Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
After my ride this morning as I was getting dressed for work I pulled a muscle in my upper back / neck area. I think I was reaching for the deodorant or something like that after getting out of the shower. Immediately I was unable to turn my head to the left or right without pain. I’d done this a few times before, but not since I started actively training, so I knew that it would go away by tonight or tomorrow with a little rubbing and stretching. My wife prayed for me as I left this morning and I started trying to work it out with rubbing and stretching when I got to my desk at work. I even wrote in my online training log, “…Possible swim later ~ not sure” because I didn’t know if I’d be able to turn my head enough to breathe.
By 11:00 AM it was still sore and I had only limited range of motion but I decided to give the swim a try anyway. My plan was to do an easy distance set and just relax, get through the session, and not push myself (not matter who was in the lane next to me). Just in case, I brought my running stuff with me so that I could jump on the treadmill if the swim wasn’t going to happen. So I start swimming. I have to modify my form a little, but I can make this work. This workout is going to happen, cool. After getting warmed up and getting into my main set, keeping it easy, I start realizing that things feel efficient and fast, especially for the effort level. At the end of the set I swam 100 meters at the same relaxed effort level just to make sure I hadn’t miscounted my laps. Yep, it was 1:27 for 100 meters. For all you yardage swimmers, that’s 1:19 per 100 yards.
Some of you may think I'm crazy, but I really don’t care :-) I’m saying that this whole thing was arranged by my coach. At the start of this season I stopped trying to figure this triathlon thing out and went ahead a got a coach. I’m really picky about stuff like this; I needed someone who was free of charge, but also someone who knew every minute detail about this sport and everything about me and my physiology. There was only one coach that fit bill, the Lord God himself. And this swim breakthrough is totally His modis operandi; working together all things for the good of those that love him, who have been called according to his purpose - Romans 8:28. I believe He wants me to be a great triathlete. I believe that being a great triathlete is part of His will for my life. And so I’m always asking Him in prayer, “Lord, make me a better swimmer. Lord, show me how to run faster”, etc. The word of God tells me that whatever I request, if it is in accordance with His will for my life, it will be granted to me. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” - 1 John 5:14-15
I hope y’all don’t think I’m preaching at you or anything. It’s just that as I sit here with a sore neck with limited range of motion, I’m so excited about what He is going to do in me this season and in the coming years that I have to tell people about it. If you want more speed and believe that He wants you to be faster, ask for it, and He’ll deliver. All you have to do is be willing to put in the work and tell people what He’s done for you.
The CR1 is home and back in true road form. She'll get tons of use in the training ramp to the IM when I'm just grinding out the base miles as well as the competitive summer ride in Irmo on Thursday mornings with roadies. Hopefully I'll be able to knock off a few centuries on her with the roadie crew this summer also.
I received this email last week informing the cyclists that the installation of bike storage lockers had been approved:
Good news! The storage facility for the bikes has been approved. Tom and his group are expected to order it next week and the delivery time will be about 4 -6 weeks. In the meantime, I'll let you temporarily store your bikes in the wellness center in a back office somewhere. Please just give me a call about when you plan to start leaving your bike up here.
Jada L. Hubbard
Manager, Health and Wellness Programs
This may not be the best of news for the commuter bike, however. Part of the reason I built her up was to have a bike that I wouldn't mind storing outside on a bike rack. Now that we'll have bike lockers I'll be able to ride the CR1 to work. She's still useful for hauling lots of stuff on the panniers though. We'll just have to see what the future holds for her.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The water looks deceivingly calm in this picture.
