Connecticut: Next stop on Haul tour

 
By Triathlete mag Interactive

July 31, 2006 — The Park City Mossman Triathlon in Bridgeport, Conn., will host the third installment of USA Triathlon’s five-city 2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series on Saturday, August 5.The race, taking place at Seaside Park, is also serving as an ITU Continental Cup event and is the 2006 USAT Youth Elite and Junior Elite National Championships.

The elite start list includes 48 athletes representing four countries. Among the elites are World Cup competitor Sarah Groff (Boulder, Colo.), U23 Elite National Champions Sara McLarty (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Manny Huerta (Miami, Fla.), and 2005 U23 World Champion Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass.), National Team members Tim O’Donnell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Michael Orton (Reston, Va.), Jasmine Oeinck (Colorado Springs, Colo.), and Jenna Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass.) are also on the start list, as is 2005 U.S. Collegiate Women’s National Champion Justine Whipple (Annapolis, Md.).

Seaside Park is the most spectacular beachside park in Connecticut. It is a perfect venue for a triathlon, with 49 acres of landscaped beachside park with 2.5 miles of coastline, spectacular views of the sound, and newly paved roads.

The swim is a 1.5km course in the Long Island Sound starting and finishing on Seaside Park Beach. Estimated water temperature is 74º to 75ºF. The bike route is five loops of five miles each – flat and very fast – in the park area. The run course is two flat and very scenic loops of 3.1 miles each along the sea.

The course is slightly shorter for both the youth elite and junior elite races. The youth course is a 400m swim, 12.5km bike and a 2.5km run, while the juniors will race a 750m swim, 19km bike, and 5km run.

Highlighting the junior start list is Steven Duplinsky (Bethesda, Md.), last year’s junior male world champion and recent 2006 junior duathlon world champion, and defending female national champion Yasmine White (Arcata, Calif.).

While there are no world championships for youth elite, the Junior Elite National Championship will qualify three female and three male athletes for the 2006 ITU Junior World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland in September.

More information on the Mossman races can be found at http://www.trifitness.net/ParkCity%20ITU.htm

The 2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series kicked off with the Honolulu Triathlon in May and continued with The Beach Tri in Long Beach, Calif., in June. The Boston Triathlon in Boston, Mass. (September 3), and the Westchester Triathlon in Rye, N.Y. (September 17) are still ahead.

The series of intermediate distance triathlons – now in its second year – allows triathletes and spectators to get their first look at who might be competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Each race is sanctioned by USAT and also the International Triathlon Union (ITU). The ITU world rankings system is used as part of the qualification process for the Olympic Games.

Each elite race, which allows drafting on the bike, has a prize purse of $20,000. Moreover, the overall series men’s and women’s champions – whether from the United States or another country – will each receive $10,000.

Swimwear and sports apparel giant Speedo is also providing $5,000 in bonus money for each race on the five-city tour. American men and women who finish in the top-three in their respective races are eligible for the bonuses, with $1,500 going to the top finisher, $750 to second, and $250 to third.

In addition to the individual race bonus pool, Speedo is providing a $15,000 end-of-the-season bonus to be split if U.S. athletes finish first or second in the Series. First place will receive $5,000 and second place will take home $2,500 in both the men’s and women’s categories.

More information on the 2006 Haul to the Great Wall Series, including series point standings, can be found at http://www.usatriathlon.org/HaulToGreatWall.htm.

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Over training anguish

It has been an interesting last month and a half of training with no racing for me; like the pendulum of a clock, I have been back and forth, then something stopped the pendulum all together as I was stuck at the bottom.  It all started the middle week of April.  Training and racing had been going perfectly, all three disciplines were faster and stronger. 

Then I had four days of intense activity starting with a track work out on Thursday,  a hard swim (750y race) on Friday, second half of sprint Tri on Sat (12.5 bike, 3.1 mile run) and ending with a 40 mile bike race on Sunday.  The problems started on Saturday when I did not hydrate properly after the race and did not take a nap when I was super tired, instead watching a fantastic bike documentary on the Paris-Roubaix (A Sunday in Hell 1976).  I awoke Monday morning with a very sore throat.  The sore throat that my family had gotten earlier this spring and had for 2 weeks to a month!  Uh oh!  I had only 3 weeks until St Anthony’s triathlon.    After 3 days of resting it seemed I had no signs of being sick so I got back on schedule with a track workout on Thursday.  I noticed that I was getting slower and tired on the last sets.  And silly me, I still went very hard.  Sure enough the next day I felt bad and had full blown symptoms.  I ended up resting the entire next week.  Finally, feeling well enough to train with only 6 days until St. Anthony’s.  This started the butterfly effect that plagued me for the next 2 1/2 months. 

