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!

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