Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Comeback Race

Now I know all 5 blog readers have probably been wondering what the hell I have been doing with my time over the past 4-5 months, so allow me to present you with this: Tomorrow marks the day where I finally toe the starting line again. The last time I had pre-race nerves, the excitement of competing, mentally going through my race plans, crunching numbers, and watching all of my hard work come full circle on race morning was the Boston Marathon back in April. Needless to say a lot has been going on in my life since then, both in sport and out of sport. Let’s start with in sport, seeing how this blog is usually focused on my lack luster training/racing. The lead up to the Boston marathon training was on point. My long runs were held between 6:50-7:25 pace, my weekly mileage was right on target based on the 3:1 standpoint, and I was eager to race. A week before Boston, I had been diagnosed with strep throat and everything came crashing down. I was flat race morning, it was hot, I could barely my 4 mile run two days before the race, however I was happy to of qualified; therefore I would run. I finished with an upsetting 3:20, when I truly believed I was in sub-3 shape. A series of misfortunes led me to a race that left me hurting for weeks. Once the recovery that followed the Boston Marathon subsided, I felt no need to hop into triathlons. I was eager to enjoy life. I had put so much into my training the years prior, sure I was somewhat successful, won a few races, became an “Ironman”, made some great memories, but I knew what kind of hours I put in in order to achieve those goals, and I wasn’t ready to put that kind of effort into my training this summer. I had a different goal = exercise without a schedule/plan, enjoy life, and find a job. I am happy to say, sitting on my couch in Bradford Vermont three months later I did all three of those things. Instead of working my ass of swim, biking, and running, I put that effort into finding a teaching job. I had a new love, and a new dream and I wanted to chase it. I always secretly wanted to try life on my own(pre-Catie era), in a different area, explore a new setting, culture, community. Now some of you are saying, “How the heck does the culture in Vermont vary that much from New York?” I can’t do it justice explaining it, so I would have to offer up the advice to come here and check it out. You’ll see what I am saying. People in Vermont would give you the shirt right off their back, in the middle of winter, if it meant they would freeze, and you could go along on your merry way. Generosity in Vermont is something people don’t think about, they just do it. So in retrospect to my life now, I love my job, I love teaching physical education, I do miss home, friends, family, and Catie. Now back to the reason I write this blog, my mediocre racing/training. So as I was saying after Boston the spark wasn’t there. I was suffering from a calf strain and running no longer became an option. Walking was a chore, biking was bearable, but running was out of the question, and it is hard to swim when you don’t have time nor a pool that is open when you’re free. So I decided to become one of those weekend warriors. I would ride on the weekends, lift during the week and just watched what I consumed. I didn’t gain weight; I didn’t lose weight, and by no means was I fit. After a month of this nonsense, schooling ended and I went home for the summer. I decided to get back into slowly, so I offered to teach a few spinning classes, rode my bike 4-5 times a week and began running again. After running for a week or two I was doomed by a high ankle sprain due to trampoline antics. Let me tell you, if you have kids, never let them go on those madhouses. Nothing good ever comes with those stupid death traps. After free falling 10 feet in the air and landing right on my ankle I found myself in a room at immediate care. With my ankle 3-4x’s the normal size I knew this couldn’t end up well. The days following my ankle turned into a replica of Barney’s ankle; massive in size and purple. The doctor told me I couldn’t exercise at all for 2-3 weeks, and run for 3-4 months. I was going to go insane, so I started teaching spin classes a week later, found the beauty of the elliptical, and when I could fit my cycling shoes on my foot I went for a ride. I had no time goals, no regiment to steer my training, just me and my own day to day aspirations. I enjoyed not having to wake up at 4:30am to go for a dip in UB’s pool, I enjoyed not having to worry about how I would fit my 4 hours of training in before and after my 8 hour work day, or how I could squeeze out of the bar by 10:30 without having a lick of alcohol. I lived that life the past 2-4 years and I was over it this time around. Between the injuries and the “not-caring” I didn’t compete in one running race, one triathlon, or one scheduled workout the entire summer. I enjoyed my time, I enjoyed seeing my friends, I enjoyed not having to worry about crunching power numbers. Now that summer has past, the notion to do nothing has settled. After being semi-forced into this race by a coworker, I am proud to announce that tomorrow I will be racing my first race since April. The Chad Half Marathon in Hanover, New Hampshire will be my “comeback” race. No I am not Lance Armstrong, there is no 2.0, or doping scandal for that matter (though I still fully back him due to his contributions to cancer research through the LiveSTRONG charity) I am a 22 year old man trying to get back to that form I once knew. I haven’t trained overly hard for this race as I wasn’t supposed to start running until the end of September, but I do go into tomorrow’s race with pure excitement. I will not win, I will not even come in the top 100, I may not even break 2 hours, hell they may have to roll me to the finish line, but I do know I will have fun doing it. The rush of racing will be back tomorrow. I will line up with a smile on my face, and I will finish with a smile on my face. I am there to have fun, not race. I am hoping this sparks my interest in racing/training again. If it does great, if not I will continue to ride, run and swim but just not as dedicated. There is more than life to triathlon, and after three years I finally figured out what those things were. We all go through the lows and the highs, but it is about finding a balance between a hobby and life. Triathlon is not my life anymore nor will it ever be again. I will continue to push myself everyday, but maybe in will be in the realm of teaching and not in the pool. Maybe I will strive to become a better boyfriend and not a better form runner. Perhaps I will dedicate more time to cleaning my house, rather than cleaning my bike. Everyone has a goal and a dream, whether it be crossing the line first, or being the best friend, sister, brother, coworker, mom, dad, teacher possible. Chase your dream(s), because remember: “Don’t lose the dreams inside your head They’ll only be there til you’re dead Dream” - Dave Matthews
So if your uncertain, sign up for a race, train, give it a whirl, if the bug bites you go for it; If not keep fit, exercise and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Boston Marathon

