As preparations continue for Kona in October, I literally prayed for a hot and humid summer. I guess a guy should be careful what he wishes for! The weather here in the Valley of the Sun has delivered and not disappointed! Monsoon season is still in full swing and the early morning weekday workouts at 5am or earlier still push at temps around 85 to 90°F. The weekends are a compilation of heat, humidity and ideal for what lies ahead for me on the Big Island. I try to always remember that I hate the cold and that I embrace the sweat!
July started out with some fun short racing to get the competition juices flowing. As a family, we didn't travel much this summer since we are a little Hawaii focused in our finances. So I signed up for the local ARR 4Miler on the 4th in Peoria. Not my fastest 4 miler but considering the long endurance training in all of June, I was happy to play with my fellow runners and podium with a 2nd in AG finish with a 26:10 finish. It is always humbling to run, race and train with runners!
The next day, Sunday, I competed in a Reverse Sprint Triathlon in Goodyear, AZ. No expectations but to go fast on tired running race legs and work on speed and transitions! I knew Shawn Bernardi would be there and I wanted to try to keep up. The reverse format is not to my strengths since I desire to run hard at the end of any triathlon to catch tired racers. In a reverse format, everyone is fresh and fast (especially the young guns!) and I came into T1 a minute behind Shawn. I wouldn't make up any time on the 12 mile bike and when I dove into the 50 meter pool, he held that minute to win the overall and I came in 2nd. It was still Independence weekend so he convinced me to go speedo retro and patriotic and race lean and mean! Even good friend and age group Rival, Richard Getzen sported the "mankini" for the fast race!
The rest of July and August meant long hot, hard training for the Mountainman Half Ironman and of course Kona.
I also received my new Vector2 Power Pedals from Garmin and had a chance to play with them a little. After some tweaking and calibration, it is now a good tool for my coach, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems to monitor my bike progress. This along with my Garmin Forerunner 920XT are fantastic tools to keep my training in check. I am grateful to Garmin and CTS #trainright coaching for their sponsorship!
I also became a new Ambassador for SkinUSA Compression Wear this summer. I love their stuff and continue to train Triathlon and Crossfit in their gear.
Race weekend in Flagstaff couldn't have come at a better time! The temps in Phoenix were pushing 115° and getting worse! Cristette and Matthew were also able to travel this year with me! I love having family with me at races when they can come!
Mountainman Half IM is a weird race for me. I've had very good and very bad days up in the pines. The swim is always tough in the 7000ft elevation. Two years ago, I experienced a kick in the face and never recovered well. Last year, I swam Upper Lake Mary at check in the day before and it made all the difference. I repeated this again this year with a straight 20 min wetsuit swim before heading to the hotel to check in before the annual One Multisport Swet Dinner!
It is always such a great dinner event and it was great to eat and catch up with the best Tri Family anywhere, One Multipsort!
I am so pleased to be a part of this club and also represent the ONE Elite Team and sponsors like Destination Kona, Sole Swim Solutions, My Oatmeal, Pei Wei, MDrive and Cyclologic! Everyone of these great sponsors have been a BIG part of my day to day training! I am so grateful!
Race morning comes so early! It was so much warmer than previous years. Already in the high 60s before the swim start. Many more racers do the Olympic distance than the 70.3. They start after us but finish WAY before! It's a little tough on the body and mind to be on the run course heading to mile 5 and getting honked at by all the racers heading home or to a great lunch back in town!
He swim was great! No traffic and with very few buoys out on the course, I managed to come in at 32 minutes. I have been working with Frank and Sarah at Sole Swim Solutions for Kona and concentrated on keeping my head down and my stroke long!
T1 was full of Oly and Half racers and I was actually cold exiting transition to head out for the 56 mile bike. It was fun riding he first few miles with some fast Olympic racers like Charlie Boyeink and Shawn again! But that was short lived and they continued straight on Lake Mary Rd as I turned right to head out for two loops around Mormon Lake. I did a lot of the bike all by myself. That's just how this race goes. I felt good and their were no issues on the hilly or straight portions of the course. The last 10 miles back to transition are fast and I came in on my Valdora PHX2 with a decent 2:39 bike split ready to run. I am so pleased to continue riding for Pete and Kendra with Valdora! We all had a great day and their support is outstanding!
The run is a sufferfest. I was especially focused on my longtime friend and age group rival, Todd Whitten who has decided to test his endurance muscles and try the Half Ironman distance for the first time this year! No one my age or younger can touch his speed in the Sprint or Olympic distance. I knew he would out swim and out bike me but could I have a chance to catch him on the 13.1 mile run?
I wasn't encouraged when I didn't see him up or down the Marshall Lake hill we all have to climb at mile 2-4 of the course. This meant he had at least a 2 mile lead. That's a lot even for a half marathon! Now I would have to wait and see him on the out and back of the run on Lake Mary. I saw the race leaders like Pedro Gomez, Patrick Bless and Adam Folts, Josh Martin but no Todd. Then with less than a mile before the turn around, I saw him. Ok, the lead is more like a mile now. I was making up time but not feeling that fresh and didn't know if I have enough to get him. After a mile heading back, I saw Steve Rink who yelled out at me that Todd was only a 1/2 mile ahead! I couldn't see him but I thought that with over 4 miles to go, that it may not be attainable to catch him. I saw Cristette and Matthew parked along the road at Mile 10. It was so good to see them and wished the run was over. They didn't know about Todd ahead but Cristette is very tired of him beating me since with late1990s!
Then, at mile 11, I saw a racer run/walking in a TriScottsdale kit. Could it be? Yes! I came up to Todd and he was wet tired and still smiling! He said, "I'm cramping bad! You got this!" We high fived and I was on my way with still 2 miles to go and of course, running scared! I just wanted to see the cars parked at Upper Lake Mary to give me some visibility of the end!
I didn't look behind me because it hurt to turn my head and I was afraid Todd would be right there forcing an Old Man Sprint finish. (We've done it many times in our long Tri career!) I didn't want that! Since I saw the cars parked nearing the transition and finish line, I glance behind to see no one there! I saw the end and finished with the 7th fastest run split of the day with 1:39 just a little over 7:30 pace! Overall time was 4:55:26. 1st in the 50-54 AG and 11th overall.
Anytime you can do this tough course under 5 hours, it's an accomplishment!
I really believe my crossfit work has made a huge difference in my racing this season. Olympic lifting like squats and deadlifts are making me stronger when I need it most!
Thank you Josh, Tiff and everyone at PIM for the instruction and WODs weekly to make me a better athlete!
Up next is heavy volume training heading into September. I will race Lifetime Events, Tempe Tri and a warm up to Hawaii. Then is Kona Baby
Until next time!