2011 has certainly been an interesting year for me. Since triathlon has become my way of life when I reflect on the past year I tend to categorize things in terms of my race cycle. Early on in 2011 it was all about staying consistent and getting ready for the Triple T weekend event in May. Prior to that event I spent most of my days either fitting workouts in or at the office working on tax returns through the busy season for accountants (January – April 15th). Once the tax deadline date came and went I started to focus on getting some solid training in before the end of May. During the midst of that I had a great time at the Seneca 7 where myself and 6 other friends ran 77 miles around Seneca Lake. Each person ran 3 times, running distances of 3-5 miles. In between the running legs we rode our bikes which ultimately made us the winner of the most “Green” team, yielding us a bounty of prizes including free sandals from Vere, a new sandals company located locally in Geneva, NY. Shortly after the Seneca 7 I participated in my first multisport event of 2011. When I say I participated I really mean it because I certainly wasn’t racing anyone. It was a pretty good awakening to race the duathlon as I got my butt handed to me by none other than my good friend Mike Corona. I knew I had it coming to me when we both went out for a pre-ride of the course a week before and I was struggling to keep up with him on the bike. Being on the trainer all winter and riding outside but a few times before the race definitely wasn’t enough to get me ready. Anyway, it was a good training day and I kept my head down for the next few weeks before we headed down to Ohio for the Triple T, which was a three day racing event. It included a super sprint prologue on friday, two olympics on saturday and a half ironman on Sunday. I truly did not know what was going to happen at this event in terms of how my body was going to react. I felt that this format would suit my love of extended endurance…meaning the longer something goes the better of a chance I have at holding out and persevering. Well overall the weekend was a great success for me. I came away in 8th place against some really good competition. My times were not the fastest in the individual events, however I was very consistent and backed up the olympic races with a solid half ironman on the final day. It seemed that in most races I played the hunter and Mike was the game. Mike and I would usually come out of the water at about the same time, he would take the lead on the bike and then I would spend the majority of the run tracking him down. During the half ironman we literally came out of the water together (we even made eye contact after the first loop of the swim, it was a 2 loop course), he took off on the bike and I hung tight sticking to what I felt was a comfortable pace. After the first loop of the two loop bike course I felt surprisingly good and ended up taking it up a notch. As I came into T2 I knew Mike had a decent lead on me but that I would have 13 miles to make that up. It ended up being a really fun run for both of us as we were able to see each other about 4 times at the various turn arounds. I remember seeing Mike on the final turn around and just giving him a snarky smile because I knew I was running well and that I was going to make it close. This is all in good fun, we are both competitors and as it turned out I passed him with a mile or so to go. Even though I slipped by him I know that we both made each other faster that day but pushing the pace. We both ended up having extremely successful weekends which would lead up to successful race seasons ahead. I really took a lot away from that weekend in terms of confidence in my racing ability, endurance capacity and ability to recover.
After the TTT I focused on a few sprint triathlons that were close to home which resulted in my first overall wins. These races really helped me learn how to suffer on the bike. Previously I had never pushed it hard enough on the bike to be competitive, but during these races this year I found another gear which I was able to hold. In the middle of the summer I raced in the Musselman located in Geneva, NY. I entered into the Double Mussel event which consisted of both the sprint triathlon on Saturday and the half ironman on Sunday. I was able to have a solid weekend with a 2nd place in the sprint and a 4th in the half. The end result was that I was the highest placing double mussel contestant and came home with a new wetsuit, some hardware and even a little cash for the 4th in the half. I also came home with a 4:32 in the half which was the first time I had been in the 4:30’s. In 2010 I was able to record a 4:45 in Galveston and a 4:43 in Syracuse. The Musselman weekend again gave me a shot of confidence as I continued to train for IMFL in November. I knew that I was getting faster in terms of racing and that my training was getting more and more consistent. It was the training that was leading me to successful days on the race courses. After the Musselman weekend I enjoyed a little vacation in Lake Placid while I cheered on many friends who were racing IMLP, I raced another sprint triathlon and I prepared for what would be my third 70.3 in New Hampshire at the Timberman. The Timberman 70.3 yielded me my best 70.3 time ever and was a really great weekend all around. I stayed in a great B&B which was about a mile form transition and located right on the race course and I had my parents with me for support. In the end I recorded a 4:27 and earned a spot in the 2012 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas which I took courtesy of a a couple guys not taking it, one being the very nice Pat Wheeler.
