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May 23, 2012

Chrissie Wellington in STL

Chrissie Wellington in STL

4 Time Ironman World Champion

It is hard not to be infected by Chrissie's smile and energy. She is fantastic. I was on the edge of my seat taking in everything she had to say in her story. Telling us about how things came to be and how she can now be sitting in front of us as a 4 time Ironman World Champion. She was so humble and a very down to earth person. I was amazed at how much I could relate to so much of what she was saying. I can't imagine anyone that would ever be in her presence and not like joy she emits from every fiber of her being. I think her spirit can be summarized by the moment that happened to close her talk. She got a well deserved standing ovation. It touched her so much that she was brought to tears.

I could go on and on about what she said, but instead I will highly suggest you go out and buy her book. From what I've read so far, I think it's going to be good and it would be a more detailed account of her and her life. It's also going to be a good read for all, not just triathletes.

May 22, 2012

Lunch Break PR

Lunch Break PR

Just one day of rest after the Kansas City 5150 race and I'm back at it. I know I've got the Big River Running speedwork session tonight at Vianney, but I wanted to get in a lunch run as well. I was really feeling good. I left from work and ran over to Lafayette square to do some laps. By the 5K mark, I realized that I wasn't that far off my best pace and I felt like I could maintain it. I knew I had a hard session later tonight, but I just went with it. Lap after lap my pace stayed steady and even slightly faster. Then it was time for the home stretch. In order to avoid waiting at some traffic lights, I took a slightly different route. It actually cost me some of the downhill that was owed to me after my uphill climb to get there, but I didn't want to have any * next to my time if I broke my record. I made it! 41:45 and a new 10K personal best. I had a huge grin for the rest of my cooldown as I made my way around the final stretch back to work.

Now I know I can run those times and I just need to be able to do it when I am coming off the bike. Hopefully, tonight's speedwork session will do just that. My body will be learning how to push hard even when it's tired... and it will defianely be fatigued.

Side Notes:
1. Yes, my work does have a shower.
2. and yes, I used it.
3. That pace is actually slightly faster than my highschool 5K best (20:59) almost 20 years ago

May 21, 2012

2012 Kansas City 5150

2012 Kansas City 5150 Triathlon

Lee's Summit, MO

It was time for my first real test at the olympic distance which is my real focus for this year. I changed out some of my shorter sprint races for olympic and am staying away from any half or full ironman completely. Emily and I got to Lakeview Lake campground fairly late. My parents were already there, but we had to quickly get our tent setup before we lost out light. We got to visit with my parent's (Ray and Carol), my sister (Lynn), my neice (Summer), my nephew (Austin), and Summer's horses (Rowdy and Georgia). It was wonderful. We also got to have brunch and visit with some of Emily's friends she'd made at Kidney camp. The weather was a bit of a concern. Rain was in the forecast and the wind was really picking up. It was actually so strong that it was blowing our tent over and we had to add extra secure lines to keep it upright. Between midnight and 1AM on race mornign the wind had kicked up again with a little drizzle of rain as well. It kept me awake, waiting to have to prop the tent up from collapsing on us or to abandon it for my parent's camper. It didn't last long and I was able to fall back asleep and felt plenty rested when I had to get up.

My division was the last to go for the olympic distanced race and the sprint compeditors folloowed us after a short break. While waiting to go we got to watch the Pros start. I didn't recognize any of the male pro names, but the fmale field had the newest addition to the US Olympic team, Laura Bennett, Jillian Peterson, and Becky Lavelle. They ended up finishing in that order with Laura Bennett getting the win. When our heat finally was ready to start, I jumped out to a quick start as planned. I wanted a stronger swim and knew that being in the front would help navigate the slower swimmers from the heats in front of us. I did get a little lost in the traffic and splashing, and at least one of the bouys had gone rogue and was directing us for a little extra bit of swimming. According to my watch, the overall swim distance wasn't longer than it should have been despite not taking the shortest distance around. My time was good and only slightly slower than I was hoping. I felt good and hustled through more traffic getting to my bike, and a fast transition passing 5 people in my age group on the way out to the bike leg. I also noticed that I was ahead of a friendly rivalry I have with Tony Rigdon III (and his huge beard).

