I was out on my own working to catch a group of riders who were able to use each other for help. I hope this was done legally because it's rare to see so many riders in a triathlon together in a group like that since they don't allow drafting but there was nothing I could do about it. I never saw a single course marshall out and there wasn't a penalty assessed in the entire race out of 675 riders which is unheard of in a triathlon where drafting isn't supposed to take place. The top 8 riders ended up coming in all within about 15 seconds of each other. I was the 9th one to come in and was about 2.5 minutes behind at this point. I did have one big mistake with about a mile and a half left in the course. We went down a hill and the road split two ways. There were volunteers there who apparently didn't feel the need to say which way to go. I saw a rider going left so I turned left...of course the rider going left was starting out on the bike course and someone yelled to me that I was going the wrong way. I got turned back around but the 4 guys who were behind me passed me. Out of frustration I picked the pace back up and passed them all again before getting off the bike in 9th place. My second transition was the fastest of the day in help to the running dismount and leaving my shoes clipped in. I was out on the run in 9th place. My bike split was the 10th fastest, behind all 8 of the guys who were in the lead group and one other guy who finished the race just behind me. I averaged 24.8 miles per hour.

Run: I pushed the pace early in the run. I knew there were 4 guys who were right behind me getting off the bike. I also wanted to see if I could catch someone from the first pack because I wasn't sure exactly how far ahead they were. I went through the first mile somewhere around 5:35. Just after the mile mark I had a guy come up on me moving at a good pace. I told myself to latch on for as long as I could. The tempo got faster and we went through the 2 mile together which wasn't marked. I was getting some small cramps in my hamstrings but continued to push through them. I knew I was running faster than I ever had in a triathlon. We passed a few of the women from the Elite wave but no guys were in sight. Just after two miles another guy passed me and he was really moving fast. I tried to pick it up to go with him but couldn't hold the pace. With a half mile to go yet another guy passed me. I recognized him. He won the Trihawks race that I finished 7th in last September. I latched on to him and with about 400 meters to go I decided to make a late charge. I passed him back and almost got one of the other guys who passed me but missed by 1 second. My 5k split was 17:41, my best in a triathlon by about 15 seconds. My average mile pace was 5:42. I'd like to get that down to under 5:30 by season's end for a sprint distance. My finish time was 1:04:52 which placed me 11th overall. Complete results with splits can be found at I was pretty disappointed by the placing. I was really hoping to be in the top 5, but after looking at the results I felt better about it. My time goal had been to break 1:04. The field was simply loaded. There were 12 USA Triathlon age group All-Americans and one professional in the field. The guy who was 6th today was 3rd at the Amateur Age Group National race in Oregon last September. He was also 2nd at Hy-Vee in Des Moines and 2nd at Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis. He's an absolute stud and was 6th at Pigman. I beat some guys I'd never beaten who were ranked much higher than I was last year. With that said, I'm not satisfied. I have a lot of work to do. Congratulations to champion Daniel Bretscher on a great race. Daniel is a professional triathlete from Indiana who is in his second year competing as a professional. He was recently awarded USA Triathlon's professional Rookie of the Year award. I enjoy following his career. My plan as of now is to train hard through Hy-Vee on June 28th and then back off for Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis on July 11th. I think if I back off for the QC Triathlon and for Hy-Vee I won't gain much fitness from now until Lifetime Fitness so I'm going to work hard for a month and then hope for a big time drop and a breakout race then. School is over. I have 8 hours more each day I didn't have the past 31 weeks. What I do with that time will determine my success by the end of the summer. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!