Superiorman Race Report
Duluth, MN; August 24, 2014(by Rich Johnson)
Superiorman delivers an experience! Last year intense heat, this year wicked water.
I followed the same Matt Fitzgerald plan that I followed the year before. I liked it and my body seemed to respond pretty well. I can only follow the last 12 weeks of the 16 week plan the way I would like so I do my own thing in April and May, swim once a week in the pool and bike trainer for 30 minutes most mornings before work. During the school year I weight train 3 or more days per week, during the 12 week build up, I cut that to two days per week.
I love Duluth, went to collage there, know the area and this course just tickles me. We stayed at the same hotel as the year before, just a couple of blocks from the DECC. I could walk my bike over to check in. Saw Matt and family as I walked in and chatted for a minute. I was so glad Matt was there. I’d been looking forward to being in the race with him and comparing notes after. Plus, he, Brandi and kids are so supportive. Dropped off bike, checked out the swim out spot, which changed to a ramp for this year, more on this later. Nerves hit, and I’m twitchy during taper week anyway! Not sure how Noelle can stand me that night before. We ate at Grandma’s Sportgarden, they have a pizza and pasta bar. Some of you saw my picture of the rollers in the Lake, and David Bjorklund really helped my nerves with his post! Up at 4:45, eat a muffin (pre race food ritual) go.
If you read Matt’s report you know the swim leg was shortened. I, too, was disappointed, I wanted the proper distance to compare apples to apples. But, it was the right call, safer for swimmers and boat. Ryan and I chatted while we waited, he kinda talked me down from my nerves. His reminder to listen to your body was the exact right thing to say. Thanks. It was a crazy swim, the rollers hit you right away. I saw one dude give up 200 yards in. The back leg was nuts, hard to see, hard to sight, hard to swim. About half way through I thought, “this sucks!” Then the teacher in me said, “knock it off, choose your attitude!” I did, I reframed my self talk to “this is awesome! It is really, really hard and you are doing it! You are Killing it!”. I think this made a difference in my race. Swim exit is weird, a ramp helped this year. But, as the guy grabbed my hand and pulled, my left leg shot out and a toe got bent over a bit roughly, not broken, but boy it sure looked bad, post race. Up, jog into T1. Not a bad time.
New triathlon bike shoes and a new mount, not a flying squirrel, I fiddle around and put my right foot entirely in the shoe. Off we go. I’ve been seeing real improvement on my bike this year, racing and at TT. I averaged 18MPH for this race, a full mile per hour faster than last year. Up the shore was hard, hills and headwind, the turn around and tailwind was nice, felt fast. Matt passed me and said hello, forgot to pat me on the butt as requested. Very pleased with this bike leg. T2, funny(ish) the speed dismount went well (didn’t fall on my face) but my left shoe popped off the peddle as I started to jog in, took a second to retrieve it and carried it to my spot.
I’d had a terrible 14 mile run earlier (97 degrees and bonked) this year. Last years Superiorman run was awful (also 97 degrees). I was worried, maybe even intimidated. I started out, held it back through the first few aid stations and around mile three let my natural pace take over, run by feel. I was feeling great. I saw Matt twice and Ryan once. I love that, a couple of words of encouragement exchanged and couple of high fives, what a supportive group of people. My wife and kids giving me love. Brandi and Matt’s kids shouting encouragement. I had the run of my life. Felt strong and fast. When the dust cleared I’d run a 1:49, my stand alone half marathon is a 1:46!
What a cool experience. Nice to PR by an hour, yeah, I know, the shortened swim. I like my approach to triathlon, casually serious. I learned this year to take what the race gives you. Sometimes that’s cramps, sometimes it’s surprise speed. I am reminded again and again what a great group of people are in this sport and this club. My heartfelt thanks to you all.