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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Now what?

So its been about 11 days since race day and I am enjoying the recovery. While I have gone on a couple runs and a couple of swims I have yet to get back on my bike. I was going to get back on today as it was a beautiful day but got a little distracted and before I knew it daylight had vanished. I'm planning on getting back on tomorrow and going for a nice ride for a couple hours. My fitness seems to be staying at a good level as I have felt great on my swim and runs. I am excitied to get back on the bike tomorrow and hope that it puts a little my spring into my step.

I say this because I feel as if I am struggling with my recovery. I have gone through a full range of emotions since the race and am not entirely sure how I feel about everything, let me explain. To swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and run13.1 miles in your first triathlon is a very good accomplishment, or so I have been told. After the race my family told me how proud they were and happy to see me finish. I was expecting this huge feeling of euphoria as crossing that finish line would pay off all my training, it didn't. I finished in 6 hours 5 minutes and 58 seconds. I wanted to finish no later the 5:30 and I failed. I dont feel as if traveling the 70.3 miles was the great of an accomplishment, especially finishing 35 minutes slower then I had anticapted. I also did not know the run was the brutal with all the hills, but then again the reflects the lack on training I had doing my recon of the course. In the end I have this empty feeling of what could have been. Now the Ironman was the following day and I was completely engulfed into that event so maybe that overshadowed my race and had me forgot or not realize what I had just accomplished. But for some reason I feel as if what I did was not hard at all even though I was reduced to walking the hills on the run. If I am to gain anything from this empty feeling though it is definately great motivation for next year at Ironman Wisconsin.

While I am continually training, right now I am taking a very laid back approach to that. If I feel like running I go run, if I wanna swim just a few laps on the pool and see where my other strokes stand by all means I will do so, and if I don't want to ride my bike for 10 days I see no problem in that. As laid back and easy as it is, it still at the same time is very hard. I went from a strict program of doing intervals one day, to time trails the next,to recovery runs, brick workouts, long days in the saddle and had to do it. Now I have the option of what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I don't know how to react to that. This freedom is weird to have and I need to get back into a routine soon. I am hoping to finish this week off with some good workouts and get into that more established routine next week.

I am currently reading Joe Friel's "Triathlete's Training Bible" and starting to prepare for the next year of training for Ironman. I am excitied and anxious and want to get this ball rolling. This year was a year of trial and error. I know where my fitness stands now and I know what kind of training I can commit to and most importantly I know exactly where I want to be next year on September 12th. So over the course of the next couple of weeks I am going to write out my training program that will lead me up to race day. My program will consist of off-season training, weight training, base miles, and finally a 24 week Ironman specific training program that I will start in March. While I am extremely excitied for all of this to unfold the one thing that will be hardest is waiting for the cannon to go off on race morning and dreaming of crossing the finish line for the next year. Until then it is up to me to prepare myself as best as I can to put forth the performance that I know I am capable of.

Thats it for now, I have realized this is going to be the toughest part of the season as I wait to get back into full training again, but I just need to enjoy this time and get my gameplan set for 2010/

Ride On!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The weekend started early by leaving my apartment in Milwaukee but not before double checking all my bags to make sure that I had everything I was gonna need for Saturday. One final double check and I was on the road to Madison. I made a quick stop in Madison to have lunch with Mother and the sister, two people who were very positive and supportive to me. After that I stopped at the Ironman Expo to partake in all the festivities and soak up what I will be involved in next September, but also to change out my wheelset for the race on Saturday. I made a late decision to switch out my Mavic CXP's and put on Zipp 404/808's my bike. A few small errands including one final tune up of the bike and I was on my way to Fontana, Wisconsin.

Once I entered Fontana I drove the bike portion of the race one final time to make sure that everything was what I was expecting. I parked my car and registered for the race and went to a quick course talk meeting where upon dismissal I drove the run portion of the course. In hindsight I probably should have done this months earlier like I did for the bike but for some reason I did not, and oh would I pay for it that next morning. Once I had all the details of the race taken care of I grabbed my pasta dinner to go and headed to the hotel to meet my brother for a restful night. I met up with my brother and once again double/triple/quadruple checked to make sure that I had everything ready to go. All I needed was to grab a banana for the morning which my brother absolutely made sure of I had. One final check on the bike and my computer decided to stop working. A momentary freak out and I decided that I would just go with it the next morning working or not.

