|Posted by [email protected] on June 14, 2017 at 6:20 PM||comments (2)|
This was the day of firsts. This was the first time I've ever competed in a relay with my family. This was the first time I've done a relay in the Y Tri series. This was the first time my sister has swam competitively in a couple years. This was my dad's first 5K race ever. This was my first race onboard my new TitanFlex bike. Lastly, this is the day where Team Gribble took first in the coed relay competition!
After a night and morning full of rain, conditions cleared up minutes before the race. Being late entries into the event, my sister was forced to swim in one of the last the heats. Fortunately for us, she was put in the lane with another relay swimmer from the all-male team, who happened to be a college swimmer from Ohio Weslyan University. Her competitive nature drove her to match pace with him for much of the race and their are times were only a minute apart. She was expecting to swim an 8:20/100yd pace, but averaged 7:21! They went one and two overall for the swim. After the exit from the water and running around the building we exchanged at the team transition zone and off I went.
Heading into this race I've not spent much time in the saddle with all of my preparation focus being on the run for my PT test. I really wasn't sure what to expect from this 10 mile bike ride and just wanted to get out there have a fun time and not let the team down. Due to the wet roads I really was not planning on riding with reckless abandon, but wanted to see what QuickSilver(my bike) was capable of. I averaged around 300 watts of power for the ride and finished the day with the fastest bike split. Once back to the team transition zone, Dad and I exchanged and he took off.
Prior to the race we weren't really sure what Dad's speed would look like. He said he was expecting 12 minute miles, but I knew he'd be faster than that based off of our New Year's Day fun run. This guy does cardio-work 45 to 160 minutes a day and was well prepared. He ended up popping off at 9:46 pace which surprised us all and he finished very strong…strong enough to run another race if he wanted. Not bad for his first 5K!
The combination of our time put us in 1st overall for the coed division with nearly 4 minutes over the next team. More importantly though, we all had fun and nobody got hurt in the wet conditions. Next up we will compete in the Galion Y Tri as a team and see what happens there. A big thank to Mom and Linds for their support there, both cheering and watching the kids.
|Posted by [email protected] on October 5, 2016 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a relay for the first time at one of my bucket list races. The race was Rev3 Cedar point and it was great.
(Pre-race group shot)
After a revolving door of personnel, we were able to score our swimmer a week before the race. Jason jumped at the opportunity and this was his first relay as well. I had no doubt his fitness level would carry us through the first leg of the event. Due to rough water, the swim was moved from the bay to the marina and subsequently called for wave starts. The swimmers jumped in pairs of two with a two second gap between each. Jason jumped in and swim well producing a great time. Not only was his time solid, but this run to transition was a quarter of a mile or so and he gained a lot of ground on the competition across that span. At transition he had to physically put the chip on me before I was allowed to exit.
(Jason running to T1)
My plan for this ride was similar to my pacing strategy for IM 70.3 Ohio. I was going to ride at 130 bpm for the first half of the ride and then the second half increase it every 15 or 20 miles. This course is an out and back lollipop and I really enjoyed it. There was one section of hills and turns which was great because it was preparing me for SavageMan. The roads were smooth and well-maintained, the police support was phenomenal and the aid stations were manned by enthusiastic volunteers. Overall I would give this bike course an A+ rating. By the end of my leg, the pacing strategy worked and I averaged just over 20 mph across the 112 miles.
(Me rolling into T2)
For our last leg Matt was going to be our runner. This was his first marathon and we were all nervously excited for him. Coming into the race he had 2 1/2 marathons and a bunch of 5 and 10K under his belt. This run was also an out and back lollipop but it was a double out and back lollipop for the full runners which meant the lollipop was actually four loops in town. His split at the 13 mile mark was right around two hours and 20 minutes which was right on with his pacing plan. Per usual during a marathon, the second-half slowed down but he was still rockin a great pace… Especially for his first marathon and not being able to start the run until just after 2 PM.
(Matt starting the marathon)
Rev3 offered a great tracking device for all full participants and it made the race extra fun. There were six relay teams and we thought we were in second place the whole time. That being said, two of the teams were untracked and just happen to be in front of us! Oh well, we were here for the fun anyway. All-in-all, it was a great experience and I'm looking forward to wrapping up the 2016 season at SavageMan next week!
|Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2016 at 5:00 PM||comments (0)|
The wind was howling, it was raining buckets, sticks and leaves were flying everywhere, bikes were jumping off the racks and the water looked like an oceanic storm had just swept across it. That was the environment I dropped my bike off in the evening before the race. It was kind of unnerving putting my bike on the rack and watching the wind carry it down to the end. I was hoping the people whose bikes were to be lined up next to mine would hurry up and get theirs in place to help secure mine. As the night wore on the thunder and lightning came and a tornado, yes a stinking tornado, actually touched down in the state park! I kept checking the Facebook group to see if there were any reports of bikes that had been sucked up or destroy or if the race is even still happening. Sometime around 8 PM it was declared that all the bikes were OK and the race to be happening as scheduled… What a relief.
