Monday, June 9, 2014

The Madness Begins...2 race wins!

Saturday morning I began a stretch of 5 races over 23 days.  The first one up was the Holiday Lake sprint triathlon in Brooklyn, Iowa.  This is a really well run event and I did it last year earning $250.00 for the iHope Foundation.  Unfortunately and unbeknownst to me the prize money was cut down to $100.00 for the winner this year.

I arrived in Brooklyn early enough to get in a nice long relaxing warm up.  I ran 2 miles, biked 8 miles with 8x 30 second accelerations within the ride, and then swam about 600 yards.  I swam the out and back course in 7:30 very relaxed and knew the course was more accurate than last year's short swim.  The first wave of the swim was the guys and on the gun it was a little bit chaotic.  I enjoy the longer swims with a more relaxed pace on the start and haven't done a lot of high end work swimming.  I was out near the front the first couple hundred yards and at the turn things started to separate a bit.  I was hoping to get on a good set of feet for the return trip but ended up swimming solo on the way in and I was about 20 seconds back of the leaders.  My swim time was 7:15 when I hit the timing mat out of the water and it was the 6th fastest of the race.  After a race best first transition I was in 3rd out on the road.

BIKE: I was hoping to average near 300 watts for the ride but I have my computer set to include zeros now which means when I'm not pedaling the 0 watts is figured into the average and we had a big downhill out of transition with a sharp turn at the bottom.  This meant my first 1/4 mile or so counted 0 watts and I would be fighting an uphill battle the entire way trying to lift the wattage average.  This was my first race on the new Specialized Shiv that I just picked up from Healthy Habits on Tuesday.  Dan Adams did an amazing job getting my fit very close to my old bike.  I learned a good lesson on this bike course.  I was working so hard trying to lift my wattage average that my heart rate was through the roof.  I could not get my breathing under control for at least the first 5 miles.  I also could not get my wattage nearly as high as I hoped.  I got to about 265 and then hovered there for the remainder of the race.  I need to make sure I'm not getting too lost on the wattage and just racing smart instead.  By going out so hard it made for a pretty lousy first half of the bike ride.  I did not catch and pass the leader until about mile 5 and he stayed with me until about mile 11.  At that point I began to pull away and I realized I was finally comfortable with my breathing.  I pulled into transition with the fastest bike split at 24.7 mph.  I had about a minute lead and knew with a race on Sunday I would be able to run easy on the BRUTAL 5k course.

RUN: I ran pretty easy through the 5k and got a time check at the half way point in which I had increased the lead to 2 minutes.  Although I was running easy this course is impossible not to beat the crap out of the legs.  It is one steep uphill followed by a steep downhill after another.  The downhills are what put a lot of strain on the quads even if trying to run easy.  The only way to not beat the quads would be to walk down the hills and I wasn't going to do that.  My 5k time was nearly 20 minutes which was the 3rd best of the race.  My overall time was 1:06:-6 which was about 3 minutes clear of runner-up Barry Breffle.  I got in a 10 minute swim and some protein immediately after the race so I could start the recovery hoping I wouldn't be terribly sore for the race on Sunday.  After my first race of the year a month ago I was sore for 6 days.  I couldn't afford to have that kind of recovery.  This was my first race in my new Kiwami Amphibian Prima race suit that arrived on Friday just in time.  All iHope "Silver" and "Gold" sponsors earned a spot on the jersey by contributing $500.00 or more to the iHope Foundation.  I couldn't be more excited to represent those companies in my races.  The race brought in $100.00 for the iHope Foundation.  Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here.  After the race I analyzed the bike portion a bit.  I was not very excited with how I rode.  I decided I need to pay less attention to the power number especially in a short race and be excited about how fast I'm going...after all this sport is about speed.  I just don't seem to be able to push high power numbers like a lot of other guys can but I also am not a huge guy and I have a very aero bike position due to my flexibility and that allows me to go fast on lower power numbers.  I'll keep working to increase the numbers because more power will translate to more speed but I thought I let it get me discouraged during the race and that is definitely not a good mindset to be racing with.  I also decided that I would start the bike leg with a goal of getting my heart rate down and getting relaxed easing into it rather than hammering from the go which put me in a rough position for the first half of the ride.

Sunday morning I drove with Jen to Iowa City for the 2nd of 3 duathlons put on as part of the Scheel's Duathlon Series.  I finished 2nd place to Daniel Bretscher at the first one but knew Daniel was racing a huge event at Kansas 70.3 on this day.  My legs had recovered pretty well from the Saturday race and I was excited to be on a flat course.  Both runs were a tad over 2 miles with the 2nd one slightly longer than the first due to finish line placement.  Both runs were very flat and the bike was 20 miles consisting of a double out and back on a 5 mile stretch of road which would total 20 miles.  The bike course was pancake flat.

