Winter Training Woes

Chicago winters are dark, dreary, cold, windy, LONG, icy, boring, and did I mention long?! The winters around here can do a few things to training. They can kick start the mental toughness that comes along with endurance sports, and/or it can start a process that saps you mentally so you might not want to train! For me it does both. But if I can keep coming back and waking up to train when I am mentally drained I know that I will be ready to go when the season comes along.

I don’t mind riding on the trainer as long as I have some good music of TV to watch. I don’t mind running outside in the cold. What really gets me is waking up early to go swim and it is pitch black outside! I then have to drive to the pool, get in the “cold” water and swim. But once I am in the water things change, well usually. There are times when I am swimming and I think “man I wish I was a duathlete!” But I feel like this is all a part of the process of becoming mentally strong. Winter training separates the weak from the strong and it is the building block to a solid season.

I do get a bit worn down around this time because I want to get outside and ride my bike! Even during the season when the weather is nice I don’t ride outside all of the time. That is mostly because I live in the city and riding, or driving, to an area that is good to ride take a bit of time. But it is also because I know I can get a lot of great quality training done on the trainer since there are no stop lights, no coasting, nothing but me and the numbers!

I am VERY excited for this upcoming year. There are a lot of things that will be going on and triathlon is only a small portion. 2016 is going to be a great year!

Age Group Nationals: An unexpected AG silver medal!

3 weeks ago I raced 70.3 Racine and won my age group and placed 11th amateur. I was very happy with the end result but was not completely satisfied because I was not able to show my bike fitness. Fast forward 3 weeks and I am sitting here still in a bit of disbelief with my result at Saturday’s USAT Age Group National Championship. Last month I was going back and forth between signing up for this race of 70.3 Steelhead. I decided on this race because it was going to be moving away from Milwaukee and I was able to drive up the morning of the race. And I sure am happy I made that decision!

Last week I was looking at the USAT AG national rankings and to my surprise I was ranked 15th in the country in my AG. I know I am a good triathlete and I know I can get really good results and I see myself at the front of the race but I am still a bit unsure of myself since this is really the first year that I have been able to put a bunch of good results together. After I saw that I started to think about how I could do in this race. Two years ago I raced there and was like 48th in my AG with a 2:05:xx time which is my PR, well ITU Chicago is the PR but the course was short. I was thinking with my new fitness and experience I thought a top 20 result was realistic. I don’t fancy myself as a short course racer, I think 70.3 is my distance because I have more time to make up time on the run.

My fiancé drove up with me and was my supporter for the day since my parents were, unfortunately, out-of-town. I gave her instructions to tell me my placing after the swim and bike. Thankfully I was in the first wave or else that would have been all but impossible. I gave her rough time estimates of 23 for the swim, an hour for the bike, and 36 for the run. So I thought a 2:02-03 was a realistic result. But my goal was to push from start to finish and let it all fall into place from there.

Swim: 21:53 (1:16 min/100 yards) 14th AG/136th Overall swim time

The swim start was a bit interesting. We were all lined up on the dock in the water and we had to have one hand touching the dock. Now it might not have been so bad but we were PACKED in there. I was on the inside and was getting a bit nervous about the start. I am still not a fan of rough swims so I had to hope that I could get off the line fast and get into a good groove. Thankfully I did! I shot off the line and did not get touched. I tried to find feet and I found some, then I lost them, then found some more, then lost them. I tried to sight to see where I was but it was tough to tell. I figured top 20ish but not sure. Swim went well and felt pretty good. I was pushing it but still wish I could have stayed on someone’s feet to save energy. I got out of the water and saw 22:xx but knew I started my watch about 45 seconds early. So a good start to the race!

