Aug200702

…or just drink a beer instead of worrying about it?

I have enjoyed the week of getting back to my routine, which despite being quite busy this week, it is good. There are a lot of little ‘opportunities’ that have come up which are exciting. I can get stressed easily, yet I probably get bored even easier…so this is a good thing. I finally got on my new Orbea Ora TT bike! It feels awesome. Odd, definitely; That whole shifting thing is totally new to me. I even got my SRM on it this week, so I can start to see if I am a power machine on this bike. 🙂 One could only hope…

I really jumped back into training, only one week off and I was rearing to go. Maybe a bit too much, as I have been pretty tired. Which is OK, but I think when you ‘go’ as much as I (and many of us) do, you really need to monitor those fatigue levels well. I decided to sign up for the Redman 1/2 Ironman which is September 22, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I have a lot of family there (aunt, uncle, cousin, etc) and my parents will come down as well, so to me it will be a great time to visit and get in a good training effort as well. It is a smaller, low-key race which is nice for a change. My debate is Chicago Triathlon, as I am in limbo. One minute I think I want to race it 100%, the next minute I feel like I have been going non-stop for a few months and maybe I need some more time at ‘home base’. I’ll need to decide soon, as it is on August 26th, just 4 weeks away. We shall see…in the meantime, I will get ready for the 3 Stories Racing MOONPIE TRACK MEET tomorrow night (I’ll help out, as I am running in the AM) and JACK’S GENERIC sprint triathlon on Sunday…”Where you’re more than a number, you’re a barcode.” What an awesome slogan?!

That is it for me right now. Rather than mulling this over, I am going to enjoy my STONE IPA (Yes, Stone Brewing in San Diego, CA…I LOVE YOUR BEER, you can sponser me if you want…just product will do) and make an omlette for dinner. Happy Thursday. 🙂

Jul200729

(Pictures: Top me swimming in ‘Lake Barbara’, @ my parents place ~ Bottom, a view of their lake in the fall)
Well, I got back from a few days in Indiana and it was NICE! I decided that after Racine, I needed a week off from training. Well, I tried my best…I did not ‘train’ per-say, but I did some nice easy things. My parents have a place about 1 hour south of Indianapolis, and it is BEAUTIFUL. Tucked back in the woods near Brown County, on a small lake. I took a walk with my mom one morning, I swam in their lake and I drank wine. 🙂 It was nice to take some time to reflect on the weekends race and also, clear my mind of things. We can get so wrapped up in the daily grind, whether that is work, training, or even our personal life…there is nothing better than to sometimes slow down and well, literally do nothing. A few evenings, my mom and I went down to the dock around 5:00, swam for 20-30 minutes, then enjoyed some wine while we fished. Didn’t catch much, as they just must not have been very hungry…but it was so beautiful, you would never realize that Indiana could be so gorgeous and peaceful.

I feel like I am ready for the second half ‘push’ of my season. It is so easy to be hard on ourselves. I mean, I went into Spirit of Racine truely wanting to and believing I could win it, or maybe finish top 3. Finishing 6th, I could be disappointed…but then, I put up a best time and I felt fantastic. I had my parents there supporting me, I had a few great friends there as well, and I am lucky enough to go out and do these amazing ‘things’. In reality, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. And I can honestly say, I take absolutely nothing for granted. But being able to slow down this past week, step back and take some rest time, it allowed all of this to ‘soak in’ so to speak. One thing that I believe I struggle with is ‘selling myself short’. In the midst of having a great race, or coming out ahead in the swim (where I am winning the race!) I start to think “OK, when will they start passing me…” This is something I am working on, not thinking this but rather thinking “Hold ’em off. And if/when they pass you, keep them in sight.” I am trying to tell myself I belong to be up at the front, that this is where I am fully capable of being. I think that my ability to step away from the sport, the intensity and just appreciate being a part of it all allows me to keep things in perspective.

