Coaching Fun!  Don't Tell Me What To Do!!

Coaching Fun! Don't Tell Me What To Do!!

I had started post a while back that I didn't publish because, frankly, it was super boring.  I had no idea what I was in for with "Coach John", and I wanted to express that.  To start, John sent me an at least 5 million page questionnaire probably, which I recreated in that very boring blog.  

To spare you the pain which John endured, I have recreated only a few of the highlights that I had to think long and hard about:

1. What is your sport background?

I was in band (aka I can walk pretty far and move my hands and feet independently).  I lifted weights for a few months back in the early 2000s.  My first ever 10k was in 2012 and it took me weeks to recover from

Race Report - 2018 Wrentham Duathlon

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Race Report - 2018 Wrentham Duathlon

For me, the first race of the season carries the same anticipation and weight as the last. As I venture out of my dark dim basement, looking for this “sunshine” that so many once spoke of, this first race allows me to gauge my fitness level in the real world.


Like most of North America, this winter has been a mess. We here in New England were hammered by 4 nor’easters over 3 weeks in late Feb. and March, one of which also happened to morph into a bomb cyclone. Basically what that meant for us on the East Coast, was that we had snow, and sleet, and a shit ton of it at that. One of the not-so-fun effects of all that snow and junk laying waste to our racing grounds, is all the cracked pavement, potholes, and debris strewn about.

Early last Sunday morning I lined up with my fellow triathletes for the 2018 Wrentham Duathlon. Buzzing at the starting line, we listened to the National Anthem while mostly searching the park for a flag to face. The race director then jumped on his horn and jokingly asked who’d been outside riding recently? Not many hands went up. The area had just thawed from another glorious spring snowstorm a few days before. Jokes aside, the race director then proceeded to warn us of the dangers we might face on the road. Particularly how after the last storm hit, the town plowed away the snow and then seemingly decided to dump what remaining salt and sand they had left over from the winter season. Watch the corners. Also, he cautioned, watch out for the potholes and cracks in the road on the final descent and turn back into the park.

Finally the ‘horn/gun’ sounded and everyone blasted off down the road. No really, this group was fast and itching to go. I self seeded myself towards the back of the pack, allowing these speed ninjas the space to jostle their way to the front. Taking a moment to look down at my watch, I was shocked to find myself running a 7min mile. I shut that shit down quick. While this Dad bod and its limits may still be an enigma to me, I absolutely know I can’t sustain a 7min mile. I pulled back, settled into a comfortable pace and still found myself running faster than expected. Up and around, off we went.

 Wrentham Duathlon - Run 1

Wrentham Duathlon - Run 1

Run 1 - 2.96 Miles

Time: 25:43 - Mile 1 8:24, Mile 2 8:37, Mile 3 9:05

The Crackerbarrel Fairgrounds in Wrentham, MA (not far off from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots), hosted the transition area, tucked between some baseball stands, the main road, and a parking area. While the transition is perfectly situated next to you cars and the oh-so-holy port-o-potties, the path into the transition is about a 200ish yard run (or bike) across a unkempt soggy field.

During T1, I was not entirely worried about my time. I fueled up, geared up, and hopped on my new old 2011 Felt B12 tri-bike - which prior to this race I had only rode outside once; in a Tucson Target parking lot at the time I brought it. So as I clipped in without the security of my Kurt Kinetic trainer, I was nervous. Luckily the bike is a beaut and through spending time on it in the basement, I had found that sweet spot of mild comfort on top of a bike.

The single loop bike route through the towns of Wrentham, Franklin, and Norflok, covers just enough varied terrain to keep you amused. Bike support and water stations were not provided, so I brought my tire/tube kit and all the drinks to be drank.

The course rode as expected, hills for days the first half followed by descents and turns through the last half. While I pushed through climbing the hills, I was pretty reserved coming down off them. The roads were chewed up through many sections, and the parts that weren’t were covered with shadows from overhanging trees. The course was also open to traffic and with my Plymouth crash still fresh, even after 18+ months, I had no desire to eat it on my new old bike during this race. The bike felt great, my brakes worked even better.

 Wrentham Duathlon - Bike Course  

Wrentham Duathlon - Bike Course  

 

Bike - 10.76 Miles

Time: 40:24

Elevation Gain: 528ft

Elevation Loss: 522ft

Average Speed: 16mph

Max Speed: 29.3mph

 

Coming up to the transition area across the field was pretty sketchy, but I made it across the mat without eating it trying to get my clips out in front of the DJ. Win.

I took my time as before, sucked a GU, laced up, and took off with a few people in my sights.

  Wrentham Duathlon - Run 2

 Wrentham Duathlon - Run 2

Feeling pretty worn while waiting for my GU to kick in, I didn’t even bother looking at my watch. I was tired, and again I didn’t feel like going home with a new injury. I picked a few people off, glanced down at my watch and was pleasantly surprised by my pace. The 2nd loop was a mile less than the first, and it was nice to be able to run past familiar scenery.

I coasted up to a guy who kept pace with me and we chatted about how chopped up the bike course was. He informed me how a distracted driver pulling onto the course from a shopping area almost smoked him. He asked if I wanted to push to the end. I glanced over my shoulder, and with no one behind us I asked his age group. Not being in the same group, I wished him luck and he sprinted off. Soon after the final bend came into view and I could clearly see the finish off in the distance. Pushing myself, I finished strong.

Run 2 - 1.94 Miles

Time: 16:47 - Mile 1 8:43, Mile 2 8:24

2018 Race Season – Race 1 – Done
The real highlight of the race came after it was all over, when I realized that for the first time ever I had placed. My time of 01:26:37 was good enough for 3rd Place in the Male 35-39 age group. That time also happened to beat my 2017 (01:30:28) time. Hooooray for progress. Go TUSA!!!

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The Kona Itch: John's Coming for you in 2018

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The Kona Itch: John's Coming for you in 2018

2017 was a great learning experience for me. I had a solid build up to Ironman Coeur d’Alene which was the A race of the year. I executed well on that race from start to finish and didn’t make too many large mistakes. It taught me a lot about how I want to have a lead up go to be mentally and physically ready for an Ironman. I capped off the year qualifying of Kona!!

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RACE REPORT!  KONA, YEP, THAT ONE (For Real!)

RACE REPORT! KONA, YEP, THAT ONE (For Real!)

Well I completed my first World Championship Race in Kona, and it was a humbling experience for sure. Before getting into the report I just wanted to say that this year was a very solid year. The main goal...

KONA!! Q&A with our World Championship Competitor

KONA!! Q&A with our World Championship Competitor

So that leaves John.  And not only did John qualify for Kona, he qualified on his first solid attempt and in spectacular fashion!!  

And because we've been getting so many requests, I though we'd do a Q&A for all you aspiring Kona competitors.  So what about it, John?  What does it really take to place yourself amongst the top endurance athletes on the planet?