This past weekend’s Clermont Sprint (750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run) Continental Cup provided a good excuse to get back on the blog. Before we get to the racing, I’ll briefly describe the weeks I spent preparing both physically and mentally for this event.
PART 1- The Preparation
My block of winter training with The Triathlon Squad has not been easy. Day in and day out, we work hard. I may be one of the only people in the country who looks forward to Monday–that’s generally our recovery day. It entails a 40-50 minute morning run, a 5-6000yd swim, then another 40-50 minute run in the early evening. On Tuesday we get back to work.
What is the reason for all of this training? The answer is pretty simple, actually. I want to change, and change never comes easy. (Didn’t Sir Issac Newton have a rule about that?) The world may want things to stay the way they are, but I’m not going to accept the status quo. I’m going to fight to change.
After a few consecutive 25-30 hour training weeks, I begin to feel tired. It’s not an “I need a quick nap” tired, either. The feeling is more akin to having someone put an invisible weight vest on you every day. The vest doesn’t weigh much, but then you put another one on each and every day–after a couple of weeks one begins to feel the weight. Simple tasks like cleaning the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, and walking down the block to do laundry begin to seem monumental. Right about now my roommates are reading this and thinking, “Wait a minute, Joe never does that stuff.” You see, roommates, I don’t do those chores because I’m wearing so many invisible vests!
Another side effect of the training is I become even more forgetful than normal. I’ll leave my wallet sitting on the counter at Starbucks (thanks to the honest people at the Poway Starbucks for not stealing anything), I’ll lock my keys in my car (I keep a spare key in a VERY secret location), I’ll forget my paddles on the deck of the swimming pool (thanks to Anna Battiata for returning them), I’ll forget to put pants on in the morning (kidding, I usually remember this). Anyway, you get the idea.
Then, finally a race comes along and I have the opportunity to remind myself why I do this. Coach Paulo gives me a few days of rest. There’s nothing like getting a taper week after a long block of training–I’ll equate this feeling to the scene in Wizard of Oz when Dorothy lands after the tornado. The munchkins do their dance, and a world that used to be black and white is suddenly filled with all of these beautiful colors!
PART 2- The Race
By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I was excited to race. I was excited for the opportunity to let all that hard work finally pay off. The setting was Lake Louisa State Park, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best triathletes in an early season “hit-out.”
My plan was to swim, bike, and run with the race leaders. Simple enough, right?
The swim started well, and exiting the swim to begin the long surf dash from the lake to the beginning of the bike course I began to strip off my wetsuit. One quick side note: Here I need to thank Anna again for overnight shipping my wetsuit so I’d have it for the race. Remember that part about me being forgetful? Yea… Anyway, lets get back to the action.
I entered the transition area with many of the race’s top competitors, but they all didn’t have the courtesy to wait for me as I took off my wetsuit. One of these races I plan on letting them know that I didn’t appreciate their rushing off without me! While everyone else was slipping out of their rubber skins, my wetsuit felt like one of those Chinese finger traps on my legs. It seemed the harder I pulled my legs out of the suit, the harder the suit pulled back. I missed the first back on the bike, and I ended up with a group of 10 or so guys about 30 seconds back of the leaders. I did my best to work with the group to bridge the gap, but it was not enough this past Saturday.
It turned out to be too much time to make up against a talented group of guys. My group came off the bike about 35 seconds down of the leaders, and that is 1:35 more than I wanted to give up against runners like Mario Mola, Richard Murray, and Jarrod Shoemaker. I ended with a 16:24 5K which landed me in 12th place.
Success is said to be found in the details, and this past Saturday my attention to detail was not where it needed to be. I must learn from the experience and look forward to another opportunity to execute this coming Saturday in the Sarasota Continental Cup.