I woke up at 4:30 to get the last of my goods into the car, grab some food and then meet my dad who took me into the state park. Rather than dealing with the shuttles or trying to park across the street or coordinate otherwise, we figured it be just as easy if my dad went into the state park with me and while waiting for the park to reopen he would walk around, ride his bike and do things like that. I was shocked by how clean and put together the park actually was. Not a stick was on the ground in transition or on the road way out of the park. After the normal hustle and bustle of checking the tires, taping nutrition down and slapping hands with friends I went back to the car and waited until 0810.
My time finally rolled around I was ready to go. My plan for this race, as the title indicates, was just to nail my pacing for my "A" race which is SavageMan. That lack of pressure allowed me to go into this fully relaxed and ready to enjoy the day. Not wanting to get the scrum which tends to happen during swim starts like this, I started towards the back of my heat. As always there was a mad dash at the front, but the line started to thin out and by the time I rounded the first buoy I had passed three quarters of my heat...but was then greeted by a face full of sun. I opted to go with my clear goggles because of how overcast it was…big mistake! The sun decided to come out and it was so bright I couldn't see a thing, so I came to a dead stop and tried to get my bearings. I decided it was best if I just kind-of stuck to a guy who was beside me, but had tented googles on and I was hoping that he could see where he was going. After a couple minutes I realize he was watching me and we both swam way off course! After a kayaker got us to turned back around, we managed to hustle to the second turn and then got straightened out from there. On my way in to the exit, a swimmer from the heat after me came barreling in elbowed me square in the face and swam over top like I wasn't even there… Got a love health physical aspect of these non-contact sports Upon reaching the swim exit I did a light jog up the grass and through the mud but did a slow walk once I got onto the pavement over to my bike.
Once there I grabbed my bike helmet, and race belt then briskly walked out. With my new rear hydration system I was a little nervous about my flying mount which I had only practiced a few times the day before but decided to go forward anyway. I did it and it worked out just fine. I decided to wait until I was out of the park to slide my feet into my shoes and fasten them. Once on route 23, I decided to open up and try to put as much distance between myself and everyone else there as quickly as possible. My goal was to ride with my heart rate at 130 bpm for the duration of the ride. During the early miles of the ride I allowed it to spike just over that to clear the early traffic. All was going well until around mile 21. The road started to turn rough and then all at once at mile 22 I heard the sound of something breaking. Due to a stiff neck I was unable to actually turn my head around so I decided to feel around as best as possible. At mile 22 all of my flat replacement stuff fell out of my water bottle cage. My tube, two CO2's, the inflator, the tire irons -EVERYTHING- and I wasn't even halfway through the ride! Because of the storms and having previously ridden this course I was worried about what the road head would be like. Fortunately there were no incidents and I didn't need any of that stuff anyway. The rest of the ride went pretty well and I was amazed by how much fan support there was out on the course. The aid stations were great but just random individuals up-to large groups at every corner; it was really cool to see.
There were a couple of times when a breeze picked up but otherwise riding conditions were ideal it was cool, the sun was shining and there was no humidity. It made a really enjoyable ride. There were a few flat sections where I was just clipping along and I happened to glance at my heart rate monitor and realized my heart rate had dropped down to 120, which was well below where I wanted to be. Looking back on it, I definitely could've ridden way harder, for way longer and probably still would have hit my target average goal of 130bpm. My only complaint with the bike course was right at the end when we got off the road and onto the bike path. It was less than a mile and probably should have been neutralized. There was barely enough room for two bikes to be side-by-side and yet they were people still trying to make passes just prior to the dismount line. ..
Running into T2 I was feeling good. my conservative riding left me feeling incredibly fresh and I speed-walked my bike to the spot quickly, put on my socks and shoes and was ready to go on the run. This course is an out and back lollipop with the pop being the loop and the stick being the out and back. My heart rate goal for this was to run the outer portion and the first loop at 150 bpm, regardless of how I felt. For part of the second loop I was going to increase my heart rate but keep it below 160. In doing so that would leave me approximately 3 miles to finish out, at which point I would take it up to about 170. Just like with the ride it was tough watching people blow past me knowing that I could go faster. That being said I kept telling myself "there is still a lot of race ahead and I'll probably pass most of them." The run itself was great and fairly uneventful. Every other mile I would take a lick of my salt and just a little hit of water and or Gatorade at the aid stations. The first loop went by and I was averaging right around 8:36 miles and then for the second loop that dropped down to about 8:15-8:20. I was feeling so fresh and so strong by mile 10 and my confidence was growing as I was passing several people who passed me on both the bike and the early miles of the run. With 3 miles to go I let loose and took off on all out sprint averaging 6:30 miles... it was awesome! There's a lot to be said about having a pace plan and sticking to it.
