Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Tri Season Recap

Well, this might be a bit overdue, but here's a recap on my season this year. I saw a lot of improvement over the year, specifically with biking and staying relatively injury free. I also PODIUM'D EVERY RACE (humble brag). Yup, every single one, even the pure running races (although they were small). That was not expected....

Kansas 5150: My first ever DNS (did not start) in triathlon... This was the last race with the ol' Cannondale, and due to wet conditions (I camped that night at Clinton Lake during a Tornado Warning), I bagged the race and attended my sister's graduation later that day. What a great brother!

One of the final rides with the Cannonale

Being a good brother... but bummed.

Topeka Tinman (Short Course:  My first race on my new Cervelo P2, and it did not disappoint. I averaged 3.5 mph faster this year than last on the same course. That was a difference of 7 minutes on the bike segment alone! The run was tough, but I held on for my FIRST AGE GROUP WIN!



First time finishing first! I beat the spectators...

Shawnee Mission Triathlon (Short Course): This was the 3rd year in a row I've done this race. I've taken 2nd both previous times, and was shooting for the win this time! I had a terrible race (run specifically), but was lucky enough to take 3rd place in my AG! And Rach did her first triathlon!!!

Nerding it up

Rach is now a triathlete!

Lawrence Triathlon (Short):  After Shawnee Mission, I was ready for a good race with a hard effort. The course was flat, conditions were perfect, and I hammered on the bike. Big time. I had the second fastest bike split at 22.6mph, and took 4th overall. AND I MISSED 3RD PLACE BY ONE SECOND! OOOOOONE SECOND!!! But happy with the AG win!

Heading out on the bike
Finishing strong

Jackson County Triathlon (Long Course):  After a solid month of training, I was ready for my longest race of the year! A pseudo-olympic distance race. I had a decent swim, awesome bike (23.5mph average for 24 miles...), and an awesome run (6:58/mi for the 5 mile run). I couldn't get the AG win, but was happy with 2nd place.

swim exit


Midwest Meltdown (Long Course):  One week later, I finished my triathlon season in Paola KS on the pancake flat course at Miola Lake. I traveled all week and was feeling a bit fatigued from it. My legs never opened up, and didn't have the best race I was capable of, but still hung on for 2nd in my age group.



I'm starting to plan for 2014, and will be branching back into the half ironman distance! IMKS, I'm getting my revenge soon!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Running, running, running...

With the triathlon season over and done with (recap might be in the works...), I've had a lot of extra time to dedicate to the discipline I see as needing the most work (and could show the most improvement) in 2014: my run...

I've never been a "runner". I don't really know why. I enjoy running. It's relatively safe, you can literally do it anywhere you want, and it's something that's engrained in us early in life. But for some reason, I just can't seem to break through to faster times. That, and I can't increase my run volume without my glass legs breaking. Injuries suck...

I know a lot of it has to do with my weight and running mechanics, both of which I am working on! Not that I'm overweight or have terrible mechanics, but I see room for improvement in both.

Back to my high fat low carb meals... Still good!

I'm also a lot more deliberate with increasing my weekly mileage. I've looked back at my training logs and evaluated when I was getting hurt. Naturally, most of the injuries occurred after a massive increase in run volume in a week's time (usually increased by 25%, not smart). I'm learning that there is a science behind running fast and efficiently, but also staying away from the injury bug.

I've been deliberately conservative this fall approaching my next and final race for 2013, the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon.  After a 2 week complete break from training, I started back running short distances at a low intensity. I'm following one of Hal Higdon's free plans, and I've really liked the slow, but methodical increase in mileage and intensity. My long runs will soon be 10+ miles, but the progression there has taken 6 weeks.

Previously, I've done my long runs at half marathon pace, which makes sense, but completely tears up my legs week after week. This plan calls for long and  mostly slow runs, with speed work and tempo stuff done sparingly. We'll see if I meet my goal at the race (I'm thinking <1:38), but overall, I'm liking the plan and feel like my aerobic system is adapting nicely. I've been fitting in 4 runs each week, and now feel ready to add a 5th day.

