What a crazy week. The madness began last Tuesday, this was a recovery week for me and so that meant it was time to test my fitness and Darcy didn’t let me down. On top of my first triathlon of the season being scheduled for this week Darcy was also nice enough to schedule two separate time trials for me; one a 60 minute running time trial and the other a 60 minute bike time trial. Each of these were comprised of a 15minute warm up followed by 30 minutes all out and a 15 minute cool down.
On Tuesday I was scheduled for my run TT, I was quietly optimistic about this time trial. The last four weeks of training has gone remarkably well I believe and because of that I believed that I could show some serious improvements. I know my fitness has only been getting better; I just wanted something to quantify my feelings. So that evening after work I headed out the door to see what I had in the tank and that tank was not full after having done a 95 mile ride as well as an eight mile run just two days before. My warm up reminded me of that. My calves were tight and didn’t want to loosen up and my legs were just a little heavy. By the time the meat of the TT began I knew that I would be able to go hard but I was no longer sure that I would see improvements like I had wanted to. Thirty minutes later, I averaged a 7:49 mile at a HR of 173, this as an improvement of 11 seconds per mile at a HR that was 8 BPM lower. I can say that I am very happy with that gaining 10 seconds per mile over a 30 minute run is huge especially with a HR that was much lower.
Thursday was my bike TT. After finally getting my new rear wheel, cassette and base bar installed on my bike this was my first chance to go hard and fast on my bike. It didn’t let me down, although I had a hard time getting my heart rate up I was able to fly out there. 30 minutes at 23+MPH and a HR of 157 isn’t too shabby at all.
On Saturday was the Tritonman Triathlon, my first triathlon of the season. I was seriously nervous about it. While my training has been going so very well, there has been zero speed work thus far. Just some tempo runs and hard hilly runs, nothing that would truly work on improving my top end speed that I would need to do well in a sprint triathlon. I was also very worried about the weather. They were calling for rain or race morning and I was afraid that the race would become a duathlon, and since I am NOT a runner this would out me at a huge disadvantage. As it turns out it rained through out the night but except for one brief shower less than a half hour before the race it was a beautiful day. While I have seen what my splits are officially I can say with some certainty how I did. Lining up for the swim start was a little different this time around I was competing in an AG that was twice the size as normal. On a regular day I would have only had those men in the 30-34 age range to race against but today I had from 30-39, so I had twice the competition, this two had me worried but when the horn sounded and I ran into the water my body took over and I just went. The swim was fast, I know I could have pushed harder there, much harder. I felt as though I was creeping alone even though I am pretty sure I held my own out there. It just didn’t seem as though I was grabbing water. As I turned at the last buoy I kicked up a storm to try and get the blood flowing to my legs. Running out of the water into the mud covered transition area was not fun.
T1 felt like it took forever, I didn’t want to run out with my bike in bare feet because I didn’t want huge globs of mud inside my tri shoes while biking so I decided to put them on in T1 and run out with them already on my feet. This created its own problem; mud in my cleat which made it near impossible to clip on to the pedals. After a few moments I finally was cruising along on my bike, legs churning away, trying to get a feel for the bike portion of the race. The next thing I new I was flying, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28MPH has I flew around Fiesta Island. Talk about a rush. Never before had I been able to hold such high numbers. Of the more than 300 racers I was passed by so few that I could count them on one hand. After 3 laps I was sure that I had hunted down most of the people in my age group and left them well behind me.
I came speeding into transition to start my run and as I headed out I knew my run legs were with me that day. I was off like a bolt; the only thing on my mind was pushing hard enough that I felt like I was dying a little but knew that I wasn’t going to. I found the pace that made me uncomfortable and held on to it with all that I had, gritting my teeth often to shake out the burning feeling in my legs. My mantra for the day was “Mid sole foot strike straight below you. Good! Now recruit those glutes!” Every time I felt myself falter or slow that is what I would think about. About a mile and a half into the run the first person past me, a few moments later another, then a minute or so after that one more. It is hard being a bigger triathlete. It’s hard to know that you hammered out a great bike and these scrawny guys are going to run you down even when you are putting it on the line. DARN THOSE SCRAWNY GUYS!
So I hooked them and I tried to hold onto them as long as I could but I could see each one pull just a little further away as the minutes passed by. When all was said and done I finished this race in 1:06 a full ten minutes faster than last year, with what I believe was a 1:30 PR on the 5k run section of the race. Not a bad day.
Now this doesn’t end my amazing week. I was then honored by the Triathlon Club of San Diego. Most people who know me know that I work very hard at becoming a better triathlete so to be recognized by TCSD as the most improved male triathlete of 2009 was a huge thing for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would win an award for my efforts nor did I think that anyone, other than my coach, had noticed how hard I had been working. I am very proud to have been chosen for it and it only motivates me to work harder…. But wait we still aren’t done….. It looks like I may have a sponsor too. More details to come with that one.