Monday, May 12, 2014

1st Race of 2014...Lake MacBride Duathlon

Sunday was my first race of the 2014 season after beginning training 13 weeks ago.  I was excited to test my fitness to see where I was at.  Going into the race I felt like my running was lagging a bit mostly due to my increased weight this year.  Weighing in at 166 on race day was the heaviest I have raced in 4 years.  Biking has gone really well over the last couple weeks.  I was expecting a good ride.  I did not do a single interval workout until 4 weeks ago and I have seen quick increases in my bike power since I began interval training.  The race was near Solon, Iowa and featured a 2.5 mile run, 18 mile bike, and an advertised 5k run that turned into just over 3.5 miles.  It was the first of 3 events making up the Scheels Duathlon Series.

I had my new Zipp Super 9 wheel put on the bike Saturday at Healthy Habits.  I am expecting a new Specialized Shiv hopefully later this month.  Dan Adams at the shop was tremendous in getting my 11 speed wheel set up to work on my 10 speed bike.  Jen was also racing and we left the house at 5:45 AM for the drive to Lake MacBride State Park.  We were a little later than we hoped because we drove to the wrong entrance of the park and it turned out we had to drive 10 miles to get to the correct entrance.

Run 1: On the first run a couple guys went out really fast.  I figured that would be the case because it was that way in every duathlon of the series last year.  I sat back a bit and worked my way up.  At the mile mark I was running in the lead with one other guy.  At the 1/2 way point I was in the lead and was quite surprised by how I was running considering my weight.  I realized that due to gravity I was having a much more difficult time whenever the course went uphill.  We ended the first run up a long hill and I almost gave up the lead.  I knew the biggest challenge would be from fellow Iowa professional Daniel Bretscher.  Daniel is one of the top triathletes in the United States and is someone I have always looked up to.  He's a great athlete and a great person who was always very helpful and supportive when I earned my pro license back in 2010.  He relocated to Iowa from Indiana last year and went on to finish 2nd in 5 professional races including Ironman Wisconsin last September.  My first run was the fastest of the race in a time of 14:08.  I had a quick transition and was out on the bike in the lead.

Bike: I felt very good on the bike early on.  This was my first race ever with power output being measured.  In past years I have trained with power in the hub of my wheel but never had it for races because I raced with a different rear wheel.  This year I bought a Sram Red Quarq Elsa Powertap crankset from Healthy Habits so it won't matter what wheels I'm using...I will always be able to get power readings.  In a sprint I won't pay too much attention to it but can gain valuable data from it after the race to determine if I'm getting stronger, racing tired...etc.  When people asked me in the past what kind of power I raced with my complete guess for a sprint distance was 290 watts.  I held the lead into Solon for about 5 miles and got a glimpse behind me and Daniel was not far back.  I knew he would probably pass me but hoped to be strong enough to stay behind him at 10 meters.  At the half way point he passed me and I was able to stay at 10 meters until we got to some hills.  With each hill the gap would stretch out and by mile 13 I had lost contact.  I would slowly watch the lead grow bigger and bigger giving up a minute over the last 5 miles.  My overall bike average was 24.6 mph and it was 2nd fastest to Daniel's 25.4 mph average.

Run 2: From the beginning of the run I did not feel my turnover was very good.  In the first 1/2 mile there was a pretty nice hill and I felt like I was going SUPER slow up it.  I was getting hamstring twinges and was hoping to keep the cramps from derailing a so far solid race.  Once we got on the downhills on a park trail I felt back into a good rhythm but anything resembling an uphill was not good.  I knew I was running slower than my tempo pace and the run kept feeling longer and longer.  At the only out and back point I thought I had about 45 seconds on 3rd place which was comforting but the last 1/2 of the race would not come soon enough and it ended up being nearly 1/2 mile long which was not something I enjoyed in my current state.  I finished in 2nd place and my 2nd run was the 3rd fastest.  My overall time was 1:19:55 which was a little disappointing because I was on pace to beat my time from last year throughout until the 5k got long.  Not long after I finished I got to watch Jen win the women's race on Mother's Day which was great.  She's worked very hard over the past year getting stronger at QC Cross-Fit and also has spent more time on the bike trainer than she ever has. Her first outdoor ride was the day before the race for 10 miles and she said the crosswinds made her feel very uncomfortable.  I was also SUPER impressed by fellow PV teacher and 9th grade boys basketball coach Drew Croegaert.  I get to ride the bus to some 9th grade games with Drew and enjoy watching him coach but had no idea he was such a good multi-sport athlete.  Drew finished 11th overall.  I've seen him a a couple Barre563 classes and know he's been training hard.  Looking forward to seeing him at more races.  Congrats to all the finishers of the Lake MacBride Duathlon and thanks to Scheels for supporting this event.  Complete results with splits can be found here.

Overall I was pleased with how the race went.  I thought my first run was better than expected, the first half of my bike ride was solid, and then things started to go downhill.  I thought I tired on the bike sooner than I would have liked.  This was probably due to the increased effort I put out once I was passed by Daniel.  I think when he passed me my average watts was 279 and by the end I was at 292.  I thought my 2nd run was pretty poor.  I definitely have a long way to go but it's only May and I think I'm ahead of where I was a year ago despite weighing 5 lbs. more.  I earned $200.00 for the iHope Foundation through the race which is always exciting for me when I can use my talents to help with this cause.  Last week we awarded 2 students with iPads and each a $1,000.00 scholarship upon graduation in 4 years.  If you'd like to help make the next one happen please click here.  We would never have been able to give 2 more iPads and scholarships this year without the recent support of so many.  THANKS!!

This past week we received iHope business sponsorships from Crawford Company and from Russell Construction.  Crawford Company joins on as a Bronze level sponsor.  I was thrilled to add them to the helmet for the season.  Russell Construction becomes the 2nd Gold Level sponsor and I will be adding their logo to my race jersey.  I am sending those logos this week to Kiwami to have my jersey made for the rest of the season.  We are up to 12 iHope business sponsorships.  My goal was 15 so I'll be working hard to find 3 more businesses that want to support this foundation.

Crawford Company specializes in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, laser cutting, specialty welded fabrication, brewing equipment, and custom architectural products. Crawford products and services are found within commercial, industrial, and residential markets. Crawford's foundation was built in the residential heating and cooling market. Over time Crawford moved into the commercial heating and cooling market and into specialty fabrication.  

Russell Construction provides pre-project services including planning and project management services, real-estate development and property management.  As a long term solutions provider, Russell predictably delivers cost effective construction services.  Having completed more than $1 billion in projects in educational, healthcare, manufacturing, and federal government markets across 29 states, Russell remains a market leader in its core construction markets.  The firm has been recognized by Engineering News Record Magazine and Inc. Magazines's INC 500 listing of America's fastest growing companies.  Employees at Russell Construction give back an incredible amount to our community.  Over the past 15 years they have contributed over 1 million dollars to non-profit and community agencies.  Read about those here.  Russell Construction was also influential in creating a non-profit foundation called Live Uncommon that aims to encourage health, fitness, family-values, and giving back to the community.  Live Uncommon supports races that are non-profit making lasting impacts on the organizations behind the races.  My wife Jen and I are proud to be part of Live Uncommon.  

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