Monday, June 25, 2012

Week 26 Training Summary

On Monday I began a big 3 week training block with lots of volume and bike intervals to be the main focus.  For the week I hit 30 hours of training which was my highest training time in a week yet this year.  I biked 250 miles, ran 64 miles, and swam 21,200 yards.  This was my 3rd straight week over 20,000 yards swimming.  I also lifted weights and did speed drills and strides twice, jumped rope, did lunges, and push-ups all three times, core work 10 times.  I did plyometrics once.  It was great to be back training a lot.  My run mileage has not been this high in a couple months.  I set out to get 3 big weeks in before backing off a week in hopes of a good race at Ironman Racine 70.3 on July 15th.  On Tuesday someone sent me a link to a race that was in Des Moines over the weekend.  The race had a nice prize purse through 3 places and last year there were a few Iowa pros racing and a couple really competitive amateurs.  After consulting with Jen we decided to do this race.  We were already planning a trip to Des Moines to take the kids to Adventureland on Saturday and decided to stay overnight Saturday and do the Copper Creek Triathlon on Sunday.  I wasn't planning to race for a 4th straight weekend but the prize purse coupled with a complimentary entry was enough to get me to sign up.  I opted not to change any of my training plans.  I decided I would do the race as a good speed workout and if it happened to place me in the top 3 that would be an added bonus.  We also felt like last year's women's field was not super strong and Jen had just as good of a chance to place top 3 as I did. 
I woke up on Sunday morning after a day of riding roller coasters and walking all over the park feeling like the Tin Man.  I had bags under my eyes and frankly just wanted to keep sleeping.  My body was worn down from four 5 hour training days through the week and another day just under 5 hours.  I drove to the race course with Jen and began a warm up.  I was really having trouble getting moving at all.  My body felt as bad as I ever remember feeling warming up for a race.  I wasn't sure how I was going to muster up the strength to give it a go.  The one positive for me was that it rained on Saturday just enough to make the lake wetsuit legal.  This was not good news for Jen as her new Xterra wetsuit had not arrived prior to our departure on Friday for Des Moines.  The race was 1/2 an Olympic distance so it was much more of a swimmer's race than I would prefer with a 750 meter swim followed by a 12.5 mile bike ride and finishing with a 5k run.  After slogging my way through a warm up I headed to transition where I was greeted by other pro athletes from Indiana, Minnesota, and Arizona.  I began wondering what I had gotten myself into.  I knew this was set up to be a royal butt kicking the way I was feeling.  I tried to just look at the race as a nice speed workout to end a tough week. 
SWIM: I was too late getting ready for any swim warm up so I went into the water with no swimming ahead of time.  When the cannon fired the pack took off.  There were about 25 elite males and 5 elite females.  Jen opted to race in her age group since she would still be eligible for prize money and would have more people out in front of her on the run to keep her moving fast.  We took off and I was with the group when me made the first turn but that was only about 150 meters in.  My goggles were fogging worse than I can ever remember in a race probably due to not getting them used to the water ahead of time.  I was having trouble seeing anything.  I knew I was losing the main pack but tried to follow a set of feet hoping he was swimming in the right direction.  I could not see the boueys in front of me due to the fogged goggles.  The swim seemed to go by quickly and I got out of the water right on someone's feet and passed him in transition.  I had a good transition to the bike.  My swim time was around 11:15 which was about 1:45 down to the 3 leaders and about 45 seconds down to the main chase pack. 
BIKE: Early in the bike I passed about 5 riders.  I gained confidence with each one that maybe my creaky body was going to be okay.  I was feeling good about things and at the turnarond on the bike I saw I was in 7th place but over a minute behind 6th.  I pushed hard solo on the ride back.  There were a couple challening hills to climb where I didn't feel very strong.  When I made my way back into transition my brother confirmed I was in 7th and 6th was a long way up the road.  I knew there was no chance at any money but was feeling good about the workout I was getting so I set out on the run trying to maintain a comfortable tempo effort. 
RUN: 1/2 way into the run I could see that 6th place was really slowing down and I would soon be making the pass but that was as far as I was going to move up.  Everyone else was way ahead of me.  I passed him just after the turnaround and stayed settled into a 5:40 pace rhythm the rest of the way.  The run course was a bit long and I ended up around 18:10.  I finished in 6th place overall.  The best thing I took away from the race was the fact that I felt 100 times better when I finished than when I was warming up.  I quickly changed shoes and waited for Jen to get off the bike so I could run out and get some more miles while watching her run. 
