Some people like to dust off the cobwebs with an early season sprint or olympic tri to get back into the swing of racing. Not me. All of my A races are short course, why not use this tune up race to do a distance that I don’t usually get to fit into my schedule? And so Coach Matt Mauclair thought it would be a good test of early season fitness to sign up for a low key local half iron distance race at Lake Raystown Triathlon.
There are the people that line up at the front of the race, and there are people that tuck themselves away in the pack. Each time I line up at the front of a race, I wonder if I actually belong there. There are so many others that look fast, seem confident that they’re in the race for an overall win, and appear ruthless when it comes to throwing elbows if anyone gets in their way. One of my goals this year isn’t just to line up at the front of the race, but know that when I do, I belong there.
2014 was a solid season, but I ended it feeling eager to get to work on a few weak areas that seemed to stand as barriers to achieving any real high level potential. These being 1) I just don’t run very fast. Comparative to my swimming and cycling ability, I am far below my competitive peers. I might be able to eek by in a 10k, but anything longer than that starts to become disastrous. 2) I get cramps in my legs off the bike every. single. race. And sometimes on training rides. This bike fitness and strength issue gives me two options: slow down or get stronger. Then the previous 2 area seemed to fuel # 3) lack of confidence and belief in what result or progress is even possible. So in December Kyle and I started working with a new coach, Matt Mauclair and Trust the Plan Coaching.
What a wild year. 2014 will be a tough one to beat. Thanks for everyone who was a part of it! Here’s a little recap of this year in business, the wonderful world of triathlon, life and times.
So, I love to race. And once my A race was over for the season, I figured why not go ahead and add a bunch of races to the end of my season just for fun. I’m a pretty thrifty triathlete (is that a total oxymoron?), and I would race a lot more if those darn race entries weren’t so expensive. When our local half iron distance race announced that it would have a small prize purse for the overall finishers, I viewed it as an opportunity for a “free race” since I could try to win back the amount I paid in entry fees, so why not? Rookie move #1 – About 0.0% of my training this year has been targeted for half iron distance. That’s why not. Anyways, I decided to close out my season with a hilly half ironman and support a great local race.
This was a vastly different race approach for me. I usually go in to an olympic distance race thinking: there is no margin for error, leave it all out there, and squeeze every last bit of speed out of my swim, bike, run and transitions to get to that finish line. I don’t really “pace” myself during an olympic, unless you consider “suicide pace” an actual pace. Approaching this race at Savageman was different though.
Just returning from the longest road trip I’ve ever taken, let alone to a race, I have to say the hike out to Des Moines Iowa for the Hy-Vee 5150 triathlon age group championships was well worth it. It is a fantastic race atmosphere, energetic, orderly and organized. Thousands of athletes from first timers to age group elites to high profile pros all in one place. Very cool experience. We got to watch the majority of the pro race before the 5150 championship race started, and many of the pros hung around to greet the AGers when they were finishing. AND there was an ice cream truck at the finish line, what could be more perfect?!
After walking away empty handed after an excellent race at USAT Age Group National Championships in 2013, I immediately began planning my return for 2014 Nationals with the aim of earning a spot at ITU World Championships for 2015. On the long drive home from Milwaukee, my coach Jon and I talked strategy for the next year’s race, calculating how I would drop the 4 or 5 minutes needed to place high enough for a Worlds slot, which is top 25 in my 25-59 age group at Nationals. For those of you racing iron distance, maybe 5 minutes isn’t that significant. But in short course, 5 minutes is a serious chunk of time. One minute is a serious chunk of time for that matter, because going even one minute slower at a race like this likely means you’re about 5 spots down. I figured I had a good shot at coming in around 20th AG, but having a day where everything goes right vs everything goes wrong would likely be the difference between walking away with a spot at worlds.