The road home…

Home has a lot of meanings to me. There’s the house I grew up in, where my parents still live, which will always be home. And of course, wherever Rachelle lives is home to me now. But in a way that Buie’s Creek never will be Columbus will always be home to me as well. And so it’s back “home” I’m headed tomorrow to race this weekend.

I wanted to race the Giant Eagle Multisport Festival since the announcement of the inaugural event almost two years ago. I never actually did a tri in CBus; my Ohio races back in my first season were in smaller towns closer to the corners of the state than the middle. So when I learned that this race was sponsored by INFINIT and that it would be a signature race of the Eleonore Rocks team, I had to do it. I get the chance to see a couple of friends in the area, and Rach and I get to race through areas we’re pretty familiar with, including down the main street in Columbus (High Street).

Rach is racing the “girls tri too” super sprint on Saturday Morning. She’s been wanting to race a women’s only event for quite a while, and we had planned for her to race one earlier this summer, but her work schedule never allowed it. She’s then racing the Sprint distance race on Sunday, while I’m racing the Olympic distance. The Sprint distance is longer than many with a 30k bike so that sprint athletes get to experience the same ride down High Street into downtown.

I’ve been so busy with work, packing the house, looking for a new place to live and the logisitics of the move that I’ve not really had much time to think about goals, but I’ve been really strong in my training over the past two weeks. I have set PR’s for my 500 yard swim in each of my last 3 swims, and I’ve had 500s later in those same swims that would have broken older PRs. My biking is getting stronger, and I’ve either set PR’s or moved up in KOM rankings on Strava during most of my rides over the past couple weeks. My run, that will be interesting to see this weekend.

Reading the athlete guide, I saw that the race has a cutoff time of 11:15 AM. Based on my start time (6:49), That gives me 4:26 to finish. That’s 5 minutes less than my current PR for the Olympic distance, set at Belew’s Lake at the start this season. I’m not letting that race be my guide as I was fully sick and fighting what turned out to be Exercise Induced Asthma and allergies without the benefit of knowing what I was up against. I’ve trained hard since then, and I’m stronger and faster now.

Swim: I’m setting a conservative goal in the swim goal of just about 45 minutes. That’s basically my best 1 mile time right now, and I’ve done a good bit of distance (1900 yard and 2500 yard swims) over the past few weeks so I think I’m ready, and hope to come in under that time, but swimming a straight line and sighting aren’t my strengths.

T1: No socks on the bike, likely no wetsuit to peel (water temperature is 77.2 degrees and a warm weekend is expected) and new easier shoes to work with ought to make for a quick T1. I’m not sure how much running is involved but I’m saying 3 minutes for T1

Bike: The bike is interesting, the first 5 miles are basically downhill with a few very small rollers, then it climbs about 160 feet over the next 4 miles, before dropping 260 feet over the next 15 miles. As long as I’m geared and hydrated properly for the short climbing section, I think this will be a new 25 mile bike PR. 1:40 would be a 15 MPH average, I’m going to shoot for a little better than that with all the downhill over the second half of the ride, so I’m going for a 16 MPH average, and a 1:33 bike time.

T2: Switching shoes and putting my CEP Compression Socks on will probably take a couple minutes but I’ll be glad for the time as the run gets on. I’m guessing 3 minutes for T2 also

Run: I would love to break 4 hours for my Olympic, which if everything else is as expected would mean I could run a 1:35:59 and still make that time. I’m hopeful I can run a 1:31 or so and give myself even more clearance. Other than a pretty solid hill right out of T2, the run course looks like it could support that time. I’ve run some of this course in the past during 5ks back when we lived there, so it should be pretty familiar.

If you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to come out, support the racers, and consider stopping by the Eleonore Rocks/INFINIT booths. I’ll be around all weekend, and checking my twitter @Ben_m_Berry, so if you’re around I’d love to meet you.

In a New York minute, everything can change…

I’m probably going to have Don Henley in my head for the next 2 weeks, so now at least while you read this, you will as well.

EAGLES “New York Minute-live” by miklo

Last Thursday, Rachelle interviewed for a job with Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Hamilton is in upstate New York, about 30 minutes East of Syracuse and an hour Northwest of Cooperstown. It’s sort of similar to where we live now, that it’s sort of in the middle of nowhere, a little college town (though in much more the traditional sense, as opposed to here where the college is sort of on it’s own and the towns nearby are very much their own as well).

I’m sharing all this, of course, because I’m delighted to say that Rachelle was offered the job last night, and that she’ll be the new athletic trainer for Colgate University Women’s Hockey beginning in just a couple of weeks. This means a rather quick move, likely with a start date for her between August 8th and the 13th. Of course, between now and then, we have a bunch going on; the race this weekend in Columbus, and my cousins’ wedding the following weekend. Plus, right after we move in, there’s a long weekend family get together back in Michigan for right after the move. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting few weeks.

