Things have been going well for us here the past few weeks. I’ve started back at the store, and its been plenty of work organizing, planning, getting settled in, finding out how things have been handled up to this point. Everyone has been great in letting me adjust, but I have taken initiative in starting what projects I would like to start right away. I have gotten use to the standing for 9 hr days back to back in addition to training, but a pool swim at the end of the day is very refreshing.
Dana has been great in setting things up they way we had it prior to when I left. We got the water cooler rolling, the coffee pot in place, and the snacks to keep us fueled (thanks to Gina too). He even starting riding his bike to/from work. The Thursday Night Run Groups have been awesome and the crew has grown to now 15 easy on a given night. Thanks to Nuun and Odwall for being the offical drink and bar of the runs, and we make sure to have plenty of giveaways and such for everyone. Fun times and great at the end of a long day.
Holmes is back to usual with his daily walks, and he has a cool perch Gina got for him so now he can watch over from the 2 bedroom windows. He’s got some birds, dogs, and the occasional chipmunk to deal with as neighbors.

So I figured a good tune up race would be the Nutrithon Duathlon ( to simulate a good hard effort and carry over before the Hood to Coast relay.  Coach has The Kahunas in shape and I needed a race to get an idea of how I am feeling and get the mind set for what would be a serious race trip.
It is sponsored by the NC Nurtition Research Center about 30 miles north of us. It is a small, family friendly race, in its second year, and they do indeed cater to not only the athletes but the spectators.

Up early on a Saturday morning before 6am, headed out to Kannapolis and got there in about 40 minutes. The race format would be – 5K run, 25K Bike, then another 3K run. It was easy to find, easy to park, and such very well organized. Ironsherpa loves that, and it made for a smooth, uneventful morning. The town was still asleep and only us crazy athletes and volunteers on the roads. The sherrif county cops had some cool robocop type uniforms on too.
A hilly tough course, especially for beginners. We had some light rain around 8am, but it was warm and humid – in the 70′s. There was a separate 5K and 8K run held before the duathlon, so we got to see that, but I think they had the better weather. By the time the race started at 9am, it was blazin hot out with the sun and the overcast skies were no more. I got the suntan to prove it.
I got bodymarked (which is still on me) and being a duathlon in this weather, I just racked my bike and put my cleats near it. That’s it. A simple transition for sure. We soon all lined up and I got right to the front. A brief kiss to G and 3 deep breathes. I activated the RS800 and focused on the plan ahead. Let’s Hammer.

I immediately got behind 2 guys – one youngin, and another with a World Championship TEAMUSA outfit named THOMPSON (these are the ones I would be getting!!) I knew he was the real deal, so I stuck with him as the young kid got about 20 yards ahead. I soon passed Thompson and made my way picking at the kid. It got really hilly towards the back half and he died. I caught, then passed him and followed the guy pacing on the bike ahead.
I made my way in and crossed the line in first place for the first run portion, coming in at 18:08, jumped on the bike and loved being in the lead with a police motorcycle guiding me. That last all of 5 minutes as a guy named Thompson (local world class duathlete) blast by and takes the lead. No more escort. Then some other guy blew by me but that turned out to be the volunteer guy on the run course. I didn’t know it, but I thought I was now in 3rd place.
But I still hammered away and even though I anticipated being passed, I kept it strong and NEVER got passed!!! I just rode real hard for my effort, probably harder than I wanted to (heartrate avg 155), but it was just too good of a position to be in. I took several sips of my Nuun and that was all I needed, but you can feel the heat. The course was just as hilly. I was locked in though and dialed in to keeping my position. I didn’t outfit the Black Widow with her race wheel, sticking to my training ones, but it worked. She rode smooth. As soon as I finished the 16 mile ride (46 minutes), I hopped off and headed out for the second run portion. A guy actually was right behind me on the bike and was in front of me at the start of the run, but that lasted all of 5 seconds.
I just booked it. I was within sight of the leader. It was then I realized I was in 2nd place and just held my pace bustin my heartrate to 175 towards the last hilly section into the finish. I actually had the fastest second run portion as well (9:54) but was about 90 seconds short. I finished in 2nd overall!!! Thompson won and I got to talk with him afterwards. Nice guy and turns out all he does is duathlons. He’s heading to World’s in Spain.
I felt great, but now you felt the heat as the sweat was just dripping, but a small jog after was enough to recover followed with hugs/kisses with Gina. No matter how sweaty, its all good. A welcome back to NC!!

Total Stats:

5K Run – 18:08     (1st rank)

25K Bike – 46:05   (6th rank)

3K Run – 9:54      (1st rank)

Total: 1:14:38 -  2nd Overall out of 90

A nice small town, we walked around a bit and they had plenty of healthy snacks for all – bananas, pineapple juice (Dole was a major sponsor), iced water, and even boxed lunches of which we took home 3 of them since we weren’t hungry (a good Odwalla bar to snack on followed by some java and pb sandwiches at home). Very well organized race across the board. For the second year, not shabby at all, but they could have started it earlier. We didn’t get out of there till almost noon!
Came home and had to jump in the pool for a relaxing swim since it was 90 degrees out. Gina had made a squash casserole which is the bomb and can’t wait for the sangria to celebrate!!! YO!!! We just “recovered” the rest of the afternoon.
Check out the photos in the Photo Section, some good ones.

I depart on Thursday for the Hood to Coast relay (  where I will be part of the Big Kahunas 1 team once again. It was a great test today and feel “settled” in to Charlotte.


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