Monday, May 24, 2010
B: 5h 30min
R: 4h 19min
Total: 15h 58min
Welcome to summer! Summer has officially arrived here in Huntsville which meant a nice warm weekend of training. In addition to a warm, humid weekend, it has been nice to have some light at the start of swim practice, as opposed to finishing in the dark which happens during the summer.
It took a few days to recover from Florida but by the end of the week I was back in the swing of things. Saturday featured a nice solid ride with a few cyclists and then Sunday I got out for a two loops of the Cotton Row 10k course.
Speaking of Cotton Row... The Cotton Row Run 10k is held every Memorial Day in downtown Huntsville and is one of the largest road races in the southeast. Anyway, David likes to complain about how "it is always the first hot weekend of the year." That may have been the case last year but certainty wont be this year! On that note, while the heat acclimatization might improve performances a bit, it sure wont make the hill any shorter!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Recap: Pre-race went pretty smoothly with an on-time arrival at Disney and uneventful morning. This race always starts early, 6:20AM this year, and its always a bit weird heading to the swim start before the sun has come up. Regardless, there we were on the beach with Tom Z singing the National Anthem, the sun inching up over the trees, and the calm lake in front of us. Shortly thereafter, the cannon fired, and we were off!
I got a pretty good start and after maneuvering around a few people I found some feet at the back end of the pack and "settled in." By settled in I mean, of course, that I continued pushing it hard in order to stay in the race. Approaching the first turn, it looked like most everyone was strung out more or less single file so I just wanted to make sure to keep up. All of the sudden, though, I noticed a gap in front of the guy ahead of me so I gathered some momentum and moved outside to pass. I pushed hard for a couple more minutes but soon realized I wasnt making any water on the guys ahead of us which left me having to swim the last 800m or so alone.
Coming out of the water, I was a bit further back than I wouldve preferred which was naturally a bit disappointing. Out on the bike, I was feeling pretty good, the power was there, but I just wasnt going very fast. Its always hard to make real-time power/speed comparisons but something felt a bit off. After 10 miles or so I was caught by a couple of riders and ended up riding with them for around 35 miles. The last 10 or so miles were especially tough as I had a slight headwind and, well, I was nearing the end of a 56 mile TT. It took much longer than I would've liked but I finally got to the finish and was off to run.
The run was its usual suffer-fest. I passed a few guys in the first couple of miles and then just went on damage control mode. Pushing myself in the heat and humidity was hard, especially because I was totally out of the race. The saving grace was that I had my friends and family there to cheer me on. If it wasnt for them, it wouldve been much worse. I finally crossed the finish line in 14th place in 4:13.
Analysis: So all in all, a pretty awful race. The swim was marginally disappointing while the bike and run were both pretty terrible and immediately after the race I was pretty upset. Thankfully though, my family was there and they helped me get over it while we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at pool.
Talking with Paulo, though, I realized the training the last couple of months has been anything but optimal. Illness, travel, injury, and bike position changes have all combined to cut into quality training sessions. Looking back, I probably discounted the combined effects of these set-backs as I tend to be pretty optimistic. In this case, though, this naivety came back to bite me in the ass in the resulting less than stellar performance. Blissful ignorance can only last so long and last weekend the brutal reality came crashing down.
Going forward I'm going to drop Kansas and add Buffalo Lake Springs in order to give myself a couple of extra weeks of training because there really isnt any point to going to a race if I'm not going to be remotely competitive. Meantime, its time to get in some consistent, effective training.
Finally, I think a quote from TJ is appropriate, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it."
Friday, May 14, 2010
But don’t give up, either.
Andrew Hodges hasn’t done either one. And the Central Florida native is already a pro triathlete.
Hodges was one of the top 25 cross-country runners in the state when he competed for Edgewater High School nearly a decade ago. Yet he still didn’t make the University of Florida squad when he went there in 2001 — so he joined the triathlon team instead. At first, he said, he “just started splashing around in the pool.”
Turns out, he was pretty good at splashing. He wasn’t bad on the bike, either. In fact, he wound up helping to lead the UF tri team to a top 10 finish at the Collegiate National Championships his senior year. He then knocked out a 4-hour, 15-minute half-ironman in hilly Lake County and qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, when he did a 9:45.
After graduating, Hodges turned pro — which means he gets a lot of very pricey equipment, including an Orbea time-trial bike — for free. He also gets a “small salary” from Timex, which sponsors the team on which Hodges competes.
But at 26, he still works full time for a NASA contractor in Huntsville, Ala., where he is a materials scientist. His boss, he says, is nice enough to let him take off for races.
This coming Sunday (May 16), he’ll be competing at the Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida, a half-ironman, at Disney. He says he’s aiming for a top-10 finish but would love to crack the top five. The way registration works for pros these days, it’s hard to know who the competition will be until race day. He’s not intimidated — just practical.
“Usually it’s one of the most competitive races [on the pro circuit],” he says. “I could have a great race and still finish 12th. But my family is going to be there, so that’s extra incentive.”
As for what it takes to be a pro, Hodges says there’s no secret formula.
“Ultimately, its staying consistent and hard work over time that is going to get you to the next level,” he says.
If you’re near Disney this weekend, give a shout out for the home boy.Full story here.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Riding over to the start, it was cold. Not "cool summer morning" cold but more like late fall "I dont want to get out of bed" cold. This unexpected dip in temperature was brought on by "a cold front, honey" as explained to LT at dinner on Saturday night by our lovely, intelligent waitress. Making matters worse, the water temperature was measured to be 69F, which meant we (the pros) would not be allowed to wear wetsuits.
Going through my usual pre race routine, I kept warm with 2 shirts, 2 jackets, pants, and my HTFU hat. This worked well and I was pretty comfortable after a little jog. Upon changing into my swimming apparel, though, heat began to dissipate rapidly.
Down at the river, I jumped in the when I thought we only had a few minutes before the start to try to move my arms a bit before the gun went off. After about 10 minutes, I was pretty cold and ready to get started. This being the South, though, the race director brought in a pastor to lead us in prayer before starting. With that out of the way, we were all more than ready when the race director announced it was time to start. But then, wait, we still needed to listen to the National Anthem. I listened, shivered uncontrollably, and finally we were given 1 minute to start.
I took off, felt like I was swimming fast, and found some people to swim with. Coming out of the water, though, I realized that I had actually been swimming very, very slow. As I started the bike ride, the downhill spiral only accelerated and it was everything I could do to just keep my legs moving and my body from shivering uncontrollably. I kept thinking that I'd warm up but it never happened. After finally making it back to transition, I racked my bike, and threw on my two jackets and pants.
I'm sure I could've finished the race but at that point my only thought was to get warm. Luckily the air temperature had warmed up a bit by this time but I still didnt get comfortable until I got back to the hotel for a warm shower.
So yeah.... all in all, a pretty awful race. But without the bad races, the good races wouldnt be any good!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
B: 10h 33min
R: 4h 5min
Total: 21h 8min
All in all, a productive week. After receiving a new stem on Friday, the bike fit came together quite nicely this weekend. Additionally, all running was performed on the actual ground, without pain, which allowed me to finish PT on Friday. Julia over at Johnson & Hayes did a great job and its great to be back running pain free again. Just in time, too, as the first race of the season, Rev3 Knoxville is this weekend!