Sunday, June 6, 2010

Season Opener!

Today was the Buffalo Triathlon, the unofficial season opener for the MN tri scene. It is a fantastic race that is super family/spectator friendly. This was my third year racing at Buffalo as it is a good practice race for the Lifetime race just six weeks away. Buffalo is a great race for first timers and I love to see their excitement when they finish the race. For many it is just the beginning of a wonderful and healthy past time that adds to the summer fun.

My training this year is solely focused on the Lifetime race and the Olympic distance (.9Swim/ 26Bike/6.2run). In years past I have done far too much and all over the map with Half-Iron distance Tri's and Marathons and half marathons. With life in such a major transition I felt it best to have simple focus. Two races shorter distance. With the help of specific coaching from my good friend and TNT coach Scott Beesley, I have really found a good mix of quality workouts that maximize my training schedule and keeps my priorities with my family and my job search. What a blessing he has been!

This past week has been packed with constant unpacking as we prepared for our TNT garage sale that helped me get close to my fundraising goal for this season. It was a great success as we raised all most $1400 for LLS. As touching as it was to see the generosity of friends and neighbors, it was equally touching to hear the personal stories of triumph and tragedy with cancer from people that we had never meet. Cancer, like many struggles in life, is one of life's unfair tragedies. It leaves us with the option to be better or bitter. I continue to race and fundraise because it helps me to be better. No amount of training or racing nor any level of success with it will ever fill the hole that we were left with when Adam left us. But I know that his legacy of goodness is reflected when I choose to help others in simple or great ways.

Today my race reflected comfort. This is my fourth season racing and although the race day jitters never go away, I was able to really enjoy the day and comfortably put fourth my best effort. Nothing this week went "as planned". Sleep was less then remotely ideal and the stress from the sale was a good factor. But race day is what it is, and there is no changing it, so you can take it for what it is and like it or let it get you down. I have gotten good at fooling myself into believing, "no matter what happens it only helps me to be stronger."

The weather was great. My swim was strong but I did not want to get too hot so I kept things in check in the water. My transition time was good from swim to bike. The first half of the bike was a struggle to find my legs. A bit of a head wind made it work. I did manage to find a groove by mile 21 that felt great but little to late to keep up with the big dogs. Transition from bike to run was great with one of my fastest times ever. The run was a challenge with slight cramping in my diaphragm and as the run course steadily climbed up hill I had to be careful as my quads were beginning to tighten up. Be that as it may I felt really good. Everything was manageable and I was able to keep the "wheel house" moving turning out a strong run to the half way point. The second half of a run is mental. After two hours of pushing the physical limits you really need to pay attention to the simple things and go far beyond yourself mentally to finish strong. Today was basic, drawing off the quiet strength that Adam always had. Cheering others on in their efforts and appreciating the ability (the gift) that we have to participate in such a challenging event. Be it first or last, finishing is the important thing. Appreciating who you are and where you are at and liking it is paramount. Focusing on the efforts of those around you is key as we fight our own physical and mental battles race day.

This year I improved my time my four minuets overall and even better felt great after the race all day long. Granted I have not gotten in a nap yet today and I am struggling to keep my eyes open right now but today was a great day. We finished!


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