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Archive for June, 2011

A Victory of Sorts

Monday, June 27th, 2011

It’s hard to call a 12th place pro finish and a finish where you are beaten by some of the top age groupers a victory, but today for me it was.  I’ll probably expand on this in an article for a local publication.  And, I don’t want to be poor poor pitiful me.  I have to say that I have not really every been injured since I started racing.  By injured, I mean something that took me out of biking or running or swimming completely for more than a few days.  Fortunate you might say.  Certainly many others have had it much worse, and have come back all the stronger.

So in late April and virtually all of May with little to no training, it was a tough pill to swallow.  I took my first return to running steps exactly 4 weeks ago the day before the CapTex triathlon in Austin.  I said that if I could run 1 hour the week before the Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon, I’d go race.

Friday I packed up and headed to Lubbock.  Went through the normal pre race motions with the exception of that little 6+ hour drive.  I also got to see my sister-in-laws folks in the big city of Post, TX.  He sells furniture to people coming and going…they own a furniture store and he’s the town mortician!!

The short story is that I went to BSLT because I really like the race.  And, my main goal for the race…my gold performace…would be running 13.1 miles.  BSLT has a reputation for being a tough course with tough conditions.  Truthfully, the course is not ‘that’ tough.  But, the conditions can make the course pretty epic.  The high in Lubbock on Saturday was 112 or something stupid.  The high on Sunday was to be 110 or something equally stupid with West Texas Winds to go with it.

With those conditions on the line, I still kept to my goals and my race plan.  That was to simply have a day out there where I swam, biked, and ran 70.3 miles.  I mean, yeah I was ‘there to win’ as I blogged before.  But, no one is going to give you a win, and you can’t fake fitness.  Certainly not with the pro fields that are generally assembled these days as there are always a few solid guys who line up.

The short story is that I had an average swim.  A slow start and a good finish.  I rolled up on a couple of guys that were a bit back from the front two about 1/2 way through the swim and stayed there.  On the bike, and I knew the lack of fitness would show a bit.  I had a solid 2nd half and likely lost very little time to most of the other pros.  I was off the bike around 10th or 12th.  The conditions were indeed very tough on the bike, not so tough that you couldn’t ride fast as evidenced by the top bike splits.  The run conditions were equally tough as shade was at a premium and the tar on the road was bubbling up through the rocks out past the powerplant.  I settled in to a pace that was not fast by any means, but still faster than I ran my hour last weekend.  I hit the turnaround on pace for a blistering 1:33 or so! I managed to hold that pace, ran the entire run, no pain to speak of other than the pain that comes with completing 70.3 miles.

So, a bit of a victory of sorts for me.  A bit humbling yes, but great to be back at it.  As James would say…onwards and upwards.

1993 – 2011

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I’ve been reading “I’m Here to Win” by Macca who also just raced his first ITU World Cup style race in a long time!!  Anyway, it’s interesting reading.  I was at Kona in 2002 when Macca was first there.  I was about a minute back from him in the swim and then I guess you could say I went on to pass him since I stumbled across the line about 11 hours after I started.  He talks about the evolution of triathlon or the rift between the American style of racing and the ITU style of racing.  But, that’s not what this blog is about.

I’m headed out to Lubbock, TX this weekend for the Buffalo Springs Triathlon.  I first raced there in 1993 when it was an Olympic Distance triathlon.  I think that I finished 4th or so.  It was a few weeks after the Texas State Championship which I won as an 18 year old…shocked myself and everyone else.  In 1999 I think it was I went back and did my first 1/2 Ironman there.  I qualified for Kona there in 2002 by finishing as the 2nd amateur and 3rd overall in the race.  So, I guess that the race in Lubbock is a bit special to me…if I must reminisce.  I have raced 2x as a pro there finishing somewhere around 4th or 5th each time.  So, I’ll head out there again on Friday to toe the line on Sunday with a bunch of other ‘mice’ fighting over a few pieces of ‘cheese’.  I’ll let you figure out the analogy or metaphor…proper grammer was never my strength.

Invariably, people ask how you expect to do or what does the field look like, etc.  If you keep up here, you know that May was pretty much a zero for me.  I felt like a hero in March and April.  Hero to zero the saying goes, but that is taking it a little too far.  May was forgettable yes.  I didn’t run a step for 5 weeks, barely rode.  But, the thing about racing, the reason that we do it, the reason that Doc likes it, is that it is the last of the no spin zone.  Whoever crosses the line first wins.  Whatever happened in the days, weeks, months, leading up to the race does not really matter.  Everyone is equal when the gun goes off.  By all accounts, I probably have no business toeing the line on Sunday.  I told myself if I could run 1 hour this weekend I’d race.  I did better than that, so race it is.  But, it’s the challenge of it.  Will it affect my confidence one way or the other how the race goes…no.  Some may disagree, but I’m here to tell you it won’t.

To tie it back to “I’m here to win”…Macca just toed the line in a race that he likely had no business being in.  Did he think that he was going to just show up and win.  I doubt it.  But, I can tell you that he was ‘there to win’ however improbable it was.  I can tell you that on Sunday I’m there to win.  I’m there to give whatever I have on that day.  I love racing in Texas…so to some degree Lubbock is a hometown race.

What’s a Guy to Do…

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

What’s a guy to do when his S.O. heads off to TeamTBB training camp and leaves him “home alone”?  I’m probably not the best one to ask.  My bachelor-hood was, truth be told, quite boring.  I was the single guy at work (during my previous Engineering life) that my friends thought they would live vicariously through.  Sadly, I let them down.

My life consisted of waking up, training, going to work for 9 or so hours a day sometimes working out again at lunch, and then working out again before doing it all again the next day. That all changed that fateful day when I met Amy at the pool.  Well, not really.  I just had someone else to join me on some of those workouts.  But…how have I filled my days?

It’s only been a few, and at the end of each month or beginning of the other, I end up having quite a bit of the TeamTBB coaching admin stuff to do.  That’s always fun! I listen to a lot of music.  Right now, it is generally pretty mellow since it fills the space that might normally be filled with talking.  I say might normally because those of you who know Amy know that she’s not a real talkative one.  Good thing I can be…even if it is somewhat slow as Brett says.  Slow talkin’ Texan with the fast movin’ mind.  So, it’s Pandora radio with a varied mix depending on the mood.

Right now my musical selection is pretty mellow.  Texas singer songwriter types.  Casey Donahew Band, Ryan Bingham, Rich O’Toole,  Reckless Kelly, Avett Brothers, Turnpike Troubadours, and Josh Abbott are the main selections right now.  Throw in a little bit of The Black Crowes, Kid Rock, Led Zepplin as well.  And, then there is the occasional Eminem, maybe some Pink for Bek and Jodie, Weezer, Queen, Young the Giant, and a few other randoms like The Killers.  So, a pretty good mix.

Other than that, the days are slowly being filled with training again.  I seem to be on the mend, and that is a good thing.  I feel like I was Mr. Grumpy Pants there for a bit, and made worse when the S.O. leaves for Europe.  So, as things stand now, I’ll head out to West TX and do a little race in a couple of weeks.  Maybe I’ll follow that up with another race somewhere on July 10 or thereabouts.  And, maybe I’ll follow that up with a flight to hop the pond over the join Amy and the rest of the Team at training camp.  By then, the rain should have quit and the temps should be good…so my packing will be much lighter than Amy’s!