Saturday, July 27, 2013

2013 Stoneman Sprint Triathlon

2013 Stoneman Sprint Triathlon
(500yd swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run)
Springfield, IL (Lake Springfield)
2nd Place
Overall Time: 58:34 
Splits & Rank: Swim: 9:30  16th
                       Bike: 29:25 (24.5 mph avg.)  2nd
                       Run:  18:13 (5:52 pace)   2nd

 This week has been quite the week of racing. Wednesday night I ran the Sizzling Mile and had pretty sore calves going into this race. I basically knew that this would happen but decided to race both events anyway. Im glad I did now, it was definitely worth it and in the long run I think it was good strength building. 

Race Day:
After taking a look at the weather the night before I knew it was going to be a chilly morning. Water temperature actually was warmer than the air temperature. The stoneman sprint was going off in 5 different waves which I wasnt too happy about because I knew most of my competition was in wave 3 which was the older guys; in this sport older guys can still compete and be very strong on the swims and bike. This actually came back to get me in the end. Horn went off at 8:00am and we headed off under Lindasy Bridge towards the first buoy. I was feeling really good and just chuggin along. Water got pretty choppy once you got into the open part north of the bridge. For myself I felt like I was cruising along pretty well. Every time I glanced around I didnt see any yellow caps so I figured I was up towards the front. In the end I ended up 14th in the swim which I was pretty happy about because the swim tends to be my weakest discipline. Came out of the water and ran up to T1.
Headed out on the bike on a new and beautiful Cervelo P3 set up with a HED 3 front wheel and a 808 rear wheel from BikeTek in Springfield IL. Mounted up and started hammering. Felt nice and fast on the way out with the wind to my back. Passing others very quickly, mostly those from the Iron Abe race, which boosted my confidence to keep hammer past them as fast as I could. Took a left on New City road to the turn around and maintained pace. On the way back the pace slowed slightly into a head wind. I just kept telling myself hammer hammer hammer, you can handle a 3 mile run no matter how hard you hammer the bike. Was first back to the T2, had a good T2 and headed out on the run.
Headed out on the run and figured I was in first overall but still wasnt clear on what the other guys were doing from the other wave. Lungs and chest were super tight on the run. Just tried to stay relaxed and keep the pace honest. Got to the turn around and finally saw other racers. With the gap that existed I just figured I was still in first and just kept moving. Hit the bridge and started picking it up. Got to the downhill off the bridge and turned for the finish and ran for the finish hard.

Once I finished I waited for the results to show up on the screen and saw I finished 2nd place. An older gentleman (42) from wave 3 which started 5 minutes behind mine ended up beating me by 51 seconds. Im not one for making excuses but if he were in my wave it could have been another story. Who knows how that would have played out if I saw him out in front of me on the bike and run. In my opinion you should be put in waves based on your expected time or finish that way you can compete against those of equal ability instead of just ages because in this sport older men in there 40' and 50's can still compete with 19 and 20 year olds. None the less Im happy with this performance, of course a 1st place finish would have been better but there are things I need to improve on. 



2013 Sizzling Mile

2013 Sizzling Mile
Springfield, IL (SHG Track)
1st Place Overal

This has by far become one of my favorite races every year. A fast mile in the middle of the summer in the "sizzling" heat....Not this year though. Temperatures were in the mid 80's which has been unheard of at this event for years. I was skeptical to do this race in the first place just for the fact that my running hasn't been where I wanted it to be because I've been coming off of patellar/meniscus problems all spring. Coming into this race I was on week 6 of consistent training since my injury back in February. I also had only been putting in 10 miles a week of easy running, 150 miles biking per week, and swimming here and there. I have been on a triathlon kick this summer and was planning on racing the Springfield Sprint Triathlon just 3 days after the Sizzling Mile Wednesday night. I didn't really want to go into the triathlon with sore legs but thought what the heck I cant pass up the sizzling mile.

With all that said, I had a simple game plan for this year. Sit and kick. I figured I wouldnt be able to handle much more with the training that Ive been doing. Last year when I ran a 4:24 I was fit enough to go out hard and maintain by myself, this year not so much. So I sat and kicked. Heat 9 went off with a "Go" literally and I settled into 3rd behind Plunkett and Hoffman. I ran very comfortably to a 70 sec. first lap. Once Plunkett saw that split he took off into the lead and I followed. I sat off his outside shoulder for the lap and we went thrrough in 2:18 (68). I remained off his shoulder for the third lap just trying to stay relaxed. As we approached the bell lap I was indecisive on when I wanted to go and start my kick 400m, 300m, 200m.... I wanted to make it a huge move so I decided to go with 300m to go heading down the backstretch. 300m came and I went as if I was doing 300m repeats and I was on my last one. Went around the final curve took a peak back and strided it out down the homestretch. Eventual 2nd place finisher Joe Zeibert closed well too and finished 4 seconds behind with Plunkett and Hoffman right behind him.

Not the fastest year but it was still a great race and honestly I kind of lost track of splits the last two laps and wasnt sure where I was time wise. So when I able to see the clock coming down the homestretch I was surprised to see 4:28 and eventually crossing the line 6 seconds later with a 4:32. Next year we'll see where Im at in my training and maybe try to go for that record again. Also, congrats to everyone who participated and had PR's and ran that mile in the middle of their summer running.

Here are some pictures and video footage of the race.




