I participated in and successfully completed a sprint Sunday. Unfortunately I can’t say much more than that. I got on the bike and realized I was cooked. I’d overstepped a bit in training and didn’t have the firepower I need in a race. This happened many times in 2012 and 2013. It is no fun. I felt kind of dull and wasn’t sharp or excited the day before the race. That should have been a warning sign. Racing when cooked is rough because you just feel silly getting trounced and going slow out there. It was completely self inflicted as well – my coach assigned 2-3 hours or riding the Wednesday before the race which I turned into 100 miles. Looking at the two weeks leading into the race it’s pretty obvious that Wednesday century was ill advised. Anyways, I’ll have to carefully nurture my ego and confidence back to health this week.
Another downside is when you race tired or in a negative mindset it seems bad stuff is more likely to happen. Finishing the ride I somehow managed to take an acrobatic tumble as I dismounted. Really it was miraculous because I don’t think my bike got hurt and I wasn’t scraped up. The only thing I managed to damage is my heel. I must have banged it on the ground. I got through the run but an hour after the race I was limping. I can’t really walk on it now and hopefully it is back to normal in a few days. I don’t think that would have happened if I’d been fully focused during the race.
The upside is that it was a fun road trip. Friday my old pal John Shelp asked to carpool. John has been racing since 1990 and coaching for over a decade. He was the first triathlon celebrity I ever met back in 2006. I knew him because he was on the back of the Gear West calendar. A big picture of John and Brian Bich racing at Lake Waconia. Wow. That was fame. Then on our annual family vacation up north, who was in the cabin next door? SHELP! I couldn’t believe it. I was so starstruck I wouldn’t talk to him, my dad had to chat him up first. After a brief, awkward conversation up North I saw him the next weekend at the Turtleman Triathlon (rest in peace, Turtleman). Later that fall his coaching company started a junior team and I emailed him constantly for more information. Years later once I had gotten fast he could always take credit for discovering me under a rock.
It is always interesting talking to other coaches who race. We coaches do things in our own racing and training that we tell athletes never to do. Do as we say, not do as we do. Most of the time we’re aware we’re doing something dumb. And yet we do it. Like my Wednesday century. Obviously not optimal. I knew it. Still went ahead. Or my Ironman racing. I always tell people to settle down and keep relaxed and focus on their own pace and nutrition plan. Yet each of my three Ironmans I’ve gotten dumber in my execution! It was good to talk to John and confirm I’m not the only coach guilty of this kind of nonsense. And I am 100% committed to racing smart Ironmans from now on. I promise. The ride with Shelp absolutely made the trip. Don’t road trip alone!
Unrelated to my disaster of a race, Gear West teammate Heather Lendway destroyed the course record. She is super El Fuego this season. I am pretty pumped to see a showdown between Lendway and my online-only friend Ruth Brennan-Morrey. Lendway comes at the sport from a swim background. Brennan-Morrey from a run background. They are definitely two of the best we’ve ever had in Minnesota and quite possibly the two best. Lendway won a national title outright. Brennan-Morrey is racing amongst the top tier pros at 70.3. Either of them can come on this blog and talk some trash anytime they want. Lets get this rivalry heated. I’m not trying to start and trouble or incite conflict or anything of that nature. I’m just offering a safe space for these elite athletes to express their honest feelings and communicate their intentions of destroying one another. Open invite. You both know how to reach me.
Just because I raced slow and bashed my heel, doesn’t mean I wasn’t up for a post-race photoshoot with the Gear West team. I may not win every triathlon I enter but I am a championship level spokesmodel all day, every day. Here is the proof: