Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Season is rolling....

The '16 season is underway! I've done one duathlon and two triathlons. Here's the quick rundown with a lesson or two.

Omaha Duathlon, April - I've always known that the key to doing well in a duathlon (run/bike/run) is to go easy on the first run. Well, at least stay in control. It's hard because everyone takes off like it's a 200m sprint. I was determined to not get crazy. I've never been able to "negative split" (run the 2nd half faster than the first) a duathlon with the two runs. 

The gun went off and I made myself stay in control and run according to my GPS watch the first 2.5 mile run. I came to the bike in 15th place overall. I was then able to pretty much go hard on the bike but still trying to not fry my legs with the 2nd run yet to come. Came off the bike in 3rd place. Made up 12 spots in the transitions and the bike.

Headed into the second run ready to see what I had. There were two guys behind me that are really good athletes and I didn't know how long I could hold them off. 

The closer athlete closed to within 10ft. of me and I was waiting for the pass to happen...but, somehow I was able to pick up the pace the last half mile and held 3rd overall for the finish. I ran the second 2.5 miles 30 seconds faster than the first one. I was thankful for a good, opening season race. 


Siouxperman Triathlon - Sioux Center, IA - This is a fun, sprint race in NW Iowa. The best I've finished is 4th and am usually about 6th. Swim was about what I'd planned for and hammered the bike. 7 miles straight into the wind and 7 miles back with it. Fly'in! Ran 6:45s for the 5K and finished 3rd overall. Thankful for a second decent race with no injuries.


Kansas City Sprint Triathlon, May - This is a much bigger race. 500yd. swim in a lake. Came out of the water with the time I had hoped for and jumped on the bike and took off. Rolling hills with one major climb would describe this course. Averaged 23.3 and started the run. 

It was hard to get going. Frustrated with my first mile time, I tried to pick it up and was quite a bit faster that mile. With a mile to go I felt strong and went even faster. Each mile was at least 30 seconds faster than the previous.

I finished 10th overall and 1st in my age group. Ultramax, who puts this race on, does a fantastic job with 2 t-shirts, a cool glass and huge medals. I'll be returning!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Losing Great Friends

On August 20th our great friends, Ty and Terri Schenzel were lost in a head-on crash on an interstate in S. Dakota. I had the honor of sharing at their funeral service. 3,200 packed into the church and thousands of others were watching on the live stream. I post this as a tribute to their inspirational lives, lived for the Glory of God and the benefit of others. I start sharing at the 4:05 minute mark of the video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SI4em2eUW8



I held up a baton at the end of my talk and encourage everyone to "pick up the baton" and to run their lap as Ty and Terri did, blazing it and amazing all who watched them run. When I race, I will, for a while, carry that baton. It'll seem strange in a triathlon because batons are not used in those races. But it will inspire me and perhaps prompt others to ask about it and I can then share with them about the Schenzels and the Hope Center For Kids that they started 17 years ago.


A Strange Kind of Season

This is an end of the season post. It’s been a strange one. Started out pretty well. Then I got hit by a truck while riding my bike on July 4th. Tried a couple of comebacks that were too soon. Did very little running the rest of the summer but ended up with a few good races.

Here are just a few highlights:

1 – I survived having a pickup truck pull right in front of me as I was cycling downhill at 25mph and hitting the front of it at an angle. The “angle” part is key. I ricocheted off of it, body and bike flying, bounced off the pavement and landed in the grass between the street and sidewalk. I could have been dead. I should have had a shatter left leg. I should have a completely blown-out knee. Instead, I walked away with 3 stitches and some road rash.
My helmet didn’t have a scratch on it. The impact pulled the cleat off the bottom of my shoe and yet my ankle/foot didn’t have a scratch. Yes, I believe in God and angels. Only explanation. My bike wasn’t even damaged. Miracle #2.

2 – Pre-crash, I did well at the Siouxperman Tri back in May with a 20:01 5K run off the bike early in the year. The week after I did the KC Sprint and got 7th overall and 1st in age group. Would have gotten 5th but ran right by the left hand turn to the finish line. Rookie mistake.

3 – The Norfolk, NE Tri was my last before the crash and took 2nd overall male there. And then…#1 above happened.
So I tried to come back running too soon. I discovered this when doing the Fall City Tri three weeks after the crash. I took first overall in that small race but limped in the last half mile with a calf strain. I then did the Omaha Aquathon (since no running was involved - 1,500m swim, 40K bike) and took first overall.

A few weeks later, after another calf strain due to not letting things heal completely, I did the Yankton, SD Tri. I was in 2nd place off the bike but was determined to just jog the run and not push it in the least. So, 11 guys ran by me and finished 12th overall and 2nd in my age group. VERY fast runners do that race.

