It seems like long ago I was getting on the treadmill for my first run of the 2013 season. I remember suffering through 3 miles with my heart and legs screaming at me. I remember thinking how tall this mountain I had to climb was. I'm excited about how far I've come without wearing my body down mentally or physically. In 5 days I will begin my summer training when things will really pick up. The race schedule gets busy in June with 4 races over a 15 day span. I'm looking forward to it! For week 15 I ran 50 miles, biked 125 and swam 6,600 yards. I need to begin swimming more now that I'm getting closer to races. I've always felt like 3 weeks or so of high swimming volume puts me pretty close to my best as far as the swim goes. I was able to get my first open water swim in this morning with a nice group. I expected freezing cold waters but to my surprise the water was around 66 degrees which feels awesome in my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit. I had planned to get a lot of miles on the bike through this three day weekend but Mother Nature had other plans. I was able to get out yesterday with Corey Towle and Charlie Paul and we got stranded in McCausland at the Lucky Frog when lightning began to strike nearby so Super Mom kindly came to our rescue and picked us up in the Super-Mom mini van. Today after our swim we got a nice 24 mile ride in with some good rolling hills. Friday I ran 2 sets of 4x400's and 4x200's with 200 jog recovery after everything. I didn't feel fast at all...actually quite slow but was glad to get some quality. I ran the 400's in 77 and the 200's in 35. I've always been a believer in training intervals faster than race pace. When my body is used to running 5:00-5:10 mile pace the 1/2 Ironman pace of 5:50 feels like a jog. Right now the 5:00-5:10 pace feels like I'm working harder than I should be. I'm optimistic that it will come around quickly. I have yet to put in a 60 mile running week but plan to soon. When I string 3-4 of those together in a row I can tell a big difference in my running. I had my 3rd run at 90 minutes or more this week and it was my best one yet. I felt great throughout and should be ready to go to 95 or 100 minutes soon. I love Wednesday night group rides here. It's always my toughest bike workout of the week. This week was no different. I found myself getting dropped from a 2 man break up one of the final climbs but I was able to get into my aero bars and 3 minutes later of heart wrenching work I clawed my way back to the break and pulled a few guys with me. The Wednesday ride is a lot of fun and hard work. If you live near the QC I'd recommend giving it a try. They leave from the bike path parking lot right where Moline and East Moline meet and they have 2 groups so there is something for everyone.
I had an outstanding time hosting a transition clinic at Healthy Habits bike shop on Saturday. We had a great turnout of just over 30 people despite Mother Nature bringing us rain. Xterra Wetsuits was kind enough to send race belts for everyone and GU Energy sent lots of product to give away. We also had a bunch of items that we gave away. I'm hoping everyone took left feeling like they learned something that will help them speed through T1 and T2 faster than ever. It was great meeting a lot of new people there. The biggest thing to remember about transitions is that they are part of the race. Just as you want to swim, bike, and run as fast as possible you also want to make T1 and T2 as quick as possible. I think often people see transitions as a mini break between the other 3 triathlon disciplines when transitions are really the 4th discipline. There were lots of people at the clinic getting ready for their first triathlon ever on June 15th and I'm sure they will all have lots of fun and will do great! If you are looking for a wetsuit to help you swim faster this year you can use Xterra discount code SA-JEFFP to save 60% off the Vector Pro or Vortex suits. Let me know if you have any questions about the suits or if you want to know why I prefer Xterra Wetsuits over the rest.
To close I was very humbled to accept a tremendous iHope gift from Dan and Kelly White this week. Dan was a high school teammate of mine and is the guru among local physical therapists especially when the injury is anything related to running. Dan is one of the smartest people I know and he is always continuing to study his profession so he can treat his clients at Rock Valley with the best care possible. Dan was instrumental in helping get me back to running after my achilles tendon surgery in 2010. He recently spent time in Oregon studying alongside some of the best coaches in the world at Nike and learned a great deal about injury preventative strength training while he was there. When he met with me awhile back and said he wanted to get involved with helping iHope change the lives of children in our community I was thrilled. If you want to help with the iHope Foundation that serves to provide low-income students who possess outstanding character and work habits with iPads you can click here to make a tax deductable donation. I would be grateful and it will make a positive impact on a child in our community. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!