November 20, 2012

My Ironman progression (announcement)

I'm gonna drop a bomb in this post, but as normal, I will playcate to suspense and make you work for it.  I'll try to explain my reasoning and rationale, but when it comes down to it, it's truly my decision and what I feel comfortable with at my current point in life, so you can try to convince me not to go this route, but I'm just probably gonna smile at you and enjoy myself.
I've worked hard at this triathlon thing since 2004 when I did my first one in Keuka.  That race has always held a special place in my heart and it always will.  I've gone REALLY fast there (for me), I've gone REALLY slow there (again, for me), I've won there and I've lost there.  Keuka was the first race I ever did under the gentle prodding of my good friend Phil VP and it grew into something fantastic inside me.  I was able to be mediocre at all three disciplines, but be a very decent overall triathlete (I was never the fastest runner or swimmer in college or high school respectively)

In 2005, I kind of jumped right into the swing of endurance athletics by doing 2 half ironmans and one of the hilliest century bike rides in WNY.  Late in that year (as you have to do with most WTC events) I signed up for my first Ironman in Florida for the 2006 season. My rationale was if I was going to cover that crazy distance, I might as well make it as easy as possible.  (I would later learn that IMFL has it's own intracasies in the fact that it is NOT easy to ride areo for 5+ hours, nor is the wind easay down there)

But I loved it, I was hooked and selfishly made some REALLY lofty goals for myself prior to that race (which I missed by a longshot) but they were there to chase for another day.  I trained all winter after a break and went up to the Muskoka long course tri (pre 70.3 up there) and qualified and won a slot to race IMLP the following month (they used to give away slots at other races back in the day)   I registered in Canada and felt good about tackling my 2nd IM in 12 months.  That race was a blast, I was young, but still managed a podium finish and I was chipping away at closer AG placings for that lofty goal that I had set back before starting IM's.

I aged up after that and WHAT a whole new ballgame.  The M25-29 crowd was INTENSE and I got my butt handed to me the following year at Wisconsin, but it was another road trip with dad and fun memories.  It kind of fueled the fire for my 2009 season and I was rip roaring ready to go, until mid race and I ended up in an ambulance after a unfortunate crash on the bike course (55+mph descent will do that to you)

I took the 2010 season off of full IM's, but was still racing half's, from half ironman's to half marathons, I was doing a running year and building fitness.  2011 came and I was hitting some ridiculous hourages in training.  I dialed back the racing to be as focused as I could be and didn't let many distractions in my own little world. I was selfish, but it got the job done.  After a few mishaps on the IMLP course nutrition wise, I was still able to come away with another place higher on the AG placings and hit my goal that I had trained 7 years for

Nothing seemed sweeter and I raced my heart out on the Big Island. It was glorious.  I still get chills looking at photos and it was one of the most amazing racing accomplishments I've done to date.  The following year (2012) I signed up for an iron distance race in Cedar Point.  I had a few foot mishaps prior to launch there, but still managed to squeak out a time that was sub 10 and that was good enough for me. I know I can go faster, but it was another goal checked off the list. 

Prior to Rev3CP, I signed up for IM Couer d'Alene for 2013.  Since CP, my motivation has been really low.  We watched Kona coverage, cheered some friends on virtually and it was a blast, but I think my body is tired.  I've been racing long course (which I LOVE) for the last 8 years.  Next year was to be my 9th year in long course racing and I think I need a break. 

I'm will be pulling out of Ironman CDA for 2013 and taking time off of Ironman for a while. 

Now that's not to say that I'm not going to train and run and swim and ride my bike, but there's going to be no cloud looming over me that I think about in the back of my head where I can't truly relax on a weekday because I'm thinking about that 4 hour ride I have to do tomorrow.  I've been incredibly selfish over the last few years and sacrificed a lot.  A lot of family time, relationships, time with friends and I'm done with that....maybe it took moving away to a different state to realize that, but I've hit those goals I'd wanted to and I'm perfectly fine with letting the one more that I have tucked in the back of my head - to sit for a few years, maybe a a few decades....I don't know.
I want to be able to run the trails again with reckless abandon, stay out late and drink beers with my friends, be able to ride above the prescribed wattages and HR's that I've stuck to for the last few years.  I want to be social and meet people here and if I do the training required to rip off another successful Ironman, I'll be a hermit for another year and I don't want that.  We want to start a family and I'm not going to let a race delay that. I have the medal hanging on my office wall, and I'm not going anywhere, I will still be racing short course if I want to, but I'll be having a blast doing it.  Maybe I'll take a page out of the play book of Joe Meyer and bring a set of bocce balls to a triathlon and get a game rolling afterwards (pun intended...hah!)
I've learned a lot over the years about myself and from friends along the way.  To paraphrase what my racing brother Joe Meyer always told me, "not hitting a goal isn't necessarily a bad thing, you just know that the next day when you wake up, you have something to chase again - and that's worth getting out of bed for."  Now I've hit my goals, but I know I want to eventually get back there again and race on the Big Island once again, but I hold a little bit of solace in knowing that it will always be there to chase down later in life.  And I'm okay with that. 