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Bike: 58:34 (25.5 MPH/268 NP) 3rd AG off the bike..2nd AG/60th Overall bike time

The good thing/bad thing about being #12 I was racked at the first bike rack. So almost as far away from bike/run exit as possible but also as close to swim in/bike in as possible. Got on my bike and heard my fiancé say 13th. I was very happy with that start and with the way my legs felt. I started pushing right away and knew I had good legs so I was pushing it from the start. There were a bunch of riders within a minute or so of me so I was able to get into top 10 pretty fast. Then slowly started pulling others back. I saw the first two riders and they looked a fair distance ahead so I was hoping I could make up some time on the bike and hopefully be able to run some more time into them. Made it into the top 5 at the turn back to transition then I hit a bump and my right aerobar came loose. It was more of an annoyance than a real issue. If it was a longer race it would have been worse but I only had about 15 minutes left so I knew I could just focus on putting weight on the back of the pad so I didn’t fall forward. Made it into 3rd place with a few minutes left and I saw 2nd place up the road. I wasn’t able to catch him but I was VERY happy to get off the bike in 3rd. I was a bit worried that someone behind me would run me down at a race like this so I wanted to push it from the start and see how the legs felt.

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Run: 35:13 (5:41 min/mile) 2nd AG…fastest run in AG and 15th fastest overall

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If you have been following me for the last few years you know that the run is where I shine. I was hoping that I could keep that going and at least get up into 2nd and hope that no one passed me. Legs felt good out of transition and started to tick off the miles. First mile was 5:43. I saw the leader and started timing him to see how far ahead he was…I looked at my watch and saw 4 minutes! Well no chance of catching him! But 2nd place was close and I made the pass about a mile and a half in. I kept the pedal to the metal and pushed as hard as I could. My legs were feeling VERY good but I also wanted to make sure that the 3rd place guy didn’t catch back up so I was pushing it but making sure I had energy left for my final 2 mile pick up. At the turn with about 2 miles left I knew I wasn’t catching 1st but wasn’t sure exactly how far 3rd was back and then I saw a group of runners looking pretty good so I had to keep focus on breathing and my stride to not let anyone back in the game. I saw my friend Nick and he yelled some encouragement to me and that gave me a little added push. The last few miles hurt very bad because I now wanted to gain every second possible so my overall placing would be as high as possible since at a race this short seconds matter. With a half mile to go someone told me no one was going to catch me but to kick it in because I was racing against the clock. So I ignored the pain and discomfort and hit it. I ran down the finishing chute to a nice big crowd and announcers calling my name.

Finish: 1:57:30 2nd AG/24th Overall

Pure relief!

Pure relief!

I cross the finish line and someone congratulates me. I take a second look and it was Mark Allen. For those who don’t know he is one of the best triathletes EVER. He won 5 straight Ironman World Championships and 6 in all and is famous for his show down with Dave Scott in the 1989 “Iron War”. Two years ago I got my medal from Chrissie Wellington, arguably best woman triathlete ever, and this year Mark Allen, pretty cool! Right after that another person shakes my hand, I thought he was just saying good race but he said “you’ve been selected for doping control.” Well then, I guess I get to pee in a cup! I found Jessica to get my ID then walked over to the testing area. After chugging a bunch of Gatorade and water and answering a bunch of questions I was ready to give my sample. They need a lot of urine so I wanted to make sure I was ready for it. Thankfully Jessica followed others over so she was there with me and I was able to answer text messages from family and friends. I was able to get it done in one try. But it sure was a VERY awkward trip to the bathroom. As annoying as it was to not be able to relax and soak in the finish I am extremely happy USAT is taking age group doping seriously. It is sad to say that I am sure there were plenty of athletes who were taking something illegal. Testosterone supplementation has been such a big issue that it is nice to see them testing. But when they were asking questions I wanted to be like “I am a 3rd year elementary education teacher, I don’t have money for doping!”

I am extremely happy with this result and very happy that I was able to put a great race together from start to finish. Now time to start the real big training of the Chicago Marathon but I still have the Chicago Triathlon at the end of the month. But the focus will be to get A LOT of run miles in and not lose too much swim/bike fitness. Thanks everyone for the support!

2 Must Be My Lucky Number: Pleasant Prairie RR

I have been 2nd place overall in two different triathlons, one running race, and two weeks ago I added another 2nd to that list, unfortunately. Now I am not disappointed with 2nd because that means that only one person was faster than me on the day. But I am waiting, patiently, for my first overall win!

Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is a great race. It is about an hour from my and this was my 3rd time racing. The course is great. Nice, calm swim, solid bike course with great volunteers so there is no chance of going the wrong way, and an honest run course to end it all!

I drove myself there early Sunday morning, racked my bike, did all of my pre race stuff then got in the water for a few minute warm up swim. The water felt amazing. Perfect temp and my always trusty Xterra Vendetta wetsuit was feeling nice and comfortable.

Swim (24:23 5th Overall): I talked to a few people before the start to kind of gauge where I wanted to be and if there was anyone I wanted to swim with. Got off to a good quick start and I was alone, well there were two swimmers ahead but no chance of catching them. So the swim was mostly solo but I did get a chance to swim on some feet for a little while. Made the final turn and saw a swimmer I could swim with a bit until the finish. I got out of the water 5th, I think, then ran through transition.

On the bike

On the bike

Bike 1:04:5xish (25 MPH/258 NP) 3rd Overall: I got on the bike and felt my right calf a bit tight. I wanted to really push the bike so I was pretty annoyed my calf didn’t allow me to do that! But I kept on pushing. I wanted to be around 270ish watts to see how I would feel on the run but never got up to that for an extended period of time. I caught a few people pretty fast then saw two others at a turn and knew I would not be catching them since they were a few minutes ahead at the end of the bike. So I mentally started to get ready to get off the bike and try to run them down! That’s my favorite thing to do but I need to get stronger on the bike so I don’t put myself so far behind. But all in all it was a good, tough ride!

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Run 36:59 (5:58 min/mile) 2nd Overall: Got off the bike and ran out of transition like a bat out of hell. I thought I was about 4 minutes down on the two leaders so I knew I had PLENTY of work to do. I figured I could run hard, see them at the turn and calculate how much of a lead they had then readjust my pacing as needed. Miles started to tick off and finally saw them. It was about 2 minutes on first and 1 minute and a half on second the first time I saw them. First place looked good but second looked to be struggling a bit.

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Kept my foot on the gas and kept pushing it. Next time it was about 1:45 to first then :40 to second. I knew I was going to catch second but wasn’t sure about 1st. I made the pass into 2nd with about a half mile to go then tried to kick it in but I had a serious side stitch and figured I was not going to win the race but I knew I had 2nd in the bag so I slowed a bit to ease the pain. Made it to the finish and felt really good about the race.

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Finish: 2:08:49 2nd Overall

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I was happy with the race but still a bit disappointed I am still losing time on the bike. My coach and I have been working hard on the bike so I am optimistic that I won’t be so far behind the other riders at 70.3 Racine in two weeks. Now time to get the last two weeks of training in before Racine then it’ll be on to the USAT AG National Championships!

Motivation

It has been way too long since I have posted, and I know it has been since my best friend who isn’t a triathlete commented about it! I have been kind of busy but also just wasn’t sure what to write about. But last week I started to think about my motivation to train then today during my cool down I started to think about what I would write about motivation. So here goes!

Everyone has to motivate themselves on a daily basis. Do I wake up 10 minutes earlier to make breakfast or grab a pop tart (my pre race breakfast!) on the go? Do I eat the donut in the kitchen at work or just drink some water and eat an apple? Do I go out to eat with coworkers even though I made my healthy lunch? Do I order pizza or Chinese instead of cook at home?

These are all questions everyone has on a daily basis. Okay maybe not those exact questions but ones that are very similar. I go through those questions everyday as well too but because of the amount of training I do I have added questions that come up. Do I wake up at 5 to go for this swim? Do I take a nap after work and push back my run? Do I do 5×1 mile repeats or 4? Do I push as hard as I know I should even though I am tired? These questions happen sometime but sometimes training is just, well training. I get through it and I enjoy it. But on other days those early wake ups are really annoying and on days like today I just want to relax with my fiancé and watch Fixer Upper.

Then I get to thinking…why am I doing all of this training? What do I get out of it? Do I enjoy it because it is fun? Do I enjoy it because I am pretty good? Am I just scared to suck so I make myself train? I think at different times I train because I love it, because I am scared, because it is fun, because I am good at it, and because I want to get better.