2013 Male and Female Winner

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Things Stair Climbers Say

As I was watching some triathlon videos on Youtube I stumbled upon a video entitled "The Shit Triathletes Say."  As I was watching a light bulb went off in my head; so I started making a video of my own but with a twist. I know there are tons more runners and triathletes out there than there are stair climbers but stair climbers are athletes that just like those athletes train just as hard and with a passion for the sport that we have created our own language through training and interaction out of pure love for the sport.  And within this interaction and hours of racing and training come some funnier moments within our circle of what we call step-sibs.  So check out this version of "The Things Stair Climbers Say."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013 Decatur Lakeside Triathlon

2013 Decatur Lakeside Sprint Triathlon
Decatur, IL
(400yd swim, 19 mile bike, 3.3 mile bike)
1st Place Overall   1:17:47

Race morning...I felt much better prepared for this race than I did on my first Tri in 4 years a couple weeks ago in Petersberg, IL. My running still hasnt been where I wanted it to be but my bike has been solid and Ive felt myself make huge gains with my swim the past few weeks.

Swim start went pretty well. I had no problems but I do need to work on kicking from my hips instead of my knees. Got out of the water in 8th place and headed to T1. Had a great T1 but it wasnt until I got to the mounting line. Got on top of my bike and placed my feet on top of my shoes, started to slide them in and one cleat hit the ground and made my bike jar forward, both cleats fell off and went into the rode, had to set my bike down on the pavement and get my cleats. Got them on, tried clipping in and the chain fell off. You have got to be kidding me. 45 seconds wasted. I just focused on staying clam and working into the bike. First 3 mile on the bike were rolling hills so it was hard to get straight into a rhythm. Finally got out on I-105 which felt decent. It was hard to say where I was place wise because the long course racers were out there as well. I guesstimated I was in 3rd or so, which I figured later I was correct. I knew at least one guy was ahead of me and I was slowly closing on him towards the end. After the race I saw my average on the bike and wasnt too happy, I really need a TT bike but dont think I race enough Tri's to spend that kind of $$$. Headed into T2 and had the fastest T1 and T2 which is a good sign because for the amount of Tri's Ive done it usually takes some time to get used to the transitions.

Transition 2, heading out on the run

Headed out on the run and felt tight and had tight sides which I was hoping wouldnt turn into cramps, which thankfully they didnt. Yet I had another problem, my knee was tightening up around the turn around. I closed on the guy I knew for a fact was in my sprint race but as for other I had no idea if they were in the sprint or long course. I just continued to run a decent tempo staying relaxed. Finished and played the waiting game to see if when my name cam up on the board.

I was really happy to finish in the first position again in just my second tri in 4 years. 2 for 2 in tri's this summer, pretty good feeling, for the fact I dont consider myself a triathlete. It just so happens my general training transfers over well for the triathlon. Im skeptical to focus on triathlon for the fear of investing too much $$$ and time in a sport where achieving elite/pro level takes just that, ALOT of time and $$$. I have no doubt I could be competitive in this sport if I really wanted to, thats just how I function. If I set my mind on something Ill do it. But for now Im just having fun with it and we'll see where it goes.

1st Place Overall

2013 Petersberg Stovepipe Triathlon

2013 Petersberg Stovepipe Triathlon

(500yd. swim 9:28, 13 mile bike 32:40 23.9mph, 3.1 mile run 18:08 5:51 pace)
1st Place 1:01:14

First triathlon since 2009.  I had been injured with knee pain for a while and two weeks before this race I started training in general again. By general training I mean I was biking with little running and swimming. I heard about this race the night before and heard it was supposed to rain so I was just going to wake up morning of and play it by ear.

Picture is actually from the 2013 Decatur Lakeside Triathlon
Day of the race I woke up and decided to go for it and see what happens. On the drive there it was spotty rain and a little chilly. I thought to myself how good a warm bed sounded but figured Im out here now so lets go for it no matter how bad the weather gets. With conditions like this you just have to have that frame of mind; I know Im going to get wet and thrown around on the bike and get drenched on the run but oh well everybody else is in the same boat.

Got there, checked in, found a spot in the transition area and went for a short jog then hopped on the bike for a small ride out and back. After the meeting the Intermediate distance went off and I hopped in the water for a short warm up. By the way prior to this race I had never done an open water swim. Also before this race I had only put in two swimming sessions in the YMCA pool. So I went into the swim not expecting a whole lot just to basically survive and stay within contact. But honestly once I got going I felt pretty good but had no idea where everybody was. Got out of the water in 14th and headed up the long ramp to the T1. Had a quick and trouble free T1.

Not much to say on the bike. Got into 2nd position on the bike quite quickly behind another local rider I knew who was stronger on the bike than I was so I just tried to stay with visual contact with him. A side note...I dont have a TT bike, its a Madone 4.7 with attached areo bars and a HED 3 front wheel that I throw on for tris and TT's (which isnt terrible for a Tri but I wish I had a TT bike I could really cut alot of time and effort). Went into the T2 in 2nd place about 30-45 seconds behind. Turned a corner and had my eye on the leader. I knew I could slowly reel him in so I went out conservative.

On the run a felt decent for just starting to run  a week early off my injury. Closed the gap on him as rain started coming down harder and harder. With 1/2 mile to go I was in the lead with a new 2nd place racer closing really hard (come to find out hes a Millikin XC guy who is a pretty solid 5k guy).  Came out of Lincolns Home area and didnt know which way to go, no obvious or visible markers. I saw yellow flags off to the left so left I went.......I was supposed to go right. As Im yelling "Where the hell do I go" and meandering around an open parking lot I see the 2nd place, now 1st place guy far off to the right across the parking lot. So I sprint across the parking lot to catch the guy as he slows for me because he knew I took a wrong turn. Awesome display of sportsmanship on his part. None the less I finished 1st 5 seconds ahead to win my first Tri in 4 years.