Jen flew through the course couting the people as she passed them.  She passed over 70 people on the 5k run and turned in the 7th fastest run split including the guys.  She actually ran faster than 1/2 of the elite guys field.  She ended up placing 5th which was great but she was a little frustrated by it for a couple reasons.  One was that her wetsuit had not arrived in time for the race.  Of course it was waiting on our doorstep when we got home.  The second was when she was telling me about the race she said it was so easy to pedal on the bike.  She said she felt super strong and was in her hardest gear almost the enitre way.  Realizing this could not have been possible I asked her if she was in her big ring or small ring up front and she said she doesn't mess with the front ring in a race, she just leaves it where it is at...of course she didn't realize when I changed her wheelset for the race I had shifted it into the small ring so I could get the wheel off easier and she/WE never bothered shifting her back into the big ring.  So Jen rode 20.6 mph on this course entirely in her small chainring up front.  When she realized that was why she was pedaling like crazy and the pedaling was too easy she chalked one up for a rookie mistake.  I hope that she soon learns how to shift her bike and understands that there are 2 shifters for a reason on bikes.  Either way it confirmed to me even more how great she could be in this sport.  Being without a wetsuit and riding in the small chainring the entire way she still managed to place 5th overall in the women's field and only missed a paycheck by 2 minutes.  I think next time she will get that.  She isn't sure if she'll race any more triathlons this year or just focus on running but the invitation for me to retire from pro racing next year and her to launch her pro racing career is on the table for her if she wants it.  I have no doubts that she could have way more success than I am at the pro level.  She rode the bike once last week for 12 miles bringing her biking total to 5 rides (2 of them races) and she still hasn't cracked 100 miles on the year.  I'm pretty sure if she put in some bike training with intervals and all the fun stuff she could be a stud on the bike as well as the run.  I also know from a few years back when she swam for a few weeks she is a much better swimmer than she has shown.  She has swam 4 times this year and two of them were races.  The other two practice swims totalled 30 minutes.  Either way it's pretty exciting to see her having fun at these races.  There was one guy at the end of the race who held her off.  It was hilarious to watch this guy change gears when he realized he was about to get passed by a girl!  Congratulations to Daniel Bretscher on winning the race.  He is a pro from Indiana and one I really look up to.  He's a real professional on and off the course and I was excited to hear from him that he will be moving to Iowa with his fiance in December.  He's in fantastic shape and you will see some big results from him this year.  The event was extremely well organized and was very 1st class.  Complete results with splits can be found here.  2 more weeks of big training and a promise that I won't race again until Racine in 3 weeks.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quad Cities Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Saturday I raced in the hometown event known as the QC Triathlon.  This is a very well run sprint distance race that is now in the 13th year.  I was excited to compete after getting drilled in a pro race last weekend and after placing 2nd a year ago due to an error they made in moving the run course turnaround during the race.  I was also probably most excited because of the number of friends and family members that would be competing in this race.  My wife Jen would be doing her first triathlon and my brothers Justin and Josh would be doing their first QC Triathlon. 
My recovery from Kansas 70.3 went better than I ever could have dreamed.  I trained 4 hours on Tuesday which was just 2 days after doing a 1/2 Ironman.  This was possible because I took the recovery very seriously.  Immediately after racing in Kansas Jen gave me a bottle of protein that I had told her to make sure I got in right away.  I also had 2 more bottles to take in during the ride home.  That night after we got the kids to bed I drove to our training room at PVHS and got in the ice bath for 15 minutes.  Monday morning everything was good except my left piriformus was extremely tight.  I would not have been able to run if I tried.  I called Kaminski Pain and Performance Care and got in and saw Dr. Lake who worked her magic.  Later on Monday I had an awesome hour massage.  I swam about 3,000 yards easy to get new blood flowing to the muscles and also biked easy on the trainer for an hour.  When I woke up Tuesday I was 100% good to go.  I could have race another 1/2 Ironman just 2 days after the first one. 
On race morning Jen and I were up at 4:00 for breakfast.  I had not slept well at all.  I slept worse for this race than I have for a race yet this year.  I moved to a different bed at 1:00 am to change things up and fell asleep shortly afterwards so when Jen came and found me at 4:00 am I was going on less than 3 hours sleep.  We headed out the door around 4:45 in route to West Lake Park. 