I'm really glad I was able to do this race in it's initial offering and to see the town of Delaware and the surrounding counties rise to the occasion. The environment was electric, the course was solid and all-in-all, I think everybody had a great experience. Without the ongoing support of my family, especially Kate and Henry for dealing with my training time and my dad for driving me there and wasting most of his day waiting for the park to reopen this day could not have been a success. Also a big thanks to Jimmy Fryer of the Human Form Fitness and Lauren Valley of Base Tri Fitness for getting my body back up and running after my early-season injury and illness situations. Building from the success here, I am totally stoked for Rev3 Cedar point and then SavageMan the weekend after!
|Posted by [email protected] on October 23, 2015 at 10:35 PM||comments (0)|
It was an early morning after a sleepless night. My alarm went off at 4:30am, but I didn’t really need it. While I didn’t feel overly anxious or nervous sleep escaped me and I was wide awake when my phone started chiming. I moved around the room as quietly as possible while trying to keep our baby asleep until the last possible second. I made breakfast the night before and started eating slowly while getting my race tattoos and sunscreen on. Realizing my stomach would handle anything extravagant I settled on a cup of cooked rice (half white/half brown) with olive oil and salt. It went down pretty easily, but I couldn’t finish the bowl.
We arrived at T1 around 5:15 and while not the first vehicle there, we were in the first 50 people. The point of this stop was to do a last minute check on my bike and wait in line for the transport bus which took us down to the beach (this race was a point to point). While on the bus I ate half a Cliff protein bar and drank another bottle of water. It was still pitch black and very chilly when we got to the beach. We had about an hour and fifteen minutes to wait. Even though there wasn’t a whole lot of talking, I wanted to go off by myself to get my mind right. After a couple of bathroom breaks, the sun finally came up and it was time to start walking to the shore. As we got there a man said a prayer and thanked us over the microphone and then the countdown began!
Despite my swimming background this is my least favorite part of the race (read this ___ PRR from Mississippi to understand why). However, once in the water this one felt great. We swam in an intercostal waterway where boats pass through… so it was a saltwater swim but not in the ocean. The waterway was very wide and we spread out pretty quickly. From doing prerace recon I knew to keep left (in order to not waste time and effort swimming in zig-zags) for the first stretch and then use proper sighting after that. This was the most civil mass start I’ve ever been a part of. Aside from some light bumping, there were no physically harmful encounters. The swim was with the current and the incoming tide so it produces some very fast times. Perhaps it was the speed, maybe I was thinking about all the salt water I was drinking (I couldn’t keep it out of my mouth) or just the general atmosphere, but before I knew it the exit ladders were right there and it was time to get out.
Pretty early in the swim my right google started leaking so it was nice to take those off as soon as we exited the water. Right off the deck were wetsuit strippers, but I passed them opting to do it on my own in the changing tent (having been a wetsuit stripper I can say they do great work, but sometimes in the excitement suits get ripped and I think using them takes more time than doing it myself). We had to run about 300 yards to get to the changing tent and other than the freshwater shower station it was all on concrete. Some people chose to leave shoes near the water exit, but again I was looking for speed and not comfort. That being said, I could feel the barefoot/concrete running in my back and knees and didn’t like it. Once in the tent, my suit came off easily (most likely from shaving the legs, which I haven’t done in 3 years) and I loaded up my jersey with nutrition and flat replacement stuff. Once out of the tent, my bike rack was easy enough to get to. [Prerace I forgot my bottle of electrolyte replacement and Kate went back and got it for me. Knowing that she couldn’t give it to me once the race started she dropped it in the transition area for me before the 0730 send off]. Kate reminded me to grab my bottle from the ground and off I went. Despite this being a 112mile ride, I still opted for the “flying mount” to get on the bike and even got some compliments for it. All-in-all, T1 went EXACTLY as planed!
Bike (5hrs, 24mins, 23secs)
About 500 yards into the bike we rode over a rubber mat of sorts. Ahead I saw a guy stopping to pick up his bottles and before I knew it, I lost my bottle that Kate worked so hard to get! The mat was jettisoning bottles left and right and towards the end bottles were apparently everywhere. My nutrition plan was to eat a Lara bar at miles 10,30,50,70, and 90; take a GU at miles 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, and drink Infinite (my electrolyte mix) every 5 miles. Water would be consumed immediately after eating/drinking the other stuff and as needed. When I lost the bottle I decided to eat a Lara bar right away to get those early calories in. I knew there would be an aide station with HEED about 20 miles in so I didn’t panic. My prescribed heart rate for the bike was supposed to be between 130-137bpm, including on hills and while in the wind. Pretty early on there was a nice little climb over and overpass and we were riding into the wind. I did allow my heart to jump up to 147 before reeling it back down on the decent. About five miles in I passed a guy who I met the on Friday before at bike check-in. He too was riding a Scott Plasma 20 and he pulled up beside me for a chat. I’ve always been against the rule that states a pass must be made in 20 seconds or less. These are long events and sometimes it’s nice to chat with other athletes. Not too long after he pulled up a motorcycle official pulled up and was watching. Even though I was on the right (technically in the position getting passed, I didn’t have to move and was safe) I dropped back to protect him from a drafting penalty. The official rode on and he and I continued chatting off and on for the next 10 miles.