It all started at 5:15am when the alarm went off. I knew I was in for a tough, yet fun day running through the streets of Boston and its surrounding suburbs. After a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, I was headed for the subway to catch the shuttle bus to the starting line. Luckily for me at 5:40am, the streets are pretty quiet and the only other people really walking around were fellow marathoners. Once I got on the subway, hundreds of runners were all headed the same direction, so I just followed along. When we finally got off the subway and into the streets of Boston, it was a sight to take in; Thousands of runners waiting patiently in line to catch the buses to the Hopkinton. I quickly sparked a conversation with a guy who was running the Boston Marathon barefoot. He was an interesting character who was very full of life and doing it all to raise money for kids without shoes in Africa. I later saw him barely upright with his feet looking in rough shape around mile 23. I hope he did what he set out to do.

After waiting for about 20 minutes I caught a bus to the start, where athlete’s village awaited me. I sat next to a very eccentric gentleman who loved the whole Boston experience, and offered me tons of advice for my first Boston Marathon (this was his 8th). He easily told me his own race plan about five times, going mile by mile, and eventually I just wanted off that bus. Once we pulled into Athlete’s Village it was a sea of runners walking and laying around Hopkinton school grounds. There were people every which way you look and it was a sight I’ll always remember. People brought everything plus the kitchen sink to pass the time and make sure they were comfortable waiting around until the start. Unfortunately with such a big race there is a lot of waiting time before the gun actually goes off. For me it was a 2.5 hour wait so I decided to take off my coat and make a little place for me to lay and take a load off until the race began. Athlete’s Village makes you feel very at home because they offer you bagels, bananas, Powerbars, coffee, Gatorade, sunscreen, Body Glide, yoga mats to sleep on, and anything else you could possibly need to stay calm and comfortable before the 26.2 mile trek to Boston. Once 9am came around they started shuttling people off to the start. I got up and made the .75 mile walk to the starting line.

