By the numbers this race was destine to be a good one for me....(I always like the number 4) and
Steelhead 70.3 this past weekend was my 4th 70.3 Race as a professional, with bib number 22 (2+2=4) at the age of 22. So I would say the 4th place fit in the equation perfectly.
Before the race though, I was a bit nervous what the outcome would be. The mind and body has been yelling for a mid season break, but I still wanted to ask one more race out of it. I am glad I did and now rewarding it with a week of very low training before getting back into a training grove.
When the gun went off I was hoping for a better entry into the water then my 70.3 Racine race (Watch the left side of the pack in the video below and feel free to guess and laugh at who you notice haha)
Swim 28:25- It was another "Rough Water" swim like Racine, but not quite as bad. I handled it a bit better though and hung onto the main swim group with few single swimmers ahead. *Race Tip for a point to point swim, count the number of buoys in the water so you can tell how far you have gone and how much more there is to go.
Bike 2:09:00- After a long beech and transition run, I nearly missed crashing (into a fence haha) jumping onto my speedy Cervelo P5 from Endurance House Middleton. *Race Tip, spend a few moments practicing transitions and jumping onto your bike at home instead of at races....
It usually takes my legs a bit longer then others to warm up and fire on all cylinders so I just tried to hang onto the back of the main group and not let the invisible band to the group stretch to far and snap.
Finally about half way through the ride my legs were ready to give it a go. I took a calculated risk and put in a good effort to ether pass and gap the group putting some time into them or get the group as a whole to start pulling in the lone rider ahead of us. I tried but legs did not have enough power to leave the group. It did though, get everyone working harder to try and pull in the leader, but turns out we did not do much other then make a good fight for 2nd place. Looking back I probably should have worked harder the last 25min to do some damage to the other fast runners but I was nervous knowing how my body was feeling going into the race. After flying by my parents spectating, I rolled into transition in 2nd place with a group of 4 others.
Run 1:19:19- I knew starting the run that one person from the group would be going home without a pay check and I sure did not want that to be me. I also knew that out of the group I was probably the slowest runner. So it was time for me to put my big boy pants on and charge ahead. By the time I ran past my parents at about half mile I was already being past. I did not let this bother me, wanted my feet to get feeling back before I really started running as well as not go out to hard like most racers do. *Race Tip, in a half distance or longer, it is a whole lot smarter to run the first 2 miles slower then your target pace and then start ticking town the pace from there. By mile 1, one person had dropped out so I was back to sitting in 3rd place. Following the drop out, 4th place ran up to me and we cruised for about 2 miles together until he started gaping me. Hindsight knowing that 5th place was to far back to catch us I should have taken the calculated risk and tried harder to run with him for 3rd place. Because by the time I started trying to real him back in, the gap was just to big to close and I would have to be happy with 4th. (Which I most definitely am!!) The whole time I was trying to real in third place in my Newton Running shoes, I kept on thinking about what my good friend and store owner of Endurance House Middleton said to me at the expo the day before "Run faster Paul Eicher. haha" Taking that risk could have possibly rewarded me with an extra $550 in my pocket, from 4th to 3rd place, but I did not take it. Every race is a growing day and a learning day, when to take the risky road and when to take the safe road.
Overal 4:00:15- After thanking the "big man upstairs", slapping hands and firing up the crowed I looked up and watched the clock tick past 4hrs. I just had to laugh, missed the 4hr mark by 15seconds haha. So happy and blessed for another safe and fun race in my first season as a professional.
My coach Will S summed it up real good in a facebook post.... "Great race Paul Eicher 4th ironman 70.3 steelhead..improving every race, time for a well deserved mid season break mate...well done Paulie."
Thanks for helping me get to where I am and take me to where I want to go coach.
Below is Ironman's article on the 2013 Steelhead 70.3 Race.
Like most races that your working towards, Racine 70.3 went by like a whirlwind and before I knew it I was sitting back drinking a beer cheering at the finish line. When you race as much as I do (Not as much as my friend Gerlach but still a good amount) the races all tend to blur into a similar pattern. Swim, bike, run, recover, get back to training. To keep away from getting "Board" with the same old pattern for the whole year I try to go into and leave each race with the goal to...
1. Turn all the bad into a positive
2. Learn something
3. Set my sights on what to work on next
I will share a few take aways for my Racine race this year to hopefully help you in return.
-Racing for something "Bigger then yourself" truly helps to ground you as a person and athlete. As many of you saw I put on a fundraiser for RACC linked to my 70.3 race in which I can not be more happy with raising over $1500 in the fight against Childhood Cancer!! That not only took my mind away from the race a bit but made me remember what is truly important in this world and the result at the end of the day is not it.
