the time i literally almost ran myself to death
1500M Canal Swim, 25 mile bike, 10K run
In May, a hip specialist told me I should stop running and probably not do any more triathlons until my pain goes away. I figured it was the perfect time to switch from sprint to Olympic distances! Actually, I took two full months off from running and focused on swimming and biking, and my hip actually felt healed, which after hurting for about a year, was quite a relief! I had originally intended not to do any more races, as I had already missed the national championship in Grand Rapids, and I couldn't run. HOWEVER, I had bought a new bike. I had bought lots of new gear. I had trained, and trained, and trained. I was swimming in the lake almost daily, I was doing CrossFit, and my endurance was strong. In my mind, I convinced myself that if I did a longer race I wouldn't have to push as hard as I did in a sprint. Because I am dumb, I signed up for my first Olympic race and very nearly died.
The hills are alive, with the sound of me cursing!
400M cold and rough Lake Swim, 12.4 Mile Bike, 5k Run
For my second race in 3 weeks, Logan and I drove on up to Prairie Creek Reservoir near Muncie, IN to compete in the first open water race of the year. I had spent the previous week and a half working on my open water swimming skills and was feeling really comfortable, despite the 62-degree water temps. Luckily on race day it was probably closer to 68, which is way nicer than 62. I rock a sleeveless wetsuit due to my broad shoulders, so cold water still feels pretty cold. Race weight was around 229, so still too heavy, but still not running. Pre-race, my hip hurt, and It would get much, much worse quickly. I asked a guy how the run course was, as I hadn't scouted it out prior to the race (rookie mistake), and he told me "it's pretty flat, some slight rolling hills." I guess that guy must have lived in Boulder, because his definition of "it's pretty flat" does not line up with mine.
history does not repeat itself!
400m pool swim, 10 mile bike, 5k Run
Heading into this year’s race, I was a little concerned; on the plus side, I had focused my offseason on swimming and biking, and upgraded to a new bike, this 2015 Felt B16. The thing that had me worried, as it always had, was the run. If you’ve been reading, you should know that my 2014 season ended with some injuries. When race day came, I hadn’t run in three months. I had done some light jogging here and there, and the occasional endurance WOD at the gym, but I just had this deep pain in my butt and on the point of my hip from last summer/fall that just never really went away. My pre-ankle surgery athletic career involved thousands (probably an exaggeration, but you get the idea) of miles of running, all without incident or injury. My post-ankle-surgery athletic career was still evolving, or devolving in this case. Due to my lack of running and also lack of diet discipline, I was about 10 pounds heavier this year than last at 230 (and up overall about 25lbs). I will defend myself a little bit because being in chronic and continuous pain is very taxing emotionally, and for me, the thing that pretty much always breaks down is my diet. My love for pizza and beer is strong.
2014 ends like every other year, with an injury
In 2014 I finally became a triathlete. An amateur at best triathlete, but I did finish three races, and considering where my journey started from I’d say it was successful. 3 years retired from all athletic endeavors after a particularly bad 2011, in the worst shape of my life, and generally pretty miserable (my wife will agree) to dropping 60lbs, making new friends, having a more positive life view, and generally just being happier and healthier. Triathlon really did change my life for the better. Then, like I have always done since the 9th grade, I got injured. Trying to really step up my running speed, I started developing some hip, glute, and hamstring pain. I withdrew from my next race and as I did not heal up, ended the season. I decided it was time to take a break from the triathlon training and get back in the weight room. I started working out with a ridiculously in-shape and crazy strong 25 year-old, and he pushed me every day to get bigger and stronger, and I did. Unfortunately and also because I am made of glass, I got strong enough to start moving some serious weight, and things started hurting. I dislocated my shoulder (the culprit behind ruining my football and wrestling careers), developed elbow tendonitis, and the grand-daddy of lifetime discomfort injuries, a lower-lumbar herniated disc (ironically I did this warming up). This happened right around Christmas. To summarize, I took a break from tri-training because my hip was hurting so I could get back into weights and get stronger, and now the rest of me was hurting from weights so I got back into tri-training. I still had some issues running, so I thought it’d be great to focus on swimming and biking over the winter. Unfortunately I just hurt too much and had to take a few months off….oh yeah, and get four different cortisone injections in my neck, back, and hip.
3rd time's the charm!
1st Open Water Swim, bike gets me again
500m lake swim, 10 mile bike, 5k run
I was feeling really good for this race. My hand was still swollen and probably still broken from the last race, but my local tri shop had given me some free new end caps for my aerobars, so I had that going for me, which is nice. I really knew nothing about this course as I had never been there, and although I was told it was hilly, I was definitely not prepared in terms of overall bike training, or strategy on how to ride hills…after all, I had only been cycling for a few weeks at this point. I was still going with the “go as hard as you can at all times” strategy, which I had been using for about 32 years, despite it almost never working out for me in the long-run. As the race grew closer, the nerves were back on alert, and since I had done one race already, I was already an expert. My goals this race were to have a clean race with no bike incidents and of course win my group. 0-for-3 is pretty good, right???
400 meter pool swim, 10 mile bike, 5k run
Long story short, someone bet me that I wouldn’t actually do a triathlon, and stoked the fires just enough for me to find the next race and register for it. The 2014 Carmel Swim Club Sprint Triathlon was just 8 weeks away, and I hadn’t swam in close to 20 years, I had never cycled, and although I had pretty much a lifetime of running for other athletic reasons, running just for running was never something I enjoyed. In summary, a perfect recipe for a triathlete! In truth, I was just getting back in shape from a three-year injury induced break from exercise and I needed a challenge to keep motivated. Training for three sports seemed like a great way to spend my time and avoid some of my other favorite things, pizza and beer! Armed with the internet, a hand me down bike, and a little bit of determination, I set off on a quest to become a “triathlete.” This is the race report however, so let’s just get to the race!