Monday, June 21, 2010

Know When to Say When

I always feel really excited this time of year, the beautiful days seem to last forever and all the potential rides and runs make me want to burst out of my office and get outside as soon as possible. The same thing can be said when I make my race schedule in the winter, the thought of racing keeps me training hard all winter long and when spring and summer roll around, I want to race as much as possible. However, I'm starting to learn that my body is not as excited about my racing as my mind is. The thought of racing and pushing myself hard is addictive when I started to do really well in competition. I'm no elite racer but I seem to do alright in my age group and the feeling of doing well keeps me working hard for the next race.

The past couple years my body has decided that racing and training hard day after day is not sustainable so I've been very prone to sickness. It's frustrating when you feel like you are doing everything possible to be the picture of health by fueling right, training hard, avoiding indulgences and you are more sick, than a lot of other people who do none of the above. It seemed to start before Great White North last year, I'm not sure if it's an age thing or just the fact that I'm training harder in the spring/summer but I seem to get these nasty flu's right around this time of year. I got another one last weekend and I missed one of the nicest training weekends of the year sitting on the couch, that was frustrating. Amber was away training for the Death Race and I was flat on my back, doing nothing... Time to be smarter.

I started to feel a little better last week and got into training easy but nothing hard or fast. I talked to Amber about the upcoming race this weekend (the 20th) and she said I should definitely pull the plug. I think she was anticipating an argument from me because she knows how much I love competing and having a race in GP is rare so she immediately listed off 4 or 5 reasons why I shouldn't do it. I just said, okay. I could see the look on her face was of disbelief so she continued to tell me reasons why I shouldn't do it and I just replied, "okay if you think it's a bad idea, I'm not doing it." I finally get the message, my body is telling me to be a little more selective when it comes to racing, no more races every two weeks throughout the summer.

I did volunteer at the kid's tri on Saturday and the adult tri on Sunday and had a blast, it's very interesting to be on the other side of the race. You know exactly what the athletes are thinking and feeling and you want to try to make things better for them but you know they are all going through their own personal turmoil and there is not much you can do or say. I had an opportunity to greet all of them at the finish and collect their timing chips and everyone was so happy at the end, it was an awesome reminder why I love this sport. It doesn't matter if someone finished in an hour or two and a half hours, everyone was happy do make it to the end. A big thanks to Lorna and Robert for bringing back this race and taking on the challenge of organizing everything, it sometimes feels like there is not a lot of reward in being a race director but all of the triathletes in GP really appreciate everything they've done.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Success for Ernie's Speed Revolution at the Hinton Tri

Sunday was the day I finally felt like the race season has started. It's always a little nerve wracking at the beginning of every year to actually find out if you are faster or slower, the clock is unforgiving. I was fairly confident going to the Hinton Olympic tri with the new wheels but I haven't been doing as much running and swimming so I was hoping to do well with the training I have been able to fit in. Saturday in Jasper was packed with activity, it was Amber's Banff-Jasper relay and she did an awesome job on the toughest leg; N9 straight uphill for 9kms and then another 6kms fairly flat. I ran the first 6kms with Harley and we both had to stop a couple of times to catch our breath, it was very, very tough. She finished strong and I was amazed at how well she's bounced back from being very sick.

I left Jasper at 6am Sunday and couldn't eat or drink anything, I usually don't get nervous for races but it's different when people 'expect' you to win, anything can happen during a race. I arrived with plenty of time to set up and prepare, I chatted with a bunch of GP triathletes I couldn't believe how may of us were there, it was great. We talked strategy and racing and what to expect for the day most of us were relaxed and just excited to start. We cheered on the first two heats and got ready for our start at about 9:40. I started the swim fairly fast but I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to have a great swim time. I have been doing swim TT's with Robert and Dennis for the last few weeks and I've been swimming better and better so I was confident I could get out of the water under 24 minutes. Unfortunately I didn't get the benefit of the draft and I really started to die after a 1000m. The last 500m were really hard, I was giving it everything I had and I know I was barely moving. I still managed to come out of the water in 24:12 so I was pleased to have a similar swim time as the last couple years with less training.

The transition went fairly smooth other than not being able to get my shirt on, if you've tried to get a tight bike jersey on over a wet body you know what I'm talking about. I hammered the bike as hard as I could and I was so happy that I was able to hold off the two biking phenoms, Robert and Dennis. Truth be told we are all so close in terms of biking ability that on any given day any one of us could beat the others. Still I had my best bike time on that course, 1:03.35 and took two minutes off my time from two years ago.

That set me up for a PR but as I got off the bike my legs felt like cement blocks. I tried to move as fast as possible but my quads were absolutely spent. Not good went you reach the 2km mark because there is a mile of straight uphill from there, ouch. I did what I could to get up the hill and by the time I hit the trails I was feeling a little better. There is a 5km trail section on this course and it's absolutely beautiful, rolling dirt and gravel trails through the forest and you almost forget you are in a race. Until the turn around when I saw Robert just before the 6km mark, then I took my head out of the clouds and ran as hard as I could to the finish. I saw Amber at the top of the hill on a mountain bike and she followed me down to the finish cheering me on, that was nice.
I finished the race with a new PR; 2:05.29 and myself, Robert and Dennis took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Great way to start the triathlon season and I'm stoked to get to Great White North with some good training behind me. I'll need to spend a lot of time in all areas but training with the Ernie's Speed Revolution team is really helping, not to mention it keeps you working on those days you just feel like slacking off. I'm sure Robert, Dennis and I will be doing some epic rides, I can't wait this year is going to be very memorable.