Thursday, June 14, 2007

Festival of Flowers Olympic Tri, June 10 - 9th place

In my second race as a new "Dad" I had a good result at the Festival Of Flowers Olympic Triathlon (1500 meter swim/24 mile bike/6.2 mile run) on June 10, 2007, in Greenwood, S.C. I finished 9th place out of 270 overall in 2:10:41. I love this course. It's the same course for the South Carolina Half Ironman and where I proposed to Anna last year. The swim in Lake Greenwood was very choppy and warm with no wetsuits allowed. I got pelted a few times by surface waves and force fed a few mouthfuls of lake water. I was in the 2nd wave start, 4 minutes after the first, and managed to catch a lot of the first wave swimmers before the 1500 meters was finished. That's always my goal in wave swim starts.

I got on the bike feeling great! My strategy in these short triathlons is to hammer the bike as hard as I can, like a Tour de France time trial, and inflict a little pain on anyone out there with me. Fun! It's best to sneak up and blow by anyone so fast and sudden that it almost freaks them out and they can't even react. I've been on the receiving end of that a few times and it has a way of sucking the power right out of your body. "Geez, where'd that guy come from?!" Then I'm just a dot in the distance. I passed a handful of those speedy swimmers and wave 1 starters in the first 10 miles, each was like a rabbit for me to chase down. I rode the final 14 miles relatively alone. I didn't want to become anyone's rabbit to chase. I rode my new Specialized Transition time trial bike with a rear Zipp disc wheel. Man, that felt light and fast! I had no computer so I had no info about my speed, cadence, power or heartrate, but it was kind of nice just to ride hard based on "feel." I managed to ride the 5th fastest bike split of the day at 58 minutes, 32 seconds.

I need to build a cushion on the bike (my strength) because I know there are some better runners in the field. That's why I love triathlon - with 3 sports you're never out of it and have to use your strengths and see how it plays out. Of course, I had to pause to check my blood sugar in T2 transition on my OneTouch Ultra meter (results in 5 seconds, Thanks LifeScan and OneTouch!) It was way too high! Ugh! But that happens a lot when you push a hard, intense effort. It's an adrenaline rush that floods glucose into the system. Now worries, in such a short race I know I'd bring it down real soon at the finish. (Once again, my Omnipod insulin pump stayed perfect and secure on my arm the whole race! Thanks Omnipod!)

I started the run on a 6:45 pace. One guy passed me about mile 1 looking way too "fresh," but he kindly told me that he was in a relay (somebody else had swam and biked). Thanks. I used him as pace setter for a few miles. At the 3.1 mile turn around cone I saw a few runners gaining on me so I kept pushing the pace all the way to the line.

I finished in 2:10:41, 9th place overall. I'm pretty happy with that since Olympic distance is still a little short for me. It was great speed work! I even managed to sneak onto the podium, earning 2nd place in the Masters (40+) category. Masters?! Ouch! Hard to believe that in less than a month I grew up and turned 40 (April 11) and became a Dad (May 7). Now that's going to make me go even harder! It was great to have Janna at her 2nd race. (She loved it, I could tell.) After the race, Anna and I even recreated my engagement proposal from last year at exactly the same spot! ha! (except this time I thankfully had not crashed on the bike). Anna's mother and father drove over for the race as well, but I've learned that Janna is the real attraction! :-) Thanks for coming Grandfather Hanks and Nanny Nette!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Middle Tyger Sprint Triathlon June 2, 2007 - 5th Place

I raced the Middle Tyger Sprint triathlon (400 meter swim/14 mile bike/4 mile run) June 2 in Duncan, part of the Upstate South Carolina Triathlon Series. If you can believe it, this was my first triathlon in 2007! Hard to believe I have not raced a triathlon since the ITU Long Course Worlds in Australia last November. I'm a long course guy and short course speed is not my specialty, but I love sprint races because they are just that - sprints! I go all out all the time and don't have to worry about holding anything back. No need to worry about all the stuff that's so important in Ironman - pacing, hydration, nutrition or my diabetic nemesis, blood sugar. There's no time! The race is over in barely one hour! Just go, go, GO!

It was a 400 meter pool swim at the Middle Tyger YMCA, a fantastic aquatic center with wide 50 meter lanes. I love the 50 meter lane because I'm not the best at flip turns and its lots of space for settling into a rhythm. The bike was 14 miles of hills that I know well. My coach and friend Peter Kotland lives nearby and I ride these roads with him all the time. I hammered the bike as hard as I could and came off the bike in about 8th place. The run was a hilly 4 miles. I tried to set a 6:30 pace to practice for some longer races coming up. I caught a few in front of me and managed to finish 5th overall out of about 120. (I should get a time bonus for changing diapers in the middle of the night! Ha!) I was pleased that my friend and fellow Hincapie Triathlon teammate Jamie Church got the win. Great job Jamie!

(Also, baby Janna "saw" her first race. Okay, she might have slept through most of it, but I think I heard her say "Go Daddy" one time!)

Baby Janna Hewitt - May 7, 2007

On Monday, May 7 my beautiful wife, Anna, gave birth to our daughter - Janna Rebecca Hewitt, 8 lbs, 4 oz., 20.5 inches. Unbelievable! Of course, I'm a bit proud and biased, but Janna is the most precious, beautiful thing in the world! I tell everyone that Janna is all "Anna" and just a little bit of "J." She was two weeks early. Hard to believe that Anna and I were at the Boston marathon just 3 weeks earlier on April 16! In fact, Anna started feeling contractions the next week (April 25) while I was in Virginia racing the Tour of Virginia. Turned out to be false labor, but it got my attention! If "false" became "real" we had a plan for her to call my director in the team car during the race. I would have raced for the finish line and probably kept on going!

But on May 7 Anna and I wouldn't even have gone to the hospital if the doctor hadn't told Anna that she was in labor during a visit to his office that morning! She was having no pain that afternoon so we went home and casually packed our bags, a cooler of snacks, pillows and the exercise ball for Anna to use in the delivery room, still not convinced that this was it. We even stopped by the grocery store for a little birthday cake with Janna's name on it just in case. Not the normal rush to the hospital! Anna had decided to do the Bradley Method of natural child birth with no pain medication. I'm so proud of her! She exercised during pregnancy and stayed fit and healthy did fantastic! Little Janna was born at 11:59 pm that night, May 7! Just barely made the midnight cut off . . . or curfew! Ha!
Anna and Janna are both doing great! The past month has been lots of fun and lots of diapers, and just a little sleep. But I've managed to train and even race a few local triathlons with good results (see above) so I can't wait to carry her across the finish line one day!