Monday, November 23, 2015

2015: It's a wrap!

End of season. Abbreviated but successful and no WTC events for the first time in a while. Previous posts show an injury received in St. Paul in June, followed by having to not start Boulder 70.3. Age group wise, it was more than I expected, having not lost the Age Group M45-49 in any race all season long except where the injury occurred, for multisport racing. In total, 2015 garnered THREE National Championship titles in three DIFFERENT sports.

National Titles:
1st USTAF Men's Master's Team (BRC/Team Adidas)
1st USAT Long Course Triathlon M45-49
1st USAT Long Course Duathlon M45-49

Additional 2015 races:
1st Bolder Boulder 10km AG win
1st Boulder Sunset Triathlon AG win
1st Boulder Peak Triathlon AG win (and King of the Mtns. jersey-Master Men)
3rd USAT Standard Duathlon M45-49

Not a lot of racing, but a darn near perfect record despite sitting out the core of the summer race season. There may be some more racing this year, but with only weeks away until 2016 and a whole new scary world out there with some major life changes (to be revealed at a future date), the upcoming season includes some super duper long races such as Ironman Boulder, ITU World Long Course Triathlon Championships going as the US Champ to defend our soil & whatever else I can drum up. The random running race, or duathlon, but no Kona next year (nope, not taking a slot if I get it at Boulder), no Du Nationals long or short. It'll be home-bound more regional or local races. UNLESS something major changes, that is the plan. Do plans ever go exactly according to how they are laid out? Rarely!

Below is a picture from US Long Course Duathlon Championships. On the left, Tom Woods, then 2008 US Olympic & pro triathlete Matty "Boom Boom" Reed, KK (that's me!) and Dan Chapman ('15 Du Standard distance champ M45-49). I've gotten the opportunity to know Tom & Dan a bit better this season. Actually, I didn't really know them at all! But I've raced Tom a few times I guess looking back at results, but don't focus too much on the others, just going my own rate & seeing who is left standing at the end of the day. Good people, good to see some familiar faces at races, and chat online with a few of them. Fast boys, I'm going to have to continue to find a way to stave off Father Time as long as I can and reverse the aging process with consistency and better focus for 2016 and beyond. Gotta love this racing stuff--just a thrill, win lose, whatever. It's all good.

L to R
Tom Woods IV, Matt Reed, KK, Dan Chapman

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crisis Management

Long story short on US Standard Distance Nationals. I did finish but not without serious injury, did not defend my #1 ranking or national champion title in the M45-49. I also did not compete in yesterday's Ironman Boulder 70.3 to defend my title there either.

If you want the long winded version here it is...Running really was coming around quickly leading up to Nats, must have been the fact that all my running was pretty much a tempo run every time I stepped out just for time constrained reasons, no "junk" mileage allowed. Combining distance and some intensity into one run is all this busy life could afford in 2015, which was spent primarily on completely and intentionally turning my life upside down in many ways. Time to mix things up, enough of the old routine (while there is comfort in routine)...has become exceedingly and spiritually unrewarding. I had a blog post about BIG CHANGES about two blog posts back. While I'm not completely ready to release what those changes are (no, not the Caitlyn Jenner kind of changes! !) has more to do with future, freedom of the mind and ability to do things I've always wanted to do rather than what LIFE has decided for me along the way. I'm taking control of aspects of life coming up really soon so I'll be way happier in the long run. I think the take away here is finding that spiritualistic "key" that makes Kevin the happy go-lucky guy that has been dragged down by routine over the years past.

At Du Nats, once again my race room mate Andy Ames aka "The Legend" & I predicted a pretty decent race. My running was on from the start. On lap one, at the turn around a younger chap named Dave Slavinski (Master's Duathlete of the Year & multi-world/national champion in du & tri), asked where the rest of the pack was. We were at least 100 yards ahead at this point with the gap growing between the two of us & the pack. First mile he said was 5:23. Second mile was 5:16. Very comfortable and I was thinking at the time we should pick it up because it really felt too easy. I decided to take the lead from Dave so I did...pressed on the uphills a little bit more and soon found myself on the cobblestones of Raspberry Island. Just coming onto the second section of the cobbles my right foot toes landed on the cobblestone while most of the foot/heel dropped very quickly. I let out a loud "OUCH" and that was it. Pulled soleus according to the doctor.

Immediately I was spat out the back and Dave pulled away in the last half mile putting 20 seconds on me as I limped in to T1. Drop out? Continue? Let's see if I can shake it off on the bike. Fast transition and made up the time to Dave while mounting the bike. I told him to GO...since he said on the run we should work together during the bike to separate us further from the pack (unlikely as he is a way faster biker!) The bike ended up being a seated 1-legged pedalfest as I dropped back further and further, but we had such a large lead after that first run, the day did actually still end with a 3rd place in the M45-49.  The bike downhills were awesome and the course was superior to last year's. Hills, curves, etc, all made to my strengths living in the Rocky Mountains. Too bad I couldn't get a chance to use those skills!