Upon arrival it started to rain.  It was not a crazy strong rain, just something steady.  I didn't mind the rain at all but my only concern was that on the bike course I knew I would have to be much more careful rounding the corners.  I ran about 2 miles warm up, stretched, got on the bike for a few miles to make sure everything was working well, and then put on the wetsuit and headed to the water for about a 400 yard warm up swim. 

SWIM: Thankfully for me the swim was wetsuit legal by 1 degree.  I got killed last weekend in my pro swim without the wetsuit.  The QC Triathlon starts 2 competitors at a time about every 5 seconds.  They choose the time trial start rather than the wave start because it calms the fears of the beginner triathletes not having a massive group of people to swim around.  I prefer the wave starts because it gives me more options for drafting.  I headed to the front of the line looking for some good high school kids I could draft off but I really didn't see any of them this year.  Typically there are some really good high school swimmers that do this race and last year I had a nice draft from an all-state swimmer on the Bettendorf High school team.  He was not in a wetsuit of course and I was.  Since I couldn't find any I decided to go in as the 2nd pair out with a good swimmer behind me.  I thought he would for sure pass me and I could try to get on his feet.  I started with Seth Long who is a great up-and-comer that competes for the Iowa State Triathlon team and his swimming has really improved tremendously over the past couple years.  When I heard them say go I took off and began dolphin diving until the water was deep enough to start swimming.  I got away from Seth a bit with the dolphin dives.  I quickly closed the gap on one of the two swimmers who started ahead of me.  Further ahead was Charlie Cunnick who is a ridiculously fast swimmer.  I knew I would not be catching Charlie who was doing the race as part of a relay this year.  I was really surprised at the first bouey that Charlie was not that far ahead of me and no one behind had passed me.  I was swimming a solo effort and focusing much more on staying in a good comfortable fast rhythm that I could sustain.  In a normal race I will redline a bit if that is what it takes to stay on someone's feet but there was no sense in doing that when I was not drafting.  I was strong to the 2nd bouey and still no one went by me.  As we rounded that one and headed for shore I was quickly tiring.  Charlie was beginning to really put a lot of ground on me.  I knew someone would go by me any second but it never happened.  I got out of the water 2nd and was thrilled knowing it was a great swim for me.  Overall my swim time was 8:23 and my swim rank was 4th.  I have come so far with my swimming.  4-5 years ago at this race I was barely in the top 100 swim ranking.  I have steadily improved and with the help of my swim coaches Stacey Zapolski and Tara Christensen I have made very big gains over the past year.  I am excited for my next pro race to see what I can keep the gaps to on the swim. 
BIKE: I wanted to push the bike extremely hard.  I had trouble getting into my shoes to start but once I did I focused on keeping the effort high.  The roads were wet and on the first hill I got out of the saddle and my back wheel was slipping so I decided to stay in the saddle for the rest of the ride.  I got to the turnaround and started the time check.  The first person behind me was about 1 minute 20 seconds back but it really means nothing in a race with a time trial start because I had no idea how far back anyone started.  I saw a lot of people I knew on my way back in including my wife Jen.  I was shocked by how far up she was when I saw her.  I thought I may be able to make it half way back before I saw her but she was only 7 minutes or so back.  My bike time was 35:58 for a 25.0 mph average.  It ranked 3rd.  I'm a little frustrated with how I've ridden in my past 3 races.  I was super fit on the bike 6 weeks ago but my times compared to last year have been slower by a few tenths of a mph in my last two similar events.  I'm hoping to get refocused with the interval work and increase the miles before my next race and hopefully that will solve the problem. 
