Friday, June 27, 2014

Phase I

Once May hits I become a racer. I train hard all winter so come spring I can put all that hard work to use. Since Triple T (Mid May) I have race every week/end except for one, and if you go back to April when I did Xterra West there has maybe been 3 or 4. However, not all of these have been "A" or even "B" races. I believe races can also act as wonderful workouts if you do them properly, but I will admit sometime they can throw things off. So instead of writing individual race reports I will summarize all of them with thoughts on the pros and cons for me doing that race.

My focus race during this first phase was Syracuse 70.3, so my thoughts will be about how each of the other races went towards focusing on this one.

First up was American Triple T. Ang and I finished 1st in the co-ed division at the end of the 4 races (super sprint, oly, oly, half). Triple T was designed to be an overload camp type of weekend. When else would someone in their right mind compete in 4 races over a weekend. The plan for the weekend was to race hard in the first 2 races and do my best to support Ang and make her weekend as easy as possible in the next 2 races. Her significant gains on the bike during the winter made those 2nd two races more difficult than planned, but you always come out of a weekend like that confident. If planning to use Triple T as an early season prep race make sure to pace it properly, and I would recommend a teammate for the mental companionship on that run course.

Next up was the MultiSport Canada Woodstock Sprint. I have a race report written for this one so if you want the nitty gritty check that out. I was the 2-time defending champ at this local race so I felt like I almost had to do it. The plan for Woodstock was to do what needed to be done to win, but try not to dig a big hole, and do another workout later in the day to get some more mileage in for the half distance. I think this is a great way to train for longer distances because it gives you valuable race experience (transitions, open water swimming, nutrition, etc). However, with some big guns showing up this year and fatigue from triple t I had to dig deep and that was still only good enough for 5th. The workout later that day got scraped, and all I wanted to do was sleep. With Raleigh the next weekend I didn't want to make a hole I couldn't climb out of.

Raleigh 70.3 wasn't originally on my schedule, but Cliff wanted me to get a competitive 70.3 under my belt before the goal race of Syracuse. The only options that kind of fit were Raleigh and St. George, and Raleigh made a lot more sense from an economic and logistic point of view. So my sherpas, I mean parents, and I headed off to NC for the first 70.3 of the season with not much of a taper. Raleigh was awesome because it gave me confidence my swim is where it needs to be to at least be competitive for a podium finish at most 70.3 races, but that bike was a big shot to my confidence. There is always something that needs to be improved, so the bike is going to be my phase II focus.

After Raleigh I was supposed to have 2 weekends of training with no races, but my addiction took over. Angela was racing the MultiSport Canada Welland Half, and my scheduled had me doing a swim and bike. I figured since I love the MSC races so much and I was going to be spending the day watching why not do the swim bike race. I think this is a great idea for anyone preparing for a half or full because it allows you to push a longer distance than many will in training, and coupled with a short run off the bike it doesn't leave you beat up for days on end. Going into this race we made sure the legs were nice and tired from a couple hard bikes and runs, with the intent to see just how hard I could push the bike if I was tired. I managed to ride ~10w higher than Raleigh and felt like I could still run if I had to.

The final race of this phase and what everything was leading up to, was Syracuse 70.3. The week leading up to Syracuse things were cut back slightly, but not as much a taper as most people tend to do. I have found that if I take it to easy during the week leading up to a race I feel flat so the intensity stays up, but the volume gets cut a little bit. I was happy with my race in Syracuse, but just like Raleigh my bike is leaving me to far behind to be a threat. Also, some rookie mistakes leaving T1 put the nail in the coffin of trying to hang with big boys.

Phase II has now started with the goal race at the end being Steelhead 70.3, but my racing ways won't disappear. I have already done my first mtb race as I get ready for the Canadian off-road championships in Milton in another week, and I will also be racing Bala Falls as a quick road tune up before Steelhead. 

Racing makes for tough workouts and also a place to fine tune some of the smaller aspects of triathlon like transitions, swim and bike skills, and nutrition and while you don't need to race every weekend I believe a lot of triathletes would benefit from racing more than they do. It also give you more chances to hit that race when everything clicks instead of putting all your eggs in one basket.

All of this racing wouldn't be possible without the support of my parents, Franklin Terrazzo Company, MultiSport Canada, 2XU, and all the wonderful people around me. This is a very difficult sport if you don't have a strong support team behind you.