Sunday, July 23, 2017

A little Westerly Fun Run history..

Myself, my friend Jon, and world class Kenyan runner, Nicholas
August 8, 2007

August 8, 2007
"Wednesday's race featured the appearance of two "world class" runners from Kenya; Nicholas Kamakya & Angelina Mutuku, who are here to compete in the FALMOUTH 7.1 MILE ROAD RACE this coming weekend. The two, along with their escort John Thornell, addressed the crowd and held a Q & A session prior to the start of the runs," WTAC site.

My take
As the years march on, sometimes it is fun to reflect on running and the history of events you've been involved in. A few weeks back I came across an old photo of an elite Kenyan runner, my friend Jon, and myself at a "back in the day" WTAC fun run.  

I'm not sure if anyone in my blogger audience was there that evening, but I'm going to share my take on the event and the story of why this Kenyan gentlemen, Nicholas, was hanging with us that night.

The story should really begin with Jon, who had recently returned from approximately a year of teaching and running in Sigor, Kenya.  Jon was a friendly high school rival of mine and we continued to develop a friendship, competed against one another, and trained from time to time during college breaks.  Post collegiate, Jon explored his interest of Kenya, running, and the culture my immersing himself in the East African world.  In short, Jon taught school, visited his students' families, ran, and developed a raw, yet super talented XC team during his time there.  His star athlete would go on to run world class times and go on to win some big time marathons.

Coincidentally and shortly after I moved to Westerly, Jon came to RI for a couple days to hang out at the beach and run with me during the summer of 2007.  We opted to head down to the fun run that evening to get in a workout and enjoy the novelty of running down by the water.  Before the start of the fun run, I remember someone from the WTAC making a special introduction and announcement of the two world class Kenyans who would be on hand for the evening's run. The entire crowd was somewhat in awe of the athletes, but their attendance especially piqued Jon's interest as he could speak some of their language and had background in Kenyan culture.  While I have no idea of the context of their conversation, Jon spoke to both Nicholas and Angelina at that night's fun run.  While neither of the Kenyan athletes came to run hard, Nicholas ran with the top guy and jogged the 3 miler in at 14:51 and Angelina ran with the top female in her own "pedestrian" time of 17:45.  I'm not sure what these two Kenyan's ran at Falmouth that year, but did a little research and saw that Nicholas ran a 2:06:34 in the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon and Angelina ran a 1:11:20 at the 2007 Philadelphia Half.   Pretty impressive to say the least.

In short, it was neat and enjoyable night to have some surprise guests at the WTAC fun run.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Newport Marathon-April 15, 2017
2:54:44, 6th

Lead Up
I knew I wanted to run a marathon and get a BQ in the spring of 2017 but I just wasn't sure if it was in the cards for a variety of reasons.  Once Baby H was born, my running focus was just on getting out there.  The fate of a potential marathon changed for the better on February 18th when the Gazelle invited me to meet him for a long run.  Without a solid lead up or string of long runs, I hoped to offer Jeff some company on a cold morning as he prepared for a April marathon.  As the run went on, I continued to feel okay and made the decision to run a full 20 miler with him.  I was pretty tired post run, but the idea of putting five more long runs together all of a sudden became a possibility.  Having Jeff to run with on most of these runs held my accountable and I knew he'd push me hard on our runs.
During this training block, I wasn't able to put in any weekly workouts but ran my long runs at a quality pace and ran a comfortable to moderate pace throughout each week.   While the lead up to the race was short, I was happy with some of the runs Jeff and I put in and appreciated the focus on hills.

Race Morning
Jeff picked me up pretty early on race morning.  The ride to Newport went by pretty quickly as we listened to ACDC, talked about the good conditions, and received various texts/calls from Jeff Duda, who was also running.  After arriving at Second Beach, we caught a school bus to the start and kept our sweats on as there was a slight chill in the air.  We hung with JD, made some final race preparations, and took a picture before heading to the starting line.  Based off how we matched up in our training runs, Gazelle and I had brief discussions about pacing and running together.  We agreed that if it worked out great, but that we didn't want the other waiting for the other.   My pre-race hope was that we'd be running together for most, if not all of the race together.

