2018 PT Nationals (6/24/18)

Even though I didn’t make the National wave as intended, I felt a lot better going into PT Nationals this year than I did last. A big part of that was because of the nutrition changes and the byproducts/results from them.

While the swim felt really long, Saturday’s practice went really well. Especially the run, during which the pace seemed faster but I was still able to hang in for a good while. Dave showed up after practice finished and we did our final race prep after the course preview.

After watching teammates get in and start the National wave on Sunday, it was our turn (PC Open). Last year, I was accidentally at the front of the starting pack, and paid for it (going out too fast to attempt to avoid being run into). So this year, I positioned us further back.

While it seemed longer than 750, the swim went well. I did have some of the normal ‘drift’ issues, but felt I was in the right time range (20-22 min) getting out of the water. After a few minutes in T1, we were out on the bike for a scenic ride. This scenery included a mooing cow, which we mooed at coming back on the bike. The bike saddle change between last year and this helped immensely. Even with an unintended early dismount, it was a great bike.

So then it was onto the hardest part for me — the run. The goal was to replicate what had been done at PT Camp two weeks prior and end up with a roughtly 38min 5K. While it was a decent run, it didn’t turn out as I had intended or hoped. The main reason being that without intending to, I did mile #1 in 11 min (including a 1min walk). That was way too fast, and I paid for it during miles 2 and 3.

Even though it didn’t go exactly as planned, I did shave about 4 minutes off from 207, and I did win the PC Open Mens VI division!

I will continue to work on fixing these issues. This is only the halfway point of my summer season, so there’s a long way to go in the 2018 season!

The Race That Wasn’t – 6/25/17

While I did not qualify for Nationals, I was still excited for Pleasant Prairie and racing in the PC Open wave. Having been there two weeks prior for PT camp, and having had a good day of practice on Saturday, I was extremely optimistic for Sunday. Specifically, I thought I’d set a PR by 10-12 minutes.

That was a good thought going in, but unfortunately belief and reality separated Sunday morning…

In the last two weeks, I had swum more than a mile in Lake Andrea. Even with it being choppy on Saturday, I was able to make it through the 750m swim without issue. However, at some point in the first 150-200m, I started to have problems with breathing. Long story short, I think it was a combindation of CO2 buildup and a little bit of panic about not getting enough air when the buildup started. My guide was able to help get me calmed down and doing other strokes to get back to normal breathing. While it all worked out, the breathing issue added an extra 8-10 minutes to my normal swim time.

T1 went well, and so did the actual bike ride. However, when we got to the dismount line, I didn’t realize that my left foot had clipped back in. This meant that when I went to plant my left foot, the bike tipped over with me still on it. I was able to catch myself with my hand, so it wasn’t anything major. But I still lost at least 5 minutes between having to stretch out my leg and shaking out my hand.

T2 went well, and so did the run. This was the bright spot of the race. In each of the previous outdoor races this season, there’s been an issue during the run (tight leg, tight back, etc.) that’s ultimately made it a mess. With Eric’s help, I was able to run throughout the 5K outside of about 60-80 seconds for aide stations and a few seconds during a steep uphill.

While it wasn’t the outcome that I wanted for the race, three main points came out of it:

1) That the T1/T2 times are continuing to decrease. While they’re down dramatically from last year since I’ve taken some gear out of the mix, they’ve also been decreasing throughout this year.

2) That I’ve found a way to make running a 5K possible as part of a triathlon. I’ve talked with my coach about ways to not only continue to make that happen but also to increase the pace. That will be implimentated throughout the rest of the year.

3) That I’ve finally got the first fall out of the way, and that it didn’t lead to injury. And even more to that point that I’m able to have a ‘if it isn’t broken, worry about it later’ mentality rather than an ‘oh shit’ (I just fell, let’s quit) one.

I had a chance to meet Aaron prior to the race, and he was coming back from his bike as we were going out. An amazing athlete, and we’ll see what USAT decides to do with the math for Men’s PTVI QTs for 2018. There was only one other athlete able to qualify with a 12+ minute decrease from 2016 to 2017. As a side note, they did not show up to compete, so the category was just Aaron (who rocked it at less than 65 min.)

National Beatings – Breaking Point (5/13/17)

[Still not me. But Sunday should give me an opportunity to have a similar photo.]

“Fill up your head and fill up your heart and take your shot” (Dave Matthews)

Sunday is the day – my shot to qualify for PT Nationals. And while I’m a little nervous going into it because of how quickly I need to do the run, I’m grateful to have the shot.

