Sunday, November 4, 2007

Race Week

Today was my first day off in over 5 weeks. Thank you taper week!!!

It felt good to eat pizza, watch the Patriots beat the Colts, and celebrate my dad's birthday (a belated birthday party - he turned 69 on the 1st!). I also hooked up with Pilates guru PJ O'Clair for a little overview on how I'll be able to effectively incorporate Pilates into my 2008 progression. I'm very excited about the prospects, but more to come on this in the near future.

This weekend provided yet another grim reminder of just how precious our time here on Earth really is and helped to keep everything in perspective. Ryan Shay, former Division I All American (x-c, T&F), and US Marathon/half Marathon champ, died during Saturday's US Olympic Trials Marathon in NYC. I won't speculate on the cause of death, but he collapsed 5.5 miles into the race and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

I never take anything in my life for granted and am extremely thankful for all that I have. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to continue training and racing the way that I currently am, but I'm doing my best to soak up every last drop of it while I can.

I can't wait to get back down to Clearwater and am looking forward to seeing many of the familiar faces that I've bumped into at some of the bigger events that I've attended this season.

Maryland's Philipe Kozub, 31, should be in top form and provide one hell of race next Saturday. Philipe finished only 2 min. behind me at Eagleman and was the only other amateur to crack the top 10 and 4 hour barrier that day. I hope that he has a great race and am keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to find each other on the field of battle at some point. If so, I expect that the duel will help us to both elevate our performances to the highest level. However... Philipe is a strong swimmer and cyclist, so my engine better by firing fast or else the only place that I may see him will be in the finisher's tent once the dust has settled!

I'm excited to watch Pro triathlete Lara Brown in action next weekend. Lara has the ability to place VERY high in the Pro race and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll be her day.

My comrade from CT, Max Wunderle, who just recently knocked off a sub 10 hour performance at IronMan Hawaii, will be in attendance at Clearwater. Max and I first met at the 2006 Hammerfest Triathlon in CT, and have since raced each other at the 2007 Eagleman and 2007 Nutmeg State Half Iron Triathlon. I'm hoping that Max's legs are fully recovered and ready to roll.

Local triathlete Alex Martinelli will be down in Clearwater, and although we've communicated via email all summer, I've never met the guy in person! I'm looking forward to our hanging out post race and making the most of the Clearwater Beach "watering hole" scene.

First year triathlete Amanda Russell, one of my newest athletes, will be gunning for a top performance next Saturday and I'm itching to see what kind of damage she'll be able to inflict on the amateur race! I expect great things, and look forward to hanging with her and her husband Matt post race as well.

Lastly, I'm deriving a bunch of inspiration from the INCREDIBLE day that fellow "Gloucesterman" Christina Robeson had at IMFL this past Saturday. Christina won the women's 30 - 34 year old age group, placed 3rd overall among amateurs and went 10:02!!! I tracked her race online and was SO excited for her. She accepted her slot for the 2008 Hawaii IronMan World Chamionship, so it's back to the big Island and another go at the biggest triathlon in the world for Christina next year.

So, regardless of what the day brings next weekend, I'm just happy that I'll have yet another opportunity to see so many of the people that I've been so fortunate to meet thanks to this wonderful sport and lifestyle.

I am fully prepared to "bleed" once that gun goes off next Saturday, and am going to give the race everything I have, but the 4 hours that I'll spend competing is just one small piece of what will make next weekend so special. Best of luck to everyone who'll be racing! Drinks are on me in the finisher's tent (your choice: Gatorade or Coke).


Kim said...

just came across your blog through Liam', you certainly kick some ass! :)

JRM said...

Thanks Kim!!! I just hope that I can get through 1 more race this season as my body is falling apart! Sciatica is not fun :(