The same as it ever was, hanging out with 25+ of my friends in a camping & racing setting was incredible. Even the rain that happened Friday afternoon was nice as it forced me to relax and just chill (take a nap!), and brought back good memories for fellow IMLP'ers Dan and Jeff. It also made it better for Saturday where everyone could sit around, hang out and chat about an amazing day. Big props to Marty and Pat for coming into town from Chicago, and Rhode Island, respectively. Even though Paul and Damian had some mechanical difficulties, bad races become good races such that you always learn from them (as was the case with me last year). It also appears that Nick Brown and I may have sparked a little friendly competition, and I am looking forward to throwing down in the future.
My Damn Foot
Remember when I said my right foot hurt when I screwed up my bike mount? When I showered later that day, I looked at the bottom of my foot and found this:
Look a little like I stepped on my big chain ring during the bike mount melee? EESH!
Light on my damn feet
After suffering through the run course during recon, I realized that we needed to make some changes to the next few weeks of training. I briefly considered purchasing race flats, but thought they were too expensive (this was before I just bought a new bike - ha!), and worried that changing shoes shortly before a race might screw something up.
After discussions with Marty and Coach, I made a few tweaks to my diet, and ended up losing a whopping 7 pounds in April to bring me down to my lightest weight in 10+ years . Yes, they were tweaks, legal (regardless of what Nick says) and hardly rocket science. I am actually in the process of writing a 6 part series on nutrition for endurance athletes for amateurendurance.com, where I touch upon a few things I did. The articles should be ready in the next few weeks, and are intended to be quite comprehensive (and debatable for some of you, I am sure).
For the first time I think EVER, I absolutely nailed my nutrition (except for the swim, when I took in a gulp or two!). I can't say enough about Infinit. Actually, that's a lie. There really isn't much to say other than - it just works. Plain and simple.
Shortly after I met Michelle, I told her "You need to come up to Wildflower", and I am glad she took my advice! It took me until my 3rd season to finally experience it, and I insisted that she come and join the fun - especially since she is new to the sport. I swear, experiencing wildflower should be about as mandatory as owning running shoes (and I bet she'd agree). Not to mention that in nearly exactly a year from now, she will be doing one very hilly triathlon that is Ironman St. George! Hill training starts NOW!
She made for a most excellent co-pilot to and fro, with a well strategized detour to Four Vines in Paso for a little wine tasting on our way up. I'll let the descriptions of the wine glasses tell it all...
Speaking of wine
HUGE props to Nikee for stopping by some yet-to-be-met relatives of mine and getting me a a kick ass gift...
As if the name of the winery isn't great enough, check the name of the wine!
I can't begin to describe how big having Chuckie as a coach has been for me this year. When I first asked him to coach me for RAAM, I figured I had all the time in the world to do this. Then I made things twice as hard for him a few months later when I told him that I was going to school, and would be in class every other Saturday, and also that I wanted to do Wildflower as well.
Unfortunately, the best I could do is about 10-12 hours/week - minimal by his standards. Yet, somehow, on this minimal training, and with most of my "running" being jogs (ie. at a much lower HR than you probably do your long runs at), I was able to take over 20 minutes off my previous half marathon time - stand alone or in a half ironman. Hell, I can honestly say that it was probably the most enjoyable run I have ever done. He even said himself that I might be the perfect 10-15 hour/week athlete.
People say "The key to a strong run is to have a strong bike". I used to halfway agree with that. The other half, I believed, was to be a strong runner in the first place. Well, either am I a strong runner, or I don't know what I am talking about (probably the latter!), but it's obvious that what "they" say, is correct. I still can't get over how fresh I felt getting off the bike. I definitely know that a lot had to do with these gnarly hill repeats Chuckie has had me do over the past month. Holding nearly or exactly 300W week after week, hill after hill after hill after hill after hill definitely paid dividends on race day.
All I gotta say is:
"4:51 on 10-12 hours a week? It's gotta be the coach!"
HOWEVER - he did get my mind wandering when he mentioned "I still think you need to do another Ironman"...