Last Saturday, what was supposed to be the ‘put together’ session did not go well. While I was glad that my guide was honest about it not going to work, it was a hard blow. To be honest, I came very close to just tapping out and focusing on June’s races. I wasn’t upset or frustrated with my guide, just with the situation it put me in. But Mr. Miles refused to let me dwell in the bleh of the situation.

I believe his exact words were “Meow Mrrrow Mrrrrrrrrow Meow Yowl.” Loosely translated, it means “Pull your head out of your ass and find another plan.” And so I did, and it should all work out.

One of the givens of this sport is that there’s going to be adversity. Whether it’s a double flat, unknown dehydration or something else, you have to be strong enough to fight through it. Rely on those in your inner circle when you need that extra boost. Don’t ever let it break you.

For those of you who want to come out and watch, the race starts at about 8A on Sunday in Niles (Leaning Tower YMCA) for our group. Looking forward to writing the blog on Monday sharing how I qualified!

National Beatings – Week 1 (3/13 – 3/19)

[I do not know who this is – just best Nationals Finish line picture I could find]

As I look at Dionne sitting on the char and purring contently, I thought it was apt to provide an ASPCA type disclaimer. “No Triathletes were harmed during the creation of this blog”. (Although that doesn’t necessarily apply to the underlying events…)

When I saw that the Nationals Qualifying season had been compressed, I knew that there was going to be a lot of hard work ahead. And then I lost two weeks of training time due to some absurd work-related stuff. Definitely not the best time to have that happen.

But you can’t control everything that happens in life. All you can do is adapt, adjust and then get back on the horse. Good practice in normal; a bit harder when there are several ticking clocks. So I accepted that the next 75 days would be utter hell, with the payoff being a spot at the grownups table.

Things started in earnest on Monday with a mile in the pool followed by time on the bike. The swim was a bit of a challenge because I was having to share a lane. It’s hard for me to see the lane lines on the bottom of the pool in general, and an even bigger challenge to make sure that I stayed on my half of the lane. But it worked out – albeit that my hands hurt afterwards from so many lane line strikes.

Tuesday was the ‘off’ day of the week with just a short bike workout. Given what happened on Wednesday, that was probably a good plan.

Wednesday was an extremely hard pool workout. As I’ve said in the past, bilateral breathing is not my friend. But it helps on so many different levels, so that was a big chunk of the workout. I was so beat afterwards that I was having trouble holding thoughts as I was talking with my coach.

Yesterday was a walk to the gym, a hard bike workout and then time on the treadmill. The machines there are the newer models that use touchscreens for most everything. I had planned to run first and then bike, but couldn’t get the treadmill to work. I even tried the Pebble but couldn’t figure it out. I finally did after time on the bike though, and while I wanted to keep going tapped out early for safety reasons. When I couldn’t keep up with the treadmill at an easy jog since my legs were so tired, it seemed time to go.

Tonight will be a walk, long run and short swim. Tomorrow will most likely be run/strength and then Sunday is an indorr Triathlon plus another strength workout.

I realize that my body will not be happy with me at many times during the next 70+ days. But unless something is seriously wrong, it just needs to STFU and keep with the program. I do not intend to be sitting at the kids table.

Odd Man Out – 8/23/16


Last Sunday, a large group of my teammates competed at PT Nationals in Santa Cruz. Of the 23 total team members, 19 competed. Two of the remaining four are on their way to Rio shortly, so they may have opted out of Nationals to keep training for Rio. All of this means that I was literally the odd man out of Nationals from the Dare2Tri teams.

For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know of the struggles I’ve had this year. A short synopsis for those of you who haven’t is 2 races with flats, equipment delays and challenges while training. It hasn’t been the year that I had envisioned or hoped it would be. So knowing that I hadn’t qualified for Nationals, I could look at the situation from the normal glass half empty or glass half full scenario.

Instead I choose to look at it from a glass present scenario. What I mean by that is the opportunity to do triathlons in general, and Nationals (and beyond) might not even be there. If it weren’t for the tremendous support of Dare2Tri and my coaches, none of what I have done, do or will do, would be possible.

So even though I wasn’t at Nationals this year, I know it will happen very soon. My goal is to be there in 2017, and I’ve started to build a pencil schedule around that goal. Once I know where a few Tetris pieces will fall, I’ll work on a final one. And I know that I’ve got the coaches and support system to help me reach that goal for 2017, as well as a VERY strong desire not to be the odd man out again.

While I wasn’t there, my teammates did an AMAZING job. IIRC, 5 National Champions and a lot of total hardware!

And while I’m starting to think about 2017, my focus is on the PT Mid-East Regionals this coming Sunday. The event is the Chicago Triathlon, where Lake Michigan kicked my ass last September. I’m looking for redemption in the water and a strong showing overall! For those of you who want to follow me through the Race App, my bib is 4055.