04/22/14

KDF Marathon Race Report 2014

This year the KDF would be my second time running the race… and it would also come just 6 days after NOLA 70.3.  I wasn’t sure how well I would do with still having a little bit of fatigue in my legs from the previous weekend, but I thought it would be a fun race to do since it is in my backyard.

On Wednesday before the race, a random cold sore showed up on my lip.  I was really confused to why it happened to pop up since I wasn’t sick, or even feeling a little under the weather.  However, Friday evening while I was at our Good Friday Service, I started feeling a little congested and a sore throat.  Now the cold sore made sense!  But, the timing to finding out why wasn’t the greatest.  I was hoping that I wouldn’t feel horrible in the morning and still be able to have a respectable race.  I didn’t sleep great the night of the race, but it could have been worse.

I woke up with a little more congestion and my throat was just a little more sore than the night before.  I felt good enough to race and decided to give it what I had.

I started the race in the A corral.  Not sure why I didn’t in the elite corral, but I didn’t really care.  I knew I could get really close to the front of the line regardless.

The start gun went off and I started out with a 5:22 mile and then settled into pace for the rest of the marathon.  By mile 4, I knew my goal time of a 2:35 wasn’t going to happen.  I didn’t have the energy I needed from being sick.  I actually contemplated just doing the mini marathon, but I felt like that would be “quitting” for no good reason, and didn’t want anything to do with that.

Just before the mini marathoner and the full marathoners split, we run into the Church Hill Downs, home to “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”  It’s always kind of fun running around the in field that in just a couple weeks will be crowded with people watching the first leg of the Triple Crown Races.  We then exited the stadium and headed for Iroquois Park, the hilliest section of the race (and probably all of Louisville).

Once getting to the park, I backed down the effort a little bit for the 3 miles through the park.  I didn’t want to push that section too hard and then pay for it in the final miles of the race.  Once we exited the park, we got back on Southern Parkway and met runners making their way to the park.  This part of the race is nice, a little bit of company to be had.  A few “good jobs” were tossed back and forth to/from the people I knew for the next few miles.  Then, about mile 17, I joined back into the group of mini marathoners.

For the next few miles, I had to bob and weave quite a bit to work my way through the crowd.  Getting to the aid stations was a bit a challenge since they were on the left side of the street and I was on the right side of the street.  I had to cross about 4 lanes of road/runners, grab my own drinks, and then zig-zagged back to the right hand side of the road where the least amount of dodging was required to make forward progress. I made a conscious effort to drink a lot of fluids during this race in comparison to last year since I felt that hydration was reason I didn’t close out the last 4 miles well… and it was a lot warmer this year.

Mile 21 came and that meant I finally was able to split from the mini marathoners again and have open road.  Still no signs of hitting the wall and struggling the last four miles like last year.  However, my slowest mile did some from mile 22-23, but it was mostly uphill.  I kept drinking water and taking small sips from the flask of Napalm (Infinit’s version of an energy gel) I carried during the entire race.  I felt good (relatively speaking) and closed off the last three miles with all of them just being a few seconds over 6 min miles.  No bonking this year!

I finished 7th over all and about a minute slower than last year, but I’m still happy with it.   Considering I was sick, raced a 70.3 the weekend before, and it being much warmer this year, I think I put together a good race.

Equipment/Nutrition during the race:

Newton MV3 running shoes

Napalm Highly Caffeinated (www.infinitnutrition.com) – use code “maverick” at checkout to save 10%

Salt Stick Electrolyte pills

Swiftwick socks

Champion System Tri Kit

 

I also want to  give a big thank you to Maverick Multisport for pulling all these sponsors together to help make training and racing possible.  And a big thank you to Vibra Healthcare for sponsoring me this year.  Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to race or train as much as I would like.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my wife and all my in-laws for doing the mini marathon this year.  It was a great to exchange stories after the race.  Huge congrats to all of them!