Going into the 1st aide station I needed more water and their HEED. Both hand-off’s went smoothly and I didn’t slow down at all. Shortly after that station, several small pelotons were forming because of the wind and a general clustering of riders in the early miles. Some people were getting really upset when they were passed, but I don’t think a lot of the EARLY drafting was intentional. One of those groups did form around me. I would pass them and a few minutes later they’d be on my wheel, sucking my draft. After going back and forth with them for about 2o miles I dropped back and let them go (I didn’t want to get penalized and I had to spike my effort level to get around them). There were a few times when the course officials got right behind them and later on I learned two of the four were hit with penalties. Around this time (approximately mile 40) my back really started to hurt and I was praying for the headwind to break. It was as though the Almighty heard my prayer and as we hit the halfway point we were out of the headwind and into a crosswind. My original plan was to stop at the special needs tent and reload my nutrition, but because the HEED was working and my speed and HR were right where I wanted them I kept pressing on.
After dealing with the crosswind for a while the course turned and we had a wonderful tailwind for the last 20 or so miles. It was around this time I noticed all the 70.3 athletes I was passing and my confidence was rising like the morning sun. Unfortunately another rider cut me off going into the last aide station and I wasn’t able to snag one last bottle of HEED, so the last 12 miles were ridden without liquid electrolytes and calories.
T2 (4mins, 15secs)
It was an amazing feeling riding into the convention center and seeing/hearing/feeling the crowd. Their energy was great and we really ate it up. Just like the bike started, I ended with a flying dismount and got a few cheers for that one too. It was at this time I really felt my back and was worried it might lock up. The volunteers who grabbed my bike and handed my transition bag were great and very encouraging. In the changing tent I changed my socks and slapped on some anti-chafe butter in the under regions before taking off. Much to my surprise T2 was under 5mins
Run (4hrs, 50mins, 6secs)
Oh the run… it was much tougher than expected. The first 10miles went well with average paces between 8-9:15/mi splits with a target HR of 150bpm. Around mile 6 my left knee started hurting and my quads were beginning to feel like they were full of concrete. I went into the run with no solid nutrition plan and lacking calories from missing the last HEED bottle of the bike. In training I never was consistent with my run fueling and up until the last two weeks was still try to tweak things to get it right. Running through the aide stations I would drink half a cup of HEED and half a cup of water. Both helped, but I needed more. My saving grace came in the form of BASE salts. At the expo, I purchased BASE salts, but forgot to grab them in transition. They were on the course at mile three and hooked me up with a tube of salt and their electrolyte mix BASE Hydro. Going into that fuel station I was about to blow up. I instantly downed half the bottle and was licking the salt about every 15 feet trying to catch back up. Slowly I felt my legs coming back to life.
Around mile 10 I was moving pretty well, but fighting off the urge to walk. Throughout the run I was counting purple braclets to know my general placing and much to my surprise I was in the TOP 20 OVERALL! I was matching pace with a guy about 10 feet in front of me and it was working…until he stopped! The second he stopped, I stopped and walked. In that moment I knew my mind gave out before my body. I was so mad for allowing myself to walk. Leading up to that I kept telling myself, “You know it’s going to be harder to start running again if you walk. Just slow down but don’t walk. MAN UP AND KEEP RUNNING!!!” During these races we as athletes experience the whole range of emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, mindfulness and hit very high highs and the deepest of lows. It was then that I was at my lowest. No matter how badly my heart wanted me to run, my mind wouldn’t allow it. The goal then became to jog 5 mins and walk 5 mins. Fortunately Kate and Henry were at the 13.1 mile turn-around and they reenergized me. After kissing both and stopping for a quick picture I was on the move again.
Despite seeing them, my runners high only lasted about a mile and I was hitting the wall again. We had to run up a fairly steep hill to get into the downtown Wilmington stretch. That hill completely deflated me. Being in an Air Force kit I really didn’t want to walk in the downtown area and I tried my hardest to run to the aide stations, and then slowly walk through. Once away from that stretch I did a lot of walking. My goal was simply to get to the next light post or tree or whatever was closest. Around this time a very friendly woman took pity on me and decided we should walk/run together. After a few minutes we realized we had a lot in common and were both in the military. She was a God-send and really helped me get through. Unfortunately for her, she was on her first lap and I was on my second. After exchanging contact info we split up as we neared the finish. Before we did though she said, “Tim at this point your time doesn’t matter. You’re going to beat you 12hr goal by a lot. As you go through the finishers shoot, take the time to look people in the eyes, shake their hands and really enjoy the moment. Invest in them the way they are investing in you.” Hearing the music and feeding off of their energy made it was tough not to sprint to the finish line. As we rounded the last few turns I followed her instructions. However, once I was at the final 100 feet of the shoot I picked up the pace. Kate and Henry were waiting for me about 20 feet from the finish and once I got to them Kate handed me the baby and across the line we went!