So, in these next few weeks/months/years, if you ever hear me break plans because I need to "train", it's probably because I just want to go play in the woods, or get out and ride my bike again with my friends.  I'm not giving up the ghost, just telling him to take a backseat for a while as I drive for a bit :o) Get out there and enjoy yourself, friends, go play, get outdoors and I'll see you on the roads and trails.  Cheers. 

October 11, 2012

You are faster than you think...

You are faster than you think, quite literally in fact.  As most folks know I did Rev3 Cedar Point full distance triathlon last month and that was my A-race of the year.  It's basically in my new backyard and didn't sell out a year in advance so I thought it would be a good way to test my meddle.

In the original results that were posted to the website after the race (and were up for almost 2 weeks) I was listed as a 9:55:33 overall and a 61:20 for a swim split.  HOWEVER, when I looked just recently again, my time had mysteriously dropped to a 9:52:28... a 3 minute and 5 second difference - all coming out of the swim portion. 

I was initially a little perterbed that I hadn't broken an hour in the swim according to the results (I know - wah waaaaaaah!) But I did a PR for the race and I kind of wanted to find out what my official time was.  So I fired off a little message to Rev3 via facebook and this is the conversation:
So there you have it, there was a glitch with the GPS on the swim start box (whatever that is....) and they adjusted the times.  I'm still not clear about this entire process, but I'll take the 9:52 and the 58 minute swim! (perceived effort felt like I was doing a 49 minute swim over the same distance!)  If anyone from Rev3 or any additional race directors want to chime in about this, that'd be great....

The previous results were up on the website so long that I'm pretty sure Athlinks still has the old ones on the website.  Check them out HERE.  Should probably write them to get this all straightened out, but we'll see what happens.

October 8, 2012

Ironman Hawaii top 20 predictions

Since the Ironman World Championships is akin to the Superbowl of triathlon, please implore me while I imbibe in a little armchair quaterbacking and assemble my fantasy Kona draft team for a minute.  In this post, I'll be giving my predictions on who I think the top ten might turn out to be, why my opinions are as they are and a few other insights.

Over the years, I've tried to get someone I know to assemble a Ironman Hawaii betting pool, much like the NCAA brackets that come around every March, or the Last Man Standing or Superbowl pools that plague the fall season.  I've "given my money away" to folks in my office as I purchased the brackets and had ABSOLUTELY no idea on basketball or didn't really follow football close enough to know anything about the teams. 
I've always dreamed of assembling a Kona draft where the rules would be as follows.  You would have to pick your choice for:

1.  Top 5 in the mens race
2.  Top 5 in the womens race
3.  First out of the water (male and female)
4.  First off the bike (m/f)
5.  Fastest marathon split (m/f)
6.  Fastest bike split (m/f)
7.  Top American across the line (m/f)

I haven't worked out all the details (like maybe the tiebreaker would be who was closest to the mens overall time down to the second) but if you know of a pool or contest or anything that involves Kona picks, let me know!
But, back to the matter at hand: I'm no fortune teller and I'm probably gonna be dead wrong, but I wanted to give my choices for the top few men at Kona this year.  There are some obvious and some not so obvious ones on this list, but I'm thinking it's going to be a battle royale as always.  I'd personally like to see an all-Aussie sweep of the podium.  Without further adieu, I present my top 20 picks for the Ironman World Championships on Saturday. 
  1. Chris McCormack
  2. Andreas Raelert
  3. Craig Alexander
  4. Pete Jacobs (fastest marathon)
  5. Dirk Bockel (fastest bike split)
  6. Timo Bracht
  7. Paul Amey
  8. Josef Major
  9. Jordan Rapp (First American)
  10. Luke McKenzie
  11. Andy Potts (first out of the water)
  12. Eneko Llanos (WC - double winner)
  13. Faris Al Sultan
  14. Victor Zyemstev (fastest athlete without sunglasses)
  15. Marino Vanhoenacker
  16. Petr Vabrousek
  17. Cameron Brown
  18. Michael Lovato
  19. Sebastian Keinle
  20. Luke Bell
There you have it.  Those are my picks for the top twenty this year.  I have my reasons, but it's loosely based on this years results and past performances at the World Championships.  As a triathlon dork, Kim and I are throwing a Kona viewing party and will be watching to see how everyone does on Saturday and also having other computers around to check to see how our friends are faring on hallowed ground. 