RUN: My only mishap of the race was when I grabbed my race belt I guess the number got caught on my bike and ripped off.  I was just leaving transition when the volunteers told me I had to go back and get my number.  I didn't even realize it was missing.  I went back 1/2 way and one of the volunteers handed it to me thankfully.  The mistake probably cost me 20 seconds because I hit the split to start my 5k when I left transition the 2nd time and my 5k split at the finish was 17:21 and the results show 17:42.  The run course is not easy at QC.  The start on the trails make it tough to get into an early rhythm.  I got going after the turnaround and finished the run at a decent pace.  My overall time was 1:04:07 which was good enough to win my 3rd race of the year.  It felt great to win this race because of the awesome local support that was out on the course.  It's been over 10 years since it was won by a local on the guys side so it felt good to bring the title back to the QC.  It was awesome to see women's winner Jessica Imm from Davenport represent in impressive fashion on the ladies side.  She won for the 2nd time.  Jessica has set the table well for some huge races at longer distances later this summer including Ironman Wisconsin.  I have no doubts she'll be climbing those hills with impressive speeds!  Jen had a GREAT race for her first one.  I knew she would run well but to be honest I never would have predicted how well she would run.  Her 18:19 5k split was faster than any of the females by over 2 minutes and she was faster than every guy in the race except 3 of us.  I was also impressed with her bike time.  She averaged 21.3 mph which is nothing to complain about.  Her bike training was a 13 mile ride and an 11 mile ride both last week.  Her swim is what set her back a bit.  Her swim training over the past year included one 10 minute open water swim with me in Kansas last weekend.  I do know she could be great if she wanted to pursue this sport.  About 5 years ago she trained for a few weeks for an indoor triathlon (that she won).  In the few weeks of training I was amazed at how fast she was swimming.  She could be a good swimmer, a great biker, and you know about her running.  I have no doubts if she made triathlon her sport she could do VERY well as a female professional.  I think Jen could be a podium finisher at pro races if she chose that path.  At this time however she wants to continue her running ambitions and leave triathlon in the closet for a while longer.  She wants to hang onto the bike just in case but said her next triathlon will be next year at the QC Triathlon.  She is continually improving with her running and I'm amazed by the progress she continues to make.  Congrats to all the finishers out there on Saturday.  There are way too many close friends and family members for me to name them all but it was super fun for me to watch the finish line and see so many of you guys finish with smiles on your faces...knowing the training you did to prepare for this day made you more fit than you've ever been.  Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here.  The QC Times ran a nice story on the race compliments of Dan Angell.  You can read it by clicking here
Up next I will begin a 3 week block of heavy training.  Lots of miles biking, running, and lots of yards in the pool.  I will tear myself down a bit over the next three weeks and then do a full 6 day taper for Racine 70.3 hoping for the best race of my life.  That course has been good to me with my two best 70.3 races coming on it including my top pro finish of 6th a year ago.  I love that course and I will bring a ton of confidence with me.  I'm already getting lean again, down to 153 since hitting 161 just 2 weeks ago.  I expect to race faster than ever at 144 in Racine Wisconsin on July 15th.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kansas 70.3 Race Report and Results

I'll write this blog like the old "Choose your own adventure" books used to be.  You can choose the short version of Kansas 70.3 or the long version.  Version A is the short version.  B is the much longer drawn out version. 

"A"- The race was a non-wetsuit swim.  The water temp was 76.8 degrees with the wetsuit cutoff being 76.1 degrees.  I've only done one other pro race non-wetsuit and it was a disaster.  This one was no different.  The wind was blowing like crazing creating lots of big waves.  I started the race in contact with the group but after getting smashed with wave after wave I found myself alone and I switch from race mode to survival mode as I attempted not to drown.  As a result I was 11 minutes back of the leaders after the swim...about 7 minutes back of any resemblance of a main pack of pros and my race was over.  The rest of the day was competing for fitness and pride.  It was tough and not a lot of fun getting smoked like that.  I finished 13th of 15 pros and lost ot my first amateurs ever in a 1/2 Ironman distance finishing 17th overall of nearly 2,000 triathletes to start the race. 

"B"- I began the week feeling good after racing the Pigman Sprint triathlon last Sunday.  I woke up on Monday and got on the scale...161...what the heck have I done to myself??  I was pretty frustrated...borderline depressed with seeing this number.  Just 2 months ago I was feeling as fit as ever weighing 147 and I could feel the benefits of this newfound slim figure.  I was running and riding incredibly well.  I grew content and through April and May developed some bad eating habits.  I would begin most days still counting calories but every other day or so I would blow my calorie count up with binge eating of things I should not be putting into my body if I want to compete at a high level.  Needless to say little by little the weight piled back on and here I am basically back to the weight I raced at a year ago.  I had signed up for the Kansas 70.3 when I was light and fit and now I would be racing it at my old race weight...FRUSTRATING!!  I'm the only one to blame for the lack of focus and discipline here.  I need to get back to where I was if I ever want to know how good I can be. 