RUN 1: The first run I took it out rather relaxed.  I've gotten used to the guys at these duathlons going out super hard.  I sat back until about the mile mark when I joined Timothy Doyle in the lead.  At the first race of the series he was only 1 minute behind me and had a faster 2nd run split than I did.  We pushed on together through the first run and came into transition together.  My run pace was 5:19/mile which felt pretty comfortable.  My first run split ranked 2nd just behind Doyle.

BIKE: Out on the bike I had a little trouble getting my shoes strapped tight and I was passed in the first mile.  I wanted to be sure I started off relaxed and slowly increased my effort throughout once I felt comfortable.  I decided I would hit the split button at each 5 mile section and had my Garmin 510 set to read average power for each split.  The first and 3rd sections of the double out and back included a tailwind so sections 2 and 4 would be a headwind.  At mile 5 I hit the split and I averaged 277 watts.  We had a 180 turnaround at that point which I learned sucks the wattage down because there is no pedaling for about 10 seconds so the 0 watts factor in at those points.  We would have 3 of those turns on a double out and back course.  My average speed at the first turn was 27.5 mph.  On the way back into the wind I averaged 280 watts and 24.6 mph.  I got a check on my lead and it was about 50 seconds.  For the 3rd stretch I averaged 284 watts and once again 27.5 mph with the tailwind.  My lead was now about 1:30.  On the 4th stretch I was feeling really comfortable sitting on the end of my saddle.  This is my first week on my new Specialized Shiv and I'm still adjusting to the change in feel from thousands of miles on my old bike.  I dropped my seat a centimeter last week so I could sit back on the middle of the saddle.  What I'm finding when I ride there is that the inside of my legs burn really bad and get tired quickly.  When I'm up on the nose of the saddle I don't have that pain and I feel more powerful.  I think I'll tinker with raising the seat back up a bit.  On the 4th stretch I averaged 268 watts but that included the final turnaround and the winding back into transition in the park where there was no pedaling.  At one point on the return I was at 291 average so without the lack of pedaling at the end I think I would have had my highest output in the last stretch.  My overall bike average as 26.1 mph which was the race best again.  It was a great ride for me.  Last year on the same stretch of road I averaged 25.0 mph in similar conditions.  This year I was 1:45 faster over the 20 miles.

RUN 2: Heading into the 2nd run I knew I had a big enough lead that I could run easy but I wanted to run pretty hard because I know next week at the QC Triathlon I will have to go to the well on the run.  I didn't want that to be the first hard run I've done this year off the bike.  My goal was to average under 5:30 pace.  I came in with the Garmin at 5:28 pace and I even split the 2 miles.  I never felt like I was on the edge but it was a good effort.  The 2nd run was a little longer than the first due to finish line placement so results show 5:37 average mile.  My 2nd run was the fastest of the race by 1 second over Tim Doyle.

Overall I was really excited about this race.  I felt great at the finish.  I definitely rode the bike course smarter than I did not Saturday.  I was excited about the time drop from last year.  I was very pleased with the progress I'm making in running.  I had my body fat % tested this week at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care and over the past 5 weeks I dropped from 26 lbs. of fat to 21.  That is due to avoiding junk food.  It is also helping me run faster.  4 weeks ago I only finished 1 minute ahead of Timothy Doyle.  Yesterday I was 2:15 ahead of him which tells me I made a good month of progress and things are heading in the right direction.  Jen had quite a battle in her race.  She finished 3rd place with the top 3 separated by only 30 seconds.  She was 3 seconds from 2nd place.  She also ran out of her mind on the 2nd run trying to chase them down.  Her run split was the 3rd fastest of the race including the guys and she was only 20 seconds slower than I was!!  I told her it looked like she was flat near the end of the race but I hadn't realized how hard she went out until I saw the splits.  She said she took off on the run like a sprint because she couldn't see the 2 gals ahead of her.  The race brought in $300.00 for the iHope Foundation which made for a great weekend of $400.00 earned going to provide iPads and scholarships for low-income students that display outstanding character and work traits.  If you'd like to made a tax-deductible contribution to the foundation click here.  To date we have provided 7 students with an iPad and a $1,000.00 scholarship.  Thanks!!  Complete race results with splits from the Iowa City Duathlon can be found here.  This next week I will continue the racing craziness with the Quad City Triathlon at West Lake Park on Saturday morning.  The race begins at 7:00.  If you are looking for something to do come on out.  It's an awesome event and it will be a great race!  The guys race should be a VERY close one with 3-4 individuals.  Thanks for reading.  DREAM BIG!!

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