It was a wonderful, magical feeling. Words cannot describe what I felt crossing the finish line of my first Full-Iron triathlon with baby in arms and Kate just on the other side of the barrier. It was a long day for me, but an even longer day for Kate. Being an ironman triathlete is selfish. We take a lot of time doing our thing and it always leaves somebody behind. There is no way I could have accomplished this without the love and support of all my family, but MOST ESPECIALLY Kate. I promised her to only to a Full every-other year, and it’s the least I can do to thank her.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 16, 2015 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
My build had gone well, race-week nutrition was on-par, and I was feeling good going into the weekend. It was time to go back to 645 Barks Road East and try to defend for a 3-peat victory. This was the Marion YMCA Sprint Triathlon, which also served as the finale for the YMCA’s of Mid-Ohio Triathlon Series. Having taken 2nd place at the Galion race three weeks ago, I was ready to rebound with a big win here. Last year it came down to a sprint finish and I was ready to do it again.
The swim start was delayed for twenty minutes which put all of us in the first heat a little on edge. In the weeks since Galion I’ve really been focusing on stroke efficiency in the water. My childhood swim coach, Mary Fuller gave me a list of corrections to work on and stroke efficiency was at the top. My start was good and my strokes were feeling smooth. Other than a phenomenal swimmer (who was participating in the relay) I was near the front for most the swim. Towards the end I backed off a little because I wanted to be calm, cool, & collected heading into T1.
In route to T1, I passed the two female swimmers who exited the water just before me (not including the relay swimmer). T1 went well and Kate was telling me I was the lead individual, but at least a minute behind the relay biker. Due to poor road conditions the bike route was different this year than in years past. It was an 11.9 mile out-and-back. Police and fire support was great and they restricted the first ½ mile down to one lane of traffic to give us (the athletes) the right-of-way. For this race I was riding a set of borrowed Flo 60 wheels because my Planet X’s are still out of commission. My plan was to ride hard and catch the relay bike (who was Stan Nicol, a good rider and previous event winner) all while keeping as much distance between Josh Berry and myself. I caught Stan just after the turn-around, but much to my dismay, Josh was close…too close for comfort. He caught and passed me last year at mile 9 and I managed to stick with him back to transition. This time he caught and BLEW PAST me at mile 10. I stomped on the pedals and thought to myself, “deja vu, no big deal!” Boy was I wrong! Even at 25mph he was pulling away and I knew if I tried to keep that pace the run would kill me, so I backed off to 23 mph and planned on a smooth T2.
T2 went better than at the previous two races and once the shoes were on, it was GO TIME! The plan here was to catch Josh (just like last year) and run stride-for-stride and sprint to the finish. I ran the first mile at 6:06 and gained no ground. As the course wove in and out of a subdivision I was losing ground fast. I realized by mile 2.5 that unless he pulled a muscle, there was no catching him. Despite repeating positive affirmations in my mind, I couldn’t will my body to sprint the last mile. My run split was 6:28, which was my fastest across the series, but still 14 seconds slower than his. Unlike last year’s epic sprint finale, Josh and I were separated by a minute and five seconds. Kate said he son exploded at the finish line when his Daddy (Josh) won, beating his “arch nemesis.” While I would have loved taking the victory for myself, I’m happy for him and his family. He’s having a banner year, winning The Cleveland Sprint Tri, Marion Sprint and taking second today at the MingoMan Sprint Tri in Delaware.
As always a big thanks goes out to my family (Kate, Henry, Kali, Mom, Dad, Tiff, Dan, Ella, and Anna Leigh…yes, it was a big showing from the crew) for supporting me. Also, thanks to Rudy Project for providing prizes for each race and sweet helmets to the overall male and female winners. Lastly, a big shout-out to Jason Izworski for loaning me the Flo wheels.
The series has been fun, but from here I focus exclusively on the Beach2Battleship 140.6 tri in October. Stay tuned I’ve got a few more blogs coming up before then though
|Posted by [email protected] on August 7, 2015 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
The morning was cool and the sky was clear. The YMCA staff and volunteers were rolling in and the crew from All Sports Timing & Race Management were making the final preparations to their digital timing equipment. This was the first offering of the Galion YMCA Sprint Triathlon and also served as the second leg of the Mid-Ohio YMCA Triathlon Series.
Setting the Stage:
I went into the weekend hopeful for a second victory in the series and taking one at my old stomping grounds. Two weeks prior I had finished second in the Y 5K and was looking for a little redemption. The week before this race we had been traveling and drove to and from Manhattan (9hrs each way). Others had expressed concern about that much car time and lack of training, but hey, the professionals do it all the time and I’ll have to do it again for Beach2Battleship in October. The night before the race I spent the night at my parents’ house to eliminate race-day driving. Around 8pm I went to add a couple squirts of air into my tires when disaster struck. As soon as the pump head made contact with the rear valve extender it blew and was useless. Luckily my parents neighbor, Phil Shirley is a big cyclist and had an extra wheel that I could use for the race. It wasn’t an aero wheel and it was an 8 speed (my gearing was set for a 10 speed), but it was a wheel no less. Just like the traveling, adapt and overcome.