Start of a trail run at a local Arboretum

I'm really trying to be proactive on the injury front. I've been foam rolling weekly (should do it more), keeping up with the strength training, and have kept the slow runs at a comfortably easy pace. So far so good. Hopefully it stays this way! (literally just knocked on my wood coffee table)

At least the decreased training volume leaves me more time hanging out with this creepy guy...

I hope everyone is ready for fall and the perfect running weather to come! Let's hope it lasts more than a couple weeks!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Midwest Meltdown Long Course Race Report 2013

On Sunday August 25, 2013, I raced my last triathlon of the year (wahhh wuhhh) at the Midwest Meltdown in Paola, KS. I did the short course race last year, and enjoyed the flat course and small registration numbers. I up'd the distance and was in for the long course to end my triathlon season.

The week leading up to the race was very light in terms of training following Jackson County the previous weekend. Plus, Rach and I made a quick and fun trip to San Diego for a wedding. The place and wedding were beautiful, I had a few too many beers, and danced like no one was watching into the wee hours. We returned home 36 hours later, and arrived home around 11:30pm the night before the race, and still had to pack my stuff up.

When I woke up race morning, I knew I wasn't about to have my best race of the year. I was wrecked from traveling, the beers, the dancing, no decent meal the day before, and lack of sleep. I immediately decided to just have some fun in my last race of the year, and be content with that.

Pre Race
Rach and I got to the race site around 6:30am, which provided enough time to get set up, go on a short ride, and get a 5 minute warm up swim in before my wave started at 7:30am. The race itself was very small, but there was a lot of "talent" in the long course race. There were 2 men's waves for the long course. Mine was the first to start, with about 25 people in the wave. I saw Pete, my training buddy, in the wave and decided to try and stick with him like I did for Jackson County.

ME with the BEST sherpa ever!
Our little wave started at 7:30 without any contact. The group began to spread out quickly, but I had to navigate my way around a few people in front of me because I didn't have enough time to get positioned in front before starting.  I quickly saw Pete to my right, and began to try and pull onto the group in front of me to draft. I never really caught the group, but kept them within striking distance much of the first lap, although there were a few guys off the front.

Swim start. Chaos.
The first loop of the 750 meter course was really uneventful. I was able to get into a groove immediately, and focused on bilateral breathing. At the start of the second loop, I could feel myself slowing down, and was immediately passed by Pete and another swimmer. I made up my mind to stay with them and hopefully draft, but they quickly got out of reach. I stayed within 10 yards of them the remainder of the swim, but didn't get any benefit from drafting.

I really began fatiguing the back half of the second loop and could consciously feel my legs sinking, really wishing the swim was wetsuit legal. My feet began to cramp about 100 yards from shore. I tried to focus on a good body position and strong pull till I got to shore, again a few second behind Pete.

This is what the pros call "exiting the water".
Time:  26:27
Distance: 1500 meters
Pace: 1:37/100 yards
Age Group: 2/3
Overall: 22/73

Once on shore, I just ran to my bike, threw on my aero helmet, and took off. I already had my shoes clipped in, and had an excellent transition spot! Always helpful!

Time: 0:40
AG: 1/3 (tie)
OA: 2/73 (tie)

The bike course consisted of four 5.2 mile loops around Lake Miola.  The course itself has been compared to riding on a running track. It's flat, but has quite a few little turns. There was also a minor wind out of the South that was more annoying than problematic.

Out of transition, I was immediately passed by Pete and a short course racer. I tried to keep up with them, but I just couldn't.  My legs were not feeling like riding hard, and my heart rate was really low, despite just getting done with a hard swim. I started drinking some water, wondering if I was dehydrated (probably from the weekend). After a half lap, Pete and the short course racer were out of sight. I actually couldn't see anyone, either in front of me or behind me.

Getting da party started... Terrible position.
After the first lap, I started taking in some fuel, hoping my legs would start pushing hard. That didn't really help. I kept trying to push, hoping to see the heart rate rise, but it just stayed in low zone 3. At the start of the 3rd lap, I took a gel with caffeine that seemed to bring my legs to life and I started making up some ground.

