September 18, 2013

September Season Update

After my crash in Karlovy Vary I ended up being a little more injured than I thought. I took a couple days off but was back swimming and riding within a couple days. The reason I came back to training so quick was because I was supposed to race my final French Grand Prix in Sartrouville the next weekend. My body didn’t feel too bad, but my hip and groin just weren’t healing at all. I was able to swim, but I couldn’t kick. I was able to ride, but not get out of the saddle. I would test my run every day and end up walking home after just a couple minutes. Based on how the rest of my body felt I thought I would be able to run by the time race day came around, but sure enough, the morning of the race there was no way I was going to be able to start. I told my French team this, but turns out I HAD to start or the team gets disqualified. So I ended up doing the swim and then stopping in T1. It was embarrassing, and a really hard thing to do, but I’m really glad I did because my body was pretty shot after just doing the swim.

After Sartrouville I flew straight from Paris to San Fran and was finally “home” after being gone from Santa Cruz for nine months. When I got back I took four days completely off training and just got caught up on a bunch of things. This was really good because I was finally able to fully rest my hip. I found out I had A LOT of tightness in my IT band, quad, and groin that I was able to roll out, but mechanically my hip and pelvis were still pretty fragile. 

One week later I was finally able to swim, bike, and run with no pain. It was an awesome feeling knowing I was going to be able to get back to my life. The hard decision was figuring out if I was going to be able to race my favorite race, the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, the upcoming Saturday. On Wednesday my coach and I saw solid enough numbers that proved I was coming back from this injury much quicker than my previous season downers and I officially decided I was going to race.

The Race:
There were only 15 men on the start line of this race, but still plenty of talent represented. When we first dove into the chilly water for the first of two 750m swim laps, I made a major rookie error of not tightening my new goggles. I dove in and they went straight around my neck – amateur hour. I ended up swimming with no goggles to the first buoy and then turned over on my back and kicked on my back for a while to put them back on my head. Once they were back on it was able to navigate through all the hectic sea weed patches much easier. Another benefit of being on my back was that I could see where everyone was, and I noticed that there was a group of four of us (Dustin Mclarty, John Dahlz, and Chris Braden) that had a solid gap on the rest of the field already. This was a good thing for me since I hadn’t had a solid block of training having guys to ride with was going to be extremely helpful. I swam very smooth to make sure we kept the group together and sure enough after lap two the four of us exited the water one after the next.

I took my time in transition to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes and to make sure we all came out together. After about a minute on the bike we had a group established, but we were missing Dahlz. Once I saw that the guys were on my wheel we put the gas down and didn’t stop. I felt pretty good on the bike and wanted to take advantage of that since I knew I hadn’t been running. I kept urging the other guys to keep it rolling and not slow the pace even though we already had a four minute gap on the chase group of six. By the end of the four lap 40k bike we had a solid five minute gap on the rest of the field. 

Coming into T2 Chris and Dustin had rotated through and both started taking their feet out of their shoes about 800m from the dismount line. When I saw this I decided this would be a good opportunity to get a small gap to start the run. I attacked and rode hard for the last 600m and had about a 20m gap into T2.

When I started the run I just wanted to lock into a nice rhythm and focus on my technique. I felt really good despite not having any solid run sessions in my legs, and I was able to hold a nice steady strong pace for the entire three lap 10k run. At every turn around I was able to get time gaps to second place and saw I was extending the gap each lap.

I ended up crossing the line first for the second time in my career, but what I was more excited about was that my run leg was one second faster than when I won in 2011, and this year was much windier!

Seeing a glimpse of the progress I’ve made with my coach and training squad is really cool! My season hasn’t been an accurate projection of the skills and fitness I’ve acquired this year, but I still have Las Vegas Super Sprint, Cozumel World cup, Tongyeong World Cup, and San Diego Super Sprint left to hopefully cap the season off with a little more pizzazz! Stay tuned.

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