The tough times are when I REALLY think about it. I do a lot of thinking on long swims, rides, or runs. So I get to go through many different things everyday. I really do enjoy training and racing a lot. Like A LOT. I LOVE pushing my body to see how far it can go and how well I can do. But then part of my knows that I also train so much because I am scared to fail. I train so much that when I fail I not only feel bad for myself but I feel bad for my family and friends that I take time away from to train. I know they are all happy with whatever place I come in and no matter how I feel but I want to do well FOR them almost more than me.

There are times where I do think that I need to cut back a bit on training to just let loose a bit. Not worry too much about what I am eating or drinking but that will come. I think I have come a long way with being so structured and regimented. I still am that but just a few years ago I was so paranoid that if I had one bad meal, or one bad part of a meal I would regret it. Like I would get mad at myself and be very frustrated. But now I know that if I have a piece of cake, or two, if I have fries, or a beer (which I am enjoying now!), I won’t automatically gain a pound or two.

I am very happy that I have a race coming up in two weeks so I will be able to have all of this hard work and dedication pay off! I might post before then since I need to get back into the swing of it. I am not sure what other races I am doing this year but right now the ones that I have signed up for are Challenge/Rev3 Knoxville, Pleasant Prairie Olympic, and the Chicago Marathon. I will add a mock schedule to the site and add the races I think I am going to do. Well, as always, thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions on what to write about let me know! I am always up for some reader feedback!

Ironman Wisconsin Race Report

I am still not sure how I want to write this report since I did not have the race I wanted but it still wasn’t a total loss.  But first I wanted to give thanks to those who supported me during this Ironman ride.  First, I want to thank my girlfriend who had to put up with all of the early morning and early nights and me not being able to go out ever and not wanting eat anything but salads.  I also want to thank my parents for coming to all of my races and supporting me.  And my friends who have looked the other way at all the times I have not been able to go out because of training and racing.

I also want to thank the Snapple Triathlon team for selecting me this year and I apologize for not crushing dreams at Ironman Wisconsin!  And also a HUGE thanks to all of our great sponsors!  All of the gear, nutrition products, and support made this all possible!

Lastly, I want to thank my coach JonnyO for getting me to the start line with the fitness needed to put on a good show just couldn’t get it done on the day.  But I know that the future will bring some good results!

Now I guess I should get to the report…

First I will give some thoughts that went through my mind during my walking during the marathon.  “Well this feels good, looks like if I run a good marathon I have a chance.”  “This perform is warm and this water is too.”  “Well let’s just walk this one aid station and get some calories in.”  “Well I am NEVER going to do another Ironman, what’s the point?!”  “I think I can run it in to the finish so let’s book it and if I collapse so be it.”

So as you can see I had a wide range of thoughts, as most do, during the marathon.  I came off of a pretty good swim, a not so good bike, so I had some time to make up if I wanted to qualify for Kona.  I want to make this short and sweet because I don’t want to relive the race too much.

Swim: 59:49 (1:32 min/100 meters 17th AG/85th Overall)

Swim start

Swim start

I was expecting to swim about an hour based on my half swim times and my training.  I started off all the way on the inside about 15 yards from the buoy line.  I was the furthest person so the left so I knew I would have a pretty clean start.  Got going and got into a good rhythm and just kept swimming.  It was pretty nice that I didn’t really think,”wow this is a long swim!”  I tried to stay on some feet but it didn’t seem like anyone was swimming straight, or maybe I wasn’t.  My calf started to cramp a bit so every now and then I would flex my ankles to try to stretch it out.  Got out of the water and saw my time and thought “right on schedule”.  Got to the wetsuit strippers then started up the helix when I felt my right glute start to lock up, “oh sh*t!”  I was hopeful it would release and let me ride but I was not that positive.  Love my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit!  I have had my best times this season wearing it and would not wear anything else!

