There are about 5-6 of you who read my race reports and want to know what I have to say. To you, I dedicate these words, and I apologize for the dearth in recent months.
At the end of the 2013 year I had a heart-to-heart with myself and then with my coach about the current state of affairs: long months of hard work hampered by painful hamstring issues … and being too headstrong and stubborn to address them. Finally I admitted things were worse than I could take, and we had to make some changes to move forward. So in November or so, after some post-season down time and some overly-painful fitness rebuilding, I took some new approaches in therapy and training to see what we could do…
Around the same time, Brendan and I started discussing race plans for 2014. Our qualifying system as pros works differently from what I faced as an amateur and what most triathletes face: instead of qualifying for a championship by finishing at the top of the field of X race, pros accumulate ranking points in X,Y, Z races… by about July, the top-ranked pros in each field (whether it be ITU, WTC, 5150, Lifetime, etc) are invited/allowed to compete at championship events for big prize purses and of course “fame and glory.” The fittest and most consistent athletes can race infrequently and still qualify because they finish high at every event they do. I hope to get to that point, but as of yet, I’ve taken the approach of racing fair amount but choosing the highest-point races (maximizing my opportunity for points but also maximizing the chance that lots of big-gun racers will show up) instead of choosing smaller races with less prize money where fewer big names will show… as a result, while I’m pleased with what I’ve been able to do thus far, my Wins are few and far between!!
My objective over the past three years has been to finish as high as possible at the 5150 Championship (HyVee Olympic Distance Triathlon – the largest prize purse in the history of the sport) and the 70.3 World Championship (my better distance). This year I made one change: I let go of my obsession with HyVee (one of my very favorite races) in favor of shooting for a better finish at 70.3 World Champs (exactly one week later). That decision was made easier by the elimination of the pro race at Columbia Tri (also a favorite of mine – sadness!)
So my race plans for the year include enough 70.3s to qualify for Mont Tremblant (the 70.3 World Championship in early September) as well as several Rev3 races in hopes of being able to factor into their 2015 series championship prize purse (which requires at least 3 races and as many as 5, with points associated with finishing place at each).
I chose Nautica South Beach Tri (4/6) for the fun of it, even though it does not meet either big-picture objective (it is part of the Lifetime series, which I also enjoy but whose race dates don’t fit well with my other races and family schedule). It was a great warm up for Haines City 70.3 the following weekend and gave me a good excuse to stay in Florida for 10 days!
Now that I’ve already written a page, I’ll sum up both South Beach Tri (Olympic Distance) and IM 70.3 Haines City with a list of pros and cons for each.
Lifetime Fitness Series South Beach Tri
Awesome treatment of pros No time to socialize much with old friends
Very well organized Big waves on the swim (not great for me!)
Fun bike course Went too easy on the bike – 70.3 mode!
Fun run course Sandy sections were hard to navigate
Felt good on the run Didn’t push quite hard enough
Sprint finish = exciting! I sprinted too late to take 6th
Nice top-5 prize purse I finished 7th – out of the money!
Talent-stacked field No con to that – I like racing with the best
Recovered very quickly There’s no con to that either
I still love Olympic distance I’m getting a little old to be fast at it
Ironman 70.3 Haines City
I got to stay with Gail & Chuck Lohman I ate too much at their house
Gail & Chuck are super awesome They live too far away
Brendan brought the kids I didn’t go to Disney w/ them til Sunday
It was nice & warm in FL It sleeted the day after I got back home
I felt very relaxed going into the race It was a low-points race & small field
Swim was very fun A little too warm in the wetsuit at 74 deg
Bike course = pretty & a few hills Power meter didn’t work, brake rubbed
I fueled & hydrated well I didn’t ride hard enough
I led from mile 5 – 50 more or less I got overtaken and didn’t lead to the end
The run course was interesting I didn’t know it would be so hilly!
I did not get delirious I did not go fast
My hamstring hurt only in last lap I want it to be completely healed
Keira & Anthony came and cheered I looked silly stumbling to the finish
Will & Molly were there to see it I didn’t get to show them off
We went to Disney Sunday post-awards We came home Monday morning
All in all I had a great time at both races and would highly recommend each of them to anyone wanting to race in Florida in April. I hope to go back next year and maybe see some of you there!