Race 42 – Rev3 Rush

Race 42 – Rev3 Rush

So this morning I knocked out race 42….hard to believe that there are only 10 to go until we wrap this up.  This weekend I am racing in Richmond, VA at the Richmond International Raceway.  This is the most unique weekend of racing I have ever done because it is a series of very short, very fast races around the raceway.  We race in the morning (which we just did) and then race again this afternoon.  Tomorrow we will race three times for a total of 5 races this weekend.  Even though these races are shorter they are very painful.  

And to top it off I got my first battle wound of the season.  At the dismount line where we get off the bike I had a bit of a spill.  For those of you who don’t know most racers in these shorter distance races don’t race with socks.  Rather we just slip our shoes into our cycling and running shoes (saves a few seconds).  When you are getting off the bike you slip your foot out of your shoes as you are coming into the dismount line (the line where you have to get off your bike).  You put your bare feet on top of your cycling shoes until you dismount.  You usually do this in the last few hundred yards.  Then when you dismount you are bare foot and can run to your next transition more quickly.  Well today as I stepped off the bike and was coming across this dismount line running my bike my foot slipped on the duct tape that was used for the dismount line.  Down I go.  Fortunately it wasn’t a bad wreck but left me with a bloody knee.  So is racing I guess.

I attached a video that Rev3 made of the bike course.  Take a look.  Gives you a first hand glance at what one of the seven laps we did looks like.

This race (and all the rest this weekend) only added 6.6 miles to the total…but man did they hurt.  These super sprint races really are taxing on an old man.  We are now at 880.2 miles…mile by mile closer.  Now to rest for this afternoon’s race.

Race 41 – Rev3 Knoxville

After a great day at Cedars of Lebanon I made the trip east across the state to get to Knoxville for my 41st race.  This was a great weekend of racing.  At Cedars I was surrounded by my local race friends…in Knoxville I was surrounded by my Rev3 race family from all over the country.  Pretty awesome weekend of racing.

This race was an olympic distance.  The swim took place in the river…I was looking forward to this because I knew that for most of the swim I would have the current helping out (even if only a little).  The swim went well.  I just tried to get into a groove..any groove..to help the swim progress smoothly.  The water was a perfect temp and the crowd broke up early so we were all swimming free.

Out of the swim, across the main road and into transition.  Out of the swim gear..on goes the bike gear and off we go.  I have been to this race three or four times but I have never had the pleasure to race.  I have been there as a coach for Team In Training and as a race volunteer last year.  I had heard that the bike was hilly..this is so very true.  This was a challenging bike course.  It was beautiful but it certainly made you work for the finish.  I, as I have been in my last several races, was nervous on the bike.  Every railroad crossing or rough section caused me great concern.  That is just the way it is going to be for the balance of the races.

Off the bike and out onto the run course.  We were exceptionally fortunate with the weather this year.  It was about 65 for the run.  Perfect.  I knew that I didn’t have enough in the worn out body to put down a great run so I was just focused on getting through it without blowing up a few miles in.  I knew pacing was all I could do.  The run turned out being more enjoyable than I had originally expected. It was an out and back course (which I usually don’t enjoy) which gave me a chance to see all my friends that were racing.  It seemed like I passed someone every quarter mile or so.  Sometimes it is the simple things that pick up the mood as you are punishing your body.

Across the line.  41 done…that is hard for me to believe.  I think back across the season and it seems like one big blur of race starts and finishes….I am writing this from my RV as I await the start of race 42 here at Rev3 Rush in Richmond.  We are racing on the Richmond International Raceway…that’s right.  They set up a pool in the infield of this Nascar track…we will race on this track several times over the course of this weekend.  

Race 41 brought another 32 more miles of racing.  This brings the total to 873.6 miles.  Until next time.

Race 40 – Cedars of Lebanon

Nothing like being back home for another fun local race.  This race was about 30 minutes east of Nashville in Lebanon.  It was great to see so many familiar faces at the race.  This was a fun, albeit short, race.  200 yard swim, 10 mile bike and a 2 mile run.  I can talk about the race in terms of how the swim, bike and ran went for me on that day…but I would rather just show a picture that sums up the day for me…..Image

This has been a full year…a lot of miles put on the body and on the road.  Along the way my young son has been growing up so fast.  This picture reminded me of a photo earlier in the season….Image

What a journey this has been.  Let me close this post by saying that the race went well.  Added another one to the tally and continued to spread the word on home turf.  This race added 12.2 miles to the grand total of 841.6 miles….closing in on the goal!

Race 39 – Tall Pines Sprint

I received good feedback on the last post. The drone was a very cool addition to that race. Unfortunately it was not around Sunday.

