Here’s some exciting news: on Saturday I got married!
Maureen Pedersen and I were married at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. It was a perfect day thanks to all the preparation she did for us and our families and friends.
We take off on our honeymoon to Costa Rica on Sunday. We are really looking forward to our first adventures as husband and wife. We have zip lining, rafting, ATV, and lots of hiking already planned, and we’re hoping to get in some coffee tours and surfing, as well. We’ll be staying near the Arenal Volcano the first few nights, and then at a resort in Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!
I met Mo through running at Northern Arizona. I am reminded again and again how fortunate I am to have taken up this sport, as it has shaped my life since I was a little boy in so many way. Marrying Mo is my latest reminder.
For those of you??just interested in my usual race report, and not the 700 words on how I got there, scroll down to here.
If you have been following my triathlon career, you know that I have been focused on ITU racing because I had a dream of becoming an Olympian. I joined The Triathlon Squad in 2012, moved to Poway, and put everything I had into achieving that dream. I had some great results along the way, but always struggled with consistency due to my swimming, and that often resulted in “character building” races where I raced the bike/run with a never-give-up attitude for a middle-of-the-pack result. After many of these types of races, friends, family and peers would often tell me, “You would crush it in non-draft racing.” To which I would reply (or think to myself, at least…), “What’s the end game with that?” One of the great things about an Olympic pursuit is it is black & white. I achieve, or I don’t. I felt that if I went down the path of non-draft racing, it would be difficult??for me to say whether I was succeeding, whether this pursuit was??worth it, or whether I was just putting off real life because I liked to train and see the world. So I continued the ITU points chase, continued working with The Triathlon Squad, and continued dreaming.
This past winter??I hit a bit of a road block and was diagnosed with a tear in my labrum in my left hip. I wrote about it a bit in my Bridgetown race report. I chose not to get surgery and was able to slowly build into some really good run training. However, the timing of the injury derailed my early season racing plans??and left me lower in the ITU rankings than I had hoped to be (especially relative to the other Americans that I am fighting with for race starts). I felt that with the limited racing I would be able to do, I really needed to nail each one to put myself into a position where I could make the start list at the most important events and be capable of competing well. April, May and into June I had a couple of good races and felt like my training was going very well and was ready for a career day at the Huatulco World Cup. On the first lap of the bike, just after settling into the middle of the lead pack on the bike, I blew out my front tire. The??field slipped away, and looking back now, I think that is a defining moment where I think??the dream slipped away, as well.
For a variety of reasons, I felt like I could no longer make it to the Rio Olympics. Of course, I could see the qualification process down to the bitter end, which probably won’t be until May of next year, but knew that I would only regret not making a change sooner. I am getting married in November, and I felt the opportunity cost to me and my fiancee in continuing down this path was too high. So after two more races in July, I decided to leave The Triathlon Squad, move back to LA, and begin looking for a career in mechanical engineering.
That sounds like an end to my triathlon career, and it is the end of my triathlon career as I knew it. When I made that decision, I was still in great shape and didn’t want all that fitness to go to waste while I start the process of looking for a job, so I scrolled through the late summer/fall triathlon calendar to see what was available. I found a couple local events, the Santa Barbara Triathlon and Nautica Malibu Triathlon, and decided those would make good stepping stones into my first half Ironman race, Silverman. In between??submitting job applications and spending a lot more time with my family, I still managed??doing quite a bit of training and have enjoyed transitioning into this different lifestyle.
I took off for Las Vegas late on Friday morning.??It is so nice to not have to pack up a bike and get on an airplane, and as I made the ~5 hour drive,??the novelty of driving to a fairly big event was not lost. I arrived in the afternoon and promptly checked in at the race expo, where I bumped into Taylor Reid. Taylor is a fairly new member of The Triathlon Squad, so we have done some training together and even shared a common roof over our heads in the past few months. We went for a shakeout run on some of the run course. I had looked at the elevation profile of the course before arriving, so I knew there would be some hills, but I noted that the incline felt steeper than I had imagined.
