Griskus Olympic: Fitness is coming back, just slowly..
I was very relaxed going into this race. I knew that my fitness was equivalent to where it normally is in February, not in June. I track my fitness levels using the Performance Management Chart in Training Peaks. My Chronic training load is trending higher, but still depressed after my spring health hiccups mentioned in my earlier post. So, I was being realistic with myself. I will always try to give everything I have on the day, but I like to know what I'm capable of on the day. My goal for the race was to continue building my high end fitness back. There is no better way to do that than to get out and race.
I knew that I would not be able to match the speed of the top guys this year. Normally I will still try to go out as fast as possible, but this year I decided to try to build my effort and not blow up 200 meters into the swim. I ended up doing the entire swim on my own. I exited the water 4th in my wave and had the 9th fastest swim time on the day.
While my fitness was not where I wanted it to be, I knew that I would need to push the bike harder than I had at REV3 Quassy two weeks prior. However, I did not want to get caught up looking at my numbers every couple of minutes. So I made the decision to just go by feel. The bike course is very hilly and there are no real places to settle in. I had two notable moments during the bike. The first came about 10 miles into the course where there is normally a sharp right hand turn while coming down a steep descent. As I was approaching the turn, I noticed that there were no volunteers out on the road and no turn signs. I blew past the right hand turn and quickly remembered the race director, Tom Wilkas, mentioning that there was one course change from the previous year (I missed the race in 2015). Oops, my bad. The second incident happened about 5 miles later as I was descending on a very curvy section of road. A landscaping truck had managed to get on the course in front of me and it was not in a hurry. Oh well, better to be safe and come back to race again than try to blow past the truck (although that thought did cross my mind). I came into T2 and heard over the loudspeaker that I was 4 minutes down.
So I knew I had one racer, Spencer Rahlston, out in front of me, but I did not know who was coming from behind (M45+ started 3 minutes behind). I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt fresh coming off of the bike. I decided to run as hard as I could while holding form. As I progressed through the run, my form held up. This was the first time this year that I actually felt smooth running. It usually takes me a while into each year to get my run form back on track. This year has taken longer due to my spring break.
It's a two loop run course, so you get a chance to see the other athletes three times. I knew heading out that I was not going to catch Spencer. The only question was if I could hold off the runners coming from behind. I was able to run a decent time and just squeaked in ahead of Mitch West by 17 seconds. This put me in 2nd place overall.
I always enjoy racing at the Griskus race series and this year was fantastic!
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.