Sunday was a minnie version of Saturday’s Olympic. This was, overall, a fairly challenging course. It was certainly easier on Sunday due to the shorter distance but on tired legs it still was noticeable.

The swim was a 500 meter jaunt around a point. I had a harder time getting in rhythm with this swim. Not sure why but it felt like I was fighting it the whole way.

Once out on the bike I could tell I had raced the day before. I tried to just maintain a steady pace over the 10 mile course. Again, I’m cautious, at this point, about pushing the pace too hard for fear of injury or wreck.

Off the bike and out on the 5k run course. This is where the tired legs really barked. It was a hilly course on a hot day. Honestly I just wanted to be done. Just wanted to get this one behind me. Across the line and relieved.

We received a very warm welcome at Tall Pines from the race organizer to the fans to fellow racers. We even received a cash donation on the spot. Great stuff.

This race added 13.3 miles bringing the total to 829.4 miles. Making headway.

Race 38 – Tall Pines Olympic Triathlon

This week we headed just north of Augusta to tackle the Olympic and Sprint distance Tall Pines triathlons.  Instead of another text based post I have something much more fun to share.  A few weeks back I tried to share, from a racer’s perspective, what a triathlon was like.  Well, this week, I am excited to show a video of the experience.  Prior to the start of the race I looked up to see a drone.  That’s right..drones are here my friends.  However, this was a helpful drone.  It was up there filming most of the race and I have the video to share.  Enjoy.  Take a close look at minute 4:17 and you may just see someone you know running their bike into transition to get ready for the run:

This race added 32 more miles to the tally.  We are now over the 800 mile mark for a total distance of 816.1 miles.

Race 37 – Healthy Heart Triathlon

After a challenging race in Lake Guntervsville, AL I packed into the RV and headed northwest to Cape Girardeau, MO for my next race the following day.

I knew this was going to be a smaller race as it is classified as a super sprint. This event was a fundraiser for the SigEp fraternity at Southeast Missouri State University. When I showed up to the race I could tell this was going to be a laid back event. That was totally fine with me. My legs were a little weary from a tough race and long drive the day before so I was looking for anything too serious.

I was the first racer to show up. Slowly more started making their way in. A total of 10 showed up race morning. This means we were all finishing in the top ten that day. Nice for me. The crowd, though small, was very welcoming and warm to each other. We all visited and chatted it up before the race.

The pool swim was in probably the most amazing student recreation center I had ever seen.

20140511-195205.jpg Complete with rock climbing wall, zip line and rope swing. Very cool pool.

The swim was 150 yards. Nice pace after a long swim the day before. Then off to the bike. The transition was set up on the top of a pretty good hill. The bike course was about 7 miles along country and hilly roads. My legs did not like it at all. I just wanted to get off the bike. My legs were not interested in racing that course.

We climbed back up to the transition and got ready for the run. The run was only 2 miles but I knew it was going to involve an uphill finish back to transition. So with tired legs and a defeated mind I made it through the run to bring race 37 to a close.

I was pleased to race this tri. I have now officially raced the largest triathlon in the country (Chicago Lifetime) and unofficially the smallest. It was a lot of fun. I wish I had a fresher body for this race because I would have really liked to race it. Maybe next year.

This race added only 9.1 miles to the total but it was certainly memorable. After this race I was 761.2 miles into the adventure. Getting closer folks.

Race 36 – Lake Guntersville by Amanda Foland

This week you have the privelage for reading a post by my friend Amanda Foland.  Amanda, and her husband Scott, were both there this weekend racing the Lake Guntersville Olympic triathlon.  I asked her if she would write this week’s post about her experience at the race.  Thank you Amanda.  All, enjoy!

What a privilege it is to write this weekend’s blog! I must first start off saying; if you have not donated to Team Chad, please considerate donating, and if you have- I ask that if you can; give more. I can assure you that David is not paying me to say this, or write this, all of this comes from the heart. My name is Amanda Foland and I am a fellow racer and friend of David’s. He has asked for me to write this week’s blog, to give all a fresh look at what goes into a race. 

This week’s race was held in the State Park, at Lake Guntersville Alabama, if you haven’t been there I highly recommend it, the sites are breathtaking. Saturday May 3rd, at 4:50am the alarm goes off, before my eyes open, I go through a check list of what needs to be done before the 8 am start; shower, prep, food and then off to the site. 

The drive into the park was just beautiful, green trees, sun rising up over the hills and the fog rolling off of the water, this is a site waking up for. You look around and are in awe of God’s creation. Pulling up to the race area you are greeted by the friendly volunteers and racers. That is one of many things that my husband and I enjoy about triathlons is that the community is outstanding and encouraging. After unloading the car, your next destination is to transition, setting up your gear is key, you do not have time to scurry through a big pile of supplies. As I set my gear up, I am visualizing coming in and out of transition- swim to bike and then bike to run, even though it may seem like a easy thing- put shoes on, helmet on, race belt on…it can actually be mind boggling after getting out of the water, or off of the bike. 