Once the Timberman race was behind me I set my sights on preparing for IMFL in November. Over the next two months I knew that I would need to be consistent in my training in order to give myself the best chance of succeeding. I really focused on getting the work done and I can honestly say that the difference in training is night and day in comparison to last year. I was both mentally and physically prepared for the training block and regardless of what my results are this year at IMFL I know that I am in better shape physically, I have a better mental vision and I am overall happier for a variety of reasons. I have left myself with no other option that to go out on the course in Panama City and execute. I have prepared myself to have a great day, so now all I will need to do is DO IT.
I got ahead of myself there a bit. In between Timberman and when IMFL will take place (this Saturday) I did race again at the Syracuse 70.3. I basically trained through this race using it as a good solid training day. I did recover a bit over the two days prior to the race, but otherwise my training volume and intensity stayed the same. I ended up with a 4:34 on the day, a bit faster than the prior year and had a much better run on a much more challenging course. Again Mike Corona and I had our own little war with each other as he had a 5 minute head start on me and it was my job to track him down. Read more about that race here if you are interested –> 2011 Cuse 70.3 Race Report. Once the Cuse 70.3 was behind me I knew I had but a few short weeks left until IMFL arrived. I seemed to really zero in on getting all my work in over that time. Even while commuting a good amount to work each day I stayed focused and didn’t let it derail my training. I ended up having some of my best workouts ever, due in large part to training with a couple new friends, Steve Rosinski and Nate Lowe, who are both former college level XC runners who have begun to set their sights on triathlon. In fact if my memory serves me correct, I believe that before we even knew each other that well we were all on the podium at the Mini-Mussel in July. Anyways, they are both very fast individuals and provided me with some good motivation and companionship over the last few weeks when I had some longish are hardish runs to get done. Having them run alongside with really helped me make sure these runs were of high quality. Something I wanted to definitely have in the last few weeks before the race. Sometimes I feel as if you hear of people kind of breaking down near the end of a long build cycle and I didn’t want that. I wanted to be strong and consistent the whole time and I really do appreciate all the people who have swam, biked and ran alongside me this year as I do appreciate it very much. Most of my workouts are solo efforts but when I do train with other it is always a nice treat. So thank you…you know who you are. And I should take this opportunity to say Thank You to all my lane mates at masters as you all pushed me in the pool and have made me the swimmer that I am today, a far cry from what I was a couple years ago. The team even gave me a swim cap with all their signatures on it this morning….I think I can comfortable call myself a swimmer now 🙂 However, I need to validate this on Saturday with a good swim in the Gulf of Mexico 🙂
So that’s that folks. A little recap of how the 2011 season has gone. I am right now sitting at my good friend Don Ehinger’s house as I wait to take my bike to the shop for packing. This is the last “worry” I have before I get all packed up for the trip. Once the bike has been packed in its box I can relax a bit as everything will be ready to go. A big thank you is due to Don, his wife Brenda and his two girls who have graciously allowed me to crash at their house on many occasions over the last 2 months while I was commuting from Penn Yan to Rochester. They made it possible for me to get all my swims in. It was really really nice of them to have me in there home. Don even arranged a bit of a surprise going away party last week which was really awesome as I was able to spend some quality time with the great friends I have made during my time here in Rochester. I will miss many people when I move across the country in a couple weeks, but I know they are all on my side. I just hope I can make them all proud.
I’ll probably get a few more posts up this week as I will have a bit more free time as I make my way to FL. So keep a look our for more words of wisdom from Turbeau.
Until next time….