Naperville Tri – 8/6/17

Since I started competing in races in 2014, a beer has always followed the race. Whether it’s included with part of the post-race party or it’s the first thing I grab when I get home, I’m celebrating the finish pretty quickly after the race. This routine changed after Naperville though – more on that at the end.

Naperville was the first official Triathlon that I did, and has become my favorite since. Not just because it’s done really well (between PEM and ET), but also because it gives me an opportunity to publicly thank the local businesses that help / have helped to support me. I would not be at this point without the support from ALL of them, and I’m extremely grateful to them.

As in years past, everything got set up so Terri could guide for me. We got some practice in on the ‘new’ tandem and with the new gear, and were set to go for the race. On race morning, when we set up in transition, Terri noticed someone had majorly misracked (it goes 17, 18; not 17, xxxx). We headed to the beach start believing that an official would notice it and handle.

We started after the elite racers and got into the ‘full contact’ swim melee. So many people trying to climb over / swim over us like every year in Naperville so far. And I could swear that near the final buoy that another athlete physically pulled me upright out of the water. This is a perfect example of where rule K.48 would have been very helpful. Even with these extra obstacles, the swim / 100 was right on target.

After transition, we headed out onto the tandem for 12.4 miles (two loops). Things went well, although it’s apparent that I need to get the saddle addressed before 2018. My lower region keeps falling asleep / getting uncomfortable mid race. And for a sprint race, I’m not going to add another 10 minutes for on/off of bike bibs.

Up until we headed out on the run, it had been cloudy and cool. But as we started out, the sun broke through and it heated up. The first 1.5 miles wasn’t too bad, but I did have to stop at about that point to stretch out. I also had the same feet tightening up issue I’ve had all year. Even though it wasn’t a great run, still better than several from this season. We finished about 5 minutes faster than 2016.

A few notes from / post race —
1) The new nutrition program worked out well, including the ‘emergency’ capsules. I will continue to use that going forward.

2) That the Karma Police always gets their man (or woman). Looking at the results, it appears the person who grossly misracked was DQed. Moral of the story is play by the rules…

3) I’m not sure which part of the race did it to me, but for the rest of Sunday my body was in pain. When we made stops headed north, I think my limping shuffle probably imitated that of an 80+ year old…

So back to where I started this blog – post-race beer. The timing just happened to work that we were headed up to WI that afternoon where a pony keg of local beer (Tribute Brewing Company) was waiting. So instead of having the standard PBR at home, I waited a long time for the Tribute pint. Yes, the beer is that good, and yes, the wait was well worth it!

Early bird registration is open for 2018 if you’d like to join us next year! Register on web site.

Roller Coaster Bike Ride (ET Lake Zurich) – 7/9/17

Over the 3 years I’ve been competing, I’ve run into some really great Race Organizers (ROs) and Race Directors (RDs). I know that if they’ve running the race, or their name is on it as a title sponsor, it’s going to be a good one. One of the many that falls into that category is Experience Triathlon (ET) and Coach Joe (owner of ET).

Thus, I was looking forward to the ET Lake Zurich Triathlon even though I’d never raced it before. And two weeks after racing PT Nationals (PC Open), I was ready to take on a new challenge – especially the very hilly bike course.

As every race sends out a multitude of e-mails (registration reminder, packet pickup, athlete guide, etc.), it’s sometimes easy to tune these e-mails out and just hit delete after the first few. Thankfully, I don’t; if I had, I would have missed out on the race. I had it in my calendar that it was an 8A start, which would mean transition was 6-7:30 or so. However, transition was actually 4:45-6:30. I saw this in enough time to make all the needed arrangements.

Once everything was set up in transition, we thought we had at least an hour to kill given the schedule. So Lee and I headed down near the beach with my parents to watch the Olympic athletes. About 15 minutes before the first wave of Sprint was supposed to start, my parents noticed Sprint athletes making the turn to swim in. Apparently the Sprint start had gotten moved up and we weren’t aware. So we had to scramble down to the beach and queue up.

On advice of my coach, I tried to stay further right after we started to avoid crowding at the buoys and getting sum over. While that may have helped some, it also meant that I went too far right at one point – almost off course. As well, since we were at least 2 start waves behind where we should have been, I ended up getting tangled in less strong swimmers mid-course. These two in combination caused me to lose a couple minutes in the water. And I still can’t tell you what the swim distance was. The event site listed it as 400m; my timing says it should have been a 750m swim; the race result averages make it look like a 1500m swim.

After one of my fastest transition times, we headed out onto an extremely hilly bike course. While the average was about 19mph, I know that there were places that we were at 25mph+. Just simple laws of gravity / physics. This bike course also made it very evident that I need to get the saddle upgrade done ASAP. I haven’t been able to afford it yet – if you’d like to help support me so I can, you can do so through my USABA fundraising page.