Getting ready to go!

We're off
Miles 1-6
As the gun went off, I reminded myself to relax and try to stick to my plan of running 6:30 pace.  A hill shortly after the start and in the first mile would definitely help.  Between mile 1 and 2, Gazelle and I were running together through a neighborhood and a dog broke off a leash and was lunging at us.  Fortunately, neither one of us were bit!  However, our adrenaline must have been sky high and we hit mile 2 in 6:17, which was too fast.  These first two miles made me worry about the remainder of the race.  Jeff and I reminded one another to settle in and we paid close attention to our splits over the next couple of miles.  While we certainly weren't on a run to go smell the roses, the well on Wellington Ave of the Newport Bridge and harbor was amazing.   Over the next couple of miles, we worked towards Fort Adams State Park.  Upon entering Fort Adams, I gave thought to the many childhood visits, swims. and memories I had in this park with family.  I must have been day dreaming a bit too much as I almost took a wrong turn before Gazelle set me straight.  Leaving Fort Adams, two young guns connected up with us and were playing some good tunes that Gazelle and I could both get down to.

Miles 7-13
Over this bunch of miles, I mostly tried to lock into a pace.  Gazelle and I also engaged in conversation with the two young guns, who happened to be UMASS runners.  Based off conversation, I believe they were both seniors who were not currently running meets but still had track lockers.  They seemed legit and reported to be unsure of their goal for the day other than simply finishing.  I could tell they were legit and didn't expect them to fade anytime soon.  They mostly ran behind us but their tunes continued to entertain us.  It would have been great for them to do some of the work and trade off leading but they were carrying their weight with our group of four just by playing the tunes.  It's funny how the small things can carry you through a marathon.  We rolled on, enjoyed the views, looked at mansions, and worked through some of the Salve Regina campus roads as we moved back towards the starting line and midpoint of the race.  As we came up on the midpoint, I started to feel some signs of fatigue and wondered what the rest of the race had in store for me.

The train right around the half way point. Pretty cool to run stride for stride with Jeff for a huge chunk of the race.

Miles 14-20
After a crystal clear layout for the first half of the course, we were led to some confusion as we crossed the 13.1 mark.  It was really unclear where we were supposed to run and none of the race staff or volunteers in the area knew where to tell us to go.  Crossing the midpoint, an additional dude with a hat seemed to pop out of no where to join the train.  I was feeling fatigue and considering what I needed to do to make it through the second half of the race.  Whether real or imaginary, I felt all of the guys around me speed up.  In my head, I reminded myself to run my own race and let things play out.  I hung on to low 6:30s over the next couple of miles and chewed on some gummies.  At around mile 16,  I was hanging slightly off the pack and saw my cheering squad (family) for the first time.  It was especially nice seeing them as Haley was part of the contingency.  Gazelle signaled for me to move back up and all of sudden I was back in the mix.  I ran a speedy 16th mile and was back in the game.  At this point, the UMASS dudes ran away from us and it was Gazelle and the mysterious guy with the hat.  Things continued to go well as we saw my family again and Gazelle and I continued to encourage one another and work together.   We had rolling hills ahead and I knew the last 7 miles of the course would be a challenge.

Miles 21-26.2
Gazelle and I were both feeling it as we ran out to the turn around point at Indian Avenue.   I knew we still had a battle ahead of us and continued my hope that we would stay together for as long as possible.  After turning around the cone, I pulled ahead of Gazelle but encouraged him to hang with me.  I gave some thought about the race up to this point and the partnership we had going through the entire race.  For a minute or so, I encouraged him to rejoin me again with a hand signal and considered slowing a bit to run together.  Knowing the type of competitor Jeff is, I knew he wouldn't be happy if I purposely dropped back.  The deal was if we could run together, great, but if not, don't wait!  I carried on and did my best to not totally fall apart over the last five miles.   I was on a solid pace to get my BQ and needed to hang tough.   After a hard climb up Hanging Rock Road, I was headed towards the home stretch.  I crossed the line in 2:54:45, which would be good enough for 6th place overall, 1st in my division.  Jeff hung tough and ran a super strong 2:58:59, 9th overall, 1st in his division.  Jeff Duda had a tough day and finished in 3:14:22.
Finishing up.