Now the fun begins, you are greeted by friends, and fellow racers. Seeing David at these races, always makes my husband and I smile, because we know what he goes though week in and week out- I will touch on that at the end of this blog, but when you see people you know, there is a sense of peace because you know they will be facing the same obstacles as yourself. After a short visit, it’s time to get warmed up, I always have a plan- run for 15 minutes to get the blood flowing, joints moving and heart pumping. This is my time to clear my mind, and it is my time to pray for the race, racers, volunteers and safety of the race-it is my quite time. Next I get my wetsuit on and warm up in the water, I like to warm up in the water to help calm my nerves, and to get my breathing on track. 

Out of the water and it’s time to line up for a wave start, today we are going off in age groups- starting in the water. I must add, I had to convince David that his wave was already in the water and he better get a move on, he finally believed me and all you see is a 6’7” man running then jumping into the water where the rest of the wave was waiting to go off. If you know him, you know this is nothing short of who he is. Siren buzzes, and they are off. We were competing in an Olympic distance triathlon, our swim was a two lap course, 750m two times around. The water was great, not too cold or choppy, just enough to make you remember you’re in open water. 

Two laps done and then off into transition where everything was where it should be. Out of transition and onto the bike, coming out of the park there were a few hills, but nothing that made me feel like it was going to be a hard course. The ride was an out and back course along the lake and country side, filled with more views that I recommend you traveling to see. I felt strong on the bike averaging 18mph and ready to run. I will add, my husband and I previewed the course a few weeks before the race so we knew what we were getting into…the run was 6.21 miles, and half of it was on gravel trails with hills. So my mind was already preparing for the best of the best, just convincing myself that I could take on these hills with no problem. 

Coming out of transition into the run my legs felt great, that does not happen all of the time, but today it was the case. Four hills into the run (1 mile) they were still going strong. At this point I finally see my husband, who is running in at a great 6’50”min/mile pace, and all I could say was “I couldn’t wait to see you!” He tells me “you only have to run the big hill once” I think- “ha ok, let’s do this.” Still going strong I take on those gravel hills and make my way back. Pushing along, encouraging other racers and again taking in all the views. Getting closer to the finish line, all I can think about is how great I felt during this entire race, and just praise God for His hand of mercy and safely.  I finished, placing 3rd in my age group and setting a PR. I was done, and ready to head home. 

Here is the most important part of this article, I was done. My next race isn’t until June 28th, I was able to go home and catch up on all the things that piled up during the week, and after that I am able to relax with my family. I would like you all to know, for David that isn’t the case, he was headed to another race, six hours away. I love to race, but racing two times in one weekend, for 52 weeks- I would dream of the day where I wasn’t racing anymore. You can tell how much Team Chad means to both David and Maggie. He wouldn’t be putting himself through all of this if he wasn’t passionate about it. Maggie, is so supportive and a true encourager because without her, David would not be able to do this. The time away from family is tough, not to mention the travel and expenses it takes to race. I woke up Sunday, and thought “hmm I am glad I am not racing today”, I will do a light run but not a full out race. Please keep in mind, that without your support Team Chad wouldn’t be funded, so thank you for donating and again if you have been thinking about it, please listen to your heart and give.

Thanks again Amanda for the post.  This race added 32 more miles to the tally.  We now have raced a total of 784.1 miles.  

Race 35 – Hammer Sprint

Race 35 was a blast from the past for me.  I raced this course many years ago when I was very new to the sport.  Memories flood back from the strangest things.  Sometimes it is from a distinct smell from long ago or the lyrics of a song from high school.  For me it was all of the subtle things about this race.  From the swim start to the picnic tables.  This race brought back a lot of memories from when I was new to the sport.

The course was essentially the same with a slight change to the run course (a good change that cut out a rocky out and back along an access road).  It was a cool morning and the crowd was excited to get going.  For many people this was their first race of the year.  You could just see it in their faces..in their anxiety and excitement.  It became very apparent at the sound of the gun which started the chaos.  It was an open water swim.  We had about 100 yards to the first turn buoy and it was bedlam.  Everyone around me was racing to the first buoy.  This is normal for early season races because everyone wants to make sure that they hit their “target” goal for their first race of the season.  They don’t want to give away any time especially early in the race.  What ends up happening, rather than a smooth fast swim to the turn buoy, is unorganized chaos.  Everyone was slamming into each other.  