Better position, but not liking the pointed toe...
By the time I started the 4th and final lap, I was ready to be off the bike.  I was having a ton of pain in my butt, but it wasn't from sitting on the bike saddle. My guess is it was from all the sitting while traveling and I hadn't stretched out. Regardless, I just pushed and hoped to salvage a decent run. I eventually caughtf Pete in front of me (who obviously slowed down for me) right before T2, and we were going to start the run together for the second week in a row.

Ready to be done...
Time:  54:07
Distance: 20.84 miles
Pace: 23.1 mph
AG: 2/3
OA: 16/74

I did a rolling dismount and kept my shoes clipped into my bike. I just hopped off, ran to my transition spot, took off the helmet and put on my shoes. GONE!

Time: 0:28
AG: 1/3
OA: 2/73

This run started out exactly like last week's awesome run: with Pete setting the pace. Unlike last week, I was unable to hold it for more than a half mile. I quickly began to slow down to something I could maintain for 5 miles, and let Pete go. I soon realized the run wasn't going to be fun, as I began heating up and my legs just didn't have much left.

The run was the same loop as the bike course, so it was nice and flat, but had absolutely no shade.  I was hot. I was able to catch a few people in front of me, but I would have caught them if I was jogging. I kept running, and only walked to take in water at each aid station.

As the miles went on, my pace continued to drop. By the middle of mile 4, I was in full-on damage control mode, feeling like I was about to have some serious cramping in my quads and hamstrings. The sun was brutal, the humidity was worse, and the only thing that prevented me from walking the last mile was the final aid station on the course. Volunteers could tell I was struggling with the heat and they drenched me with ice water. My spirits quickly improved, and I was able to finish the race without walking (or dying).

Black was a bad choice...

Time: 38:27
Distance: 5.2 miles
Pace: 7:24/mile
AG: 2/3
OA: 15/73

Upon finishing, I quickly found Rach and went and sat in the water for a few minutes to get my body temperature down to a more realistic level. I found Pete, who beat me for the second week in a row (getting you next year...), had a few (more) beers, and watched the finishers.

Time:  2:00:09
AG: 2/3
OA: 12/73

All in all, I thought the race went about as well as I expected.  I wasn't expecting an amazing race, and I didn't have one. But that's okay. I still had a great time at a really great local race. I was pumped about the AG podium, but I really didn't care too much about that. I would have podium'd by walking the entire run... But I am happy about placing in my Age Group in every race I did this year!

Well, my triathlon season is officially over. I definitely want to keep racing and training, but I feel like I need a mental and physical break. I also started my fall semester the next day (no coincidence), so my time will be put towards that. I'm going to take a few weeks off of anything structured, and will then begin half marathon training for a fall 13.1.

Be back for a season recap! I progressed A LOT!!!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Jackson County Triathlon- Long Course Race Report

Sunday August 18th, 2013 marked the 31st running of the Jackson County Triathlon at Longview Lake, Missouri.  I was in for the Long Course race, my longest triathlon of the year.  The Kansas 5150 race would have surpassed the run distance, but unfortunately I didn't start the race.  Despite the somewhat longer distances, I was prepared and ready for a great day!

The Long Course encompassed a 1500 meter swim, a (supposedly) 40 kilometer bike segment, and ended with a 5 mile run along the shaded trails around Longview Lake.

With my last race almost 6 weeks ago, I was targeting this race as an "A" race, or focus for my periodization of training.  AKA I was "peaking" for the race, meaning I knew I would be in the best shape possible for a solid outcome.

Race week went really well. Normally, I try and do as many workouts as possible, and was able to get 4 swims, 4 bike rides, and 5 runs in before the race.  Most were really short and easy, focused on frequency.  Despite the short and easy workouts, I was feeling very fatigued and stiff, which is common.  But by Saturday, the day before the race, I was feeling AMAZING! Maybe that's because of the carb loading... Thanks, Chipotle!

My goal for this race (and the year) was to average over 21mph for the 40 kilometer bike segment, just under 25 miles.  I was feeling very confident in accomplishing this, and was hoping to still have a good run afterwards.

I woke up race morning around 4:55am and headed to Longview with Rach. She was racing the short course herself! We arrived around 6:00am and found a transition rack where we both would fit.  We then began unpacking our stuff.  After a quick warm up ride, I realized I was running short on time and needed to head down to the swim start. After cramming myself into my wetsuit and listened to the pre-race instructions, I ran into a training buddy who was in my swim wave.  We were the first to go on the day.  We both positioned ourselves at the front of the wave, and were off once the horn sounded!