Thanks Shara!
Happy to be finished but too tired to get up.


-Ultimately, the day was a success!  I ran fairly consistent and hammered down the BQ I wanted off a short marathon training block.
-Special thanks to my understanding wife, Shara, who was supportive of me sneaking out of the house on Saturday mornings while she tended to a newborn.  I'm also most appreciative of the support of my parents for coming out to see me run.
-I have to give a ton of credit to my race success to Gazelle for all of the help with training, advice, and going to "battle" with me through most of the race.
-Marathons are tough.  Anything can happen..good or bad.  It's so important to race with a plan and do whatever preparation is necessary to feel like you are adequately prepared for race day.
-Marathons are fun.  I enjoyed the venue and course and challenge of running the race.
-It took a few weeks for me to recover from this one.  A sign of a good effort but wish I could have recovered quicker.
-While the course was no walk in the park, I'd run this race again.
-I'm planning/hoping on running Boston 2018.  It's a race I've wanted to run since I was a high school kid.  Hopefully, I can stay healthy and will be well prepared for it.  I'm excited about the prospect of running the race, but am not looking forward to the logistics.
-Now what?  I'm not sure.  Considering the need to run a half or two in the fall just to run some longer efforts.  Would running Hartford be beneficial?  Thoughts?
-I like running 5ks and marathons..weird combination.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Review

January was a month of anticipation for me.  With Shara in her final month of pregnancy, my mind was on the arrival of our new baby while trying to balance work, running, and the rest of my life.

We received an exciting surprise in mid-January with the arrival of our baby girl.  She weighed a healthy 8lbs, 0 oz. and arrived 12 days early.  Amazingly, Shara kept running her mile right up until three days before birth.  While really starting to feel it, Shara even rode our stationary bike for 5 miles the day before giving birth! I was certainly impressed and in awe of this feat.  While we are thrilled and excited to have our little girl, the level of tiredness and fatigue is something neither of us have faced before.

Full disclosure: I thought marathon training would be much more strenuous and physically exhausting than regular wake-ups during the middle of the night.  Sleep deprivation is just a whole other animal.

While this new life style is certainly not permanent, my fitness goals are sort of on the back burner. My main goal is to stay as active and as shape as I possible can, while not being selfish or depriving my other responsibilities.  Initially I thought it might be possible to pull off a spring marathon, but I just don't see if happening due to low motivation and lack of long runs.  I'll keep an open mind moving ahead and see what happens.  To maintain as much fitness as possible, keep the dogs happy, and get a little rest, I've been splitting up my daily runs during the week to two short daily runs.  So far, it is working and I remind myself to stay flexible.  Most of all, I'm thrilled to have a healthy, thriving baby!

January Fitness/Strava Stats:
Miles: Approximately 185
Average Weekly Mileage: 40
Average # of Weekly Runs: 9
Off Days/Week: 1
Stretching: 1X/Week (Need to stick to this)
Bike/Swim: 0 No time

Overall, I'm really happy with the running I was able to pull off during the month of January.

Running Highlights include:
-I had fun with the dogs,
-Started trail running with Riley.  I've always been paranoid about him getting ticks but we treat monthly and I also recently purchased an organic tick repellent.
- Racing the Resolution 5k on the beach and in the trails during a snow storm. I can't say I ran particular well or poorly, but it was a fun experience with good competition. I'm hoping to run a couple of more races in the series if possible.
-A couple of snow's always great to get out there when the white stuff is on the ground.\

Riley with his new trail friends.
His longest run in duration and 2nd trail run ever.  

There's no run like a snow run!

