That is the total number of miles I rode from January 1st through November 18th. Its a lot of miles, a lot of solo hours, and a lot of hours with really good friends.
2013 was my first year racing as a “Professional Triathlete” that is in quotes because although I believe my training and recovery rivals the best pro’s in the world, I’m really not in the pro race, yet. Its not a bad thing, its not that I don’t believe in myself, its just a simple fact of numbers. Numbers that I am trying to improve every single day. This was to be a learning year for me. Learn how to training for, race, and recover from three IM’s.
I’m not gong to lie, the last eight weeks in to AZ, were the hardest eight training weeks I’ve ever completed. Not physically, but mentally. I had a lot of stuff going on outside of the tri-bubble that really had me questioning all the time I was spending training, knowing that I should be somewhere else. I had a few runs where I stopped and sat down for a while because I just didn’t want to be out there running. I had a long trainer ride that I texted Courtney during and said “I don’t care if we go to AZ, I just want to be done, I want to stop riding” She texted back “That sucks, but you should finish.” Tough love! Long story short, I managed to get it done. I even tweeted out that 2014 might be the year of 70.3’s and no IM’s.
Fast forward to race day and I am back in Tempe Town Lake. This time at 6:45 am and in the dark with what felt like 600 pro men. I put myself in the middle and on the front line. I went out as hard as I could and was on the back of the second pack for a while. I saw a small group forming to my right and they were coming up on me so I slowed up for a second and jumped on the back. This is where I made my first tactical decision in IM racing and it was the wrong one! I noticed we were swimming in a snake pattern, but I thought the lead guy would get his act together and swim straight. Well that never happened, and we came out in a slow :56 swim time. Oh well. Next time.
The bike was pretty uneventful. When you swim :56 as a pro male, you ride SOLO, because the race is 7 minutes up the road. I was almost at the turn around when I saw 34 guys coming back at me in what seemed like one long train. I knew I’d never catch up, so I just went on my with plan which was to ride around 250 watts. 60 miles later tactical decision #2. Mistake #2. I got caught by a group of four guys and I let them lead, figuring they were riding harder then I was. Long story short, I should’ve passed and left them WAY sooner than I did. They simply were not riding that hard, but it was hard to tell. My watts and HR dropped light a rock, but I figured that was just because I was at the back. I made the decision to see if the pace was honest, so I came around the group and rode at 300 watts for 10 mins and was immediately solo. I made the final turn for home at 4:02 and just rode as hard as I could to try and go under 4:40. The wind had turned and we had a light headwind on the way back into town which made it a little slower then the previous two trips. Lesson # 2 – Test to see if the pace is honest, if not, I need to go at it alone.
About three weeks before the race on a recovery run, I decided I was running under 3 hours. Period. Last year I was close with a 3:01. I mentally prepared myself for three weeks to deal with the type of effort in the last 60 minutes of running. I set out on the marathon – and followed the plan Jesse and I had set a few days prior. Build into to run – hit the first 5 miles around 155 HR and 6:25-6:35 ish pace. I settled into 155-157 HR and just ran. I missed mile five somehow so when I saw the mile six sign, I slowly started to lean on the HR and pushed into the 160-162 range. I knew at mile 15 that if things didn’t go banana’s I was going to be VERY close to 2:55-2:58. But I was also starting to feel the day and my legs were getting heavy. I had 11 miles 385 yards to go. I thought back to how many 11 mile runs I had done in training, dreaming about running under three one day. Today was my chance. I was going to get under three and there was only one way to get it done. Run at best effort all the way to the finish. I hit mile 24 at 2:44 and just went for absolute broke. Anyone who’s done an IM knows that when I say “absolute broke.” at mile 24 it means you’re doing everything you can mentally to just get the legs to tick over. I passed Courtney and she told me clock time was 8:42. I kept pushing as my Garmin said 2:57:43. I crossed with a 2:58:07 and was happy that I finally broke three hours and set a PR of 8:43. Twelve minutes faster then last year on a similar day. AND – I didn’t get beat by any age groupers or Pro Women! SUCCESS.
A few weeks ago I couldn’t wait to stop training – Today I am fired up to get back into it. I may not be anywhere close to being in the actual race just yet. But I can see it. I know I am doing everything right, so I just need to continue down the path that I am on.
Massive Thank you’s are in order. To everyone that sent messages pre and post race. To all the great sponsors of QT2 Systems that make all the training and recovery possible. To Mac and Peter at QR! To Jesse – There are times when I just laugh when I see the next training block and think you entered the “tyson zone
” (Thanks, Doug) But you haven’t steered me wrong yet! One day beers will be on me post race. To my wife, Courtney (AKA – Thatrunnerchick) who goes above and beyond everyday to help me try and live out this dream.
Finally – To all my training buddies that came out in the final few weeks to drag my tired ass around. Beers on me..Well, maybe only one – I was only 24th overall. :)
Training totals for 2013.
Swim – 967,345 yards
Bike – 17,134 miles
Run – 1690 miles.
Oh – and I’ll be on the start line of 3 IM’s next year. You can count on that.
Picture courtesy of Trijuice.com