I'll be wishing I were right along side you all and hoping and training for a return trip someday.  Safe travels and to all the friends there, send pics and keep posting on Facebook so we can live vicariously thru you guys for a few more days!!! Cheers and I hope you have Kona beers after the race (Quinn's - Almost by the Sea is a GREAT restaurant to to hit up with your finishers lei on!  (right by the King K hotel)  Cheers.

October 6, 2012


With the Ironman World Championships coming up next weekend, I want to write out a post that I probably should've written last year prior to stepping foot on the big island.  It's going to be disjointed and not too many snazzy photos or links, but here goes nothing:

I've always had what I like to refer to as a pipe dream to get to the Big Island.  It had consumed my thoughts and training for years and to race alongside the greats and be on the same course where history is made each year, I guess I've had a "healthy respect" for getting there and always been superstitious about it all.

When I first started out in the triathlon world, you realize after a few short whiles what the World Championships actually are.  Sometimes, you meet someone that has been to Hawaii, stepped foot on that hallowed ground and you hold them in the HIGHEST regard.  For folks still in Rochester, two LEGENDS of the sport that come to mind are Curt Eggers and Dennis Moriarty.  (Dennis is actually still the Rochester record holder of the fastest time in Kona)  But anyway, you meet them, are in complete awe of their accomplishments and then you try to surround yourself with everything Kona that's possible.
Back in 2005, I went to an Ironman viewing party at a local Fleet Feet store and we watched the pro's come in off the bike and onto the run in the store on a big screen after hours.  I held a similar party a few years later using a projector and a wall of my apartment back in Rochester.  At the Fleet Feet, I was given a World Championship sunglasses holder as a give-away that evening and turns out it was just some cheap crap that someone picked up from the expo in previous years, but it said IM World Championships on it and had a large hibiscus on the side of the case.  I kept that thing long after the lid broke off of it and wanted to keep it only because of what it signified. I don't know why, but I knew I needed to keep it close, because I wanted it so bad...

In 2006, I did IMFL and my dad came down to watch.  Ironman was running a "Road to Kona" promo and they had a Ford Edge filled with these t-shirts at the expo.  If you put in an entry to guess how many shirts were in the car, you got a t-shirt that read "Ford Ironman Road to Kona".  I held on to that crappy cotton shirt with all the stains and everything from 2006 until 2011 and actually used it to clean my bike in the condo in Hawaii.  That one went full circle and I thought that was fitting!

I trained in my basement on a trainer for years, when it came time to buy a fan to cool things off, I bought a "Hawaiian Breeze" fan.  I tried Kona coffee and had it for a year even though I didn't like the bitterness of it, but I knew it was from a sacred place.  My go-to summer beer was the Pipeline Porter from the Kona Brewing Company, where else?  And I tried so hard to find a t-shirt that I saw an old racing buddy wear after he got back from Hawaii.  I think he got it at Lava Java, but it just read on the front of it "Gotta Lava Tri" and I thought it was a hilarious play on words and I loved it!

Needless to say I was completely overwhelmed when I found the news that I was going to go last year.  I had auto-qualified and I could add my name to the list of folks that were lucky and skilled enough to make it there.  So if you are one of the lucky and brave souls bearing the heat this weekend and racing on hallowed ground, good luck!  I'll be watching from a far! If not, keep dreaming and working hard and you might just realize your dreams someday.  I really hope you do...cheers!

October 1, 2012

What I learned at Cedar Point

Self-assesment at the end of a period is often a way to magnify your flaws and showcase what you could have done better.  Wasn't it Einstein who said that the "definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" ?  With this post, I hope to just shed some light on my own misgivings in an effort to not repeat history. 
When looking back on the training that I had done prior to Cedar Point, I felt confident in my work and I had some good workout predictors that I would be able to sustain a farily high pace for the duration of the race.  But sometimes life throws a monkey wrench into the equation.  That monkey wrench was obvious to anyone looking in from the outside, but to me who was waist deep in it, I was oblivious. 

