It has been two years since I have raced a triathlon and worked to get back into shape. I have a long way to go to where I want to be, but the QC Tri was a great checkpoint to gauge where I am at fitness wise.
Two years ago I made my sprint triathlon debut at the QC Tri. I had one triathlon under my belt at that time in 2012. As I have shared many times on this blog after a bit of a health scare last year I fell off the training system and for 1.5 years did close to nothing in terms of taking care of my health and body. I was in a rut.
A few months ago I started back into training. It has been a long process and a hard balance. It is hard because I know where I once was and often think where I could be. It is hard because knocking the rust of the body and preparing for it to perform at high levels takes a great deal of commitment(something that still needs a lot of work). It is hard because I have a wife and three kids and have to be careful not to neglect them in all the pursuits that I have.
Summertime is great to shift gears. I can somewhat put the education pursuits aside, clear my mind and focus on other things like triathlons. I find it very important to step back from education and let the brain just forget it all and see the world in a new lens for a few weeks. I still have to be pursuing something because that is just who I am so training for races allows me to keep that boundary pushing aspect in check.
Heading back to the reflection of the race I will admit that this was probably the most nervous I have been. I slept terrible the night before only getting about 2.5 hours of sleep. I was hit with a major head cold that is still hitting me hard as I type this. I could not breathe, could not fall asleep, so I was getting mad and next you know it was time to get up and prepare.
I packed everything that I thought I needed. It was weird trying to remember routine. I ate my same old chocolate chip waffles, had my coffee, and double checked all supplies. I made my way towards West Lake around 4:30 to make sure I could park within the park.
I found my spot and worked to get everything set up and ready to go. I really wanted to swim because I had not done any open water swimming since my Pigman 70.3 in August of 2012. They were a bit behind schedule with the swim so I headed out for a run, made a few pit stops while scoping the scene and just tried to relax my mind and body.
What I love about races is the community. It was so great to see so many people who I have not seen in a long time. This helped to put my mind at ease.
After a mile run, stretching, and final nourishment, I attempted to put my wetsuit on. Let me just say this was a bit snug being that I am 25+ lbs overweight. I did add a few snags to the suit, but was able to get it on and swim a bit before the race. It felt good to be in the open water again.
Finally race time
Swim – 600 yards
In 2012 I swam this race in 9:29. My goal this year was to be under 10:30. I have been doing a few swims a week. Nothing too major, but pushing hard on intervals so I figured at this distance I would be okay if I could stay relaxed. I ended up swimming 9:54 so just 25 second slower than when I was cut, in prime shape, and killing the training.
I was very happy with this time. I was surprised to be honest. I though this would be weak for me. I had to stop two times for people swimming the completely wrong way. I forgot about how hard it is to swim straight and navigate the people. I got stuck on the turnaround as people were everywhere and I spent at least 30 seconds doing more of a wade stroke to find a place to swim again.
I felt good coming out of the water. Typically I cramp when I get out of the water. This did not help. Thanks Phil for the picture.
Things went smooth. Suit came off and I was off. As I ran to the mount my bike I was feeling really good.
Right away I slipped on my pedals and crammed my goodies on the mainframe of my bike. I was in shock and just sat there. I was feeling so stupid. I finally got clipped in and headed out. I wanted to get relaxed and in good flow so I could take my nutrients. Being a short race it is probably not needed as much, but I need to practice nutrition because for the 70.3 I need to consume more after hitting walls back in 2012.
I felt great on the bike. I was cruising and riding out was great! I was cruising at a wonderful pace and much faster than I thought. I was not sure I could average 20+ mph being that only have a few rides under my belt. This has been the one aspect I have not trained very much and am mad at myself because this is also my strength of the three disciplines.
In 2012 I completed the course in 38:12 for a 23.6 pace. This time I was 41:58 for 21.4 pace. Not too bad, but it makes me mad because if I could pull this off with my little bike training where could I have been?
Riding back sucked. The wind was tough and a couple hills killed my legs. I had to just drive and learn to fight through. I passed a ton of people and was only passed once on the bike.
Was smooth and easy. I actually had the exact same time as 2012. Slipped my Newton shoes on and headed out with jelly legs.
I was a bit nervous for this because my right hamstring was tight on the bike and was tightening up during the run. I was not sure how to push for the run. I have learned the hard way not to push too hard early on because when you bonk that is it and you don’t recover.
I tried to keep it easy, but the beginning course is grass, rocks, trails and little hills so it is not easy for me. I ran 7:36 the first mile and felt good so I decided to pick up the pace a bit more. The second mile I was 7:06 or right around there and still was feeling good. I decided to kick it into high gear. I thought I was flying, but really I wasn’t and ran a 7:16 or something like that. I finished in 23:09 for a 7:29 pace. I finished and was mad because I was not that tired afterwards which told me I should have pushed harder on the run. In 2012 I ran 20:34 for a 6:37 pace.
I finished in 1:18:32. Not too bad. I was about 7 minutes slower than two years ago so I have some work to do. This week I need to add some endurance runs and rides along with sprint workouts. It is a checkpoint. I knew I would not be amazing. I was satisfied with the results. Looking at the pictures I have some serious weight to drop to get to race weight and optimal conditions for future races. It is good to look at the good and the bad. The good is that I loved it. It felt so good to challenge my mind and body and to see where I was fitness wise two months ago and where I am right now. I have to remember that two years ago I was training all the time and Amanda is great at reminding me that I was doing nothing but training. I need to work to find balances. It has been helpful getting up at 4 am so I can get 2-3 hours of training in before any wakes up now that my kids are a bit older and sleep in a bit longer.
Today(one day after) my body is very sore. I was not sore at all yesterday, but today my body is sore. I am also battling a serious cold that is not helping the recovery. I have not felt this bad in a long time. Hopefully I can kick both elements of sickness and fatigue to get out for some serious training Monday – Thursday before I leave for Dave Matthews concerts this weekend. I have to get four days of quality training in.
It feels good to be back! Now off to the next checkpoint. Another tri race? Bix7? Time to make a decision.
Thank you to everyone who was there cheering and supporting. What a great group of people. LiveUncommon was everywhere and it is so good to see so many out doing great things. Thanks to Phil for taking pictures. All the support does not go unnoticed.