I started on the bike firing on all cylinders heading out of the first of two laps. I was blitzing through traffic, passing an endless line of riders. There were a few decent hills to climb and that concerned me. In the past, I hadn't been the best climber. Things have changed though. I continued to blow by everyone else on the hills as well. I came around to the start of the second lap and checked my watch. I was making good time and was on pace. The second lap was more of the same, fast peddling and lots of passing. Into the transition and a quick turn around to start on the run.

Another two lap course for the run. I felt pretty strong, but was having trouble getting my running legs going. I was trying to push it to keep my pace where I wanted it, but was cramping off and on the whole time. I slowed just a touch for the second lap and tried to pick it up for the downhill sections. I was able to stay with or pass most of the people that were around me, but there were some guys that just flew by me and I had no hope of holding onto them. I did push the last mile or so to a decent pace, but still got tracked down by someone on my age group in the final quarter mile. I tried to hold onto him despite his much faster pace. I finished just a few seconds behind him.

I ended up with almost a 6 minute personal best at the olympic distance. I also improved on all three legs of the race. I qualified for the Hyvee 5150 Championship race by getting 9th in my age group and 58th overall. I know there is still more room for improvement and I'm ready to put in the work to do it. I look forward to a couple weeks off of racing to log some training to make improvements where I need them most. I'm excited to see where I can go from here.

2012 Trizou - Elite division

2012 Trizou Triathlon

Columbia, MO

I must say that it took just short of a miracle for me to have my bike here and ready to go. You can read my previous blog to find out more about that fiasco. Emily is with me and the first thing we did was stop by the famous Shakespeare's Pizza. We are staying with my cousin, Devon, and shis fiance, Mishelle. They were great hosts and can't thank them enough for putting us up for the night, showing us some good places to eat, and watching War Horse.

This is the first race that I have ever entered the "elite" division. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking. Why not try for the prize money. The top 7 were going to be in the money. I was still feeling pretty good about my off-season training and although I didn't have a complete indication of my fitness level from the Steamboat Classic race, I knew I had made improvements.

They gathered up all of the elite division races and annouced us by name as they moved us into our lanes. All 550+ of the rest of the races in the stands and along side the fantastic pool with their eyes focussing on us. It was a lot of pressure, but I just my focus and took some deep breaths. I was just going to stick to MY race and let it play out. Next thing you know, we were off. I'm not the strongest swimmer, but I held my own with the much youger racer sharing my lane. I was on the very end so it was hard to see the full width of the pool to know where the rest of the group was. I had a respectable time for the swim and was off on a long run to the transition area where my bike was.

This was going to be a real test. A test in riding my bike for the first time ever. It wasn't even a mile in and one of the riders in front of me crashed. I was thinking to myself that I'm happy it wasn't me and that I was feeling pretty comfortable on my new ride. The miles ticked away and I passed a few along the way and had caught up to Sunny Gilbert, a former pro triathlete and the female leader, right at the end of the bike. That made me feel great!

I left on the run right on her heels, but she slowly started to pull away. I held my pace and passed a male athlete that was obviously cramping. I started to hear footsteps, but decided to let them come and maintain my comfortable pace. If it was the cramping runner or another male athlete going for my spot, I'd just try to out kick them in the final mile or so. It wasn't. It was the 2nd place female. I just kept her in sight and made my way to the finish. I really could have pushed harder on the run, but didn't have any male athletes close enough to chase. I finished and really wasn't sure where I had placed.

Emily was at the finish line counting and when she told me I was 6th, I was ecstatic! A PAYCHECK! $75 Smack-A-Roos! We celebrated the successful race at Blu with some fantasic food. I couldn't have been happier with how that race went. I was so pleased at how I felt on the new bike. Really, there are only a couple weeks until my next race, the Kansas City 5150.

Male Elite Podium. 1st through 7th in order from left to right. Me representing "Emily's Kidney".

A New Bike?