After my foot blew up bigger than a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float from running on an injury during an iron-distance triathlon, I was asked to look back thu my training and see what pace my recovery runs were.  Thing is - I looked and didn't find a single one.

Not one single recovery run.

From November of 2011 thru the September 2012 Rev3 race.  And I wondered why I was diagnosed with capsulitis of the 3rd metatarsal.  For what it's worth, I did some things in the season really well (like stuck to my HR zones like they were glue during training rides and long runs, and also figured out that recvery rides were crucial to bike fitness) but it wasn't enough to counteract the damage and pressure that I had put on my foot by that point and something had to give. Unfortunately it happened on the last long training run prior to launch in Cedar Point. 
Gotta add some turtle runs into my training for 2013, so I can beat the rabbit folks
So as the 2012 season comes to a close and the 2013 season is peeking around the corner, I will be taking a closer look at workouts, strength training and nutrition (all things that I realize I need to work on) but also taking a renewed focus on one of the simplest things that will likely not stress my body, the recovery run.  If it's anything like the fitness boost you feel after a recovery ride and a good nights sleep, I'm gonna be feeling like a million bucks in 2013. 

Disclaimer: I'm not smart enough to coach myself, nor am I smart enough to be able to see some of my flaws in my own training.  I am however, smart enough to know when someone you should listen to gives you advice and I'm very open about the training that I do each day (seriously, just ask!)  So when I say I learned these things for myself and I am self-coached, I might be full of crap.  But I do listen and will adapt. :o)

September 17, 2012

Rev3 Cedar Point full race report

I chose the Rev 3 race series as my iron distance focus race this year as a different type of race management company other than WTC.  I did this for two reasons, one; after Hawaii last year, I didn't want to let another year slip by without another race under my belt and the nice thing with the Revolution triathlon series is the fact that they rarely sell out. (I registered in June for a September iron distance race) And secondly; I wanted a "non-pressure" type of race that was a little cheaper and a different alternative to the Ironman brand name.
Me and Mrs. Keep Moving Forward :o)
Rev3 Cedar Point was a no-brainer for me.  We have family and friends that live up in Cleveland and were willing to put us up for the weekend (along with take care of us leading up to race day - thank you Donna and Barry!) The race itself was a good time of the year and if the weather cooperated, it was bound to be a fast time too.  The fact that it was a little north of Cleveland allowed me to go drive the 2 hours to get to the race site and check out the course (as eluded to in a previous post found HERE)

Since this race was so low-pressure for me (meaning no Kona slots available), I took it as about as stripped down of a race I could have done.  I did not use any race wheels on my bike at all, nor did I use an aero helmet, no bells, no whistles, nothing.  I really couldn't care less who was racing against me in my age group as placing didn't really matter too much, I was only worried about my execution of this race.  See in previous years, I've always floundered on the marathon portion of the iron-distance triathlon.  I've always come out of T2 like a bat outta hell on a mission and then by the time mile 13-18 comes about, I'm cooked and walking or just slowing down in general.  Not really having a problem with the closing miles, I've just never had a race with even paces that I've been proud of.  That was to change this year.  My desire was to execute this race flawlessly.  More of a race against myself that you had to check your ego at the door and swallow the pride.  I wanted to focus on my OWN race, rather than let the other racers around me shape my outcome.
Obligatory photos at packet pickup - Tiff went on for a 45 minute PR!!
So fast forwarding to race-day, we had gotten up to Sandusky the day prior and just eaten and visited with friends the day before the race.  Having a great breakfast with Ken, Greg and Amanda was a nice way to start the day and then after check in, lunch with Tiff and Ken was a good cap off to the day-prior-to-IM "eat-fest" before going back to the house and relaxing.

Race morning came and it was eerie.  The day prior when packing my transition bags, I mentioned to Kim that it almost didn't feel like I was racing, like I was packing bags for someone else.  Maybe this is because I've done 7 iron-distance triathlons and this is all pretty much second nature by now, or maybe it was because this was such a low pressure environment for me to be racing in that I was completely at ease.  Honestly, we just got up and went to go find Ken the morning of.  Nice relaxing drive with some coffee and a bagel, not a bad way to start the morning.
At the race site, we were greeted by a fantastic sunrise and the lake looked pretty calm.  I was eager to get into the water as I was REALLY hydrated and needed to "find a warm spot" quickly.  The cannon for the race was a bullhorn and I lined up right next to the start buoy along with the other 400 people in the race.