Once the volunteers shuttled us off into the starting gates they made note that it was already 80 degrees at 9:45am! It was hotter than hot and we hadn’t even stepped a foot onto the official Boston marathon course. The race announcer offered warning after warning, telling us to slow down, walk, drinks lots of water and if you didn’t feel good to drop out. Also for the first time in 10 years, the race director made an announcement stating the same thing. Take your time; it is no longer a race but an experience. I decided the night before after receiving email after email warning us about the weather and having strep throat a mere 5 days before the race, that I would take my time, enjoy the race, and just have a good time on the course. Once the gun finally went off at 10am the “race” started.

Seeing the thousands of spectators within the first mile, I knew right away this race was going to be like no other. The streets were lined with kids, parents, college students, and family members of those running. Kids were sticking out their hands in hopes of a high five, people were offering water, oranges, and signs flooded the streets. Once mile 2 came around the heat was already starting to take its toll on me and the other runners. People had already slowed their pace and some even started to walk up some of the hills. I couldn’t believe it at first, but those runners were probably smart to do so. Chugging through the first 5k in 20:XX I was happy where my pace was. I was shooting for an overall time of 3:15-3:30 due to the heat so I was a bit ahead of schedule at this point, but I knew the first 5k was the easiest section of the whole course, so I wanted to bank a little time. By the time I got to mile five I was hot, sweaty and in need of water. I started grabbing 2-3 cups per station and began dumping them all over myself. My shirt was drenched with water and it was completely necessary because by the time I got to the next water station my shirt had dried. That’s how hot it was out there. The one thing that got me through the miles was the fans and the little kids looking to rack up as many high fives as possible. The people crowding the streets helped so much handing out their own water and cut up oranges. This race hosts such a history and to see a town/city embrace it as well as Boston does was an honor to be a part of. Once I hit the 10k mark I was really starting to overheat and I needed to slow my pace a few seconds per mile if I wanted to finish upright. At this point people were walking all the hills and taking in everything the crowd had to offer. I decided to pop a gel in and get some energy in me. That gel allowed me to float the next two miles and once the nine mile mark hit I was feeling the best I probably had all day. My legs were finally under me and I was ready to finally start my race, but the weather wasn’t going to allow me run a fast race. I just kept a 7-7:20 min/per mile pace and moved on forward. By this time the streets where lined with people two to three deep. They were cheering as loud as they possibly could and boy were they helping out. I said after the race was over that if this was any other race I wouldn’t have finished because I took so much from the crowd and the energy they were giving the runners kept everyone going. After I hit the 12th mile, the Wellesley college girls were out in full force. The Wellseley girls are a historic part of this course, and everyone always talks about how these girls were crazy and always looking to “kiss” a runner. Going through Wellesley College was an amazing feeling and mile 12-13 was non-existent in my eyes.

Once I hit the half way point I did a quick look down at my watched and saw 1:32:32, 8 minutes slower than I had originally anticipated. At this point of the race I was actually happy with that split given the conditions. I made it a goal to take the rest of this race mile by mile and not to look too far ahead. The next few miles were a blur of water, ice, popsicles, oranges, and Gatorade. I took everything in and was just trying to make it to the next mile. I could feel my sickness starting to take its toll because breathing was now becoming a labor of love. Once I got to mile 19, if it weren’t for the massive crowds lining the streets I probably would have pulled out. I felt like death and my legs were completely finished. I had 7 miles to go and I knew it was going to be a rough run to the finish. When I saw the 20 mile marker I was ecstatic that I had made it this far in the heat, and was hoping the next 10k wasn’t going to be a walk fest. By this time people were walking left and right, and it honestly looked like an Ironman marathon. People were barely shuffling their feet and you could tell the heat was hurting everyone out. I told myself that I would walk up Heartbreak hill just to catch a little break, but I was half way up it before I even knew I was running it. I heard someone say we were on Heartbreak Hill and to take it all in! Once I found out I was half way up the historic hill, I made it a goal to get up the hill, running, not walking. Around mile 23 I spotted Boston College and those kids pushed me through 23 onto 24. I slapped hands with the over excited college kids, many of which were drunk at this point. It gave me goose bumps to have them cheering you on like some kind of rock star, but unfortunately that quickly wore off because come mile 24.5 came I had moved to a walk. My thighs and calves were burning so bad it felt like knives were being stabbed into my thighs with each step I took. The hills had defeated me for the time being. I had to walk. There was no way I could continue on running. I ran/walk the next .7 miles and once I got onto Boylston Street the crowd was electric. Thousands upon thousands of people, 5 deep were cheering the runners on. I ran down Boylston hoping my legs wouldn’t give out as I would have taken a mean spill in front of thousands. I wanted to just stop for a moment in time, take a mental picture of that final stretch and forever keep in the memory bank. I have dreamt of this moment since I started running 2 miles a day six years ago. I was full of emotion, but at this point I wanted out of the heat and off of my legs. So I ran as fast as I could (which was probably a fast walk) down the street and once I got to the finish line I raised my hands in victory and gave that infamous silent fist pump.