Bike: 5:43:47 189 NP (19.55 MPH, 25th AG/182rd Overall)

Got to my bike and the glute was not releasing so I had to stop and stretch a few times.  I did have some thoughts about dropping out right then because I did not want to have the same struggle of a race I did in 2012 but quickly told myself I would give myself an hour and if I was still hurting by then we would revisit that thought.  But thankfully after about 10 miles it released but it still didn’t go away completely so I just couldn’t generate the power I wanted.  I knew my chance of finishing top 3 in my AG would depend on my run so I kept riding conservatively and letting people pass me.

I like my bike position!  Thanks Jessica for the picture!  Loved my "homemade" Louis Garneau skin top.

I like my bike position! Thanks Jessica for the picture! Loved my “homemade” Louis Garneau skin top.

The hills weren’t as bad this year and I kept them nice and easy then hit the downhills like my coach told me to and it was a fun way to ride.  I did not have any jitters hitting top speed which was 42.5 but I think I could’ve gone faster if I wanted.  I kept ticking off miles and getting my Osmo nutrition in and felt ok coming off the bike.  I knew I was behind where I wanted to be time wise but figured if I rode decent and got my nutrition down I could run a good marathon to catch up.

Got off the bike, ran through transition, made a quick bathroom stop then headed out with the legs feeling pretty good.  I also used a “homemade” Louis Garneau skin suit top to get a bit more aerodynamic and get some more sun coverage and it worked.  I found an old cycling skin suit at a bike shop then cut the bottoms off.  It was a bit tough to put on when wet but it worked!  No sunburns!

Run: 3:54:29 (8:56 min/mile, 20th AG/154th Overall)

Coach told me to go on a nice easy run to start the race so that’s what I tried to do.  I kept having to slow myself down the first few miles but I was talking to myself to make sure I was going easy.  All was going well until about mile 9 when my stomach started to get unsettled.  That never happens to me so I got a bit worried.  Then at mile 12 I walked an aid station to get calories in since even though I tried to get in fluids everything was warm so it made it tough to drink or eat anything.  I had some miserable middle miles where dropping out came into my head again but I started to walk with someone who felt like me and we chatted a bit and both kind of said “if we have to walk it in we walk it in”.  So I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to think positive.

Running down Observatory Hill.

Running down Observatory Hill.

At some point I told myself to stop being negative Nancy and try to have some fun.  So I started to play the high 5 game and give everyone who wanted a high 5 a high 5.  That helped a bit then at about mile 20 a little girl had a sign that said “tough here and get a speed bust” (or something along those lines).  So I of course jokingly, or so I thought, hit it and started to run. I figured it would only last a little bit but I quickly realized that my stomach wasn’t hurting.  Well great!  My girlfriend and parents were waiting at like mile 21 and I knew they realized that something went wrong so I got to them and gave them the run down and told them I would be able to keep up at least 9 minute miles to the finish.

Letting the family know my plans for the last few miles.

Letting the family know my plans for the last few miles.

So with my legs hurting like hell but working and my stomach feeling better I started to run again.  And for the last 6 miles I kept a sub 8 minute pace and when I got to the last few miles I just took off.  I knew I was hurting but I just wanted to be done.  I got into the finishers chute with a woman in front of me so I slowed down to give her her own finish and I started to give out some high 5s.  I was looking for my girlfriend and parents but couldn’t find them.  I guess I looked right at them but didn’t realize.  Now it was my turn to cross the finish.  “Jeremy Rielley, a teacher from Chicago, Il you are an Ironman!”

Finish: 10:46:26 (20th AG/154th Overall)

Right after the race I was obviously VERY disappointed because I trained all year and pretty much put all of my eggs in one basket.  But after a few days of relaxing and thinking I realized all was not lost.  I had a good swim, a decent bike and a good finish to my race.  Now I am trying to figure out how I want to attack next season.  My coach and I have been talking about doing another Ironman but doing it later in the season and not making it the only big race of the year or we do an Ironman and make it just another race.  Now that race will never be “just another race” but having some other big races in the early part of the year and summer take some pressure off of the Ironman result.  My bike accident put a lot of pressure on Ironman Wisconsin because I lost a few races while recovering so I basically only had two big races in the year which can lead to a lot of disappointment if one does not get the desired result.

Now time to recover then get back into some loose training and find some running races and maybe bike races for the rest of the year then hit the winter hard with a good block of training on my weaknesses!