Monday through Wednesday were three great days of training.  I put in 14 hours of training between those three days and I seemed to recover better each day so it was a good sign that I'm over whatever sickness I had been battling for the past few weeks. 
On Friday Jen and I left the QC around 1:00 for the drive to Lawrence Kansas.  Jen registered for the QC Triathlon that is going to be this upcoming weekend.  She was planning to ride my old 98' LeMond road bike that is way to big for her but I had other plans.  I had secretly purchased her a 2008 Orbea Ordu...the same bike I used to race on.  I bought it from a guy who lived 15 minutes off our path to Lawrence and I had arranged to pick it up on Friday night to surprise her.  To do this I had to tell Jen we were stopping by a guy's house who I had ridden RAGBRAI with 10 years ago.  I told her I hadn't seen him since I road RAGBRAI with him and that he knew I was going to be in town and wanted us to stop by to say hello.  Jen was a little annoyed with this detour since she didn't know this ficticious character I had made up.  She was straightening her hair in the car as we got close to his house.  I told her he wanted to go on a bike ride with me but I would tell him we were in a hurry and didn't have time.  When we pulled up to his house he was outside getting the bike ready and Jen said, "He has his bike out.  He must want to show it to you...she was still oblivious to my plan."  When we got out of the car I told her this was actually not my friend from RAGBRAI but a guy I had purchased a bike from for her.  She was pretty stunned.  I'm still trying to decide if she's excited or if she wants me to get rid of the bike.  I'll probably be able to answer that one after Super Mom races the QC Triathlon on Saturday.  We had put my LeMond in the car because Jen wanted to ride it in Kansas so combining the new Orbea with my Shiv and the LeMond would give us a jam packed SUV. 
On Saturday morning Jen found a road race in Lawrence, KS and she won the entire race...guys included.  This was the first time Jen finished a race ahead of all the guys and girls.  She even managed to get off course and ran about 400 meters extra.  I slept in while all this excitement took place.  I went for a 4 mile run and then we headed to pick up the race packet, go for an open water swim together, and drive the bike course.  The pro athlete meeting was at 3:00.  We ate a late lunch/snack which I termed a snunch...Jen says I need to skip the snunch from now on.  I was in bed by 10:00 awaiting the 4:00 am wakeup call. 
On race morning I was up at 4:00 and had the Super 8 waffle for breakfast.  We drove to the race site and Jen dropped me off so I could get my transition areas set up and get my warm up in before the 6:30 a.m. pro race start. 
SWIM: The swim was non-wetsuit.  The water temperature was 76.8 degrees and the cutoff is 76.1.  I knew this would not fare well for me but I tried to keep that out of my head and remain positive.  There were 15 or 16 guys on the start line with some big names.  Among those were Clayton Fettell, Ben Hoffman, Joe Umphenour, Paul Ambrose...all multiple 70.3 and Ironman chapmions.  When the cannon fired I took off and it didn't seem that hard swimming in the pack.  Soon the waves began crashing down on me and I felt like I was lost at see.  I couldn't find the pack and I was gone off the back in a hurry.  I saw another straggler and tried to get on his feet because he didn't seem to be swimming too fast for me but the waves would soon take over and I felt like I was in a washing machine.  I was getting tossed all over the lake and I had no rhythm to my stroke.  It was painful to see the women pros fly by me before I hit the 1/2 way point when they started 2 minutes behind us.  I knew this swim was a disaster.  All I could think about was trying not to drown so I could get to my bike.  When I finally reached the shore I saw 37 minutes and some change on my slowest half IM swim ever by over 4 minutes.  I knew I was out of the race with no chance of clawing my way back in it with a gap I knew was well over 10 minutes to the leaders and probably 7-8 minutes behind any of the other main field.  I will admit as I ran towards my bike I thought about abandoning the race knowing I have another race next weekend and anything I did from his point on would make not change the fact that I was going to get smoked.  I knew continuing on would only slow my recovery for next Saturday's hometown sprint race.  As quick as I thought about stopping I knew there was no way I was going to DNF.  I needed to suck it up and go get a solid ride and run in.  As it turns out there was one other pro in the water behind me.  My swim rank was 14th of the 15 pro guys and 185th of the nearly 2,000 who started the race. 
