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First Half of 2014 in Triathlon Racing - One Guy's Perspective

It's been awhile since I posted any updates and there are reasons for that. First and foremost, I have been focusing on my athletes and second, I just really don't lead that exciting of a life and don't want to bore you. That being said, I am mid-way through my racing season of 2014 and have had some interesting adventures.

Ironman Texas 70.3 - AKA - Galveston Gulf Wind Triathlon


After a new bike fit by a local cycling powerhouse in February, I'm armed with what I hope is a successful day in Galveston. This race is always a favorite early season race of mine just b/c it's not too terribly taxing on the body given that it's 100% flat. This day started off with a bang as we jumped off the pier into the oddly warm waters. I knew this would be a difficult swim with all the white caps we saw. This proved to be the roughest start of a swim I have ever experienced, but luckily made for a true "sailing" experience after the first turn. That swim pretty much tore me up and I have never wanted to throw in the towel in the middle of a race than when I exited the ocean. Suck it up, I kept telling myself. Onto the bike that was pretty uneventful as well besides the fact that it rained pretty much the entire ride for me. I could tell it had the possibility to be a strong day on the bike for me, despite my legs not shutting up for 5 seconds. Drive forward, eat, drink, play legal with others, stay tucked into the wind, ride hard, embrace the suck! As some of my training buddies say at TRG, just "RIDE YOUR BIKE"! Ride comes to an end and I realized I had posted my fastest 1/2 Ironman bike split to date. Wahoo (kckr has paid off all winter!). Despite only being outdoors twice on the bike prior to this race all year, my indoor training hours have paid off. Onto the run and thriving mentally from the push of a bike PR has me running like I was OJ simpson. Pretend like you have everything to lose and run your best. I played leap frog with another Austin local guy that I have raced many times. He's plain and simple a pure beast in triathlon. I don't think he's human. I put in some time on him in the first 10 miles, JUST before my wheels fell off. He comes barreling past me around mile 10.5 and there was little chance that I could hang on to his heels. Despite my best effort to use him as motivation, I watched him run off into the distance and around the corners. I gave it my all and crossed the line with a new PR at this distance. Despite having a craptastic swim, my bike and run were spot on. I had high hopes for how this would play out the remainder of the season. The new bike fit is working!

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report - 2014 - AKA - The Tornado Triathlon


Race Splits

Race Splits: (38th Age Group, 185 overall out of 2470)

Swim: 1:03:55 (1:39/100 meter pace for 2.4 miles)

T1: 6:17

Bike: 5:59:20 ( 18.7 mph for 112 miles)

T2: 2:55

Run: 3:51:36 (8:50 per mile for 26.2 miles)

OVERALL Finish Time: 11:04:03


PRE-RACE

The rest of spring training hasn't gone as well as I had liked. A minor nagging pain in my back and right leg have been plaguing me since December when I somehow really jacked it up. I continue to fight this pain with some great doctors and Physical Therapists, but it hasn't left me with a really confident feeling going into a full Ironman. It's not killing me, so maybe it will make me stronger? CDA holds a special place in my heart as it was my virgin Ironman back in 2008, it's "second" home to one of my best pals and her family, and it's honestly somewhere I could see myself retiring one day. I could definitely leave my amazing home state of Texas for a life in CDA Idaho. It's just that beautiful, laid back, friendly people, and just all around amazing. Knowing the aggressive race schedule I have this year, I chose to treat this with the respect it deserves, but not try to PR there. Reality is that a PR on that course isn't really possible anyway.

Race week was pretty uneventful with all the normal "to do's" on everyone's list. It was a true blessing that we were able to stay with our dear friends in CDA while we were there and it was conveniently 2 blocks from the lake, 2 blocks from the race, and walking distance to everything in town. After a short trip up there for the boys and I on Wednesday, Tonya joined us Friday night. The weather was a bit bipolar all week. One day winds like crazy, the next it would rain cats and dogs, the next it would be perfect, the next it was cold...never seemed to settle on one thing. I knew we'd be in for a treat come race day with absolutely no idea what to expect for weather conditions. At this point, it really didn't matter. I had packed for every weather condition that God could throw at me. My race pals and I had a great "team" dinner Friday night and a very relaxing Saturday. We had people from the Northeast, many from Texas, and some from the Pacific NW as well. It was going to be an epic day no matter what.

RACE DAY

This is probably the quietest most relaxed morning I have ever experienced before an Ironman. My Pal Hahn and I got up and headed directly to transition to get our gear setup before returning for our breakfast at the house and avoid the craziness at the race site. Again, everything was earily calm that morning. We headed back to get lined up in the rolling start swim area and hung out for 15 minutes or so. It wasn't easy saying goodbye to LH as we swim in different "waves" or swim paces, but I knew she'd be fine. She had trained hard for this race after coming off a major running injury last year and I knew she'd have a good day. Decided to line up in the back of the "Under 60 minute" swim group.