Silverman has split transitions (the bike course is point-to-point with separate T1 and T2) so this race had a bit more logistics. Running shoes were to be dropped off at T2 and bike checked in at T1 on Saturday afternoon, the day before the race. This was all new to me,??and made my pre-race day more hectic than I am used to. After the race briefing, I headed out to Lake Mead to get a quick bike ride in on some of the course, check my bike in at T1, and a short swim. The tradeoff to all this madness was that on race morning, pretty much all I had to worry about was getting to the start, filling up my bottles on the bike, and pumping up my tires. Mo and my parents flew in that afternoon and met me back at the hotel when I was all finished. We enjoyed a relaxed evening with an early dinner and early bed time.
Start time was 7 am, so I got up at 4 and began eating. I had a bowl of oatmeal, banana, two hardboiled eggs, two small cups of coffee, and some SaltStick. My parents drove me out to the race start so I didn’t have to take a shuttle from T2. We arrived with plenty of time for me to make sure everything was good to go in T1 and get a short warm up in the water. I believe the announcer said the water temperature was 77F making it well above the wetsuit cutoff for professionals. The air was a little cool and there was already some wind picking up, making it pretty chilly standing at the start line in waste deep water. I noticed a number of the other pro men shivering as we waited the cannon blast start.
Swim 11th in 27:40, 2:27 behind the fastest
Many of the best swimmers were lining up on the right side of the starting line. The wind was blowing from the SSE, making it right-to-left as we looked out towards the first turn buoy.??I chose to go just to their inside, thinking they would come over and I could slot into the pack. I started out fine and noticed I got in front of some of the slower guys.??By 100m, the swim became really choppy and I struggled to keep a high tempo. I have been swimming openwater with Tower 26 in Santa Monica, but the conditions have been beautiful out there every morning and I think spoiled me a bit.??I was really battling the waves out there and the front group of guys got away from me as we were making the turn a half mile in. The chop was a little kinder on the way back in, and I just thought about limiting my losses and remembering that it was a long day.
Before the race I thought coming out less than 2 minutes behind the leader would put me in a decent position and was an attainable goal, but I missed that mark a bit. There was a group of three guys that came out ~1:30 behind Cam — Drew Scott, Matt Lieto and Guy Crawford — and I think just behind them is??about where I should have been.
As I ran through transition, Mo told me I was in 12th and told me my time deficit. My first thought was this was a rough start, but I again reminded myself this is a longer race and to just get out on the bike, stick to my plan, and see what happens.
Bike 3rd in 2:15:26, 2:27 behind the fastest
I was really looking forward to this bike ride. I have been very curious to see how hard some of these top guys go for 56 miles, and I liked my chances on a hilly course like Silverman’s. I had a target of about 300 W, which I thought would give me a competitive split and give me a chance to run well off the bike. Since I came out with the deficit on the swim, I wasn’t able to get straight into a group, so I headed out with my power number in my head, and knowing that I would be pushing a bit harder on some of the climbs, but it might average out on the descents.
With the SE wind we were flying north up Lakeshore Rd.??By the time we hit Northshore Rd, I had moved up to 10th position. As we rolled down and up the hills, I could see guys ahead, and one by one, I started to pull them in. I was happy when I rolled by Drew Scott, last year’s winner, and I started to feel like I was really in the race now. Eventually I saw Cam Dye, followed closely by Michael Raelert, coming back the other direction. I took a peak at my clock and hoped the u-turn wasn’t too far ahead. As I made the turn, I was just behind Paul Matthews and Kevin Collington. I checked my clock again and noted that I was just a little over 3 minutes behind Cam. I got pretty excited here as I was riding very close to Cam’s pace.
