Dr. Seuss Meets Triathlon – 7.24.16


Growing up, one of the things I heard a lot of was Dr. Seuss books. I specifically remember The Sneeches, The Sleep Book and Horton Hatches the Egg. As a nod to the last, I think the following pretty much sums up my Wauconda experience. “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.”

For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog in the past, what that refers to is no DNFs. I’ve said it, and I meant it. And unless I’m physically injured, I’ll stil finish even if means walking the bike back (see Pleant Prairie blog).

Peter and his wife Carol were very kind to let me stay at their house so I didn’t have to mess with Chicago transportation fun. So I was thinking Wauconda would be a great race for me, especially since I’d have a full night’s rest going into it. However, at about midnight, I woke up sick. What immediately went through my head was ‘how do I get back to passable so I can race?’ 3 hours of ‘fun’ in the bathroom later, I was feeling better. We headed off to the race, and Todd and I set up transition. This included adding a flat kit to the bike after Pleasant Prairie.

While the walk over loose gravel in bare feet wasn’t fun, I thought we were all set for a great race once we got to the start area. And the swim went really well – out in about 20 min range. We moved to T1, then the bike without issue. That is until we were about a mile out. At that point, the rear tire went flat. As we had a flat kit, I thought we’d only lose a couple of minutes. But when Todd looked in the saddlebag, the tool that the CO2 cartridge goes into wasn’t there. So we lost at least 15 minutes waiting for the support vehicle to come along with a bike pump.

We got back on the bike course to finish the last 13+ miles, and I know I pushed it too hard. We had lost a good deal of time from the flat, and I wanted to try and make it up. But by doing so, I overstretched/pulled something in my lower back. This made it hard to run throughout the run portion overall, and near impossible at times.

We did finish, and while I don’t see official results yet, there was still improvement from Leon’s (subtracting out the flat time). And as frustrating as yesterday was (especially to have flats 2 races in a row), there were still several learning points.

1) Always check and triple check everything in your gear. And once you’ve done that, check it again.

2) While you may gain a little back by overexerting yourself, you’re going to lose 2-3 times as much in a later discipline. Nothing wrong with pushing it, but if you go too far, you can ruin a day.

3) That there are always going to be some challenge during a race. Whether it’s wather, a course change or something else. Deal with it, find a way to move forward and keep racing.

And while it’s frustrating to have a flat issue two races in a row, it’s just that. I’m not upset or disappointed. I am grateful that I’ve had great guides to help get things back on track and support me. The support of my teammates also helps greatly when these things happen. And yes, I would have walked the bike another 13 miles to finish if the support vehicle hadn’t had a pump.

Even though things didn’t go as planned, I am grateful to everyone who helped to make this race possible. Especially the person who provided the sponsorship so I could race.

Back to training and back to focusing on the next race. Naperville on 8/7 is the next Tri on my schedule.

Leon’s Triathlon – 6/4-6/5/16


And so the outdoor season beings… Leon’s Triathlon (Hammond, IN) was my first race of the for the season. While the training hasn’t been perfect, I felt confident heading into it. Especially With th swim. Simply because Coach Stacee has been kicking my ass in the pool for the last 6 months.

There was a camp/team dinner that we went to Saturday night. Leon’s mom showed up, and I ended up sitting next to a wounded veteran (I believe Navy) and got to hear all kinds of amazing stories from him.

On Sunday, we practiced with the tandem that Dare2Tri loaned us, and then got ready to race (including the new magnetic race belt set up — thanks to Dare2Tri) They did an amazing opening ceremony with the garason flag and a multi-service (I believe Army/Navy/Narines) veteran singing the National Anthem. As we were the second-t-last group to start, we had about 45 minutes to wait after transition closed. This gave us a chance to see some of the other groups start, and antics from the wheelies. We’ll see what photos turn out… 😉

Prior to starting, Leon met us at the gate to the lake and welcomed each of us. There weren’t big waves in the lake, but they were consistent. The course seemed to be a sideways J, so the straight part out was into the waves and a challenge. There were a couple of times that it got hard to breathe because of the consistent waves. That’s where the bilateral breathing (one of my least favorite drills) became very helpful. I was able to make it out in my target window (less than 21 min) and we moved onto T1.

For me, T1 always takes — or at least seems to take — an eternity. There’s a lot of gear that need to get switched. Wetsuit/goggles/cap/tethercap off; towel off; socks/shoes/vest/camelback/helmet/gloves/sunglasses on and nutrition in.

Once all of the changes were completed, we were off on the bike. For almost the entire course, we were riding into a headwind. The softglide seats helped during the bike, with my ass falling asleep less times than it normall does during a 12mi ride. I thought we made it back within my target window (30-32 min), but when I saw the results it showed 42 min.

Back to transition for T2, which is always shorter since I’ve got most of my run gear already on.

On the run, my body was just spent. The majority of runs, I’ve been doing 4/1 or 5/1 intervalss, and have been close to 13 minute mile averages. I wasn’t able to do anything close to that on the run course – maybe 2/1 at best. I think there may have been minor ITU band issues, but stretching didn’t fully help. It allowed me to run a bit longer but nothing in the normal 4/1 area. So the run ended up taking 44 min.

Overall, the race went well. I was able to shave 23 minutes off of my sprint PR. And I believe that once I finally have my tandem and can practice on it consistently, I’ll be able to shave even more off. It was an amazing race setting and weekend, and will definitely be on my 2017 schedule. The only thing that I think needs to be changed for 2017 is a better fitting swim cap. This year’s were extremely tight — to the point of hurting. So unfortunately it won’t get used again. I know that TYR makes better fiting ones, as I’ve almost worn out the one from last year’s Naperville Sprint from consistent wear.

Thanks to Lee Dunbar, Dare2Tri and everyone else who helped to make it a great weekend. Next race is Dare2Tri TriIt (Sprint).