See you at the Pig, Meet you at the Pear

7th at Duathlon Nationals, 2nd place at Pear Blossom
The Pig
The race season is just underway, and with it my resentment and hatred towards Seattleweather has all but melted away, and in its place is a sense of gratitude and awe on account of the hospitality of people I have met and beauty of our country that I have experienced recently.
My first stop was BirminghamAlabama, for the USA Elite Duathlon National Championships.  Birminghamcontinues to hold a special place in my heart, with its genuine Southern hospitality, courteous drivers, and a beautiful, hilly landscape.  If anyone can come close to the friendliness of the Scots (where I visited in Fall 2010), it has to be a Birminghamnative.  I stayed with Keith Giles of Homewood.  Keith, a biochemist at University of Alabama, was only the 2ndbiggest tri-geek in his home for about a week, as we waxed philosophical about which aero wheels to own, swimming form, saddle tilt, seat tube angle, and various other nauseating topics.

I had a couple good runs during the race, but had zero legs on the bike, and ended up 7th for the day.  Not to fear though; the race merely opened up the legs, and I had some amazing rides down south.  In other words, the form came on just a bit too late.  D’oh!  Within a week of training in the sun I dropped to racing weight at an alarming rate, and was no longer the doughy, pasty man that ran at Nationals.

After some serious skirt-chasing in Birmingham, as well as my first time to a Piggly-Wiggly grocery store (their slogan is “see you at the pig”- a slogan I don’t think would fly at snooty organic grocery stores in Seattle, just sayin.), the next stop was Deland, Florida, for some warm weather training.  Why Deland, you ask?  Well, my college teammate and longtime training partner, Brendan, had somehow convinced his family that I was a nice guy, and would be someone that could use their vacation home in Florida.  I was floored when his dad called me a few months back to ask me if I would ever like to use it!  Who ever asks you if you would like to use their house, anyway?! Who are these people of high generosity that I keep encountering, you ask?  I can’t answer that question, but I am banking on the statement of theologian William Newell: “to believe, and consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret…to expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth…to testify of God’s goodness at all times…”

After several, now standard 3.5 hour hammer sessions on the bike, not to mention swimming in Delion Springs, AKA “the fountain of youth” supposedly discovered by Juan Ponce Delion, I was far too quickly back in Seattle, but not for far too long.
The Pear (10 mile running race)

Perhaps the juiciest race of the year would be the long-standing and now infamous Pear Blossom race, where “everyone’s a winner.” And in fact it was just what I needed; a low-stress race to test my fitness and enjoy some competition.  I knew pro runner Max King would likely be there, but assumed I wouldn’t have a fighting chance against him.  Perhaps I was a little pessimistic about my odds against him, and ended up finishing in 51:38 for a 10 mile road race, a near 15 seconds behind Max.  Holding pace is not bad for an ‘ol washed up triathlete! 

Doing a running race makes me miss the simpler days – all you have to show up with is your shorts, jersey, flats, and maybe a water bottle on race day, and you are ready to go.  Too bad I will be doing an Ironman soon and will have to pack 75 items with me on race day! 

The local newspaper in Medforddid a good write-up, so you can get the rest of the dirt here if you like.

1. Max King  51:23
2. Matt Sheeks 51:38
3. Glenn Tucker 53:02
4. Tyler Davis 53:16
5. Chris McIsaac 55:04
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