Holiday Lake Report
I woke early on Saturday and chose to drive to the race morning of. The race didn't start until 9:00 am which was nice for those who wanted to drive the day of the race. I asked Siri to take me to Holiday Lake and things were great until I reached "my destination" and was on a gravel road in front of a farm with nothing resembling a lake or a park nearby. I was in a panic. It was 7:30 and I still needed to find the race site, get my packet, and warm up. I turned the car around and went to the end of the gravel road and started to look for maps on my phone. Just then a car zoomed by with bikes on the top...perfect! I followed the car with the bikes to the race site and adjusted my warm up to fit the time I had left. My only mishap was heading out for my run I ran right into the rope that ties down the finish line blow up arch and it scraped right over my eye and hurt something fierce...hopefully not a sign of things to follow.
SWIM: The swim was supposed to be 500 yards. We started in one big wave with all the guys racing. I should have started on the outside but was late getting to the line and picked the inside. We started and after some dolphin dives I was off swimming. I have swam not even 1/3 of the yards this year that I had last year up to this point so I knew I had to be careful not to get out too fast. I tried to settle into a comfortable rhythm. I was hoping the guys from the outside would collapse down on me and give me some good feet to draft off but by the time they came to the inside of the swim they were too far ahead. I swam solo and exited the water in 7th place. My swim time was 5:28 but I'm guessing it was at least 100 yards short of the advertised 500 yards. I had one of the quickest transitions and probably started the bike in 5th or 6th.
BIKE: Out on the bike I could see the leaders and those between me and the lead motorcycle. I quickly moved up the road and by mile four I settled into the lead. Around mile 5 we hit our first of 2 turnarounds. It gave me a chance to see where the other riders were at. One guy was still right on me. The rest had dropped back a ways. The course consisted of a lot of long rolling hills and we had ridden the first section into the wind but would have the wind at our back for the next 7 mile or so. I pushed really hard on the hills to try to shake the rider right behind me but he was extremely tough. I could not shake him. We were hitting speeds of over 40 mph on some stretches. I chose to ride the Zipp 808 rear wheel because I heard the course was hilly and I have slightly better climbing gears on this wheel. I wished I had stuck with my Zipp sub-9 rear disc because I rode much of the section with the wind at my back in my biggest gear and would have liked another gear. At the 2nd turnaround near mile 12 I got to see where things were at again. I had opened about a 10 second gap on #2. The others were about 1 minute down. We had a couple really long hills back to T2 and I pushed them hard hoping to extend the lead not knowing what kind of runner was chasing me. I rolled into T2 with about a 20 second lead. I averaged 24.8 mph on the bike course which was the fastest bike split of the race by about 1 minute.
RUN: I knew the run was on a brutal course but had no idea what I was in for until I got out there. The course would end up being the toughest 5k I have ever run. It was one steep hill after another. The down side of the steepness these hills brought was that going down was as painful as going up. Running down hills that steep is awkward because you feel like you are going to lose your balance and you actually have to try to slow down so I was running on my heals a lot. The downhills also place tremendous stress on the quad muscles and I didn't want to beat them up too bad knowing I had a race the following day. I was hoping to get a decent lead by the turnaround and be able to relax the way back in. It felt like forever to the turn. I'm not joking when I say I bet I went up and down 8 different times just getting to the turnaround. The longest flat stretch was about 200 meters. I could tell I was putting ground on 2nd place but the chase pack looked like there might be some really fast runners. They were a lot of tall lanky college kids who I was thinking may be really fast. At the 1/2 way point I was up about a minute and a half so I knew I could relax. I shut things down on the way back in but the hills still required effort. I ended up with the 2nd fastest run split at 18:46 which shocked me because it felt like 22 minutes. My overall time was 1:03:11. A HUGE congrats to all who finished this demanding course. Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here.
The Holiday Lake race was extremely well put on. There were a ton of volunteers and they gave away about 40 door prizes. In addition to winning the top cash prize of $250.00 for iHope I also won a prize pack from Headblade for being the 1st bald finisher. I can say this is the first race I've ever done that had a special award for the first bald finisher. Headblade is a special shaving razor designed for the head. It was great seeing one of my students in this race. Sam Lundry is only 14 years old but has an extremely rare work ethic and is VERY dedicated to triathlon. Sam has gotten special permission to compete in longer triathlons because most of the long ones don't let kids his age compete. He has proven he is well trained to not only finish them but finish them really well. Sam placed 14th of about 100 in a time of 1 hr. 13 minutes. He just got permission to race a 1/2 Ironman at Rev 3 Wisconsin Dells in August. I'm sure he'll be ready for it.
Following the race I got a good 2 mile cool down run with Sam and then before I left the park I got back in the water to swim about 500 yards. I've always found swimming to be one of the best ways to get an active recovery and feel better afterwards. When I finished the swim I drove about 90 minutes to Waterloo, Iowa and got my packet for the Accel Triathlon and then stayed with my good friend and college teammate Randy Bill. Randy was just back from doing a running relay from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois. Randy told me about this relay in which he teamed up with 11 other guys. They each ran 3 different legs of the journey. Randy's total mileage was 19 and he averaged under 5:15/mile for the total distance. Needless to say this 2:22 marathoner has some major talent. He finished his first triathlon last weekend and is preparing for a 1/2 Ironman distance race in August.
