Friday, September 25, 2009

The Season-End Review

The nature of athletics, and life in general, is that things do not always work out. Through failure, disappointment, and challenges, we rise. We learn lessons, we endure, we rise. Was the season a tough one for me? Yes. Did I learn from it? Did I make the most of it? Yes. Did I rise? Yes, and I will continue to. Let's review 2009.

Spring months: Unlike last spring, I am not slow on the bicycle. Giros, collegiate races, Battenkill, Bloomfield... all good results. I begin falling in love with the bike. Pretty amazing to be able to put in a ton of work and not always be hurt. Should I just be a cyclist? It would be a lot simpler to only have to worry about all these different sports. I'm out running and I feel that damn pain in my calf again. That's it, I'm done with running, it's broken my heart so many times. I win at Bristol. Hands stretched toward the sky in triumph. I think this is it.

May 17, 2009:
This year was supposed to be about triathlon. But I think I'm done with triathlon. I am signed to to race in Memphis (huge race, destination race, family plans involved), and I cannot bail on this. I'll just race it for fun. I'll hammer the bike, and cruise the run. No problem.

The day before the race I am at the race site previewing the swim and checking out all the festivities. I'm starting to get excited. I have forgotten how much I love triathlons. Race morning rolls around, I am stoked. I am representing the U of R in the collegiate race. Taking on athletes from huge schools (Arkansas, 'Bama, Purdue, etc.). They all have organized clubs, coaches, and teammates. I don't. It's just me. I hammer the swim, demolish the bike, and do my best on the run. 3rd place isn't bad, is it? 9 minutes off qualifying for a professional license. I can do this triathlon thing. I have to get way faster on the run, but it's doable. I love triathlon. I AM NOT DONE.

June: Empire Cycling Championships. I cannot sprint, so I get demolished by Brendan and Jack after dragging the field around, but beat everybody else. I'm a cat. 3 cyclist. I get word that a new team is forming, and that I'm invited to be on it. I go from racing alone to being a part of the nearly unbeatable Minerva Design Team. Am I lucky? Hell yeah I am. I worked hard for this.

July: Running is going amazing. I went for a 90 minute run today. The main focus of my year, the Timberman 70.3 Half Ironman in New Hampshire is 5 weeks away. Fitness is coming around. I am going to do amazing. OH WAIT, later that night I am at work and I break my toe. Next day I go to the doctors: no running for 6 weeks. No Timberman. This shit happens to me all the time.

August: I am the U23 New York Stat Time Trial Champion! Next year I go for the overall!

They will not let me transfer my entry fee from the Timberman. I have to go and do the Aquabike (swim, bike, stop). Swim goes well, bike goes great (24.2 mph avg for 56 miles). Add the times up and add a running time that I am capable of, and it puts me in the top 10 and qualifies me for the World Championships. I can do this... I just have to wait until next year.

September: Close out the season with a win. A sign of what could have been, but also what is yet to come. Racing me next year? Be afraid.

Lessons learned: I love triathlon. It has been my dream for years to be a professional triathlete. I am not going to give up that easily. I need to be careful with my fragile running legs, and do all I can to stay healthy, all the while killing myself in workouts to get FAST. I can do it.

I'm pretty fast on the bike. Bike racing is the best way to train on the bike. I will make some serious improvements this winter, and I will be ready to represent Minerva Design in the spring.

When things do not go your way, you get creative and you get stubborn. You keep going. You keep fighting. Here's to 2010.

Fear the Dino.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dating a Triathlete

I stumbled across this while doing my usual internet surfing thing. So no, I did not come up with this, but I thought it was quite amusing, and worth sharing.

Dating a triathlete...

"I am an outdoors type of person." Really means: I train in any type of weather. If it's raining, snowing, 90 degrees w/100 percent humidity, or winds gusting at 30 mph. I don't want to hear any complaints because I will still train in it and you're just a big wuss for complaining about it.

"I enjoy riding my bike." Really means: with or w/o aero bars, alone or in a peleton, I don't care. If you can't do a spur of the moment 30 miler then you're not my type. I will let you draft, but if you can't hang and I drop you - I will see you later. I am a capable mechanic, but don't expect me to change your flats or tune your bike. You need to learn that on your own.

"I enjoy jogging." Really means: Let's run hills until we puke. I have just as many shoes as you only mine are better because they are functional and all look the same.

"I enjoy dining out." Really means: I enjoy eating out, in or anywhere else I can find food. Don't be shy because with the amount of food I eat, you can have that main entree instead of a salad and you will still look as though you eat like a rabbit in comparison. Don't get your limbs too close though as I may take a bite out of you. Most importantly don't expect any taste off my plate unless you can bring omething to the party like more food. Eventually though if your not burning 4,000 calories a day your going to plump up and have a terrible complex due to watching me eat deserts and not gain any weight. Friends and family will eventually decide not to dine with us anymore due to my horrid table manners. Oh, and don't ask me any questions during breakfast, Mid Morning Lunch, Lunch, Afternoon lunch, dinner or Recovery Dinner as it does not lend to efficient food intake.

"I enjoy quiet walks on the beach." Really means: Walks on the beach warming up into an 8 mile run and then plunging myself in the ocean for a 2 miler. If you get in my way you're going to find out what mass start is and let me assure you that you don't want to find out.

"I find fulfillment in charitable work." Really means: If I am not racing, I am volunteering and I expect you to be there along side me as I stand out in 90 degree weather for 8 hours handing out sports drink to cyclists going 20 mph. Just stick the ol' arm out there and hope it doesn't get taken off.

"I enjoy sharing quiet moments together." Really means: It's taper time. Just back off because I am strategizing and in a pissy mood because I am worried about my "A" race and can't workout.

