The past couple of days have been absolutely crazy. On Friday, my interview with KCTV5’s Better KC aired. If you haven’t seen it yet (or just want to watch it again), click here. I was extremely nervous for this interview. I’ve never given an interview before, nor have I ever been on TV. So it was odd to watch and hear myself for the first time. I was also nervous because I wasn’t sure what portion would actually be aired. As you can tell, it wasn’t the best weather the day we filmed, mid 50s and rain. Overall, it was a fun and exciting experience. I want to thank Brian Weaver and Sandy Cohen (the owners of the Kansas City Triathlon) for getting that set up. I appreciate the fact that they both recommended me to do the interview when Better KC reached out to them asking for an athlete they could follow around leading up to the KC Tri.
Saturday was extremely low key. I did a short bike and run in the morning and then tried to stay out of the kitchen so I wouldn’t eat my weight in food while I rested all day long.
Kansas City Triathlon.
I was feeling a little bit of extra pressure leading up to this race with my recent TV interview and the fact that I knew two other outstanding triathletes would be in the race, Kevin Nickel and Ryan Harwell. I’ve never raced Kevin before, but he’s put up some very impressive times, especially on the bike and run. Ryan has beaten me several times in the past, so I knew that I would have my work cut out for me if I was going to win this race. Note: 2nd place overall was an 18 year old from Iowa that I didn’t know going into the race. He had a great race and obviously has a bright future.
Swim: 21:14. 9th overall swim.
I had a good, but not great swim. Water temperature race morning were around 65 degrees with the air temps around 50 by the time I started the race at 7:30 am. I got off to a good start and was actually first to the first turn buoy. This is uncharted territory for me because I am never the fastest swimmer. The rest of the swim was good. I tried to stay in the moment and keep pushing. I came out of the water in 4th place (25-34 AG). I was very happy with my Roka wetsuit. It a huge improvement over the wetsuit I used last year.
T1: 1:55. 2nd fastest time.
T1 was long since we had to run up the beach, along transition, and then all the way through transition to our bikes. Ever since my draft legal race in Clermont, I’ve learned that simple is better when it comes to transitions. Don’t take unnecessary items in there that you don’t need. Once I arrived at my bike, I started taking off my Roka wetsuit. Once I got it down around my calves/ankles, I started to put on my glasses and helmet while also pulling my feet out of my wetsuit. Quickly grabbed my bike and I was on my way. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was first onto the bike course!
Bike: 1:00:22. 2nd overall bike. To see Garmin data, click here
I was excited to start the bike portion of the race because I’ve been doing specific workouts on this exact bike course for the past 7-8 weeks to prepare and familiarize myself with the course. It’s one of the many perks of doing a race just a few miles from your house. Unfortunately, my legs weren’t agreeing with me today. I felt absolutely terrible on the bike for the first 35-40 minutes. My legs just felt like a brick. Every time I tried to push harder or get out of the saddle to increase my tempo, my legs just shut down and I couldn’t push the watts I needed. I just remained positive and hoped that they would eventually come around and I’d feel like my normal self again. Luckily, my legs started feeling better right before one of the hilly sections of the course. And since I like to think of myself as a climber, I was reenergized and excited. By T2, I moved up from 3rd to 2nd.
T2: 54 seconds. 2nd fastest split
Nothing special here. Rack my bike, take off my helmet, put on my Saucony shoes, grab my watch and race belt…and go!
Run: 32:29. Fastest run. New 10k PR
My splits for the 10k were: 5:29, 5:09, 5:12, 5:31, 5:02, 6:00 (1.2 miles). Miles 1 and 4 had a short, steep hill near the end of each mile since it was a 2 loop course. Four of the six miles were on a crushed rock trail.
Once on the run course, I got word that I was anywhere from 1:30-1:45 behind the leader (Kevin Nickel). To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to catch him because I know he’s put up some quick run splits before. Regardless, I was going to go out trying rather than just racing for 2nd. I felt really good the first mile and was pleased to see 5:30 on my watch. After some quick math, I thought a mid 33 or low 34 minute 10k was possible. Around 1.25 miles, I was able to look across the path and see how far the leader was ahead of me, I noted the time on my watch. When I reached the same spot he was at, I glanced at my watch and I knew I was roughly 45 seconds behind. Three thoughts crossed my mind at this point: 1. Dang, I just made up roughly 45 seconds in a little over 1 mile. 2. Did I go out too fast? And 3. Ugh, dumb rock! I started noticing a small rock had popped into my shoe and was lodged underneath my heel. I contemplated whether or not I should stop and try to move it or just run through it and risk getting a blister/bruise/whatever is possible. I ultimately decided to stop and try to move the pebble. This only cost me a few seconds, and I was relieved that it didn’t throw me off my pace as I quickly regained the form I had prior to stopping. When I looked at my watch at mile 2 and saw 5:09, I didn’t know what to think. I was definitely gaining ground, but the thought of going out too hard was still in my mind. I quickly put that to rest and told myself to just trust my training. I’ve been putting in some very quality workouts and I knew this pace was obtainable. I still felt amazing at this point and for whatever reason, I run just as fast, if not faster, off the bike then I ever did running fresh. I can’t explain it; it’s just how I am. After making the pass and taking the lead a little after 2.5 miles, I was focused on opening as big of a gap as I could. Around mile 4, I got a side stitch from the water I drank at an aid station a half mile before, but this didn’t faze me. I’ve had side stitches in workouts before and was able to hold pace, so I just kept pushing knowing that I have roughly 11 minutes left. With a ½ mile to go, I picked up the pace again because I really wanted to get a new 10k PR. I was very pleased and pleasantly surprised when I crossed the finish line and saw 32:29, my first time ever breaking 33 minutes for a 10k.
Overall: 1:56:51 (new Olympic Distance PR)
I’m very happy with my race. This race, and especially my run split, gives me a lot of confidence going into Kansas 70.3 in a few weeks.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my family (mom, dad, sister, and 2 uncles–Dave and Richard) as well as Michael and Melanie Franke for the amazing support today during the entire race. Also have to thank Every Man Jack, Roka, Rudy Project, Enve, Saucony, Cytomax, GU, Louis Garneau, and Elite Cycling. I couldn’t have done this without all of you. And although it wasn’t race oriented, Three Twins Ice Cream, you are amazing. For all of you that know me, I don’t eat desserts anymore (it’s been over 3 months since the last time I ate any type of dessert/donut/muffin/etc, which was also Three Twins Ice Cream at the EMJ training camp in Palm Springs). However, I decided to indulge in a little Three Twins after my race today. Well worth it. And finally, I want to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to my coach, Ryan Ross, for his tremendous support, effective training schedule, and responses to my never-ending questions.