My race at St. Anthony’s was less than stellar and very disappointing for me.  How do I deal with a bad race?  I get back and train even harder.  Perfect!  I had just the opportunity to train as hard as I wanted because Hortense and I were going to Europe for a 3 week vacation.  With out 40 hours of work getting in the way of my training I was free to train much more.  So while on vacation I did what I have always yearned to do… train like a real pro.  I could swim every day, go biking whenever, sleep in and the fact that I was in France and Corsica made the training a real adventure.  I had some of the best training weeks of my life getting in a PR of over 20 hours a week.  I was feeling good and was ready to redeem myself with the next race, Escape from Alcatraz. 

Then my wife and I spent the next 3 days traveling by car, boat and plane.  And while I was not working out much during this time I think it was harder on my body than the 20 hour weeks of training.   

When we got back to Boise on May 22nd we only had 13 days to prepare for Escape from Alcatraz and I think this forced me to rush my recovery.  I was back at work the next day, there was unpacking to do, training had to be squeezed into certain times of the day and life got really busy again, suddenly, I felt like I needed another vacation! 

The week leading up to Alcatraz I had another sore throat that I ignored and dismissed as a bad dream, this couldn’t be happening again?!  I didn’t even tell anyone until I told my wife on Saturday (by not talking and not giving it any credence maybe it would go away faster?) before the race that my sore throat was finally gone, albeit the next day I was coughing up stuff in my swim.  As for the race, I finished, and enjoyed the race, however, it was one of the worst performances I’ve had.

The next month was the most frustrating of my triathlon career.  I took 2 days off after Alcatraz and then was ready to get back at it…I needed redemption and a good race!  I knew that I was much faster than my first two races but oddly found self doubt creeping in.  I was feeling tired all the time now, especially after any kind of effort in my training.  It was taking me two days to recover from a workout that I would have breezed through in the spring.  I couldn’t fathom doing 2 and 3 sports in one day.  I was a shell of my former self.  Who was that guy training hard every other day and working and training all day?  It all seemed so impossible.  I desperately wanted to get back to that guy, I wanted to feel his energy and be able to train hard.  So after resting a couple days and doing nothing but easy recovery type workouts I would test the waters with something more intense.  I would struggle every time, my body not allowing me or not trusting me, keeping me from getting to a normal threshold level.  What was going on!?

Was that virus still lingering in my body?  Was I getting old?  Did I lose my motivation and focus?  Did I have cancer?  Was my liver failing?  Was I a wuss?  Was I poisoned?  Was I anemic?  Was I breathing to many fumes from car exhausts when commuting on my bike?  Anything and everything was a possible culprit to what was ailing me.  I was so confused with what was going on.  If I was not a triathlete I may never had noticed anything but because my training level seemed to be 60% or 70% of what it had been I was very stressed to find out why?

And because I was confused it was all the more difficult to try and explain what was wrong to other people.  I’m sure I sounded like a mental weakling.  I went and had some blood tests done and everything came back ‘normal’.  I was almost upset with these results as I was most looking for a cause to my fatigue and wanted justification. 

I have to laugh now at how long it took me to recognize my symptoms and properly diagnose my problems; hind-sight makes it so obvious.  So by digging myself a hole, at least I did learn something about what caused all this mental and physical anguish —  Over Training!

What are some of the Common Warning Signs of Overtraining?

  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains.
  • Pain in muscles & joints.
  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy.
  • Sudden drop in ability to run ‘normal’ distance or times.
  • Insomnia.
  • Headaches.
  • Inability to relax, twitchy, fidgety.
  • Insatiable thirst, dehydration.
  • Lowered resistance to common illnesses; colds, sore throat, etc.

The light finally went on when I picked up some books I had at home and read about over training.  I had several of the symptoms and it explained my sudden inability to train at normal distances or times.  The epiphany had a sudden calming on me as I was enlightened and empowered to fix what had been ailing me for so long.  I realized I had been exacerbating my fatigue by testing the waters with intense work outs every few days and even on rest days doing recovery work outs.  I promptly stopped working out and rested my body and mind.  The break was actually refreshing and somewhat enjoyable.  I did not feel rested until 10 days of inactivity.  I gained 10lbs during this time!  This has proven to be one of the harder things to overcome, as of writing this a month later, I have only lost 5 or 6 of those pounds. 

It has also been hard to get back to the level I was at before the over training started.  I am definitely on the mend and improving every day, filling the hole I dug myself is a slow process that I’m attacking one day at a time.  I am extra careful after a hard day to make sure I am fully recovered before my next intense work out.  But I am so thankful to be able to train hard again, it feels good to have my energy back.  It is an identity crisis for a triathlete to lose his energy. 

All in all, it was a learning experience and hard lesson learned.  I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to recognize the symptoms of over training but I’ll be stronger in the future for the experience.  Rest and recovery is of utmost importance during those times where you are feeling invincible and training and racing well, this is when you are walking the fine line between perfect training levels and going over board.  It can all go south in a heart beat.

I have a race around the corner, my first ITU race and Continental Cup, Mossman traithlon in Connecticut.  I look forward to my first ‘Big’ good race of the year…. 

Park City Mossman Triathlon (Bridgeport, Conn.)
August 5

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