I'll see what February brings.  Onward!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back, moving forward

The Numbers
 # of runs: 360
*Interesting number that I can only attribute to warmups, cool downs, and short doubles.
Time: 236 hours
Distance: 2065  miles (approximately 900 more than 2015)

# of rides-41
Time: 45 hours
Distance: 780 miles (Rode 1375 in 2015 to make just about 600 less than 2016)

 # of swims: 42
Time: 23 hours, 11 minutes
Distance: 78,900 yds *Never tracked before 2016 but less than last year.

Physical Therapy
# of PT sessions: 22. Approximately 2X a week from late September to early December for hip stability issues.

# of races: 17
Marathon: 1
Half: 1
Tris: 3
3 mile/5ks: 9 on a variety of courses
5 miler: 1
10 miler: 1
8 mile trail: 1

Top times:
5k: 16:54
5 miler: 28:42
1/2 marathon: 1:18:17 (unofficial)
Marathon: 2:52:20

Best 3 Performances
1. Providence Marathon: 2:52:20, 10th overall.  PR.  After a winter and early spring of helping Shara train for Boston, I finally jumped in a marathon of my own and it went quite well.  Really happy with how I felt during the race and how controlled I ran.  Cross this bad boy off the bucket list!

Thanks for the inspiration, Shara
Coach Walker! Pleasant surprise and support at my first marathon

2.  Avondale 5k: 16:54.  No where near any of my top times but it felt pretty good to get back under 17 and feel strong racing.

Feeling good

3. Rhode Warrior Olympic: 2:29:58, 2nd overall.  Any time I finish this high in a TRI regardless of who shows up, I have to feel good about it.  My biking miles were pathetic in 2016.  After a strong swim and very weak bike ride on a challenging course, I was able to make up for it on the run.  A week prior to this race I started to feel pain throughout the bottom of my foot.  Ultimately, I was able to get a treatment two days prior to the race that really helped me out and it lead me to PT.

*A not amazingly fast, yet solid Clamdigger performance (28:42) could definitely be considered as one of my top 3 of 2016.

2016 Clamdigger

Performances I wish went better:
1. BI Tri: 1:20:27, 7th overall, 1st AG. The BI Tri is always a fun day with great company but I wasn't happy with how I felt or how things went down.  Thoughts on the course: The swim is great (always clear water out there) and pretty quick, the bike course is super hilly and dangerous, and the run is dependent upon conditions (this past year it was high tide and hot).  I paid for not doing enough work on the bike during this race.

BI TRI 2016
I may not have been thrilled with my result or the course but it's always a fun day with these guys.

2. Blessing: 1:00:15, 31st place.  2016 was a complete suffer fest due heat and humidity.  My pre-race goal was to break 60 minutes..heat or not, it did not happen.  In my two previous performances (2003 & 2004) I ran in the 56 minute range.  One of my goals 2016 goals was to sub 60 in this race.  I'll be back!

I'll be back and hopefully under an hour
Couldn't hydrate fast enough

What Worked (in no particular order)
1. More consistent running
2. Almost a weekly workout
3. Long runs to build a strong base in the winter/spring
4. Core/Stretching/Yoga.  Possibly the MOST important thing I do.
5. Running with Shara, the dogs, and my running buds

What didn't (in no particular order)
1. Biking (didn't ride enough and don't enjoy nearly as much as running)

2. Summer training.  Or maybe TRI training.  I love TRIs but my biggest gripe is that I never feel like I'm doing enough.  By August, I was hurting throughout my left side..never received a diagnosis but was fortunate enough to work throughout the fall with a PT to get things straight.   With the feeling of not doing enough, I didn't take true off days (like a day when I just stretch or do core).  I need to do better in 2017 if I want to stay healthy in this area.   In running, triathlon, and life--you can't have it all.  Something has to give.