Just pressing down on the right pedal was too much to bear, the second run was not looking promising. If I had to walk to finish I would. Why did I not drop out and risk further injury? Honor.
I was the one with the target on the back by the others having been the top seed guy in the race for the age group and holding the rank of #1. I think you defend the title and rank, as best you can and at least give the guys behind you a shot at taking you down. So what if I raced it practically 1-legged...we toe the line together and finish the race, whoever crosses that line first deserves it. Barring crashes, injury, bad nutrition or whatever else you can come up with, it's all part of the game. To deny my competition that opportunity is unjustified wimpiness. I congratulated the guys who finished in front of me on the way to the medical tent. Got some ice, hobble out of there after the doc said what I had done was a soleus tear (taking 2+ to 2 months depending...) to recover from. To top it off, Andy had an awful day at the office, my kid came down with a fever and an athlete I coach crashed a week before his A-race separating his shoulder. What a HORRIBLE week it was.

As of this update, I had to not start in the Boulder 70.3 as mentioned. Can't quite run or clip out of bike pedals yet, but I'm hoping for that in about a week. I'm babying the injury and doing everything to recover as best I can. Light swimming with a pull buoy and aqua jogging has been my only recourse at this well as some upper body weights and core work. I'm not taking this laying down, I've worked too hard and was "in the zone" with high expectations for the season, which was down to just one more race (Boulder Peak). As of last week, I've entered USAT LC Du Nats in Ft. Worth for November. Dave Slavinski told me after the race that USAT Tri LC Nats was this fall with World's in Oklahoma next year. I did not know that as I primarily race WTC races + USAT Nats. Typically, I don't go to many World Championship races aside from Kona and the two ITU Worlds I've done (only because they were close in Canada).  I'm more of a long course guy anyhow. So yeah, I may enter USAT Tri LC Nats in September too.

A good start ended poorly for the season, but you have to have crisis management. Come up with a new plan and goals. So I have. I'll get by this and come back stronger, not because I want to, but because it simply is required. The only time you lose is when you quit. It's hard to lose if you never quit. 

With Otillo out of the picture for this year (it was promised to my team mate that we had a Race Director men's team spot from merit, so I built my entire 2015 schedule around Otillo as the main goal)...I change gears to fill the void. Seems the RD went back on his word to Stefan and that just isn't cool. Especially since my season hinged on competing there. We are assured up and down the bible we were in, but yet, we aren't. So on to new things, Sweden is a trip that just isn't happening now. Oh well, for all the hype it is, Otillo is just as much a speck on the endurance world of racing than any other self-proclaimed world championship. would be cool to race it!

What's up next? Family, life changes and hopefully getting back into the swing of things to use this fall as a launch pad for 2016 season. I'll be starting much earlier for 2016 as it will be another Ironman year. Not sure which Ironman I'll be racing, but I have an idea or two. Either way, I'll be ready this time around. See you at the races!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Busy is better! (Sometimes)

What a CRAZY last couple of months it has been. I took April off from work, except for Sundays...more on that in an upcoming blog post hopefully in the near future. Hopped in the Barking Dog...1st in AG, 4th overall, 1st "non-elite wave" finisher. What a weird race though (although it was cold so I was a fish in water & loving it!) It's no secret that aside from myself the arch-nemesis has always been the heat factor. With a training deficit due to April as mentioned...there wasn't a lot of pressure so I stayed out of the elite wave which took off in wave 1. Then there was a second wave, I was third & my buddy Andy Ames was in the 4th wave. With the elites & pros up the road & Andy not next to me, it was one of those go through the motions type runs. Nobody to run with so used it as a warm up, just enough to warm up for the bike.

2015 Barking Dog Duathlon
The bike--okay, I gunned it as best I could so no complaints there, but it was still off from normal especially with all the rain we've had this year & as mentioned, the entire month of April's non-activity. Finally, the last run...whatever I could dig into/press to the finish is what was going to be my result. The finish came up quickly & even afterwards, didn't seem like I was really that taxed. No gaggy-pukey feeling like I normally have from over-exerting myself, although I didn't have coffee that morning. I think that is a trend I'll be following.

Memorial Day was Bolder Boulder. Another odd non-coffee day that started with wife's home baked wheat bread, strawberry jam and water. Used some old cotton sweats to ditch near the start, but brought $1 for a "mobile locker" just in case. Finally, I tried to use the  mobile locker & theysaid it was actually now $2. So...I ditched said gear behind a bush and picked them up after the race. Before the race I did some sprint pick ups in front of Excel Sports with Chris Grauch, my team mate from our defending US National Master's Cross County gold medal crew. We run for Boulder Running Company/Team Adidas out of Colorado Springs. That really got the legs moving.

