Blog for my trip to Triathlon World Championships

Meditations on Race Day

Don't worry, this isn't a play-by-play rehash of a race.  There's a point here....

All the days leading up to worlds were fraught with adversity.  I raced so much this spring I was feeling burnt out.  Travel.  Getting ahead on work so I could leave for several days.  The weather--cold, crusty, windy.  And then the realization I was racing the best in the world.  It was hard to keep a positive attitude.

I wanted to cry.  I was not having fun.  Why did I even come here?  Was this worth all the money I spent to get here?  Whatever little trouble popped up here or there I just brushed it off.  More crap than I will ever list here...

And once the race started, oh my God!  Elbows were flying during the first run.  Then bike was absolute pandemonium.  That is where I really made a decision to go for it.  There were so many racers so tightly crammed onto that course that it took every bit of handling skills I possessed.  Bikers were crashing all around me!  I prayed to not crash. The run it was nothing but excruciating leg muscles, but I kept hunting for the next "M30-34" calf. 

If you've bothered to read this far and you are not an athlete, I hope you have enjoyed it.  Go back to your comfortable existence.  Hopefully you get on the elliptical trainer once in a while you watch sports center. 

But if you are a triathlete I want you to take a moment to reflect on your attitude.  Do you go the extra mile?  Do you stick with a planned workout even if the weather is awful?  Can you cut through the clutter of the mind and get er' done when it counts? As a coach I have the special opportunity to observe the behavior of my athletes...the successful strategies and those who are always quick to quit--or not even show up for practice. 

I am not advocating anyone to be a mindless, meat head, obsessive-compulsive, hammer.   Take rest when you need it and use common sense.  But I am saying WHEN IT COUNTS make sure you deliver.  This can only come through being prepared and practicing that skill.  If you've never done an ill-advised difficult workout when you were already exhausted, scared, bonking, in the middle of nowhere, with people way faster then you....don't expect to do it in a race. 

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox....here's what place I was in after each leg:

First run (~2K): 21st place
T1: 11th
10K bike: 47th
20K bike: 41st
30K bike: 40th
Bike finish: 37th
T2: 17th
Run: 13th

Even the results are wack
....the top two racers in my division appear to have skipped the last lap of the run, so I may have gotten 11th.  Those bike rankings seem wack to me too.  But the thing I know is that I laid it on the line and delivered when it counted.  I'm happy with 13th!  If you want to see more cool pictures than what I can post here, check this out....AGE GROUP RACE PHOTOJOURNAL.

Mens Pro Race

6/8/08 The men's pro race was fun to watch.  Favorites?  Simon Whitfield '00 Olympic Champ, Javier Gomez dominant runner, Matt Reed New Zealand expatriate/Team USA dark horse, and a whole bunch of other really fast dudes.  It turned into one big peloton on the bike, but don't think that anyone is "sitting in."  This was a technical course and the pack stretched out 50-75 yards long.  There were screaming downhill s-curves and steep climbs.  In the end it became a runners race and Gomez ran away with it.  Matt Reed and Simon Whitfield came down to a sprint for 5th place and our boy got it.  Simon Whitfield's Race Report.


There were so many things that happened today.  First there was just the madness of trying to coordinate everything---separate start from transition area, stress of high level of competition, people speaking numerous languages in the transition area.  The bike course was a 10k loop for close to 2000 racers, most of whom were on it at the same time.  Wind.  Cold.  The road was rough and, well, good luck trying to ride a clean draft-legal race with so many high level competitors. 

Much of the time it felt like a criterium out there.  Bikes passing on both sides, rolling curvy and rough roads.  I realized it was going to be pandemonium, so I went with it.  On the second of 4 laps I made a move and pulled ahead of a pack.  When I looked back a few moments later, there were 30 or 40 guys right behind me!  I realized then I needed to pace myself and be very strategic when I made any moves.  I passed on the right as much as on the left when I needed to. 

But I will tell you the craziest thing that happened: After the race we were sitting at a pub across the street and all the sudden 100-some Vancouverites came riding past on bicycles chanting, "reduce dependence on cars!"  These people were riding bikes, and they were all...completely...nude. 