2.4 mile Swim - 58:15 - 5th overall amateur, 4th male - 2nd in M30-34 AG
The gun went of and it got REALLY lonely.  The thing with these smaller races is that compared to the M-dot races which have about 2000-2500 people vying for that "perfect" line between buoys, the race in Cedar Point only had 400 or so folks starting which makes for a little different dynamic.  Anyway, we start swimming hard towards the first buoy and there's this guy next to me who is also trying to draft off a faster swimmers feet near us.  It's pretty sparse mind you and we have the ENTIRE lake to swim, but he and I knocked into each other a few times until I pulled away from him.
Things got really lonely and there was no clock to see how we all were doing time-wise.  What I do know is at least one person BOLTED from the start and was just pulling away (I kinda lost sight of him) and there was a female behind me that was tapping my toes around one of the turns.  I just let her go by (actually I swung off to the side and slowed WAY down and she looked at me funny as she passed) but I tried to draft off her and she was swimming very crookedly.  Nothing really exciting happened other than having a lack of people to draft off of and passing a few of the slower pro's.  2nd loop was a LOT more wavy than the first and the chop coming into shore was like getting slapped around by the waves.  I know I'm a relatively strong swimmer and I was having a tough time with it, so I can only imagine what the weaker swimmers felt like!

Transition 1 - 2:13
Ran in and there was only one set of wet footprints leading into the men's change tent, which reaffirmed Kim yelling to me that I was second overall (turns out I was actually fourth male at this time - two guys swam 50's and exited the water with the pro-wave, so no one noticed them) I ran out of the tent and saw Ken Koppenhaver and yelled to him as I was going to get my bike.

112 mile bike - 5:13:29 - 6th overall amateur - 4th in M30-34 AG
I popped out on the bike and I knew my foot would hold up here, exiting transition I saw Kim and Tiff who told me I swam a 1:01 (they were reading off the clock - actually was 3 minutes faster), and got some cheers and instantly noticed my HR was a little high.  I tried to soft pedal it on the causeway on the way out, but there was a guy in front of me and I was eager to make up for a sub-par swim.  The causeway was a little bit bumpy, but being out of the water so early, you could weave around the bumps.  My stomach still felt full and my arms were REALLY tired from battling the waves, so I was a little nervous about how that would all play out and tried to settle in as best as possible.
My stomach felt rather full and I decided to not take in any calories for the first 30 minutes.  Because of the wavy swim and full sensation, this was the right choice.  Also my heart rate was high and I knew I wouldn't digest unless I got that under control, so I started to slow down a bit.  After 2 hours passed on the bike I was back on track with calories and was riding slow enough that I wiped out the time I waited to intake calories.  A really neat thing happened near the 20 mile mark.  I was passed by a motorcycle with a camera guy on the back of it and he had either an Inside Triathlon sticker on the front of the helmet.  He started snapping some good photos of me and then just drove off.  It was cool and made me feel really pro, but I hope I get to see any of the photos somewhere!
I passed 2 guys in the first 15 miles or so and got passed by a few as well.  I was trying desperately to keep track of things, but another guy came by me at like mile 20 and asked where we were in the age group race and I had no idea.  It was comforting though that I wasn't the only one interested.  Around that 25 mile mark I realized I was kinda in no mans land and from about 25-55 miles into the race I saw NO one passed me and I passed no one.  Literally if the signs were not on the road marking the course, I wouldn't know if I was going the right way.  It really felt like a training ride.
Near 55 mile mark, we blended in with the half'ers and there was some confusion on my part because I was focusing on passing them safely and I saw some signs that read a bunch of things like, "full 2nd loop" "half ironman" and "full finish" and I was 56 miles in at that point.  I turned a left and there were half'ers coming back towards me too, which was really confusing.  I didn't pay any attention to the half maps, but maybe I should have because for the next 4 miles until I saw the 60 mile full marker, I had no idea if I was going the right way!  My buddy Jim LaMastra told me that last year he and a few pro's took a wrong turn and I was internally freaking out a little (given my track record)

After finding the 60 mile mark, things were smooth sailing.  I felt like I was pacing this ride really well and the Garmin File from the Bike proves it too.  I got passed by 2 other guys in the closing 10 miles (near the causeway) and the last guy that passed me asked, "you really wanna get off that bike don't you?".  To which I replied, "YES!" as I was bouncing around on the causeway lumps back to transition.  All in all, good ride that I am really proud of.

