Friday, July 17, 2009


Ever since Buffalo Springs (3 weeks tomorrow) I have felt disorganized. I have found it really hard to get back into my scheduled training. I have been following the schedule but I feel that I have been doing only that, mindlessly following the schedule. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am trying to change up my schedule and try some new things during this next 12 weeks until Longhorn 70.3. I have spent every night for the last two weeks studying my results, evaluating my training plan and even looking into the value of hiring a coach to consult with. My performance at Buffalo Springs did a couple of things to me. First it showed that I still have some potential for more speed. Second it showed that my training has been doing some good. Third it exposed my weaknesses on the bike and made me realize that I need some more specific training in that area.

So here I am three weeks later about to race again, albeit its only a modified Olympic distance, and I can't help but think about what my strategy should be. Should I push the bike leg to the limit just to see what happens? If I blow up on the run I could lose the race. Should I play it conservative knowing that I will finish top 10 and if I have the legs maybe push it on the run and finish a little higher? I have two more races before Longhorn. I should be viewing them as training and try some different tactics. I will hopefully discover something about myself and my physical ability that will help me at Longhorn. Maybe I will have a breakthrough on the race and realize the secret to my speed. What ever happens I will give you a report soon.

What does all this stem from anyway. Is it normal to never be satisfied with your results. Should you always be striving to finish first. It seems that no matter how well I do it is not good enough for me. I know that there is more in me. If that is the case then why is it not coming out. What is limiting my performance. Two things can be at fault, training approach or mental blocks and self confidence. Enter the coach. A coach can tell me if my training is correct or not. A coach can give me specific workouts to improve weaknesses, or a coach can tell me that I am doing the right thing and I need to be better prepared mentally. If it is mental then what stops me from pushing farther? Why do I lack the self confidence to push myself beyond that comfort zone?

Aha and there lies the connection between life and triathlon. The never ending and frustrating search to be a better person, father, employee, triathlete, etc... Joy in disguise.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lubbock Report

Things are finally getting back to normal after this weekend. I felt like I got back from Lubbock and had a thousand things to do. Now that the situation is under control I can sit and write my race report for Buffalo Springs 70.3.

Starting on Friday. The family drove to Lubbock. Long drive, not unbearable but long. I found it fascinating that there are so many wind turbines being built out there. These things are 200 feet tall and have blades that are 80 feet long. In some areas they go on for as far as you can see. It's kind of like a science fiction movie, but also beautiful at the same time. I'm sure its not beautiful if you live in the area and have to see them every day though. We got a late start so we did not get into Lubbock until 9PM. Hotel and bed.

On Saturday I rose early and did some stretching and a short 20 minute run. I wanted to get on the bike for about 30 minutes but I was kind of lazy. It was important to get some exercise in because I had taken the previous 2 days off. Spent the rest of Saturday in Lubbock hanging with the family, checking in at the expo and driving out to see some of the course. I was a little worried that I would not get enough sleep Saturday night because we were all in one room as a family but I managed to get in bed about 9PM.

As a side note, I spent a lot of time on Saturday worrying about how the family was going to get to the race site. The hotel was 15 miles away, we only had one car and I had to be at transition by 5AM. Poor planning on my part. I realized too late to be able to find a ride to the race, plus I did not know anyone that was racing well enough to just ask a stranger for a ride. I was hoping that there would be someone at the hotel that I could bum a ride from but the only people I saw already had 3 bikes and 3 people stuffed into a small rental. So reluctantly the family had to settle for an expensive cab ride to the race later in the day. The race takes place at a camp ground but I was afraid that it would be full of people and we would tow a camper up there and not be able to find a spot. Turns out we probably would have been OK. Good to know for next year.

So how did the race go you ask...Here are the stats:
  • 5:15:43 198th Overall
  • 30th in AG
  • Swim 33:34
  • Bike 2:52:13
  • Run 1:46:29
In transition at 5AM the wind was blowing and it was threatening to rain. I was nervous and disorganized. Not because of the race but because I realized I would be getting wet before the race even started and I would probably stay wet all day. Racing wet sucks! and swimming when there is lightening is not smart. I half expected the swim to be cancelled. Riding in the rain is scary and dangerous on hills, and running in wet shoes is just miserable. despite this I set everything up and headed to the swim.

Swim: Looking back I was probably too conservative on the swim. I could have hit it harder and cut a minute or two but I relaxed and conserved my energy for the bike. I think this was because I knew the bike leg would be tough and had a few big hills. I came out of the water a little surprised by my time. I thought I would be faster and I felt that the swim was long. If fact there is ongoing talk about how the swim may have been 100M or 200M long so that eases my mind.

Bike: The bike was the best part of this race. The ride is awesome. If I lived in the area I would probably ride it all the time. The wind was blowing pretty hard the whole ride (well at least until it started raining). The wind was not that big a deal because when it was at my back I was cruising, fast. I found the hills challenging but I took them on with a purpose and it paid off. For me the rain was on and off for most of the race and did not start pouring down until I was at about 40 miles. At this point I was done with all the hills except the last one coming into transition.

T2 was a blur and really soggy. There was nothing I could do so I put on my soaking wet shoes and headed out. I was in good spirits because my legs felt good. I was a little nervous after my last HIM when I cramped up on the bike and could barely walk for the first couple miles on the run.

My first few miles I was holding a sub 8 mile. Awesome, I thought, but then at mile 4 I hit the first hill. I was determined to pass as many people as possible on the hills so I cranked it out and continued on passing a lot of people who were walking. At the turn around I was at 51 minutes. Not bad after 4hours of racing. The course is out and back so all the hills that you run out you know what you are getting on the way back. I remember being scared that I would not make it up the last hill around mile 9. I had been trading places with this younger kid, age 23. He would sprint ahead a few hundred yards and then have to stop to stretch out his hamstrings. I kept thinking, here I am slow and steady and in the end I will prevail. Anyway, at mile 9, the last of the big hills I saw him walking up the hill. I knew that it would kill me but I had to prove a point and win a small victory so I picked up the pace and overtook him on the hill. Never saw him again. I lost track of my pace in the last two miles, I was too worried about finishing. It felt like I was crawling. With 1 mile to go I saw my family. I almost missed them because I was zoning out trying to keep the legs moving. Seeing them made me proud and excited that they were willing to come and watch. I pressed on and finished uneventfully at BSLT 70.3 2009.

Overall it was a great race and the best part was that it was a confidence builder. The training has been paying off and I am gaining confidence in my ability to push harder and still finish. I don't think I will be doing BSLT next year because of IM St. George. It was such a fun race that It will feel sad to miss it next year.