2016 Goal Assessment
General-run healthy, compete to the best of my ability, have fun, train with Shara/Dogs/WTAC buds, and keep it fresh. ACHIEVED
-5k: A goal-get back to a 16:45 5k, B goal-Sub 17. B goal ACHIEVED
-5 mile: Sub 29 minutes.  ACHIEVED
-10k: Sub 36 minutes N/A
-Compete and maintain Top 5 finishes at BI & OCY Tris FAIL.  *Did not race OCY
-Help Shara train for Boston. ACHIEVED
-Swim at least once a week/track swim distance.  FAIL but did track my swims
-Run one speed workout a week even if short ACHIEVED
-Continue to do core exercises to prevent injuries ACHIEVED
-Get on the bike come spring. Sort of FAILED
-Run the Blessing (must be sub 60 for me to be happy). FAILED
-Run in another country. FAILED

2016 Score-Achieved: 6, Failed: 5, NA: 1

All in all, 2016 was a good year!

2017 Goals

Stay healthy, continue core work, stretching, and speed work at least one day a week, have a healthy balance of all things. enjoy the baby, stay consistent, track all physical activity on Strava, run with the dogs, and have fun.

Running buds

 -Run races again with Shara
-Run another marathon.. A. Sub 2:52 B: Sub 2:55 C BQ.  Could be spring or fall. May be a difficult goal to fulfill based off training, running health, and Daddy duties.
-5k A. Sub 16:50, B Sub 17
-Sub 29 at Clamdigger
-Run Blessing and sub 60.
-Compete in 2-3 sprint TRIs..maybe try a new one or two.
-Compete in seasonal races (Halloween, Christmas)
-Compete in as many WTAC events as possible
-Complete the Clamshell series
-Run at least a fun run or two with the baby in the stroller.

All ready to go!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Catching up: ST, Beach Run, OS XC, & Pumpkins

Since I have fallen behind on my blogging, I figured it might be a good idea to write up a brief synopsis of my recent races.  My training has been okay--running has been consistent--but I'm still working out some physical issues (misaligned pelvis, neck/back pain, foot soreness).  While things haven't been great physically, I have been able to race and stay in the game, which is a big upside.  So back to my racing:

Surftown 5k-1st, 17:36
I had to downgrade from the half.  While I was looking forward to running a well organized half marathon on local roads, moving to the 5k turned out to be a win-win.  Race day weather was absolutely horrible with some serious humidity and heavy winds.  All of a sudden the prospect of running a 5k, seemed pretty smart.

While warming up my foot bothered me.  I told myself to just focus on racing and that even if it hurt, I'd be done pretty quickly.  After hanging with Jeff and Mikey before their race, I had a little time to spend with Shara.  I then headed out to do some strides and ran into Crutch, who was on hand to do some spectating.  As we lined up for the gun, I tried to size up my competition and did not see anyone familiar.  A minute or so later the gun went off and I tried to get out quickly.  Heading out to Ocean View Highway, I ran into a strong headwind and chased the lead car and a biker. As I approached the cone turn around, I was starting to feel fatigued from the steady wind and humidity.  Turning at the cone was a sigh of relief--I no longer had to deal with the wind.  I just focused on the lead bike and tried to stay at a good pace.  Running in the lead always feels great and I was fortunate enough to lead this one from start to finish.

Any win is a good win!

Quick thoughts:
-I was fortunate to have  support out on the course from Shara, Crutch, and Matthew.
-My time was not fast but conditions were definitely impacted by the wind & humidity
-I was happy I did not run the half with the humidity..felt bad for my friends in that race
-Course was a boring out and back
-Glad I did it.

Stavros Beach Run 3 miler, 17:04, 2nd
This annual WTAC events is one of my favorites.  While I never enjoy the end of summer, I enjoy running the beach at low tide in a friendly, low key atmosphere.  I had no intentions of doing anything special at this race, I simply showed up and hoped to get a good workout.  The race had a solid turnout and the WHS XC teams showed up, which greatly increased the numbers.  Off the gun, I was in the lead but only because Matthew was talking it to easy.  He let me know right before the race that he'd be passing me at Mile 2.  Matthew ended up easily passing me at about 1.5 miles and made it look pretty easy out there.  I ended up finishing second and ended up getting the workout I wanted.  Post race I took a quick jump in the water--which probably turned out be my last of the summer.  Congrats to Matthew on another win and Gazelle on a strong 3rd place.