This was one of the most difficult swims I’ve ever gone through, mentally. I had to stop four or five times on the first 250 meter leg to regroup, tug on the neck of my wetsuit, and try to get a deep breath. Each time I had to watch the lead group in my wave get farther away. I was thinking that the race was slipping away from me right there in the first five minutes and that I had to get this swim under control if I wanted any shot at the podium. After finally reaching the first turn, I was then able to settle in a bit and start making gains on the lead group. I never was able to totally make up the deficit that my problems in the first 250 meters caused, but I closed the gap a little I think. Total swim time was 13:35
Now I've got my work cut out for me
I’ve come to the realization that I seriously dislike swimming in a wetsuit. About half the time I wear one I get panicky because I feel like it’s choking me. And although it may make me faster, it seems to exaggerate my zip-zag open water swimming and the time it takes in T1 to get out of it negates any speed advantages it gives me. I’m thinking of getting a two piece suit and wearing only the bottom half in these swims that are wetsuit legal but still warm enough to go without one. I’m just thankful that the next several races will be too warm to use one legally.
I was fairly disoriented coming into T1 and almost fell over while getting my suit off. Other than that it was uneventful and fairly smooth. T1 time: 1:07.
Once on the bike I knew I had to go hard from the start to close the gap left by the swim. This is not a position I’m used to being in and one I hope not to be in very often in the future. This was only my third ride on the Plasma but knew without a doubt that she suited me as I started flying past people like they were standing still. Coming into the race I’d put some pressure on myself to post a great bike split because of the new sponsorship deal that got me the Plasma and the fact that this was a local race. I need to represent my sponsor well on the bike and I was willing to totally sacrifice my run to do it, I was committed to risking it all on the bike. I never let up the pace; I just prayed that the Lord would give me the strength to run a decent 5k.
The carnage continued as I picked off riders one after another from the swim wave that went off 4 minutes ahead of mine. Eventually, about halfway through the bike segment I was passed by someone on a nice P3C with a full rear disk. I hung with him for a little while and then decided that I better back off a little if I don’t want to toss my cookies. Not long after this I spotted my friend and training partner Bill up ahead who been in the swim wave ahead of mine. A car had passed me on the left and was cruising just behind Bill as I was closing the gap. The car still hadn’t passed him when I caught them and so I was forced to pass the car on the right and Bill on the left at just about the same time. I was caught by a Cycle Center sponsor rider within the last quarter mile and we exchanged leads all the way into transition. After the race I looked at my computer which didn’t include the run with the bike to the mount line and the mounting of the bike. It said a distance of 16.03 and a time of 40:07 for an average speed of 24.01. The official time was 40:29.
Another good looking t2, no bikes on the racks means I'm in a good position
T2 was pretty smooth. I quickly got off my helmet and cycling shoes and put on my Zoots and grabbed my race number belt to put on as I ran out of transition. T2 time: 0:48.
The Cycle Center guy made it out of transition just ahead of me but I passed him within 1/8th of a mile as we crossed a little bridge. As I passed by he said, “Good job” which I appreciated; it shows a lot of class since we’d just been fighting it out on the bikes. I passed two more runners and reached a stretch without any very close. From here it was pretty much just a continual prayer for the Lord to give me legs to do this well. I could see someone very far ahead and could tell that I was eating into his lead and would pass him eventually. Just past the mile 1 mark there is an off-shoot turnaround where you get to take a look at who’s chasing you. It was in this section that I saw my friend Bill again and large contingent of other racers. I couldn’t tell who was in my wave and who wasn’t, so I had to assume that some folks from my age group were in the pack that was about a half mile behind me. I knew the next 2 miles were going to be painful as I couldn’t let up the pace without the risk of getting caught. With about a mile to go I was passed by a 25 yr old guy that I passed in that first quarter mile. He was flying at a sub 6 minute pace. I guess he found his legs. As I reached the bridge again I could hear the applause of the crowd, the music and the announcer. I took a quick look over my shoulder to see if there was anyone near, which there wasn’t, and then opened it up coming into the race area to about a 5:40 pace I’d guess. I hadn’t felt as good on the whole run as I did on the that sprint coming into the finishing chute, I wish I’d opened it up much sooner. As I passed by my son saw me and came running across the line behind me. As soon as I crossed I scooped him up for a big hug and kiss. Total run: 20:29, 6:34 average pace.
