Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ben Schloegel TRI Update #2

Much like writing your own eulogy it must be painfull to do it once, a second time? Down right evil. Lets go back to a simpler time......
Topeka Tinman:
My second race of the season an Olympic distance race inTopeka, Kansas.
Being my first open water swim with a large group I took it pretty easy in the water. I felt like I had finished the swim strong, passing and catching a bunch of guys in the last 500 yard. I was pleased to exit the water somewhere in the top 10. Out of T2 I could tell it was going to be a really windy day out there, which I thought would be better for me, being a stronger cyclist and a smaller target. Out of the gates I passed a few guys right away, then I caught my cousin Bob (An awesome triathlete and one of the best all around guys in his age group world wide) by mile 7 and blew by him. Up ahead I saw the race leaders, you could tell they doing there best to battle the hard South winds. I slowly but surely had been pulling them in and was only about a 1/4 mile off there back wheel when we came to an intersection at around mile 17. I believe it was here where my entire season was sent off course temporarily. Kind of like that other famous intersection, Four Corners, where the devil made a deal for rock and roll, maybe not. The terrain was really undulating and I couldn't see ahead that far, so when the officer told me to turn left I did. Keep in mind the actual left hand turn was only about a 1/4 mile ahead, in hind sight this made pretty good sense. I rode about 3.5 miles down that rode, feeling more and more alone, kind of like the boy who begins to whistle in the woods at night when he is lost.
When I pulled up
to the next intersection it was painfully clear I was off course, I turned around and blazed back towards the intersection. When I re-arrived the police officer who sent me off course was still there "guarding" the intersection. You could tell he was kind of waiting for me, almost like he couldn't believe how long it had taken my dumb ass to figure out I was off course.
I asked him "officer, why did you send me off course".
He replied shrugging his shoulder and raising his palms up in a sort of clueless manner.
"I didn't think you were in the race".
It all made perfect sense to me then, how stupid I was to have those race numbers written on me, and that helmet with the big number ID and my stupid race wheel set and bike set up. I probably shoud have worn something more recognizable like hunting cammo and carried a shotgun, that way it would have been very clear- "I am here for the triathlon"!
You live you learn, the last time a cop made a technical error that involved me I saved about 2 grand and kept my ass out of detention. I guess me and the law is even now.
I finished the bike doing 28 miles of the 20 miles course, then took it easy on the run, I figured I would never be able to coast on a run again like that. I ended up 47th place overall, just out of the prize money. The only bummer was that if I would have ended the bike in the position I did, I believe I would have had a shot at the race. I am a strong runner and pulling back a quarter mile is always possible.
Spirit of Racine/US Pro National Championships
Well when your hot, your hot! When you got it, you let it ride. I would love to tell you that this race was a disaster because of a flat tire, that seemed to take forever to fix, or from the two times I threw my chain and actually had to stop and get off to fix. No this race was a disaster long before and after all of this happened; honestly in the end it would have barely come into changing the outcome. My first mistake was adding this race as late as I did to the agenda (about two weeks before hand). My second, being completely and totally overtrained, something my coach and I have addressed and corrected.
The swim was brutal, I fell off the pace of the front side almost right away and with it began my hardest day yet in the sport of triathlon. Let me put this in perspective for you, in 2003 IM Kona I caught two flats and was stuck on the side of the road for 30 plus minutes and then proceded to run on a completely busted right hip to finish. That race in Hawaii in no way touched the depths of desperation I felt in Racine, nor came close to matching the emptiness I would feel crossing the finish line. Racine would, in the end, be the toughest race I ever finished.
Back to the swim. The water in Lake Michigan was pretty choppy that day, I do great in flat conditions, okay in large swells, but choppy is really not my deal I think it has to do with the having to really focus on my breathing patterns. I came out of the water dead last of the pros, but I knew that something more was "off" than just being in choppy water. I think I knew even that morning it was going to get worse from there.
Moving in and out of T1 I even felt weird, as if all since of urgency was gone, I am usually pretty good at hustling through T1 and T2. Right away on the bike I could tell I was dragging, I didn't have any "snap" or "kick" at all in my legs, this was all to clear when guys I know and train with started to catch me. Keep in mind I wasn't in pain and I didn't feel like I wasn't working or hurting, but guys that I know who can't hardly keep my wheel during training rides where blowing by me. One of my friends Mark Carey (who I have to give props to for a great race) was a little shocked when he caught me, he rolled up on me and did a double take then just staight up asked.
"You feeling a little flat today?" The bizare part of that statement to me was how bad I must of looked, and been unaware of it, almost as if there was
a sign on my back. I must of looked bad, I even tried to sit on Mark's
wheel for a while, not to get an advantage, my race was long since over, but really just to see if I could find a rhthym again and get things going. It was useless, I felll of his wheel and stugggled in.
I have only DNF'd once in my life, to this day I feel it was justified and do not regret that descion. I have never walked the run or any portion of it in any race. In Racine I wanted so badly to do both, I felt like I totally embarrased myself and that I had no buisness racing as a pro. What was I thinking? Why do I feel like shit? Have I completely out performed my talent and long since peaked? I knew what I was doing this whole time, but when you get in that rut and your falling apart it is so difficult to talk yourself out of it. That was all I thought about for 13+ miles, it took me 1:22:00 to get through that run a long time by my standards and I swear I
was giving it my all that day. My legs, arms and lungs had no answer for
my brain that day.
My bike avg mph was only 22mph my run split and swims a dissaster, I left the race, packed and drove back that night with my friend Adam McIntosh.
Even though I had plane ticket out first thing in the morning I wanted to just get moving. I figured the car time would give me lots of time to try and figure it all out.
In hindsight, I was trying to throw in an "A" race performance in the middle of being totally overtrained. My coach had let me get away from using my powertapp and hr in training. I had begun to be consumed with quantity over quality and so on. My resting HR had been elevated and my sleep sub par in my journaling the three weeks prior. All classic signs of being overtrained, I addressed this immediatley with him and we quickly went into a rest intensive mode, doing nothing for three days and then simply jogging or riding for fun no watch, no gps. It was good to get my brain back on.
Oh yeah, I finished 8th out of the pros putting up a 4:30 something.
Concrete Man-
This race was the weekend after US PRo Champs, we were in town for my wifes 10 year highschool reunion. My coach and I decided that if I felt good it would be a good idea to try and "get back on the horse". I had a solid race, I had felt a slight bug working in my stomach and throat the entire week previous so I had to avoid the "red zone". I knew that I was going to have to go at about a 1/2 IM pace.
I swam well, killed the bike and had a strong run. I ended up crossing the finish line second. True to 2006 form though when I checked the results I amazingly had dropped to 10th place. Apparently I covered the 5 mile run course in 37 minutes (that is somewhere in the 7:20 range) I have had bad days, heck the week before was one of my worst, but I would know if I had ran that pace. All I can figure is that they put in me in a different "heat" and added about ten minutes to my time. I have e-mailed the race directors but heard nothing back from them.
Ladies and Gentleman that is all I can give you for race updates. I told myself afterTin man that I would hold off and couple that race report with the next, surely it would be more positive. I am afraid if I don't do something to break the cycle or end this hex I will end up insane. I am off to Arkansas next week to race in the heat and humidity, where I am most at home.

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