 

04/14/14

NOLA 70.3 2014 race report

It happens from time to time.  Good luck and bad luck.  NOLA handed me some bad luck.

This winter has been a rough, weather wise.  I spent all but 5 or so rides on the trainer, and had minimal time to really try out my set up on the Argon 18 leading up to the race.  It wasn’t the bike itself that I gave me problems, but the bottle cage I had mounted on the areobars.  But, I will get to that later.

I arrived in NOLA on Friday afternoon after 10.5 hour drive from Louisville.  My wife, Leslie, made the trip with me to support me the entire race weekend.  We were able to spend a little bit of time at the French Quarter Festival downtown and try some great southern food.  After that we made our way to the host hotel where I gave a speech at the Iron Prayer event put on by FCA Enduarnce.  I spoke on how God desires to have a functional relationship by waiting on us, pursuing us, and giving us tough love.  Immediately after that, it was the pro meeting, then relaxing at home getting the gear ready for race day.

Race day started with a 4:45 wake up call.  We made our way to swim start and transition area.  I made it over to the swim start with plenty of time.  Before the race started, the wife of the athlete that was killed in an accident gave a speech.  I couldn’t believe how well she was composed.  I was getting emotional and I didn’t even know this man, but I felt a connection just being a triathlete.  Please join the rest of us in praying for the family affected by this.

Sunrise while setting up in transition in the morning.

After that they announce the pro men feild one by one as we ran down the dock after our name was announced.  I was really excited to see how my swim had improved after swimming with the Lakeside Seahawks this winter.  Those 12-14 year old kids are crazy fast!  I used a borrowed TYR sleeveless CAT 5 Hurricane (I accidently left mine at home and was able to find one to borrow the day before the race).  I really liked how it felt in the water.  The gun went off without a countdown.  I swam hard to get in the front pack of swimmers (other than Andy Potts who got away from everyone).  I found the group and found my spot in the group and settled into the pace.  A few times I got lazy and started falling off the pace, but I did a few hard strokes and kicks to get back in the group.  I improved my swim time by nearly 2 minutes from last year, and came out in 25 minutes, right about what I estimated I would.  7th pro out of the water… significantly better than last year.

TYR CAT 5 Hurricane wetsuit

We had a long run through transition, but the bikes were lined up right by the bike out.

I accelerated past a couple guys that came out of T1 with me and rode hard to catch a group of 2 guys in front of me.  On my way to catch them, I hit a few bumps in the rode and I lost an entire bottle of Infinit.  It came out so easily that I knew if I went back to pick it up, it would just fall out again.  I hadn’t had time to test the bottle cage outside due to riding almost entirely on the trainer since January.  I started thinking on what I should do.  What is the best what to utilize one bottle cage.  Hydration or nutriton.  I could grab some gels to get extra calories, but washing it down with Infinit (more calories) would eventually cause me to bloat.  I could use just water, but I would need to grab about 5 additional gels along the race course and use a lot of Salt Stick electrolyte pills.  I didn’t know what to do, since neither seemed to be very managable.  So I just kept rolling along and decided to grab bottles of water and drink as much as I could before leaving the bottle drop zone then toss it and keep sipping on what Infinit I had left. (I did this until running out of infinit and then grabbed two bottles of water.  One for the functioning cage and one to get a quick sip from.)

About mile 15, Chris McDonald caught the group I was cycling with (I was leading the pack until he passed me).  I knew that I needed to do what I could to stick with him.  We ended up riding together for most of the rest of the ride, and dropped a few people that were lined up behind us.  However, I felt the affects of the lack of nutrition and hydration.  After the race was over, I figured I mised about 30-40 ounce of fluid, 300 to 350 mg of sodium, and 150-200 calories.  I knew when I dropped the bottle, it would be a miracle to salvage the race, but I didn’t want to quit. I figured I would pay for it on the run… and that’s what happened.  I did manage to PR in the bike by 4 to 5 minutes on a really windy bike course and poor nutrition (we had 15-20 mph winds that were headwind/crosswind except for about 8 to 10 miles).  The Argon and Enve wheels handled the winds well.  I loved using the Rotor Powermeter with the oblong Q-rings in a race.  My tri kit from Champion System, which I wore for the first time in a race, worked really well.  No discomfort or chaffing.