On the training front. things have mostly been going very well. Last week i swam my fastest 1500 of the year, and my biking has probably never been stronger overall. Because of some of the breathing issues (allergies/asthma) I still have some issues just hammering for a long period of time without coasting, but my overall speed has definitely improved. I’m anxious to see what I can do on the flatter roads of Ohio in my 2 upcoming races, and then start tackling the challenge of the hills of New York. Of course, my running has a long way to go, but I’m working on it.

All of this change has led to a little stress eating, but it’s under control, and fortunately my metabolism seems to be making up for it on the days I’m not where I should be. I probably won’t lose more weight over the next 2 weeks, but I’m determined not to gain any either.

It’s a lot going on, but we’re excited for Rach to take this next step in her career, and for me to have a job that allows us to do these kinds of things with very little risk.

The Tour de ‘Baco and other stories…

It’s been 10 days since I shared what’s going on and I still don’t really have time to do everything that’s been going on justice in terms of talking about it all. But I want to put a few things down that are really important, at least in my mind.

  • The Tour de ‘Baco – This is me riding every day of the Tour de France. Dr. Pain took my goal of riding every day the tour does into account when she made our workout plans. Since the day the tour started, I’ve ridden 285 miles, climbed over 5,000 feet, and spent just a hair under 20 hours in the saddle. My average speed, was almost 15 MPH. I’ve ridden every day the pros have, and even with a bad cold near the end of the first week I got on the bike, though I did cut about 20 total miles off the plan.
  • Other training – I’m still not as motivated to run as I should be, but I’ve been doing it. Swimming has actually gone really well, and I swam my fastest 500 ever on Monday. When we’ve been swimming has been all over the map due to swim school taking up almost all of the available pool time outside of work hours. But we’re getting it done, and my swim is really starting to come around a bit!
  • The Giant Eagle Olympic is a mere 10 days away. I’m ready for an Olympic PR. I’ll set goals next week when I have more time.
  • Weight Loss has been going REALLY WELL. As of this morning I am down 14.2 pounds! It’s been great and I’m really noticing a difference in my swim and my bike. I still suck at running, so maybe another 50 pounds or so will make running feel a little easier.

Finally, the really big news. Rachelle is at this moment at a job interview in New York. She likes her current job and loves her co-workers and if they had a hockey team for her to work with, she’d probably stay at Campbell forever. An opening came up very late in the summer to work with a Women’s Ice Hockey team in a smallish town in the northeast, which is pretty much a dream job for Rach. We’ll hopefully know more shortly.

What I learned last week…

Last week was extremely busy. Work has had me occupied even more than usual as I come down to the deadline. Training has been ramping up in volume and intensity. And the Tour de France started. Plus more shenanigans in the Lance Armstrong investigation. And through all that, I learned some really good stuff, mostly about me.

- That like Neo in The Matrix movies, there may be almost no limit to how much computer information I can stick in my head. I am currently learning 3 different systems while helping create a fourth and assisting in writing the interface between them. Now I just need a cool leather duster and some sunglasses.

- That extra motivation or not, I do not enjoy running in the heat. The sweat and discomfort at least breaks even with the runners high and sometimes prevents it entirely. Im not giving up hope of becoming a runner, just don’t think it’s going to truly be enjoyable for me until I lose more weight

- That having a weekly weigh in the day after national holiday SUCKS. I gained a pound over the prior week, at least according to the scale last Thursday. Of course, I’m down from there now, but I like the weigh in days to be successful ones. It’s a positive reinforcement thing.

- That I love my bike. In the past week I’ve ridden 152 miles. For some people that’s not a large amount of miles, but it’s definitely an increase in volume for me as I ride every day the tour does. I haven’t ridden today yet, but I can tell you as much as I don’t enjoy running, I love being on my bike, even Sunday after a horribly hot and body draining ~40 mile ride on Saturday, I got right back on and loved it.

- That I can one day be the fish I was as a kid. My swimming is actually coming along. I’m not tons faster at the 100 level, but my stamina is strong right now all the way up to about a mile, Im consistently in the 41-44 range for 1700 yd range. That’s faster than my best one mile time last year, and I still have 2 months of training before Cedar Point

- That even for a BOPer like me, coaching makes sense. Having a coach pays such huge dividends and not just because of the planning and preparation, but because there’s someone there to make you be accountable even if you’re just being accountable to yourself. When Dr. Pain leaves us for a new job in the fall, we’re going to miss her so much!

- That I’m really learning to like suffering, but that I never was cut out to suffer as much as the guys on TV. Plus I like food too much to ever be quite that skinny.