I walked through the finisher’s area collecting the food, drinks and medal which I rightfully earned. After that I meet up with my parents and Catie and we headed back to the hotel via subway. Overall the Boston Marathon had to of been my favorite race in a long time. The people were unreal, the crowd support was second to none, and just being there, engulfed in the history was an experience I’ll never forget. I hope one day everyone gets the honor and opportunity to run the Boston Marathon as it is an experience nobody could ever forget. From start to finish the crowd will make you feel like the most important person in the world, and that YOU are the day’s hero. I will be forever grateful for running the hottest Boston Marathon in its 116 year history. For now it’s time to eat that Easter candy that’s been gazing me in the eyes for the past week. Cheers to all and just remember that if you say “I wish I could do that” remember where I came from 6 years ago, and rethink what’s possible. Anything is achievable you just need to put your mind to it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Muskoka 70.3

So I fully understand this race write-up is extremely late, but I figured better late than never right? First off I must mention a few names because without them this race wouldn’t have been possible. Mostly Kevin and Pat from Tri-Spot. A week before the race, my rear race wheel went haywire and it was unusable for Muskoka. This was the first panic attack I had pre race. I contacted Kevin and he told me not to worry he will lend me a disc to use for the race. Phew problem #1 solved, now on to problem #2. I had no wheel to train on so I sent out a message to all Rochester triathletes in hope of finding a wheel I could train on for the next two to three weeks. Low and behold the nicest guy of them all, Travis, sends me a text message saying he has one I can borrow for the time being. This guy is a class act, and probably the most amusing person to watch at a race. Problem #2 solved, now onto the next. On the Monday before the race I had a scheduled 90 minute ride to carry-out. Unfortunately it rained that day, but I decided to brave the weather and go out for my planned ride. I took the corners slowly and rode within the weather conditions. As I was finishing up my ride, I was making the final turn into my apartment complex and BAM! to the ground I went. My back tire spun out and I found myself lying on the ground with road rash on my hip, knee, and lower leg. I laid there for a minute and thought “Really? A week away and I crash my bike?” I looked at my hip and knee and noticed it was swollen so I hobbled home, showered and laid a bag of Broccoli on it. I decided to play it smart and take the next day off because I could barely walk without it being in too much pain. On Wednesday I opted to swim and ride for an hour. I could barely push of the wall without my knee hurting, and luckily for me the riding was too bad. I knew at this point I couldn’t run, so I waited until Friday to see what I could do. I ran 4 miles on Friday and it was brutal. I hobbled four miles on the treadmill, got off and iced the heck out of my knee. I didn’t want to think about it anymore so I just said “Do what you can on Sunday.”

When I went to go pick up my wheel from Tri Spot, Pat told me my bike was a bit out of whack from the crash. He then worked on it for an hour before handing it over(Thanks again!). My mom, dad, Catie and myself left for Muskoka on Friday and if anyone has ever been in Canada, you know how much the traffic sucks over there. “Rush hour” is every hour up north, and to get anywhere it takes double the time it should. Finally around 6p.m. we arrived in Muskoka. After checking in at the hotel, and picking up my athlete packet it was off to dinner. Saturday consisted of rest, ice, and tons of food. I am pretty sure I ate everything in sight on Saturday from muffins, to bagels, to pasta. It was a glorious feast, and come Saturday night I was ready to race.