I will post a hilarious video of it here when I get home.  I managed to bring my camera but not the cable to upload video.  Hmmm...you will just have to check back. 

Pushing my gear hard: Happy Feet.

6/13/08 Sorry for the blatant plug, but when I find gear I like I tell people about it.  I knew that the northwest would be cool weather but I didn't expect daily rain, weather in the 40-50's.  The triathlon swim was canceled, so I wore socks in the duathlon.  In every instance from running trails at Mt St. Helens, to racing to 13th place, or cold bike rides, my Swiftwick socks have delivered. 

Why would I rave about socks?  When you are spending two weeks on the road training everyday you have to keep your feet happy.  This product has superior construction, fit, and durability.  The Merino wool socks are what I use for trail running, and the Olefin are perfect for cycling or road running. 

Specs: The Olefin is a technical fiber with anti-microbal properties.  I have been travelling through car rentals and airports for 18 hours, and my feet feel fresher than expected.  Another benefit....I often wear the 4" cuff because they are stylish and offer a little more ankle coverage....after spending 24+ hours in airports and vans, I went to change into some warm weather appropriate clothes, khaki shorts, loafers, you know lookin' stylish.  It was then that I discovered that my lower legs were swollen above the socks, but not where the 4" cuffs covered my ankles.  On your radar.....Swiftwick is in development of a lower leg compression sock.  You heard it here first. 

In this picture I am layering socks for a ride up to the base of Mt. St. Helens.


Mt. Saint Helens Run

6/11/08 As soon as I arrived back to Seattle from Vancouver, I was bored.  Another city, what was I going to do, shop?  I wanted adventure! 

The nearest rad location appeared to be Mt. Saint Helens 3 hours south.  It has a well known 50K adventure run around it's base. The only problem is that when I arrived, the volcano was covered in snow, fog, and cold temperatures.  When I left Nashville I knew it would be cold here, but this is winter.

So I did a nice 2 hour run around a lake near it's base.  The country was beautiful.  I even saw two wolves and a bald eagle. 

Marymoor Velodrome near Seattle

6/10/08  I saw it in a guidebook and couldn't believe my eyes.  A real velodrome.  I drove 30 minutes out to a suburb and there it was in a park next to soccer and softball fields.  The 7 or 8 guys milling around all had very nice track bikes, but I was going to ride my tri bike. 

One of the guys, long hair, piercings, a dog, came over and gave me the lecture: "Hey bro!  Watch out for the track bikes, they don't have brakes like you."  He definitely wanted to give me the chilly reception to their turf, but I don't blame them. 

It was awesome.  The first lap I was terrified---those walls are steeply banked.  But then I got the hang of it.  I rode lap after lap around the quarter mile oval.  I think surprised him when I was riding 22-25mph for 20 minutes around the track. 

St. Louis Native Haskins Silver in Pro Worlds

6/8/08 The women's race had a little more bike drama then the men's race.  Two racers got off the front, including Sara Haskins and this British gal.  Another American was in a second breakaway pair but they got caught.  It was a two-person race down to the finish sprint, and unfortunately, Haskins took silver.  Congratulations St. Louis!

Got 'er done despite race day chaos. 

Results ought to be posted here.  I will write a more extensive write-up asap. Short story preliminary results: 13th out of 77 in my age group.  Way better--way way way better than I had hoped. Swim was cancelled due to 50 degree air and water temperatures, combined with wind and angry seas.   

Cold as eh...

Vancouver: Pre-race swim in a pool next to the bay.  Yes, they are talking in Celsius here so you don't know exactly how cold it is..."The water is 11 degrees, eh?"  Jumped in the ocean without a wetsuit today, tho, and it helped get me psyched. 

Puget Sound Swim-Run

Just as soon as my plane touched down in Seattle, I was ready to get some workouts in.....after as triple espresso, that is!  Wetsuited up, I jumped into Puget Sound and let out a scream!  COLD WATER!!!!  I had no choice, in 2 days I am racing in water even colder than this, and shortly my body got used to it even though my face and feet stayed numb.  When I breathed to one side I was looking at the Seattle Space Needle...SURREAL!  Then I went for an hour run along the shoreline and it was beautiful.  I am getting excited.