ITU Chicago: A FAST day of racing

This past weekend the triathlon world, well short course world, traveled to Chicago for what was a spectacular weekend full of racing!  The ITU, International Triathlon Union, is the governing body that puts on the draft legal racing that is used for the Olympics.  The Elites, or pros, race in a series of races to gain points for themselves, and country, in order to qualify for the Olympics.   These races are really cool because they are very spectator friendly.  The race features many shorter loops that allow spectators to see the racers multiple times in each event.  The Women’s Elite race and the Para race was on Saturday and I went to the Women’s race and watched Gwen Jorgensen smoke the field with a ridiculously fast run, she ran over a minute into the leaders during the run which is crazy fast!

This was a fun race to watch!

This was a fun race to watch!

Then on Sunday it was my turn to race!  The cool thing with the ITU is they require completely closed streets.  Now that is amazing because cars on the road with racers can always get a bit hairy but also because this course had 3 U Turns per lap if they were only to shut down a few lanes on the course it would’ve made for a dangerous course.  They did a good job at spreading out the waves to attempt to keep the course open.  But the problem with that was transition closed at 5:45 and I didn’t go off until 8:20, and I was a middle wave in the Olympic race.  So I set up transition then anxiously and nervously sat in my car, at a Subway, then by the swim start until my wave went off.

And because of the time differences in the waves the race was against your age group and not so much overall.  The first wave was basically finished with the race by the time I started so there is a big difference in the course from the first wave to the last so my priority was race my age group and wherever that fell overall was what it was.

Swim: 25:06 (1:32 min/100) 15th AG/108th Overall

The swim was a pretty straight forward swim.  We swam north then turned and headed straight south to the exit then had a LONG run to transition.  I should mention now that on Saturday night and Sunday morning it rained, and my transition area was right near a big ol mud pit!  But back to the swim.  I got a good start off the line but unfortunately I was not able to find a group to swim with.  I am still working on being comfortable swimming with others without having mini freak outs so I am always nervous to jump in a draft and trust the leaders sighting as well as their pacing.  I know I need to work on this because for an Ironman drafting saves valuable energy that can be used later in the day.  But it was a comfortable swim and exited the water and ran through transition.

Time to ride!

Time to ride!

Bike: 55:34 (26.8 MPH, 242 Normalized Power) 8th AG/46th Overall

So I should preface this part by saying that the bike course was short.  My Garmin had it at about 22.8 miles, 2 miles short, but it’s hard to say how short it was since about half the course was on Lower Wacker where I had no GPS signal.  But adding another mile onto the time would see about right.  This was a FAST course!  Racing on Lower Wacker was really cool for the most part, there were some bad spots but nothing too terrible.  It was a 4 loop course with 3 U Turns and 4 turns each lap so it made for a lot of slowing down, turning, then getting back up to speed.  I wanted to push it but I also wanted to hold back a bit since I am still not back to full fitness after my bike accident.

During the ride I looked at my watts but mostly to keep myself from going too low.  I was going off of feel and because Lower Wacker was dark with sunglasses on it was hard to see my computer so I just went by feel which was a nice change-up to having my eyes glued to the computer to keep me in check.  Nothing special to say about the ride except it was fun and I ended up gaining 60 places overall and a few in my AG!

Trying to stay aero the whole way.

Trying to stay aero the whole way.

Run: 36:44 (5:55 min/mile) 4th AG/21st Overall

Well I wanted to get off my bike and run FAST.  That worked for a bit but then I got a side stitch that didn’t want to go away!  But I kept pushing as much as I could but never caught my stride that well.  One big issue I had with this course was there were no mile markers for either the Olympic or Sprint race.  Normally this isn’t a big deal but I had this course measured at 5.9 miles, .3 miles short, and many others had the same.  So without mile markers my pacing was off, which isn’t terrible but it would’ve been nice to know my exact mile splits and to see where I really was on the run.  The run course was 3.5 laps and the cool thing was we got to run past Buckingham Fountain 3 times before the final pass to the finish.

Trying to run fast to catch some people!