It was around here that I think I started racing a bit too emotionally. As I said, I was excited and wanted to keep pushing and try to close the gap to the leaders. I was feeling strong, but we were not even halfway done with the race! I tried riding a legal distance behind Kevin and Paul (Kevin had made a pass) for a few minutes. The effort felt too easy, and I began to worry that the front of the race was getting too far ahead. I decided to make the pass and keep pressing on at my own pace. Instead of waiting for a climb, I made the pass on a slight descent. About two seconds into making the pass around BOTH guys, I realized I was going way too hard. But since I had already entered the draft zone, I was committed to the move, and just pressed on. I think I may have burnt a match or two there. (Looking at my power file shows that I went 464 W for 30 s down a 3% grade to make that move.)
As we made our way back to Lakeshore Rd/Lake Mead Parkway, I put some space between me and the guys behind. Around 35 or 40 miles I saw my parents and Mo, and could hear the excitement in their voices. I was riding in 3rd, just a few minutes behind the leaders, in my first 70.3! There was an aid station here, and I grabbed a bottle of water, but only took a few drinks before tossing it. Another mistake, I think. While it wasn’t a hot day, it was very very dry. I had 48 oz of liquid on board (which had a total of about 600 calories in Carbo Pro + Gatorade + SaltStick mix) and on a course like this, in such dry conditions, I probably should have drank an entire bottle of water from that aid station.
I actually planned to get some more water at the final aid station at around 50 miles, but it was on a section where we were going over 30 mph. I could have slowed down, but Cody Beals had just passed me and I didn’t want to give him too much time in the final miles. The long climb up Gibson was into a headwind and was pretty brutal. I tried to stay tucked in a tight aero position here, but I was starting to get tired and just general discomfort from the relatively long TT, for me.
I ended up with an average power of 293 W and 303 W. Before the race, I thought I could run pretty well off that. As I took my feet out of my shoes, however, I got some cramps in both hamstrings. Generally that isn’t a good sign for the run ahead! I didn’t need to run sub 5:00 mile pace here, however, so I thought maybe my legs would handle a??slower pace. Of course, the pace is slower because I’m not running a 10k, but a half marathon!
Run 7th in 1:22:16, 6:05 behind the fastest
My plan for the run was to take it out relaxed and let it come to me. The first mile or so was downhill, followed by about 2.5 miles of uphill. As I rolled down, I was happy that my lower legs felt great, but my quads were already quite sore. Cody Beals had exited T2 with less than 30 seconds gap on me, and I came up to his shoulder as we hit the first climb. My legs were not responding as I had hoped and Cody opened a gap back up. Again, I thought, “It’s a long race,” and let him go a bit. The run course was three laps, and I hoped I could really get things moving as I made my way back down the long downhill before the next long climb.
I wasn’t feeling??tired or??bonked, but my legs were hurting and I felt like my gait was closer to a jog than it was to fast running. The Gatorade and Gu provided at the aid station didn’t sound too appealing at this point, so I stuck with water. It still wasn’t too hot, but all the wind made it feel so dry and I felt like I just needed some liquid in my throat.
When I finally made my way back up the hill on the second lap, things started to get pretty grim. I was chipping a few seconds away on Cam (Who was actually in 1st place, not 2nd, since Michael Raelert was disqualified for not serving a drafting penalty. But I don’t think anyone racing was really aware of that.), but Cody had dropped me and I could see Taylor running great not too far behind me. As I passed Mo, she could see I wasn’t moving too quickly, and encouraged me to get my head in it and really start racing. I was still very well positioned in the race, but the trend was definitely going backwards.
It was around mile 6 or 7, as I ran uphill into a stiff headwind, that racing 13.1 miles turned into running 13.1 miles. My quads, hamstrings and glutes were all locking up pretty badly and I had some serious doubts that I could keep my legs moving all the way to the finish line. Taylor came by me and I had no answer. On my last lap, the women’s leader, Lauren Goss, whom was one lap behind me, came by me and said, “Welcome to 70.3’s.” Lauren raced Silverman last year and warned me before race day that many racers would go too hard on the bike and pay for it on the run. I was proving her rule.
