Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2009...The Good and the Ugly. VERY long write up

The 2009 triathlon season has gone by in flurry! Just seemed like yesterday the wife and I were sitting on the deck over looking Lake Taupo! However, that was way back in February. Now we are a few weeks away from the season finale in Clearwater, FL.

2009 started very quickly for me. After competing in the Dallas Open in 2008 I flew straight into Kona to help out K-Swiss during the expo over Ironman. I had a great time and figured I would be home right-away. I was wrong. I met up with Terenzo Bozzone and ended up being his "training hack" over the course of ten days in his final prep towards Clearwater, which he won! I would like to take the smallest amount of credit since we busted out some wickedly hard sessions. It was then that he chirped in my ear about possibly doing Ironman New Zealand. Quick call to the coach and I was in. Things became even better when my old man decided he was in also.

I put all my eggs in one basket leading up to New Zealand. I kissed the wife good-bye, put the job on hold, and flew off to Hawaii for 6 weeks to focus on training. I wanted to destroy Taupo and place in the top 6 and qualify for Kona. I trained my ass off. I don't think I have ever felt as fatigued in any other 6 week period as I did in Kona. I remember one set in particular that hurt. 3x 5 miles at 5:40 pace with 3 min recovery between. When I was on, I was on fire! When a rest cycle came around, I needed if for sure. After six weeks I was the leanest I had ever been and I was ready to head back down to land of origin...NEW ZEALAND!

Once you step on an Air New Zealand flight (or any other non-US carrier. The exception being US Airways.) you realize how airline travel should be. No bike fee, free food and beverage (including alcohol), personal tv with unlimited movies, tv shows, video games, and music videos. Hell, I wasn't ready to land 9 hours later. I wanted more wine and video games. My homestay in Auckland was the legendary, Cameron Brown. I would be staying with his family for 10 days before my family arrived to drive down to Taupo. Training in Auckland was amazing and living down there has definitely been talked about between the wife and I.

Anyways, IMNZ didn't go as planned. A faulty wetsuit that would not unzip threw me out of contention and had me at a 3 min deficit in T1. Well, I actually threw myself out by riding too hard to try and catch up to the boys. Lesson one of 2009 learned. Don't let your ego get out of hand and try and chase over 180km. I blew up at 130km.

Back to America. I was bummed and looking for something. I decided to enter Wildflower. Went and stayed with Terenzo in a cool house a couple miles from race site. I was off the back from the gun and really struggled the entire race. More disappointment. After this race there was some confusion between my coach, myself, and the outfit who my coach was employed by. I left. Coach and I met up a month or so later and re-connected. He his awesome guy and he ended up leaving to form his own training center and is doing awesome here in Austin. All the best Derrick!

It was then I meet up with Matt Dixon from Purple Patch fitness. You may have heard of one of his athletes named Chris Lieto? Chris just finished second over-all in Kona! Matt presented to me a whole new way to look at training. Much more rest. In fact, he put me on 20 days with only one 40 minute training session allowed a day! Matt is great guy/coach and has gone above and beyond to help me out. Not only is he a genius with putting together great plans, he understands the bigger picture of success in the sport and life. To be a great athlete, you need to be happy and have a great support crew. I was so embarrassed to face people after resigning from my well paying job to run around in spandex and not perform. I now have a new training squad I run here in Austin as well as helping my wife our new nutrition company, Healthy Bites (aka Cotter Balls). This takes a lot of my focus away from the sport. I'm looking forward to moving in a new direction for a better 2010. Dixon, I owe so much to you. Thank you for believing in me and sorting me out every time I became a angry man.

After very little training I went to race Kansas 70.3. I went 3:54 and ran a 1:14 half marathon split placing 4th overall in a tough field! I finally saw a glimpse of the potential I think I have. I was ecstatic.

From here on out I thought I would be a top five or even a podium contender at every race. I went so fast on only two weeks training after 20 days of squat! Imagine what I could do more training, right :)

Reality check. Life is tough and doesn't care what you think. Trying to replicate and improve on Kansas was tough. I went to Rhode Island, Calgary, Austin Tri, Augusta and Longhorn and didn't race to the very high expectations I put on myself. If James Bonney is reading this, this is not a convenient personal "reason" always standing between myself and glory. Triathlon is a tough sport and even though I have seen improvement all year in each discipline, I have yet to put all three together. Like my man Naaman, my overblown expectations bred anger and bitterness. My desire for instant success after Kansas proved to be a massive road block for the rest of my 09 journey. Success takes time and to be successful you have to be enjoying the ride.

Dixon came to the rescue and gave me a call after Longhorn. He explained there are great athletes who have lots of potential but have not put themselves in a environmental setting necessary to succeed. This off season I will be looking to change a few things in my environment and steer it towards a course that will breed success.

Clearwater is a few weeks away and I'm really looking forward to the off-season

Just like to thank my beautiful wife, my family, Matt Dixon, Phase One, Ron Vaughn, and K-Swiss for going above and beyond all year helping me through my struggles.

Also a big shout to Randy at Pure for helping me out with a great recovery shake. Katie at zico for supplying me with coconut water. This stuff is fantastic after training in the Austin summer. Very refreshing.


KKB said...

James...I think you are an amazing athlete and an even more amazing person! Keith and I are rooting for you (with all we have) for an outcome in Clearwater that YOU are happy with. I am humbled by your dedication and extreme ability to focus and compete at the professional level! We love you!!

Anonymous said...

Save the best for last Tiges!

BreeWee said...

WOW! Fantastic post, maybe your best.... totally honest and humble and inspiring! You got a fan load of people knowing you got it in there... I love what Dixon told you, he is right, it will come out with the environment and new changes you make! Hope Clearwater is a good one and I wish you and Lindsay lots of success with Healthy Bites!

Brent Poulsen said...

Great Post. I learned alot reading that! Have a great two weeks and i will see you in Florida.

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