Long story short, I started about 7 yards or meters behind the start on the far left to avoid the nut jobs who just HAVE to get out front right away for that "A wave" photo that usually appears on the next year's calendar. Anyhow, it was a quite laid back start and just took it out what felt slow (5:32 pace)...but was not really any slower than last year--it just felt that way. About mile 1.5 Andy Ames (who holds silly fast BB records of 31 minutes + for many, many years)...pulled up and tapped me on the shoulder as he did last year when he trounced me horribly. I settled in right behind him comfortably until mile 5, then as I did in Barking Dog Du...decided there was just way too much left in the tank so I floored it until the finish with my second best time on that course. While it was my 2nd best time, it was also my easiest effort RPE-wise...with my lowest HR ever. Checking my 920XT, per LT zone calculations using the Coggan Method...I spent 68% of the Bolder Boulder in heart rate zone 3, with only 22% in zone 4. In 2014 I was almost all zone 4 after mile 1.  Which totally makes sense because as I told a gal I used to coach through a Tweet on really did feel like just a Tempo run. I've had harder training runs than that effort. The data proves to too.

To top it off, I won my age group FINALLY in Bolder Boulder after something like four 2nd places in a row. Something has happened with the last couple races with the running. It seems easy to go faster, yet less training, but no coffee before races so there isn't that stomach acid issue.

The folks were here for 10 days so I didn't get to see them much with things starting to pick up following my "post-April" sabbatical from training with the upcoming races on the horizon. I'm heading to US Duathlon Nationals next week with 2013 World and National/2014 National 50-54 Champ Andy Ames, as my room mate again. This guy is a freaking LEGEND--if you Google him you'll see how impressive this guy is. It's always a challenge just to hold his shoulder in a race.  I'm heading back to defend my 45-49 AG National Championship/#1 ranked for all of 2014. Andy is the one that talked me into this duathlon stuff a couple years ago when I finished 4th at World Championships in Ottawa's ITU Standard Distance Championships.

If I don't show up, it would be disrespectful to not only the National Champ title, the ranking, but to those who want to try to knock me off that top stair. Which is fine for me because I have no expectations especially after taking April off from pretty much "life of any sort" to speak of...although April was STILL fun...just not letting the cat outta the bag yet on that so stay tuned in the weeks ahead!

I've managed to spend some time with some of my athletes I coach, to really snucker-down on specific individual help, as well as holding a transition clinic for them. It included video footage, form analysis & set up for race day.  Summer is just about here, tomorrow is the kid's last day of school, it looks like training time Monday-Wednesday will be more limited if any at times, but I'll have PLENTY of daddy time which is better than just about anything I can think of!  You can ride a bike until you're older, or run when old--but you only have your kids around for so long. I'm going to take advantage of that while I can. Until next time, steer clear of the bad people in life & don't let anyone tell you "no" because--they know NOTHING about the power you  hold within you!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year New Things--New Year's Resolution

January 3, is already three days into 2015, wow, how time flies. I see my kid growing so big each day and life picking up speed more like a snowball on a hill like the Grinch in the cartoon just before they went off the edge of the mountain. Then the Who People from Whoville or whatever, changed the Grinch into someone different than what he had been. Lives changes, situations change, but never should we leave that change up to others to control. If you don't like something in your life, change it. Period. There is no "right time" or ideal time to change things. Each day you don't work towards changes that make life more sweet, then that is one wasted day on earth. It takes motivation, lots of it.

Like Tony Robbins the motivational speaker...use people, songs, sights or whatever gadgets you can to motivate yourself in 2015 to make a change. Personally, I like the words from a Michael Jackson song called "Man in the Mirror" simply because of the message.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
One thing I've learned this past year, seeing Robin Williams pass on, looking at so many Hollywood actors take their own time is short. To be so miserable that you feel the only way out when seemingly they have the world at their feet, to find a quick way out like that. I'm a survivor. It's what I do. If something stands in the way of that--don't need it. Period. Taking a back seat to multiple situations I'm personally not happy with, may have led me to waste a few years doing things I'm just not happy with. Finally, I woke up in 2014. Time to not be a sheep and be a shepherd. Taking a step back can mean two steps forward sometimes. Life is too short to not move forward at least one step per day. 2015 is going to be new territory for me, exploring those fears of uncertainty in many aspects of my life. I'm lucky to have a great support system especially with my wife.
I gather all the quotes, messages on Twitter, stories from others and inspirational/motivators to keep up the fight to take those things I'm not thrilled about that cloud my pursuit of excellence, then use them as strength to finally make those decisions to just do it. This is going to be an AMAZING 2015, I can't wait to tackle new horizons, adventures and experience the way I want to live life. I'm taking control of those things that have "controlled" me because I'm finally saying HELL NO! NO MORE. It's tiring and huge drain on energy, but the energy I'll gain at the end of it, will be more than anything I've spent getting there. Vague I know, but let's just say while routine can be comforting, it is also a prison. Where is the adventure and growth in routine?

I'm going to make a change & it is going to start with the man in the mirror!