A Forgettable Age Group Nationals

Leading into AG nationals I had just one goal in mind.  GO FAST.  I figured it would take about a 2:04 to make the world team (it did), and I was still chasing that elusive sub 2 hour goal, both of which I thought were attainable in Milwaukee.  The weeks leading up were less than ideal.  I had 2 weeks between my first half and nationals. I spent the first week out of training and on the PT table with Dr. Dan, trying to get a stingy calf muscle to loosen up, but I was still pretty optimistic.  Race week proved to have a few less than ideal situations as well, the shop at Element is busy and there were a few of us getting out of town that weekend to race.  I ended up working Friday until 1, which didn’t get me to Milwaukee until 6.  No worries though, Nicole had made the trip with me so she had picked up the rental car and done all the driving.  Having Nicole there was a lot of fun, she got to carry everything, and I definitely heard her whenever I went by (thanks babe!). I got a hotel about 20 minutes away (it was $60 for the night) and we headed to the Motel 6 to get checked in.  We decided to have a nice little dinner at the Mexican place across the street from the hotel, which I thought would be just fine.  I could get some chicken, veggies, avocado, maybe some chips, but as long as I stayed away from the spicy or fried stuff I’d be in good shape.  Well, that was easier said than done.  I ordered what I thought would be a good meal, described as chicken, green peppers, potatoes, and onions.  What came out was butter soup.  Whatever, the chicken was fine so I wrapped it in a few tortillas with some rice and was good to go.

 

2014-08-09 12.25.37

Let’s go racing
Race day was pretty typical.  With a late wave start I didn’t rush much to get to the race site. Transition closed at 7:30 and I wanted to be there by 7, traffic was easy, Nicole and I were up and ready to go on time, and parking at the venue was a breeze. I actually made it in a little early. Good start.  I had racked my bike the night before, so I put some air in the tires and got setup.  As I was setting up I heard someone’s tube blow from either too much pressure or a change in the air temp or both.  I calmly looked at my tires and let a bit of air out. At no point did I notice anything wrong with either of my wheels, in fact, everything was ready to roll just fine (hint: foreshadowing).  I wrapped up and walked my line from swim/bike in to my transition spot a few times and headed out of transition with a few minutes to spare.  Time to sit around.  Nicole and I headed back to the car and I chilled for about an hour until it was time to warmup.  The hour leading up to my race is kinda a blur, I mean I warmed up, checked the wetsuit and goggles, etc….but it went by quickly.
Swim
I made my way to the swim start early because I wanted to get in and have as much warmup as possible.  If you have ever done AG Nats you know how FAST the swim starts.  Just think about that and understand that I am calling it fast.  Should give you a good idea. Anyway, I wanted to be ready when the gun went off so I got in a solid 10 minutes of warming up in the water with some good pickups.  Time to go. The gun went off and just as I expected the swim started very fast.  I almost felt bad as right before the start a guy creeped in front of me on the line.  I am not sure what this guys was thinking, but he was clearly out of his element.  I was one his left hip and he was shoulder to shoulder with someone.  I put my left arm on his right hip and basically slid over the top of him as nicely as I could and he was gone, lost in the scamble behind me.  Now when I considered myself a swimmer, I had a monster kick.  I was using this kick to get myself out of the scrum.  I tell everyone I coach they need to have a small fast kick, and my kick was moving as small and as fast as it could go.  This small fast kick was also just destroying people who thought it was a good idea to put any part of their body near my feet.  I must have made contact with people no less than 20 times in those first few meters, and I mean few, like first 20 meters.  I guess by that math I was kicking 1 person per meter, solid ratio.  Long story short, I was able to separate myself from the pack.  The whole swim at this race is fast.  I split about 20 minutes (20:20) and was the 20th person out of the water, and honestly I didn’t think I had swam that fast, so I felt pretty good when I saw that split…..but that’s pretty much where the feeling good ended.  Hitting transition, I was flying, here’s the video for proof.

Bike (aka where it all comes apart)
I figured I was coming onto the bike in the top 20 and had probably beat a few people out of transition and even immediately onto the bike course I watched two guys in my age group get together and go down.  Not the way you want to pick up places, but whatever nothing I can do about it.  I was feeling good, but that was pretty much where the day ended, 5 minutes into the bike course.  Here is the Garmin file from the bike, it’s just kinda sorry.  At no point was I able to get my heart rate or wattage up.  My legs felt flat, like I was putting out 1000 watts and only getting 200 back.  I reached down and flipped open my front brake, more so just hoping it was stuck, I felt a little better.  When I got back to transition my split was ONE HOUR TWELVE MINUTES.  WTF? Outside of my first year I don’t know if I have ever ridden that slow, and the worst part was my legs were shot.  I very seriously considered not even starting the run, very very seriously considered it.  There is another video below that explains part of my problem.  Apparently my front brake had gotten stuck, and even after I opened it on the course it still barely had any roll to it, I can only imagine what it was like before I opened it.

Run
The highlight from the run was that I did it.  It was slow, really slow (49.29) but whatever it was done.  Mentally I just wasn’t there, I tried to push a couple times but after 150 people go by you on the bike (FACT: 150 people in my age group passed me on the bike, this does not include the women who passed me, and the men’s 40-45 age group who also started passing me) I wasn’t too motivated and frankly my legs were dead. Oh well.  Finishing time was 2 hours and….wait for it…..twenty six minutes….ughh.
Recap
I feel like there are a few ways to handle situations like these and for me step 1 involved some really shitty food.  Culvers, butter burger, fries, ice cream with candy mixed in, a bunch of mountain dew, and later on some booze.  Ha, step 1 is always a good one.  Step 2 was a quick talk with my coaches to come up with a new game plan and set some goals for the rest of the season.  There is still another Olympic and half on the schedule this year, so no time to cry about a bad race. Then step 3 is just getting back in the lab again.  Looking at everything you can do and should do and making sure you get it done.  I have known for awhile I need to get in the gym and get stronger, I just have not done it.  Tuesday I got started again with my awesome (and very good looking) personal trainer, who makes it a point to kick my ass.  Hopefully we can get everything righted as we approach Tri Rock and Rev 3 South Carolina.  Thanks for tuning in, look forward to seeing everyone out there. As always….rubber side down.
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