Chillin' before the start. Well, maybe freezing.
My wave probably only had 25-30 people, which is still relatively small considering every guy under 40 years old was starting. Having a smaller wave made for a pretty uneventful start.  Instead of going out really hard and fast to separate myself, I just settled into a nice and smooth stroke from the start and found someone to draft off of.  There was a group of 5 people at the front of the first of two swim laps, with myself taking up the rear of the group.  I stuck right on the feet of some guy in a BlueSeventy wetsuit, and tried not to get dropped off the back.

Swim Start! I'm the guy in the front...

Heading back for the second lap included a brief stretch swimming parallel to the beach area.  I was really happy with this, as I thought we had to exit the water and run along the beach to the start again.  I just stayed in my zone and kept right behind the other swimmer, who seemed to be going right at the pace I was comfortable with.

As soon as we got going on the second lap, I could tell we were hitting a lot of other traffic in the water, likely from other swimmers in the short course race that had just started.  The second lap wasn't much fun, as it was 750 meters of constant zigzagging around slower swimmers, who were spread out randomly throughout the swim course.  I had no contact, but it was still a ton of navigating that slowed me quite a bit.

Soon enough, I was out of the water, probably a few seconds behind the BlueSeventy guy, who I silently thanked for pulling me 95% of the swim. The swim itself was likely a bit longer, probably 100-150 yards more than the stated 1500 meters. I don't think anyone swam faster than a 1:35/100m average, which is unlikely. Not to mention my average is slower than my warmup pace...


Losing some clothing

Time: 27:56
Distance: 1500m
Pace: 1:45/100y
Age Group: 2/10
Overall: 11/148

This transition didn't go smoothly.  As soon as I stood up in the water, I worked on getting my wetsuit off, and had to take my Garmin strap off my wrist to remove my wetsuit sleeve. I then ran by my bike rack, and had to do a bit of backtracking to find it.  I also forgot to remove my swim cap running to my bike, which probably cost a few seconds.  I struggled getting my aero helmet on, and eventually took off to the mount line, where I made an ass of myself trying to mount my bike.  I went for a flying mount, but missed my right foot on my pre-clipped shoes.  I had to stop and mount my bike, probably causing a mini traffic jam. I was a bit disoriented following the longer swim...

Time: 1:08
AG: 3/10
Overall: 13/148

After finally mounting my bike and getting my feet slipped into my shoes, I began riding along Longview Lake, and enjoyed a nice downhill out of transition to get the bike ride going.  My plan was to take it easier the first 20 minutes of the bike, and then up the intensity the remainder of the ride. AND I ACTUALLY STUCK TO THE PLAN! It was probably the first time I've ever done what I planned on doing in a race! Normally, I'm all jacked up at the start of the bike and I'm like, "Eff the plan, let's hammer!!!" only to run out of steam 30 minutes later.

Midway through each lap, you cross a somewhat rickety bridge that is covered in wooden planks.  It's fine to ride across, but there is a bit of a bump as you get onto it. I neglected to remember this on the first lap, and forgot to slow down.  I rocketed over the bridge, and heard a loud THUMP. I began freaking out, thinking my Garmin had gone flying.  Nope, still there. The water bottle between my aero bars apparently ejected. I turned to make sure everyone behind me was okay, and kept on flying, hoping that I had hydrated enough from the lake water I drank on the swim...

Probably staring at a dog...

After the first 20 minutes, I glanced back and noticed my training buddy right behind me, and we started pushing the pace a bit.  We picked up two other riders in front of us, who also picked up the pace and stayed with us.  We had a group of 4 all together, with no one really pushing ahead of the others.  We stayed this way for most of the second lap. At the last climb, I pushed the pace and was able to break away from the group heading back into T2.

All in all, it was a fantastic ride and I was felt like I pushed hard, yet had a lot left in my legs for a solid run! The distance on the bike is DEFINITELY short, probably by at least a mile.  SOOO take my splits for what they're worth. But they are impressive... (humble brag).