Ocean State XC Trail 5k, 17:43, 2nd
My type of trail running!  This XC race, which is put on by Run Rhody and is sort of an exhibition at a huge school invite, was a fun one.  I love running in the trails of Goddard Park--the only motivation I needed was a couple of teammates to join me.  With Matthew racing in the Boys' Championship Race later in the day, I was able to get Jeff to commit.  Mikey B. later accepted my sales pitch after I reported to him that the trails were they way we liked them, paved...just kidding!  Having Mikey and Jeff gave it a fun, team feel and reminded me of my younger days and all the camaraderie that XC has to offer.

I ran in 2nd place the entire race.  A guy racing with a Rhode Runner singlet took first and I ended up crossing the line feeling pretty good at 17:43.  I really enjoyed all things about this race.  Sure, I would have liked to have run faster but really enjoyed the trails and experience.  While it may be a 40 minute drive from home, I'd consider this one again.  Mikey and Jeff, you in for 2017?

WTAC Run for the Pumpkins Trail 5k, 20:53, 6th
The Run for the Pumpkins is a race that WTAC gave a new lifeline to.  Hard to believe, but I never ran the race while it was a road 5k.  I do remember the race only getting a small amount of participants and seeming like a doomed race.  Due to the hard work of Gazelle and WTAC, the race changed venues to Bradford Preserve and would now be a trail 5k.  With outstanding organization, trail clearing, and a fall like feel to it,  the 2015 installment of this race was an instant hit.  Even a road guy like me ran it!  I ended up coming back again this year to what turned out to be an even better race.  Race participants increased-the Westerly middle and high school teams supported it-the course offered a variety of terrain that made it fun.

As for my racing, I ended up running a minute faster than last year.  Trails are not my strength, but I was happy to be within sight of Jonny and Gazelle for most of the race.  I ran my first and last miles pretty strong and really struggled during the single track, more technical portion of the race.  The race was very well marked and I had fun with it.  After this one, I'm even contemplating doing Lil' Rhody.  Who knows?  Anyway, the 2016 Pumpkins race was a fun one.  Congrats to Matthew on the win and Justin, Jonny, Gazelle, and Mikey B. on some solid racing out there.

and we are off!
Finishing up!  Why couldn't the whole course be in this grass field?

Monday, September 5, 2016

RW Olympic

RW Olympic Distance Tri
2:29:58, 2nd overall

Your swim time was 23:20.
Your first transition time was 01:04.
Your bike time was 1:23:23.
Your second transition time was 01:26.
Your run time was 40:45.
{Break down of my splits received from timing services)

Heading into this race, I was concerned about the lack of biking I did this year and a nagging injury that appeared about five days before the race.  With the help of some friends, I was able to get a pre-race treatment that helped me out on the run and took away some anxiety I was feeling about completely blowing up and getting more hurt out there.  With this race being as close to home as any, it was nice not having to travel to a race.

Swim-1 mile-23:20
This year's swim would be involve two ocean loops.  To make things even more interesting, competitors had to get out of the water after the first loop, jog down the beach, and jump back in for the second lap.  I ended up having one of the better swims on the day.  I was able to get into a pretty good groove out there and felt comfortable.  As I strategized the remainder of my race in the water, I knew having a strong swim and run would be essential to any potential success.

After the first loop
Out of the water and one of the better swims on the day!
T1: uneventful.

Bike-26.5 miles-1:23:23
The night prior to the race competitors were informed that the bike course would be changing due to construction.  The course ended up being a few miles shorter than previous years but was equally challenging.  There are some pretty difficult climbs along the way and these climbs stretched out the TRI pretty quickly.  For the majority of the bike ride, I ended up getting rocked.  It was demoralizing to have bikers going flying by and not being able to respond to their moves.  I did my best out there but it wasn't good enough.   Based off my own calculations, I averaged about 19 mph.  Coming into transition, I had no idea what place I was in but felt like I was "back" there.

