Saturday, May 29, 2010

USAT Holiday Lake Triathlon - Brooklyn, IA - Racing For Money!

I did this race last year, the first year it was held. Got 4th overall and of course, they paid cash to...the top three. $250, $125 and $75. So, I had a goal of getting a bit of cash if possible, depending on who showed up, which is often what race finishes come down to.

My Dad drove out with me the three hours into Iowa Sat. afternoon May 15. We checked into the motel, drove out to the lake, checked in and scoped out the course. Having raced this course last year I knew it had the hardest 5K run course I'd ever seen in 30+ years of racing. My Dad couldn't believe it as we drove up one steep hill and down the other side, one after another - relentless.

Bite of dinner, then back to the motel...only to discover...I'd left my tri bag with all my my garage at home. 7:45pm. Ouch. Called my wife and asked her to start driving east on I-80 across Iowa and told her I'd drive west. So, after driving 3.5 hours so far, I drove another hour and 45 min. to meet Jen, get the bag, then 1:45 back arriving at the motel at 11:15pm. NOT the way I'd planned to spend the evening.

Race morning was cloudy with a little drizzle that stopped well before the race. We held a short pre-race chapel for those who wanted a bit of encouragement and inspiration before jumping into the water. The race director was support of this and even attended. The men all went into the water in one heat. Water was about 60 but it didn't feel that bad. Settled into a steady but strong stroke and exited the water 5th. Headed out onto the bike in 4th, slowly moved to 3rd and played leapfrog with one other guy for 2nd and 3rd almost the whole bike. Windy and hilly out there. Was in 3rd, close to 2nd, but with about a mile to go the cyclist ahead of me pulled away and hit T2 about 30 second ahead of me.

Quick trasition and started chasing that guy up the first hill which you hit immediately out of T2. Not wanting to pull a calf or something I chugged up the hill and let him open up a 20 yd. lead or so. At the top of the first hill is the only flat part of the entire run course. I notice the 2nd place guy had a very smooth stride with a beautiful, high back kick - looked like an 800m runner. I really thought he'd just pull away but I started to open up and just tried to keep the distance what it was.

I was surprised to find that I was slowly reeling him in and when we hit the 1/2 way turn around I was right behind him. We were running all out and on that course, man, it hurt. My heel bruise was also starting to hurt a lot. Made the mistake of running in racing flats instead of trainers which would have offered much more protection for my heel. The downhills were murder on it.

I took the lead with about 3/4 of a mile to go - 2nd place - $125 was mine if I could hold it. The first place guy was about a minute ahead of us. With about 400m to go my opponent came around me and blew the doors off me - like I was standing still. He took second, I got third and the $75, which paid for the gas I burned on this trip. Found out later he ran track in college and was the Conference champ in the 5,000m all four years. No wonder he had a kick. He was 8 yrs. younger and the winner was 13 yrs. younger than me.

I was thankful to the Lord for getting third, having a good trip with my dad and having my gas paid for :) This will probably be an annual race for me as it's a lot of fun, is run really well...and it offers money!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Race Report - 6th Overall In The Scenic City Tri - Chattanooga, TN

Hey Everyone - after a week of no workouts due to travel from Omaha to Chattanooga and helping my mother-in-law for 3.5 days, eating way too much fast food, and, nursing a heel bruise - I had been limping around all week...well, my expectations for the USAT Scenic City Tri just north of Chatt. were not high. I felt flat, slow and pudgy. Horrible storms last Saturday gave way to a beautiful Sunday morning though, perfect for racing.

I went out in the second wave - 40 and older males, and had an decent swim in my Barracuda goggles and very fast Xterra Vector Pro wetsuit. Was well fueled with my Hammer Nutrition products. Felt just a bit rusty even though it had only been a week since working out. Tried to hammer the very hilly bike course on my Valdora PHX yet still have something left for the run. I came off the bike and headed out on the run not knowing if the heel bruise would let me run even 1/2 a mile. It hurt but was not debilitating. Right away someone tried to pass me and was flying, so I thought I'd run just off his shoulder for as long as I could. We must have gone through the first mile in 5: something. I finally pulled away from him and held him off on the hilly run course.

After the race, chip timing said I'd finished 4th overall, first Master over 40. So, I took that award home. Now they have another set of results posted and it shows me 6th. The guy who won is listed as 2nd. Not sure what's up with that... However, I was thrilled to learn I had the 2nd fastest run split of the day. The 5 guys (or 3???) who beat me were between 12 years and 35 years younger than me. It was truly a blessed morning and I'm very thankful to the Lord for that and give Him the glory.

Also, I'm super thankful for you all, your companies, products and services and the help you have given and are giving me with my training and racing. So far this year I've got a 5th Overall and a 6th (or 4th?) Overall in two triathlons, both age group wins, and one 1st Overall in a 5K. Next race, the USAT sanctioned Holiday Lake Triathlon in Iowa in 3 weeks.

5K Road Race - first RR in 10+ years

On Saturday morning, April 17th I did something I hadn't done in more than a decade. I did a road race. I used to do these all the time in the 80s and 90s but it's been just triathlons the last 10+ years. There were two other races in town that day so I didn't know what the competition would be like. Thought it might be a bit thin...

200 total were signed up for 5K and also a one mile walk. I would guess there were 120 in the 5K. The course was out and back starting/finishing at the Alegent Health Care place one mile from my house - basically into and out of a subdivision. The first 3/4s of the first mile was downhill with the wind. Four of us formed a pack leading the way. We went through the first mile in the high 5:00s I would guess - probably 5:50 or something like that. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt. At the turn around it was down to one kid in his 20s and me. I opened up a 20 yd. lead on him by the bottom of the climb back up to the start.

I had two chances to look back at right-hand turns to see if was closing on me. I leaned forward, shortened my stride, "chugged" with my arms and tried to power up that long hill. Once at the top I had about 300 yds. to the finish and I saw that I'd opened up about 50 yds. on him so I backed off and cruised in. I won by 30 seconds in 19:30. That time will not win many 5Ks that's for sure, but I was happy with it in that I'd done no speed work at all except for one sprint tri a few weeks before and hadn't done a road race in years. I think the fact that there were 3 races in town on the same morning spread out a lot of competition because again, 19:30 will not usually win 5Ks.

Only bad thing was I came away with what I think is heel bruise and it's hurt now for two weeks so I'm only doing deep water running right now. Several member of my family came to watch the start and finish of this race and drove to the 1/2 way point to cheer for me which was great. Getting a win with them there was extra special and I was very thankful to the Lord for it.