Time: 1:03:37
Distance: 24.6 (likely not 40k)
Pace: 23.5mph (haha yeah no)
AG: 2/10
OA: 15/148

I had slipped out of my shoes while riding, so I just dismounted my bike, ran to my rack, threw on my shoes and took off. There was a longer run out of transition, but all in all, pretty solid.

Time: 1:08
AG: 1/10
OA: 12/148

Let me start out by saying I have NO IDEA where this run came from, but I'm definitely okay with it...

I started out the run on the paved trail right behind my buddy and a guy in my AG, who I likely thought was in 1st place in our AG. I was about 15 seconds behind them, and was content with this starting out on the run.  I kept checking my watch initially, and saw the 6:55/mi pace and thought "WTF MARK?!" But I was feeling really good coming off the bike, and the pace seemed comfortable so I just went with it.  The plan was for a 7:30/mi average, maybe 7:20 at best. But nothing in training led me to think I'd be doing anything faster than a 7:20 for the 5 miles.

Working. Upside-down "13" for better luck! It worked!
The 2.5 miles out were awesome.  I was feeling great, concentrating on a high cadence and good arm swing, and keeping my other AGer within 15-20 seconds.  At the turn around, I verified that I was in 2nd place in my AG, and about 6th out on the course.

I definitely slowed a bit on the back half, but overall my heart rate and lungs were feeling comfortably uncomfortable.  My legs just couldn't muster anything faster than the already fast pace they were maintaining.  The AGer eventually pulled away, about 40 seconds in front of me and I couldn't catch him.  I eventually crossed the finish line, 20 seconds behind the winner.

Time: 34:55
Distance: 5 miles
Pace: 6:55/mi
AG: 3/10
OA: 24/148

I had a really great race that far exceeded my expectations.  I was happy with another Age Group podium this year (4/4 so far), and was really happy with the top 15 placement overall while racing the Long Course (usually the better competition does longer events, but not always). The weather definitely contributed to the fast times, as the fairly low humidity and high 60s were conducive to speedy racing.  But I usually stay pretty cool in my Sugoi race gear anyway. But I still can't exactly explain the run. The average was probably faster than many of the intervals I do in training, despite those being significantly shorter. Again, I can't explain it, but I'm thrilled with the results! And I got my 21mph average on the bike, even with a more correct race distance!

Time: 2:08:41
AG: 2/10
OA: 14/148

Rach finished her second triathlon this year, and also took 2nd in her AG. She's going to be kicking my ass in no time... All in all, a great race, fun course on a beautiful day!


Friday, August 9, 2013


My first of two final triathlons of the year is just about a week away. I've had a solid block of training following my age group win at the Lawrence Triathlon in late July. My achilles is almost fully back to normal, about 90% now. I've been able to slowly add in some intensity again on my runs, which has been lacking since the Topeka Tinman

High noon track session in Kansas. Bad idea.

The Jackson County Triathlon is the next race (a faux Olympic distance, with a 1500 meter swim, 25 mile bike and 5 mile run), and I'm fully tapering for the race now.  I'm in what Joe Friel calls the "Peak" period.  I follow a pretty simple periodization program from Friel's books, and just finished my final "build" month, which was brutal.  Peak is all about lowering the total training volume in each discipline. Along with the smaller training volume, the intensity of every workout is either at Race Pace, or Recovery pace.  So either fairly hard or crazy easy... By following this plan, I should be in perfect condition to race.

This is the second time this season I have tapered for a specific race. The first time was Kansas 5150  back in May that didn't end up happening. Wah wuh...  

I'm feeling really good about my swim and bike right now.  I've gotten so much faster in each discipline this year, and am feeling really good about my final two races and what I could throw down in terms of pacing.

Prior to some hill repeats at Shawnee Mission Park

The run, however, isn't exactly close to where I wanted it at the beginning of the year.  I had to decrease my run training because of the Achilles issues, but never had to completely stop training.  

I guess I was hoping for more improvement in all three disciplines, although I will take the swim and bike fitness, as both have improved greatly! Consistency pays off! As does a carbon bike with a wheel cover...

Outdoor pool all summer!

The extra free time I have available now that I'm tapering has opened up some time to do some non-triathlon activities, like Royals games or road trips.  We've also been able to get some wedding planning done! 

