Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman

Post Hy-Vee it was a few days to hang out with the family, celebrate my 24th birthday and recover for what was going to come the following weekend. Flew back to Boulder on Thursday evening, and entered my 2nd race in as many weeks on Sunday at the Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman. The WithoutLimits crew put on an amazing race, one of the few that are non-corporate run, and the scene was so much more laid back and enjoyable! I have always believed that my heart will be more in the long distance races someday, and so I decided with a full race season under my belt, I would attempt to just have fun and complete a 1/2 Ironman. Have fun?? I guess so!

Got up at 4am on Sunday morning, and headed down to the Aurora Reservoir with my friend and training partner Gui Campos and his wife Patricia. Good news was the weather was slightly starting to break and it was only supposed to be in the mid-80's for the whole day, much better than the 90's with humidity back in Iowa, or 100's in Boulder the week before. We arrived at the Aurora Res around 6am, got parked and transition set up for the 7:30am start. Being my first 1/2 Ironman, I was going in with some slight lack of knowledge and definite personal experience in fueling for a 5 hour triathlon. I have done 5 hour road stages before during cycle races, but never the physical punishment of a swim/bike/run. But I was confident in my abilities and what I had laid out. So lets move onto the race!

Pre-Race Food:
    Oatmeal, Almond Butter, Cinnamon, Strawberries, Banana, Coffee
     Breeze Bars Cocoa Espresso Bar

PhotoGui and I!

Swim:  27:38 (1st out of water, 8th overall swim)   STRAVA

    Pretty easy and laid back swim start, went off the front of the group and no-one ended up being within 2min of me out of the water. Swam through the group ahead of me as well, made me feel good about where my swim has progressed from taking 1.5 years completely out of the water. Still improvements to be made, and I am anxious to keep putting in the work in the water for next season!

Bike: 2:28:42 (1st off bike, 12th overall bike)   STRAVA

    After an un-eventful T1, I was on the bike for my first 56mile TT test. Settled into a rythm for what would be a 2.5 hour test. Thanks to Coach Grant and teammate Allen, the Carroll 85m and Disk wheel set up was awesome. Some stiff south winds made for a somewhat difficult East/West and North leg on the course. But the Slice and Carroll set up allowed me to catch all but 10 people on the course. Nutrition on the bike included a Breeze Bar right away and 3 Peanut Butter GU's for food. GU Blueberry Brew fueled the liquid calories. Felt as though I paced it very well, and ate enough......was it enough, probably not...continue reading!

Run: 2:10:22 (2nd Overall, 130th overall run)  STRAVA

    OUCH.... KABOOM...... That is what happened to me on the run. The first two miles went pretty well, and then my body just quit. 11 miles to go, and I had nothing left. Don't know how many times I ended walking on the course to finish, I lost count after 15 or so....Disheartening to say the least, but when I think about it, all I had come to do was finish my first 1/2 Ironman. I ate 2 GU's on the run, had a couple cups of flat coke/gatorate, and so much water, but it didn't help. I had never run longer than 45min after a bike, and only longer than 13.1miles say 5 times in a single training run. Coach stresses that the underlying fatigue of HyVee 7 days before added much more to the equation then you could expect too. So I lost my chance of winning with 3 miles to go, after having a 20min lead out of the water and off the bike. Did I already start my legacy as a Chris Lieto prototype (always getting passed after leading off the bike) I SURE HOPE NOT! But I was able to finish something I never thought I would, and had a great time.

OVERALL TIME: 5:09:23 (2nd Place AG, 44th Overall)

Photo: 2nd Place in first 1/2 Ironman ever.

Post-race, had some good food at the race venue from Wahoo's Fish Tacos and an always welcome Mix1! A pretty sweet plaque now sits in my room reminding me what hard work, dedication, and never giving up leads too. Enjoying my few days off here, and ready to start building towards next season! Thanks to GU Energy, Breeze Bars, Mix1, Coach Grant Holicky, FasCat Coaching personnel, and everyone who made this first season a success!

Monday, September 10, 2012

HyVee 5150 USA Championships

A bit late, but it was an amazing trip back home over the Labor Day holidays to compete in the US 5150 Championships at the HyVee Triathlon in Des Moines. Such a close race to home and my body and I enjoyed racing at some lower elevations where I could actually breath!

Flew into Cedar Rapids on Friday night to my parents waiting for me. Was great to see them again, hadn't seen them since March. We loaded everything up and went to Marion to watch the Decorah Vikings play some high school football. I hadn't watch a high school football game in probably 3 years, and it was awesome to sit outside on a Friday night and watch some gridiron live! Saw some familiar faces from the Decorah area.

Saturday, I got up, put together my TT rig (thank you Frontier Airlines) for transporting my bike for free and keeping it safe! Loaded up and drove to Des Moines for pre-race workouts and packet pickup. The biggest event I have ever taken part in, and HyVee really does a great job with everything. Sounds like they take care of the pros extremely well, and were able to bring in the male silver and bronze Olympic medalists. My training buddies Cam Dye and Travis Johnston were also present which made it fun to watch! Skipping through the day, everything went swimmingly, and I was ready to go! Coach Grant Holicky had done a masterful job with my taper, and I felt more fresh then I did all season. Laid down to sleep knowing it was going to be a good day! Major thanks to Dan and Heather for their hospitality and offering up their condo!

Race day! Woke up, had the staple breakfast and coffee and loaded up for Gray's Lake! Got into transition and heard over the loudspeaker that it was going to be a wet-suit legal swim. You're telling me the water temperature changed 2 degrees in 10 hours? I don't think so, they said it was 77.8deg, down from 79.7 the afternoon before. I know there have been some recent tragic deaths during swims, but there is no way it was under 78deg. Anyway, I prepped for the race, and moved down to the water for the group beach start.

Photo Cool picture before the swim.

Swim: 22:04
       Got off the pack early to avoid any collisions and settled in behind Boulder RACE swimmer Mitch Rider who would set the fastest split of the day. Ouch, when we made the turn back East, the sun had started peaking through and made it virtually impossible to see. Eventually I made it back, and out of the water in 2nd place.

Bike: 1:00:40
    Oh come on!!! 40sec is all I needed to break the hour mark! It was a fast course, and a group of 4 of us got together and kept the pace high for the rest of the ride, exchanging time at the front. Ended up with the 4th fastest bike split of the race, and left me in good position going into the run.

Run: 42:32
      Unfortunately, when I came off the bike, I had 2 strong runners with me. I quickly lost contact with the leaders, and throughout the run, would lose 2 more spots to racers behind me. The course was deceptively hard, as it got more and more hilly as you got towards the capital. A massive 10% 1 block hill right before the finish was the real kicker in the pants. I crossed the line, and knew I had given everything I could have give.

After the race, I found I had placed 5th overall and landed a spot on the podium! It was a great experience, and know with a full off-season of running, I will be able to improve my 10km time to keep that top 1-2 spot of the bike.

The rest of my time spent in Iowa included: Seeing family and friends, celebrating my 24th birthday, officially receiving my diploma for my Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology degree from UNI, and just relaxing. Some days I really have a hard time not being next to my family, especially when you see a face like this. I love my niece Brooklyn. So adorable, and is walking, talking and going to be the next Missy Franklin in the pool!
Photo: Brooklyn's new playhouse! When I was little we used boxes and sheets to make houses.My niece Brooklyn
Photo: Finally hold it and see it personally! Official diplomaDiploma