Finally, with about a mile to go, I was able to push things a bit. I had to, as Chris Baird was coming in hot and about to roll me up (he ended up the day with the 2nd fastest run). I made the final turn with a 30 second gap on Chris. I knew if I could run a decent pace back down the hill, Chris would have to run sub-5:00 pace, and I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen. It hurt, but with a half mile to go, I was pretty sure I had it. Then my legs seized up and I almost tripped.??Oh shit. I took the pressure off just a bit, and finally made it into the finishing chute. Chris came in just 13 seconds behind me.
Overall 4th in 4:07:58, 3:23 behind 1st
After the race I hurt. I could hardly walk for about an hour after the race. I was told that I had actually finished 4th, not 5th because of Raelert’s DQ, and that made me feel a little bit better. Overall, I was happy to reach the finish line dead tired, and proud of my effort on the day and the preparation I put in over the past couple months.
Racing over four hours is long. And hard. I received lots of encouraging words from friends, most of them to the effect of, “Great job! I knew this was a great distance for you.” My 2015 season is over, and it is hard to say at this point what 2016 is going to look like, but I am really happy that I came out to Silverman and??gave it a go. I am told experience at the longer distance racing is worth a lot, so I hope I can build on this one in the future.
Special thanks to my dad for all the great photographs. It was really nice to have my parents out to this race as I sort of put a cap on my journey of the last few years. I never would have been able to make the sort of commitment to triathlon and The Triathlon Squad that I did without their support, both financially and emotionally. They have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and that didn’t stop when I told them I wanted to move to Poway.
I planned to drive back Sunday evening after the race.??After the early wakeup call and racing 70.3 miles, driving five hours seemed like a rough end to the weekend. But my beautiful fiancee would be making the drive back with me, and that made the time special. Throughout our relationship, we have yearned for a “normal” that would have both of us spending time together. Returning home??with her after a solid race felt like a new normal that I am very excited about.
The biggest perk of #offseason is that, more or less, I get to do what I want (so long as what “I want” includes swimming at least a few times a week…). I’ve been spending a lot of time with Mo, done a bit of surfing, and??seen family. Most workouts have been very easy and/or social because 1) I don’t get many opportunities for this sort of thing during the season, and 2) I haven’t been motivated to do anything too intense.
While I have this??freedom I thought I should check out the famous “Simi Ride.” Many cyclists and triathletes in the area have told me about this group ride over the last few years, and I’ve been itching to try it. According to this Bicycling Magazine article, the ride is almost 50 years old and attracts some of the best cyclists around.
I rode out from my parents house and met up with the group just as they were starting from the East end of LA Ave in Simi Valley. I knew this was a popular ride, so I was expecting to see a big group, but it was still impressive to me to see maybe 150 cyclists rolling down the road together. I jumped in towards the middle of the group. It took me a little while, but I finally found a friend and former teammate from Royal High School, Matt Gulden, in the bunch. Matt is still fairly new to road cycling, but he’s picked it up quick and it was nice to chat with him off and on over the next few hours.
From LA Ave the group continued onto Tierra Rejada and rode into Moorpark. Left onto Moorpark Rd and followed that up Norwegian Grade. A few cyclists rolled from the front to back up the climb, but the effort was fairly easy most of the way. As we got into Thousand Oaks, the group turned right onto Olsen Rd and continued onto Lynn Rd as we made our way into Newbury Park. Left on Reino Rd and another quick left onto Portrero Rd. The group rode steady until a small attack on some of the steeper sections near the top. The descent down into the flats of Hidden Valley and toward Lake Sherwood was one of the more intense sections of the ride. I got into a nice rotation at the front with about a dozen other guys. It was fun to get a little competitive again.
