Been a busy few weeks for me and guess “life” has been getting in the way a bit, keeping me from my updates. Good news is the racing circuit has been good for me over the past couple of races and wanted to bring everyone up to speed.
August 19 – Ludington Lighthouse Olypmic
This is one of my favorite races, not only because the venu is a great location on the shores of Lake Michigan, but it gives my wife and I a chance to spend the weekend with my grandparents who live in Pentwater, just south of Ludington. I came into the race feeling pretty good and had a nice base of miles under my belt. Unlike the Lumberman in Cadillac, I came out of the swim feeling very strong and was pleased with my performance. Looking forward to the bike, where I typically make up any time from a slower swim, I ended up finishing the 26 mile course in just over 1 hour and 3 minutes for an average speed in the 23 mph range. Starting the run, I was a bit afraid that I maybe spent too much energy on the bike and headed out of the transition area for my 6.2 miles the legs were tight and I had to be careful not to let the “tinges” of cramps take hold and manage going fast enough to keep competitive, yet not disable myself with leg cramps. Fortunately, I found the right balance and was able to put in a sub-9 minute mile pace for the entire event.
I was excited to come across the line and see my wife, aunt and cousin (with her brand new baby) waiting for me at the finish line. When the results came out, I was pleased to discover I won the Clydesdale division (200 lbs+). In my years of racing, this marked the very first time I’d ever stood atop the podium with “gold” and being able to do that with family present made it even more special.
September 9 – Cedar Point Rev3
Last time I raced the Rev3 event I had just turned 40 and was one of the “big goals” I had set to make sure that I could prove to myself that I was not getting old. That was the first time that I had completed a 70.3 mile triathlon event and it was an amazing experience. Last year, unfortunately, I dealt with some foot issues that really kept me from doing much running, so running anything longer than 3-4 miles was not an option for me.
The good news is that my foot recovered and I was back on for the event this year. I signed up for the 7.03 (half) event and Kathy Roche-Wallace (www.GoKathyGo.com) signed on for the full 140.6. One of the best parts of the event is they have it at Cedar Point, so I got to “be a kid” on Saturday and spend some time riding the roller coasters. Mark joined me for the weekend as my “support crew” and we stayed with my good buddy, Shayne, who pulled his camper up to CP for the weekend. I was also excited for Mark and Shayne to spend some time together while I raced because Shayne’s oldest daughter, Christi, unfortunately passed away in 2006 and Mark is one of the only survivors of the same type of cancer that took her all too soon from us. I’m sure it was a great day for the both of them.
Sunday morning arrived and Kathy and I were up at 5 am and were pleased to see clear skies and no signs of rain in the forecast. Shayne had wanted to do the Olympic event on Saturday, but was rained out, so I was a bit concerned that Mother Nature would do the same to us, but that was not the case. Headed to the transition area while it was still dark outside, I got my area set up and pumped up the tires one last time. Kathy was off at 7:05 am for a mass start and I was able to see her head out into Lake Erie with the rest of the full participants. I took off just over an hour later for my 1.2 mile swim, which went well. I was very comfortable in the water and enjoyed the swim, but as always was looking forward to the bike.
Headed out for my 56 miles on the bike, the wind picked up and some of the roads were “chipped and sealed”, making some of the areas a bit of a challenge and made it important to pay attention to where you were headed so your wheel didn’t catch a hole or crack and result in an early end to the race. I was able to pass a lot of folks on the bike, which is usually the case. But, I have to admin, I was a bit concerned about the 13.1 mile run coming up since I had started getting some cramps on the bike (which is unusual for me).
Starting the run and knowing that I had a half-marathon waiting for me I figured I’d just “trot” along and keep a steady pace. I went as fast as I could without risking cramps. The race headed out of the park and into downtown Sandusky, where it wound through the city streets. I recalled from two years ago running past an Irish Pub and joked with Shayne about making sure he was there to get me a Guinness. Imagine my surprise when making the turn and looking down the street to see the orange rims of his Trek District bike parked at the Pub. I ran up on the sidewalk and a bunch of race fans were enjoying some “adult beverages” and sure enough he had a freshly poured one waiting for me. I took a healthy pull, the crowd went nuts (ha ha) and then I was off for the remaining 7 miles!
Returning to the park, I could see the finish line and a big smile came across my face because I knew I was on the verge of finishing my second 70.3 event. I was able to run the entire time (ok, maybe I did make a little bit of a Guinness pitstop), which was one of my primary goals. Finishing just over 6 hours and 1 minute, I barely missed my sub-6 hour goal, but there was nothing “left in the tank” and was pleased with my results. I ended up mid-pack in both the Clydesdale division and overall, with around 750 total participants in the half.
Kathy came across in 12.5 hours and ended up winning her age group in the full and finishing 20th women overall! Granted, she’s typically used to doing three of these at a time, but I was really proud of her and loved that I was able to be at the finish line to see her come across and give her a great big hug!
What a great event and weekend it ended up being and I’m pleased to say that I’m now able to walk down stairs without wincing in pain thanks to sore legs. I’m already looking forward to coming back again next year. The Rev3 folks put on a great event and can’t think of any other venue where you can spend the day riding roller coasters and race the next day. I’m going to enjoy some recovery time, but look forward to getting back on the bike again real soon.