Saturday, March 5, 2011

2010 end of season review

It has been quite some time since my last post and a lot has happened since then. In early August I competed in the Canadian Death Race. I know it sounds crazy but I was up for the challenge and after my last failed attempt in the race back in 2006 I was better trained and more knowledgeable about what I was getting into. The race, 125km run across 3 mountain peeks in the Canadian Rockies. With proper nutrition and pacing I surpassed even my best expectations of 18 hours and ran 17:38 (good enough for 20th place overall). And thus my epic race schedule was under way. In only 6 weeks following the Death Race I was signed up for Ironman WI, followed up 6 weeks later with The Great Floridian Iron Distance triathlon. Recovery was going to be crucial as well as maintaining enough training to carry through the next 12 weeks. I had amassed a strong running fitness prior to the Death Race so I focused on biking for the next two weeks to give my legs some time off from the pounding. This did wonders and I went into IM WI feeling surprisingly fresh. Again, I focused on good pacing and nutrition and had a fantastic day. I stuck to the PowerBar method of steady caloric intake all day and it payed off. I ended the day with a new personal best of 10:28 and was 10th in my age group. Better yet, I'd cut 30 min off my best IM marathon. After IM WI my body was feeling the toll of two hard races. I tried to keep my eye on the final big race of the season but was lacking motivation to continue training so I kept it fun by doing a sprint triathlon in early October. The Lodi Duck-A-Thon has been a favorite race of mine for years and I was delighted when they asked me to play the national anthem before the race on my trumpet. The race is extremely short but it was a good tester to see how my fast twitch was hanging in there after all the long races. I ended up getting 2nd overall and was very happy with that due a big lapse in judgment on my part. Before the race I'd forgotten to inflate my tires so while I was riding the bike seemed a bit bouncy. After the race I checked the pressure and sure enough they were at 60PSI. Not great at all for racing on and I'm lucky I didn't get a pinch flat. I topped up the tires and headed out for a hard tempo ride of 50 miles with Anna. The race had taken its toll on me and I ended up straining my hamstring. I was a bit worried but took the normal precautions (ice, rest) to ensure a good race in only 2.5 weeks. For the final big race of the season I drove down to Clermont, FL with Anna and my best friend Paul to participate in the Great Floridian Ultra distance tri. It is really an Ironman distance race but costs a lot less because they don't use the word Ironman. I was hoping for an improvement in my time from IM WI as training had gone well despite the one hick-up with the hamstring. The conditions were a bit warm for what I was accustomed to but I had a plan to podium in this race and I was going to give it my best. After an okay swim I took off on the bike in about 5th or 6th place. There was a swim/bike only event and it made it hard to tell who I was racing and who was doing the swim/bike. Don't let FL fool you, they have some hills alright and some wind to boot. By the start of the 2nd of 3 loops the winds had picked a lot and it always seems to be a headwind. Pace slowed a lot on the bike and I tried to save plenty of energy for the run. After the bike I had conceded a few positions and was now in 8th. The run course was 3 out and back loops so I could see where I stood amongst the other athletes. It was a blessing and a curse. I could see people getting closer and also further away from me. I was holding a steady pace but my darn hamstring flared up and never allowed me to run as fast as I'd trained. I did manage to pass a few people and work my way up to 6th overall. I was happy to be top 10 and I won age group. Anna had a terrific race getting 10th overall and 1st Female. We spent the next 5 days on the beach relaxing but one week later we were back in Madison WI at the starting line of a 5km race to raise money for music education (something near and dear to my heart). Anna and I ended up winning the race running stride for stride together the whole way. We were fairly impressed we could even manage a 5km one week after our IM let alone win. I was also talked into competing in the Madison Mud Run the following day by my friend Mike who was in need of another athlete to complete his team roster. Guessing I'd be the slowest on the team after all I'd been through I agreed and on a blisteringly cold Sunday morning I slugged my way through water pits and obstacles all while freezing my ass off in a halfway descent time. After the Mud Run I was simply pooped. I had little physical or mental drive to train and wanted to eat food, drink beer and sleep to my hearts content (which I did quite well I might add). A successful end to the 2010 season and a very promising start to 2011.