Once we made it to Westlake Blvd things were pretty relaxed. We made a pit stop at Triunfo Park for water and bathroom. With a group that large, stops take a bit longer, and I was antsy to get back on the road the last few minutes. Matt and I led the group out around Westlake Lake and onto Agoura Rd. This section to Kanan Rd was very chill.
Finally we got onto Cornell Rd and made our way to Mulholland. The faster guys that wanted to ride started to work their way towards the front here. Things slowly crescendoed until a couple miles before “7 Minute Hill” (or Dry Creek Cold Canyon Rd), where a massive attack was thrown down. One guy in a green kit (Canondale?) went off the front here. I led a chase group of a few others riders through the lower sections of 7 Minute Hill. The effort was pretty intense, and I definitely thought that maybe I was going “too hard.”??Fugg it! I do what I want!??I ended up 3rd to the top and a decent time of 6:35 (@ 368W).
I guess the ride more or less ends at the top of this climb, and people roll out in smaller groups whenever they feel recovered. Matt and I continued down Mulholland and made our way north through The Valley via Topanga Canyon and Valley Circle. As the ride time crept toward four hours, my legs became total trash, and I rode Matt’s wheel back home (except when he dropped me up the Santa Susana Pass!).
Though I was smashed by the end, I had a blast! and will hopefully make it out a few more times as training allows. As fall progress into winter, the route gets a little bit longer, a little tougher, and I hear the pace kicks up quite a bit!
Here is a photo album one of the riders took from yesterday (though I’m not in any of them!). I found a video compilation from the 2013-2014 Winter Simi Ride that shows some cool shots of the route.
Whenever I tell someone I am a professional triathlete, I usually get a response like, “Do you do Ironman?” Or, “Have you done the one on Hawaii?” I usually get a look of disinterest when I tell them I specialize in Olympic distance races, and have yet to complete a “full triathlon.” Sorry, but I’m not slow enough to be an Ironman triathlete. I take that back — that was mean. I have always respected the idea of racing for eight hours or more, I’m just more interested in that one to two hour zone.
Since I have been staying with my girl friend Mo in Tucson the past three weeks, I decided to make the quick drive up to Tempe yesterday to watch friends Jordan Rapp and Trevor Wurtele (also The Triathlon Squad teammate) compete at Ironman Arizona and see what this??long course triathlon business is all about. (Shout out to Mo and her #2 ranked and undefeated University of Arizona women’s cross country team competing at this weekend’s NCAA Championships!)
When I got to the course, the pro men and women had just started the bike. I found the man in the orange shirt in Starbucks, of course, who had celebrity Heather Wurtele with him! Heather’s parents, whom are very proud Canadians, were also there and came out to watch their son-in-law race. (We took it easy on the Rob Ford jokes.) After getting a quick jolt of energy (coffee for them, recharge of my phone and camera for myself), we headed back to the course to see the end of the first lap of the bike.??After the first lap, Matt Reed was on the front of the big lead group and both Jordan and Trevor had cut a bit of their swim deficit to the leaders. By the second lap, Jordan had ridden through the leaders and was now on the front! Trevor had also cut out a lot of time to the main pack.
The bike looks like it gets pretty crazy out there. With a three lap course, the pro’s are lapping much slower riders after just an hour or so of racing. Other than the first lap, it seems like referees would have a hell of a time trying to catch anyone drafting — there are just people everywhere! I am thankful that I do not have to deal with that craziness as a short course triathlete.
After getting some water, a snack (bag of cheetos for myself), bathroom, and some more sitting around (checking Twitter), the guys finally started to come into T2. Jordan led, followed by Pedro Gomes in 2nd and Trevor in 3rd. Jordan had a couple minutes on Pedro Gomes, and I think about six minutes on Trevor and the pack just behind.
The run was definitely more entertaining to watch than the bike. We ran across Tempe Town Lake on the Mill Ave bridge and were able to see them four times each lap + the finish. It struck me that no one really seemed to be running very fast — because they weren’t. Ironman run pace is so much slower than any pace you will ever see competitive runners or short course triathletes running. That isn’t to say it is, or even??looks, easy. Just another observation I made yesterday leading me to the conclusion that Ironman is??hard (because if it were easy, they would be running faster!).