Luckily for me after starting pretty much every race this year in the last wave, Muskoka was kind to me and allowed for the young guns to head out with the male pro’s. Unfortunately I cannot hang with the big boys for the 1.2 mile swim, so I was alone for the entire swim. The swim course is a funky looking rectangle, with the swim ending right near the 18th hole on the golf course. My sighting was pretty on point until I was coming into the bay (finish area). I was swimming and spotting every sixth stroke and with my goggles starting to fog it became harder to see. As I was swimming into the finishing area, a kayaker told me to head over to my left. I thought I was doing pretty well, but she told me I was off course. I then spotted the lead female pro, which started six minutes back, so I got a draft from her and swam straight to the finish in a time of 33:45. For me that time isn’t too bad, but I was hoping for 32ish minutes. Once I exited the swim it was a 300 meter run literally uphill to the transition area. At this point my heart rate was through the roof so I decided to ease into the bike. I grabbed my shoes, bike, strapped on the helmet and set out for the 58.5 mile ride (yes, the course is 4km long).

The Ironamn Muskoka 70.3 bike course is like no other. It is constant climbing up and down for the entire 94km. This bike course will make a man (or woman) out of you if you haven’t put in the proper training. Seeing how the biggest hill near Wheatfield is about 1 mile long, the only way to hill train was to ride up and down that stupid hill for an hour straight. I became great friends with that Route 93 hill over the summer months, and I still struggled with this ride. Riding a disc wheel for the first time ever was quite exciting, though I as nervous on the downhill segments, because I was topping out at 55mph. It was wicked scary. The ride was steady and I felt pretty good throughout the whole thing. I knew the two kids in my age group who were the top contenders were not out of reach when it came to the bike, so I knew I had to ride hard in order to catch them. No surprise but they were out of the water before me by about two minutes so this ride was my chance to catch them. I passed a kid in my age group within the first few miles, and played the cat and mouse game with another kid for about 5 miles before I took the lead. I was in fourth place at about 60km into the bike. At this point Amanda Lovato passed me and she was cooking! Around 65km I saw a kid in my age group who was struggling on the climbs, so I decided to play it cool on the downhill, gain some energy and burn him on the next ascent. About 3km later I caught him and I was now riding in third. I believe at this point of the race I was unofficially 13th overall (other age groupers were riding faster than me, but technically “behind me”.) I had two more boys to catch but just didn’t have the legs to do so. By the 80km my knee was starting to get stiff and it was time to get off of the bike and stretch it out. The final 10km is brutal. There are some of the steepest climbs I have ever been on. I heard one competitor say one of the hills was a 21% grade! That’s crazy by any standards. Once I arrived back in T2 I was pissed at my overall time. 3:27:xx. (2:50 bike split) I needed to run a sub 1:30 on a hard course, with a bum knee, in order to beat my 2009 time. I was starting to punch the numbers and realize this was going to be a difficult task. I ran out of T2 in 36 seconds, right next to the 3rd overall female. I ran about the same pace as her for the first 4km and decided to pass her and try to keep her behind me for the entire run.

Going into this run my goal was to finish this race with nothing left in the tank. As I started to make up ground on those who passed me on the bike, I decided to shut my thoughts about my knee out and just go for it. I was running strong up the hills, and taking it safe on the down hills. I passed the three 25-29Agers who had passed me on the bike. As we were heading back into town I volunteer told me I was “flying to the finish”. Believe it or not I felt the same way. I was light on my feet and ticking away the kilometers one at a time. This lasted for about 6km and then I hit the wall HARD. Around `14km there was a person laying on the side of the course with a volunteer hovering over him. He did not look good at all, and seemed to have been done for the day. I noticed he was in my age group and felt horribly that he had to end his day prematurely. With that racer out of the race, I know knew I was in second place, but was unsure on how far back I was on the 1st place guy. Around 18km I meet up with the lead 25-29Ag and we ran together for the next 3km. Around mile 12 I hit a wall and hit it hard. The final mile is literally all up hill and I knew I was hurting and hurting bad. I decided to pop in a GU for the final mile and hope it would get me to the finish, and fast. Luckily the caffeine worked and I ran strong to a 4:56 finish. Good enough for a 27th overall and I was the 15th amateur. After the race my parents, Catie and I sat around in anticipation hoping a slot would fall my way. Unfortunately the first place 18-24 took the Vegas spot so I came home disappointed and let down as I did not accomplish my ultimate goal.

