Right after graduation, my middle son, Nathan and I headed to St. George, Utah for my 3rd 70.3 race in a row at this cute, college town (Dixie State). This race has been good to me since it evolved from a disastrous 140.6 to a quality 70.3 Ironman Triathon.
This is also the Ironman North American Pro Championships so the talent is deep and I was hoping for a "3Peat" Podium finish in the 50-54 Age Group.
The trip with Nathan was priceless and I enjoy traveling with him anywhere we go. It just seems like yesterday he came with me to Boise where I first qualified for 70.3 Worlds years back.
Race day went like clock work. No surprises on a gorgeous Saturday. My wave start wasn't as late as previous years - more in the middle than the end. The time getting into the cold water seemed short before the blow horn sounded and we were off. I always take it easy at the beginning of the swim but I may have taken it too easy. I was disappointed to see a 35 min split on my Garmin Forerunner 920XT when I exited the water. Dang! I wanted a 34 at worst to be in the podium mix. I plan to work hard with Swim Coach, Frank Sole at Sole Swim Solutions this summer to improve on my #1 limiter.
The bike was next with no issues except for losing my EFS gel flask on mile 7 when it slipped out of my Tri top pocket. No worries! Regroup and pick up two gels per aid station to be sure I get the nutrition I need.
This race really begins at mile 40 when we enter the Snow Valley Park. It's a beautiful, Red Rock park filled with uphill climbs ready to make the best triathlete toast just in time for the out and back run. I was ready for the 5 mile ascension but was surprised to see us yield to a bike path full of technical turns and even a turn back before we had to climb out again. I managed to hold my own knowing that at the end of the climb, it's basically 10 miles back to town downhill.
Once I made that right turn to head home, I was ready to put down the hammer and make up the time I lost climbing. However, I heard a sound on my front tire that disturbed me. I first thought it was a flat but my speed didn't slow down. I just prayed it would hold together until I reached T2. I realized after the race was over and I picked up my gear and bike that I picked up a sticky piece of paper that made the clicking sound. Drive me crazy in worry! I came into T2 with a 2:42 time. Nothing too impressive but I felt my strongest leg was coming!
I love this 13.1 out and back run! It eats up the swimmers and cyclists and makes the strongest Triathlete walk in anguish! I have made my pattern to be the guy who chases down the competition. I worked it from the very start. I had no idea what position I was in starting the run, (24th I later found out) so I just ran hard and strong. I know I was picking of younger age groupers and of course, my age group players, but was so surprised to find out I got 15 of them for an age group best time of 1:33:24 to move up to 9th. That is a new "roadkill" record for me. I missed the podium but still finished in the top 5% of the age group. Places 4-10 were only 1-2 minutes apart. A highly competitive group of old farts!
Final time: 4:57:36
After a week for work in Minneapolis immediately following St. George, came a traditional race locally; Tempe International Triathlon. Our ONE Elite Team ran a walk through clinic the day before and had a great response from many newbie triathletes. It is so good to be able to help the community in this way. Fellow teammate, Maureen Needham did a great job walking through her set up and transition process.
Race morning was early and actually quite cool. We had a very nice May here in the Valley. Unseasonably cool.
This time, the swim went better for an Olympic race that favors strong swimmers. I still had my work cut out for me with speed specialist like Todd Witten in the mix. Todd and I raced together back in the 90s and he still kicks my butt.
Billy Oliver was there too and his run was better so he was another threat for the podium.
The bike is hillier than Marquee and the two loop bike course put me in position to have to run for my life to stay in contention for a podium spot. This 10K hurt much more than the St. George half marathon sue to the 6:30-6:40 pace I needed to maintain.
It paid off with an ok finish time of 2:18:11 time and 3rd place in the 50-54 age group behind Todd and Billy respectively.
The month finished up with me competing in the 2nd installment of "The Fittest of PIM" Power in Motion's Crossfit Competition. I had to make up to "WODs" (Workouts of the Day) because of St. George and my business trip to Minneapolis. The final event was in Memorial Day completing the iconic "Murph Challenge" in honor of fallen Navy Seal, Michael Murphy who's story was protrayed in the film, "Lone Survivor". It consists of a 1 Mile Run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. I went into this final workout in first place for the male masters 45+ but my main competition, Vincent Serpico, was going into this with bonus points by committing to wear a 20lbs weighted vest. If I didn't wear one too, and still complete the workout in a decent time, I would lose the title.
I broke up the pull ups, push ups and squats into 20 sets of 5/10/15. I knew the hardest part would be the pull ups. My weakest link. (Also, Vince's strongest)
I quickly had to resort to single pull ups due to the weighted vest. I received 5 penalty points for jumping up to the bar but since I was wearing the vest, I still netted 5 extra credit points to my score. I had no problem with the push ups and squats. Of course, the run was my best event but I do have a new appreciation for any Triarhlete who weighs 20 pounds more than I do!
I won the month long point race and a two night stay at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge! Just in time for a summer staycation or our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary!
I had to say no to one of my favorite races, Dueces Wild in Show Low this past weekend. This month of racing and training has taken its toll. I enjoyed training in the real heat yesterday and today. I need to stay focused on the ultimate A race of the year, Kona! It will be here before I know it!
The summer will be hot and long but it will make me stronger and acclimated to the heat that is the World Championships! #konabound!
As always, I want to thank One Multipsort and the ONE Elite Team for all their support. My coach, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems, Valdora Cycles, Destination Kona, Cyclologic, MDrive, MyOatmeal, Pei Wei, FitSok and all our/my sponsors who are helping me make this a dream season!
Until next time!