On Saturday I went to Augustana College, my alma mater to race unattached in a track meet held at the indoor Pepsico Center. Augustana was mainly hosting the intrasquad meet with a few guys from Iowa Central Community College also racing. I entered myself in the 3,000 meters (200 meters short of 2 miles). I raced this event last year on the same weekend and ran 9:31. I was hoping to go under 9:20 this year. Before leaving home I looked up my college PR knowing it was around 9:10. It was actually 9:11 run 10 years ago back on Feb. 4th of 2000 in a meet at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I knew it would be a long shot to better that time but planned on getting out hard as Augie had loaded the event with all their top distance runners. My resolution this year is to approach races with no fear. If I plan to race with the top guys in the world on the long course scene this summer then I knew I better plan to have the courage to go out with the leaders for as long as I could in this 3k. I knew that would mean that I would also be faster at the mile mark than I've run a mile in over 8 years. When the gun went off I got out hard to get a good position just behind the lead pack. I had told myself I would hang in as long as I could. I settled in at what I knew was a quick pace but it didn't feel nearly as terrible as I thought it would. I hung right on the leaders for the first 7 laps and then could feel myself starting to slip. I made myself stay in the pack through the mile mark and glanced at my watch to see 4:43. That was faster than I ever went through the mile in a 3k during college. Now it was time to suffer for this move. I died a long, slow, painful death to the finish but it was well worth it. I didn't get any other splits through the race until I had one lap to go. I began getting passed by some of Augie's other runners after the mile. I think I only managed to pass one or two of the other guys who suffered from the quick pace. With 1 lap to go I glanced down and saw 8:38. I knew I would be under 9:20 but I pushed the last lap with the little bit I had left in the tank and finished in 9:12 just missing my college PR from 10 years ago. 9:12 would be roughly the equivilant of 9:49 for 2 miles. Despite missing that PR I was thrilled with the finish time. To be 19 seconds faster than a year ago on just 5 weeks of regular run training has me very excited for the run portion of the triathlon. A year ago I went out conservatively at 4:59 trying to run even pace and I was still 3 seconds slower on the 2nd half of the race than I was this year after going out very hard. I wasn't sore at all after the race and was able to run 13 miles on Sunday as part of a 4 hour training day. I have to give GU Energy credit for this as I used some of the GU Chomps and Roctane Gel to help combat the lactic acid that should have built up by running faster than I have in years. Both of those GU Energy products contain amino acids that fight against lactic acid buildup in muscles while competing. I may run another 3k at their first outdoor meet in mid-March but it depends on the training load that week. I don't want to sacrifice great training weeks to run well in track meets that ultimately are just tests of fitness and great workouts for me.
My last bit of exciting news is that I confirmed my entry into my first "full" distance triathlon on September 12th. I call it a "full" distance rather than an Ironman because it is an awesome event put on by a new company called Rev3. The event will take place at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. The "full" distance is the same as an Ironman...2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike leg, followed by a 26.2 mile run. I chose the Rev3 full over Ironman Madison because of the tremendous atmosphere that Rev3 is putting on. They are not out to make a gazillion dollars like Ironman events are. They are putting out a huge $100,000 prize purse in the pro race, paying to the top 10 finishers, donating a percentage of the entry fee to charity, providing 2 amusement park tickets to everyone who signs up, and giving away a ton of cool stuff to all race participants. I teach my history classes the definition of Revolution is "a big change" and this race is bringing about change to how triathlons are put on. They are catering bigtime to participants and spectators. The Rev3 company is putting on 3 races this year...an Olympic distance race in May, a 1/2 distance race in June, and the full in September. They would probably get sued by Ironman if they called their race an Ironman distance. If you're looking for an awesome experience at a race check out the Rev3 series information at http://www.rev3tri.com/. They have put together a page displaying all the confirmed pro athletes racing the full distance at http://www.rev3tri.com/!/race-info/professional-triathletes/cedarPoint2010.htm Jen laughed when she saw LeClaire, Iowa listed on my bio as all the other athletes had their country listed or some big name city. I won't be afraid to race a great field for my first full distance triathlon. I want to place in the top 10 and stand on the podium representing LeClaire, Iowa and all the people who have followed this great journey. This next week should be a big training one but we expect the arrival of our first son, Owen any day now and when he comes I will be taking my first 3 day training break. I've put it off longer than last year because I thought it would be better to take the 3 days when Owen arrives. Owen means "Young Warrior" and I hope I can set a good example of what it takes to be a warrior for Owen. For Owen's middle name we picked Austin...so he could always remember where his dad became a professional triathlete. I can't be more excited for his arrival! Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!