Fort Ritchie Tri – Appreciating the Triathlon Family

Fort Ritchie Tri – Appreciating the Triathlon Family

After a whirlwind of a week (seems to be the theme of 2016) – filled with a trip to the ER for Alice (due to Viral Meningitis and Bronchitis), several sleepless nights, a new school routine for Gavin, and a pretty hard week of training (not sure how I had the energy to get in the quality session that I did) – I had no idea how I’d feel or race.  In fact, I was looking forward to the get-away weekend with Alice just as much as the race since it was probably the last weekend we’d have away together – sans kids – for perhaps a few years. The day before the race Alice and I drove up and checked out the (hilly) bike course.  Although feeling better, she still was coughing quite a bit, continued to have a terrible headache, and had lost her voice almost entirely. Being sick is hard. Being pregnant is hard. But when you are pregnant and sick and can’t take so many of the helpful medications – its just plain unfair! Saturday evening, Alice and talked about the possibility of her not being up for going to the race, but I was fairly confident (knowing how tough she is) that she’d be up for it come the 4:30 AM wakeup on race day. Unfortunately, Alice was up most of the night with a cough and headache and come race morning, she was in no shape to get up and go hang out a race all morning.  Though we both decided that her staying in the hotel and resting was the best option,...
Right Shoe Goes on Right Pedal, Left Shoe on Left Pedal.   AND ½ Ironman sub 4 hour PR!

Right Shoe Goes on Right Pedal, Left Shoe on Left Pedal. AND ½ Ironman sub 4 hour PR!

I broke 4 hours for a ½ distance triathlon! Wow. Although this was a career goal of mine, I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever achieve it. Especially not for this race- I only had about 4 weeks of run training after my broken toe and I (actually, this was Alice’s (great) idea) decided not to do a full taper for the race in the interest of keeping the focus on IM 70.3 Atlantic City in September. Nevertheless, I felt good the days leading up to the race, and things just went super well. I may never break 4 hours again, so I’m going to savor this one! After a race, as much as I tend to think about areas I can (and want to) improve, places that I could have done things slightly differently, and small details that could use a little tweaking, there were simply a myriad of things that went very, very well. When things go well, it’s sometimes easy to overlook them and not give them due credit, so in an interest of not making that mistake, I’m going to focus on of all the things that went well (I’ll conclude with just one small mistake / lesson learned): The Swim It was hot! Never felt hot in the water like that before, but with temps in the mid 80s, it was pretty toasty. I knew I really wanted to push the swim hard as I had been swimming really well the few weeks prior. The first guy got way a head of the pack (can’t believe he split the time he did) and the...
Where to start?!

Where to start?!

Seriously, where do I start with this one? I think I’ll go with the fact that I won a race!  I’ve learned from the past, wins are super hard to come by and that it’s really important to bask in the victory.  With all the time, stress, and sacrifices that go into training – both for me and what Alice does – it really deserves sitting back, relaxing, and being proud of the accomplishment.  For all I know, that’ll be the last race win of my career.  So that’s where I want to start – I freakin’ won the race! A few other things that made this one extra special:  After a very sudden and debilitating battle with cancer, we had to put our dog, Casper Jake, of 9 years down on Thursday.  He was a huge part of my life and running – in fact a few years ago we ran a 5k together and managed to take first overall.  I had his dog tag around my neck for the race and dedicated this race to him. Due to a hurricane canceling Watermans ½ in 2015, and a broken toe just 7 weeks ago (and two more missed triathlons that I had really trained hard for), I had not raced a triathlon in 399 days (not that I was counting :).  I figure I had about a zillion miles of swim, bike, and run training logged since that last race and I was super eager to get out there. Finally, to get a win on a day that was filled with “issues” really made me proud.  Some of...
Run Training on the Bike?

Run Training on the Bike?

The Seashore Classic ½ Marathon was my first official race of 2016 and I was particularly interested in running, since, well, I had not been doing too much running! For a variety reasons such as wanting to get stronger on the bike, a bit less time available for training with a 1 year old, and a reasonably busy job, my running volume is as low as its been in many years.   Most weeks during the off season I only ran once per week and the past two months I was really only getting in two to three sessions of running.   I also learned from 2014 when I was building up to Kona and running A LOT, that more didn’t really equal better for me.  So the goal has been to see what I could do with much less running and see how some increased bike fitness would transfer.  Suffice it to say, it seemed to transfer pretty well! The race was a relatively small local race put on by Seashore Striders in DE.  It was extremely convenient since the start was just a mile from my parents’ place in Lewes.  It was also quite a lot of fun since Alice was running, and had managed to get herself back in pretty fantastic shape just 11 months after having Gavin. It was an out and back course with a beautiful mix of road and trail running with some pretty good race conditions– temps in the mid 40s and perfect sun.  We had a relatively strong tailwind the first half, which meant headwind on the way back. All in all, the race...
It just kept getting better…

It just kept getting better…

When I wrote the title of my last blog posting, “It Just Keeps Getting Better”, I sincerely didn’t expect that it would.  When I write, “it” here, I mean my training and racing.  I had a pretty good feeling that life would get more full and “better” since having our first child in May, but with all that was going on and changes in schedule and available time, never in my wildest imagination did I expect not only the baby stuff to get better (i.e. it seems Gavin just keeps getting happier and more fun by the day), but that I’d finish the 2015 season with 7 overall race wins.     It wasn’t until August of 2013 that I won my first triathlon, and to think that I won 7 races this year – 3 triathlons, 1 road cycling race, 1 duathlon, and 2 road running races – still blows my mind.                         Although I am still disappointed about the cancellation of the 1/2 Ironman I had been focusing on, it probably worked out for the best, forcing me to focus on biking and running speedwork – definitely not my forte. The short sprint races just hurt so bad!                         Thinking back on it all, if there is any lesson for me to learn, it is that switching things up –  doing less volume, taking a full day off each week, and  focusing on my weaknesses- really seemed to pay dividends.    And although my overall volume...