In any case…these are my thoughts for the day. 🙂 May not be worth too much, but I think it is great to put the thoughts into words occassionally, even when they are just contemplative and rambling. Thanks for reading. And I hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing, wherever you are. Because, well, life is flippin’ short.
Jul200723

I just returned from Racine, Wisconsin late last night, where I raced the Spirit of Racine Tri 1/2 Ironman Sunday morning. The trip was great! My parents and I drove in (as it was only about a 5 hour drive from their place, south of Indianapolis) on Friday, settled in and enjoyed a relaxing evening. Saturday I got in a nice 30-45 min easy ride, and we went to the pre-race meeting that evening. The greatest part about this race was that I had the chance to meet one of my athletes whom I have coached for 2 years, as well as ‘re-unite’ with 2 friends from Illinois Swimming that I had not seen in over 5 years! So in addition to simply being excited to race on Sunday, I had some other things to look forward to as well.

The race was a nice early 7 am start, which outside of the 4:00 am wake up call, I love. We were off promptly at 7:03, 3 minutes behind the professional men, into the beautiful 64-degree waters of Lake Michigan. I felt strong on the swim, but I did not really swim with anyone so I don’t think I pushed myself ‘too’ hard, but I found a nice rhythym and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wore my Zoot sleeveless suit, which was absolutely perfect for these conditions; in a full suit, I would have definitely gotten too toasty. I came out and started the long run on the sand to transition area, grabbed my fancy new aero helmet and was off on the bike. I found myself a bit hungry, and began taking my PowerGels (in my gel flask) early in; I even grabbed a Hammer Gel at an aid station in case I needed ‘more’. I lead about the first 10 miles of the bike and then got caught by a few women, but tried to hold a strong pace. I didn’t feel too fantastic on the bike today, not terrible but just not particularly ‘strong’. I tried to push that out of my mind and just focus on keeping my power up.

Eventually, I saw the mile 50 mark (Yahoo! This is always a welcome sight) and started getting in all of my remaining gels, some more water and thinking about the run. I had a great dismount off my bike into transition and was off and running…I checked my Suunto watch, which said ’10:13′ so I could get an idea what kind of pace I was running. Although my legs felt HEAVY, they came around quickly and I was able to click off 6-min+ pace from the first mile. I felt strong! However, I was also pretty tired so I told myself ‘control and dial in the pace’. Which I did, I knew that there were some very strong runners up ahead of me (Lisa Bentley, Heather Gollnick) and I knew the had a few minutes on me. A few people yelled out ‘2 minutes back! 1 minute back!’ but at this point in the race, I knew I had to hold this pace for at least 6-10 miles before picking it up. I took in 3 gels the run, at miles 3, 7, and 10 and maintained a very strong pace…strong enough to pick up speed at mile 12 and push to the finish. I saw the clock ticking away at about 4:33 and change, meaning, wow! I was a 4:30!! My best time to date is a 4:37, which I did at Clearwater last fall and at Buffalo Springs in June, so this was a good 6 minutes faster! I also ran a 1:24, personal best run off the bike and 3rd overall fastest run. I saw my parents and smiled to them, and finished in 6th overall and took home a bit of cash…not at all the place I had hoped for, but on a day when I felt about 85% (not ‘great’) I would take this in a heartbeat.

It was an awesome weekend, the weather could not have been better (high was mid/upper 70’s) and I had my parents and a few great friends there as well. Also, I have to say…AWESOME JOB to my friend Jen Peters, who finished her FIRST 1/2 IM in a phenomenal 5:02…all the while, smiling and cheering along the way! Nevermind the fact that she is a lawyer, as well…way to go stud! I highly recommend this race, great organization and a beautiful transition area, swim and run course., and a bike course on mostly country roads…I have to be satisfied with another successful weekend. Thanks so much to all my sponsors, Jack and Adams in Austin, Zoot Tri team, 3 Stories Racing, Suunto, Zipp, and Orbea. Couldn’t do it without all of your support. It is easy to be a bit disappointed that I have not been placing quite as high as I would like to, however I have gone up against some very talented women and, I am dropping a good chunk of time on each race. So, the improvement is there! It is just nice and steady…which, I am ok with. 🙂 I am moving in the right direction.
(Ah! I almost forgot, another BIG CONGRATS to fellow Zoot Tri team member Mike Caiazzo, who finished 3rd among the professional men…way to represent! And thanks for cheering out on the race course, Mike!)

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