Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Return to Racing!

This Past weekend I got to race for the first time in 2011 at the Austin Half Marathon. Let me tell you nothing motivates you to train harder than racing. It felt great to be out competing against other athletes. There is something about the buzz circling the crowd at a race that excites me and the high you feel afterwards has no comparison. Though this was a training race it was still an important race for me for a couple of reasons; 1) I've been working with Coach Zane Castro the last few weeks and it should provide him with some valuable data for planning future training, 2) I'll be focusing on the 70.3 distance this year and wanted an idea of the pace I'm capable of running.

My training on Saturday was lighter than normal with a 30 minute run and 45 minutes swim, which was a good thing as I was hurting a little from a tough 2:30 ride on Friday. I also was fighting a bug all week that I was hoping to have cleared out by Sunday's race. I talked race strategy with Zane Saturday night and then got to bed early. I didn't have ideal sleep Saturday night as I woke up several times throughout the night but I've had worse so I'll take it.

Sunday morning I got up threw down some oatmeal, peanut butter, walnuts, and Gatorade for breakfast and then headed over to the race course. My wife, Erin was in cheer mode today which always makes racing fun. I got a good warm up in and positioned myself in the center front of the crowd for the start. Gun went off and I was racing! The first few miles were faster than I had planned but were mostly downhill so I was alright with that. I had positioned myself in the 3rd pack of guys. Before I knew it we were in a strong head wind fighting for positions. I was trying to position myself behind a few guys letting them break the wind for me. After mile 4 I did a watch check and my pace had dropped a little slower than I hoped. I made a small break to bridge to the next group in front of me. I planned this break so that I wouldn't have to fight the wind by myself. From mile 5 to the finish I consistently picked off runners and ended up finishing 9th out of 10,523 in a time of 1:16:30 for a 5:46 pace. This was about 30 seconds faster than my goal time on a hilly windy course, so I was pretty happy.

Looking back on my race I gained a much better feel of my pacing and know I should be able to push harder and faster yet. I have a lot of training in front of me and this should only produce better results. I need to get in a position where I can run that 1:16:30 off the bike and am confident I'll get there. Next on the race schedule is the Blue Norther Duathlon and I'll be making my Pro Debut at The Gateway to Bay triathlon in Kemah, TX. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your training!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 here I come!

To say that I'm excited for the 2011 Triathlon season is an understatement. 2010 was a challenging year in the sense that it was full of constant change. I'm very blessed to be able to say most of this change was for the good. The big list of changes include a move to San Antonio, my wife graduating from college, buying our first house, getting our new puppy, a new Job, and making many new friends. Now looking at 2011, I believe this will be a year of firsts. My first race as a professional triathlete, my wife's first Ironman, new sponsors, a coach, and many more. I believe when looking at the changes of 2010 and the firsts awaiting in 2011; I'm in a wonderful situation that could allow for great growth and success. Take me moving to San Antonio; I've been outside for many 3 hour rides the last few months, back in Iowa I'd be trying to motivate myself through a trainer ride. A new job has allowed me to have all my weekends for training and racing which contributed largely to me being able to qualify for my elite racing card. Lots of opportunities this year and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of them.

I've posted my tentative race schedule for 2011 under the "2011 Tour" tab and am looking forward to some of the challenges these races will present both in the form of logistics and awesome competition. Check out the races and let me know if you're attending, It would be great to chat with some friendly people in transition.

My big goal for 2011 is to progress into a legit Pro. A guy that can toe the line in any race and have a chance to score some prize money. My approach this year is going to be not worrying so much about my big goal but focus on the little ones, most importantly the work out that lies 1 or 2 hours in front of me. I'm confident if I can knock down these everyday little goals the big one will fall into place.

Good luck to everyone as you pursue your own goals this season and look forward to seeing you out on the race course or beer tent afterward :)