I finished up this year with two good races. I took 3rd overall and 1st in my age group at the Des Moines Sprint Tri. My run was two minutes slower than the Siouxperman Tri way back in May. If not for the accident I’d have been duking it out for the overall win. I was super thankful though!

Last race was an Olympic distance tri and I knew my running was not even close to racing a 10K off the bike but hey, it’s the Lincoln (NE) Last Blast Tri so I’d have all Fall to heal up if needed. I had a solid swim in very wavy and windy conditions and very good bike on a very hilly course.  I started the bike in 5th place but slowly picked off the guys ahead of me one by one.

Then, I took the overall lead in the race at the 20 mile mark in the bike leg. Being first in and out of T-2 is a lot of fun. Trouble was, the person behind me was a 20 yr. old, very fast running kid who went by me at the 1.5 mile mark.  Somehow, battling through a tight hamstring and calf, I held on for 2nd overall and first in my age group. It’s tough spotting a “kid” 38 yrs. Ha.

I’m so thankful that this season somehow held together...kind of. I’m thinking about the next two seasons, since it was announced that the USA Triathlon National Age Group Championships will be right here in Omaha in ’16 and ’17. In ’17, I age up to the 60-64 (is that really true?) and will look to do very well.

Thanks to the following companies who have helped me tremendously this season:  Hoka One One, Hammer Nutrition, Zensah, Dual Eyewear, Fitletic, Barracuda, Valdora, Primal Sport Mud, Macks and XTERRA Wetsuits. They all make top-notch products!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Bit Of My Story - From Getting Cut...To, Making The Cut

 
Yeah, I was that kid. The kid who fell in love with sports or, more so, thrill of competition but, wasn't highly gifted. I tried hard but never played a varsity sport in high school. In fact, I got cut from the 8th grade basketball team, had one 8th grade wrestling match and lost 12-0 and scored one point the entire season in 9th grade basketball. It was a beautiful free throw though - should have seen it.

I worked hard at basketball in high school and played two years of JV. In one game as a sophomore, when taking the ball out of bounds to throw it in and start the game back up...instead of throwing the ball in...I took off dribbling in bounds, from out of bounds!! Why? No idea. My brain just snapped. The ref didn't know what to do. He's never seen anything like it. He just blew the whistle and yelled, "Hey, you can't do that!"

As a senior in a small NAIA college in Kentucky, I decided to go out for track having never run competitively in my life. Here's a tip - don't ever do that - don't go out for a sport as a senior that you've never attempted, unless you want to make a fool of yourself. At one large invitational at Eastern KY University, as I ran the two mile, (8 laps) I noticed the leaders getting pretty far ahead of me. Then they were so far ahead of me that they were actually, behind me! Oh no!! Probably in the history of track and field, no one had ever been lapped in an 8 lap race. Well, it happened. Embarrassed I crossed the finish line after everyone and still had a lap to run.

Fast forward 30+ years and I'm running once again. It's a 5K...that followed a swim and bike. There were 300 yards left to the finish. I was three feet behind the #1 ranked triathlete in the nation in my age group. I'd closed down what was about a 500 yard lead he had off the bike. It was the USA Triathlon National Championships in Burlington, VT. Just behind me, chasing me was a five-time National Champion and a silver medalist at Worlds. How did I get in this place? Seriously, I'm 300 yds. from becoming a National Champion in a legit US Championship?

After college I'd continued to run. 10Ks. Half-marathons, marathons and even a few ultramarathons. Then, I watched the Hawaiian Ironman on TV. Then I met a triathlete. Then I became one. I trained and raced for 20 years, swimming, biking, running and racing countless miles. From sprint distance to ironman distance, I loved ever minute and mile. I kept improving and getting faster even though I got older. I was setting PRs in my early 50s. And there I was...slowly but surely passing the #1 ranked triathlete in the nation. Though I was hurting more than ever, I found one more gear, beating him to the finish line becoming the National Champion at the sprint distance. The next year, on Team USA, I raced at the ITU Age Group World Championships in London and out of 95 guys from 50+ nations, I finished 6th, (first of 15 from Team USA.)

Hard work, passion, vision, staying teachable and a bit of natural gifting from God, have allowed me to accomplish more than I could have ever dreamed. If you'd told me after I got lapped in that track meet that someday, I'd be a National Champ and 6th in the World, well, I'd have told you that you were crazy.  

Hey, you...yeah you...what's your dream? Go for it. Give it your all because you just might be amazed at what you can do!!