Having the need to recover a bit the days after being Da Bear, the slight drop in training intensity helped as the temperature didn’t dip below 100 for almost a week. The accumulation of all factors led me to toe the line in overreaching and no amount of hydrating, sleep or easy training was helping with the malaise. But a nice “cold” front made its way through and a few days in the low 80′s and some mornings in the 60′s was a welcomed relief! It was just the trick to reverse the direction I was heading into. Now yes it still sucks that I will never get to see the sun rise before 6am, but I’ll take it. So with a few more goods weeks in the books, I looked for a nice hard workout race to enter and satisfy more of my race requirements as a member of Team AAA Carolina’s, so the Tri Ballantyne fit the bill. It was nearby, a nice course, and would allow for a good test before the Stumpy Creek International tri I have scheduled on August 4th. It would be good too to test stamina as I was scheduled to work afterwards, so maintaining energy levels was to the test as well. Best yet, Donny Forsyth, owner of our Promenade location, and Todd Joefreda, owner of the Moorseville location were also racing!

I didn’t taper any so when we woke up Saturday morning at 5am, it certainly was a different feel of a “race day”. We got there around 6, checked in and had enough time for a PortoJohn visit before getting set. There were 450+ racers each going off in 15 second segments and to my surprise – it was in an outdoor pool! I haven’t done a sprint in an OUTDOOR pool since the Central Park tri some 15 years ago! Here too, you went up AND down one lane, before going to the next lane. I was a bit worried about the possible chaos of only a 15 sec stagger, but this really wasn’t an issue until later on, when Todd start was at 8:40am. I wore a skinsuit over my AAA kit as the top is a little baggy and I made my way over to the start after a kiss and hug from G. I seeded myself well this time, going off 15th and Donny was in the head wave going off 3rd. Todd, being his first tri ever, seeded himself VERY conservatively and was 325th, which meant he was able to see us both race and finish before he would even start. We hyped each other up and soon Donny was off. I got into the “warmup” area which was nice to just bounce up and down in the water. A little body check, mind click, and soon was ready for the hour of power. Next up. Three deep breaths. GO!!

It was easy to get a rhythm, but coming to each turn ledge was different to reach, grab, turn, and go again. The guy behind me was getting close, but not much to pass. That was good as by the last lane I had a clear shot at the ladder, climb up, and the swim was done like that! Time: 4:58. Now I had a great setup in transition and once I gathered the Black Widow, it was out and onto the ride. A minute in the smaller gear to spin, then big crank and time to go! With tubulars on this race, it felt smooth and I was catching folks. I never got passed, but I kept my heart rate high and pushed the pace on a relatively easy course. No hills to think of. Locked in and churning. I always had a visual person to pac-man. Wham bam, with only 2 sips of my drink, I was coming back to transition with 2 guys just in front of me. Off the Widow and into transition – the 13.2 miles done in about 34 minutes. Now, slip on my Flows and off I go. I had one guy on my tail and after getting cheers from Todd, his wife, and G, I hammered and that guy wasn’t an issue anymore. I now had sights on a few folks up front, but the humidity can now be felt and the sweat was coming on strong. The temp was in the 70′s and at least 80+ humidity. At mile 1 I saw Donny on the way back (he started 5 minutes ahead) and he was on his way to the overall win!! That was a boost as I soon passed 2 guys and the course looped through a small neighborhood with some good hills in there. The guy in front of me had a nice gap lead and he was clicking (turns out he had the fastest run split, 2 seconds ahead of me!) so I knew I wasn’t catching him. I just tried to keep hammering and try and break 17 for the 5K. Coming back in was a flash and soon just like that, I was done – the 5k in 16:58! Overall finish time of 57:25 good for 6th overall and a win in my age group!!!

Dude, the sweat was now rolling off me as I hugged and kissed G. Todd and his wife were at the finish and since he didn’t start yet, he got a taste of what he was in for by reports from the both of us about the course. Wow that was indeed fun! Donny and I got to – and needed – a cool down run so we went for another 20 minutes. Donny was celebrating his 46th birthday and he’s a real role model for us “young guns” the way he can still bust the move. We STILL got done in time to see Todd get ready for his race. This was pure joy and fun. Seeing him swim and then transition onto the bike, cheering for him, just brought back memories of being a rookie. We got some good pix of him and a good one of us 3, so the CRC was well represented today (Todd went on to finish 10th in his age group, 60th overall). But after Todd rolled out on the bike, G and I had to bolt as I had to get to work by 10am. I felt it after 3pm the slight drag but managed to stay well enough after a few extra sips of H2Overdrive to finish the typical Saturday of work, then church. Everything felt fine, but Sunday came the real test.

We babysat for Gina’s friend – a 2 yr old and a 7 week old – and that really tested our stamina. The usual Sunday morning training started earlier, since we started our babysitting shifts at 8:30am which included plenty of pancake making, then toy playing, swimming pool jumping, then TV watching of Wizard of Oz, a walk, and man this kid just kept asking “What’s this?” It was fun and Gina herself was on vigilant alert with the 7 week old. By the time 2pm came and they were picked up, we both had a snack and crashed for a nap. Big time. Serious props to you parents out there. Serious props.

So now I will continue with some more prep work for Stumpy Creek and into August. Work started to pick up again due to a few computers deciding to crash, so I am going to try and recharge on Monday, being off from work, but after my big day of training, just try to chill. I am utilizing more my account to better download and analyze my workouts and the training load it brings. Its a much more visual cue to understanding how to plan recovery workouts and when to add intensity. It’s been a great help being able to download multiple ways given the models of monitors I use.

I am happy to report the ability to purchase a “Chariot” from the Chariots of Freedom ( group for their events this summer, notably on August 2nd at UNCC. Big time thanks to TEAMMC, Scott Dvorak at Charlotte Running Co., and Brad, Holly, Trenace, Dave, and Sherri of my run group for donations. We will get our in a few weeks and each will have a decal on the chariot. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this start up organization.  So with July half done, and the weather still blazing hot, it’s time to bring some heat myself! Yo.




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