Wow! When athletes I work with execute a balanced race and are ON FIRE with their progress, nothing compares. After this past weekend of racing, I can honestly say I've never been more proud. It's still sinking in, totally larger than life and each deep breathe is another reminder that Damnit....I'm good at this stuff. I think since I'm so passionate about this way of life and all it entails, guiding others is truly gratifying beyond anything I've ever experienced. I love racing with my athletes!
At this point I've got the Tri-life pretty locked down. I recently left the Active Duty component of the USAF and will now be a Reservist. This will allow me to really focus on training, coaching...and recovering (lot's of couch time). It's only been a few months since it's all been coming together with selling my house and all. It happened very fast, it's hard to believe I"m here right now...banging out another blog about a stellar race. To think Augusta 70.3 was my first EVER 70.3 back in 2011 and now I'm back as a Pro!
The build up and taper for this race seemed to be pretty spot-on. We drove up a day earlier than normal to allow for an additional preparing (doing nothing)! Of course when I say "nothing" I mean some light swim, bike, run sessions followed by healthy eating and lots of TV watching with our feet up. The goal was to eliminate any amount of stress that would detract from the task at hand--putting together a strong, balanced race. I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with a great friend Brett, who really added value to this trip with his distorted humor and positive attitude. Brett worked his magic so we could stay at the host hotel...meaning the expo, pro meeting and general triathlon vibes were 2 steps away. Swim start and transition were within view of our 11th floor room; sublime. The awesome room, vibrant energy and minimal amounts of stress made our pre-race build very enjoyable. To cap it all off, Augusta finally got themselves a Whole Foods! We ate there every meal. It just makes sense, right? They really have everything! Eating at restaurants can be very tricky since you're usually forced into a certain quantity and type of food. With a Whole Foods near by, I was able to keep my diet 98% consistent to what I normally make for myself at home.
Pre-Race & Swim - I woke up a few times during the night...which was actually nice. I remember waking up at 1am, checking my watch and letting out the biggest sigh of relief. A few more hours of sleep is always nice on race morning. My internal alarm went off around 4:20am. Breakfast consisted of some Ancient Grains hot cereal, banana, cinnamon and almond butter and almond milk. I like to have around 3 hours of digestion to prevent any unexpected pre-race food burps...or poops. After washing it all down with a small amount of coffee I was ready! I got to transition super early and took the shuttle back to the hotel, leaving me with an hour and 30 minutes to kick up the feet, sip some water and listen to some music. With 30 to go, I walked 8 minutes to the start line, saw some fellow competitors already suited up. I was really glad to see Brett and Lori before the race (athletes I work with), they seemed totally ready for the event which made me even more confident. I remembered they still had to wait another hour before they could start their race.....
Once I was suited up in my XTERRA Ventedda, I walked down to the dock. Since I have a tendency to drift to the right during hard swim efforts, I started to the left. After the first 500 meters of "puke pace" I settled in and passed a few pro men, knowing I would speed up even more as I kept going. I'm like a diesel engine! I'm still working on that really hard start speed. It's tough and tense to give such an extreme effort with hopes of settling into a solid tempo. The goal is to gradually taper off into a high tempo pace but when I have to go out at 150% sometimes I slow too much and lose contact with the studs. A down river swim helped me stay a little more up front than usual. The sun was freaking blinding so it was tough to see a direct line but it worked out well enough. I came out of the water with enough time to see the bigger pack exiting transition. I was only a few minutes down. By the way, running with a wetsuit is totally hard....I may just take it off at swim exit for the longer transitions to open up the hips.
Bike: The goal was to conserve a bit, hopefully allowing a 2hr 15 min bike leg. The Rudy Wing 57, Scott Plasma Premium and American Classic Wheels worked very out very well. I went out steady and reeled in a group of 4. After realizing they weren't really going at a fast enough, I took advantage of a small gap that opened and decided to push onward and catch another few riders. I couldn't have planned it any better...came off the bike in 2:15 and some change! Unfortunately there were still a lot of hard efforts in there since the tempo was up and down...so the legs weren't as fresh as I'd hoped. I took in 2 bottles of OSMO (3 scoops each). One bottle had a Honey Stinger gel in it as well. I like to take in some solid food after 60 minutes or so too.
Run: Mile 1-3 were steady and I did my best to keep it under control....but it looks like we all went out a little too hard and faded. I was really suffering at mile 7 and it wasn't getting an any better. WHERE IS THE COKE?? I resorted to coke which keeps me going in times of need (sorta). Thankfully I didn't slow down to turtle pace but I certainly didn't run like I'd been training. I still finished 4hrs 11min, ONLY 1 minute off my 4hr 10min prediction. I came in 9th, didn't get chicked (for once) and finally feel like my career as a Pro Triathlete has some merit. Every small victory helps keep me going, even if I'm still years away from my true abilities.
I'll be pretty much tapering down toward the end of the season, hoping the hard work this year will help me build some top end swim speed and further my run endurance. I'll keep you guys posted as I trudge through the training, recovering and coaching....Thanks for all of the support! I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate you taking the time to keep tabs on me.