I had a good recovery week following 70.3 Syracuse. My legs were still feeling some fatigue from the hard course and conditions up in Syracuse, but I was excited to race. My goal was to hit the swim hard, then ride very aggressive and see what I had left for the run.
I started out in the 8 person elite wave. I thought I had a decent start, but I found myself behind several other swimmers immediately. I resigned myself to staying steady and figured I would need to work hard on the bike to catch up. However, after about 300 meters, several of the swimmers fell off their early pace. I passed two swimmers before the first turn buoy and I thought I had put myself into the lead. I stayed consistent for the remainder of the swim. I came out of the water and somebody yelled: "you're two minutes down". At first this did not register. Then it settled in. My thoughts were: "how could I be so far down. I didn't see anyone out in front". Then I looked down and saw wet footprints on the ground. I found out later in the day that I had been smoked by Pie Geelen by almost 2.5 minutes. I felt a little bit better about this beating after another athlete informed me that Pie had swam in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the Netherlands.
As I came through the transition area, I asked who the athlete out in front was. No one knew his name at the time. I had already planned on riding aggressively, but now I knew I needed to ride a little bit harder. I worked pretty hard to catch up. In fact, it was my first zone 4 heart rate ride of the season. I believe I caught up to Pie by about mile 14. I was working pretty hard on the hilly, technical course. Once I caught up I tried to stay as consistent as I could. I came off the bike with almost a five minute lead.
My legs felt fatigued starting the run. I knew that I needed to find a good cadence and settle in. The hard bike and three weeks of racing seemed to catch up on me. I focused on my form and thought that I would try to build into my effort throughout the run segment. I actually stayed pretty steady for the first 4 miles, then built the last 2 miles a little faster. I was very fortunate to race so close to my home. My family was able to come out and watch the race and it was a thrill to be able to see them as I crossed the finish line.
Finish: 1:58:59 1st Overall
This race is very well run and supports a wonderful organization. I was very lucky to be able to participate in the event.
Career Highlights: 2009 USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year, 2012,2013, 2014 USA Triathlon Masters Athlete of the Year, 2014 USA Triathlon Olympic National Championship Masters Champion, 4 X Ironman 70.3 World Championship Age Group Winner (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), 18 X 70.3 Overall Amateur Champion, 9 X Ironman World Champion Finisher (4 X Top 10 in Age Group), 2015 American Zofingen LC Champion, 2nd OA IM Maryland
I started competing in triathlon in the summer of 2000. I had always been intrigued by the sport since the early ‘80s when I would watch the Hawaii Ironman on TV. I got into running at a young age (6yrs old) as my father was a big marathon runner back in the late 70’s, early 80’s running boom. I did my first 10-mile road race when I was 10 years old. I also played ice hockey throughout my childhood and I stopped running my sophomore year in high school in order to completely focus on ice hockey. I did not run again until the fall of 1999. During that race, a friend of mine mentioned that he competed in sprint triathlons, short duration races lasting around one hour. I was immediately interested and I signed up for my first triathlon in July of 2000 up in Falmouth, Ma. I was immediately hooked. I loved the competition. I especially liked the aspect of the three sports and how one could continue to practice and improve in each sport. I believe all three sports compliment each other. I also really enjoyed the idea of challenging myself to see where I could get. So, while triathlon is a competition, I see it more as a race against yourself then others. It is a very addictive sport, but I think it’s probably one of the healthiest addictions that I know of. The training is also a great stress relief. I worked in New York City for the past 5 years and down on Wall Street for 2 years. The commute and the lifestyle can get pretty stressful at times. The training really helped me de-stress and stay focused. I have three little boys and I really enjoy sharing the sport with all three of them. I don’t care if they ever compete in a race, but I do believe it’s important to expose them to healthy opportunities in life. I would say that the hardest endurance scenario I’ve faced was actually the first half ironman I competed in up in Laconia, NH, which was the Timberman race. I’ve completed four full Ironman events, but that half ironman was my first attempt at the distance. I feel, in hindsight, that I just was not properly trained for the event. It was an incredible eye opening experience. I don’t think I’ve been more tired then the moment I crossed that finish line. However, the human mind is fascinating, as I was looking forward to the next race less then 24 hours after.