Race day started at 330am and I shot out of bed. I took a quick shower and packed everything in the car. I started to eat my breakfast as we headed down to transition to check my bike in. Transition opened at 5 and you can sure I bet I was there at 5 and grabbed a perfect place to set up my bike. I soon unloaded everything as I put on some tunes to calm myself and once again made sure that everything was working properly. Once I had my transition area setup I went to the beach and stretched my body out. I came back to transition and started to put my wetsuit on and this when it finally hit me that it's time finally! Jumped into the lake with the sunrise and got a little swim warmup in. The race director went over some quick final instructions and then...

Next thing I know I was in the water with everyone stroking away from shore trying to find a line jockying for position. The swim out was not bad at all. No major collisions, only the occasional bump. I went stroke for stroke with one guy for about half the way out and then we got seperated. I was able to keep my heart rate down and control my breathing very well on the way out, two things that I was very worried about before the race. Upon the turnaround I grabbed a peek at my watch and saw 17:00 I was exactly on schedule and very happy so far until...I lost the lead pack and suffered with my sighting a little. I soon ended up on the wrong side of the buoys and had to readjust my position not once, but twice (This reminded me of my first swim ever competitively when I was a kid and hit the lane lines back and forth til I touched the wall). Once I got back to shore I took the top of my wetsuit off and head off to my bike. I have gone through this transition in my head many times and it paid off as it went off without a hitch. Leaving T1 there were my family and friends all there to great me and wish me well on my ride.

Once on my bike we took the mile or two it took to get out of town made a turn and BAM like a slap in the face for using the wrong pickup line we hit a nice little hill of a high % gradiant. I was able to pull myself over, but with that effort on that hill and just getting out of the water my HRT was way higher then I wanted and I needed to rest my body and prepare for the next 50+ miles. I soon gathered myself and worked at knocking those miles out one by one. People have asked me what I think about when I go on long rides as such. Today was just reflecting on all the training and how I was soo excitied for the day to finally be unfolding. Soon we hit Walworth which is around the 1/2 point on the bike. I once again passed my parents and was working at pacing my bike so I had fresh legs but using everything I could out of my bike. Once I was about 10 miles out of town another bike pulled up to me and we started talking about the sport of triatlon enjoying the conversation I soon realized that we may be resting our legs a little and pushed the idea of finishing the bike up strong. I rolled back into town just over 3 hours and hit T2. Quick and easy is how T2 should be done and thats exactly how I felt leaving T2 with one of the best transition times My mom told me after that I looked very refreshed and ready to go for the half marathon.

About a mile into the run the hills started and my fade did as well. This course was just too hily for me to run throughout and I knew it would be a longer day then I had expected. I made a quick adjustment to my run and decided to walk portions of the hills. This seemed to work and I made sure to hit all aid stations to replenish the fluids that I could really feel myself losing fast. I did the first loop in about 68 minutes and felt alright with it. I knew if I had only ran this course through the summer I may have been a little more prepared. I hit the turnaround still feeling good with my legs and started the second loop. My family was there at the bottom of the first hill and got me moving my legs again to push me up that hill, and from there on out I felt great. I spent the next 5 miles or so enjoying myself, the race, the competition, and the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement. I know I wasnt going to make my time goal of 5:30 and I was okay with that. Being my first Triathlon ever and starting out at the Half-Ironman distance finishing today was what it was really about. 70.3 miles does not seem that incredible to me and maybe thats because I'm surrounded by large numbers like that ever day in training, but to alot of other people that is a large number and I just had to repeat that notion to myself. I hit one final aid station turned the corner and hit the homestretch with just about everyting I had left in my tank. Passed my brother and sister and came across the line to my own cheering crowd that was probably the loudest out of all of them.

I knew immeadiately that I went all out as I need to take a knee after the race to rest my legs and deal with all the lactic acid that I had built up over the past 6 hours. My father told me how proud he was of me for finishing this race and I agreed. I sacrificed alot this summer for this day and it felt to cross the line and have put forth the effort that I did.

I spent Sunday with my friends family watching her brother do Ironman Wisconsin. Watching it all unfold I was a little jealous that I wasn't participating in it but knew that one year from that weekend I would be doing the same thing. I spent the rest of the day driving around town watching all the athletes swim, bike, run 140.6 miles. It is quite the event to be apart and I cannot wait until September 12th, 2010. I first put these wheels in motion by entering my name and registering for Ironman Wisconsin 2010 the next day. Let the training begin!

Ride On,