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! !)...it 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 point...as 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. Although...it 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!