ITU Sarasota Sprint and Team Relay Championship – Sprint and Super Sprint no mores – Sprint and Super Sprint Some More

May 2nd, 2017

It should be fitting that the last ITU race I did in the States back in March 2015, should be the first one I did after my return from South Korea. The ITU Sarasota sprint is always a fun race, plus I have friends who live near. Speaking of the devils, I just could not stay away from my good friends, Nick and Karen. Nick was off at a USMES training camp in Arizona but I still had Karen and Renni the Dachshund to share good vibes or to annoy—you’d have to ask them.

In typical fashion in any ITU race I’m in, I was already starting far behind because of the swim.  This was my first open water swim since July 2016 in Osaka, Japan. However, I’ve joined a Master’s swim team and have been putting in some fast swimming with other fast triathletes/swimmers in the pool.  I don’t have a problem translating pool swimming to open water since I’ve done enough open water in my life. I was relaxed and in a comfort zone swimming as fast as I have in the past. I also got hit in the face after we dove in and was swimming with one eye which did not help the fact that I let a gap open up between me and another swim pack. My next race, I’ll be sure to go full throttle and see where that leads me.

 

Chase family love weenies. I do too.

Chase family lovez weenies. I do too. : )

 

After exiting the water, I sprinted to keep contact with the rest of the swimmers near me and because walking is not recommended. There were four of us, which slowly became eight during the first of three loops.  We were gaining on the next bike pack but after one lap they were able to stay away and kept their distance.  I put myself toward the front of the bike pack to ensure I would have as much time in transition, since I have not raced in a while.  Every second counts in a sprint triathlon.

Coming out of transition, I was mid pack and slowly moved toward the front.  Only one person was running faster than I was and over the 5k I only passed people and picked up speed.  When I crossed the finish line I was hoping that I made it into the top 20 to score me some ITU points to help with my ITU world ranking.  The announcer spouted off our places minutes later and I heard that I had gotten 20th. I was relieved. Only later did I find out that I was actually 21st because someone had lost a timing chip.  Better luck next time I guess. Or maybe the next day, since racing was not over for me.

 

 

I had decided to put my name down for the America’s Relay Championships, occurring the next day.  Usually I am already on a plane to get back to work. Not having a fulltime military job has its perks.  I was placed on the fourth fastest US team based on our placings in the sprint. I knew one of the females, Britney, who I swim with at Master’s swimming in Colorado Springs.  I did not know what to expect, since I have never taken part in the team relay format. I’ve only watched it on the tele. ITU Team relays consist of four individuals, two men and women. Ladies first of course, followed by alternating gender. Each individual completes a 350 meter swim, 6.4K bike, and a 1.5K run also known as super sprint distances and then tags the next person.

I brought up the rear, waiting nervously and patiently for my turn. When it was finally my turn, we were out of contention for a medal, so I just focused on having a fun and fast leg to help my selection in any future team relays. Once tagged, I ran and dove into the water and was about 20 seconds behind another athlete.  I almost caught him in the first 150 meters but definitely went out too fast to catch him.  I got within 10 meters of him and stayed there until we exited. Heart rate raging, it was only the two of us and he was off on his bike first.

 

 

It took me 4k to catch him and then we started to work together.  As we approached transition, an official was there waving us down to STOP.  We were in a “first runner” scenario, meaning that the first place athlete had reached a certain point on the course where bikers and runners would be using the same course.  For safety purposes, no more bikers are allowed. Not how I wanted this race to go, but as a team, we had been just 30 seconds too slow to ensure that did not happen.

It was still an exciting experience and trip. Although the racing was over, I had another transition and task to compete – get back to the Anatomy and Physiology studies. I had a test the day after I got back to Colorado.  By the way, I aced the test. I’m not just athletic and good looking, wink, wink, cough, cough.

I am a true believer of eating and promoting a plant-based diet for maximum nutrition, performance and recovery. Furthermore, I encourage the pursuit of living life and searching and holding onto quality relationships—be true to yourself and live life with others. Revel in the journey, not just in the destinations. I’m pleased to be apart of The Escape Triathlon Series this year. I would only be half the athlete and man if it were not for the wisdom of my coaches and mentors, Tim Crowley and Louis Tharp and all my family, friends and supporters. Go chase your dreams too!