Happiest moment of the day
In the end my run and bike where enough to overcome my bad swim and secure the age group win. The fact that this was a local race with tons of friends and my wife and son there to cheer me on made it very special. And winning was somewhat a validation of the recent sponsorship deal. What a relief! This race was also a validation of my goal to race competitively at the Elite/Open level. If I can swim like I do in training, shave another minute or two off my bike split, and get the 5k time down below 19, I’ll be ready to toe the line with the best of the best. I’ve got more work to do to get there, but this year’s time is almost 5 minutes less than my time last year, which is a good indication that I’m on the way there.
Total time: 1:16:26, 1st place in the 30-34 division, 20th of 259 overall.
On the podium
Numero Uno in his eyes
After the race we had some fun hanging out with friends, eating, enjoying the afternoon.
Caleb makes some friends
Great race and a fun day
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
On a national scale the team is made up of more than just triathletes, it includes endurance athletes of all kinds including the recent approval of the team by USA Cycling as a sponsored club. Although triathlon is my personal passion and focus, my hope is that the local Columbia team grows to include many different athletes including road cyclists and mountain bikers, runners, etc. The common thread is that all these athletes compete in endurance sports, believe in Christ, have a willingness to share their faith, have desire to make a positive impact on the endurance world, and have committed to competing in accordance to the Competitors Creed.
At the heart of the team is the question “Why do you race?” It’s a personal question that I believe endurance competition brings every athlete to ask themselves eventually. When you’re in a race or even a hard training session and you’re giving everything you have, applying everything you’ve built and learned in training, and you’re suffering for the sake of speed or just finishing, you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”, “Why am I putting myself through this?” For me personally, I couldn’t push on if the answer was “To show how awesome I am” or whatever. For me, it HAS to be bigger than me. It HAS to be more than me. My answer HAS to be “To glorify God. To show what He’s done in my life. To demonstrate how far He’s brought me. To show the world what He can do for them and through them. He took a self-serving, addicted, lost, and dying person and gave me purpose, blessed me, gave me a beautiful wife and beautiful children, He preserved and increased my health, He saved me, He redeemed me to Himself. I owe him everything. I’m willing to offer nothing less than my entire life, so here it is. I’m laying everything I have out there. Here’s 100%. Now let’s go!” ~ And I push on.
If you race in South Carolina you’ve probably already noticed a strong FCA-E presence at the two races we’ve had this season in the form of volunteers, expo tent and athletes. This is a result of the partnership between Setup Events and FCA-E. We hope that the more of a presence we have in service to the race director and athletes and on the podium, the more other athletes will be emboldened and encouraged to share their faith or ask simply themselves why they race?
One of the first things that we did was establish this blog (http://fcaecolumbia.blogspot.com) to give the team a place to centralize and publish information. In the coming weeks we hope to establish regular training rides, bricks and track workouts to help athletes reach new levels in their abilities. These training sessions will be open to anyone who would like train with the team and we encourage teammates to invite their friends and training partners. Also, we hope of offer several triathlon weekend training camps during the summer for athletes and their spouses at Clarks Hill (Lake Thurman) where the focus will be on open water swimming and logging some good miles on the bike and run.
So, if you or anyone you know wants to be a part of a team of athletes that will encourage each other, push each other, pray for each other, and serve together, join the team.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Randy is on the waiting list for Beach-2-Battleship Ironman and if he gets a slot it is imperative that I beat him so I can retain the designation of "Top Triathlete at Colonial Life". The way I figure it, he'll run at least one minute per mile faster than me in the marathon so I'll need to gain a comfortable 28 minutes between the swim and bike to hold on to the title.
This sort of brings me to the question that I’m trying to answer this year, which is, am I a long course or short course triathlete? It just occurred to me that maybe it doesn’t need answering, maybe I can be both. But can you really do both well? I guess this year will answer that (for me) since I’m racing hard on the short course this first half of the year and then attempting to race (not just complete) long course races in the back half of the year.
Will I burn out? Will I pull it off? And what does this mean for me next year? I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun finding the answers to these questions.