Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Let's face it the last couple of years for me athletically have been less than stellar. I decided in January to really work on my nutrition and give this year a solid go. Going into Wildflower; I lost 17 lbs since January, changed my fueling plan, and really worked on rehabbing my foot which was a major problem all year last year.
Going into Wildflower I felt pretty good and felt like a top in my age group was doable. Because my last couple of years were a mess I did not have the greatest confidence in the world. There were 4 competitors that for the last couple of years have been kicking my butt and placing at most every event I raced. Well they were all here.....
The night before the event I had a dream my dad and I were driving around and hanging out, I woke up feeling so blessed that I got to see my dad the night before and just felt really good inside. Thanks Dad!!!! Anyway.....
I started in the front row left and swam to the first buoy without any contact at all. The whole swim was rather uneventful but when I approached my first transition my heart sank as competitor 1 and 2 were already out. They both took off as I peeled my wetsuit. My wife always gives me a hard time becuase my transitions are so slow. I finally got going for the first 2.2 mile run and passed comp. #2 before hitting the bike racks. I felt pretty good and held back a little on the first run. Didn't know where I was but felt as though I was top 10.
So this was the first race in which I used a power meter and I think it really paid off. Usually I kill myself in the first 20 miles and then just die. My goal was to hold between 220-245 watts and 300-315 watts on the climbs. I rode out of the park and was not breathing hard at all. Big change!!! While holding those watts I passed competitor 3 and went by him very fast without any real effort. This was only mile 10 but I knew it was going to be a good day. I was riding really well and actually felt like I was racing again, not just surviving. Around mile I spotted Competitor 1 again and he was sitting up so I knew he was feeling it. I made sure to pass decisively and really work the climb up nasty grade. The climb felt easy at 300 watts and was a non issue. My descending is not good and so while descending the backside of Nasty Competitor 2 came along side me. I told him I'm a pansy when it comes to descending and he just kind of looked at me "dead pan". That was a sign to me he was feeling it in a bad way so I decided to go hard for about 20 minutes and he was gone. I got back to transition and was happy with my bike split.
So I decided that I would just try to have a solid run and not worry about pace. The first couple of miles felt rather comfortable and my feet felt like they were on pillows with my Cliftons. Around mile 4 I looked behind me on one of the turns and saw competitor 1 closing in. I thought well that's ok if he passes me, just run the best you can. Then something inside said F#$% That! And I took off. Up ahead I saw competitor 4, who I never thought I would see but I felt great and he was not running that smoothly. I went by him and came to the major climb on the course. This year I have had many hill repeat workouts I told myself, "this is just like training". I knew if I ran up the climb I would put time into everybody. I felt strong and never came close to walking and knew my day was going to be pretty good. The rest of the run I pushed the pace and never felt fatigued, plus people kept telling me I was flying and that helped a lot. Running down the last mile a young women was finishing her bike segment said to me, "oh my god! Your my hero!" I felt great for about 15 seconds then realized she probably looked at my calf and thought this guy is as old as my dad and he is doing so well for an old guy.I kept running and was hearing in my head the LL Cool J song, "Don't call it a comeback". I think I am back and ready to race IM Coz for a Kona slot for 2016.
As a side note I also changed my fueling to include no water during the event. I drank gatorade endurance and ate powergels every 30 minutes. I have to say I had no cramps and best of all, NO GASTRIC UPSET! Yahoo!!!!!!