||Half - Ironman
July 19, 2009
Sometimes, you can really surprise yourself. It’s miraculous what you can achieve, even when you think the odds are stacked against you. I went into Vineman 70.3 on 1 day of rest over the past two weeks, that day being Saturday, the day before the race. The previous week consisted of over 40,000 yards swimming, thanks to Coach Gerry Rodrigues’s 3 week intensive swim training, over 70 miles of running, and 5 of the most intense trainer workout I have done all season. To say this was going to be a training race was an understatement. I thought I would be lucky to finish, let alone have the outcome I did.
The morning started as most race mornings do, with coffee, bagels, peanut butter, and whole bunch of bodily functions (details omitted). We had a 30 minute drive to the race start, which was calm, but I could tell I wasn’t as relaxed as I usually am on race morning. I felt jumpy and nervous. Maybe it was because this was my last race as an amateur and I knew I had to perform, or maybe it was because there was going to be a lot of talent at this race and I was curious to see how I would stack up against the best, or maybe it was because I was exhausted from the previous week of training. What ever it was, I did not feel right. I got to T1, set up, met up with Cortney, Lesley, Brian, and Quinn, we talked strategy, my heart raced, and I tried to calm down. Now, it is great to have friends at a race, but the downfall is that you may neglect you moment of Zen before the race. This is what I use to calm my nerves and visualize the “whuppin” I am about to lay upon the course. I did not get this moment, which really played with my head. I got into the water anxious and unprepared. Enough of that.
The gun goes off and I start to hammer, unlike I have in any other race in the past. I finally started to settle down. Now, I don’t see myself as an exceptional swimmer, but I can definitely see improvement. I tried to hang on to the feet of the faster swimmers in my division (who actually turned out to be the fastest swimmers in the race), but I just couldn’t keep up. I found myself all alone between the fast, lead pack and the second pack. I got into a great rhythm and didn’t even think about the fact that I had no one to draft off of, this was a training race, right? I got out of the water and looked at my watch. 31 minutes! 5 minutes faster than Boise! Look out Andy, Lube is coming for you (That’s Andy Potts, one of the fastest swimmers in triathlon).
The bike course was interesting, a lot of twists, turns, hills, descents, fallen trees, motorcycles, etc. I felt heavy and knew I would have to grind it out in order to have the bike time I usually do. It was going to hurt. About 5 miles in, my left arm rest bent completely down and was not usable. I didn’t know what to do with my left arm. Because of the added pressure on my right arm, I pulled my right aero bar loose and had to deal with that the rest of the bike. At mile 7, there was a blind right turn, where I came upon a fallen tree with two riders under the tree. I had to slow down, dismount, wait for other riders to clear the tree, walk under the tree, get back on my bike, and continue. I hope those guys are ok. You can never predict the curve balls life throws at you, so live it up. Who knows when a tree is going to fall on you while riding (What a strange occurrence). Now, before the race I said I was going to push it so hard I bled from my pores. I was pushing harder that ever, but I felt as if I was going no where. I got passed by two guys,. I NEVER GET PASSED! I concentrated on my pedal stroke, and more importantly, my nutrition. I took a Gu every 30 minutes, and popped salt tabs like they were candy, in anticipation for a run that I knew was going to be hot. I suffered through the bike course, and finished in 2:21. A lot better that I thought I was going to do.
I threw my shoes on and took off on the run. I passed the two gentlemen who passed me on the bike, within the first half mile of the run (Suckers). I felt light and fresh. Yeah, it was puzzling to me too. I pushed and pushed and felt as though I could keep pushing. The heat and hills didn’t affect me. I put my head down and pushed the pace. I did not see one competitor from my age division. At mile 8, I passed a 40 year old and I ask if he had seen anyone else from my division. He said, “Hell no, you are smoking them.” This gave me inspiration to hammer the last 5 miles. I opened my stride and galloped to the finish. As I crossed the line, the announcer called out that I had the fastest time on the day for an amateur, with an overall time of 4:11. I ran a 1:15, and felt great. Imagine if I had tapered. After an hour or two of hearing my name as the top amateur, I checked the computer results. It said I was 4th. 4th is great, but I was bummed. I thought, three dudes came in faster than me. Oh well, still won my age group. Jump to the awards ceremony, the announcer says he wants to recognize the fastest times of the day. “First, from Los Angeles, CA, JimLubinski.” I did win! The computer was messed up, I don’t think those other guys even finished. I won a wetsuit, a bottle of wine, and a $50 gift card from TriSprots.com.
What a way to finish my amateur triathlon career. Now, on to the big show. The pro life will be an interesting and fun journey, which will be full of failure and rejection, but, with perseverance and hard work, it will also be full of success and domination. I am excited to see how it unfolds. I suggest you join me for the ride. Keep up with my progress on Facebook(friend me at Jim Lubinski), my website(JimLubinski.com), my blog(www.atrilife.blogspot.com), or e-mail me at JLubinski1@yahoo.com. It’s been fun racing as a hobby, now it’s time to take it to another level. Thanks to everybody reading this, without you, triathlon wouldn’t be the greatest everyman sport in the world. RACE HARD!