Trying to run fast to catch some people!

It was nice to have loops because it made for more fans but the course was also VERY narrow with runners going both ways at points which made it hard to pass.  There was also no shade so it was a hot one, and brutal later in the day.  Combine that with only having 2 aid stations and it made for a struggle of a run.  But I am not going to play the blame game but I would have loved some ice  or cold water more often during the run.

The run course was pretty narrow, and hot but thankfully it wasn't too busy when I ran.

The run course was pretty narrow, and hot but thankfully it wasn’t too busy when I ran.

Saw my fantastic support crew featuring my mom, dad (who was racing the Sprint later), and my girlfriend, a lot during the run!  It is always nice to see and hear familiar faces and voices to kind of snap me back into it and help me push a bit harder.  I made a final push starting at the last half loop and ended up passing a group of 4 in my age group which was nice.  I made sure to make the pass fast to let them know that I was feeling good, but I wasn’t, so they wouldn’t try to hang with me.  Rounded the fountain for the final time and sprinted towards the finish!  Another good race in the books.  Obviously could’ve been better but I will take it!

Final: 2:03:07 (4th AG/21st Overall)

After the race I hung out with the family and talked to a fellow Snapple team member who I saw on the race course.  It was cool to see so many other Snapple/DC Tri Club racers out there on course!  After that we got some food then headed to the swim start to watch my dad race!  It was getting super hot and all the walking we did gave me a new found respect for spectators!

As usual I want to thank my mom and dad and girlfriend for coming out to see me.  It was also cool because I met a few social media friends as well.  And thanks to Xterra wetsuits for helping my swim well, Felt Bikes for the fast bike, Rudy Project for the helmet and glasses, HED wheels for making my faster and more aerodynamic, and Louis Garneau for making the amazing Snapple Tri Team race kit that kept me nice and comfortable during the race!  It was also my first sock less race in my Saucony Type A6 race shoes and they performed very well.  Those shoes make you feel like you’re flying out on the run!

Now time to rest up, get back to training then head out to San Francisco this week for some down time and my cousin’s wedding!

Hit by Car…But Thankfully Not Broken

There is kind of an unwritten saying in cycling, and road bike racing, that if you haven’t crashed yet your time will come.  But that saying is geared towards racing.  And the crashes in races involve other cyclist, curbs, flat tires, etc.  I had the VERY unfortunate luck to be hit by a car last Tuesday while riding on a road I have ridden hundreds of times and have never felt unsafe in.

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My shredded bike jersey. It’s worse in person

I do not want to go into too much detail about the situation and all that but I was riding near, or outside, the white line that divides the road to the shoulder when a truck going the same way as my clipped me with their side view mirror.  I then bounced around the car a bit before I hit the road.  Now thankfully nothing on my body was broken but I had some serious road rash and bruising.  I am still feeling the effects of the crash today.  Not only physically but mentally.

Road Rash but doesn't show the worst part which is on my back.

Road Rash but doesn’t show the worst part which is on my back.

Right when I realized nothing was broken and I was ok my immediate thought went to, “how will I ever ride on the road again?!”  This person took the innocence away from something that I love doing.  I have gone out a few times since for shorter rides and I am very nervous when cars pass.  I know I will get over it with time but there just seems to be WAY too much animosity between cyclists and drivers.  And the problem with this is that the cyclist will pretty much always lose.  We do not have anti lock brakes that allow us to stop on a dime, we do not have anything around our bike to protect us, we only have our helmet, bike, and whatever we are wearing.  And unfortunately that is not enough to spare us from serious injury.

Thank you Rudy Project for saving my life!

Thank you Rudy Project for saving my life!

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It’s hard to see the cracks but there are plenty of them!

The paramedics were amazed that nothing was broken.  They took a look at my broken helmet and basically said, “the helmet saved your life.”  I am battered and bruised but will keep training as the pain allows and try to get over it.  But what I will say to everyone who gets on a bike, scooter, roller blades/skates, “wear a helmet!”  It only takes one driver, a curb, a rock, to cause you to crash and a bunch of road rash and bruises are a hell of a lot better than a head injury!