Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tri Season Update - Installment 2 of 2

Stumpy Creek International Triathlon (7.16.11), Mooresville, NC - 2:14:53, 9th Overall

Ahhh...the dreaded race.  I have been purposely avoiding discussing this race and it was a terrible display of my capabilities.  No, I'm not disappointing in finishing 9th, but I'm most frustrated in my attitude and also the way I felt out there on the course.  I've never won any kind of race in my life until this race last year, so I put unnecessary pressure on myself to do well this year.  The competition was stiff as this race was selected to be the double points race in the NCTS.  I wasn't racing for any points, but seeing how you stack up against the best in the series is a good barometer of your shape.  My attitude all year from Boston up until this race was to have fun, race to the best of my ability, and see where the cards fell time wise.  From the moment I jumped in the swim in Lake Norman I didn't want to be there.  I had a good swim, but I couldn't stop thinking about how I was ready to be done with the race and how I didn't even want to be there.  I came out of the water with Jenny, Frank, and Mark Carey so I was happy with my swim, but I definitely didn't want to ride my bike.  This was one of the first times in my life I actually wanted to just stop and pull a DNF.  I reluctantly got on my bike, hoping that I would snap out of it.  I hadn't had my bike "properly" fitted to me and it had been causing me a lot of problems, but this put it over the top.  I was so frustrated riding my bike again those thoughts of pulling out of the race were creeping in.  My quads had this deep dull pain in them and I thought of a million reasons why this could be.  Was I overtrained?  Did I jump back into training too soon after Boston and cook myself?  Alright, enough of the pity party, but the bike ended after what seemed like everyone in the open division passing me.  I set off on the run hoping to save a little bit of face, but I was solo off the bike with no one near me.  So I basically just ran to run, in frustration.  No one passed me and I passed no one over the 10k.  Even if I could have seen someone ahead of me I don't think I would have been mentally able to push it to catch them, and if someone had been breathing down my neck I sure as hell wouldn't have fought off the challenge.  I was in a bad, bad place.

The good thing about bad races is that there is a lot to take away from them.  The day after the race I took a complete day to myself, got my first massage on my shredded quads, and basically just sat on the couch all day and reflected on my training.  After the race I had convinced myself that I wasn't doing IM Louisville, that I was done with triathlons.  I was frustrated with myself for my attitude, the way my body felt, and where I was in my training for Louisville.  It took me a couple of days to get over it, but in the end I decided that it was time to have a little attitude (re)adjustment and it was time to go back to having fun and not putting any pressure on myself. I have blogged before about how terrible I do in races where I put too much pressure on myself and when I put too much emphasis on hitting a certain time goal.  That pressure and the time goals are unnecessary because in the end I do triathlons because they are fun, the training with friends is fun, and racing should be fun (although it should hurt too!).  After Stumpy Creek I decided it was time to have fun again and forget about my experiences at the race.  Everyone has bad races, it's a part of the sport, so I decided to put the race in my rear view mirror it was time to have some fun again and enjoy training and racing!

Phew...that wasn't so bad after all.  Oh, and I did get a more "professional" bike fit on Monday to hopefully help out with some of the quad pain!  I concluded also that I had only been on the new tri-bike for a couple of weeks so my body was probably getting adjusted to the new position after ride a road bike for the past 7 months.

Lake Logan International Triathlon (8.6.11 AM), Canton, NC - 2:01:11, 7th Overall

