Today brings a close to one crazy week. Talk about ups and downs. I went from feeling like things were over Tuesday with my knee locking up, to taking a few days rest to get my mind and body right to making a big U-Turn by running almost 16 miles Saturday to running my first official triathlon Sunday.
On Saturday I had a big day. After running the almost 16 miles early Saturday morning I took Addy to gymnastics to watch her continue to make huge strides in her skills and development. Watching her in her class reminds me that practice and not giving up when things are tough are keys to continuing to improve ourselves as individuals. She has certain things that she struggles with, but she just keeps on trying with a smile on her face. As we get older this is hard to go as begin to pile up expectations for ourselves. Watching all these kids each Saturday reminds me to always enjoy the journey. If you are not enjoying the journey, then why do it?
As soon as her class was over we headed to Clinton, Iowa. We dropped off the kids at their grandparents to play while Amanda and I headed back to our old stomping grounds of Ashford Universtiy. My basketball team from the 2001-2002 season was inducted into the Hall of Fame as the only team to make it to the National Tournament. It was awesome seeing everyone as I had not seen many of them since the good old college days. Crazy how we are able to just take off like we were just in college. Funny how many stories pop up that we all have forgotten about. It was a great honor. We stayed and watch the college game and I forgot how much I love college basketball. The aggressiveness and the intensity is something that I love. I feel so fortunate to have found my way to Clinton, IA for college to be able to experience college basketball because once it is over it is something that can never be captured again. Weird to think I guarded a few guys who play in the NBA.
After the college game headed out for pizza, cheese curls, and other various greasy foods. What a perfect meal the day before a race! It was delicious. We then headed to Fulton, IL to watch my Father In Law coach his high school team. It was an ugly game, but it felt good to finally be able to make it to a game this season.
Finally, around 10:30 we found our way home. I have not stayed up that late in months. I was off to bed feeling sore from the run and bloated from the grease.
Sunday I headed to Muscatine for my first triathlon ever. I was not nervous at all until I finally registered and looked out to see people swimming. Then my nerves hit me like a ton of bricks and I was thinking what in the world am I doing? Am I ready for this?
I went through all my pre race rituals that I do. I took in water, but not much else as I was not sure how my stomach would react. I never eat before my swim workouts due to being so early in the morning. With my start time of 1:30 this was different. I did not eat anything after 11:30.
I made my way to the small pool for instructions, found my timer for the day and chatted with some of the people in my wave. What a great group of people. They really helped put my mind at ease. We then headed to the pool. The water was cold! I loved it once I got going because I never felt hot like I do at the Bettendorf pool. Swimming is my big fear. It is the element that I am newest at and have really struggled with. I have put in some serious training time to improve my fitness and my technique. Stacey Zapolski and Tara Christensen have done wonders to help me with their monthly swim club. Stacey has kept me dialed in with things to work on. Thank goodness for them because I have no idea what I am doing and they keep me in check with their suggestions. I have a long way to go, but I feel I have made some huge strides.
On December 26th I tested out the 900 yard swim for the application that needed a swim time. I swam the distance in 19:15 and marked 19 minutes on the form. My goal was to beat 19 minutes. I ended up crushing this time and really surprised myself by my time. I finished the swim in 15:06 cutting off four minutes from a month prior. I was very happy with the results. Jeff Paul who is such a great friend, mentor, and person overall was there and he captured all my splits for me. How many people do this? I did not even ask him to do this, but he knows I love crunching numbers so he captured my 50 splits. I started off too fast doing the first 50 in about 40 seconds. Once my heart started beating like crazy and I wore off the adrenaline I was able to establish a nice pace to swim a rhythm that was comfortable for me. The orange sheet has all my splits courtesy of Jeff.
I jumped out of the pool and quickly dried off. Jeff told me that morning to just run and bike in my jammers as I don't have any tri gear. I was not that comfortable with my body to be out and about in my jammers so after I dried off I tried to put on a shirt with no success. After about 20 seconds of struggling with the shirt I decided I go shirtless. Then I struggled with the shorts and finally just told myself to not worry about the people and go. I overcame my body image and took off in shoes and a jammer to the bike.
The bike went very well. I messed up the resistance at first. I was pedaling like crazy but not going anywhere. After about a minute I realized I hit the wrong lever when adjusting the handlebars and moved the resistance to 1. I finally moved the resistance to level 8 where it was supposed to go and started cranking. I pushed hard for me, but felt pretty good. My legs started burning around the 8 mile mark and I started to think maybe I was pushing too much, but I figured to keep going. I was off the bike in a little over 16 minutes and took off to the track.
I felt great on the track. I found a great pace and was all alone for a few laps as I was the first off the bike in my heat. I felt strong and just wanted to hold on to my pace. To be honest I have not ran at this pace in over a year with the exception of one sprint workout I did a few months back. I was pleased with how effortless it felt at first. I started to tire at lap 20, but decided to just pick up the pace to eliminate the negative talk. With about 10 laps left I had to dig deep. I knew mentally I had to get to 8 laps as I knew that would only be .5 mile. I got to 8, then 6 laps and I felt in control. Thank goodness for Jeff shouting at me to keep going. Around lap 6 he let me know I could break 50 if I picked up the pace. I picked up the pace and with two laps left I had 48 seconds to beat 50 minutes. I was right on par with one lap left and 24 seconds. I felt queasy, but kicked it in gear to finish strong with a good time of 16:02 on the 2.5 mile run. My splits were negative splits which makes me even happier. My half mile splits were
-- a 6:36 mile
-- a 6:35 mile
-- a few laps from dying!!!!
This was a great race for me. I was more than pleased with my time and how things went. This race was a confidence booster for me in many ways. I really shocked myself with my results. I was not expecting to do anywhere near this good and to do so proves that my training is paying off. This was the perfect checkpoint in my training to see where I am, how I am doing and where to go from here.
None of this would be possible if it was not for my wife and her support and allowing me to train like I do. She is very understanding and sometimes my training is not always easy for her when we have 3 kids and she has a life of her own. I cannot thank all the people who train with me. The Crazies for the running help, the Leadville crew for the long run help, Chad for the swims, and Stacey and Tara for the swim guidance. Jeff Paul for always being a phone call away for a question and for sticking around to cheer me on. It was wonderful to have someone there for my first tri pushing me along the way. I would not have broken 50 minutes without him being there letting me know what I had to do. Basically, the results come from a team effort each week.
Once I find some pictures I will load them up. I know there are some good Live Uncommon photos out there somewhere and I saw plenty of cameras snapping pictures. I only hope I did not look too gross in just my jammers.
GETTING IT DONE! got it done Sunday and it back to training again Monday. Thanks for reading this very long post.
Final time was 49:57 placing me 3rd in my age division of 31-39 behind Jeff Paul and another guy.