Sunday, August 29, 2010

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Two big races yesterday and some even bigger results.

First, Tyler Wright tackled IM Canada. Let's set aside for a moment that this is a guy who is a former professional hockey player. His first triathlon is an Ironman, and he truly proved he was worthy of the title. His 2.4 mile swim was a mere 1:12. Let me spell that out; one hour and twelve minutes. That's exactly 10 minutes longer than my 1.2 mile swim. I guess his second mile was really fast, because 1:02 is the physical human limit for the first mile. His bike was a mere 6:14, meaning he averaged almost 18 MPH over some brutal climbs. 

He put up just terrific numbers all day long, and continued it all the way into the run. His first half-marathon split was just above a 10 minute/mile pace. So he tore up the swim, he tore up the bike, and then went out and hit my dream pace on the first half of the run. He finished it up with a 2:35 second split for a marathon time of 4:48. His first marathon was sub-5 hours, and his total time was 12:29:59. That's only 3 1/2 hours more than it took me to do the half-Iron. 

And to think he did this all for charity. Last I heard, Tyler had raised over $40,000 for the Blue Jackets Foundation. While that's terrific work for one man doing one race, I'm sorry to say it isn't enough. It won't be enough until childhood cancers and other diseases are eradicated. So if you're even close to as impressed with what he did as I am, I urge you to donate. Just follow the instructions on the Team Tyler link up on the tool bar to give.

So now, let's move from the efforts of one man to the efforts of one team. Specifically Team Wheelworks in the USA Triathlon New England Regional Championship held today at the Cranberry Triathlon Festival. Specifically, for going all out and winning the Division III club championship. 18 team members raced, and multiple team members came early and stayed late to cheer with a singular goal; getting enough points to bring us the win. We had a few podiums, and most importantly we had a lot of fun. There were a lot of competitive teams this weekend, but we were able to pull out the win on a hot, humid day with little breeze to cool the racers. Rach even overheated just hanging out while we watched and cheered our teammates on.

So what does this success mean to me? It means that for the first time in my life I'm a regional champion at something. It's not like I've never been a part of a winning team; In little league baseball, my team won our league one year. In Odyssey of the Mind, we won a district in our state for a really funny skit. I was thrilled to be a part of our winning today, but I had really hoped to be on the course racing for points of my own. So when I learned there's a National Club Championship, I thought "Ooh, that sounds fun! I should do that". I figured we won our region, we should go to Nationals.

Then I found out the race is just over a month away, and it's South Carolina, near where Rachelle's sister goes to school. And then I found out it's a weekend when Rach is out of town, so doing the race is a lot better than me sitting around playing video games and taking it easy as fall sets in. WheelWorks is a pretty laid back club for the most part, so it's not like we set our sites on a national championship when the season starts. We're out to have fun, get better as triathletes, and enjoy each others company.

This trip to the national championship offers me an additional opportunity to continue to do all of those things. I'll spend time with my sister-in-law, do a nice fast race, and then relax in the warmth of South Carolina for another day before flying home. There are 3 distances to choose from, all with a lake swim, completely closed roads, and most importantly totally flat. I'm doing the sprint, mostly because with my running training plan it's the race I'll be most prepared for. By prepared for, I mean "totally going to PR". 

I still need to do some confirmation with USA Triathlon, but if it all works as I think it does, I'm going to do this. It's just the kind of thing I will enjoy, no matter how well I do. But I'm going to do well. I have time to train and finally a race that suits me.

Finally, back to the efforts of a single man. This time, it's the effort of my friend Derek A. who kicked some butt at Cranberry today. He mumbled something about missing "his goal" after the race. I know what it feels like to miss a goal, but what I saw was him slaughtering a very hot course and looking strong even at the end. He definitely beat my likely Olympic distance time, which hopefully we'll figure out what that is next year. 


  1. Thanks for the update on Tyler, wow! As an ice hockey player myself (in addition to budding triathlete, amongst other myriad endeavors), I loved hearing how he tore it up! And congrats to your tri club winning regionals, how awesome, which is also providing you with a great experience in SC with nationals.

    I enjoy your blog tremendously because you are so 'everyman' and relatable. You work hard to reach all of your goals. You battle food demons, and therefore you battle your weight. You finish races, but aren't a podium guy unlike some tri-related blogs where the authors are super-athletes that are in contention for winning SOMETHING every race, which is still enjoyable and enviable to read but you relate to a larger group of athletes, in my opinion. The BOP'ers. The MOP'ers. OK, I'm rambling. Nutshell: keep up the good work on the blog and on yourself!

  2. Does this mean when I start winning races you won't read anymore? If that's the case, I'm going to just not win any races!! LOL

    Seriously though, thanks so much. While I do appreciate that you appreciate my hard work, I could stand to work a little harder, especially with a new race on the books in just a month.

    And the one thing I'll say about the super athletes, after finally being in a race with them, they do put in their hard work, even if they make it look easy on race day. But I think you're right that it's easier to identify with someone who isn't winning a lot, because that's most of us.

    But I'm glad the super athletes blog, because it gives us something to strive to and learn from.

  3. Win all you like, I will still read your blog!

    And yes, I do enjoy the super athletes' blogs as well. They too are very inspiring and I know they put a ton of time in training and such and it is interesting and beneficial to hear their tips and methods and stories. My newbie tri brain just can't fathom going into a race knowing that I would have a chance of winning AG, or gender or even overall. That amazes me to no end, hearing the top athletes talk like that.