Going into this race I knew the swim would pose a few additional stressors for me versus the other sprints in the series. It was longer (660yds), which definitely played to Kevin VanBuskirk’s strength. Additionally the stainless steel sides and bottom made it a little tougher to identify a good point to begin the flip-turn. The race started and the swimmers were sent off about 2-5 seconds apart (the timing system accounted for the difference). Some started in the water while others jumped/dove in (this will be corrected next year). Kevin started right before me and immediately began pulling away. My plan was to keep it close, but not kill myself trying to match his pace. About 250yd in, he lapped me with ease. He passed me again about 5 feet from the wall of his final lap…yes, he finished 100yds and 1:30 before me. Not only did he have a great swim, but this was probably my WORST pool swim ever. I only landed two of my turns properly and the zip just wasn’t there.
T1 went well, but I started slow because of my rear wheel issue which restricted me to two gears. The gears didn’t quite allow me to ramp up my cadence as early as I would have liked, but I got into rhythm pretty quickly. Due to being “city-locked” this course was somewhat technical and full of turns. Looking at it in hindsight, I should have raced on my road bike, not the tri-bike. As the ride rolled on I saw him at the turn-arounds and knew I was gaining ground. One of the last turns was past my in-laws house where Kate was yelling that I cut his lead down by half.
T2 also went well, but I’d still like to be quicker for Marion. In Bucyrus, Kevin swam one minute faster and ran 20 seconds faster, but my bike was five minutes faster than this. Despite being out-ran last time we squared off, I was really hoping to run him down here. The course was almost identical to the Pickle run 5K and I had trained here several times. The run had one long climb early on and then another, short but steep one at the end. Every time I’d start to gain a little ground it would be on the climbs and being in front he crested them first allowing him to gain the time right back. In the end we ran the same time and I finished 45 seconds after him. He did great and definitely earned this victory.
The Y staff and volunteers did a great job with this race, especially considering they had just operated the Pickle Run two weeks prior. Being the first offering of this race there were somethings to be worked out for next season, but the crew is already hard at work correcting the issues. Also, Oliver and his team at All Sports Timing & Race Management did a fantastic job and their digital time system is unmatched.
As always, I’m very grateful for the support of family and friends who were there. Both my parents worked the event, my in-laws watched from their house (which allowed them to see the bike and run) and Kate-with Henry in tow watched from her parents’ house and was at the finish line waiting for me. It really is a blessing being able to train and compete and I know I couldn’t do it without their support.
|Posted by [email protected] on July 18, 2015 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
The temperature was perfect, the sky was clear and the atmosphere was fun; THE Pickle Run was back. On July 4th the Galion YMCA held their annual 5K road race as part of the Pickle Run festival. This is always a good hometown 5K and I try to make it back every couple of year. Between the adult and kid races there were over 155 participants which is a HUGE increase over the past couple of years.
As I continue to build towards Beach2Battleship I trained right through this race. The day before I swam 2 miles at the Delaware Y and then rode the 50miles to Galion on my bike with an average of 24mph (I must confess, the wind was at my back). Despite the previous activity, my legs felt good and my plan was to run hard but not kill myself. As soon as the gun went off a lead pack of about 10 took off pretty fast. It consisted of an older guy, myself and 8 high school aged boys. As is always the case the pack started to break up about half a mile in when the course went uphill. By the top of the hill only the older guy, myself and one kid remained. We stayed together for the rest of the race. With just under a mile to go the guy made a hard push and I waited for the kid to cover the move…and I waited…and I waited. After the guy got about 40 yards ahead I realized the kid couldn’t speed up so I buzzed around him and tried to close the gap. Unfortunately I waited too long and couldn’t reach the guy without pushing myself harder than I wanted (I still hard to ride 50 miles home). My time was 19:22 and I took second overall. The winner actually won the first Pickle Run 5K 30 years ago and I was happy for him. My favorite part of the race was seeing Kate, Kali, and Henry multiple times during the race. It is extra motivation for me to keep pushing every time I see them. My Dad, the Galion Y and all their volunteers (including my Mom) did a great job of planning, marking and running this race. It still blows my mind that there aren’t 200+ runners here every year.
|Posted by [email protected] on May 27, 2015 at 9:25 PM||comments (0)|
Season Opener VICTORY
This past weekend the Bucyrus Area YMCA hosted the 22nd edition of their sprint triathlon. It’s a great race, but because of scheduling conflicts I haven’t been able to race it since 2012. The “A” priority race for this season is Beach2Battleship 140.6 and takes place in October. Because the focus has been on longer distance I wasn’t sure where my fitness was at for the short track. I went into Bucyrus with the intent on going hard, but not killing myself if things weren’t going well.