Rach figuring out how she wants my hair for the wedding

Royals game prior to some lady jumping in the fountains

Oh and eating. Lots of eating...

A week after the Jackson County race, I'm doing the Midwest Meltdown, another faux Olympic distance race on a COMPLETELY flat course in Paola, KS. There have been some jokes going around that if you want to ride the course, just find a running track and ride for 25 miles... I did the short course race last year and totally agree, pancake flat.

I'm hoping my body can hold up for 2 Olympic distance races on back to back weekends.  Regardless, I'm taking a few weeks off before starting Hal Higdon's 12 week training program for the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon in November.

Hope everyone has been enjoying summer! It's winding down....

Geneseo, IL. Drink it in...

thanks for reading

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lawrence Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, I did the short course race at the Lawrence Triathlon.  The race took place at Bloomington Beach at Clinton Lake, KS. This was the third different race I've done at Clinton Lake, but this was at a different beach, so it was quite a bit different.  The weather was looking terrible leading up to the race, with thunderstorms forecasted for the morning. Luckily, when I woke up Sunday morning, the radar was relatively clear.

The week leading up to the race included quite a bit of training, and zero tapering for my performance on Sunday.  My quads and hamstrings were really sore following the Shawnee Mission Triathlon the weekend before, despite not really running hard at the race.  Probably from all the climbing on the bike course...  I regularly stretch and foam roll, and this finally started helping my legs feel better on Thursday.

I didn't have any goals for this race, and treated it as a speed session for all 3 disciplines.  I just wanted to push really hard, especially on the run.  After last weekend, I was really disappointed in the effort I put forth on the run, and I wanted to change that. I was going to leave the Garmin on the bike and run by feel. It would be my first race without a pacing device. I wanted to feel like I was working!

On Sunday, I woke up around 4:15am, and slept really well following a night out at a baby shower (and 3 Boulevard Pale Ales). Crazy Saturday night... I had the Jeep loaded up and took off with Rach around 5:00. We arrived at Bloomington Beach around 6:15, and were really surprised how close we got to park! The race itself was pretty small, so we were able to park 100 feet away from transition. This is really unheard of!

After finding my transition spot, I started unloading my stuff and realized two things: One, it was really muddy.  I would need to spend a few extra seconds wiping my feet off before the run.  And Two, I forgot my rubber bands to keep my bike shoes upright for my flying mount.  Shoot...

I then went on a quick warm up ride to check out the first few miles of the bike ride, and found some friends after returning.  The long course race started at 7:30, and I was able to get a solid 15 minute swim warm up in before my wave took off. The race director notified the short course athletes that the bike course turn around had been extended an extra half mile to make for a safer turn around, and we got to climb an extra hill. No biggie, but some people weren't happy about the extra mile on the bike ride.

Men's 35 and Under 

Soon enough, it was 8:15 and we were off!

The swim was a bit odd. Due to the low water level at the lake, we were able to run about 50 yards out into the water. And we could have gone a bit further, too.  There was a 15 year old that took off immediately, and since he had USA all over his kit, nobody really intended on following him...

And there's the winner by 6 minutes...

I got settled in quickly, and stayed right on the feet of a 30 year old who's pace was right in tune with mine. I was able to draft off of him for 75% of the swim, and passed him towards the end.  I felt really good in the water, my technique was great, and I wasn't working nearly as hard as in the past few races.

When we got to about 75 yards left in the swim, we hit a low spot in the lake and had to walk about 10 paces on rock, and then swim the remaining distance to the beach. Really weird...

The time included the beach run to transition, as the timing mat was located just before you got into the transition area.  My watch had 8:02 for the swim, which would be a 1:28/100y pace, which is right where I was hoping for.

Time: 9:01
Distance: 500 meters
Pace: 1:48/100m
Age Group: 1st/12
Overall: 6/116

Nice and smooth.  I wasted a few seconds finding my spot, but recovered quickly. Despite not having my shoes rubberband'd to my bike, I was able to get my feet on top of my shoes really easily.  I think the only way to make this any faster is to just run harder.

