Thursday, May 21, 2009

Race #2

My second race of the year was this past Sunday May 17th. Heading into the race I was still up in the air about my seasonal plans. I still could probably pull myself together by my A race in September which is the Black Diamond Half Ironman. I could also pull it back and do an Olympic that day or a few others if I wanted to. An additional option would be to do some sprints and work on my skills at the sport.

There is a lot more to the sport than running swimming and biking long distances. Most top pros started races many many times per year on short distances, progressed into the Olympic/International levels, made their names at half-Ironman and eventually had what it take to win Kona. Last year I skipped a few steps and slowly trudged my way through 2 halfs with a low level of success.

Doing the second race of the season was a perfect way for me to continue working on the sport even though my time is limited with the new baby. I hadn't really trained much other than a few swims and a few runs, but since it was a sprint, the distances are not a problem.

The race was a tiny tiny field at my home gym, but hey, it's triathlon. Not every race needs to be Kona. Perfect place for me to work on the sport for the sake of the sport.

My swim was excellent. I came out of the water 2nd out of ten. I focused this time on going slow and pacing myself. I had plenty of energy at the end and was able to kick it nicely on my final lap. The bike was easier than before and I went faster than before, while pushing more power. I held my position, hydrated well and got myself ready for the run. The run was a quick two miles on an outdoor, dirt track. The footing stunk, and my first lap or so as always was difficult. But I settled down and went kicked it decently as I finished.

My times really mean nothing because of the way the race was set up but I averaged about a 1:36 in the pool per 100. That might be my best swim so far and while it is not very fast, I merely wanted to swim smooth and position myself for the rest of the race.

Moving forward, I am back in full gear for the season. Sprint races work well for this year because I can skip a workout and not worry about my race condition. I can miss a week for travel, or family, and not freak out. I can race close to my house and not worry about hotels, parking, race checkins, and whatnot. And, just like Sunday, my Saturday night can be all messed up and it will not force me to toss and turn all night. I have other races in June, July, August and most likely September so I will get plenty of work in this summer. I will also be doing some 5K runs and perhaps a long, 2 day bike weekend if time permits.

My bike is still of course my Achilles heel but I am working through it. I plan on getting out there much more and working in the saddle. More on that later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Race #1 and Baby Girl #3

April 19th was my first race of the year. Most spring races in the places where I have lived have been indoor. The water is just too cold and the weather in unpredictable. Since my January high, my February low, and my March rest, I had done a few workouts but nothing major. I had been focusing on work and family. The race was a layup because it was at my gym, it was short and was using a stationary bike.

I fully expected to have the baby before the race so I was a minute by minute decision. I woke up that morning, grabbed my gear and headed off. I took a couple gels, a six pack of Gatorade, and my swimsuit. Other than that no prep. The swim was 400 yds, bike was 8 mile on a trainer, followed by a 2 mile run.

I am always nervous about the bike. I had not been in the saddle since January and felt a little uneasy. I got a decent warmup on the swim. When the gun went off I pushed off like my life depended on it. At 200 yds, I was totally out of gas. I felt like someone was pulling on my suit. I finished the leg in second place but I was pretty tired and a little dizzy.

The bike was 32 minutes of boredom. My only goal was to stay in a good gear, avg about 16 mph and get off the darn thing. I lost some ground to some folks on the bike. With a two mile run, there is pretty much no hope to catch anyone so I finished nicely at around 17 minutes and was satisfied with my times of around 6:45, 32:30, and 17:00.

The victory here was that I got off my butt and did the race, as small as it was. In addition, I was totally pumped by the day itself. It felt great to do a short, doable race to get my blood flowing and heartrate up. It was a tremendous boost to come out of the water before most of the field. Overall a real success.

The next day baby #3 came, healthy and everyone is doing very well. I absolutely love being a Dad and would welcome many more. It had been a long, challenging 9 months and I was just thankful the pressure had been lifted off my wife physically and we can begin the next chapter. The first month has been a little tiring but I have been able to squeeze a few runs in with th kids and a few swims. I will follow up tomorrow with a report on Race #2 and some thoughts on where I am headed this year and next.