The swim takes place in a pool and the lane assignments are based off of projected 500yd times. My time qualified me for the first heat and I was in lane 3 (6th seed, but two people per lane). That position placed me smack dab in the middle of the pool. Some people hate that spot, but in the pool I love it because I can watch everything going on around me. Right from the start I was pushing from the front, but still keeping my HR down. My placement was good but I saw a guy from lane one pull away and the gap was growing. When I completed the 450yd flip turn I saw he was out of the water and running outside towards T1…and I still had 50 to go! I knew if I had a clean finish I’d be next out of the water and could catch him in T1 or early on the bike.
T1 went well and was one of my better transitions. As I rode out of the parking lot I saw five people ahead of me and had no idea where they all came from (it then dawned on me they were relay riders). Within the first 100 yds I passed 3 of them and was closing the gap on the two leaders. Once I made contact at the front we traded blows for the pole position before one guy dropped off. He was the other individual rider and the one still with me was another relay guy. We legally (three bike lengths apart) took turns pulling at the front for the next couple of miles. At mile six (of 12) he told me to press on because he couldn’t keep up any longer (after the race we chatted and he said he was a big mountain biker) so I let loose! It felt great bringing my speed up to 27mph with downhill burst of 35mph. I knew at this point I was on my own and as long as I didn’t blow up on the run this race was mine.
In T2 I fumbled with my lace lock, causing me to take a few extra seconds, but it went smoothly otherwise. Having run several time trials in training I knew I had to be smart with the early pace. Mile one was a 6:17 and I felt great. The relay runner working with the mountain bike passed me at this point, but there was no one else in sight so I backed off a little. Again, the end goal is Beach2Battleship so I decided to keep the pace under 7mins/mile unless competition got tough again. I finished the race with the overall victory and a time of 1:00:06. It was bitter sweet because I knew I could have broken the hour mark with just a little more effort.
All in all it was a good race. But the best part was seeing Kate and our baby Henry at the finish line waiting for me. That little baby has certainly become a huge motivator for me. Also, thanks to Dad for being there supporting me and promoting the Mid-Ohio YMCAs Triathlon series, sponsored by Rudy Project USA (my headwear sponsor). Great job to the whole Bucyrus YMCA volunteers and staff for putting on another great race.
|Posted by [email protected] on January 29, 2015 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
-This was the moment I had been waiting for. A chance to compete in the "Elite Wave" with a cash prize at the finish for the first three positions. All my races from the past two years ended on the podium, so why would this be any different? Boy-O-Boy was I in for a surprise. Before we get to the race itself, I'll paint a background picture for you.
-Two weeks before the race I drove from Ohio down to Mississippi which should have been a 14 hour drive. Unfortunately a packing error made my trip six hours longer, resulting in a 20 hour drive. To prevent stops I didn't eat or drink more than that which was absolutely necessary. Once I arrived to my final destination I was totally wiped. The room I was staying in was on the 5th floor and all seven trips were made using the stairs. Suffice it to say, I was running on empty when I finished. The training I came down for runs on a 6am-3pm daily schedule and the food provided is "balanced," but not quite athlete superfood. The travel, stairs multiple times per day, class schedule, food, and fitness facility availability posed some challenges that took a full week to get used to/over come.
-My training in the South consisted of one swim, one trainer session on the bike and two light interval run sessions...not much quality or quantity. But again, multiple podium finishes over the past two seasons...I'll be good to go on race day... The race was about a two hour drive from where I was staying so I woke up at 4 and was driving by 5, a pretty standard race day morning. While driving I was following several very high-end bikes and I began to think maybe this race will be the real deal.
-The elite swim wave started with all 20 of us "invited elites" in the water together; male and female. Right from the get-go I was stuck in the middle and elbows were flying as we jockeyed into position before the start. As soon as the gun went off it was a mad house in the water. Elbows to the body, feet to the face, hands grabbing my feet, it was everything I've heard about but never experienced. I immediately knew I couldn't catch the front pack and the middle pack was pretty violent so I dropped to the rear of them, but stayed in their wake with the intent of catching them in T1 or on the bike. I came out of the water in 17th place.
-T1 went pretty smoothly although I had a hard time getting the wetsuit over my calfs again (despite sizing up on this wetsuit). In transition I passed another racer and was sitting in 16th. The bike was brutal. We were immediately flying at 30mph + and this was on the flats. About 10 minutes in I knew I couldn't match pace with the top tier and my goal shifted from the podium to not being last! Even at 23mph I was losing ground quickly and got passed by the guy I passed in transition. The course was nice and it had several rollers and a few technical turns. That being said we rode through a couple of very backwoodsy type areas. On our way back to transition there was a little valley and at the bottom were two HUGE dogs barking up a storm. I was hoping they'd stay at the side: WRONG! Just as I was passing the black lab lunged at my back wheel, narrowly missing me. Once out of this valley we saw the age groupers coming our way. About a mile from Transition two HillJack turds in an old F250 pick-up truck thought it'd be funny trying to drive around and through the riders and a narrow section of rode. Unfortunately for me, they were staring at the females on the other side of the road, drove straight at me and I had to go off-road and come to a complete stop. They saw me and laughed up a storm, JERKS! With no further incidents I made it back to Transition and was looking forward to "pacing" the run.