BIKE: Out on the bike I was in a tough position but I tried to make myself ride hard.  The only people I saw were some of the female pros who started 2 minutes behind me but passed me in the dreadful swim.  I spent most of the 56 mile ride trying to stay focused on riding hard.  It can be very difficult to find the extra level needed to ride well when you really are riding for pride.  The course was moderately difficult due to some steep climbs and the wind we were dealing with.  Most of the ride the wind was coming across me.  I rode 2 hrs. 22 minutes which was a few minutes slower than I expected to ride the course but not terrible considering the position I got myself into starting the ride.  I used Roctane Tropical Punch in the bladder of my Shiv and Roctane Chocolate Smoothie Recovery Brew for my high calorie drink.  I also mixed together some Peanut Butter and Chocolate GU into a flask for more calories.  I took in about 6 salt pills knowing it was getting warm in a hurry.  They temperatures were expected to hit 93 for the day and there was no relief from any cloud covering. 
RUN: I got off the bike trying to figure out how much damage I wanted to do to my legs with nothing to run for.  I began at 6:30 pace through the first mile feeling sorry for myself.  I saw Jen and asked her to hand me my Live Uncommon jersey.  It was hot and sunny and I wanted to put on a running top rather than have my triathlon top up.  I pulled down the triathlon top and slipped on the jersey and started feeling like a runner.  I dropped the pace down to 6:00/mile and held pretty steady at that for the remainder of the run.  I managed to pass one other pro but didn't even realize it until I saw the results.  The run effort wasn't terribly difficult but I wasn't jogging either.  I felt pretty good through the entire run.  The run effort helped me move into the top 20 and only get beat by 3 amateur athletes while I'm sure it was much more than that when I got off the bike.  I ended up finishing 13th of the 15 pros that started the race and 17th overall.  My run time was 1:19:54 which was the 5th fastest pro run.  That gave me some confidence leaving the race knowing I could run a good split without anything on the line and without digging deep into the well.  Complete race results with splits can be found by clicking here.  Congrats to all the Kansas 70.3 finishers.  The wind combined with the heat made for a tough day out there.  I heard they had to pull over 70 people from the lake due to the tough swim conditions.  I was very thankful for Jen for making the trip enjoyable despite a sub-par race.  It's always fun going on road trips with Super Mom.  She's very supportive even when things don't go extremely well.  She was all over the run course giving me words of encouragement. 
 Where do I go from here?  I have a lot of work to do.  As bad as the swim went I have not lost confidence in knowing I'm swimming better right now than I ever have.  The conditions of the day combined with the non-wetsuit left me in a tough spot and I didn't handle it well.  I certainly don't believe for a second that I regressed in my swimming over the last week.  I put in my highest swim week in over 3 months with 21,400 yards this week.  I am excited for this quick turnaround with a race on Saturday.  I know I'll be asking a lot of myself to get recovered in only 5 days.  My left piriformis is VERY tight but beyond that I feel pretty good...better than I ever have the day after a 1/2 Ironman.  A little ART from Kaminski Pain and Peformance Care this week along with ice baths, rest, and massage should hopefully have me ready to race again in 5 days.  My next big race is in 5 weeks at Racine for another 70.3.  I'm really looking forward to a swim I know will be wetsuit legal in Lake Michigan and I'm going back to a course I've had a lot of success on.  I'll be hoping to improve upon last year's 6th place finish, my highest pro finish to date.  I'll have 3 weeks of pretty high volume training combined with healthy eating that will hopefully have me back into my lean form and ready for my best ever.  Even when days are tough like Kansas was I continue to dream of high finishes and continue to believe that I can and will race more competitively in tough pro fields.  It would be great to see a nice crowd out at West Lake Park this Saturday for the QC Triathlon.  So many friends and family members I know will be racing.  It's an extremely well run event.  If you get a chance to come out it would be great to see your support for people on the course.  You can park at the New Life Baptist church about a mile from the park and they will be running a shuttle until 6:45 am when they will clear the roads for the race.  Parking inside West Lake Park is difficult and they will close the roads down until the last finisher so if you are hoping to leave early park at the church and take the shuttle.  Payton and Owen have been enjoying their summer getting out on the bikes a lot.  Owen refuses help when he climbs Mt. Wild West Drive home from the mailbox.  I thought about the effort I see from him climbing up the hill when I was out on the run Sunday.  They inspire me to work hard.  Hope to see you Saturday.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pigman Sprint Triathlon Race Report and Results

