Sunday, August 27, 2017

12 Oaks Update, Racing, Believe….

Hey everyone!  Hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of a GREAT summer!  First off, a HUGE thank you to all that have donated towards the 12 Oaks “Iron Journey” goal!  In only a month, we have raised $2,775!  What a GREAT start and many thanks from all of us at the 12 Oaks Foundation!  We have about $740 to go to our goal and we have about 6 weeks to get there. 

I stated in my first post that I am humbled to be racing for such a great cause, and that has been amplified 10X with the amount of support we have gotten.  Not just financially, but all the great and kind words everyone has left.  The sentiment has been unanimous, 12 Oaks is a wonderful cause worth supporting! 

Matt would be very proud.  Since my last post the race season has taken off!  First up for me was the Lake Zurich Triathlon and I wanted to put together a solid race and finish (this is where I crashed last year)!  Mission accomplished on this one.  I improved on the bike and run significantly over the first few races of the year.  I really felt like coming off the Madison 70.3 there was a surge in the fitness which was wonderful to see. 

Next up on the schedule was Steelhead 70.3.  I came into the day knowing that I had the “potential” to do something special.  The training had been going really well and the weather was going to be near perfect conditions.  I’ve raced here 2 other times, and both times the swim was cancelled.  Not this time!  We jumped in Lake Michigan and it had a very challenging chop.  I knew I just needed to swim smooth and strong throughout and I would be in a good spot starting the bike.  I was very happy with the swim and it seems as though I’m on track for Louisville there!

On the bike I had my best day ever.  I was strong from the gun and even holding back a bit.  I’ve been racing for 12 years and it is the little things that can help a breakthrough.  After Lake Zurich, my coach and I took a look at how I was riding.  I’ve always pedaled at a very high cadence (100+ rpm).  What we noticed by doing this is that my effort and heart rate would rise “artificially” and I was leaving some speed out on the course.  We made an adjustment to start riding at 90rpm.  It felt really weird at first and I needed to get my legs used to it.  But after a few weeks…the riding went to another level.  I was able to push harder while keeping the heart rate down.  It was a wonderful feeling after having about 5 years of bike “plateau.”  It just goes to show…all the little things add up.  And this added up to my highest wattage output ever for a 70.3 and an average speed of 23.5mph!  That was nearly one full mph faster than Lake Zurich…at double the distance!  Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to start the run!

On the run, everything fell into place.  Again, keeping with the theme of working on the little things….I went to see Coach Leach (highly recommend!) in Chicago for a run gait analysis.  I was pleasantly surprised that my form was mostly very good.  But to no surprise, we made a few very minor tweaks and that set my run form, speed, and power onto another level.  So cool to see improvements at 38 years old J  I ran strong and with great form throughout the 13.1 miles and finished up averaging 6:59 per mile pace.  That was my best run average I’ve had after a Swim/Bike at this distance!

All that paid off in a podium finish and 3rd in my Age Group.  I was also lucky enough to Qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa next September!  So I guess you could say a little luck and a LOT of hard training made this a wonderful day.  In fact, it was a 9 minute personal best!

Now I’m into the last BIG training block before Ironman Louisville.  We have roughly 6 weeks to go, and 4 of that will be long and intense training.  I’m really looking forward to this last push.  Like I said above, things seem to be clicking right now.  For the first time since I signed up a year ago, I’m starting to BELIEVE. 

I believe I have a chance for a GREAT day in Louisville.  I believe I have a chance to smash through my best time at this distance.  I believe I have earned the right to compete at the very top…and perhaps qualify again for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. 
That’s what it takes.  If you don’t truly believe you can…you’ve already lost.  It wasn’t until I crossed the line at Steelhead that I truly felt like this was all coming together. 

But, I still have a long way to go!  A couple more weeks of BIG training (I did 100 miles on the bike yesterday, followed by a 4mi run….followed today by 19 miles of running on the HILLY Cary course).  There is more of that to come, and you know what?  I’m having a blast and embracing it! 

So here is to the last push of training….the belief is there, now I have to get the work done and stay healthy.  Racing for a cause bigger than myself has really inspired me this summer.  I can’t wait to make Matt, the 12 Oaks Foundation, my family, my friends, and all of you reading this proud on Sunday, October 15th

I’ll update again before the race.  So thank you for the support!  Thank you for the well wishes!  And if you see me out training, chances are you will see me smiling J


Dedication, Passion, Results

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