Wow, it has been a long time since my last update. It is amazing how time flies!! Over the past few months I have been working really hard in the pool and on the bike. At least I am starting to see gains on the bike! I have been on the start list for 4 races but I had to take the first DNS of my career in Mooloolaba, Australia.
I got some sort of stomach bug 2 days before the race that required frequent trips to the rest room. The night before the race I still wanted to make it to the starting line but when I woke up in the morning I had very little energy and still had a hard time keeping calories in my body. It was a miserable trip, but helped me realize how much I rely on my family and friends when I am sick. Without a result at this race, my dream of making the 2012 Olympics Games was dead. It is a tough pill to swallow, but Greg and I have been looking at 2016 since we paired up, so that dream is still alive.
Nautica South Beach Triathlon
This race was the weekend after Mooloolaba. I got home after 26 hours of traveling on Monday night. I then left for Miami on Friday morning. It was a crazy turn around but I wanted to get a race in before St. Anthony's a month later. Greg was a little weary about me racing not only a week after getting sick, but also less than a week after traveling 26 hours from a place that is 14 time zones ahead. I told him not too worry, I was not going to kill it, I just wanted to race, to remind myself how it feels to do a 40k individual time trial on the bike after swimming 1500m and before running a 10k!! I did not have the greatest swim, but I never really do in rough water. This swim was a point to point swim in the ocean. The surf was not too bad, but still a lot rougher than what I have been swimming in - a 4 lane pool at the health club! My bike went surprisingly well. As I was saying earlier, my work on the bike is starting to show up in races! Once off the bike I tried to stay relaxed and have a good run from start to finish. The field was very strong for an early season race! I passed a lot of people on the run and ended up 6th. I had the second fastest run, 18 seconds slower than Javier Gomez. For those of you that don't know, Gomez is one of the fastest runners in the sport. I will take that after all the stuff I went though in the previous week and a half.
Now the one thing I hated about the race: the prize purse associated with lifetime fitness!! I was 6th place in a strong field and I walked away with $400. This barely covered my hotel in "beautiful" South Beach, Miami! I am not sure what keeps pulling be back to lifetime races, but I am not sure if I will do any more this year. They pay appearance fees for the top guys to come in, and they win the majority of the money. The top 2, sometimes 3 make a good amount while everyone else struggles to pay for their hotel, let alone their airline costs, between the ticket and bike fees!
Now the good from the race: my girlfriend and her family were at the race cheering me on and then I got to spend a week with them in Ft. Lauderdale. Thanks Melissa, her parents, her brother Zach, and her Aunt Katie and Uncle Ryan, who I believe set the wheels in motion for us to get together almost 2 years ago, it was great having you all at the race and it was a fun way to recover from the first non-draft race of the season.
St. Anthony's Triathlon
Once again I was up against a strong field! Almost anyone who is anyone in non-draft racing showed up for the race. The swim went well for the first 500 while we were in the sheltered area of the swim. Once the pack got out into the rough waters of Tampa Bay, I was not able to hang with the pack and ended up losing a good bit of time again during the swim. Once on the bike I let it go. I was not going to wait for the run, I wanted to try and make up time on the bike. I had a great bike split, but I paid for it on the run. I got off the bike with Chris Foster and I had a hard time keeping pace with him for the first 2 miles. He ran at Penn State so I knew I had good company, but my legs were not listening to me. My legs did not want to turn over so I just let them do their thing and waited for them to come around. When they finally did I just tried to catch as many people as I could over the last 4 miles. I ended up 8th overall and still had the fastest run split of the day, after handing out some high fives right before the finish line. I was very happy with the result, but a little frustrated in my swim. I think I had the fastest bike-run combo on the day. If I can sort my swim out I might actually be able to win a race in the near future.
A big thanks goes out to my mom for driving me around all weekend and putting up with me prerace. And thank you to one of my sponsors, Bill Hohler of Bralin Laser for cheering me on at the race. It was also great having his wife, Mary, and mutual friends of ours Mike and Joyce Boswell there. Post race they had a cookout at their place so it was nice to relax and enjoy the evening with some friends.
This was the first time in my life racing triathlons on back to back weekends. I was a little nervous because I could remember having a hard time racing 2 weeks apart in past years. With the help of Hammer Nutrition, I was able to not only get ready for Knoxville, I was able to have a good result. I took Recoverite immediately following the race at St Anthony's and after every workout during the week, as I usually do. I also used Hammer Nutrition's whey protein every night before bed, to safely raise my hGH levels to allow me to recover and boost my immune system to keep me healthy. This allowed me to finish 4th at my first Rev3 race of the season.
The swim was a wetsuit swim in the river. I have not had a good swim yet this year so I was hoping the wetsuit would bring me a little luck. Last year I had my best swims in my wetsuit. My swim was ok, but still not where it needs to be. Once I got out of the water I was off on the bike, and once again trying to make up as much time as I could. Chris Foster and I were together again, this time it was on the bike though. We were never really close to one another though. He would put about 5-10 seconds on me and then I would end up passing him and getting a little lead. It was like this for most of the ride until we started catching people. This got a little chaotic, trying to navigate through 7 guys while climbing and descending small mountains on the back roads of Tennessee, all while trying to ride within the rules. With about 3 miles to go Chris was going to pass me over some rail road tracks and dropped his chain. I felt bad and initially slowed up as if I was back home riding a training ride with Greg, but then I snapped back into race mode and hit it hard back in to transition. I came off the bike in 6th place and passed two guys within the first mile. I was in 4th and feeling good enough about how the race was going to not notice how bad my legs were feeling. At the turn around on the run I got to see how far behind 3rd place I was and how close 5th place was to me. I made up my mind that 5th would be just fine but did not want to settle for it. I was able to keep a fast enough pace to stay ahead and finish in 4th, my best finish as a pro in a non-draft race. It was a hard 2 weekends of racing but I proved to myself that I could do it, I just don't know how many times I will!
A big thank you goes out to my Grandpa for driving me all the way to and from Knoxville. He made the trip quick and it was great to hang out with him for the weekend.
I am excited to race in the Rev3 series. They do an amazing job of putting the races together and they have all the triathletes in mind throughout the weekend. The expos are very family friendly and very welcoming to athletes who travel with kids. I think Rev3 is the best race series currently going on in the US and I wish other series could learn something from the way Rev3 takes care of all the athletes.
Thank you to Greg and all of Team IE for getting me to where I am, and N.B. Properties, Bralin Laser, Profile Design, Scott Shoes, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, Champion System, Cobb Cycling, Computrainer, Express Press, Enzyme Research, and ProForm Bike for being great sponsors and allowing me to compete to the best of my ability. I would not be putting up the results I am without their support.