Friday, November 25, 2011

Successful season?

What defines a successful season? Every year I set out a series of goals and typically I define success in terms of those goals. My goals for this year were to PR in the HIM and Qualify for USAT Half Max, To break 13 hours at Ironman Canada, to Qualify for USAT Nationals in the Olympic distance, finish in the top 7 for my AG in a tri this year, and to improve my USAT ranking score.

Well at the end of the year I only managed to do one of those as somehow I improved my USAT score for the year (really have no clue how that score is calculated.) Based on that I wouldn't consider this to be a very successful year. However, sometimes you have to look at things a bit differently based on the way the season actually played out.

2011 started out great, I was feeling great training well over the winter and feeling very optimistic, then I started to feel some pain in my left foot/heel which steadily got worse and worse. Turns out it was Plantar factias. Never had anything like it. Took 3 weeks off with no running, bought a PF boot to sleep in, bought heel cups, but nothing seems to work. FInally I learned how to massage it by rolling a can on the arch of my foot and it helped. But that just helped my manage the pain.

Started the season with a local race 5K for the 25 for the Metropolitan Veternatery Associates (the folks who operated on Cairo and fixed his knees) and Main Line Animal Rescue and actually won my age group. The next day I did the Revolutionary Run at Valley FOrge and I was in agony for the first 2 miles till in seemed to fix itself for a while but it was about 6 min slower than last year.

So I babied it as well as I could and then started to shift my goals and schedule around and my running really was cut back. So I thought, if I couldn't go fast maybe I could do some different. So I ended up doing 3 HIMs in 5 weeks(Rev3 Knoxville, Rev3 Quazzy, and Eagleman) and the OLY/HIM weekend double at Quazzy and 3 races in 8 days (Double at Quazzy and Eagleman). None of the times were spectacular, but using the Recovery Pump and First Endurance UltraGen I found that even my 41 year old legs could spring back. I even ripped of a 2:38 bike split at Eagleman (21.21 MPH ave) for my first 20+ ave split in any race longer than a sprint. All in all I had to call my little experiment a success and it was a great testamonial for Recovery Pump and Ultragen, both of which really worked for me.

Next was Ironman Canada. The race was without a doubt the hardest IM bike and run course I had ever completed. But I ended up making it even rougher for myself by shipping my EFS in my gear bag and sitting out in my transition bag in 90+ degree temps and guess what it went bad at the bottom of the first flask. As soon as I took it, my body rejected it and every other bit of nutrition I tried for the next 60 miles. Of course this happen right at the bottom of Reicter Pass, so I had to battle 2 1000 + ft climbs and the seven sisters unable to keep anything but water down. That was so friggin hard and I never wanted to quit more then I did. But something inside just wouldn't let me throw in the towel. I managed some amazing mental and physical damage control and found my way to T2. The volunteer at T2 will never know how much he helped me. I neer would have gotten out of that chair without his help and encouragement. So I waddled out to the marathon and an amazing thing happened, I got through it. I ran aid station to aid station, but I ran and kept running. Coming down Lakeshore Dr having overcome so much on that day, I never ever felt so proud. My second slowest Ironman ever 14:14 but I never had to work so hard in my life. Was that a success...absolutely!

Finally I did the Rev3 South Carolina HIM in October. First ever race post Ironman and a nice hilly course. So noone including myself saw a 5:35 coming, my second fastest HIM out of 16 tries and a 1:54 HM spilt in my best run of the season (and my foot was pain free for the first time all year). Didn't qualify for Half Max but my 2nd fastest HIM out of 16 attempts was very rewarding and unexpected.

After the Tri season was over, I did another 5K (5K for HOPE) in memory of Dawn Leach, a friend of my wife who passed from Breast Cancer this summer. Again I surprised myself by finishing 8th OA, winning my AG and getting a 5K PR by 1 second. That was definitely a success.

So was 2011 a success? In the end, I'd have to say yes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Revolution 3 Triathlon - Come join the Revolution!

What make a great race? A challenging course, an exotic location, a top flight professional field, a race venue which rewards the family for coming to cheer you on, an outstanding staff and volunteers. Each person has their own specific criteria for what makes a great race, but very few Race Series have done better than Revolution 3 and succeeding in all fronts. Revolution 3' s philosophy is pretty simple, create a fun caring, family friendly atmosphere and create an event, not just a race, that satisfies the athlete and their entire family. That and attract some of the best professional athletes to come a compete side by side with you. I think they have succeeded ten times over.

