Sunday, August 5, 2018

Return to Triathlon

My last official triathlon was 9/24/2016. Almost 2 years ago. Hard to believe time passes so fast. I've done some duathlons, mainly due to lack of time for distance training and trip to the pool for swimming had to go first--seems like no matter how much effort put into swimming, my swim is about the same, regardless of effort I pour into it. Duathlon is something that doesn't take as much time as Ironman or 70.3 training. I've decided to step away from full Ironman racing for a while--I don't want to miss my kid growing up. 

It has been over 2 years now since a career changing lower leg injury at Duathlon Nationals, which then resulted in a compensation injury of the hamstring on the other leg. This season, I welcomed a shoulder injury of sort where I had surgery back in 2000 or 2001, so I've stayed out of the water. While feeling slightly better after 4 months, I think it may be time to up it to an earth shattering TWO swims a week (haha). Back in 2017, I had signed up for Boulder 70.3 with my wife, for the 2018 race. Honestly, I would not have raced this due to the shoulder injury & lack of training miles, if it were not three miles from home.  Here are the stats for prep for my 70.3 (not recommended).  

Ave. training time per week--7 to 8 hrs/week. 
Swim 1x per week (nothing over 2000 yards continuous)
Run: 15-20 mpw. (no runs over 12 miles)
Bike: whatever I could fit in. Usually a "long ride" of only 35-40 miles.
No real time for strength work in the gym. 

Pretty pathetic training but it is all I have time for, races were meant to be all short anyhow. 
Combine that with 3 jobs (tech job, real estate & coaching) that is a pretty full schedule when you have a family and household! It is what it is & certainly I look forward to scaling that back at some point and have coaching a real estate be the only regular jobs. On my ONE swim in Boulder this past month at Spruce pool, I ran into Max Lawler--an athlete I coached for years. Likely the hardest working athlete I've worked with, bar none, certainly faster than any with his standing 9:11 Ironman time. We talked for about 5 minutes and he wondered how the heck I could do all "that" and still race the level I have been all these years. Truth is, my consistency feels as if it has waned due to all that I am doing...feeling scattered at times and certainly need to simplify life in general. Too many hats to wear and often when it comes to racing, has taken me out of the hunt time to time. Sure there are good races, but there are more bad days than I prefer.  

On to the race report...

Woke up at 4:45 AM had a coffee, Clif bar. Had a sore spot on my right calf for the past few days but nothing that would hopefully hinder me in the race. Got to the Boulder Rez with Michelle around 5:50 (transition closed at 7 AM). Did a warm up of about a mile, leg swings, light stretches. Lost count of the bathroom stops. No anxiety that I could detect being the first tri in a couple, went to the swim start, self-seeded in the 27 to 30 min. wave of swimmers after a short swim warm up. Swam easy and all was fine except that dang weak right shoulder.  First 2000+ swim of the year completed, YAHOO!  

Transition/T1...As my friend Alicia Brillion stated, I was WAY back in the final two rows with the "rif-raff" and it was just about the furthest route through transition you could get. The guys I race with typically were in the first "AWS" (All World Athlete) ranking of the top in the world. This certainly made for a scenic tour route through transition. 

Bike: Surprisingly, the bike went fairly well for the little conditioning and riding I've done this year. This would be only my FIFTH bike ride in the month leading up to Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman. DON'T FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE!  We have been on vacation 20 of the last 30 days so I just didn't have access to ride.  I went through 2 large water bottles of 300 calories each. That and half a bottle of water from an aid station. Not quite enough liquid and was in a deficit by the time I started the run. 

T2: I took a bit more time than expected mainly due to feeling a bit dizzy and the legs were rocked from the sheer distance of the bike which I am not trained for. 

Run:  It went to a hand basket from the get go. I have not human nemisis/arch enemy, mine is only HEAT. I hate the heat, race horrible in the heat, as proven by my many mediocre Hawaii Ironman finishes (which is just that along with humidity).  From the start the fuel plan was to try to grab as much ice, water, and Coke as I could each mile by walking through them. I was experiencing heat exhaustion meltdown at this point and it quickly became a survival crisis management situation--just jog between aid stations and refuel.  I had guys who had never beaten me before (ever) just blow by me so fast on the run I saw them for a minute or two, then they were gone. Last time I raced this, I won the AG and ran only about a minute slower than what Silvio Guerra did today (an Olympian and 2nd overall former professional runner at the 2001 Boston Marathon). Silvio won his AG in the 50-54 as he is now doing triathlons in his 50+ years of life. In fact, the top 3 guys in the 50-54 were all faster than the top 3 in the 45-49 Age Group, so there is still hope to get faster! 