"I am an active person." Really means: Aside from my 40 hour job, and the 8 mandatory hours of sleep a night. 10 hours a week are devoted to me during the off-season and 20 during race season leaving us 4 hours. 2 of which are spent inhaling food and you not talking to me, so let's make the best of the 2 hours we will spend together on average each day. If you are a licensed message therapist or doctor this would make the most optimal use of our time together. Nutritionist is also acceptable, but I probably already know just as much as you.

"I enjoy road trips and leisurely drives." Really means: You have your choice of Wisconsin, Idaho, Florida, California, Arizona, and Canada, but don't expect to do much site seeing. If I get enough support from you we might be able to include Hawaii in there.

"I enjoy site seeing." Really means: Lets grab a mountain bike and get our HR's up to 90%. There's plenty of time to look around on the descent as trees and bushes whiz by you at 40 mph.

"I like stimulating conversation." Really means: while we are running, we can talk about food. Then we can talk about how we decided what to wear on this run based on the temperature at start time versus the temperature at the time we expect to finish, how horribly out of shape we are, how many miles we did last week, and how many we will do this week and next week. Then we can talk about food.

"I enjoy relaxing soaks in the tub." Really Means: I'm going to stop on the way home and buy two bags of ice, throw them in the tub with some water, and sit in this torture chamber for 30 minutes.

"I'm interested in photography" Really Means: My camera is permanently perched a tripod in front of my trainer. I obsess over taking photos of my bike position and analyzing them to get the perfect setup.

"I'm into in technology" Really Means: My HRM and bike computer are my best friends. Until you can give me some hard data that can improve my training, don't bother trying to buddy up to me. You could one day break into the top three if I find you as entertaining on long runs and rides as my mp3 player.


Original Source: http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=56596&start=1

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beginning with the end: Finger Lakes Triathlon Race Report

For my inaugural blog post, I plan to give a detailed account of the last race of the season. It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Not to worry, I will make thrilling posts referring to past events somewhere down the line. Until then, let us concern ourselves with Sunday's event: the Finger Lakes Triathlon in Canandaigua, NY.

Pre-race
It was pretty painful when that damn alarm clock started unearthing that ungodly noise at 4:15. Let me tell you a little something about 4:15... nobody is supposed to be awake at 4:15. Maybe fishermen or milkmen. But in any case, it is just unpleasant. Darker than midnight outside, and cold as winter. I slipped into autopilot mode, snarfed down a couple bowls of Frosted Flakes (I LOVE those), and packed up the car with Dad. Before we left, I made sure to shoot some nose spray up my nose to clear the sinuses... I got sick this week along with at least half of my U of R Co-eds. However, I felt pretty good before the race (aside from not really being able to breathe through the nose).
It was pretty awesome when we were driving down there and it was 38 degrees. Luckily (thank God), it would warm up before the race, at least enough to not freeze.
Registration went smoothly. Warm-up went well. The sun finally decided to show its beautiful face. I felt confident, and was ready to rock. "They cannot beat you. You are going to obliterate the field."

The Swim
It was pretty sweet when they announced that our "swim warm up time" would be from 7:15 until 7:20. Are you kidding me? Anyway, it took me approximately 10 minutes to walk from transition to the swim start area, because there were about 12 million people trying to do the same thing. As a result, the swim warm-up did not happen. But hey, worse things have happened, so I did some arm circles and smiled. For some reason the young (under 24 year old) men were starting in the 4th wave, so we had to wait around for 12 minutes after wave one took off. By the time it was our turn, I was more than ready to get this damn thing going. I went out nice and easy as to not blow up (no warm-up, remember). I tried to keep it nice and smooth. When I got to the far buoy, I started catching those who started in previous waves. Luckily, and somewhat uncharacteristically, I did not have to clobber anyone too hard, and nobody hit me. Most people just seemed to be afraid of me, and got out of my way. That's how it should be, eh? I would be just fine if I never got kicked in the face during a swim again. Anyhow, I got out of the water with the day's 4th fastest swim time.

T1
Uneventful.

The Bike
Dino time!! A challenging yet not outlandish bike course allowed me to use my strength to shoot past those who started ahead of me. I hit the rhythm, and my legs felt pretty lively. I was the second person into T2. That is I passed everybody that started in the waves before me (except for one guy), who had a minimum of a 4 minute lead on me. 58:24 bike split. I love the bike.

T2
I had the fastest Transition 2 time! That's a first. I really made sure to take my time in the Transitions, based on the fact that I have not worked on them for a very very long time. Who would have thought it, eh?

The Run
Ah, the hard part! I was nervous about the run, considering that I have no run training in me. After the broken toe this summer, I was unable to run for 6 weeks, and that basically set me back to level one. For the past two or three weeks, I have been attempting to re-introduce my body to running, but the most I have been running is about 4 miles at a very slow pace. SO, having to run 10K as hard as possible, after a swim and bike, was not something that would come easily. All things considered, I felt pretty decent. I ran down the only individual who was in front me of, and just sort of cruised. Things got very tough after 5 miles, but I knew I just had to gut out one more. It was pretty apparent after about 5K that I was going to win, and I was getting chills just thinking about being able to cross the line with my arms in the air. 6:25 pace is not fast. Not fast at all, and it will not get the job done where I am going. But I'm happy with it, considering I have not been running.



The Win does not make up for the season that could have been, but it was a great way to close out the season. Next year I will be much faster, and I will be targeting some bigger races. More on that to come in future posts. I am outrageously sore right now, but after the inflammation dies down, it will be back to work. The 2010 season starts next week. Fear the Dinosaur.



FYI: The dude who sprints past me in the finish line video was in the sprint distance race. He did not care to let me have my moment. Oh well. And the last 5 seconds or so of the video are supposed to be me dancing, but for some reason you cannot see any movement. Do not be concerned.