With school out I began regular summer training on Monday.  I trained about 3.5 hours on Monday and then followed it up on Tuesday with 6,700 yards of swimming and then did interval work between the bike and run on Tuesday night.  I had a tough workout where I biked 10 minutes at sprint distance wattage effort and then jumped on the treadmill for a mile in 5:25.  I did a 2nd 10 minute period on the bike and then ran 5:20 for another mile.  I decided to skip the 3rd since my legs were feeling pretty good and I was sweating an insane amount.  I followed the workout with 30 minutes of running outside and some more easy cycling.  On Wednesday morning I felt terrible for a 9 mile run.  I wanted to walk badly.  I skipped my swim and weight workout and contemplated skipping the group bike ride I always do on Wednesdays.  My legs muscles were constantly twitching throughout the day and I knew they were tired.  Then I began having lightheaded spells when I would go from sitting for a few minutes to standing.  They were pretty intense as I would stand up and my vision would begin to quickly cloud and my head would get really light.  I nearly fainted on a number of occasions.  I've had this happen very rarely in the past but I bet it happened 6 times on Wednesday.  Thursday the same...I was worried.  I began researching it and asked my training buddy Adam Bohach what he thought.  He said either I was A- dehydrated,  B- my blood pressure is really low which could be caused by overtraining, or C- I was lacking calories.  I hoped this would come to an end because by my 10th lightheaded spell I was really nervous about racing on Sunday.  My legs felt exhausted so I made and appointment to see Dr. Kaminski for some ART work and also a Friday appointment to see massage therapist Mike Eskridge who works see clients at the Bettendorf Life Fitness Center where I swim.  In addition to cutting back the workouts and making those appointments I doubled up my vitamins and began eating everything I could find.  I knew this would not be good for my weight since I have the ability to put on pounds in a hurry but I was scared.  The ART and massage really seemed to help and by Saturday the lightheaded spells only happened a couple times and they were not nearly as intense.  I did not feel close to fainting as I did on Wednesday and Thursday.  Sunday morning the alarm went off at 3:30 to wake up for the Pigman Sprint Triathlon which is held near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I ate a bowl of Wheaties Fuel and Yogurt and then woke Jen.  We were on the road by 4:20 am.  The drive was nice outside of being afraid of hitting a deer since I saw one cross the road and saw a number of dead ones along the side.  We arrived just as transition was opening at 6:00 am.  The race would begin at 7:30.  I had plenty of time to get a good warm up in and visit the bathrooms.  I wanted to make sure I didn't have a repeat of Bluff Creek.  I got in the water at 7:15 and got a good swim warm up in.  There were supposed to be about 9 guys in the elite wave but a few of the bigger names did not show for the start.  One who did show was professional triathlete David Thompson.  David is from Minnesota and is one of the top American triathletes.  The race consists of a 550 yard swim, 15.5 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. 
SWIM: My plan was to take off really hard and try to get on a good set of feet.  I know I need to learn to condition my body to swim hard since in the pro races I'm swimming for my life just to stay with anyone I can.  The females were given a 9.5 minute head start in the gender equalized race.  The overall first person to cross the finish line gets a $750.00 bonus.  When the horn sounded to start the elite guys along with all the relays I took off.  I did a few dolphin dives before swimming incredibly hard.  It wasn't long before I knew there were a few swimmers who had broken off ahead of me and I was leading the next group.  At the turnaround I was already gassed.  My heart rate was sky high.  I kept trying to relax my breathing but I had gone out so hard I pushed my heart rate high in the first 2 minutes of the race.  I was waiting for someone to go by me so I could settle on their feet and that happened just after the turn.  It was a guy who was not wearing a wetsuit and that made me feel slow.  I managed to stay on his feet about half way back in before he dropped me.  I swam solo the rest of the way expecting for a slower time than last year but I was excited to cross the mat in 6:59 which was 13 seconds faster than last year's swim time.  I'm fairly positive the swim at Pigman is the same distance every year because they pull a rope out and tie the boueys to it.  I'm sure they use the same rope every year so the distance is the same because it is a simple out and back swim where the only turn you make is when you get to the last bouey on the rope.  I felt good about swimming 13 seconds faster considering how tired I felt on the way in and last year I stayed on feet the entire way.  My time was the 14th fastest swim of the race which was a little higher ranking than last year. 
