Overcoming Crankiness

Muncie 70.3 left me cranky for the better part of a week. My optimism levels are just now returning to normal. I would always tell an athlete to keep a broad perspective and never get too down over a single performance but this did little to stop me from feeling mad, sad and robustly pouty.

Though last week was mostly easy a few things in training have cheered me up. First, I set 3 swim PRs at practice at Hopkins Masters. Monday I got in, warmed up for 200, put on my paddles and pullbouy and swam my fastest 1000 ever. Previous 1000 PR was probably set en route to 1500 (I’ve done a couple of these in practice, also pull/paddles). There is a bright red digital pace clock on the wall and I could see I went through the 500 on exactly the pace I wanted. I knew it was on. Needless to say I cruised the rest of practice. I was up North until Thursday so I only did lake swims until practice Friday morning.

Friday it was even more ‘on’ than Monday. Our main set was some cruise 100s, then a 500 strong, then repeat. All I wanted to do was smash the 500s (pull/paddles, of course). The first I took out a whisker over 1 minute for the 100 and was shocked at 200 and 300 to see I’d kept a really fast pace. I lapped a lanemate and failed to make a pass so I slowed dramatically the final 100 and still went 3 seconds faster than ever before. My old PR was from High School and I had matched that a couple months ago at practice. Scott gave me some advice on executing a solid pass (there were 4 of us in the lane). I figured I’d give it another go on the 2nd 500 and try to get around if I lapped anyone. I went out just as fast and at the 400 made the pass. Despite the paddles, high speed and close quarters no one got killed. I came in 4 seconds faster! A 3 second PR, with a forced slowdown, then 15 minutes later a further 4 second drop! My mind was blown.

I was further cheered Friday by a nice ride with a new riding partner, Brandon Krawczyk. He is a pretty swift cyclist and we briefly rode for the U of M cycling team together back in 2009. I knew it would be good when 20 minutes before our meeting time he sent a message saying he was running late. YES! I am always late especially starting rides. He took me on a good route. We stopped at gas station for some fountain sodas. Our girlfriends are both alumni of the Gopher Women’s Swim Team. All good things. The highlight of the ride came as we were cruising South on Lyndale a few miles from home. I commented that the trolley a couple vehicles ahead of us probably gave a heck of a draft. This inspired Brandon and moments later we surged around some cars and tucked in behind the trolley for a few miles. Yes the draft was spectacular. Be careful what you suggest around some people or it might come true. I do not recommend anyone try that at home. I would hate for anyone who reads this to go get maimed drafting large transit vehicles, can’t afford to lose any readers. But seriously it was a really good draft. 

Another source of perspective came from a teammate at Hopkins Masters. The same weekend as Muncie 70.3 my teammate Karen raced a 27 mile river swim. Yes you read that right. It was current aided and it took about seven hours. The best part is she won IN A SPRINT FINISH! 7 hours of swimming and it came down to the very end. Karen took a better line than her rival and got the win by a body length or two. So a four hour race looks pretty wimpy compared to that.

It is hard to stay mad after drafting a trolley and setting 2 swim PRs all in one day. Back on the path towards the Gopher-Badger Ironwar on September 8th in Madison.

Here is photographic evidence I have a girlfriend who embraces my triathlon shenanigans:

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Ok to be clear, ‘accepts’ my shenanigans would be a better word. Maybe ‘tolerates’. But she does exist.

This weekend I’m going head to head with my evil twin Sam Thillen at the Chisago Sprint. He stole my entry to the Rochesterfest Triathlon back in June. He thinks he can beat me outright but I think he’d be lucky to finish within half an hour of me. We agreed a 10 minute margin would be a fair equalizer.

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Have a great week! Check out the results of the women’s pro race at Racine 70.3. Rochester’s resident baller Ruth was just a few seconds off Rinny’s run split!

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