Now that my 2011 season is pretty much finished, it's time to relax, run a bit, ride a bit, and swim a bit, and eat a ton. My goal is to get back into the swing of things by mid-october because I have one goal and one goal and that is to FINALLY Qualify for Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I’ll be back next year and ready to finally earn that coveted spot!

A quick thanks to Tri-Spot, Brooks for their awesome running shoes, Kevin and Pat, Caite for putting up with my antics, and most of all my parents. They make everything possible, traveling costs, hotel, and most of all SUPPORT.
Cheers to a great 2011 season, time to get fat and start marathon training for BOSTON!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Amica Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island. Nestled between the ocean, Massachusetts and Connecticut, its known for its patriotism, huge mansions and seafood. Although I didn’t get to experience all of these novelties, I did get to enjoy 70.3 miles of water, hills, and pavement. My 2011 schedule had a big focus on this race in hopes of having a fast race, and possible qualification to the World Championships. I didn’t know too much about the overall competition, but I did know there was a pretty deep field in my age group. There were some names that stood out in my age group, and I knew I would have to have a flawless race to beat them; needless to say it didn’t happen.

Arriving mid-Friday day, my parents, Catie and myself, checked into to our hotel, then headed over to Ironman village at the convention center. Right then and there was when it became surreal. Competing in a race of this magnitude always gets the juices flowing, and excitement takes over the body. I was excited to be there, and more excited to race. I had put in a lot of training and preparation for this particular race and I hoped to receive the results I was looking for. Although this last month of training has been less than spectacular, I thought I had built a solid base over the winter months. A lot of long, boring trainer rides, along with some long boring treadmill runs, and finally countless laps in Brockport’s disgusting pool. Friday night consisted of driving, and eating. We walked around the Newport area and this particular area flaunted its patriotism with multiple flags hanging from every household, red, white and blue painted road, and a July fourth parade. As Saturday came, it was more driving around to the swim start to drop off the bike and run gear, along with attending the athlete meeting. At this meeting I found out that the water would be over eighty degrees and that meant all wetsuits would be banned. I let out a silent (or not so silent) “SHIT!”. If you do not know the gains of utilizing a wetsuit during a swim, take it from a nonswimmer; it works wonders! The buoyancy it gives the body makes it seem like you are coasting on top of the water. It almost is comparable to gliding on ice. It is a huge gain when they are allowed and a huge loss when they are banned. After hearing this news I knew there was nothing I could do in my power, unless I had 5 tons of ice I could drop in Olney pond to cool it down overnight. That night Catie and I walked around Providence and Federall Hill. We hit up the largest mall I’ve ever seen (not by my choice) and took in the sounds and the sights. It was early to bed that night as Sunday would be an early one.

