September 21, 2012

Pacific Grove 2012

After I got home from WTS Stockholm, I went to the doctor and found out that I had irritation and inflammation in my chest and lungs that I never let get better. I was prescribed “Don’t do anything” for 10-14 days. I ended up doing nothing aerobic for 11 days and finally felt a complete change in my body. When I started training again I had no breathing issues, I didn’t cough at night, and my heart rate was back to normal. I could take giant deep breaths and felt like a new person. I started training again on Tuesday September 4th and knew that Pacific Grove was on the 8th. I made the choice to compete the morning of the race. I knew that I could use this race as a training event and not compromise my future training. It was an awesome event, but racing when out of shape is definitely rough!

The Race:
There were only about 10 Pros in this race so it was pretty low key compared to previous years. The swim was long this year, and Dustin Mclarty and I were able to put about 45sec on our nearest competitors. I knew coming into the event that I hadn’t run for literally 2 weeks, so I was gonna have to swim and ride fairly hard. 

Dustin and I did just that. I lead the swim out and was first on the bike. Since it was a draft legal race I knew it was in my best interest to have someone to ride with, so I waited for Dustin and when he was on my wheel we were off. The first three laps of the bike felt amazing, I was taking really long pulls and almost dropping Dustin. But by the fourth lap the heavy winds and my extremely out of shape body shut down on me. My heart rate kept getting lower and lower and my legs felt more and more like lead. On the second half of the last lap I was barely able to hold Dustin’s wheel! I told Dustin “This is your race dude, I’m gonna have to walk”.

When we got to T2 we had about 2:30 on a chase pack of two, 5 min on another group of 2, and much more time on a few others. I was stoked that I wasn’t having any breathing issues, but I was not stoked that my legs felt like jello sticks. 

Dustin went flying by me right out of transition, and that was the theme for the rest of the race. I ended up jogging a 40:09 10k (which is literally 8min slower than last year) and finishing 5th overall. My time was 13 minutes slower than last year, but I had a big ol smile on my face because I was able to race again without any breathing issues!

ITU WTS Stockholm & Sickness

The ITU Sprint World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden did not go quite how I envisioned. It’s important to learn lessons, but learning them by having things go wrong on a very important day is less than ideal. The outcome of this race was somewhat similar to WTS Madrid, but for a completely different reason. Out of all the races I did this year for development purposes, the biggest ones were the ones I messed up the most.

A quick recap as to why this race went downhill:
After I got back from my three month European adventure I took a solid two week break to recover from racing 10 times in 12 weeks. When I started training again I got one solid week in then caught an annoying cough. I’ve never really been sick longer than 48hrs so I figured I’d still train, but just take it easy until the cough went away. When the cough stuck around for over a week I decided to take two full days off, and after those days I felt back to normal again. I started to get back into my training rhythm and was disappointed at the numbers I was seeing. I wasn’t really coughing anymore, but my heart rate was really high, and I was short of breath on all my hard sessions. I figured it was because I was still out of shape and had to take so much time off. I ended up racing the Santa Cruz Sprint and International Tri’s the next weekend and thought I was back on track, but after the second race that weekend I was coughing again. I didn’t think much of it, just figured it was because I exerted too much energy that weekend and I needed to recover. I was leaving the next day for Spain to train there before flying to Stockholm so I knew I’d give myself a couple easy days to get back into the groove.
When I got to Spain my luggage got lost for a couple days which was annoying, but it forced me to take things a little easier. When I finally got my bags and started really training again, every night I would have these coughing fits where I would be up all night, and keep my room mate Matt Chrabot up all night. I honestly didn’t think this cough had anything to do with training, I legitimately thought it was my throat, chest and lungs being dry from the air conditioning. I ended up moving my bed into the other room and tried to get away from the AC. It worked! I didn’t cough at all that night, but what I didn’t correlate was the fact that we were leaving for Stockholm the next day and I was on my taper; no hard efforts = no cough.

When I got to Stockholm I was rooming with Jarrod Shoemaker and we didn’t have AC in our room. I slept like a baby every night, not one cough! At this point I was still sure the AC was the problem and figured I was going to be ready to race. I did all of my proper race preparation and felt good and ready to race.

The Race:
I had a lower number so I ended up getting a spot in the middle of the pontoon, but when the horn blew I had an awesome start and was out in front with clear water right away. I got lucky and Richard Varga (who lead out of the water at the Olympics) swam from the left side of the field right in front of me. It was perfect! I was swimming in second place with no issues. Around the second buoy Alisandro Fabian started swimming on my legs and lower body for some reason. It was extremely annoying and there was no reason for it, but instead of retaliation I just decided to let him go in front of me. I exited the water in 3rd with no issues and was confident I could make the front pack quite easy.

I was first out of transition and was able to get my feet in my shoes on the downhill cobble section and was happy with my placement. Fabian came by me just before the first turn and I got on his wheel no problem. By the time we were a quarter of the way through lap one, we had a solid group of about 12 guys, but when we were about halfway through the first lap I started getting extremely short of breath. I found myself rubber banding off the back of this group, a terrible place to be on a technically challenging course. Before we even started the second lap I knew something was wrong. I ended up getting dropped about a quarter of the way through the second lap and knew my day was done. I didn’t even try to go with other groups. My chest felt like there was a knife in it, I was only able to get about 20% of breaths in, and coughing hurt my entire body. I ended up riding next to Olympian and Canadian National Champion Kyle Jones who was also having a shocker of a race.  We didn’t really even talk; we just rode side by side waiting for the bike to be over. When we got to T2 Kyle asked me if I was going to run, I said “Yeah, I hate not finishing. I didn’t fly all the way over here to not finish”.

I ended up jogging about a 19:30 5k, finished 58th, extremely embarrassed, and wondering what was wrong. After the race I didn’t stop coughing the entire weekend and knew I needed to go to my least favorite place on earth: The Doctor.

The Team Relay event was the next day, and because Matt had a torn calf and couldn’t run I was put on the team. Our High Performance leader put me as fourth so that if we were really far behind I could just cruise. Long story short, after the solid efforts of the first three legs, Team USA was far enough back that the ITU official told me “Your team isn’t lapped yet, but after you swim I’ll have to stop you. So you can do the swim, and then stop, or you can just stop”. As much as I wanted to support my team mates, it was a miracle I didn’t have to race!

One of these days I’ll have a WTS race where I don’t get dropped and Barrie Sheply will be confused.