SWIM

I thought Galveston would have been the roughest swim ever. I was wrong. The flags were flying in full force from the winds this morning. I knew this would be an epic swim. Luckily with the swim start in people of similar efforts, I was able to sit in a pack and draft the entire first lap. Glanced at my watch as I ran onto the beach and back into the water for loop 2 and saw "30:xx". Awesome...right on target. The second lap was not so glamorous. Somehow there wasn't a single person around me to draft off, I believe the wind had kicked up another notch or 10 and I was drinking a lot of water. I finally got into a rhythm with the waves, but it was brutally rough waters. Sorry Galveston, you don't hold a candle to CDA after that swim.

T1

Besides taking forever to put arm warmers on a wet body, this was as fast and furious as I could make it. I loaded up on clothing after being cold in 2008 and wasn't ready to be cold again for 112 miles.

BIKE

YUCK! I HATE WIND! That's pretty much the report. There's one section that heads south on the bike for 21 miles and you return for 21 miles (~42 mile out and back). You do that twice. The outbound was a lot of small climbing (2-7% at the most) and nothing serious, but into a (what felt like) 40 mph headwind, well it sucked. All you could do is tuck your head, ride small, push hard, and pray you see that turn around soon. By loop 2, the wind had gotten just rediculous. People all around me were getting blown across the road, can't control bikes, wind tunnels created inside the carved out mountain passes, and ultimately just making for the most miserable ride I have ever done. I felt good going into the second loop, grabbed special needs, and ready to tackle my 21 mile tornado headwind. Five miles into that headwind and I was toasted. There was no relief, my nagging pains in my back were coming on full force by now and forced 2 stops on the bike to stretch. Everything else felt spot on, so I had high hopes for a good run despite my time being blown out of the water. T2 coming up...ride. is. done!

T2

Well...again, nothing major, but the simple statement from the guy at the urinal in the changing tent. Looked at me and said "26.2 miles, are you F#$%^ing kidding me?, after that wind?" Everyone suffered in that wind...EVERYONE!

RUN/er...Hobble

This run started off fun and enjoyable as the miles seemed to tick off at an okay pace. It wasn't ideal, but the rest of my day had already been less than ideal, so who cares at this point. One foot in front of the other. Got to see my TX peeps twice on each loop including Judy, Jen's sister Mickie, Karen's friend Nicole, and of course my amazing bride Tonya and the boys Tyler and Logan. This is always the highlight of my day. Wheels were rolling good until right before special needs at ~13 miles. This isn't anything new with me at this stage in an Ironman, but I had forgotten what the craptastic Perform Orange Mango does to my gut. Ditched that and figured out I need to get in more calories. Under the "anything goes on race day in an Ironman" moto, rounding the corner about 100 yards from an aid station, I spot a Powerbar Recovery bar - chocolate and peanut butter, still in the wrapper...on the ground. Don't mind if I do, why thank you for dropping this "someone"! Calorie deficit FIXED! Nutrition strategy changed at that moment. Managed to get my way through the tough miles, but for the first time since 2010, I faltered to walking longer than the aid stations. I just lost my mojo and it took me awhile to come out of the nutrition deficit. My pace slacked, my day was long, I just wanted to finish and my back was in full agreement. Not much else I could do at this point, but learn from it.

THE FINISH

Trying to finish as quickly as possible, but knowing that this finish line is the best on the circuit. 4-5 blocks of amazing fans, cheering, yelling, having a blast. I was going to fully live it up on this finish line, but be sure I found my wife and kids this time around. In 2008, I came into this finish line high fiving the wrong side of the street and missed them completely. I slowed a bit to make sure I found them. I spotted them at the last second and ran over to their side for our high fives.

While this wasn't the day I had hoped for, it's not my "A" race of the year either. I still have a ticket to punch in September and am hoping for a stronger race out of my body. You never really know what race day will bring until it comes and for me, this one was a shocker. I haven't felt this good going into a race in a very long time - and maybe that's a bad thing. I felt horrible going into Galveston and it was a great day. In the mean time, I have 12 weeks to plan my next attack at this distance. My back rehab has continued now for 2 months and will only get more aggressive. My nutrition strategy on race day is dynamic and evolving with each day. I hope to capitalize on some new found knowledge in that arena come September 28.

For now, I'll thank everyone that continues to support me, listen to me (b/c I talk too much), and provide endless cheers on what makes for a very long day. My wife, my boys, my family, my swim partners, my TRG riding partners, My bike mechanic at JAck and Adams (James B.), my current and previous athletes, and everyone else that continue to stand in my corner and yell louder than anyone from any other state. Texans stick together and we will always be bigger and better than the others!

Cowboy Up!

Happy Trails!

~Coach Troy

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