BIKE: For the 2nd straight race I had problems getting my wetsuit over my timing chip when I took the suit off.  The ankle gets stuck on the timing chip and I had to dig deep just to phsyically pull the timing chip off over my foot and then reattach it before getting my helmet and bike.  I made it out and got on the bike and began pedaling hard to catch the guys in front of me.  I wasn't sure how many in front there were or how many of the ones in front were relays.  I passed all but 2 of them before we left the park.  Outside the park we went down a big hill and I could see a guy who beat me last year up the road about 15 seconds.  I worked hard over the next 2 miles to pull my bike within 10 meters and then I sat at that distance and recovered for a couple miles.  It was beginning to feel too easy when we reached a hill so I went by him.  At about mile 9 we passed Jen and she told me I was in 2nd place 2 minutes down to David Thompson so I knew there was no catching him.  I would be racing for 2nd and I liked my chances although the guy behind me outran me last year.  I had to decide if I wanted to ride conservatively and get off the bike with him hoping to have good running legs or if I wanted to attempt to put a gap on the bike knowing it could tire my legs a bit more for the run.  I knew he was strong enough to stay with me on the flats but we had 2 hills to climb and I thought I could get a gap so he woudln't be able to use me at 10 meters.  I got away a little bit on the first climb and on the 2nd one I pushed really hard to try to extend the gap.  Coming into transition I had about a 30 second lead so I knew I would not have to dig terribly deep on the run unless he was catching me at the turnaround of the run.  My overall bike time was 37:39 which was 9 seconds slower than last year.  I was quite surprised by this because throughout the entire bike ride I thought my pace was way ahead of last year's but it must have come down quite a bit on the last hill.  It was the 3rd fastest bike split in the race. 
RUN: I opted not to take my GPS watch to this race because I was afraid I would see numbers I didn't want to see given how I had felt through the week.  I just forced myself into a rhythm and hoped it was fast enough I wasn't going to get run down.  At the 1/2 way turnaround point I got a time check and was up 38 seconds over 3rd so I knew I was not going to need to dig deep and it was nice being able to coast in with a 1/2 Ironman next weekend.  Saving myself a bit on the run should allow me to have better legs for training Monday-Wednesday this week.  I finished the race with a run time of 17:27 which is not good but I'll take it given the reduced effort and I thought it could have been much worse given how I felt all week.  My overall time was 1:04:28 which was a little faster than last year but not as fast as I thought I was capable of going. 

Overall I was really happy with the race.  I was having some serious doubts this week when things were not going well.  Placing 2nd earned me $400.00 which is my biggest payout at a race this year.  I closed the gap a bit on Super Mom who is currently about $250.00 ahead of me on yearly race earnings in our friendly competition.  On Friday I was seriously wondering if I should be racing at all.  It was great seeing so many people out there today celebrating their fitness.  I had a lot of fun watching local Brian Garrells on the run course.  Brian was passing people like crazy and dropped 7 minutes from his time last year.  Brian has been doing a weekly track workout that I send him and I've been super impressed and excited by the improvements he is making.  His hard work is paying off.  There was a lot of good representation from the QC with John Grice from Kewanee placing 12th, Brian Cewe of Davenport placing 19th, and John Thompson of Geneseo placing 31st.  The list could go on and on with great performances and I'm sorry if I missed anyone.  In total there were 628 individual finishers today.  Congrats to all!  Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here
On a sad note of news my good friend and training buddy Adam Bohach is leaving the area moving back home for the summer and then to Des Moines next year.  I've formed a great friendship and learned a lot from spending time with Adam and I'll really miss him.  He had hernia surgery about 5 weeks ago but is already getting super fit again.  Adam's going to have a big year as he prepares to turn pro later this year.  He has an awesome website at  He recently created it and it is full of good information about lots of things related to triathlon and working hard towards big dreams. 
I'm really looking forward to my 1st pro race of the year next weekend in Lawrence, Kansas.  I don't feel as fit as I was 6 weeks ago to be honest.  I think I'm overdue for a break in training which I will take when I wrap up this 3 straight race weekend after QC on June 16th.  I'll go to Kansas with no pressure.  I love racing the 1/2 Ironman distance.  It's where I feel the most comfortable.  I know that in that distance anything can happen with mechanical failures, and just the distance of the event.  I'm hoping for a top 10 finish.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!