Sunday morning came, and it was an early 3:30 wakeup call as this race started at 6 am. My first thought was, some party goers will be just crawling into their beds right now. This was too early even for me, but the alarm went off and the room got up, no questions asked. Catherine, my rents, and I loaded into the car and drove off to the Amica Headquarters where we would then catch a shuttle bus to Lincoln Woods state park. Once we arrived I had a whole twenty minutes to get my transition area settled and get on to the starting line. Unfortunately my wave was the last wave so I had a lot of standing around to do before the race. The pro field began at 6 and I went off at 7:10, and waiting that hour made the nerves rise more and more. I was restless to start my day. Being a non-wetsuit swim I was unsure of how fast or slow my time was going to be, so I said “less than 37 minutes and I’d be content.” Once our wave was corralled the gun went off and the boys hit the water. I lined myself up right with the turn buoy that way my sighting would come easy. As soon as I hit that first turn buoy I was absolutely blinded by the sun. I couldn’t see a damn thing and I knew I was going to steer off course. I tried to stay with the lead pack of swimmers for as long as I could but they dropped me within the first ten minutes. I was lost, way lost, and I was hoping that I could stay close to the course. After finally hitting the second turn buoy I had gone a bit off course and needed to make up some time on the back stretch. Settling and being able to see are both wonderful things when it comes to performing an open water swim. I spotted the exit and headed straight for it. I came out in 36:XX so I was content with that. Knowing if I could see and if I could wear a wetsuit I would have been better off, and believe it or not I was 20th out of the water in my age group of 60+ so that’s not too shabby.

Once out of the water I hit T1 and got out there as fast as I could. I hadn’t ridden this bike course before, but reading online forums of people who had, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. The first 30-40 miles were rolling hills, a constant up and down. The hills were relentless and when the final ten miles came, it was the worst roads I had ever been on. Picture downtown Niagara Falls, you know the one’s with the pot holes you can take a bath in when it rains? Yeah, it was that bad. Between bumps which protruded about six inches in the middle of the road, and the pot holes which could have been meteorite sightings, I was slower than slow the last ten miles. I don’t think I was in aero position the entire time, and I was grasping the bars so tight I thought I was going to snap them in half. Luckily for me I am as strong as a newborn so my handlebars lived to ride another day. Overall my bike split was borderline embarrassing. I couldn’t believe how slow I rode. I can blame the roads all I want (which I still know if it weren’t for those last ten miles I could have taken off at least 2-5 minutes) my split was bad. 2:42:XX averaging 20.7 mph. I wanted to be in the 21.7-22.1 range and I was nowhere near that. I guess I know what desperately needs work.

Coming into T2 I knew I would need a killer run to revive this race. Up until this point my race was sinking fast. I wanted to break 4:45 and I would need a 1:23 half marathon to do so. On a course like this, that was impossible for me. The first couple of miles were long, never-ending hills which took the wind right out of my sails. It was hot, like 90 degrees hot. At every aid station it was grab as much as I could and cool myself down with mode; sponges, water, I am pretty sure I ever doused myself in Ironman Perform. That was a sticky situation. Once I came to the first turnaround, I knew I would be running downhill and needed to make up some time so I took the hills and ran with them (literally). I finally settled in between miles 4-7 and then, being a two-loop course I would be welcomed with that same two mile hill as the first loop. I ran the hill faster the second time around and was ready to get my butt to the finish line. By this time the sun was high-noon, and you could tell because there were hundreds of athletes walking by now. Everyone looked like they had just seen the devil and wanted out. I kept moving past the fellow athletes and before I knew it, there was only two miles left to go. I saw a kid in my age group who seemed to be struggling a bit so I made it a goal to pass him before the finish line. With about a mile and a half to go, I went for it and ran past him. I congratulated him on a solid race, as he did back to me. With the last 200-400 meters being straight uphill I was relieved to see Catie, my mom and dad, waiting for me in that sun. They looked as tired as I was. I always say spectating is just as hard as racing. They have to worry, track, and stand countless hours while we prance around in spandex and look like cavemen or women taking in GU”s, bars, and hydration. I ran the 13.1 miles in 1:2828 which for this course I would consider pretty good. I finished the race in 4:50:51, 89th overall and 7th in my age group. I cannot lie to myself and say I had a “good race”, because I didn’t. My swim was slow, and my bike was despicable. There is work that needs to be done, but for now I have decided to take a complete week off, recharge the batteries and get ready for the second half of the season. I have a few more triathlons to go, and possibly a half marathon and a marathon. We shall see where the wind takes me over the next few months. I know I will be racing the Wilson Wet and Wild triathlon, along with the Ironman Muskoka 70.3 in hopes of qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. For now, its time to hit the pool and grind the gears because Muskoka is-a-calling.