Accel Race Report
I felt pretty good on Sunday morning. I was at George Wyth Park plenty early to get a good warm up in. I knew a solid warm up would be important after racing on Saturday. The water temperature was about 66 degrees which is a great temperature. I like cold swims in my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit. I had switched wheels so I'd be riding the Sub-9 disc on the rear since the course didn't have any major climbs. All of the Olympic distance guys would start together at 7:00 am. The conditions were overcast, cool, with about 13 mph winds out of the south. It was expected to rain during the race but the major storms stayed away.
SWIM: The Olympic distance swim is much longer than the sprint so I knew it would be even more important not to start to fast. The swim was an out and back course but the line of buoys curved and resembled a 1/2 moon shape. I figured it would be best to take the straight line to the turn buoy and chop off the extra from swimming along the rope. However there were kayaks not far off the line and I figured the kayaks were there to keep people from taking the straight line so I started right along the line of buoys. When the siren sounded to start the race I took off relaxed and on the inside. I was breathing every 3 strokes. About 1/2 way to the first buoy which was 250 meters I noticed the main crowd was taking the straight line to the far end and they were about 20 yards to my right. I moved out slightly. I wanted to get on feet if the opportunity arose but it never happened. Because I started conservatively the guys I was passing were going too slow and the stronger swimmers were already ahead. I felt really relaxed and actually felt strong on the way back in rather than my normal feeling of heavy arms in the 2nd half. I knew before the turn that one guy was way ahead. He was at least 2 minutes ahead of my at the turn if my counting was correct from the time I saw him go by on the other side of the rope. I swam hard on the way back in and exited the water with the 5th fastest swim in 22:58. I haven't done a lot of Olympic distance races the past few years but this was one of my better swims time wise over this distance. I had the fastest transition of the race and was on the bike ready to make up some ground.
BIKE: Going on the same time as the Olympic distance race was a sprint race. That made it feel like my old days racing in amateur waves of Ironman when I would start in the 8th wave and have lots of bikes to pass by the time I was out of the water. Most of the athletes I was passing were sprint distance athletes. I actually had no way of telling who was a sprint athlete and who was in my race. I rode hard and with everyone I passed let out a "way to work" Coach Olsen style. The ride was so fun compared to when I race professionally and I'm on my own for much of the bike due to my poor swimming. At about mile 10 the Olympic distance racers turned off on a detour to make up the extra distance. I had no idea what place I was in. I couldn't see anyone. I asked a volunteer and they said one other athlete had gone by. I put my head down and dug deep to pull back time hoping to see this athlete...and I kept hoping...and hoping...and never saw them. There were stretches I could see 3 minutes ahead and still I saw no one. I was trying not to get discouraged but it was frustrating not seeing anyone coming back. I was riding hard and was averaging near 25 mph. When I got back to the park I had a great dismount and had the fastest 2nd transition of the race. I had no idea how far back I was but thankfully Randy was there and told me I was 2:30 down to the leader. My bike time was 59:33 which was right about 25.0 mph average. It was the fastest bike split of the race.
RUN: The run conditions were perfect. The course was completely flat which was great for me because I'm such a rhythmical runner. I do a lot of tempo workouts and train myself to get into a running rhythm and stick to that rhythm. I did not have a GPS but felt pretty good from the first step. There were no signs of cramps and I didn't feel tight at all. That's probably thanks in part to the ART work from Kaminski Pain and Performance Care on Thursday. The run course consisted of two 5k loops. I still couldn't tell who I was chasing because sprint athletes were also on the 5k. When I went through the first loop Randy said the lead was down to just under 1 minute. I dug deeper not wanting it to come down to a sprint finish. When I got to the turn on the 2nd loop with 1.5 miles to go I caught the leader. Josh Otis had raced really well and went with me for a quarter mile or so. I was relieved to get away and pushed hard on the way back fearing that he was right behind me. I thought a lot about how bad I wanted to win this race because the win would pay for an iPad for iHope and my parents match so the win actually meant 2 iHope gifts. I crossed the finish line in 1:59:21 which was my best Olympic distance time by a few seconds. I never thought I would break 2 hours because I have not put in near the amount of training yet this year as I have in years past. I'm heavier but also very strong right now which reminds me that body weight is not the tell-all sign of fitness. My 10k run time was 35:51 which was the 3rd fastest of the race. Complete results of the Accel Triathlon with splits can be found by clicking here.
The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier ran a story about my race and the mission of my racing. You can read that story by clicking here.
All in all I was stoked about the weekend. Big Thanks to Randy and Jaime Bill for letting me stay with them on Saturday. The races were both extremely well organized and both had the feel of races that are into giving back to the community rather than races that want to make as much money as possible. It made me realize deciding to support non-Ironman branded races in 2013 was a great move. Both races had lots of giveaways and provided great value. The organization was nothing less than the organization of an Ironman branded event and they gave more back to the people who signed up to do them. The two race wins allowed me to earn $750.00 for the iHope Foundation. With my parents match that means the weekend will fund 3 iHope gifts for low-income students who display outstanding character and work traits. My yearly race winning total is at about $1,200.00 and my season goal was $1,500.00 which will certainly be surpassed now. I'm so excited by what this foundation does for kids in our community. Big THANKS to Seth Long for making a tax deductible contribution this week. If you would like to add to the weekend total I was able to earn for iHope click here to make a tax deductible contribution. You can either enter paypal information or provide credit card info. The other way would be to mail a check to our school's administration center. That address is on the iHope page of this blog. I'm looking forward to racing in event #2 in the Scheel's Duathlon series next weekend. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!