I have been fortunate enough to have raced in 9 Revolution 3 events, so you could say I am a bit of an authority on the subject. I was there when Rev 3 burst upon the scene in their first event Revolution 3 Half Rev at Quazzy (CT) in 2009, Did the 2010 Rev 3 Series with an Olympic Rev in Knoxville, Half and Olympic at Quazzy, and the Full Rev at Cedar Point (OH). This year I tried the Half Rev at Knoxville, the Revolution at Quazzy (both the Olympic and HIM again), and did the inaugural Rev 3 Anderson,South Carolina Half. In nine tries Rev 3 hit the mark every time.

Why you ask? Well lets go down the list.
Challenging courses: The Revolution 3 Series course were designed by triathletes who know how much we love a challenge. The result in a flat state like Conn. the Race director created 2400 feet of climbing and 8 categorized climbs on the bike, and a hilly run to follow around the lake including a timed uphill mile; Knoxville with 4 categorized climbs, followed by a rolling run thru the green way, neighborhoods, and finishing at World's Fair park; Anderson with 1400 feet of constant rolling hills on the bike and a solid run, and a great full iron distance challenge at Cedar Point.

Exotic Locations: Rev 3 Costa Rica anyone. February in a tropical paradise anyone?

Top flight Professional Field: Craig Alexander and Terenzo Bozzone battling toe to toe at Quazzy in 2010, Miranda Carefree running down Julie Dibbens in 2010, and Julie holding off Miranda in 2011 at Quazzy, Matty Reed chasing down Cameron Dye at Knoxville in 2011, and Leanda Cave winning on the women's side. Bjorn Anderson rocketing out to a 20 min advantage on the bike at Cedar Point only to have James Cunnima run him down in 2010. Just some of the spectacular racing this series has seen. Plus no where else do the regular athletes get up close and get to meet and talk to the stars of the sport. I've posed for pictures with Miranda, Julie, and Craig at Quazzy, had Natascha Badmann sit down at a table with me, met Michal and Ammanda Lavoto, got asked about my race by Richie Cunningham, gone for a jog with Bree Wee, Heather and Trevor Wurtele, and got to quiz Matty Reed and Cameron Dye on their strategy for racing in the rain.

Family Friendly Race Venues: Triathlon is not the best spectator sport mankind has ever invented. Having two young boys, I know it is hard to keep them entertained at most races. Rev 3 took care of that. Races at Cedar Point a Six Flags type amusement park, the Dells in Wisconsin, one of the country's best water parks; Quazzy another amusement park give the kids (and wife/husband/posse) something to do while you are enjoying a 3-7 hour ride in the country side. Plus races at great beaches like Sarasota, and Maine, and the opportunity for a balloon ride at Anderson give your family lots of options. Plus events like movie night under the stars (free movie on the huge screen), concerts, the Little Rev adventure races, the whole family will enjoy the race.

Great staff and volunteers: This is another thing that makes Rev 3 stand out. The volunteers and staff are outstanding and are there to help make your experience first rate. People to pump up your tire race morning, the Tri Slide Lubrication Stations to get you set for the race, the aid stations are a party (the Disney themed aid station at Anderson, the Trakkers water experience at Quazzy) the Recovery Lounge folks and ART massage folks making before and after the race feel so much better. Race directors that want you to bring your entire cheering staff/family done the finishing chute with you.

Other extras: Rev 3 tends to have great race
swag too. Park admission tickets for Cedar Point and Quazzy, Hot Air Balloon rides at Anderson, TYR bags, event shirts, and long sleeve tech finshers shirts, great medals, Tri Swim products, GU, Jack Black Products, visors, and hats, and the medals are unique and original each year. Plus they take your picture before the race and show it on the big screen as you finish to give you the rock star feeling, your name is on your race number so the crowd can cheer you on, you get a personalized bike rack tag, wheel mount racks. Plus the race timing with lots of splits and family and friends can get real time updates, and the amazing web coverage and commentary of the race. The Quazzy 2010 webcast was better than some of the NBC Kona specials.

Bottom line: I have done close to 70 races in my 9years doing triathlon and the Revolution 3 series is the best. I have done plenty of subpar Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events but never a subpar Rev 3 event and that include the race I had a major bike wreck (Yes I can even tell you first hand the medical staff was great) and the race director hunted me down in my hotel room that night to find out how I was doing, what happened, and how he could make things even safer. That meant a hell of alot to me. Revolution 3 rocks so come join the Revolution, you won't regret it!