I’m usually good about getting out a pre-season update, but for some reason I neglected to get to it this year! It’s been a busy off season with a few big changes along the way. The first major change is my enlisting the coaching help of Matt Russ of The Sport Factory. I’ve been overseeing my own training over the past few years and needed a fresh set of eyes to get me moving. I’ve seen steady improvement over the winter and am looking forward to continuing the trend throughout the season. I’ve also joined the Sport Factory coaching staff and have the privilege to help a great group of talented athletes (and actually utilize my Masters Degree). All told, it’s been a great relationship! The second major change is coming shortly as Ashley will begin her Surgical Residency this summer at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. It’s a great program and I’m extremely proud of her amazing success in Medical School! In Richmond, I will be focusing full-time on training and racing for the next couple years and will work on putting all of the pieces together for a steady stream of great races!
As for this season’s races, I’m focusing on the Olympic distance to start the year and will see where a focus on speed takes me. After the first half of the year, I’ll sit down and re-evaluate the second half. I will again be donating a portion of any prize money to the Blazeman Foundation and I courage everyone to get involved! A link is available through my website.
This year’s races (assuming a smooth move to Richmond in May/June!):
Miami 5150 3/20/11
South Beach LTF Race 4/10/11
St. Anthony’s 5150 5/01/11
Memphis in May 5150 5/22/11
Escape from Alcatraz 6/05/11
Lifetime Fitness Race 7/09/11
I’m currently in Miami racing the first race of my 2011 season with the inaugural race of the new 5150 series. It is an Olympic distance series put on by WTC, the organizers of Ironman Races. I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday to meet up with my relatives Jim and Claudia Roper who are gracious enough to put me up for the weekend. The Pro field for the race was stacked with pro athletes making up 10% of the entire race! I knew looking around at the pro meeting that I’d have to race well to get my goal of finishing in the top ten!
Race morning started with a warm-up in the dark and a jump into bay just as the sun was coming up. The swim was a non-wetsuit swim that was fast and frantic like an ITU race. I settled into a steady pace and came out in 12th place with a time of 16:38. I was in the first group comfortably and took off toward transition. Being the first race of the year, my transition was less than stellar but I was able to maintain contact with the main group. The first mile of the bike was tough and I had trouble getting up to speed. The group in front of me pulled away and I pushed the pace as hard as I could flying solo. I caught a few of the guys toward the end of the bike and was passed by Chris Lieto, who looked like he was just cruising! I came off the bike in 10th place with a split of 56:31 for the 40k and actually improved my placing from the swim. I took off on the run knowing that I had a chance of holding on to a top 10 finish. I pushed the pace hard and held the first few miles under 5:20 pace. Brian Fleischmann passed me about half way through and I couldn’t hold onto his pace. I had to dig deep to hold off hard-charging Kaleb Vanort, who ran a race-best 29:54. Man, racing sure can hurt! In the end I finished with a solid 33:10 10K split for a 1:48.35 total time and an 11th place finish.
I was a bit disappointed about missing out on my goal of a top 10 finish, but I’m very pleased with the first race and my early season fitness! I’m on the right track for a great season and am looking forward to getting back on the starting line in a few weeks. Of course, I wouldn’t be racing this well without the help of Matt at the Sport Factory or my great group of sponsors: BlueSeventy, First Endurance Nutrition, Great Clips Salons, ISM Saddles, Kiwiami Triathlon, and Newton Running! The support and encouragement from my sponsors, friends, and supporters really makes my racing possible. Thank you!
I’ll be updating the website shortly.