In short, not enough training. I've always been a minimalistj for training hours, but this season it has been way too minimal and just needed to cut back on some things and refocus. I'm not interested in full Ironman racing any time soon, maybe in a few 2-3 years (or more). We will see. Never say never, things change. I'm sure life will toss all kinds of unexpected things at me so you have to be flexible with life. Not to mention age creeping up and all those years of racing consistently, injury free, have caught up to me. Suppose it is pay back time to balance it all out. 

POST RACE:  After going home and showering, I didn't really much care what my result was, only that I finished. Very sub-par race but whatever, we all have them. Checking out Michelle's online finish stats (who rocked her race by the way & I'm very proud of her!)...I figured what the heck, let's see how bad I really did. Totally unexpectedly, I was 3rd in my age group. Qualified a slot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to Nice, France for 2019. Awards were at 4 was 3:50 PM. I had to hop in the car, race back to the Rez for awards, having not stuck around to even think I'd have a podium finish/award with that horrible of a race. I turned down the slot to France, no interest in world 70.3 "draft fest" racing. Anyhow, I got this piece of metal as an award, a sore pair of legs, and a reminder that it my first trip back to being a triathlete after nearly 2 years--so it's ALL GOOD!  There you have it, my worst day imaginable was still a podium finish.
I may just have to sign up for some more races this year and try to race myself back into shape...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Be BETTER than you were in 2017! has been a few years since my last blog post, with some injury issues, but no lack of social media posts on FB, Twtter or Instagram. I've been around but just quiet on this front. A lot has changed and busy isn't the word I'd use to describe the chaos of the past few years.

2017 wasn't such a great year, losing 2 uncles and a cousin. The hard part was in not being able to go back for the funerals, as traveling across country and getting childcare, time off from work and travel tickets all were impossibly tight to coordinate on such thin time margins. The same happened with an uncle a few years ago. I feel horrible in that to my cousins--I really wanted to be there. We were all close, so it wasn't something I wanted to miss. I am honoring my Uncle Tony today in fact, by wearing a down vest he owned. I think about him each time I put it on. He was a hunter, so he had lots of warm clothes!

On the athletic side of things, it was bust. I only started 3 races. Bolder Boulder, where I had to put forth a 3/4 effort as any faster would damage my already damned injury worse. It was a tempo run but unfortunately, not a RACE effort. I started but struggled training for Ironman Boulder. With only 13.1 miles left I was in 4th overall in the amateur race and winning my age group, on what was the most minimal effort and best feeling in an Ironman I've ever had. The PAIN from the injury was what took me out, I realized I could permanently damage myself so I pulled out, even though aerobically it felt easy.

I ended up getting MRI results only the day before the race. A day too late in order to get any refund for the race (I had the full race insurance). Either way, I decided to go until I felt either damage would be too much to continue or make me unable to sustain a steady effort. After that, I went to a real medical doctor and it turned out I had been doing all the wrong rehab since day one. He told me to stop all of it, and I got a PRP treatment, where I since then, have been on the steady road back. I'm not there yet, but have lost 11 lbs and completed a duathlon locally, and ended up 2nd with only a professional finishing ahead of me (he is about 18 years younger than I am too boot!)  Things are on the road to hopefully a better 2018, as it couldn't get much more minimal in the race department. 

Also, professionally from work standpoint, I have announced publically, that I am a licensed Real Estate Agent in the state of Colorado. I have been working in this arena behind the scenes with my owner-broker for about a year now, been to closings, showing/finding homes and moving things towards that next step in client's lives. My next step was to actually start letting people know I was now doing this professionally. It is a hard business to get into, expensive as well--but I know I have the tools to be a success. 2018 is about making everything I do BETTER than I did it in 2017. That includes tightening up things with a new website as well...something that I've been wanting to do for quite a few years now. It turns out we spin our wheels thinking about doing stuff more than we do those things themselves.

Here's to 2018, jumping in both feet first...let's DO THIS ! !