It has taken me over a month to write this race report. But with it I hope to put this race in the past. Very rarely am I disappointed with my performance. I can have off days, just like anyone else. It is, in reality, rare that, as a triathlete, I attain some god-liked fueled rhythm where everything feels effortless. I am not saying my performance is god-like. Simply, sometimes racing feels effortless. As hypocritical as this sounds, sometimes it feels effortless to exert myself beyond belief, to push my body to the limit. But at Collegiate Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I did not get that feeling and unfortunately had the opposite of that effortless exertion.
I was nearly done with my long run when I heard the lyrics, “How will you know….if you don’t try?” whispering in my ears. It was the remix of Jetstream by Jacques Lu Cont. “How will you know if you don’t try. How will you know if you don’t try.”
I had promised myself I was going to take this one easy, stay in zone 1-2 like the plan says, not pop it up to zone 4/ threshold. But my legs were rolling underneath me and I never take these long runs easy. Every time I make that promise to myself, stay around 7′s per mile. Don’t push it. Just ease into it and cruise. I hit the halfway point at the absolute lowest point in Blacksburg and took a left turn into some agonizing cramps and uphill. The pace slowed but the effort rose. Before I knew it I was hammering it up the hill, trying to salvage the pace I had kept on the downhill.
Frequently I wonder whether my competitors are lying about their training or if they really do swim 30,000 meters, bike 300 miles and run 70 each week. My training is so far from that I cannot even compare it. Actually, looking back at my training for the last month, that is near exactly the distance I swam, biked, and ran for an entire month.
So how is it that I continue to improve at such high rates along with guys who log almost four times as many miles as me? In all honesty, I can’t even imagine training that much. It would kill me. My first reaction to hearing that guys train that much is that maybe my body would adapt. Maybe my body would learn to recover faster. But even still, I imagine that I know how to recover. I focus a lot of my time on recovery. In fact I spend almost exactly the amount of time that I spend training working to recover for the next bout.
Back in January, a race director from South Carolina proposed that we Mid-Atlantic Collegiate triathletes pitch to the NCAA triathlon as a varsity sport. When I heard about this opportunity, I was extremely excited and told the other officers of Virginia Tech triathlon team about the race. However, with weeks going by with no word on whether the race would actually happen, none of us were overly committed to keeping that day on our calendar open. But when Taylor Knight of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference (MACTC) sent me an email with a link to the race website, I immediately signed up and encouraged my teammates to do so as well. He told me of some of the other competition he was rallying and it seemed an opportunity that I definitely wanted to be a part of.
Last year I signed up for the Clermont Draft Legal Challenge with a throbbing swollen sprained ankle. I was a broken man. I needed a way to get out and test myself before Collegiate Nationals though and this was my opportunity. However, this year is different. I am in the best shape of my life, having no injuries since those ripped ligaments over a year ago.
My friends and I left Blacksburg in the first hours of spring break to drive through the night to Clermont, Florida, just outside of Orlando. We arrived at the race site to meet some of my teammates from Endorphin Fitness at 9:30 in the morning. During warm-up I could tell my body was in good shape. However, having ignored the warnings of the dozens of people warning me about my reddening back, I got the wicked sunburn that my ignorance deserved. After warm up checked into our sketchy hotel with abandoned buildings and residents that looked more like beached whales than humans and headed to grab some Chipotle lunch.
This is an article that was written a month after my high school graduation and published in The Richmond Times Dispatch. Andy Thompson, the writer of the article, met me out riding the James River trail system a couple weeks before the event. I knew he was a sports columnist because I had read several of his articles and we ended up riding for several miles together, conversing the whole way. He came to the event to spectate the pro race. But, when I crossed the finish line first in the sprint race, I managed to attract his attention to write a column on another story. I hope I can satisfy these expectations established when I was such a young athlete. Continue reading Xterra Sport Richmond ’08
I am two days into the off season following my sixth year doing triathlons. Having taken the last two days away from training, I already miss the sport like mad. I am so excited about breaking the 37 minute 10k barrier that has plagued me all season. My coach and I have known it has been in me all year but bad nutrition, exhausted legs, and poor performances have kept me from achieving the goal I established at the beginning of the year until this last race.
“Dude, are you sure you should race?” one of my teammates from Virginia Tech asked me.
“I don’t know man, I’ll just give it a shot,” I responded as I wiped the vomit from my lower lip with my sleeve. The race hadn’t even begun and I had already lost my breakfast and all my fluids. At the time I thought I was about to have the worst race of my life. I had no idea I was in fact about to break down some barriers in triathlon that when I was a kid, I had never thought possible.
I absolutely love being short. People crack short jokes all the time. Hell there’s even a song about how I’ve got no reason to live. Don’t get me wrong, seriously, I love the jokes and the song, I’ll even dish it right back. But what people may not understand is that, while yes it limits the selection of girls I can date, I absolutely love my height. Being short is awesome.
Last weekend I won my sixth race in six races in Virginia. I made it six for six, no mistakes, perfect speed, absolute precision. Three of those I won by twelve seconds or less. The goal was to win, so I raced for the win, with confidence in my ability, no matter how close it was.
Today, for the first time ever, I received a bold DNF next to my name. I denied every hint of fatigue my body showed me. Rockett’s was my third triathlon in two weeks, having just completed Colonial Beach triathlon a mere 14 days earlier. I told myself, this time is different. I would win 3sports without digging deep into the well to be able to recover and race hard again the next weekend.