Coming into T2

T2: Parched.  I was pretty tired from the bike and did not take any fluids up to this point in the race. Regardless of time impact, I was gulping down a Gatorade.  Leaving T2, I was feeling pretty headed (both literally and figuratively) after my poor ride.  I was looking to offer some payback to the some of the athletes who went flying by me.

Run: 6.5 miles, 40:45
Home turf.  My strength. Once I started my run, I tried not to let my emotions take over and reminded myself that I was feeling pretty beat and not to get too aggressive too soon.   Since I didn't have a GPS watch on, I ran off feel and whoever may be in front of me.  Running down Atlantic, there was a headwind.  Once I turned on Weekapaug Road, the heat settled in.  I felt like I was struggling until I reached the top of Noyes Neck Road.  While I may have felt a struggle, I was passing everyone who passed me on the bike and it felt pretty good.  Coming along Atlantic Ave, I felt strong.  Approaching the Old Town Teach, there was one competitor in front of me.  I was able to overtake him, we exchanged well wishes in the form of grunts, and I headed for the finish line.  I ended up running at around 6:15 pace for the run and was happy with my effort.  After crossing the line, I was informed I placed 2nd.  I was thrilled with my overall placing.

On a mission!

Post race:
Quickly caught up  with my family and Jeff and Matthew (who competed in the Sprint race and were trying to catch the end of the Olympic Marathon), packed up my gear in transition, took a jump in the ocean, and went home.  After having Shara wait around all day for me, I didn't think it was fair to make her wait even longer for awards.

-Positives: happy with my swim, run, and overall placing.  My foot and left side were giving me issues pre-race and I don't feel like it impacted my performances.  
-I love to compete but after a sufferfest of summer racing, I was happy not to have any big races coming up.
-My bike ride stunk.  I have no one to blame for except myself and the time I did not spend on the time this year.  Moving forward, I know I need to ride more but also do not enjoy spending hours on end on the machine.  The top riders are have better bikes and based off how much I ride, I'm just fine with the one I own.  This area is a weakness and probably a focus area for 2017.
-This may be my last TRI of the year due to other commitments.  I only raced three this year and this sport still intrigues me and I have room for growth.
-Looming injury.  As I previously mentioned, I received some help from friends to get a pre-race treatment in.  Post-race-the issues came back and I think I have issues with my alignment.  Various areas of my left side are my ailments.  The key areas of discomfort and pain are my upper back/neck, bottom of foot, and back of my heel.  I need to get into PT and address these issues before they get worse.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Block

7th place overall, 1st in AG, 1:20:27

The BI Tri is the race that attracted me to the sport.  While hanging out at my cousin's bachelor party in 2012, I ran into the Gazelle and Schonns shortly after they finished the race.  I told myself that day that I'd be back the following year to do the race.  The race sounded fun, unique, and was in a cool place-The Block. Fast forward to 2016 and I would be heading back to BI for my 4th consecutive race. After a really solid showing in 2015, I was hoping to carry the momentum  into the 2016 addition.  Days and weeks prior to the race I was concerned about my lack of focus and work on the bike.  Time would only tell.

On race day I woke up at 4 am, had a quick breakfast, packed my race gear in the car, met Mikey, and boarded the 6 am ferry.  Regardless of the race outcome, I knew it would be a good day since a group of us were headed out to BI.  After departing the ferry we headed over to Benson Beach for check in. With alphabetical transition, I set up right near Mikey and Westerly Triathlete/Runner, Mark B.  With plenty of time before the start, we were able to check out surf conditions, analyze the tide for the run, warm-up, and get a feel for the water before the race. Shortly before 9 am, all athletes were called to the beach for pre-race instructions and then lined up in heats.  

Swim-7:20, Rank 16
With a short run before entering the water, I wanted to get a clean start but did not feel the need to sprint into the water as some other competitors did.  Once in the water, I tried to get in a rhythm and stay towards the front of the pack,  Heading out to the first buoy, I was in 3rd place in my heat. By the time we reached the buoy, I pulled into second and the top guy had a decent lead on me.  While I was focused on my wave I was also tangled up with a variety of other swimmers from different waves. Throughout the entire swim, my goggles were fogged up, which made it especially difficult to tell what was going on.  Departing the water, the same guy that was ahead of me remained in place and I ran towards transition.

