On Saturday Super Mom and I split up for different races. She went to the Crimestoppers 5k and won another race earning $100.00 for the win in a time of 17:40. I went to DeWitt, IA for a sprint distance triathlon called Crossroads. I was excited to do this event with 2 of my brothers, Justin and Josh. For Josh, it would be his first ever triathlon. Justin was doing his first one with a lake swim.
I met Justin and Josh at the 2nd transition as this race is point to point meaning the transition areas are located in 2 different locations. We met at DeWitt High School where the bike to run transition was located. I dropped off my race belt and running shoes and we headed to the lake. I was able to get a short warm up in of 1.5 miles and then put my wetsuit on. I was very surprised this swim would be wetsuit legal since it felt like the lake was about 84 degrees. I would have gone without the wetsuit but I haven't been swimming with it since Racine since the lake I do open water swimming has been so warm lately. This was a race I won in 2008 and 2009. I did not compete in it last year as I was rehabbing my achilles tendon post surgery.
SWIM: I started in the 2nd swim wave. The females under the age of 30 went in the water 1st and then 3 minutes later it was males 30-39. I knew Chris Scott was a great swimmer and I wanted to try to stay with him as long as I could. He has always been out of the water faster than I was and he was coming off a big win last weekend at Xterra Sugar Bottom where he had the fastest swim split. When the siron sounded to take off we were swimming side by side for the first 50 yards or so and then he started to drift left. I had to decide whether or not to follow him and stay in his draft or continue on in a straight line toward the bouy. I decided I would let him go left and I would keep on the straight line. I felt like he was taking a bad line towards the bouy. I figured if I stayed straight I could catch his feet after he cut over. I never saw him again on the swim. I was the first one to the bouy where we made the turn and I kept swimming hard. I began passing some of the females after the first buoy but I navigated well getting around them without swimming off course. I exited the water in 7:43 which was the fastest swim time of the race. This was the first time I have ever beaten Chris Scott out of the water and it was the first time in an outdoor triathlon where I had the fastest swim split. My swimming has continued to improve tremendously under the guidance of Stacey Zapolski. I couldn't be more happy with the progress I've made since recruiting Stacey's help with my swimming. It also helped that I had on the Xterra Vendetta wetsuit and Chris Scott decided to go without a wetsuit.
BIKE: I had some trouble getting the wetsuit off over my chip in transition. For some reason this chip timing company says their chips will not read unless they are on top of the wetsuit. I didn't want to rip the wetsuit so I took more time than usual getting it off. I was racked near Chris Scott and he gained time on me in transition. We left T1 right near each other and I hit the road pedaling hard. The course is not terribly tough but there are a handful of rolling hills that keep it semi-challenging. I did not feel good for the first 7 miles but after that I started getting into a really good rhythm. On the way into town we had about a 5 mph wind at our back and I was gaining speed. I came to a point where there seems to be a wreck every year. It is a spot where there are rumble strips and when riders go left to avoid them there is a big crack in the road and inevitably every year someone gets their tire in the crack and goes down. I was crossing back by that point as riders were going out to the turnaround and I saw a guy standing there with his bike on the ground. I knew the rider and I slowed to nearly a stop and asked him if he was okay. He said he would be fine so I continued on towards T2. I arrived at DeWitt High School and got off the bike with an average speed of 26.1 mph which was also the fastest bike split of the day.
RUN: I grabbed my garmin and put the shoes on quickly and began running out of transition while I attached my race belt. I wanted to break 17:00 for this flat 5k. I monitored my pace pretty closely. I was hovering between 5:05 and 5:30 for most of the run. When I would creep up towards the 5:30 pace I would try to pick it up. I hit the turaround and saw I had about a 3 minute lead over 2nd place. I went on to run 16:38 which was my fastest 5k to end a sprint race. My run time was the top one in the race. I won the race with a time of 1 hr. 20 seconds. It was over 2 minutes faster than when I did the race 2 years ago. It gives me good confidence heading into Steelhead 1/2 Ironman next weekend.
I was really excited to watch my brothers finish the race. Josh came in with a great run split and said, "I'm ready to be done" when he passed me. Justin came not long after. He said he felt like he was barely moving on the run. It was great watching people come in to finish the race off. There were a number of former students I had in class and I always enjoy watching them get into the sport. Congratulations to all the finishers. Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here.
Next weekend I'll be driving to Michigan for the Steelhead 1/2 Ironman. The pro race has a lot of guys on the start list...32 to be exact. Not all of them will show up but it should be the biggest pro field I've been in and there are some guys on the start list with really impressive resumes. I'm hoping to be in the top 10 and look to have a great time as this race is on a pretty fast course. I'd love to break 4 hours for the 1st time. I'll need to push hard on the bike. I pushed hard at Crossroads to see how my legs would respond and I still felt great on the run despite pushing the pace on the bike course. With modest temperatures expected next weekend I'm hoping to push the bike very hard to find out what I still have left for the run. My swimming is the best it's ever been and I'll work like crazy to stay on the feet of the chase group for as long as I can. If I can get out of the water with more riders it will be my ticket to a great race. I have taken criticism from some people locally who think I race too much. I have done 4 sprint triathlons and 1 sprint duathlon over the past couple months and I think those have been great workouts for 1/2 Ironman racing. They are great to get speed work in and they have prepared me to run better off the bike than any other workout I could have done. The recovery time for a sprint is pretty minimal and I didn't back off at all for Crossroads. I biked 108 miles on Thursday, just 2 days before the race. I have been paying very close attention to my recovery lately. I'm in great shape and if I feel I'm not recovered I cut back the workouts with a single goal of getting recovered properly before I attempt more work. I have done a lot of high quality bike work since Ironman Racine 70.3. That was something I wanted to put an emphasis on before racing at Steelhead. I think in the 3 weeks since Racine I have had 9 bike workouts with high intensity in them. I'm hoping that pays off next weekend and it will be my best race ever.
This week I had someone pass along to me some information on a local race for a great cause. On Saturday, August 20th there is a 5k and 1/2 marathon in Bettendorf, IA called "Ouch! Race it Doesn't Hurt to Help" and the proceeds are for a great non-profit organization. The money raised goes to help would victims who cannot afford care to effectively treat long term and emergency wounds. The race is put on by Trinity Health Systems and the link to the race sit can be found by clicking here. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!