Tuesday, July 19, 2011

are you dead or are you sleeping?

It's true, I'm still alive. Wow, it has been a busy three months! And not in the ways I would hope. We listed our house for sale thinking that it would take a while to sell. I mean, with the current economy and being in Tucson, it takes several months to sell, right? WRONG. Four days and a cash offer later, the race was on. We had some idea where we wanted to move in Tucson (a couple options), but we were nowhere near ready to buy. I had already scheduled several weeks out of town for work...and we had 30 days to get out. Whoops... Long story short, we stayed with my brother in law for two weeks, found a 6-month rental, and packed up our house and 7 years of accumulated stuff in a couple weeks. I had to back out of THREE races I had already paid for, take a couple weeks off training, and say adios to the benefits of several weeks of hard work. Oh well, life goes on.

So, I went into Vineman 70.3 on 6 weeks of sub-optimal training (to say the least). I had not ridden my tri bike on a road since the Havasu tri in March, and hadn't run more than 10 miles since Ironman AZ. BUT, I did feel healthy (no aches or pains at all), had four weeks of track workouts, and some decent longer rides. Might as well do it. I planned to go just to participate and hang out with the TriSports.com gang for a couple days. BUT, I found myself on a spreadsheet the night before and realized that if I came out of the water in under 30 minutes I could still go for a modest course PR without killing myself. Decided to just let it play out.

My plan for the swim was simple: get on some feet, and stay there. Keep in mind I had been swimming for only four weeks with an average of around 5k per week. It hurt, but I found my breathing rhythm and just focused on my rotation. I intentionally did NOT kick until about 100 meters from the finish. Couldn't believe the race clock or my watch when I came out. 29:50. Game on.

I knew that last year I did not push hard enough on the bike. No HR monitor this year, so I went by feel. Make it hurt, but not too much. My goal for the bike was 2:30 to stay on track. I came through the 28-mile aid station at 1:22. Not good. I did have the feeling we were in a headwind for the first part, and most of the rollers were during the first half as well. Anyway, not taking any chances. I pushed hard for the second half. There was some rain, a little chill in the air, and a lot of bike traffic. I stayed on my toes and just kept pushing. I came off the bike at 2:33-ish. I had finished all my nutrition, and drank plenty of water. Good to go.

I planned on 8-minute miles on the run, which should have been fairly easy. I did the math in my head, and it was good enough. I started running around 7:45s and it felt easy. I tried to slow down a bit, but it stayed at 7:45s. Oh well, going for it! At least two cups of water and a cup of coke every mile, and I was feeling good. Then came mile 8... I could feel a side-stitch kicking in, and my endurance was fading. I definitely felt that lack of long training. Oh well, put my head down and just kept going. No walking, no jogging. Just go.

Came across in 4:52:33. Not a smoking-fast time by any means, but it was a big victory for me, actually. A course PR on very little training. Just went on guts, instinct, and executed my plan. Oh, and lots of cola. My new go-to on the run after my my experience at Ironman last year.

Feeling VERY motivated, so it's time to get fast again. Planning on at least five more races this year, with a combination of off- and on-road stuff. Looking forward to the journey! Some photos below.

Transition area for a race with 2000+ people is HUGE!

Chris Lieto chatting it up. It is so cool to see the top pros in the world just wandering around and chatting with "normal folk"

Typical Sonoma County backroads.

The mess a triathlete makes of a hotel room...

One of the best parts about racing in CA is visiting the family. Got to see my brother on his birthday, and then spend some time with my sister's family on the way back. My niece is awesome!

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