Eagle Convocation (Arnold Indoor Tri) – 3/3/18

As I started planning my path to qualify in 2018, Columbus seemed like a great place to start. And with family there, I thought it’d be a great double dip of business and pleasure. Having found a guide through Team RWB (Robin) and getting all the logistics set, I was ready to go.

After arriving and doing the course walkthrough, we got in a bit of practice on the swim and spin bike. Things seemed good, and I was confident going into Saturday even with an updated run course (to ensure funeral processions didin’t interfere with us or us with them). Even without being able to fully see the lane markers at the bottom of the pool, it still felt straight.

On Saturday morning, we did the race meeting and then got everything prepped. With how things were set up, lane lines were much easier to see, so I was feeling really good about hitting a qualifying time (1:25:21 or less). Especially since during warmups, I was in the right range for the swim for 50s. I realized post race that we should have done it including walls.

With the wall time, I was about 3 minutes behind where I planned to be on the swim. And the up-and-down staircase route that was T1 was 2 minutes more than anticipated. But getting to the bike, I was confident that I could make up time. Especially since during practice, 20mph had been an ‘active recovery’ speed.

Good music has always helped during workouts, and the race was no exception. Knowing that I was behind my goal by at least 5 minutes going in, I was doing everything I could to get that time back. I believe the overall average was 22-23 mph. But when music like Welcome to the Jungle came on, I was able to just focus on that and pump out 29-30mph. The much larger TYR water bottle from the January camp (filled with Heed) helped tremendously as I was pushing through this. I would have been out of fluid if I had gone with one of the smaller bottles given how hard I was pushing it.

As we left the bike, I knew qualifying was starting to slip away. I believe I had 35 or 36 minutes left when we hit the run course. A stretch, but not impossible if it was a decent run course. And it would have left me collapsed at the finish line. However, the run course was very challenging.

I think the best way to describe it is: Get on a treadmill and set it for 3% grade. Run that for a 1/3 of a mile. Then set it for -1% grade and run that for 1/3 of a mile. Then set it for 6% grade and try to run that for 1/3 of a mile. Repeat 3 times…

While the first part was a challenge, I was still optimistic until the back 1/3 of the lap. At that point, it became about just grinding through as quickly as possible (for rankings). What helped make that happen was the Eagle cheerleader from Cincy (Kris) that appeared during the first lap of our run. Big, big thanks to her for that continual support. Even though that back 1/3 was no fun, knowing that she was up there waiting to cheer us on made it a little easier… And even with the hill issues, it was still a respectible 5K time in the range I expected.

For those of you who are wondering, I missed the NQ cutoff by about 13 minutes. Even though I didn’t qualify, there were a lot of positives out of the race and out of the weekend. It also gave me a ‘starting point’ to work from and work things out for the remaining chances to qualify.

It was great to see family throughout the weekend. Big thanks to my parents, who drove almost 700 miles round-trip in less than 72 hours so I could race.

Beat the Eagle 5K (4/8/17)

This seemed a perfect race to do — Eagles running in the Beat the Eagle 5K! And before things went awry for the last two weeks, this was going to be my benchmark race for April triathlon in terms of time. While that had changed, it still was a good testing race.

Around the last half marathon that I did (Chicago Monster), one of my guides mentioned salt to help with cramping. More specifically this meant things like Endurolyte capsults and similar products. So two days out as well as race morning, I was taking capsules. More about that later…

Proper pacing has always been a problem for me. Even though I don’t intend to swim/bike/run the first part (100/5mi/1mi) so fast, it always happens. This means that the rest of that discipline is slower because my body it trying to recover from going out too fast. Even when I’m running tethered, it’s still an issue. I really wish I could figure out a way to fix that quickly. I know it will come with time; but time is not my friend right now.

To illustrate what I mean about pacing, even with walking about a minute during the first mile to catch my breath, I was at 11:52 for it. I should have been at about 12:30 instead of 11:52. Because I pushed too hard the first mile, the last two were significantly slower. Even though the time part was frustrating, it was a great race.

That wasn’t just because I had two amazing Eagles to run with, it was also because of the learning experience. As I had mentioned a couple weeks ago, Hammer Nutrition’s generous support put a wide variety of supplies at my fingertips. For this race, I had Heed in my bottle along with using the Endurolyte capsules. Even though the breathing/endurance was an issue because of the too fast first mile, other things felt better than in other races. So I will keep using that plan going forward this season.

A huge THANK YOU to Martha & Charles for guiding me! I look forward to doing this race again in 2018!