-Having already blown-up on both the swim and bike portions, I didn't have much left in my tank. The goal was still to finish 19th or better and not running any slower than 9 minute miles. I was so out of it by this point all I remember was achieving both goals. My average pace was 7:15 and my final place was 18th/20 in the elite wave. Had I stuck in the AG division I would have won overall (elites don't get counted against the AG at all).
-My success over the past two seasons had allowed me to get overly confident in my abilities and lazy with my training. I had also started to loose the fire to race. Getting my butt kicked this hard has not only snapped me out of my arrogance, it has fully reignited the fire. I'm stoked about next season, with the BIG race being my first full-iron distance (BEACH2BATTLESHIP). I'll spend the offseason in full R&R mode, but will be ready to hit it hard in Jan!
|Posted by [email protected] on August 30, 2014 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
-4:30am the alarm clock went off. It was the fifth day in a row of waking up before 5am and I was tired. Not to mention having raced and won yesterday and then going to a family party for several hours after that. Decision time; do I stay in bed or go to this race that I was feeling ideally primed for? RACE. This was only my second race of the season (which is/was coming to an end), it was local and a point-to-point (my favorite). There was no way I could pass this one up. As I got in the car and headed toward Delaware State Park I was getting pretty excited and almost a little nervous. Because I would be facing the Columbus triathlete community I knew the talent pool would be a little deeper than the day before. While rolling into the park I began looking for the T1 lights. Those lights weren’t there and it was 5:15 and totally dark! The race director turned a few vehicles towards the transition area which provided some light. It made things interesting to say the least. After getting T1 set up I hopped back in the car and drove to Mingo Park in town to set up T2. Greenswell (the race company) provided a shuttle from Mingo back to DSP which was a big help because I didn’t have any support crew for this event.
-The swim was a one loop 750m rectangle in Delaware Lake and I had practiced there a couple of times leading up to the event. I was feeling good and ready to go. The first wave started a little late and the gaps between heats were between two and five minutes. There were about seven guys in my heat, but none really posed a challenge. About 20 feet into the swim I pulled away from my heat and began passing swimmers from previous heats. I felt really strong during the swim and kept pushing the pace. I swam all the way up to the shore until my hand scrapped bottom twice. That is a crucial 10 feet that many people start to walk during. I passed at least 10 people who were wading up the shore. Heading up to T1, I decided in my head to remove my timing chip rather than risk it getting snagged on my wetsuit. Big mistake! I was a little shaky from the hard swim and had already pulled my wetsuit down past my hips. It took my about 10 seconds to grab the thing and get it off. Once the suit was off it took me another 5 seconds to get the chip back on. Being a point to point Greenswell told us to stuff our wetsuits into the gear bag or tie it somehow. I tied a sleeve of the suit through the bag and while setting it back down my towel and bottle of spray fell out, both of which I stuffed back in.
-Already flustered with how long I was taking I grabbed the bike and tried to take off. One step from the rack I popped a lens out of my sunglasses. Half a mile into the bike something exploded and sent a mess of foam all over my big and legs. I looked down and saw my can of Fast Air had ruptured under my seat. Just one more thing to go wrong. It was at that time I remembered one of the quotes from officer school. “It’s not how you deal with success that makes you great. It’s how you overcome adversity to become great that’s most important.” I shook off what happened and was ready to get down to business. The bike started with a two or three mile leg inside the park before swinging out on Route 23. I rode hard, but calculated in the park. Once I hit the open road I unleased everything and averaged 25 mph until mile 13. At that point I cut it back to about 22mph to save myself for the run. During the bike portion I was mowing people down left and right and my confidence was growing by the second. I came into T2 just ahead of the first person out of the water from the Olympic race, another confidence booster. There was one individual I was watching out for to really gauge myself again. That individual was Jim Aust. Jim is a multi-time Age Group and Worlds top 10 finisher as is his wife Tracey. I never saw either of them on the bike so I knew I wasn’t in the lead.
-The hard effort on the bike coupled with the effects of racing the day before started to become evident very early on in the run. It’s also uphill right out of the park. In Marion the 5K was pancake flat, not so here. There were a few small rollers and elevation changes that increased the difficulty. My first mile pace was 7:07, the second was 7:06 and the third was 6:32. I saved way too much juice for the final mile and wish I would have stayed sub 7 for all three miles.
-Jim won the race (Tracey won the female sprint) and I finished third. I was only 20 seconds down on second and had my T1 not taken 1:30 and/or if I would have pushed the run harder I could easily have taken the silver at the first annual MingoMan. It was a great course for all three legs and the post race food was provided by Jason’s Deli which beats the heck out of the typical banana and granola bar. The volunteers all over the course were great and always cheering load. Greenswell put together an excellent event and I’m really looking forward to racing again next year and moving up in the overall standings.