Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lowell Monster Dash Duathlon

Well, the engine is tuned up and ready to go. I was very happy with my performance yesterday, as it was a clear indication that my fitness is high and that I'm ready to roll in 12 days time when I toe the line in Clearwater, Florida for the 2007 IronMan World 70.3 Championship.

I will be honest in stating that I was starting to feel a bit run down thanks to my workload (school and coaching) and intensive training schedule. Last Tuesday, I had one of the weakest rides of my life, and it was a clear indication that my body had had enough! Although I was tempted to continue pushing on with the original training plan, I came to my senses, realized that I have over 11 months of hard-core training behind me, and decided to enter my taper phase a few days earlier than planned.

It was the right call, as the body felt absolutely fantastic yesterday. I've never clipped along at low 5 min. mile pace so effortlessly. The first 5k of the Duathlon seemed more like a tempo run than a VO2 max effort. The bike course, although a bit rolling and pretty windy, didn't present much of a challenge, as I ripped through it feeling strong and in control the entire way. I must note that the bike loop utilized most of the same roads that the Lowell Olympic distance Triathlon did, where I had my worst outing of the year thanks to a 2 month health related layoff (see "Rusty" in my August blog section for more info.) so yesterday was very much a form of personal vindication for me. Simply put, it was nice to "stick it" to the same roads that beat me down back in early August.

I wrapped things up by clipping off the final 5k (minus T2 time) in sub 17, feeling pretty strong once the legs loosened up by the first half mile or so. Factor in the 3 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down run, and it was a great time trial/training day. Just what I needed.

What made the day even better was seeing one of my newest athletes, rising triathlon star Amanda Russell (pictured), in action. Amanda signed on right after the Nutmeg State Half IronMan (where she finished 2nd!), and we're both heading to Clearwater to compete at 70.3 Worlds. This is only Amanda's FIRST multisport season, and yesterday was her first career victory! I expect that it will be the first of many...

Triathlon fans should keep their eye on this talented 31 year old, as I expect great things. Amanda is focusing upon long course racing, with her primary objective being a successful assault on the 2008 IronMan Lake Placid Course! She'll be joining 3 of my other athletes at next year's event, and I look forward to cheering them all on from the sidelines!

In the mean time, we'll see what kind of 1 - 2 punch Amanda and I can deal out down in Clearwater. We spiced yesterday's tune up race up a bit by placing a friendly wager on our performances. We agreed upon a 13 minute handicap, with the loser having to buy the "winner" their choice of beverage after the dust settles and the end of season celebrations begin on Clearwater Beach. I'm glad that I won the bet this time, but it might be harder to do so in the future, especially the way that Amanda is rolling.

So that's that. My only issue at this point in time is the sciatica that makes running all the more "interesting." Fortunately, it's not slowing me down, but it'll be a relief to get through Clearwater unscathed and then spend a few weeks fattening myself up and being lazy before I'm right back at it and begin prepping for 2008 and my assault on the North American Pro long course triathlon circuit.

*Lowell Monster Dash Race Results
*(Note that the bike course was actually 15 miles vs. the 13.5 listed on the results page, and that T1 was factored into the splits as well, hence the slow bike times/paces. I will also note that T2 was factored into the second run time, so take that for what's it's worth)

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