Jordan would hold his lead through the first lap before Victor del Corral came charging by to take the victory. After about midway through the bike, Jordan was basically on his own the rest of the day. Kudos to him for “keeping the pressure on,” as Paulo likes to say, and holding onto 2nd place.
Trevor’s race was pretty exciting. Between spots 3-7 there was quite a lot of passing going on. After starting the run in 3rd, Trevor fell back to 6th at one point, moved back up to 4th, and ended up finishing in 6th. The race was ON the whole time. I struggled with what I should yell to both Trevor and Jordan as they ran passed each time. Generally when I am watching a race, I have constructive comments to make, or I try to say something that will help inspire and get their inner-voice to give some positive self talk. I realized I have no idea what they must be going through at this stage of the race. I felt unqualified to yell much of anything besides, “GO TREVOR!” or, “COME ON JORDAN!”
Some of the guys Trevor was battling:
After about 7.5 hours of racing, it hit me: they were still racing! These guys are animals!
Some final takeaways. After watching, does this make me want to do an Ironman???I do, but not tomorrow. Watching Ironman Arizona really did make me more interested in doing one, but not enough to throw the Olympic dream out the window. I have doubted whether I would ever want to do one as a pro, but I think after yesterday, I actually would like to give it a go as a pro, perhaps in the twilight years of my career as you often see from other ITU-focused athletes.
I know how much hard work these athletes put into their training and I have always respected them for that. I think yesterday gave me some new appreciation for what these guys (and girls, of course) put themselves through on the individual day. This race is so long that there is no doubt everyone goes through some very very dark moments, hopefully spaced out with some really high highs. It was pretty inspiring seeing the quantity of athletes out there just drilling themselves, going for it, and blowing up.
Again, not something I’m dying to do tomorrow, but a “full triathlon” is something I’d like to experience in my life.
Since January my blogging has been quite poor. I have written a few posts over at USA Triathlon for the Collegiate Recruitment Program page?? (here, here, and here), but otherwise have limited my blogging in an attempt to decrease distractions while I finish up my Masters degree. Well, school ended a couple of weeks ago which means no more class (I have taken my last college course ever!) and I am relieved of my coaching duties at NAU (the end of an era… this surely deserves its own, well thought out post). I am still working on finishing my final Masters project (think ‘thesis’ but with a little less novelty), which means I have not left Flagstaff for good. I continue to work and write everyday, getting more done now that I have a few things off my plate. My main focus continues to be training, which is probably the culprit of the delayed conclusion of this project. If I took a week or two to work all-day-everyday on it, I’m sure I would finish up, but with a big season of triathlon racing ahead, I’m not willing to do that. I don’t have a job to hurry home to, so I will continue the course I’m currently on until I have completed the project and finished up my Masters.
A lot has happened since my last posts besides working on my fitness, and since I took a 2.5 hour nap this afternoon and can’t sleep now, I thought this would be an appropriate time for a quick catch-up session.
At Clermont Pan American Cup I finished 17th and earned my first all-important ITU points. I wrote a race report for USA Triathlon.
A week later I won the Desert Classic Duathlon in Fountain Hills, AZ. It was my first PRO win, although it came under awkward circumstances. Basically, several of the other pros that were ahead of me off the bike took a wrong turn on the second run leg and I was the #1 benefactor of their mistake. There’s some discussion about it on Slowtwitch here.
My girlfriend Mo Huber took a coaching job at the University of Arizona. She began in May and has been living in Tucson since then. I miss her dearly and like it or not, I think I have a lot of Tucson in my future.
I was a discretionary selection for the FISU World University Triathlon Championships to be held in Taiwan at the end of June! This was very exciting news and a bit of a surprise. Lots of blog posts are sure to come concerning this race and trip.