Transition 2 - 2:11 - 6th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Nothing special to report here, other than nervousness of how long my foot would hold up and the guy that sprayed sunscreen on me hit the chaffing on the back of my neck which made me wince...

Run 26.2 miles - 3:36:20 - 4th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Heading out was a little surreal, Kim was giving me placings and splits via her mountain bike and I hadn't run more than a few steps in the last MONTH prior to race day.  So I really had no idea how my foot was going to hold up.  I figured out at packet pickup, if I rolled onto my arch and pushed off via the big toe, it only hurt the capsulitis a little bit.  So I figured I could work with that.  Realistically I knew I could get through 13 miles, but the last half of an ironman marathon is hard enough when your body is at 100%, let alone when you are taking a gamble and you haven't run in a month.  I knew I was in for a long ride.
I was all decked out in my PowerBar Team Elite kit and as a presenting sponsor of the Revolution 3 triathlon race series, I was able to get into their photo stream on Flickr with the shot above.  Gingerly clicking off the first few miles again I was trying to keep my heart rate down.  I knew from my training that I'd been running faster than I was at the current moment, but my heart rate was being my dictator and I was sticking by it.

The first loop was eventful, I was struggling to keep my heart rate down as the heat of the day started to creep around and I was clicking off 8minute miles like it was freaking clockwork.  Honestly, if you look at the Garmin File of my Run, it proves that I was slow and steady through the entire thing.  I think of the entire race, I was most proud of the steadiness to the pacing that I exhibited during this run.  Kim popped by me at around mile 15 or so and asked how I was doing.  Things were actually pretty good and as she sped off to go cheer for our other friends, I began to think I might just be able to pull this crazy thing off!
Loop 1 of the run
I saw a bunch of folks during the run - Tiffany was en route to a crazy good PR in the half, I saw Ken toughing it out on a rough day for him, Greg and Amanda were cheering like crazy on the sidelines and I yelled at Doug MacLean who was looking smooth as always in the aviators. Jim LaMastra even came over and slapped me five as he was on his way to a payday and subsequent 10th place pro finish.

Hitting mile 18 or so, we were obviously all mixed in with the half'ers and it was hard to see who you were actually racing against.  But I was coming up on a few folks that I recognized that had passed me earlier in the bike.  There was a dude in a Ballou Skies jersey and another guy in black with a bib# in the 90's.  I was getting word from Greg, Amanda and Kim that I was gaining on the Ballou Skies guy and I was getting really focused on catching up to him.  I knew I was in 5th overall and illusions of grandeur started dancing in my head whether I could catch him and then the guy in black in front of me.  I would later realize that the moment I saw the guy in black, he was probably passing the Ballou Skies runner and that's the last I would see of him.
Loop 2 of the run - more focused
There have been a smattering of folks from WNY that have qualified for their pro cards in the last few months/years (Hansen, Brodnicki, Rosinski, Curbeau, Ohlson, etc).  I would be remiss if I didn't think that hitting top three would be REALLY cool (although I know I would ultimately not take that pro/elite card. Let's be honest, there's no way I belong in the pro ranks and this was not a stacked race.  Additionally there's no way I could validate that card in any other races over the next years....nor do I want the professional triathlete lifestyle for myself, so I know I'm being hypothetical right now, but people have asked, "if you would have gotten top 3, would you have turned pro?" Quick answer - no.) I was basically getting lucky no one fast showed up here at Cedar Point.

Anyway, back to the race!  About mile 22, I was coming up on this Ballou Skies guy and right around that time Kim was coming up to cheer for me on her mountain bike.  She started to say "there's 4th place..." and I put a single finger up to my lips and said, "shhhh" because I didn't want the guy to know I was coming.  I wanted to sit a few feet behind him, reload from catching up to him and then make a surge and pass that made him lose all will to chase me down and stay with me.  I made that pass at mile 23 and I heard his footsteps fading in the distance.  I was in 4th place and as soon as I got comfortable and settled back into my pace, disaster struck.
It felt like someone had thrust a knife through the bottom of my right foot and I was forced from running to a hobbling walk.  Immediately I thought, "NO! Not now....oh no!!!!" as I just hobbled as fast as I could and realized I still had 2.5 miles left to the finish line.  I tried running once or twice again to no avail and the Ballou Skies guy passed me once more, pushing me back to 5th.  I was hobbling and jogging and watching my garmin read slower and slower mile splits.  I think there was a 10:00/mile in there and then a 9:20/mile in there.  Everything was falling apart and I knew that if I didn't make it to the line soon, I would be in danger of letting that 9:xx time slip away from me too!

