Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lifetime Minneapolis

This past weekend was Lifetime Minneapolis.  This triathlon is still a big deal, but back in the day, this was it!  It was the largest prize purse in the sport and everyone showed up for a chance at life changing amounts of money.  Although the large prize purse is now spread out over an entire series, this triathlon still had some big names.  Four male athletes had participated in the Olympics and the talent did not stop there, this seems to be the norm for races this season.  I have not yet found a race lacking talent.  I am not sure if that is my good fortune in racing this season or just the way the pro races are.  Oh well, I was ready to race coming off my lackluster performance in Munich.  (I still plan on doing a write-up on my adventure to Europe, but I am still waiting on a few things that may sway my overall perspective of the trip.  Plus I don’t have a race until September, so I may need some topics to fill the long drought between race recaps.)  Lifetime also brought back the Equalizer this year, which is a very unique and awesome, I feel, thing at this race.  The women started 10:43 ahead of the men and the first person across the line, man or woman, is awarded a $5000 prem. 

Swim – I got out well as I usually do on beach starts.  I think I was winning for three strokes. J  Then the pack started moving.  I was on feet and feeling good but then something happened, not sure what, but the pack was gone and they were 5 seconds ahead.  Did I lose focus?  What happened?  I tried to close the gap down, but they just kept getting farther away.  It is still a mystery to me how I fell off so quickly, but I was now swimming solo for the last 1100 meters.  The water was rough so maybe that had something to do with it.  Living in South Bend, it is hard to find anywhere to swim with waves and current.  Enough of the excuses, I had a bad swim.  I had to stay positive and limit my loses.  I was happy when the water got shallow and I was able to dolphin dive a couple times and get out of the water.

Bike – The bike course layout is very nice.  Rolling hills, winding gradual turns, and some miles along the Mississippi makes it a fun course, but the roads themselves are terrible!  They are very rough and you have to ride heads up to make sure you don’t hit any hazards that would pop a tire and end your day.  I did not mind it too much since I was riding completely solo, I got to pick my lines and avoid most of the hazards.  Riding in a group would have gotten interesting though, trying to stagger off the person in front of you and find some smooth road at the same time.  I did hit a couple good bumps that threw me around but it added some fun to riding solo.  My power output was good and overall I had a good ride for my current biking ability.  There is still work to be done, but it is nice to improve from race to race.

Run – I am always happy when I finally get to the run.  It is possibly the most painful part of the race, but it is what I have been doing the longest, so I am usually able to keep it together.  There was something in the air or water in Minneapolis, because my allergies were ramped up during the race.  I noticed it mostly on the run, my chest got tighter as the race progressed.  I was not going to let that slow me down though.  There was an $833 run prem up for grabs, and I could see two guys running together ahead of me.  I caught Limkemann and Lavalle at about 1.5 miles and continued along.  I started catching some of the girls and when I caught up to Nicole I saw she had a little road rash on her thigh.  I figured she went down on the bike because, 1) I should not be catching her this early in the run and 2) the road rash.  I later found out she went down early on the bike, so hats off to her for fighting to the finish!  (She ended up with the fastest run!!  Well done!!)  After the first lap of two my mind started to wander and I started to relax a little, but I was able to keep myself going for the prem.  At about 4.5 miles there was a hair pin and I could see Dave Thompson.  We have gone back and forth all season and I was going to give it a go and try and catch him.  It is funny how different we are, but we usually finish close to one another.  We are similar swimmers, but he is a stronger cyclist, and I am a stronger runner.  He actually had the fastest bike split in the race.  With 600 to go I had a good feeling I could catch him, but he had a large cheering section that was letting him know I was coming.  With 200 to go I caught him and we both started to kick.  I edged him out for 6th and because of the chase I was able to grab the fastest run split of the day.

Post Race – I kicked my way into a drug test!  Here we go again.  The top 3 were drug tested as well as 2 randoms, which 6th place happened to be one.  I was taken off to a little church which was about a half mile away from the finish via golf cart.  I was the first one there and the last one to leave!  Once everyone was done and gone, I spent a while just talking to the USADA employees, just passing time before I was able to fill a cup.  Finally I took care of business and was able leave.  Once I returned I found my mom and grandparents who were relieved to see me.  They did not know where I went after the race and were getting worried when they could not find me.

A big thanks to my Mom for driving the whole way there and back!  I kept asking her if she wanted me to drive, but she never let me.  She was a great spectator as well, she gave me updates on place as well as splits to the leader.  It was great to have my grandparents at the race too!  And Nicole decided to bring Wes along as well!  It is wonderful to have a cheering section when racing.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice. ~Wayne Dyer