T1: 1:30, Rank 21 
Uneventful.  I always struggle with getting my wetsuit off and just try to remember the essentials before heading out on bike (bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses).    I remember being really thirsty before the bike but did not take the time for a swig of gatorade.  

Bike: 39:37, Rank 40
My least favorite and weakest leg of any TRI.  With the hills, a windy bike course, and lack of bike prep, I was especially worried about this portion of my race.  I was hoping that my swim and run would carry my overall time and that I'd just make it through the bike.  While I passed a ton of athletes (most of who I assume to be non-serious), same of the race leaders blew by me on the bike. Working hard and struggling along, the bike demoralized me.  After all of the climbing and wind, I felt pretty gassed by the end of the bike.   While I didn't feel good, I reminded myself that a bad run for me would be a good run for most triathletes {This is a positive fact that I pointed out to Mikey, Jeff, & Matthew pre-race}.  

T2: :58, Rank 51
I skidded into T2, ran to my area, threw off bike gear, slugged some gatorade, and hoped to make u some time.  In regards to overall place, I had no idea how I was doing in the race. I knew I didn't have a great bike though.

Run: 31:02, Rank 7
Heading out on the run, I was feeling it.  Low energy, thirst, and general fatigue.  Regardless, it was the strongest discipline and the one I've trained the most for this year.  I knew the high tide run was going to be a struggle but hoped I'd get stronger as the run went on.  At about 1/2 mile into the run or so, I had to come to a complete stop due to a pile up of athletes crossing the rocky water area.  It was frustrating because I wanted to move and gain as much time as possible but I also didn't want to jam myself up in the process {I'm sure other athletes felt the same sentiment}.  Finally getting through, I knew I go through the same thing in just a few minutes after the turnaround. Headed back down the beach, I was passing athletes but it didn't seem like as many as I normally would.  Whenever I passed or saw someone, it looked like he/she was struggling.  I knew I looked and felt the same way.  While I love the beach and ocean, I don't like running in thick sand or water. By the time I reached the second turn around, I was doing whatever I could to slug down two waters as I was really parched.  The run in was horrible.  Note all of the conditions I previously mentioned along with a strong headwind.  I felt like I wasn't racing anymore-just trying to get to the finish. While no other runner passed me,  I knew I had a poor run and was feeling it.  Crossing the finish, I was happy to be done but less than happy with my race.  I situated myself by the water and gatorade jugs and replenished all of the fluids I lost.  I watched my WTAC teammates come in,  cooled off in the ocean, packed up my gear, showered, and hung out for awards.

Post race
Hung out with Mikey and the Gazelle's.  I was very happy to pull off an age group win on day when I didn't perform well.  Also thrilled by some outstanding racing from the Gazelle's and Mikey B.  We grabbed lunch at a local restaurant on Corn Neck Road and then hung out by the shops in town before heading out on the ferry.  Despite how I felt about my performance, I had a great day with great people.

A hungry group!

-A fun day, but a tough day. Very happy with my AG win-but disappointed I didn't place a little higher.  A better run would have probably gained me a couple spots.
-Weak bike.  As I previously mentioned the bike is my weakest and least favorite leg of the TRI.  This is the discipline I need to work on the most on..need to motivate myself to work harder on the bike.
-Satisfied with my swim.  Haven't put in the time or yards I did last year and still did well in this area.  I'll take it!
-Like the Blessing, another strong performance by my friends teammates (Jeff, Matthew, Mikey, & Steve).
-BI stands as a unique TRI.  Conditions can alter any race-the beach run offers other intangibles.
-Will I be back to this race? Yes.  Will I be back next year? Not sure.
-Enjoyed the post-race lunch and hanging out with the guys.
-After two weeks of sufferfests, I'm losing motivation for racing.