Bike repairs turn into bike replacement

Well, not only did ripping my rear derailleur off my bike at the last race squash any chance I had at placing there, it also put me in a bind for my race the next weekend. I was entered to race in Columbia, MO at Trizou. I took my bike to the shop as soon as I could to talk to them about getting it fixed, warrantied, or whatever. The news was not good. The frame where the rear derailleur connects was bent and stripped out. It couldn't be fixed and Trek couldn't replace it (even if they could, it would not have been ready in time for my race). Because the failure was due to the derailleur, it wasn't covered. Plan B. Replace the frame or bike. The best Trek was able to offer was a discount on whatever I got through them as a replacement. I weighed my options which were limited due to the quick turn around I needed. I ended up going with a new Trek Speed Concept 9 frame and moving my parts from my old bike to the new frame. It is a killer frame and a wiked fast bike, but I really wasn't wanting to spend any money on a frame upgrade anytime soon.

The order was placed. It took a little bit for the frame to get in and the shop started working on it. They ran into an issue with the front brake and couldn't figure out how to fix it and weren't going to be able to let me leave without it working properly. Until they had that fixed, they weren't going to continue to work on it. I convinced them to keep going though and that we would deal with the brake last and would figure out a way to make it safe enough. The build started again... and then got stopped again. They were missing some of the bolts needed to fully secure the fork and handlebars to the frame. By this time, there was NO time. I had the shop have Trek send the bolts "overnight" and I went on a search for a more immediate solution. I called around to other bike shops in the area that carried Treks. I found one and only one that was able to help. They sold me 3 bolts that MAYBE would work since they didn't have the bike there to try it and the part numbers didn't exactly match up. I bought them and brought them down to test it. Success! The build continues and they were also able to get the front brake going with a fix. The mechanic worked hours after the shop closed on Friday night to get it done so I could leave for Columbia with it the next morning. No real test rides, but I was in business.

It looks pretty sharp and my display of hardware from previous races in the background doesn't look too shabby either. I hope with this bike, I will be adding to that collection considerably in future races. It's time to see if I can do that at Trizou.

2012 Steamboat Classic

2012 Steamboat Classic Triathlon

Cape Girardeau, MO

Pre "incident"
My first triathlon of the year. The Steamboat Classic has been my race to see where I'm at after off-season training and work any kinks out before showing up to any of my "A" races. I did a little extra pre-race tune-up on my bike since it had been so long since my last race. I wanted to make sure that it was running as smoothly as it should. My cranks seemed a touch loose and there were some issues with the bottom bracket so it was replaced and then I was ready to go. I had an early start to my day to make the hour and a half drive and to get there early enough to get setup with a good spot in transition. I was really feeling great about my training and my pre-race excitement to reep the rewards was high.

The indoor pool swim in "The Bubble" went about as expected, with a slight improvement over previous years. It was just good to be into the race and off to an acceptable start. I quickly went off to start the bike course. I was really pushing hard and catching everyone that started in front of me one by one. At around mile 11, I was just a few bike lengths away from catching the person that was likely to be the leader of the race and had been either first or second to start. I wasn't expecting to see him until somewhere on the run. That got me really excited about what kind of result I was going to have today. Just then there was a loud noise and my cranks slipped with nothing to grab. Slowing to a stop while looking down trying to figure out what had happened. DISASTER! My rear derailleur was ripped off of the frame and floating around on upper section of chain. There was no fixing this... so I just started running with my bike. 4+ miles of running up the hills and through the flats, my only rest was getting to hop on and coast the downhills. So many of the people I had passed were getting to go on by. It seemed like I was never going to make it. Finally! Into transition and off on the actual run. I took a slightly conservative pace, knowing that I had lost too much time to go for anything great. I even took the time to stop for drinks at both water stations.

This WAS NOT in a transition. This was out on the bike course!
I finished in 38th out of 164 and 8th out of 27 for my age group. More importantly, I didn't DNF. I know there are reasons to do so, but I haven't had anything that bad happen to me yet. I had a similar incident at the Alligator Creek triathlon where I broke a chain. That wasn't fun either, but I finished it as well. A huge complimentary post-race meal and then I made the long drive home feeling pretty disappointed about how the day had unfolded.