Time: 0:40
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 6/116

After the race director indicated the bike would be a bit longer than 12 miles, I actually was happy. I wanted to push hard, so I could have a good comparison to the Topeka Tinman race, as it was also 13 miles.  In the end, the bike was at least 13 miles, as my Garmin had 13.2 miles despite starting it late and stopping it early.

Taking off!

Overall, I had an awesome ride!  It was my first race with the disc wheel cover, and it really helped! I rode at a hard effort the entire ride, I was never passed, and was really happy with the output I sustained.  I was immediately able to get into a good groove and felt powerful, as opposed to last weekend at Shawnee Mission, where I felt really flat.

About 4 miles into the ride, a big bee flew into my face, got lodged between my sunglasses and eyebrow, and I got stung right above my eye.  I'm surprised I was able to keep the bike upright, as I thought I was about to get stung right on the eyeball and I couldn't get the bug free. I regrouped, and stopped noticing the pain sometime after the bike turnaround.

Heading back for the run
I had a solid negative split, averaging almost 25 mph on the way back (with probably an elevation loss) and a 23 mph average for the entire ride according to my Garmin. Since I've got the data, I'm going with that! Regardless, this was by far the best bike performance to date, and was helped by the smooth and flat roads, conducive to fast times!

Get a wheel cover. Or make one...

Time: 34:43
Distance: 13 miles
Pace: 22.6 mph
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 2/116

I rode into transition with my feet already out of my shoes, and had another good rolling dismount without my shoes flying off. Transition was really muddy, and I took a few extra seconds rubbing my feet off on my transition mat before getting my shoes on.

Time: 0:33
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 7/116

On with the run, where I was looking for some redemption! My legs were HEAVY coming off the bike. Big time.  It took at least a mile for them to loosen up to resemble my normal running stride.

"Do as I say, LEGS!"
The run itself was pretty uneventful. I guess that's what happens when you don't check your GPS watch every 15 seconds to see your pace... You just run!  The achilles acted fine, and is even better after the race. I hope it continues to get better!

Near the finish, clearly over-striding. But going hard!

I ran hard the entire time. I was able to pass 4 or 5 guys on my way in, all from earlier waves. The course was through the campgrounds, with half of the run on gravel.  There was some shade, which was great, but it didn't help the humidity. But all in all, the temps were favorable.

Soon enough, I was near the finish, and kicked as hard as I could to the line. I was really hurting at the end, which was the complete opposite of last weekend. I'm happy with the run, given the lack of run training lately to keep Mr. Achilles happy.

Pirate leg

Time: 22:17
Distance: 3.1 miles
Pace: 7:12/mi
Age Group: 2/12
Overall: 9/116

Total Time: 1:07:12
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 4/116

After finishing, I needed to stop for a bit because I was not feeling very well. My stomach agreed that I went really hard at the finish, and thought it needed to evacuate it's contents.  After I settled down, I found my family, did some light stretching, and went to check out the results.  I knew I did really well in my age group, but was curious to see how I did overall.  I ended up winning my age group (AWESOME! Second win this year!), but missed out on the overall podium (top 3 overall) BY ONE SECOND!!!

Let me say that again: One second.

I immediately went from being really happy to super super disappointed. How could I have not made up a second on the course?! That would be like taking 3 hard strides on the run, maybe 5 strong pulls on the swim, hell finding my rack in T1 like normal.  I was getting pretty disappointed, but Rach, being the awesome fiancĂ© she is, pulled me back down to Earth and made me realize I had a pretty awesome race. And I needed it to even get that close!

Now, a few days after the race, I feel really good about the results. The bike was crazy awesome, the run was better than I was hoping for, and my effort was there. This race was exactly what I needed and I couldn't be happier with the results. But come on... Just one second....

Getting a sweet beer mug helps the pain...
All in all, the Lawrence Triathlon was a pretty awesome race for the first time running.  Everything was well organized, I wasn't bummed about the extra bike mileage as it was changed for safety, and every athlete was in a great spirit considering the possible thunderstorms.  I will really consider the Olympic Distance next year!

I'd like to thank Rach for just always being the voice of reason I need to hear (well, usually), my future Sister and Brother in law for spectating ( and letting me know a 15 year old girl still beat me), and my parents for spending another weekend morning cheering me on!

And you, too. Thanks for reading!