-NEVER have a thought ingrained in your mind (Even if its partly true) that says if X happens then X will be the result. For me I have ingrained the idea that if I don't make the lead swim pack then I don't have the possibility of the end result I am looking for. For the most part that is a true statement, that as a pro, if you don't get out in or close to the lead pack of the swim that your out of contention of "being in the race." But you NEVER know what will happen and if you do miss the lead pack then you have already mentally lost the race which takes away ANY possibility of putting together a "Successful race."
-Re affirmed what I already know, that HAVING FUN and putting a smile on your face is totally the best way to race. Yes relaxing and not "Engaging the crowd" would scientifically probably make someone race faster but what is the sense in that. Plus you totally get energy back from the crowd when you are having fun. Me giving a smile or my (Thumbs up) move, does NOT mean that I am not working my ass off or in just as much pain as the one grimacing by.
-Sometimes your legs are on and other days they are not, be happy with the end result no matter what it is and look forward to the future.
Few thank you's to give you...
-Like always my AMAZINGLY supportive family and friends
-RACC for helping me race for a bigger picture
-Endurance House for more support in many more ways then I could even tell you
-Peak Performance Massage for always doing there best to get my body ready to fight
-Newton Running for making some kick ass shoes
-CycleOps for helping me train smarter, better and harder day in and day out
-Powerbar for providing nutrition to train and race properly
-Friend Noah for letting me borrow his race wheels for the race
Since Racine I have aged up to the ripe old age of 22... man I am getting old! haha
Next up for me will be 70.3 Steelhead this weekend and then a bit of a break followed by a re look at the rest of the season in store.
I have tried many ice methods but everyone has some sort of negative such as leaks or that it does not form to body part. That was until recently when I was having some shoulder problems which required icing/heating. I have found a inexpensive, easy and efficient way to ice!! I found directions to make your own ice gel packs and they have been so useful I want to share it with you.
1. Put 1 part rubbing alcohol with 2 parts water into gallon size zip block bag. (More Alcohol= slushier ice pack/ and less alcohol= firmer ice pack)
2. Add some food coloring if wanted to color code packs
3. Seal bag with as little amount of air as possible
4. Put another bag over for double leak protection
5. Place in freezer for about 12hrs before first use
BAM you have a soft, flexible, comfortable and reusable ice pack for those yucky aches and pains.
The number 14 usually seems to be a lucky number for me and this past weekend Raleigh 70.3 kept that statement alive. I got the bib number 14 and no luck did not give me the result for the weekend but its just funny how it all worked out in the end. When all was said and done, I came in 2nd place overall, in my 2nd race as a professional, with a time of 4:04:41. It was a race that I will never forget and continue to work forward from. The whole day from the swim, bike and to the run you could not keep a smile off my face. Blessed, honored, fun and thankful are 4 words I have used to describe that race. Below is a quick video of the race itself and how it went. Also are a few links to articles that talked about the race.
Everyday I am blessed for all the support in so many ways...
RACC- Race Against Childhood Cancer (Racing for something bigger then myself)
Endurance House Middleton- Would NOT be possible without all your help (Ps that bike is fast)
Peak Performance Massage Madison- Training at the level I can would not be possible without you
Power Bar- Correct nutrition is key to training and racing
Newton- These shoes are just simply the best
CycleOps- Keeping me under control, working hard and training smart
Coach Will Smith- Have a bright future with your help
Family- Best family a man could EVER ask for
Friends- So thankful and love you all
Faith- GTGTG (Give the Glory to God)
Talk about a big learning experience and motivation booster!! In a nut shell, that is what 70.3 Galveston Texas was for me. My first race as a professional and for the first time in a long time I was nervous going into the race. It was a great feeling to have. I have worked countless hours to reach this point in my triathlon career and I was still in shock that it was happening. With that being said this is JUST the beginning, I still have lots and lots of smart/hard work to do for many hours, months, and years. I am so excited for what the future will hold for me and all of my supporters.
My race in a few words... (With main thing I learned)
-I swam hard...but still got dropped by the group. (Make sure to swim in wetsuit before first wetsuit race of the season and DONT loose the group)
-I biked hard on the pancake flat course... by myself with horrible left glute pain (Make sure to get on your TT bike plenty leading into first triathlon of the season "Not just road bike." Check the wind direction morning of the race, predictions from night before change.)
-I ran with a smile on my face and thumbs up all the way to the finish. (When the going gets tough keep your thumbs up.)
So as you see I Swam, Biked and Ran and enjoyed every minute of it. Whether I was in pain or feeling great I was trying to simply enjoy the moment and keep doing my best.
After a nice little extended race vacation in Galveston I was bouncing with excitement to get back home to start training again. The extended vacation was simply GREAT, enjoyed some R&R from the long cold Wisconsin winter. P.S. Galveston has some amazing seafood restraunts next to the ocean.
Everyday I remind myself how blessed I am for the life I have before me. Thanks so much for everyones support! Love you all.