Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009 Lake Minnetonka Sprint Tri

Yesterday was a very special day. Not only was it a picturesque Minnesota summer day but it also marked the one-year anniversary of my title as triathlete. Last year on that day I participated in the Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon and after finishing I could officially claim my title as triathlete.

This year I had a spectacular day. The only controllable element that stood in my way was myself. The weather was a bit too hot for this kind of exertion but I promised myself I'd shut that out and focus on what I could control. What was nice about that was it paid off. My times were, in my opinion, stellar.

But that brings me to the truly remarkable part of the event. In as much as my results impress me, what I'm more impressed with is the positive mental attitude (PMA) I carried with me. For quite a while my frame of mind while competing in any athletic event was less than positive. I focused on beating other people, being aggressive, and beating myself up when I got passed. This event was different though. I made a conscious effort to take out the trash and realize that out there in the field my only opponent was me.

That, combined with a healthy focus on carrying God with me during the event really paid off.

Not once during the swim did I get excited, angry, frustrated, or start to panic when I didn't catch a breath. Every stroke was smooth and in sync. To top that off I had an exceptional time sighting (e.g. making sure I was still swimming in the right direction.) Normally I sight ever 3-4 strokes. This time I sighted ever 4-6 strokes and kept swimming in pretty much a straight line. Simply incredible.

Both T1 and T2 were great as well. Smooth and relaxed. Except for one part where I am kind of ashamed of myself. The volunteers kept asking us what our BIB number was. You know. The number that's written on our calf and arms. Honestly, when I'm in competition mode my mind is focused on virtually ANYTHING except that. I completely forgot what my number was and was quick to the draw to let them know that. I feel ashamed for my quick and rude reaction. However, to ask an athlete what his BIB number is when all he's thinking about is how quickly can he get to his bike is very aggravating.

The bike leg was pretty straight forward. My friend Randall loaned me one of his bikes because mine is being shipped to Oregon for next weeks half Ironman. The fit was a bit off but I didn't care. My focus was on making sure I kept my PMA. Biking is my weak point. I'll just be up front about it. It's going to take me a long time and a lot of hard work to become a good biker. But until then I continue to keep a realistic focus about where I am with it and keep practicing good form and smart gear shifting. And when I got passed, which happened often, I didn't let it get to me. Instead I kept repeating to myself: "My only competitor out here is me." That really helped to keep things in perspective and kept my focus in check. The true miracle for me on the bike was the fact that I didn't get angry or frustrated once.


During the run I had a nasty cramp on my right side that wouldn't subside no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it so for 3 miles I put up with it. But that was fine because I still had an average of 7:06/mile.

At the end of the day I managed to beat every single timed portion over last year. The two transitions and the three disciplines. I was faster this year in every single one. That, combined with a healthy dose of PMA and God are the true victory stories for me that day.

Pacific Crest here I come.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ready for Lake Minnetonka Sprint

The Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon is this Saturday and marks my 1 year anniversary of being a triathlete. It's impressive how far I've come since then but what impresses me more is how much further I have to go.

I'd like to be a top class athlete and to do so will require a huge investment of time and capital. I'm willing to do it because one of my ultimate goals, qualify for and particpate in Ironman World Championship, will require at least that much.

Back down here in reality I needed to deal with a minor problem relating to the Lake Minnetonka tri. That problem was a substantial one too: no bike. My bike is being shipped to Oregon right now for the Pacific Crest Half Ironman so in the mean time I've been having to wing my bike workouts. But that won't cut it come Saturday when I absolutely need to have one.

To solve this problem, I ask my friend Randall if I could borrow his bike and he graciously agreed. In order to get to his house I ran the 10.25 miles to South Minneapolis, got the bike and rode with him back to my house. It was an adventure to say the least. But on the plus side I ran the first 6.2 miles in roughly 48 minutes. That's around a 7:45/mile pace. Not bad for me.

Now I'm sore and in desparate need of a massage. Luckily I've got one of those coming up this evening.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Two weeks to Pacific Crest

It's hard to believe it but we're about half way through June already. This means the Pacific Crest Half Iron is only two weekends away.

My postings have been few and far in between because it's the busy time in my life where it's non-stop going to and fro. That said I did want to drop a line to let you know I have been keeping busy with my training and am still on track to completing the tri.

Last weekend I ran the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in the black hills of South Dakota. It was an amazing experience. The wilderness out there is breathtaking and I'm still practically speechless about it's rugged beauty. Here's a link to my event data. It was practically 13 miles up hill and then the rest was down hill. The down hill was far worse than the up hill but all in all the run was done in a decent time so I've got no room to complain. You can see the elevation map on the aforementioned link as well.

Yesterday I handed my bike over to Gear West. They're transporting it to Oregon (yes, they're taking two weeks... I'm still in the fog on that one).

From this point until race day it's time to rest and recover. I'm getting at least one massage this week and will hopefully be getting another one. I love taper weeks!