So I bucked up, I told myself, "you can do anything for 2.5 miles" just start running and grit through the pain".  Ballou Skies guy was gone and I was just focused on finishing.  Those last few miles and steps were the most painful and humbling that I have ever run.  Kim was waiting for me at the finish and I was hoofing it in as best I could.  I was just trying to limit the amount of people that would pass me and the amount of time that would go by.
You can see the Ballou Skies guys arm and shoes behind me...
Entering the park again, I knew I was about 1 mile from the finish and I tried to pick up my pace.  My HR graphs show this and I have no idea what those spikes were late in the marathon (maybe static electricity or interference from water being poured over my head?)   Regardless I heard Kim and Tiff cheering their fool heads off when I was nearing the chute.  I just figured it was because I was so close.  It was only after I turned the corner and saw the finish line, did I realize why they were going berserk.
1.8 seconds after I crossed...
I came around the corner, and Ballou Skies was picking up his kid and waving to the crowd.  He was slapping hands and really living it up in the finish chute. HE HADN'T CROSSED THE LINE YET!!! I don't even really remember making this conscious decision, but I just bolted as fast as I could for the line.  The official results show me as finishing 1.8 seconds ahead of him.  After I caught my breath, I felt kind of like a jerk for passing him in the finishing chute, but I'll paraphrase what my father in law said after we called him on the way home, "it's a race, not a freaking parade!" Classic.

Rev3 Cedar Point Iron-distance triathlon - 9:52:28 - 4th overall amateur and 1st M30-34 AG
You'll notice that I was 1st in the M30-34 age group in the final standings and that's because they removed the top three guys and put them in the overall category.  Top 5 people in the amateur race were in my age group. The guy that I ran down in the finishers chute with the Ballou Skies jersey on lost out on getting; a fuel belt, a fuel belt palm bottle, $25 to the Rev3 store, a sweet AG winner medal, and free entry to the Rev3 CP Iron distance race next year ($500 value)

The aftermath  
It is exactly a week after racing as I write this and the swelling in my right foot has finally subsided.  The day after the race, I looked like this:
My buddy Tim (yes the same one from the comment section) had the best remark about this picture.  I'm just paraphrasing, but he said something to the effect of, "who is the fat kid that took a picture next to your foot?"...hilarious.  I've been doing all the right stuff like elevating it, taking ibuprofen on a regular basis and icing it and FINALLY yesterday I was able to see some veins in it.  I don't know what it means and I have scheduled another orthopedic doctor visit to see what they say about it, but we'll see.  

All in all I'm really pleased about the race and if I have a bum foot for a little bit, so be it.  I've finally hit that elusive sub 10 time and while my marathon might not have been as fast as I would have liked, I have been asking some reputable sources around here why that might have been and will post another blog about "what I learned" at a later date.  

So, it's officially off season for me, the Oktoberfest beers are flowing regularly and I'm relaxing and trying to get into a pattern of a normal person.  I'm still limping when I walk because of the foot, but it's getting better daily.  I hope everyone else's seasons end on the same high note as mine did.  Here's to 2012 multisport season, one hell of a year!  Cheers.

September 16, 2012

Ridecarbon time management article

A few weeks ago during taper, I shot out a quick post about "Time Management and the Ironman Triathlete" and that was actually an article that I wrote for ridecarbon which is this crazy good website that does a lot to knowledge share for folks in the area.
The link to the article that got posted on their website can be found HERE (you just have to scroll down) and it's worth the read.  You think you are already cramming every last ounce out of your day?  Often times - you're not.

Anyway, read and comment and enjoy. And when you're done, check out the rest of their site for other tidbits of information.  They actually have a really great Course Descriptions section where you can read descriptions of local and national level races from the athletes perspective.  Expect to see some up there from me shortly.  The site is definitely worth the visit.  Cheers!