Coming back into transition, Pleasant Prairie T2 almost repeated itself. However, I realized the re-clip this time and unclipped the left foot a second time in time. Because of having to push so hard through the hills, I was concerned about the run being a mess. Even though there were parts that I had to walk while my feet unclenched, it went really well. And having one of my teammates cheering us on as we made the turn into the finish chute made it that much easier to finish!

While it wasn’t a perfect race, there were several bright spots and learning lessons. I know that it will all click soon and I’ll start hitting the benchmarks I want to. Until then, I’ll just continue trying and learning from what does go right/wrong.

Lake Zurich was the beginning of a very long stretch of races/camps. Please watch for blogs on the rest coming soon!

National Beatings – Progress Report – 3/19/17

I love doing Experience Triathlon (ET) events. Coach Joe, the entire staff and all of the volunteers do such a great job with the events. I wish I’d been able to do the other two ET indoor triathlons, but the timing just didn’t work.

Going into this event, I had definite numbers that I wanted to hit on each of the disciplines. Not only would it be a good progress test to see where I was at, but also a chance to find/work out flaws. Even though I didn’t hit those numbers, it was still a good day and I found several things to work out prior to the outdoor season.

Specifically –
Swim: Managing torpedo kicks and breathing. One of the torpedo kicks was so strong that I ended up gliding under the lane lines. Not a huge issue since there was an open lane, but it would be in any of the outdoor races. While my breathing is getting better, I still need to work on it for mid to late race to make sure I can finish strong. During this swim, I couldn’t get enough of the CO2 out and was struggling in the last 6-7 lengths to get it done. I’ve already talked with my head coach on the breathing and am working out several things with that.

Bike: Being able to more easily clip in and making sure that I’m pushing harder in the first several minutes when my body is trying to recover from the swim. I thought I was going faster than I actually was during that first 8 min or so until Todd told me what I was at. Hopefully the tandem derailer will get put back on and I’ll get the loaner upright soon so I can get a lot more clip practice in.

Run: Making sure that a sports drink is in my water bottle instead of just plain water. I had Tailwind in there and it helped a lot. I am going to be trying a couple others during training, and go with whichever works best. Having that extra burst meant that I only had to walk once for about 30 seconds. That’s about in line with the Turkey Trot from last fall, which was my most consistent 5K.

It was back to training after this race as I continue to push towards the spring season.

And for any of you who have these as open dates, I would STRONGLY recommend signing up for the following:

ET Batavia – 6/11/17
ET Lake Zurich – 7/9/17
ET Naperville – 8/6/17

Indoor Tri Wrap-up & Training – 2/28/16 – 4/14/16

MITCS

First of all, sorry for the long hiatus. Life has been extremely busy since late February and I haven’t had much time for blogging. This and the next few entries dated prior to today (5/20/16) are all ‘ctach up’ articles that have been in my queue to post.

After the last Indoor Tri post, I did two more – the final event in the MITCS series and the final event in the ET series. The first went really well; the latter had bumps. Specifically, towards the end of the bike at ET I felt really constipated. So I lost 4 minutes of the run while I was still taking care of that.

Overall, the Indoor Tri season was a great experience. Not only did it give me an opportunity to have targets to push for as I was training, it also gave me experience for the outdoor season. I plan on doing both the MITCS and ET series next year. I will not do Life Time again – IMO it was far too crowded, and just not a great experience. Combined with the fact that it’s the only for-profit race that I’ve had to pay for my guide, just not on my list for next year.

I greatly appreciate everyone who helped me throughout the Indoor season. Specifically Coach Joe, Todd, Lee & Steven who all really helped to make it work out.

In between the Tris and once the season ended, I was back into the pool. Although it isn’t a big jump, I was able to cut another 10 seconds off of my CSS time in the pool. I know that every little bit helps.

2nd Indoor Tri – 1.10.16

Experience-Triathlon

Having done the first Indoor Tri a week prior, I had a better idea of what to expect. And knowing what bumps could come up, I tried to put proactive preventative measures in place so they didn’t happen this week.

Early in the preceding week, I was concerned that I’d have to do this on my own since I didn’t have a guide. However, Coach Joe was able to help find one for me. And with the additional help of another volunteer in the pool, everything went great.

I was able to go further in the pool and on the treadmill than I had the previous week. TI did not go as far on the bike, as I lost time when my feet came out of the cages twice. The first time, I took the couple of minutes to let them fix it. The second time, I just kept pedaling because time was almost up on the bike.

I will be doing another ET Indoor Tri in March, and will look to improve on these numbers then!