Once we got to the turn buoy we started heading back into shore.  The sun must have started to rise with the start of the race also.  You could not see anything but the sun in your face.  This normally would just be frustrating but in this case, at least for me, it was worrisome from an injury standpoint.  Coming into the swim exit there were two yellow booms that created a wake free swim area along the beach.  These were made of very hard plastic.  We had to either swim under or over these booms.  The problem was that you could not see them at all until you were within a few yards.  So, no open and rhythmic swimming heading into the beach because I was afraid of slamming my hand on one of the two booms causing a hand injury.  It would be something silly like that to jeopardize the rest of the season.  So, because of the chaos to the first buoy, the sun and the booms coming into the beach, this was a very disappointing swim for me.

Off onto the bike.  Really a nice lollipop course with a small section of road construction on the out and back portion.  It was a nice course with a few noticeable climbs that made the legs wake up a bit.  There were some fast bikers on the course that day.  It is always fun to watch pure speed on the bike.

Back into transition.  Out on the run.  The run, in order to keep the course from sprawling too far, was several looped or out and back sections.  This day I enjoyed this course.  It allowed me to keep up with where I was on the course and where the other racers were out there.  The run felt good (as good as it can) and soon enough the race was no longer an experience but rather it had moved over to a memory.  Race 35 done.  17 to go.  This race was a total distance of 19.7 miles.  We are now at 752.1 miles.  Less than 250 miles until our target mile goal of 1,000 miles in 12 months.

Race 34 – Heart and Soles Triathlon

Back to Kentucky horse country for race 34.  Versailles, KY hosted the 11th annual Heart and Soles triathlon.  I showed up race morning feeling under the weather after a week of a head cold.  This, fortunately, was the first time all season I had to race under the weather.  I was a bit dizzy and congested.  Great combination for a triathlon.  

Got the transition set up and headed into the pool area.  Low and behold I was to be the third swimmer in the pool.  Apparently I had put down a swim time for a 300 yard swim when in fact this race was a 400 yard swim.  This means I was positioned too high for my swim abilities.  The way this race was set up I was not able to move back to where I should be so I knew I would have to push the effort a bit harder than normal to ensure that I didn’t mess up the flow for the other racers.

The swim went well.  Got passed a few times y some very quick swimmers.  Off to the bike.  This course took us through true horse country.  It was beautiful.  There are few places you can race with some much scenic beauty as horse country.  The bike was well spread out and everyone just kept their head down and raced their own race.  I tried to not push too hard as the dizziness and congestion was still lingering.  

We rolled back into transition and I knew I had a tough 5k to go.  They had us set up to run an off-road 5k which is always a bit more taxing on the legs.  The undulation of the terrain saps the legs more that steady and level pavement.  Just after the 2 mile mark we hit a section they affectionately termed “the wall” on the course map.  This was an appropriate label.  This was a tough, albeit relatively short, hill.  After you ascended this climb you then had a longer, not quite as steep, gradual climb.  Finishing these climbs brought you into the finish and a conclusion to race 34.

Heart and Soles was a fun race that had a lot of local support.  That is a good sign of the viability of races of this sort.  Any event that can cross the ten year mark is doing something right.  This race added another 17.4 miles bringing the total up to 732.4 miles.  

Race 33 – Boiler Sprint

So I find myself, once again, behind on my blog. I raced another race this morning without talking about the great race I had over Easter weekend.

Last weekend we headed to West Lafayette, Indiana to take part in the Boiler triathlon on the campus of Purdue University. The organizers were gracious enough to allow me to come up and race this event on very short notice.

The race was great. This race was put on by a great group of triathletes. It was another chilly morning. The swim took place in the Purdue team pool. Second time this season that I have had a chance to race in a collegiate long course pool. This pool was exceptional. It may seem silly but it is really nice to race in a good pool. No bunching on the swim this time. Everyone found their place and swam nicely separated the whole way.

The bike was best described as a tale of two stories. An out and back course. On the way out I could tells here was some wind out there. There was a section where we came out from the trees into an open area and a side wind popped us. It was a heck of a gust that pushed me close to the shoulder.

We headed further into the course. Made a right and now had the wind at our back. We were moving now. I knew I had to take advantage of all the blessings the wind provided on the way out because I was going to have to pay it all back on the way in. The turnaround came and the anchor dropped. It was brutal all the way back to the turn back out of the wind. It was nice to get out of the wind. Back into transition and off for the run.

From the start I knew this was not going to be my run day. The legs just sucked. It was a perfect run course. Part on a mulched path and the rest on sidewalks. The weather had warmed. The run was survived and race 33 was done.

At the end of the race I thanked the race directors for a great event. Talked with a large crowd about the season and the bike. Handed out cards hoping they would turn into donations. Race 33 was a great event. If you ever find yourself around Indiana in April plan to race this event. You won’t regret it. This race added 15.7 miles bringing us over the 700 mile mark. We are now at an even 715 miles.