I have applied for a spot on the World Duathlon Championship team, which will be held in Nancy, France in September. I’m hoping with a good result next week in Dallas will help bring me to the top of the list for team selectors.
Dallas. My next race is another Pan American Cup in Dallas on June 2nd. The field is quite stacked, with a few London 2012 qualifiers racing and the relatively-famous Lukas Verzbicas (go ducks!). Take a look at the start list here.
That certainly wasn’t an exhaustive list (get it? I can’t sleep!), but should satisfy all of your RunPD appetites for now. I’m really excited for the next few months and look forward to making time to share all of it with you.
I’m not going to apologize for lack of updates. Soon I will be done with school and will be devoting myself completely to all things triathlon… which of course includes updating this blog.
Anyway, I got in a tempo run today on Lake Mary Rd. here in Flagstaff and Mo helped me make a video of it. It wasn’t a special workout really, just another solid wood-stacking session (for the metaphorical fire that will be lit in the future). Here it is.
Crazy to think 2011 is coming to an end. So much has happened this last year, for better (mostly) and for worse (specifically the passing of my Farfar). As I did in 2010 and 2009, I will be posting a recap of the year. I like going through the process of writing these posts as it makes me read a lot of the things I have written over the last year, helping me relive experiences and relearn lessons. But this recap will have to wait, at least another week.
I am writing this post from a Starbucks in New Orleans, LA. My girl friend Mo and I leave on a seven day cruise in the Caribbean in just a few hours. I’m pretty certain there will be limited internet access on the trip, so no tweets or blog posts until we return. I will make sure to take lots of pictures of our trip and share some of the highlights.
Finally, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! Enjoy the end of the holiday season. 🙂
The Myrtle Beach ITU Pan American Cup weekend festivities began on Thursday night. Mo and I drove down the mountain to Carefree where we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Carefree Station. I have a general rule that when duck is on the menu, I order it, and Thursday was no exception. It did not disappoint.
We spent the night at Mo’s aunt and uncle’s home in Scottsdale which made our early morning travel on Friday a little more bearable. I had a flight at 7:05, so we woke at 4:30 and were out the door before 5. Once I got to the Delta terminal I saw a huge line to check my baggage ($150 bike fee for the loss). I got through that line and I figured the long lines were behind me. I then got in a long security line, only to be told about 10 minutes later that the line I was in was for first class passengers only. Seriously? The TSA officials rallied on my behalf and had a real sense of urgency, only giving me two bag checks, and got me to my gate with several minutes to spare.
The rest of my travels were less notable and I met my mom in the Myrtle Beach airport. My mom conveniently had some business meetings in Charlotte, NC so she decided to make the quick trip over to Myrtle Beach. I am always happy to have her, or any of the rest of my family, there with me for races, and I am very lucky that this is the standard and not the exception.
This morning I met up with fellow USAT Collegiate Recruits Dan Feeney and Natalie Kirchoff to check out the bike and swim courses. The roads are very clean and smooth. There are a few inclines and declines on the course, but it is for the most part a very flat course. The swim will be in some very “rusty” water, as Natalie described it. Rusty? Dan and I thought. Once we jumped in we saw what she meant… the water is very brown and visibility is about two or three inches probably. We aren’t 100% sure of what the swim course will be, but should know those details after the elite athlete briefing in a couple of hours.
I have spent the rest of the day laying low, feet up, watching the Ironman World Championship coverage, and drinking lots of fluids. No cramps for me tomorrow! I am now heading out for a quick run, a little stretch and then off to the briefing. Nerves are OK, for now. But with each hour I am getting more and more excited.
USA Triathlon will have some live coverage of the race tomorrow on their live twitter feed @USATLive. The women’s race begins at 7:30 am and the men’s race is at 10:00 am EST. (If you don’t have twitter you can still follow along here: http://twitter.com/usatlive)