This is really the only way to start this post out. When I signed up for Ironman in the summer of 2008, I knew it was going to be difficult and take a lot of hard work but I couldn’t wait for the challenge. The season really began in November in the Thompson’s basement with BAT’s (Bikes and Trainers). They offered up a place and workouts and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to workout with two of the best triathletes in the area. What made it even better was all my teammates who joined us morning after morning and so many evenings to turn the basement into a sweat lodge.
Between the BAT’s and the Headlamp Runs at the Gallagher’s house, I was able to start the season in the best shape I have ever been in. We had a ton of fun doing some crazy workouts in snow, rain, sleet and there might have even been some hail.
With my focus on Ironman, the goal was to build a huge base and add volume throughout the early part of the season. I was able to throw in a few races which really help to keep me motivated and keep the eye on the prize. I had to fight through a few injuries along the way but when June 21st rolled around, I knew I was going to finish the race. I sure wish I would have been injury free but I played the cards I was dealt was able to complete one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I couldn’t have done it without all the support from my teammates.
It wouldn't be a season review without mentioning A+. This group of special people provided me so much support throughout the entire season. They were great motivation when that 4 hour ride in the middle of the week just didn’t look like fun. I can definitely say they were the main reason I was able to get to the 5:30am rides in the winter and the 5:30am swims all season long. You DO NOT want to get that 'WTF' text message or picture if you just happen to think crawling out of your bed just didn't sound good. It just wouldn’t have been the same without you guys. Thanks a ton.
With next season just around the corner, it is time to enjoy a bit of time off. One highlight was a trip to Kona to watch the Ironman World Championships. This was my first trip to Hawaii and it was awesome to see some of the greatest athletes in the world tackle one of the toughest events ever.
With another Ironman looming in the distance, I will be training throughout yet another winter. Thanks again for reading and commenting all season long.
Eric captaining the ship to Grand Coulee.
So when the opportunity to take the Eric’s parents RV to the Grand Coulee would couldn't pass it up. We loaded up Friday after work and though we were minus a key person to an awesome trip, made the two hour trip to Banks Lake. We had a bit of confusion with the RV spot but thanks to Tiffany for keeping her cool and collected nature we were able to snag the last open spot and began to set up camp. Which basically was putting out the extensions and well that was it. It was AWESOME!!!
After sitting around chit chatting and getting a few things ready for the race, it was bed time. Since it was a late race start of 10am, we were really in no hurry. Since Eric and Tiffany have been fighting injuries and Jessi was at home not feeling well, it left Roger and me as the racers from the RV. So after dropping off my bike in transition, I was able to relax for a bit and just try to get focused for the last race of the season.
The race was to be the club championships and Tri-Fusion was representing strong. We had a large field in the Olympic distance and a smaller but fast field in the half iron race which started an hour earlier. In all reality, we came for one reason and that was to walk away with the championship trophy.
Group Photo- Olympic Racers.
As race time neared, we were able to cheer on the half-iron racers as they finished their swim. It was awesome to be able to give them a bit of encouragement right before we started our own race. So after the final half swimmer was in, it was our turn to hit the water. The unique part of this race was the buoy line that connected the swim buoys for the entire swim. There really were no excuses for swimming off course. Though I have been swimming much straighter this year, there was going to be minimal sighting and just put your head down and swim fast.
Off we go.
The swim went great. I was able to keep a good pace throughout and really enjoyed just following the line. I really didn’t know where I was within the group but I knew there were a few people in front of me and I did what I could not let them get to far away. Overall, my swim was not one of my fastest swims but I came out of the water and was ready to jump on my new bike and ride hard.
Exiting the swim.
The bike portion of this race is TOUGH. You start with an almost 2 mile climb that can just kick your butt. It is hard to find a rhythm so I just tried to keep my legs moving and give a constant effort. I wanted to make sure I didn’t ride to hard and by the time I finally reached the top, I felt pretty good and just wanted to push to the end.
The long decent back into town.
I was able to pass a few riders and shortly after reach the topped I passed the last bike I would see. The rest of the ride was spent chasing the invisible leaders as I knew they were up there somewhere. To cancel out the long slow climb at the beginning, there was an even longer and faster downhill heading back to transition. I am pretty sure I averaged over 40 mph for nearly 10 minutes. I was absolutely flying but still couldn’t find that next rider.
Cruising at 40 mph...Should probably be looking at the road.
As I entered transition, I heard the announcer say here comes 4th place. I tried to not get too excited because I knew I still had to run and my buddy Greggor was coming fast. I wasn’t sure how big of a lead I had on him but knew it was going to be tough to try and hold him off.
If you would have asked me how the race was going at Mile 1 of the run, you would have seen a huge smile and me feeling great. My legs were under me and I had a quick thought that ‘THIS’ might just be 'THAT' race. Now if you asked me how I felt at Mile 1.5, you would have seen me suffer my first bad side stitch of the season and all I wanted to do was stop and have this race over.
Was definitely feeling horrible right now.
After a quick 10-20 second walking session, I had to start running again. It wasn’t easy but walking was not an option. When I finally reached the first aid I was in search of anything to help. After survey the small aid table, I decided to stuff my face with a banana and just hoped that would help. A few minutes later the side ache began to disappear and though it wasn’t gone, I was back in the race.
Heading out after the aid station, was not feeling better yet.
I could now hear Greg’s footsteps and new it was only a matter of time before he was going to fly by me. At the turn-around and second aid station, I grabbed a second half of banana and was ready to head back home to the finish. The second half of the run was definitely not my fastest but it sure felt better than running with that dang side stitch.
Now I can’t blame the side stitch alone but this was my slowest run in a long time. I know my side slowed me down but I also think my effort on the bike had a huge affect. I pretty much chalked up the end of the season to riding really hard and seeing how it affected me during the run. Though I still have not found the balance, I know that I enjoy being able to push myself on the bike and now just need to work on the run portion. Though I will have to what until next year to see if all the work this winter is going to pay off, I can’t WAIT!
This is an action shot of the Byrd's. No posing here.
A special thanks to the Byrd’s. They weren’t even racing but spent their weekend shuttling us around in the RV. I am already looking forward to the next adventure.
Until next time…