I signed up for Lake Logan shortly after the Stumpy Creek failure in hopes of accomplishing 2 things, having fun again at a race and getting in a last good workout before IM Louisville.  I went into the race with the attitude of not caring where I place and not caring what my time was, but instead I intended to have fun and have a good race doing it.  After spending the night in a cheap motel, I went and picked up Kevin at the motel he and Linden were staying at and we headed to the race site.  We showed up in plenty of time, but for some reason I was dilly dallying in the transition area and ended up have to run over to the swim start.  As the open wave was already in the water at the start line I was just finishing getting my wetsuit on when the announcer said "20 seconds".  I ran around the other waves waiting on the dock and basically jumped off the dock as the gun went off and just started swimming!  Spent the swim trying to get comfortable in the wetsuit, as I hate wetsuit swims!  I was trying to sit on some people's feet, but there was a little fog over the lake that morning so I swam solo most of the time.  I never had thoughts of not want to race like I did at Stumpy Creek so at least that was an improvement!  I probably didn't push as hard as I should have, but I was just happy that my attitude adjustment had been a success!!!!  Out of the swim and onto the bike I found my legs quickly on the little uphill out of the lake area.  I could tell my legs felt much better than they did a couple weeks before, likely because of my weekly massages.  There was a little of a false flat on the second half of the course and I didn't have the best bike ride, but it sure was better than the way I felt at Stumpy Creek.  Up and over the one mentionable climb and I was back in transition and ready to run!  I felt great on the run and was able to pick off a couple of other guys, but with there being money in this race I knew the couple of other guys ahead of me were pro's and it was highly unlikely I would catch the.  At the 5k turnaround point I saw one more guy that I had a chance of picking off, which I did, but the other guys were just way too far ahead.  Not really anyone threatening from behind me, but I continued to push the rest of the run as I was hoping to get in under 2 hours, but to no avail.  Overall, I was extremely happy about my attitude and the way I felt out there racing. I needed another race before IM Louisville to at least re-instill my confidence and begin my taper!  3 weeks till IM Louisville and I was content again in my triathlon glory.

Crossroads Classic Road Race (8.6.11 PM), Salisbury, NC - 1:43:14 (41ish miles), 3rd Overall Cat 5B

Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to do this bike race in the afternoon after doing Lake Logan in the morning as a good kickoff to the taper.  So after getting some food up at the triathlon I got in my car to head to Salisbury.  I put on my compression gear in hopes of getting a little recovery and tried to drink as many fluids as possible to help.  After our first bike racing experience at the Piedmont Triad Omnium the same group of guys decided to hit this race too.  The race started around 3pm and I got there just in time for a little warm up ride with the crew.  I didn't feel great, which was too be expected, and it was a weird feeling getting on the road bike after riding the tri bike in the morning.  I was hopeful once the race started I would start feeling a little better and get the blood flowing in order to mix it up with the roadies.  Unfortunately the race directors had let too many people sign up in Cat 5 so they had to split the field into two groups, with the lead group being guys that were racing the overall omnium and the second group being the guys who were only doing the road race.  I was a little disappointed, but decided that I was just there for the workout and the points to hopefully move out of Cat 5.  In the end I think that we ended up riding just as fast, if not faster than the first group anyways.  We (Chris, Lat, Troy, and I) started pretty much on the front line this time instead of being in the back and having to fight to get to the front.  It was another 3 loop ordeal and the terrain was pretty rolling with a couple of good spots to try and get away on the backside of each loop.  Unfortunately there were only a couple of us willing to do any work, with everyone else sitting in, so it was almost like an accelerated training ride with a group.  Nothing really significant until the end of the second lap when Lat and Chris tried to get away, but the group ended up closing them down.  It was looking like everyone was content with just sitting in until the finish.  I tried on the third lap to at least make things interesting, but could never get a solid group together to make a break.  Mark, a guy that I have road with before from Bicycle Sport, and I tried one final attempt at getting a break on the last major hill, but the group shut us down quickly.  So as we lined up for the sprint finish I was a little nervous about the Cat (aka Crash) 5's reputation at the sprint finishing and I had bigger fish to fry at IM Louisville so I definitely didn't want to end up hitting the deck.  Lat took a real strong pull on the straightaway leading to the finish and I quickly jumped on his wheel.  As he started to give out a little I jumped around him and got onto another guys surging wheel.  About that time a guy came over into Lat, they touched wheels and I thought I was done for.  Luckily I stayed up and even though it killed my momentum trying to get away from Lat I was able to hang on for 3rd behind Mark and the guy that had touched wheels with Lat.  I don't know how Lat kept upright, but I sure was happy that he did.

A great double race day and I was happy to have two solid workouts in the book before beginning the taper for Louisville.

Next up is race reports from Louisville and Kona!!!!  I know the excitement for my one faithful reader (James) is keeping him on the edge of his seat...errr...I mean the edge of the couch.

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