Headed into T2 in 8th, exited in 7th

I exited T2 in 7th place and then passed a guy about a mile into the run.  I was sitting 6th place, but I didn’t feel good.  My pace started slowing quickly and I felt way off.  I managed to hold on to 6th place until about the 4th mile.  After that it was really discouraging to see all these guys pass me like I was standing still.  I gutted it out and crossed the line 1-2 minutes off my PR with a horrible run.  I know that I am capable of a run about 10 minutes faster, which would have put me in 5th or 6th place overall in this race.

The good news is that it’s not the fitness that needs some work, it’s just a swapping out a different bottle cage that will hold the bottles better.  This season will be great, just a little blooper on the first race.

I am thankful that God has given me the ability to race and for the support crew here in Louisville, Maverick Multisport, and my family in MI and IN.  I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can really do with proper nutrition and hydration.  Make the needed changes and move on.

Next up is the Derby Marathon on Saturday (hopefully be recovered by then), then the Kalamazoo Marathon on May 4th.  Then the Ohio Trip T May 14-16th… it appears that racing season is here!

04/10/14

NOLA 70.3 2014 pre-race

The first triathlon of the season is almost upon me, New Orleans 70.3.  I have had such a weird mix of emotions leading up to this event.  Excitement.  Anxiety.  Nervousness.  Confidence.  Stress.

Excitement – I’m always excited about a race, but the first one of the season and IM Louisville always get me the most excited.  NOLA, being my first race of the season, will give me an opportunity to test my fitness gains made in the off season.  All those countless hours on the trainer watching things on Netflix and Hulu.  The countless laps in the pool swimming with the Lakeside Seahawks.  Braving the frigid temperatures outdoors this winter to run training in.  It’s all coming to a big test.  Tests and good competition always gets me excited.

Anxiety – So, I just said the good competition gets me excited.  Well, it also causes a bit of anxiety.  Going against those that have proven themselves to be world class time and time again makes me anxious.  Especially when there is a whole slew of them.  I became anxious after looking at the start list and saw names like Trevor Wurtele, Andy Potts, and Chris McDonald to name just a few of them.  These guys are super fast, but also a good way to see how I stack up against the best in the business.

Nervous – Some nervous energy is good.  It means that you care about what you are doing.  However, too much of it will drain you.  I am doing my best to not let things get out of control.  There are a lot of variables out there that can happen on race day.  I can only control myself, nothing else… so why worry about them.  I have a game plan for Sunday, and if I can execute the plan (especially during the swim portion by coming out with some of the lead guys), the result I desire will happen.

Confidence – There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.  I hope that I never cross that line.  But, after doing a lot of work in the off season in the pool, the bike (almost entirely on the trainer to gain maximal improvement), and running, I know that I have improved.  I am confident in that, and can’t wait to see how these improvement will effect my time and place in the 2014 season.

Stress – Similar to nervousness, stress can be good and bad.  Stress is a motivator, but it can also cause the body to be withheld from its potential.  Being an athlete for a “living” naturally brings with it the pressure to perform well on any given day.  I think a lot of the stress I place on myself and therefore can either create more stress or lower the amount of stress I feel.

NOLA 70.3 is just a few days away.  And the work has been done.  The plan of execution has been developed.  Now it’s time to put it all on the line and see what the new limits are for 2014 after a long off season of hard work.  If you want to follow my progress on race day, go to www.ironman.com and click on live race coverage.

My bib number is 10.  Thanks to everyone that has already done so much to help me get to the start line.