New blog format! This is one of many things that have changed recently that I will discuss throughout this post and a second. Enjoy the read and always interested in feedback.
After my last race at Tri the Midlands my rough patch extended for another 4-5 days as my stomach and dehydration worsened. Eventually though I was able to bounce back and I am back on a consistent training schedule and building back to where I was before! Shortly after recovering I decided to jumpstart my return to fitness and took a training trip to Boone, NC with local Columbia triathlete Jeff Brandenburg. We enjoyed a brief break from the 100+ degree temperatures of Columbia and got in many hours of swim, bike, and running. The views were spectacular and the weather was great! That is, until the sky fell open on our last night, destroying trees everywhere and causing 10,000 people to lose power including us. We got a little more training in but decided to head back early. I decided to extend the fun a bit longer by making a stop in Greenville for some more riding and running but then eventually returned home exhausted.
After some quick recovery I ramped into an intense week of training and getting used waking up at 4:30 am for morning swims with Carolina Aquatics. Later in the week I learned that a couple coworkers of mine would be racing the Tri the Swamp Rabbit Sprint Triathlon at Furman University. While I hadn’t intended on racing, I was eager to spend some time with friends and redeem myself from my previous race. Luckily I was ready for the early wake up time on Saturday morning from the previous week and headed up to the race which was only a 2 hour drive.
I arrived with just enough time to register and set up for the race and was even allowed to get in a 50 meter swim warm up before having to line up to start! As always, I was pushed to the front starting position despite my number being 263 and the swim typically being my weaker portion. Soon enough, the race was started and I began the very short 250 yard swim. After the quick 5 laps of keeping it steady I jumped out and ran into transition with Michael Mauhar who looked to be racing well this year. I hopped on the bike and after getting my feet into my shoes, made the pass to take the lead.
The bike is where I have been excelling particularly this year though I have definitely noticed missing the top end after my stomach issues in previous weeks. The power was going well but not great as it had been in the colder months. I would occasionally check my lead and noticed that I was putting practically no time into Mike who stayed 5-10 seconds back almost the whole ride. I was highly impressed and realized it would come down to the run to determine the result between the 2 of us.
After a fairly slow transition we headed out onto the run side by side until I began to find somewhat of a rhythm. At this point I was confident that my speed would carry me to the finish well (no splits as I forgot my watch strap at home). At the turn around point I confirmed this and was also relieved to see I had a good gap to the rest of the field. This was actually important as I now have a new teammate that will be keeping me looking over my shoulder on the run. Ricky Flynn just joined Team Kattouf and has an astounding history as a Professional Runner. It is good for me that my bike carried me through as he gained on me by 3 minutes in the 5k with a split of 14:50! This guy is going to be a serious competitor in the triathlon sport very soon!
Before too long, I made it through the finish in a time of 1:01:32 beating my time from last year by about a minute and setting a Course Record in the process! This race was very fun and it was great to see all of my friends and coworkers out on the course and after the race. Though I have altered my race schedule significantly in the past month, I am satisfied in how I have responded to the obstacles that came up and didn’t stress too much.
Keep an eye out for the next post labelled part 2 as it will include some amazing news including a whole new set of opportunities for me!