Monday, April 7, 2014

Exciting Triathlon Things!

I should be getting back to Madison right about now.  It's been a little over 30 hours since we left Tempe and the Collegiate National Championships, but unfortunately some car trouble (not my car) has left me temporarily stranded in Meade, KS for another day or two.  If you have no idea where that is, I don't either. I'm writing this at the "Moon Mist Motel" which features a goat chilling out on the front lawn.  That's probably the highlight of Meade.

Anyway, at least the internet has made it out to this tiny town so I can get some work done and write this blog.  Although not my ideal way to end it, the race weekend was fantastic and I am really proud of the Wisconsin Triathlon Team for their performance at Nationals.  I've been coaching the team for the past two years and with the support and organization of the team officers and the hard work of the athletes, the team has been steadily and kind of quickly rising through the ranks on the National stage. In 2012 our combined (mens/womens) team rank was 27th, in 2013 we were 16th and this past weekend we finished 12th.  This has happened at the same time the sport itself has gotten faster.  For example, last year a 1:55 in the mens race was 30th place.  This year it was 52nd place on the same course.  The super sprint mixed relay, which was just introduced last year for the first time, is not included in the overall team score but in 2013 the team's relay finished 26th.  This weekend our relay got 5th in a very tight sprint finish (which we won!).  Needless to say I'm really excited and couldn't be happier for the team.  They've worked really hard this whole year.  Team improvements like that wouldn't be possible without it.
Andrew to Katy at exchange #2 of the mixed relay.  This is a very exciting new event in triathlon, and I hope that ITU can get it added into the olympic program. (I'd also like to see a longer course, non drafting event as triathlon grows more popular)

Some of the team with me in Tempe after the olympic race.

Coaching at SBR has also been going well.  My personal athletes are gearing up for the racing season to start and the swimming group that I've been leading has been looking better and better.  The annual Winter Cycling Relay Challenge raised a lot of money for the new exhibit at the Zoo and SBR held the first annual Winter Wonderland Triathlon, primarily a collegiate race but also open to the public.  I'm excited for all of the athletes that I'm working with and also looking to pick up a few more for the summer season.
The Winter Wonderland Triathlon at SBR.  750m indoor pool swim, 20k computrainer ride, 5k outdoor run

As for my own racing, I officially received my USAT Elite/Pro license in mid-January!  At that time my off season came to a screeching halt and for the last 2.5 months I've been hard at work getting back into shape.  I didn't let myself get as out of shape as I did prior to the 2013 season, and as of right now I'm happy with how things are going.  This past week at Nationals has been less training and more unhealthy eating with the long road trips, but with the exception of this week I have been eating much better, sleeping better and incorporating a good strength program consistently, something that has always fallen by the wayside as things have gotten busy in past years.  The result is that I feel better in general, I've gained almost 5lbs of muscle (I'm the heaviest I've ever been in my life, and that is a good thing!) and my FTP is already 5% higher than my previous lifetime best despite starting the season down 20%.  Chasing Andrew Nielsen for a week around the foothills in South Carolina a few weeks ago also certainly helped get my cycling fitness back.  I'm also setting PR's in the pool like crazy on kick sets, which means it won't be long before I'm swimming better than ever.  If things continue to move forward as they have been so far I should be in a good position to kick off my rookie pro season in June or July.
Training camp in South Carolina with the tri team.  It was spring break for them and a (fun) business trip for me.